Do the Gospel stories faithfully fall within what the relevant witnesses say?

“Yes, after all…
  • NT name-ratios precisely match Palestine’s

      The popularity of Jewish names in 1st century Palestine match that of Jewish names in the New Testament. This page looks at 4 evidences:
      • AD 30 Palestine’s commonest names are equally so in Gospels.
      • AD 30 Palestine’s nine commonest names are equally so in Gospels.
      • AD 30 Palestine’s rarer names are equally rare in Gospels.
      • AD 30 Palestine’s Greek names (12%) are also ~12% in Gospels.
      This is relevant because these names pervade the Gospel texts, and represent a genuine random sampling. The correspondance is easy to explain if there there was a random sampling of random people encountering Jesus with many later being eyewitness sources who name random people involved. By contrast, no other explanation can easily explain this phenomenon (e.g. liars conjuring up stories, inside or outside of Palestine, are unlikely to hit the correct ratios). This phenomenon is especially telling because it applies the combined whole of the Gospels and Acts together.

      1. Richard Bauckham: “This correspondence is very unlikely to have resulted from addition of names to the traditions, even within Palestinian Jewish Christianity, and could not possibly have resulted from the addition of names to the traditions outside Jewish Palestine, since the pattern of Jewish name usage in the Diaspora was very different. The usages of the Gospels also correspond closely to the variety of ways in which persons bearing the same very popular names could be distinguished in Palestinian Jewish usage. Again these features of the New Testament data would be difficult to explain as the result of random invention of names within Palestinian Jewish Christianity and impossible to explain as the result of such invention outside Jewish Palestine. All the evidence indicates the general authenticity of the personal names in the Gospels.” [Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (Eerdmans, 2008), 84.]
  • Gospel authors got witness-approval or close

      The gospel authors tended to ground their material in witness approval directly or nearly directly. This page analyzes 9 evidences:
      • Justin Martyr calls the gospels “memoirs.”
      • The Gospels claimed to be from or use witnesses.
      • 60+ year old events didn’t elude historians.
      • In AD 70 witness-based Jesus facts pervaded Christendom.
      • In general, AD 70 historiographers got witness-approval or close.
      • E.g. Mk was judged as witness-based.
      • The Gospel authors didn't lie-invent Jesus-bio.
      • Gospel content is a subset of what witnesses say.
      • Gospels were written because witnesses were dying.
      This is relevant because it essentially entails that the Gospel traditions (i.e. the Jesus-bio which the Gospel authors ultimately incorporated into the gospels) echoed what witnesses said and/or were saying.

      But no... [All forthcoming]
      • The Gospels in large part invented their Jesus-bio.
      • The Gospels spew errors.
      • Mk was not witness testimony nor close.
      • Q was not based in witness testimony nor close.
      • Stylized oral tradition can't be 1st hand memory.

  • Gospels spew witness-based stories

      The Gospel stories abound in direct or indirect witness testimony. This page analyzes 6 evidences:
      • Gospel stories spew undisputed accuracies.
      • Gospel stories spew vivid realism (30+).
      • Gospels spew complex internal coherences.
      • Gospel stories are oft provably early.
      • ECs swam in witness-based Jesus traditions.
      • Gospel stories are a subset of what witnesses say.
      This is relevant because it means mechanisms were in place which resulted in witness-testimony abounding. No mechanisms as far as we can see lead to false Jesus-bio being incorporated.

  • Gospel stories are not lies/legends

      The Gospel traditions originated honestly, rather than as lies or legends. This page analyzes 5 evidences…
      • Gospels spew confirmed non-legendary content.
      • AD 30 Palestine’s name-ratios match the NT’s.
      • Gospel characters behaviorally fit their character profile.
      • Gospel stories lack hellenistic influence/motifs.
      • The Gospels lack time-place absurdities.
      • Gospels spew non-legendary content.
      • Gospel stories are a subset of what witnesses said.
      • Christian Jesus-biography wasn’t invented.
      This is relevant because it leaves only a few other ways the Gospel traditions could have entered into circulation, and the hypothesis that they simply formed from witnesses remembering Jesus as he was and talking about it easily outstrips them all.

  • Gospel’s Jesus-bio is a subset of 1st church’s

      Most Jesus biography that was reported in the gospels faithfully falls within what the Jerusalem church was saying and circulating. This page debates 6 evidences…
      • Gospel Jesus-bio pre-dates the Gospels.
      • Gospel-recorded events are multi-attested.
      • ECs relayed the gospel’s Jesus-bio.
      • Gospels relayed oral tradition (pre-markan).
      • Gospels strove to be witness-warranted.
      • Gospels are a subset of witness testimony.

  • Pop Jesus-bio was a subset of what witnesses said

      In general, popular Jesus-biography circulated by early Christians tended to fall faithfully within what relevant witnesses approved or said. This page analyzes 6 evidences:
      • Papias: “Jesus-witnesses xyz are still pop-teachers (in AD 80)”
      • E.g. 1st church’s Jesus-bio was a subset of witness’s.
      • Christians didn't lie-invent Jesus-bio stories.
      • False Jesus-bio tended to be killed by witnesses.
      • Christians swam in warranted Jesus-news.
      • E.g. Gospel Jesus-bio is a subset of witness testimony.
      If true, this is relevant becauseit is a more general claim. So if the Jesus-biography of Christians in general tends to be a subset of what witnesses said, then we have reason to think the Jesus -biography in the gospels (written by Christians) will be a subset of witnesses said.

  • The Gospels are historically reliable

      The historical claims in the Gospels are usually or always historically accurate. This page discusses 6 evidences:
      • Gospel Jesus-bio is a subset of what witnesses said.
      • Gospel Jesus-bio spews uncoincidental accuracies.
      • The Jesus-bio Christians used has a trend of accuracy.
      • The Gospel/NT content seems honest.
      • The Gospels strove to be accurate.
      • Gospels were endorsed by good sources.
      This is relevant because it is best explained by its having conformed to witness testimony rather than chance or any other competing explanation.

  • “No, after all…
  • The Gospels are not historically reliable

      The Gospels are regularly inaccurate; they are not historically relaible. • Gospel stories are not witness-based.
      • The Gospels spew verified inaccuracies.1
      This is relevant because if the Gospels were witness-based, then we would expect them to be generally reliable.

      1. Details are forthcoming, but for an example of one scholar drawing out the relevance:
        Stephen Patterson: “Moreover, he [Richard Bauckham] does not explain how Gospels shaped by a single authoritative body could present such widely divergent views of Jesus as one finds in John and the Synoptics. If both John and Mark relied on eyewitness testimony, one of the witnesses was very unreliable. This makes it doubtful that the Twelve, or any other body exercised the control Bauckham imagines.” [Can you Trust a Gospel? in Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 6(2) (2008): 200.]
  • The Gospel stories are lies/legends

      Many/most Gospel accounts are in fact dishonest fabrications—created lies drawn up from human minds. [This content is forthcoming] This is relevant given that legendary content obviously does not trace back to witness testimony (and if a story is a partial legend, then the legendary part doesn’t trace back to witness testimony).

  • Gospels only ask to be read as myth

      The Gospels were meant to be read as fictional histories (i.e. myths), not as literal truths. [The evidences for this are forthcoming] This is relevant because if the Gospel stories are not intended to be historical recountings, then obvious they are not rooted in witness testimony.

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