Did the popular Jesus-biography circulated by early Christians tend to fall faithfully within what relevant witnesses approved or said?

“Yes, after all…
  • Papias: “Jesus-witnesses xyz are still pop-teachers (in AD 80)”

      Papias was testifying, no later than c. AD 100, that he was observing how accessible witnesses of Jesus’s life and deeds were always teaching and recounting their memories. This page analyzes evidences:
      • E.g. Papias: “John & Aristion still (in AD 80) oft relay all Jesus taught them”
      • E.g. Papias: “Living apostles still (in AD 80) oft relay all Jesus taught them.”
      • E.g. Papias: “Philip’s daughters are active tradents.”
      • E.g. Papias implies that Philip (a witness) still testifies.
      This is relevant because Papias is sufficiently ‘in the know’ for it to be surprising if he was completely wrong.

      But against the main claim…
      • Witnesses weren’t common in c. AD 30-70.
      • Papias was not active in c. 60-90.
      • Papias wasn’t well-situated to hear such testimony.
      • There were many false teachers/liars.

  • E.g. 1st church’s Jesus-bio was a subset of witness’s

      The early Jerusalem church’s Jesus-biography tended to fall faithfully within what the relevant witnesses themselves approved or said. This page analyzes 3 evidences:
      • In AD 30 Jerusalem, true Jesus-bio predominated.
      • Witnesses killed deviant Jesus-bio rumors in 1st church.
      • All Jesus-bio was a subset of what witnesses said.

  • Christians didn't lie-invent Jesus-bio stories

      Rather than inventing Jesus-biography, Christians in AD 30-80 were usually or always honest in their core reporting of it. This page analyzes 5 evidences:
      • Details are fine-tuned to AD 30 Palestine.
      • Gospel Jesus-bio pre-dates gospels.
      • Examined Christian Jesus-bio was accurate/true.
      • The originating Gospel/NT content seems honest.
      • Early Christians didn’t invent/lie.
      This is relevant because then, for any given account, the best explanation is that it originated through honest testimony from one or more witnesses. But in that case, unless it was corrupted accidentally over time, it would be a subset of witness testimony.

  • False Jesus-bio tended to be killed by witnesses

      In the AD 30-70 Mediterranean, known witnesses of Jesus’s life would learn of and effectively kill or discredit circulation of any false Christian rumors about themselves. This page debates 11 evidences:
      • 1st church killed false Jesus-bio.
      • Handy witnesses abounded.
      • Teachers matched witnesses.
      • In AD 30, hostile Jesus-bio checkers rampaged.
      • In AD 30, hostile Jesus-bio checkers rampaged.
      • Christians strove to learn true Jesus-bio.
      • Christian beliefs were unified on Jesus-bio.
      • Christians swam in witness-approved Jesus-bio.
      • Witnesses killed deviant Jesus-bio in the 1st church.
      • Christian Jesus-bio was a subset of 1st church’s.
      • Christian Jesus-bio was a subset of what witnesses said.

      But against the main claim, plausibly…
      • There were few/no witnesses.
      • Memory is quite unreliable.
      • Christians were not well-networked.
      • Much of Jesus-bio was private (unfalsifiable).
      • Oral tradition is poor at passing-down

  • Christians swam in warranted Jesus-news

      AD 30-70, witness-approved Jesus-biography predominately circulated over any falsehoods. This page analyzes 7 evidences:
      • False Jesus-bio struggled to circulate.
      • Jesus-bio was passed down well.
      • Examined Christian/NT Jesus-bio is accurate.
      • They largely agreed on Jesus-bio.
      • Witness-based Jesus-bio thrived.
      • They relayed Jesus-bio in a controlled way.
      • Pop Jesus-bio was a subset of witness testimony.
      • Christians well-know lots of Jesus-bio
      This is relevant if the only plausible way for true witness-approved Jesus-bio to dominate is through everyone passing down Jesus-bio which was a subset of what witnesses said.

  • E.g. Gospel Jesus-bio is a subset of witness testimony

      Most of the Jesus-biographical content reported in the gospels faithfully falls within what the relevant witnesses were themselves saying and approving. This page analyzes 7 evidences:
      • Christian Jesus-bio is a subset of the relevant witnesses’
      • Gospel’s Jesus-bio is a subset of 1st church’s.
      • Any false Jesus-bio gets killed by witnesses.
      • Gospel authors got witness-approval or close.
      • Christians swam in warranted Jesus-news.
      • The Gospels are rich in realism.
      • Gospel Jesus-bio is quite reliable.
      This is relevant because, although the Gospels may have put some extra effort into fitting witness-testimony, it is at least largely due to their information coming from sources that fit what witnesses said, i.e. EC Jesus-bio in general fitting the witnesses.

      But in response…
      • The Gospels spew verified inaccuracies. (See page link above.)

  • “No, after all…
  • Witnesses couldn't control it

      In general, witnesses of Jesus's life and ministry in the AD 30-70 Mediteranean would not know of or be able to suppress inaccurate rumors that were circulating about him and their interactions with him. See the inverse point from green above. This is relevant given legends at least occasionally get formed and introduced into regularly circulated EC tradition, because then not all circulated Jesus-bio was formed/approved witnesses.

      In response, however...
      • See the inverse point from green above for links.

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