Evolution of early Christianity

The gap of some twenty years between the date of the Last Supper and the writing of I Corinthians and the even longer period before the Gospels were written have led to doubts as to their historical reliability and the suggestion that they reflect the concerns and situation of the early Christians at the time of writing rather than reporting objectively events which occurred decades before.

Why do scholars today always seem to paint things simple in the beginning, and use time to explain their current complexity?

For example, in the wikipedia article “The Origins of the Eucharist,” the authors point out the “gap of twenty years” between the life of Jesus and the first record of the Eucharist. The scholars introduce doubt regarding the last Supper within a twety year difference, which, from a historical point of view, is very very very very small (many reliable records are written hundred or hundreds of years after). The scholars then want to introduce an evolution: in the beginning, there was just a brotherly meal, and then over time all this extra sacrifice theology (usually of stuff the author doesn’t like) got thrown on top of it.

Why do these people seem to want to make historical Christianity fit the evolution Pattern mold?

Christi pax,

Lucretius

Indeed, there are absolutely NO contemporary historical records of the reign of the Emperor Nero, who was the most powerful man in the world for eighteen years, and who is one of the few Caesars thought to have died a natural death.

The most contemporary surviving account of the life or reign of Nero was written 50 years after his death, by an author who was a young boy during Nero’s life. The next two accounts were written 150 years after Nero’s death.

Well actually that’s not quite true re. accuracy; not every contemporary account is necessarily useful (a Nazi account of the Holocaust is necessarily not going to quite reflect everything impartially), nor is every document written 50 years after the event inherently flawed.

The reality is that all kinds of historical sources have problems of bias or unreliable reporting (deliberate or otherwise), and as historical documents it’s necessary to view the Gospels in the same manner. One reads an historical document in the way that best accounts for what you know and don’t know about how the document was created, who created it, and for what purpose.

What Gospel scholars obviously can’t account for perfectly is the matter of inspiration in their writing, or the fact that while St Luke (or the author we so call) may have had the Holy Spirit whispering in their ear at the time, does it mean that even the very earliest surviving copies of St Luke’s Gospel accurately reflect what was originally written? (There is compelling evidence that various parts of various NT books were inserted much later than the surrounding text, either through error or deliberate enlivening of the narrative/argument).

You do realize that Wikipedia is actually written by the general public don’t you? Trolls are everywhere, waiting to pounce on all things Catholic and spin their web of deceit. When looking for information when someone just begins to look for answers, many people turn to this source as the end all, be all accurate information which is a great shame. The only way that correct information is disseminated is for people like us to do our own homework and post there, too.

You do realise that “neutral tone” means just that, don’t you? A balanced account of something is never going to perfectly please everyone. Don’t dis Wikipedia! If we only read and did things that agreed with what we already thought or believed and were never challenged we still wouldn’t have invented movable type.

Like literally anything one reads (newspapers, facebook posts, the Catholic Encyclopaedia…even papal encyclicals), you have to read it with a little bit of scepticism, by which I mean don’t automatically assume every word is, well…Gospel truth. Generally, it is at least as accurate as non-crowd-sourced equivalents, if not more so.

I didn’t read the Wikipedia article looking for details, but rather, reading the article got me thinking about how many scholars today want Church teaching to start out extremely simple, and then progress to the complexity we see today. Not that there is something wrong with progression in itself, but these intellectuals want everything to fit this paradigm, even when it is really forced. Like, to keep the example I brought up above, instead of theorizing that Eucharistic theology was well developed after Christ’s Resurrection (a theory which not only has always been the interpretation of the evidence, but also fits the evidence the best), we are taught to think that the Last Supper was just a spiritual meal, that eventually evoluved, in a insignificant amount of time, into what we know today. Back then, when scholars had a larger gap to deal with, they might have been able to propose this theory. But now that we can pinpoint reasonably a twenty early gap, this progression theory become forced. I guess I’m saying that as we learn more about the dates of early Christian writings, which are being pushed back earlier and earlier, the more it seems that doctrine that they thought was developed overtime actaully seems to have been taught since the beginning.

Maybe another way to ask my question is "why do scholars seem to view Church doctrine with a Hermeneutics of Evolution/progression? Why can’t they accept that sometimes things begin complexly?

I think it might have to do with the popularity of Hegalism.

Christi pax,

Lucretius

Personally here’s why I never use Wikipedia.
[LIST]
*]Every article within the greater list of articles on each subject in wiki, has [Edit] next to the sections of each article. Anybody can add or subtract from the article.
*]Then there are the "disclaimers " at the bottom of each wiki page. One probably doesn’t even notice them, NOR in extension, reads them.
[/LIST]read the Disclaimers & Risk disclaimer
As for me, that pretty much wipes out any reason to trust wiki on ANYTHING.

While understanding of truth develops, there has to be an authority in place already, that one can trust to guide that understanding, while understanding truth develops. The Church, [1 Timothy 3:15](“https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1 Timothy+3:15&version=RSVCE”), “The pillar and foundation of truth” #[FONT=Arial]34[/FONT]

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