The Historical Nature of the Bible Deux

As I have elaborated on elsewhere, the Bible is fairly unique as a religious text for its reliance on testimonies that are rooted in specifically identifiable times and places. In this lecture, Dr. Peter Williams warden of Tyndale House at Cambridge and professor of ancient languages lectures here on the details that demonstrate the veracity of the historical record of the New Testament. It’s about an hour long, but the information provided is well presented and the time flew by while watching it.


8 Responses to The Historical Nature of the Bible Deux

  1. Nate says:

    I know you are a troll and thus unlikely to respond, but are you trying to say the entire bible is a work of fiction?

  2. […] Well, TruthOverFaith to the Bob the Troll series. As you know, a NewEnglandBob often exhibits itself in a flurry of comments with no thought, no content and mostly attacks directed at other commenter with whom it disagrees but it is unable to articulate why in any form that humans would recognize. TruthOverFaith appears to be doing the same thing. Long lost brothers perhaps? Father and son (love child maybe, I think “truth” is younger). Oh my lord!! Them evil homo-lovin’ New Yorkers just legalized same-sex marriage!! […]

  3. jackhudson says:

    Well if something is “…rooted in specifically identifiable times and places” then surely it must be true!! Oh, it surely it must be the word of the true living god!!

    Certainly more likely to be true than something not rooted in specifically identifiable times and places. And it is certainly not the case that the writers were writing long after or at great distance from the events, as skeptics often claim.

    And the fact that there is not a single instance of identifiable sources being mentioned or the writers ever speaking of themselves as eyewitness to anything or any person that they write about is surely a very minor issue!

    Well that is easily proved wrong:

    Luke 1:1-4

    Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

  4. Nate says:

    Even if the writers were writing some period after the events they describe, for the time period that wouldn’t be uncommon. Unless one wished to dismiss almost all ancient accounts of everything, you can’t expect the accounts to be written the afternoon on which ______ happened. In fact 100 years isn’t an uncommon amount of time.

    The new testament at least, most of it, was written pretty soon after the Crucifixion by the standards of the day.

    Even the old testament has led researchers to ruins of long lost cities, and apart from the supernatural, many event have been found to have happened. Jericho comes to mind.

    So TOF, can we have some kind of semi-civilized discussion?

  5. jackhudson says:

    Hey Nate,
    The entire bible is not fiction
    . That story about the talking donkey, probably true.
    And Jack, you do know what identifiable means, right?
    Would you mind naming a single one of Luke’s supposed “eyewitnesses? How about the author of Luke himself? Anybody?
    And allow me to share a quote from Judy Redman on a John Collins paper regarding that paragraph from Luke.–”Collins goes on to look at how the term “eyewitnesses” (autoptai) is used at the beginning of Luke’s gospel. He argues that Luke’s “autoptai” are not the oral tradents that Bauckham suggests, but those who are working with a literary tradition ; and that their roles as “guarantors of the tradition” began significantly later than Bauckhams argument would require.”

    We know something about the authorship of Luke because of the reference to the Gospel at the beginning of the book of Acts, also authored by Luke. And Acts goes from being a third person narration to a first person narration, around the time Luke joined Paul, which is referenced by Paul in Colossians, 2 Timothy, and Philemon. We know from Paul’s writings that he met with the apostles; in fact Peter makes reference to Paul in his writing. These are all cross confirmations between people writing the Gospels and the Epistles.

    As far as a first hand witness, Peter makes a pretty clear reference in his epistle:

    2 Peter 1:16-18
    For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

    Of course none of this has anything to do with the points made in the video, which are that based on the particular details given in the gospels, we know the authors (whoever they were) were intimately familiar with the times and places in which the gospels were set. This contradicts the notion that the stories were passed on to others far away from and long after said events.

  6. Nate says:

    Thanks for finally making a contribution TOF, that’s all I want to say. It makes a difference and keeps people thinking when you make that kind of effort.

  7. Mike D says:

    Few problems.

    Firstly, lots of fiction is based on real events, takes place in real times or places, or has real people as characters. South Park lampooned Mel Gibson and The Passion of the Christ, which are both real. Colorado, where South Park is set, is a real state. None of this makes it any less fiction.

    Secondly, there are far many more reasons not to believe the New Testament is a historically reliable document: the fact that these “eye witness” accounts include detailed descriptions of things that supposedly happened in secret, like Jesus’ temptation in the desert when he was supposedly alone; the fact that it was not committed to text for decades after it happened, after being passed on by word of mouth like a 40-year game of telephone; that it is rife with unprovable supernatural claims, says nothing of most of Jesus’ life, and contains historical errors; and the fact that all of the manuscripts we have are riddled with copy errors, omissions, additions, modifications, and factual contradictions.

    THEN there’s the fact that the whole point of the Bible is, presumably, to extoll spiritual truths about human existence. Even if the Bible could be shown to be rooted in real historical events, that does absolutely nothing to substantiate the theological truth claims that are the central message. So, just because Rome was real doesn’t mean that God sacrificed himself to himself to pay a price to himself he himself determined was necessary to redeem us from a curse he put on us.

  8. Nate says:

    I’m always fascinated when people assume that they can use our logic to reason the actions of a being who is by definition far superior to us. At least with regard to Gods actions our level of logical reasoning is completely useless assuming there is a God.

    That goes for atheists as well as the religious, my dog might as well try and figure out the reasoning or validity of my actions.

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