Historical Reliability of the Gospels

Over at Bible.org there’s a newly published article by Patrick Zukeran. It covers the historical reliability of the Gospels. Zukeran writes on the internal and external dating of NT documents (especially the Gospels), oral transmission, transmission, and the effect of miracles on the Gospels’ reliability. It seems to be a good, basic defense of the historical view over the mythological view of the Gospels. Be sure to check it out.



3 thoughts on “Historical Reliability of the Gospels

  1. Hey Matt, thanks for the great interviews and for providing this link. But I must admit I find the article problematic. On the dating issue: the claim that Mark (or any Christian writing) has been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls has been widely discredited and the consensus dating for Matthew/Luke is usually 70-100 CE. Luke seems to be aware of the outcome of the Jewish War based on his two unique Lukan additions (Luke 19:41-45; 21:20; the latter clarifies Mark’s ambiguous “abomination of desolation”) and his silence on Paul’s death may be because the main purpose of Acts to get the gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth (i.e. Rome). Even assuming the majority opinion that the Pastorals are later and pseudonymous is wrong, 1 Timothy 5:18 need not show any more than that Paul knows of a saying in the oral tradition. I appreciate apologetics but I think we have to be careful not to just adopt every conservative argument uncritically; what did you think of the article?

    1. Mike, thanks for your comment. I appreciate critiques of what I post. In fact, I would agree with you in that Zukeran was utterly wrong about the Dead Sea Scrolls containing pieces of the New Testament. However, I would tend to agree with him about the dating of NT books. On the 1 Tim 5:18 quote of Luke (or a sayings source), I believe either would be credible and still rely on Paul as the author. If the Pastorals were written by him, then he could also simply be reiterating what he said in 1 Cor 9:14.

      I believe you are absolutely correct in saying that adopting every conservative argument uncritically is not wise. I put this up as a “basic defense.” Certainly it’s not perfect, and I don’t agree with it at all points. That is why I am so glad to hear your views. I appreciate conversation on articles, books, interviews, etc rather than just blindly believing.

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