ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Religion and Philosophy»
  • Christianity, the Bible & Jesus

A "Critical" Approach To Understanding Gospel Texts

Updated on August 12, 2017
Biblical papyrus.
Biblical papyrus.

Misunderstanding and misrepresentations abound with regard to Jesus of Nazareth. It would seem that many individuals have chosen to create their own version of who Jesus was and is. Some believe he is the Messiah; some say he was a prophet; some suggest he was a mere man who married and had children with Mary Magdalene; some say he was crazy and illiterate. A few others say he never even existed. In truth, we cannot create our own version of Jesus anymore than we can create our own version of one another. You are who you are; I am who I am; Jesus is who he was.

Anyone who is truly interested in knowing about the real historical Jesus must study the historical documentation about him. They must then apply the same criterion (of those documents) that Bible scholars use to determine truths about the historical Jesus of 1st Century Judea.

This article will list much of the criteria that serious scholars use to determine which historical texts are accurate and which are not. Any reasonably intelligent layperson has the ability to better understand all gospel texts, that is, once they commit to embracing what is factual, and by developing a critical eye for understanding what is authentic and what is not. As an aside, it is worth noting that the New Testament was written in Hebrew and that Jesus spoke Aramaic.

The Synoptic Gospels

What most people do not know or perhaps choose not to appreciate is that the best historical evidence we have for understanding the true Jesus Christ actually comes from the New Testament and in particular, the Synoptic gospels, comprised of Mark, Matthew and Luke.

The reason the Synoptic gospels are important is because they all document similar sequences of events relating to the ministry, crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Furthermore, these manuscripts were written in the first century A.D. This fact is extremely important as many followers of Christianity, who were still alive within the time of Jesus' ministry, would have been quite familiar with his teachings and would therefore have known whether the authors of the New Testament were documenting the events of Jesus’ life in a truthful manner. Indeed, devout believers of Jesus would have rejected any writings that may have misrepresented him in any way. The Jewish people of ancient times took the responsibility of documenting history very, very seriously.

Thus, in lieu of the eyewitness factor, it is important to know that the gospel of Mark has been dated at approximately 60-70 AD, and that the gospels of Matthew and Luke are dated at 80-90 A.D. The actual ministry of Jesus began during the late 20’s to the early 30’s, in the 1st century. In other words, many of the eyewitnesses of Jesus's life would still have been alive. There is no question that ancient Jewish eyewitnesses would have refuted anything that did not reflect the truth.

Map of 1st  Century Judea
Map of 1st Century Judea | Source

Eyewitness Accounts: An Important Criterion

By way of attempting to disprove that eyewitness criteria is not credible, I had someone ask me if I could possibly remember what happened in my life 30 years ago. Well, it is true that I do not even remember what I ate for dinner two weeks ago, but if I had witnessed the crucifixion and resurrection of a person I loved, then I dare say, I would never forget it. Ever. Nor have I forgotten that my own son was born 32 years ago. What I am saying is that if we are going to question an event, which all good scholars do, then we must also determine if a supposition is relevant—or whether it is flawed (as in the question I was asked). We do this by asking critical questions and by delving into the standard, accepted criteria for reading gospel texts properly, which I will explain shortly.

The average layperson does not know that truly serious scholars have no doubt that the New Testament has the greatest wealth of authentic information regarding the ministry of Jesus Christ---much more so than any other texts outside of the New Testament. However, other non-canonical gospels may also be useful for knowing more about the historical Jesus, depending upon the authenticity of the document. For example, the Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in caves between 1947 and 1956, contain a plethora of accurate information pertaining to 1st century Judea's culture and historical events. Therefore, the Dead Sea Scrolls are highly valuable documents for authenticating the culture and events defined in the canonical gospels.

The Dead Sea Scroll
The Dead Sea Scroll | Source

What are Canonical and Non-Canonical Gospels?

Canonical gospels are the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which comprise an important part of the New Testament. Extra-canonical gospels are texts found outside of the New Testament, which may also relay stories about Jesus, though not necessarily accurate stories. Some examples of extra-canonical writings are: the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Peter, the Gospel of Mary, the Secret Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Egyptians, to name a few.

Extra-canonical texts may be useful for gathering some information, but only when read within the confines of proper historical context and with an eye for respecting the "criterion for authenticity" used by Biblical scholars. Consequently, one must never be too eager to embrace all extra-canonical writings as "gospel truth" for a number of reasons---the most important reason being that such texts were almost always written in the 2nd Century A.D., and beyond. As such, are unable to claim the most important criterion---that of eyewitness accounts, unlike the canonical Gospels, which were written within the same generation of Jesus.

Nonetheless, some scholars have wrongly attempted to place extra-canonical texts into the 1st century without any actual evidence whatsoever to support their claims that they were written during that time period! It is highly inappropriate to claim that 2nd Century texts have the same historical authenticity as the New Testament (originally documented in the 1st Century), if historical coherence is to be met. And met it must be if we are to rightly utilize the criterion established by paleography, which is the study of ancient writing (the practice of deciphering, reading, and dating historical manuscripts) as well as the the cultural context of any writing and also the history of scriptoria" (Information that is relevant to the historical life and sayings of Jesus of Nazareth.) For further information, please research Paleography.

Gospel of John

The Gospel of John
The Gospel of John | Source

Buyers Beware

Buyers need beware of material written by current (modern) authors who have no knowledge of historical criterion, or worse yet, who choose to ignore scholarly criteria altogether and as such, are more inclined to write and publish just about anything that suits their fancy and their prejudices. The Dan Brown series comes to mind as it contains no factual evidence to support it's claims. That being said, Dan Brown is not a scholar, but a popular author.

Anyway, strangely enough and despite accepted standards for establishing the reliability of various historical texts, some actual scholars are apparently fine with altering dates willy-nilly with zero evidence to support their claims. Nevertheless, proper standards remain in place for serious professors/scholars to determine which ancient writings and gospel texts meet the required authenticity test for truthfulness and which do not.

In short, it is up to the integrity of the historian to meet these standards when he or she writes a book or publication of any kind. Alarming as it may sound and despite the establishment of peer review, garbage still gets published. However, all professors know which articles written today have an A rating, and are therefore based on solid research, and which published articles are not properly researched and thus not highly rated.

Thus, it behooves the layperson and even many college educated folks to realize that scholars are people too. Some scholars have integrity while other's do not. In other words, not all "biblical historians" are entirely honest. The problem with this lack of integrity among some professors is that misleading publications can be and often are wildly influential amongst the general populace. Frankly, for the average layperson who is actually interested in historical truths, that can be a big problem.

The Criteria of Authenticity

The Criteria of Authenticity is that which is used to extract relevant information from canonical gospels and extra-canonical texts.

1. Historical coherence: Historical narratives of gospels, even non-canonical gospels, should coincide with the narratives of the first century accounts of Jesus' life, which is the time when Jesus ministered, died, and was resurrected.

2. Multiple Attestations: Two or more sources are needed to attest to the sayings and actions of Jesus to assure that a single source did not devise a false narrative—much the way good journalists are required find multiple sources with the same or very similar stories before they can claim the authenticity of their journalistic pieces. It is notable that the New Testament is filled with events about Jesus' life and ministry that coincide quite well with one another.

Questions To Ask When Reading Ancient Manuscripts:

  • When was this document written?
  • Who wrote this document?
  • Do the details in this document cohere with other known and trusted sources?
  • Was the author of this document in a position to know what really happened and what really was said?
  • Are claims in this document supported by archaeological evidence and geographical realities?

3. Embarrassment: This allows Bible scholars to know that the writers of the New Testament were faithful to record all the important events pertaining to Jesus’ life, particularly with regard to Jesus' ministry, death, and resurrection (upon which the Christian message is based). Some of the events the NT authors recorded were quite embarrassing for them to write down, yet they faithfully recorded the facts as they knew them, in the tradition of all Jewish scribes.

For example, it was highly embarrassing for the authors of the NT to record that women were the first to find Jesus' tomb empty after his death and that women were the first to hear from an angel of God that Jesus had risen from the dead. The reason for this embarrassment was due to the culture of the day in which Jewish women were not necessarily held in high regard. That being said, Jesus accorded women the same respect that he accorded men. In any event, the apostles would much rather have written that a man had first discovered the empty tomb; however, as that was not the truth, they remained firmly dedicated to recording the facts as they actually occurred.

4. Semitisms: The sayings and deeds that reflect the Hebrew or Aramaic languages, and Palestinian backgrounds, such as: topography, geography, customs, and commerce. All writings must reflect 1st Century Palestine to be relevant to the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth.

5. Coherence/Consistency: Any material that is consistent with all the criteria above can be judged as useful for knowing more about the life of Jesus. Otherwise, a scholarly criterion is not met. (This is considered a "catch all.")

Critical Thinking:

An objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment. Self-directed, self-disciplined, and self-corrective thinking which presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use.

Not All Logic Is Created Equal

Frankly, questioning the Bible and everything we have believed about our religious or non-religious upbringing is a good and healthy thing to do. It is generally unwise to accept any narrative until one is satisfied with the veracity of said narrative by having committed to investing time for proper research on one's own..

Any Bible historian worth his salt will encourage everyone to question what they have learned about the Bible and to also determine whether one's current beliefs coincide with basic standards for critical thinking, along with the study needed to understand what is authentic.

Unfortunately, and all too often, we blindly accept what may sound logical to our untrained minds or what coincides with our personal prejudices. Thus, we willingly accept false information, whether we were raised as Mormons, Muslims, Christians, Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans, or any other religion or non-religion.

The Problem With Overly-Rigid Criteria

The other difficulty that arises with some historians is the tendency to be overly rigid in their expectations of canonical gospels. For example, if descriptions (in the canonical gospels) vary somewhat with one another, then some historians or seekers are all too ready to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Such people have no tolerance for any form of "contradiction" in the Bible and therefore choose not to recognize any given Biblical narrative, even though the Synoptic gospels have consistently recognized the significant events that occurred in the life of Jesus, and furthermore, that the meaning behind these events remains intact.

For example, the New Testament states that Jesus was hung on the cross between two thieves. Mark 15:32 indicates that both thieves mocked Jesus: "...and they that were crucified with him, reviled him." On the other hand, Luke 23:39 speaks of only one thief who mocked Jesus, while the other thief defended Jesus...."But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God seeing that thou are in the same condemnation...but this man has done nothing amiss." (KJV; Luke 40-41)

The Crucifixion
The Crucifixion | Source

Don't Throw the Baby Out With the Bath Water

The point is that both gospels recognize the event of the crucifixion, though one gospel notes that two thieves hanging on their crosses mocked Jesus, while another gospel only refers to one thief who mocked Jesus. The accounts of the thieves contain a contradiction, yet the event of the actual crucifixion is not contradicted. Must we then throw out the entire gospels of Mark and Luke because of the differing summaries about the thieves? The point here is that one must be cautious of "missing the forest for the trees."

Some scholars, like Professor Bart Ehrman, believe that any inconsistency is unacceptable and therefore proves the "unreliability" of the New Testament whereas other scholars believe this inconsistency in no way diminishes the importance of the event, namely---the crucifixion. Lay readers and scholars alike must make a determination in their minds about what really matters. It is important to look at the totality of the Bible as well as arguments for and against texts, all the while taking scholarly criterion into account before coming to a determination about what one believes is most important.

Do You Believe That the New Testament Provides the Best Evidence For the Life of Jesus Christ?

See results

In fact, reading the New Testament with the idea that the Bible must contain no contradictions whatsoever is not critical thinking at its best. Rather, it is an excuse to diffuse critical thinking by masking one's rigid thinking under the "guise of intellectualism." That being said, I do not believe Professor Ehrman's intent in writing his popular book, Misquoting Jesus, was to ignore standard criteria. Rather, his criteria may be overly rigid.

We have all been witness to those who have unyielding attitudes. Are such attitudes more in line with the tenets of rigid fundamentalism which take all gospel texts quite literally whether the text was meant in a literal way or not, and which may ignore historical context? Ironically, both Christians and hard-line atheists are often inflexible and quite fundamentalist about their beliefs and arguments. Such inflexibility is not critical thinking; it is actually a form of deception that falsely favors one's prejudicial belief system over another's. To base anything strictly upon one's prejudices is improper, not to mention, such thinking borders on solipsism---the view that the self is all that can be known to exist.

Conclusion

Truth be told, it is not my intent to convert anyone to Christianity, agnosticism, or anything else. Rather, my goal is to help individuals to refrain from accepting any nonsensical information that comes along with regard to who Jesus Christ is, what he said, and how he conducted his ministry. It is also the goal of this article to remind readers and seekers to challenge themselves to know more about the relevant criteria that is needed in studying ancient historical texts, and to always observe historical context in an effort to uncover truths.

It is my hope that no matter what anyone chooses to believe, that we may also decide to dignify the rights of others to speak of their faith or lack thereof without suppressing the other in any way and with respectfulness for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Respectfully.....Savvy

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 5 weeks ago

    How very kind you are, Paula. Quite a lot of my research comes from reading books by Craig A. Evans. He is considered one of the finest, if not the best New Testament scholar in North America. He understands ancient languages, etc. etc. In short, he is a superb scholar. Here is a link for your listening pleasure. I highly recommend that you listen. He also has a Part II.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HIwV__gW5v4

    Have a great vacation! My adorable nephews live in California. Anyway, I know everyone will be thrilled to see you!

  • fpherj48 profile image

    Paula 5 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Yves....I see this is at least 3 yrs old and I am so glad to have finally stumbled upon it. I may just have to say, in terms of the topic, this could be one of your very BEST. I actually read through it, twice.

    You prove your mastery of this subject matter, Yves, especially in your focus on the New Testament. My own study, which is no where near as in depth as yours, has been almost exclusive of the New Testament.

    Because of "what goes on HERE (HP)" regarding any and all work done of religious or political content, I've tried to ignore reading or responding. I don't think I need to explain that to you since you have had some of the ludicrous experiences I'm referring to. It's a shame this exists but it DOES and I simply find I don't wish to deal with the drama.

    Naturally, I read this because you are the author. I'll say no more.

    It is superbly done, Yves. Please know I've assimilated your message and appreciate it. By the tone of the comments, it appears your article has profoundly positive reactions. Bravo, my friend! Peace, Paula

    (I am now in the process of preparing for a 2 week vacation (Montana & California--family visits) So, I'll be even less visible here than I have been. Will give you a wave when I return--Hold down the fort, as you are one of the very few capable of the task! LOL)

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 5 weeks ago

    Well said, WBA. Thank you for lending your observations.

  • wba108@yahoo.com profile image

    wba108@yahoo.com 5 weeks ago from upstate, NY

    I tend to see the apparent contradictions in different Scriptures as unique views of eyewitness accounts. Sometimes the truth is found in the tension of two seemingly opposing views.

    For instance the OT seems to portray a harsh, angry and unyielding God whereas the NT portrays Jesus as tenderhearted, forgiving and loving. So which view is correct? Both are. God didn't change but His methods and objectives did. In the OT God needed to show people the need for a savior. In the NT God revealed His true heart.

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 3 months ago

    I think they are trying. Maybe HP is like a mini-America: Too PC, but that's life nowadays. As for the glitches, they happen from time to time. You can always contact technical support to alert them. Have a good week-end, Robert.

  • Robert Sacchi profile image

    Robert Sacchi 3 months ago

    At least HP is trying. We have to give them credit for that.

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 3 months ago

    HP may be having trouble, but not necessarily because my comment went to Spam. Perhaps your server has some difficulties. Personally, I wonder if Yahoo is going down. That being said, HP seems to be making a lot of changes to meet the demands of Google, is my guess. Don't know whether it will be worth it for them in the end. But what do I know.

  • Robert Sacchi profile image

    Robert Sacchi 3 months ago

    It seems odd. . Today I couldn't sign in to HubPages with Facebook. I find such things troublesome. I use to post articles to Yahoo!Voices but they shut down. So troubles such as this make me worry HubPages might be having trouble.

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 3 months ago

    Kind of depressing to be flagged as "possible spam." You'd think after five years, HP would know me better. Ha!

  • Robert Sacchi profile image

    Robert Sacchi 4 months ago

    Thank you for the heads up on your comment to my Hub. Interesting, one of the tabs on was "Not Spam". When I pressed that then it gave me the choice to accept the comment. Then the notification came up. Thank you for commenting.

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 4 months ago

    Robert, I had written a comment on your Office Party Suggestion hub. Did you not receive it? I have had that happen to me---some sort of glitch, I guess, where I don't get people's comments.

  • Robert Sacchi profile image

    Robert Sacchi 4 months ago

    Thank you.

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 4 months ago

    Hello Robert,

    I agree. The slightly differing accounts make much more sense from a human perspective. Each man wrote down what he remembered seeing. The apostles were not modern day news journalists, just very honest believers.

    I am glad you enjoyed the piece. I found it very interesting to write, as my research helped me to learn more.

    I will pay a visit to your site soon. Look forward to it. ;)

  • Robert Sacchi profile image

    Robert Sacchi 4 months ago

    I enjoyed reading this article. It is well written and brings up many good points. I would say the inconsistencies of the accounts makes them more credible. If 3 accounts of that cover as much history as the Synoptic gospels give the same exact accounts that would point to collusion between the authors. This way the Synoptic gospels appear to be indepenent accounts.

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 5 months ago

    A humble heart is a wise heart. Good reminder, RTalloni. In part, my article speaks to those who fail to see the value of critical thinking. Not only did the Creator give us a heart, he also gave us a brain. Thank you for reading. I'll visit you as soon as I get over this head cold.:)

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 5 months ago from the short journey

    This is an interesting read on critiquing the gospel texts. One of the important things I learned years ago is to let the Scriptures confirm themselves via critical examination by praying our way through patient study.

    It was good to read of the importance of context and also about the honesty with which the Bible is written. It's been said that the honesty of the Bible's writers is one of its main points of validation.

    You've reminded me that God's loving desire for people to trust Him is heartrending once it is grasped. Some scholarly quotes seem appropriate...

    Henry: "The Lord is unwilling that any should perish. What enemies sinners are to themselves!"

    Gill: " 'O that my people had hearkened unto me,….' This might have been expected from them, as they were His professing people; and it would have been to their advantage if they had hearkened to Him, as well as it would have been well pleasing to Him; ... to hearken to him is not only to hearken to what he commands, but to what he approves of; it is the good and acceptable will of God that men should hearken to the declarations of his will in the law, and to the declarations of his grace in the Gospel; and indeed it is the voice of Christ, … which they were to hearken to and obey, that is here meant...'Christ was faithful as a Son over His house–whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.' "

    If we begin simply, with a humble heart before God, and earnestly seek Him according to His Word, we can enjoy seeing His faithfulness to His Word as He gives us understanding, faith, and abundant life in Jesus. What He says to the heart that is humble toward Him is as true as what He says about the heart of stone.

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 6 months ago

    "Rather, historians expend energy trying to reconcile these accounts." So true, Hxprof, not to mention highly unfortunate, if not distressing. It is truly awful that standard criteria seems to magically disappear when the regular populace and some historians "research" the life of Christ.

    But the fact remains, there is more evidence regarding Jesus of Nazareth than almost any man of ancient times, and yet verified information is casually dismissed.

    When I hear all the fabricated nonsense that people believe about Jesus Christ, it drives me a little bonkers. That is why I wrote the piece. I am so glad you appreciate the work I put into it.;)

  • profile image

    Hxprof 6 months ago from Clearwater, Florida

    Great piece Savy! I KNOW you put a lot of work into this.

    Over the last several years, I've read a fair number of skeptics writings, including that of Bart Ehrman, who as you say rejects the accuracy of the Gospels, having now become agnostic, because of the "inconsistencies" in them.

    I spent some time studying the Punic War period, during which the Carthaginian commander Hannibal took an army over the Alps to invade Italy. There are two accounts of his passage, and they vary on many details, but I've yet to hear of an historian who dismisses this documented feat because of those inconsistencies. Rather, historians expend energy trying to reconcile these accounts.

    Yet when it comes to Christ, the accounts are held to a different standard. And this makes sense in light of what Christ said, "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you" (John 15:18). The world hates Christ, and looks for every opportunity to deny him, and it's getting worse.

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 2 years ago

    And thank you, Perspycacious, for your very inspiring words. Indeed, Jesus was the Master of relationships; His examples were perfect. I absolutely loved your thoughtful comment. Thank you for stopping by and reminding us of the words of Paul.

  • Perspycacious profile image

    Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

    I appreciate your approach to this topic, and the encouragement it gives the reader to consider having sound standards for whether or not to trust what they read from others interpreting the gospel. Two people can read the same biblical texts and interpret them differently. Yet, as Paul states "All scripture is given by inspiration of God.... ." Compared to the Old Testament, the New Testament is sourced as to the authors (although there is even scholarly debate about that assertion.) Both can teach us about God's relationship to man, and man's relationship to God, and we could do much worse than to study those relationships to understand and fashion our own relationship to God. Thanks for this Hub.

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 2 years ago

    Thank you, PegCole. I know what you mean. When I read some of the nonesense that is spread around about Jesus, it drives me a little crazy. Consequently, my goal here is to give people pause, to think a little harder about gospel texts and how we must keep all the biblical texts/stories in context. And yes, all the miracles and commandments are indeed beautiful, and very, very real. I appreciate your visit, and look forward to reading more of your work!

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

    I very thoroughly enjoyed this article and your no-nonsense approach to the current fiction that is being portrayed as truth. I've recently begun an intense study of the Gospels, after reading James A. Watkins' book, "Jesus in the World, The First 600 Years." Not only is he a hubber, he is a true Bible scholar and in-depth researcher and his book led me back to my roots to study those familiar but long neglected texts. What a story they tell!

    I'm a true believer in the Son of Man being all that the gospels declare him to be and am in awe of his miracles, his commandments and his teachings. Thank you for this engaging and excellent hub.

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 3 years ago

    Hello bubbaralph. I agree that the New Testament coincides with the Old. This is where a careful examination of Jesus' words provide significant meaning, particularly with respect to Old Testament prophesies. Many people do not know what "spiritually discerned by grace" means, thus I have provided a standard formula for reading gospel texts in a way that a layperson might be able to appreciate. Thank you for stopping by to lend us a heart perspective.

  • profile image

    bubbaralph123 3 years ago

    The bible was the word of God and was spiritually given to man and can only be spiritually discerned by grace...there is no mistakes and old and new testament flow harmoniously throughout. More knowledge is found as more heart knowledge is gained....

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 3 years ago

    Thank you, bethperry. I appreciate your kind comment. I know that you and I have some different views, but please know that I do respect yours. Mostly, I am thankful for the opportunity to find common ground with my fellow hubbers, especially those who are as thoughtful as you. Blessings to you as well, in this brand new year!

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 3 years ago

    Hello there Nell Rose. I appreciate your comment, and especially your thumbs up on the authenticity of the gospel of Mark. Indeed, one must research most everything if one is to determine facts... such as the sulphur. I'll have to look into that one as I'd never given it any thought before. I am truly delighted that you enjoyed the hub!

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

    Fascinating read savvy, I have printed out the gospel of mary etc, and find them fascinating, I am sure that they could have been used to fill up the Bible so to speak, but yes of course Mark etc were the best 'voices' to show what happened. the thing about the Bible is that we have to remember people back then could look at something and not see it as we do, for example certain miracles like the rivers turning red etc, were as we know now, sulphur leaked from under the water etc, but on the whole most of it is authentic and telling the truth, great hub!

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 3 years ago

    Hello DDE. I am pleased that you got something out of the points I tried to make. It's always a pleasure to have you drop by.

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 3 years ago

    Hello Frank, I read the DaVinci code as well, but at the time I didn't know if it was fiction or not, never having heard of "proper criteria." I see a plethora of this mistaken identity thing going on, so I felt compelled to write about it. I'm glad you found it interesting.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Great hub and very interesting indeed. Worth all the debate you have here and you made excellent points on this topic.

  • Frank Atanacio profile image

    Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

    very interesting hub savvy.. although I enjoyed the Davinci Code I always took it as fiction.. and it is true people have decided to create their own version of who Jesus is. But it makes for interesting reading too don't you think? thank you for sharing these views Frank

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 3 years ago

    Hi Shawn. It's funny where our minds go and what we remember. Yet it is true that some "inconsistencies" have caused more than a few people to throw out the Bible, as that "flaw" does not align with their notion of American ideals. What many do not realize, however, is that Western civilization was built upon the tenets of Christianity, which is why Americans tend to have high ideals, and therefore enjoy freedom of speech, etc.,whereas in the middle east (with the exception of Israel) the standards for treating their citizens with respect are much, much lower. ...History lesson for the day. ;) I appreciate your stopping by and relaying your story. I'm overdue for paying you a visit. See you soon.

  • Shawn McIntyre profile image

    Shawn McIntyre 3 years ago from Orlando, FL.

    Interesting hub. I'm not big on religion myself, but I did have the chance, last time I was in England, to see one of the remaining copies of the "The Wicked Bible". Your hub made me think of that for some reason, how such a little typo caused so much trouble.

    Voted up and such.

  • savvydating profile image
    Author

    savvydating 3 years ago

    Absolutely SandCastles! There is just no way the apostles would have died such horrible deaths, had they not known that Jesus had risen again. People just don't do that. Furthermore, the apostles were reasonable men, not crazy jihadists or some such thing. One can see this clearly through the writings of Paul and certainly the authors of the Synoptic gospels. I appreciate your insight and support in this matter. I think I'm over due in paying you a visit, by the way. Nevertheless, it's lovely having you drop in.

  • profile image

    SandCastles 3 years ago

    This is a very interesting and well-written hub savvydating. I like how you explain memories. Yes, we often don't remember insignificant things in our past, like what we had for supper 30 years ago, but we definitely do remember the things that shake us emotionally. And stories were passed down orally and very exactly in the time of Jesus so when critics compare these biblical oral stories to the 'telephone' of today, where messages get twisted and misconstrued, they are demonstrating faulty logic.

    I find it hypocritical when people demand we question the bible while at the same time, they tell us to swallow scholarly opinions whole. People have said, "Well he's educated, he's should know" or "all scientists agree"", like they know all the scientists out there. I think that fact that the Apostles who dispersed when Jesus was taken away and who later showed such bravery later on means something. They were willing to face persecution; they we willing to die when before they just hid away. It's because Jesus rose again and they saw him and their shaky faith was fortified.