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Thread: Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

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    Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

    For those who've looked into this, what are some of the things that are most convincing to you?

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    Re: Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

    Extra-biblical writings are one thing...check out this link: http://carm.org/non-biblical-account...s-andor-people
    θεοφιλε


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    Re: Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

    Ditto...there is extra-Biblical info out there.




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    Re: Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

    Quote Originally Posted by LookingUp View Post
    Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

    For those who've looked into this, what are some of the things that are most convincing to you?
    LookingUp, asking such a question is similar to asking if the Bible can be trusted as scientifically accurate. Basically that means that there is a criteria that is applied to determine historical accuracy. That criteria is not always flattering to religious movements and specifically Christianity, so the criteria does not presume the historical reality of things like miracles, Jesus' resurrection, etc. By such a view, it might be historical that someone was known for performing miracles but not that the miracles themselves are historical. Likewise, while it is historical that a movement emerged that believed in the resurrected Jesus, that does not attest to the historical accuracy of Jesus' resurrection.

    While the "Quest for the Historical Jesus" is much maligned by believing Christians because of its presuppositionsal approach to historical accuracy (i.e. miracles are not historical), it is interesting to note what such a demanding criteria actually does attest to. Faith is what should operate in regards to the Gospels, but I will offer a list nonetheless because it is interesting concerning the emerging historical consensus among academics.

    From "Four Portraits, One Jesus" by Mark L. Strauss, regarding The New (Second) Quest for the historical Jesus:

    Since they started with these assumptions, it is not surprising that the New Quest did not get very far beyond Bultmann's skepticism. What can be known about Jesus can be summarized in a few short statements: he came from Nazareth; he was baptized by John; he preached and told parables about the kingdom of God; he viewed this kingdom as coming in the near future and (perhaps) as already present in some sense; he performed, or was believed to have performed, exorcisms and healings; he gathered a group of disciples around him; he associated with outcasts and sinners; he challenged the Jewish leaders of his day; he was arrested and charged with blasphemy and sedition; and he was crucified by the Romans. It was generally denied that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, that he predicted his own death, or that he rose from the dead.
    Watchinginawe

    I Samuel 3:10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

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    Re: Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

    Quote Originally Posted by LookingUp View Post
    Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?
    For those who've looked into this, what are some of the things that are most convincing to you?
    LookingUp, don't you know that Christians can't begin threads in Christians Answers??

    From the rules of this forum:

    IV. Rules for Christians:

    3. Do not start threads in this forum, as it is for non-Christians to ask questions about our faith. If you are not sure where to post something, ask in C2M.
    My favorite scripture: Malachi 3:16

    "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name!" (Every time we speak of the Lord, or even THINK of him--its written down in a book of remembrance!)

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    Re: Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diggindeeper View Post
    LookingUp, don't you know that Christians can't begin threads in Christians Answers??

    From the rules of this forum:

    IV. Rules for Christians:

    3. Do not start threads in this forum, as it is for non-Christians to ask questions about our faith. If you are not sure where to post something, ask in C2M.
    Okay. Thank you.

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    Re: Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

    I'm gonna move this to Christian Fellowship. I don't think it fits well in Bible Chat, but if scriptures start coming in for replies we may still put it there. (I have to admit, Looking, this subject is a difficult one to place in a forum, isn't it!)
    My favorite scripture: Malachi 3:16

    "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name!" (Every time we speak of the Lord, or even THINK of him--its written down in a book of remembrance!)

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    Re: Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

    It depends. Was Pilate the prefect of Judea? Yes. Did Jesus rise from the dead? Hmm.....


    Oh, and before anyone gets on me, no, I don't think the OT can be used as a historical document either.
    As for Me, this is My covenant with them," says the LORD: "My Spirit who is on you, and My words that I have put in your mouth, will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouth of your children, or from the mouth of your children's children, from now on and forever," says the LORD.


    Isaiah 59:21

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    Re: Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diggindeeper View Post
    I'm gonna move this to Christian Fellowship. I don't think it fits well in Bible Chat, but if scriptures start coming in for replies we may still put it there. (I have to admit, Looking, this subject is a difficult one to place in a forum, isn't it!)
    Yes, it is! :-)

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    Re: Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    It depends. Was Pilate the prefect of Judea? Yes. Did Jesus rise from the dead? Hmm.....


    Oh, and before anyone gets on me, no, I don't think the OT can be used as a historical document either.
    Thanks, Fenris. watchinginawe made a similar reply. But I'm not asking if articles of faith, such as "the Bible is inspired" or "Jesus is Lord" can be trusted as historically accurate. I'm asking if the historical evidence supports the conclusion that the portrayal of the Jesus found in the gospel accounts is historically accurate as opposed to the evidence supporting this portrayal as legend or myth. I know there are books out there that address this extensively, but I was curious as to how other Christians give quick, succinct replies to this kind of question.

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    Re: Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

    Quote Originally Posted by LookingUp View Post
    I'm asking if the historical evidence supports the conclusion that the portrayal of the Jesus found in the gospel accounts is historically accurate as opposed to the evidence supporting this portrayal as legend or myth.
    I'm not sure what you mean by "historically accurate." I don't even think the gospels can be used to prove that Jesus existed (although believe that he did) let alone that they're an accurate depiction of all the things he said and did...
    As for Me, this is My covenant with them," says the LORD: "My Spirit who is on you, and My words that I have put in your mouth, will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouth of your children, or from the mouth of your children's children, from now on and forever," says the LORD.


    Isaiah 59:21

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    Re: Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean by "historically accurate." I don't even think the gospels can be used to prove that Jesus existed (although believe that he did) let alone that they're an accurate depiction of all the things he said and did...
    When one says something is “historically accurate,” it doesn’t mean it’s “proven” or “certain” but that the account as portrayed is the most historically probable understanding available. So, I’m not asking for “proof.” Historical research can only offer conclusions of probability, not certainty.

    I’m asking, what compelling reasons do Christians have for concluding that the portrait of Jesus as found in the gospel accounts is the most historically probable understanding available?

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    Re: Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

    I've seen things that have been written before, like these examples:

    The first-century Roman Tacitus, who is considered one of the more accurate historians of the ancient world
    , mentioned superstitious “Christians” (from Christus, which is Latin for Christ), who suffered under Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius. Suetonius, chief secretary to Emperor Hadrian, wrote that there was a man named Chrestus (or Christ) who lived during the first century (Annals 15.44).

    Flavius Josephus is the most famous Jewish historian. In his Antiquities he refers to James, “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ.” There is a controversial verse (18:3) that says, “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats....He was [the] Christ...he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.” One version reads, “At this time there was a wise man named Jesus. His conduct was good and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who became his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.”

    Julius Africanus quotes the historian Thallus in a discussion of the darkness which followed the crucifixion of Christ (Extant Writings, 18).

    Pliny the Younger, in Letters 10:96, recorded early Christian worship practices including the fact that Christians worshiped Jesus as God and were very ethical, and he includes a reference to the love feast and Lord’s Supper.

    The Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a) confirms Jesus' crucifixion on the eve of Passover and the accusations against Christ of practicing sorcery and encouraging Jewish apostasy.

    Lucian of Samosata was a second-century Greek writer who admits that Jesus was worshiped by Christians, introduced new teachings, and was crucified for them. He said that Jesus' teachings included the brotherhood of believers, the importance of conversion, and the importance of denying other gods. Christians lived according to Jesus’ laws, believed themselves to be immortal, and were characterized by contempt for death, voluntary self-devotion, and renunciation of material goods.

    Mara Bar-Serapion confirms that Jesus was thought to be a wise and virtuous man, was considered by many to be the king of Israel, was put to death by the Jews, and lived on in the teachings of His followers.

    Then we have all the Gnostic writings (The Gospel of Truth, The Apocryphon of John, The Gospel of Thomas, The Treatise on Resurrection, etc.) that all mention Jesus.

    In fact, we can almost reconstruct the gospel just from early non-Christian sources: Jesus was called the Christ (Josephus), did “magic,” led Israel into new teachings, and was hanged on Passover for them (Babylonian Talmud) in Judea (Tacitus), but claimed to be God and would return (Eliezar), which his followers believed, worshipping Him as God (Pliny the Younger).

    There is overwhelming evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ, both in secular and biblical history. Perhaps the greatest evidence that Jesus did exist is the fact that literally thousands of Christians in the first century A.D., including the twelve apostles, were willing to give their lives as martyrs for Jesus Christ. People will die for what they believe to be true, but no one will die for what they know to be a lie.

    (From this link:
    Did Jesus really exist? Is there any historical evidence of Jesus Christ?
    http://www.gotquestions.org/did-Jesus-exist.html )
    My favorite scripture: Malachi 3:16

    "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name!" (Every time we speak of the Lord, or even THINK of him--its written down in a book of remembrance!)

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    Re: Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

    Quote Originally Posted by LookingUp View Post
    I’m asking, what compelling reasons do Christians have for concluding that the portrait of Jesus as found in the gospel accounts is the most historically probable understanding available?
    Compelling reasons? Christianity is based on faith.
    As for Me, this is My covenant with them," says the LORD: "My Spirit who is on you, and My words that I have put in your mouth, will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouth of your children, or from the mouth of your children's children, from now on and forever," says the LORD.


    Isaiah 59:21

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    Re: Can the gospel accounts be trusted as historically accurate?

    The thing is, there is no other picture. The NT is what there is. Either it's correct or it isn't.
    As for Me, this is My covenant with them," says the LORD: "My Spirit who is on you, and My words that I have put in your mouth, will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouth of your children, or from the mouth of your children's children, from now on and forever," says the LORD.


    Isaiah 59:21

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