Discussing
Are the Gospels unique? Does it matter?

Andy Rau

Jaysonwhelpley
July 9, 2008

One long-standing rebuttal to these "issues" is the possibility that God worked out His plan in a way that the contemporary audience would recognize as a sign of power. He did this with the "battle" between Moses and the Pharaoh's magicians - each miracle in effect "dissing" one of the Egyptian gods. If the three day thing was claimed before but left un-accomplished, why not actually do it up right and add credibility to the Messiah-claim.

Richard
July 10, 2008

I think that the multiple flood stories you mentioned adds weight to the idea that 'seomthing' like a big flood took place at sometime and, at worst, the story got corrupted.<br><br>I find this story fascinating though, but as you say, it's not exactly faith quaking. I like the points you make about OT prophecy.

Justifiedsoul
July 10, 2008

I've seen programs that say that the Biblical flood was 'actually just a localised flood and Noah was actually an Egyptian trader who wore heavy make-up...', and another that set out to prove that the incident where Uzza touched the Ark of the covenant and died was not caused by Divine intervention, but 'merely an electrical charge from some kind of 'sand battery'', and yet it did not disturb my faith at all. I believe this is because my faith in God is firmly rooted in 16 years of relationship with my creator, that cannot be easily undone with somebody's controversial opinions. If this were so, the first time I spoke to a Mormon, Jehovah's Witness or Hari Krishna, I would likely have fallen apart with the doubt they try to sew into your thinking.<br>The old saying goes, 'There's no smoke without fire', and of course in our modern world we know that only things of worth are immitated. The very fact that these 'myths' have come to light in my mind points to the fact that we KNOW the truth, and all the history of the world cannot deny it. In the gospels there is an incident where they are plotting, and they discuss others 'who rose up, claiming to be somebody'. Simply put, the whole death-and-resurection thing puts these people into context really, doesn't it? If this 'other guy' had raised from the dead, he might warrant a look into. 2000 years on? Merely trivia!

Smitty
July 10, 2008

Dear Professor Knoll,<br> Your attention is drawn to the book of Isaiah, especially the later chapters.<br>Best,<br>Chris<br><br>&gt;If it were true that Jesus’ story was not unique, and that earlier stories had been told of other suffering would-be messiahs, does that change the way you read the Gospel stories?<br>As for this, there is a wealth of manuscripts and apocrypha. Asserting that the /textus receptus/ is all that ever existed is silly at best.<br>

PMDubuc
July 10, 2008

<a href="http://BiblePlaces.com" rel="nofollow">BiblePlaces.com</a> is a good place to get sane information in these controversial archaeological discoveries. Here's a piece on this one: <br><br><a href="http://blog.bibleplaces.com/2008/07/gabriel-vision-messiah-stone.html" rel="nofollow">http://blog.bibleplaces.com/20...</a>

Kerisessums
July 10, 2008

No, it doesn't make me question the reliability of the story of Jesus as we know it at all. Christ, Himself rose people from the dead. Whether or not someone else was resurrected from the dead still doesn't disclaim the fact that Christ (and only He) lived a sinless life, and He (and only He) conquered death/Satan/hell prior to His resurrection. Christ's resurrection gives Christians the hope that they will be resurrected and live with Him in heaven in the light (where there will be no darkness or mourning) because of the fact that He conquered death.<br>There are many traditions of ancient times that seem weird to us in modern times- i.e sacrifices, atonement for sins, and crucifixions, just to name a couple. It doesn't disclaim the fact that Christ was the atonement for our sins. If it weren't for His death and resurrection, we would still need to offer our sacrifices to a high priest so that we could be forgiven.<br>Christ's life, death, and resurrection all play into part of the Gospel, hence the Good News that gives us our faith and hope to live by.<br>The Bible is the most accurate history book ever written, and I know, without a doubt, that Jesus Christ is the prophesied Messiah that was prophesied about in the Old Testament, and the New Testament clarifies that to a "T". <br>There will always be new-found archaeological finds and theories to sway people from believing in the truth (Satan's the father of lies and deception; he'll use what he can to make you believe anything but the truth). If you start to sway your opinion or belief, then the question isn't in as to whether or not Jesus was the real Messiah, but it becomes a matter of the heart and a question of your personal faith and relationship with Jesus as your Lord and Savior.<br>Long story short, if you have to question Jesus, then you should question your own faith instead- was you faith ever real to begin with?

Maureen
July 10, 2008

What matters is that it's true not that it's unique. Perhaps the very truth of God spills over into other stories and other cultures and into lives of other people because it is truth. The Old Testament is full of people who were simultaneously types of Christ as well as actual people who acted within their own time in history.

April
July 11, 2008

Thanks to PMDubuc for the link. Here's a link from that page to Biblical Archeology Review, with a link to an English translation of the text. It's very interesting to see how much of the text is missing or illegible, and therefore, inferred by the experts. <br><a href="http://bib-arch.org/news/dss-in-stone-news.asp" rel="nofollow">http://bib-arch.org/news/dss-i...</a><br><br>Just imagine what the Declaration of Independence (or any other important text) could be warped into if half the words were missing and the reader had to "fill in the blanks". Wouldn't they fill in those blanks with their own ideas of who the writers were? Like everything else, our interpretations of our world follow our beliefs, not the other way around.

SiarlysJenkins
July 13, 2008

What I find more relevant is that the pagan Greek Eleusinian Mysteries involved initiates being hsit in a cave underground for three days, a symbolic "in the tomb" and then being metaphorically resurrected on the third day. That suggests that perhaps the writers of the Gospels got the entire resurrection story from their Greek heritage, rather than from the Hebrew prophetic tradition, and opens the possibility that it was a tale grafted on, rather than an event that happened.<br><br>But, even that would not shake my Christian faith. I have no patience for doctrine or dogma, even on matters so fundamental as the virgin birth, resurrection, etc. C.S. Lewis wrote in the introduction to <i>The Screwtape Letters</i> that belief in devils was one of his opinions, and his faith would not be shaken to the core if it were proved false. I can be equally at home with the Jefferson Bible or born-again Pentecostal worship. Fundamentally, Micah 6:8 is enough for me, and the two commandements on which Jesus said hangs all the law and the prophets. Those also were not unique to Jesus, they were first presented by Hillel. God moves in mysterious ways. What brings you closer to God is a good thing. It may not be universal.

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