Good books on the reliability of the NT?

I didn’t realize you didn’t realized that that view is one of the, if not the, most evident views in contemporary scholarship?

But just because Ehrman tries to give facts from an academic and historian point of view and finds many discrepancies, it doesn’t mean the NT isn’t “true”, as you were wondering in your post.
Ehrman’s agnostic, not atheist.

The facts Ehrman gives are not problematic to the faith, as others have pointed out. However, his emphasis, interpretation, and treatment of the problems are problematic to Christian doctrine, or at least from my comparison of the two.
tektonics.org/books/ehrqurvw.html

It just means there are errors.
Nuthin’ wrong with that. People make mistakes. They hear things wrong, they remember things wrong, they write things down wrong, they copy things wrong, etc.
They did 1600 years ago and they do now, unfortunately.

Again, this is not the problem. Nothing about that is incompatible with Catholic Doctrine. However, the view that we can’t get answers from the NT to questions on key points on the Christian faith due to scribal errors, and note I don’t know if Ehrman preaches this, is false and contradicts Christian doctrine.

If there are errors or “problems”, as the OP put it, in the official canon of the NT…that doesn’t have to mean that it’s not the “word of God”, does it??

Actually, if there were key texts the Church knew about that were excluded from the Canon, that would prove it wasn’t the word of God. Unfortunately for you, arguments supporting the textual reliability of Thomas, Judas, etc. are seriously flawed.

Hey Patg!

May the LORD be with you.

Concerning John Meier’s volumes, Pope Benedict gives a mixed review in his bibliography for Part One of Jesus of Nazareth, saying that they are “in many respects a model of historical-critical exegesis, in which the significance and the limits of the method emerge clearly” (pp. 365-366). Benedict recommends that the reader check out Jacob Neusner’s review of Volume I, in which Neusner concludes:

“All of this then shows how disingenuous is the quest for the historical Jesus. Beginning, middle, and end the issue is theological, and the challenge, to mediate between theological truth and historical fact—if and when they meet. So let them meet, as, in these two books, they do not meet. Certainly, a debate between Crossan and Ratzinger, moderated by Meier, would give us a splendid evening. But now, it is time to get back to work. The quest for the historical Jesus is monumentally irrelevant to the study of history, in which those who pursue that quest are not engaged and by which they are not even motivated” ([Who Needs “The Historical Jesus”?]( http://www.ibr-bbr.org/files/bbr/BBR_1994_08_Neusner HistoricalJesus.pdf )).

Before turning to Meier, I would recommend that someone in the Boss’s position first read Parts One and Two of Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict, so that he can see how our pope interacts with him. For example, he identifies one of Meier’s arguments as “artificial” and says that one can agree with the ensuing conclusion of his only “with certain reservations” (see Part Two, pp. 112-113). One may decide that it is not worth the investment to read Meier after considering our pope’s interaction.

With love in Christ,
Pete

Mmmm? Not sure why unfortunately for me?
Does their discarding and exclusion from the final canon of the NT have a negative impact for women or somethin’?
I’ve read a bit of them and I find them very, very interesting, tho.

Which leads me to a question, and I don’t know who to ask. You seem to be smart and know a lot, Pieman. Plus, you have the name of my favorite dessert, so that counts a lot to a woman. So can I ask you a question?
When the Christians who were deciding on which “books” to include in the NT in the 4th century were going through that process during those 3-4 centuries…do you know if any of them wrote down* why *they made the decisions they did?
Why some of the writings–even Thomas, which actually claims to be written by Thomas himself, I think–would be left out?
I know that Josephus fellow touched upon the Simon-Peter one in his big book, I think… but do you know if any of these people who did the deciding told anyone or recorded down anywhere why they made the decisions they did?
Or did they just make their decisions and then have the books that did not “make the cut” banned and burned and that was that?

Thank you!!!

Why is it that for 1900 years Church Fathers, Ecumenical Councils, minds as great as St. Thomas Aquinas believe that the gospels REALLY were written by the apostle John, the apostle Matthew, and the apostle Luke who was an associate of St. Paul and Mark who was an associate of St. Peter and that all these ACTUAL disciples ACTUALLY had sense enough to write the gosples under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and they weren’t imbeciles?

But the “modern scholars” say that such things couldn’t happen and we’re supposed to believe them?

Who would you rather bet your soul on?

Do you think those “modern scholars” have ever been INSPIRED by the Holy Spirit to cast doubt on the authorship of the gospels?

The devil must really be laughing over the fact that so many believe the “modern scholars”!

There’s a cornucopia of books, articles, and research over the last century or more out there that answers your question…I’ll look up some specific ones and post 'em for ya.

I answered this in the other thread, I repost my answer here:
When scholars say that the Bible was unsettled until the 4th century, you have to understand that they are only talking about a few books or letters being in question, not the whole thing. For example, the 4 gospels and most of Paul’s letters were never in debate. There were questions on whether Hebrews should be included (since it does not seem to have been written by apostles), and Peter’s second letter, and one or two others, but on the whole the cannon was accepted from a very early date.

The 4 Gospels that now make up the text of the NT were all written no later than 90 AD at the very latest, as any skeptical scholar will admit. The very earliest any of the other so called gospels could have been written was 120 AD. (Again, I am now going by the dates of the most skeptical scholars possible here). So even according to the skeptics own dates, the 4 gospels were easily the earliest written. Other “gospels” were written centuries later.

The main criteria for why to include some books and not others was the question of apostolicity. Were they written by the apostles? Now the early Church was mistaken about some of those (Hebrew, for instance), but the decision on why to accept some an exclude others was solely based on whether or not they were believed to be witten by the apostles. Thomas was excluded because everyone knew it was a later gospel and no one really though it was written by Thomas.

Ooops!

Because the OP said she’s looking for “factual evidence” by scholars on “the reliability of the NT”, I thought she was looking for a good, varied sample of scholarly opinions and research.

I didn’t realize she wanted only suggestions that have the one, Catholic-faith-based point of view?

Sorry OP!

But just because Ehrman tries to give facts from an academic and historian point of view and finds many discrepancies, it doesn’t mean the NT isn’t “true”, as you were wondering in your post.

Why so scornful? The OP has already read Ehrman, He was looking for some books that give a different picture. And Ehrman is not simply a disinterested scholar trying to give facts, he is writing pop books for a pop audience trying to shock readers into being cured of the “disease” of belief. I simply think people who read him should know his angle. Finally, I listed some specific (brief) problems with some of his positions.

Misquoting Jesus is a nice, useful introduction to textual criticism and manuscript work, but it does come with a heavy slant that people should be aware of.

But just because Ehrman tries to give facts from an academic and historian point of view and finds many discrepancies, it doesn’t mean the NT isn’t “true”, as you were wondering in your post. …
It just means there are errors.
Nuthin’ wrong with that. People make mistakes

I agree with you.

You must think that nihil obstat and *imprimatur *are marks of the devil and that the specific authorship of the gospels is a dogmatically defined somewhere…

Most such discussions eventually involve the *opinions *of real scholars (including the pope). There are few dogmatic statements involved but there are more than enough nihil obstats and *imprimaturs *to go around. This is probably because in most areas such as this, we really don’t know and may never know. Certainly we have learned more as more research is done and most of us listen to some scholars more than others - which is why it is important to study from a variety of perspectives. Yes, I like Raymond Brown, John Meier, and Margaret Ralph but I don’t treat their writings as dogmatic and I don’t automatically reject them if someone disagrees with them.

You are correct in being concerned as to where one starts as most of the works mentioned here can be very tough going at first. Something like Ralph’s “And God Said What?: An Introduction to Biblical Literary Forms” is used in many adult education classes and provides a reasonable “getting started” approach.

Regards,
Pat

Sorry but I disagree with this. Christianity is a religion based on the life of a person who really lived and walked on this earth, Jesus Christ. And the gospels are all about his life, death and resurrection. Saying that the bottom line is faith, not proof, is like saying that if Jesus lived, died, and rose from the dead is not really important if it happened or not. Just have faith.

I didn’t say **anything **about it not being important. It is, however, not acceptable to assert that one’s views are historically accurate and at the same time reject the standards and practices of historical method and historical thinking. Such a lie undermines Christian practice and spirituality which must have to do with the truth and the real.

Since there is *almost *no historical evidence for anything in the gospels, I still maintain that belief is based on faith. Yes, Jesus lived and died - there is probably enough evidence for that but belief in everything else can only be based on faith that the gospels are reliable sources.

You say that the gospels are all about his life, death and resurrection. While they do mention these things, they are mostly about his teachings and were written to preach these teachings (see the* Instruction on the Historical Truth of the Gospels*).

Well, there is an actual absence of Catholic Scholars (although Pope Benedict’s Books have both historically sound methodology and are very pro-Catholic), but conservative Christian positions on various issues are still a widespread in scholarship and are not easily dismissible in methodology.

I actually wouldn’t use the word “preach” with anything that he does. He just states facts as he finds 'em and doesn’t push any agenda either way

Did you read my link? Though Ehrman may present legitimate facts, his presentation, as well as implicit premises and the conclusions he draws, are indeed meant to present (or are at least based on) an agenda.

that would not “contradict” any doctrine, right?

It could, it could not. It depends on some additional facts (assuming Ehrman is right in the first place, which I’m willing to grant, but if I remember correctly I HAVE read a defense of the line as historical), some of which we may never know.

But consider his treatment of certain reconciliations of “contradictions” like the temple cleansing: he, nor does any of academia, does not gain any ground from there being a contradiction here (unless he has an agenda to push), but he still presents quasi-problems with the “two cleansings” reconciliation which, while convincing to the layperson, do not pass once one acquires a better understanding of context - both a contextualized definition of inerrancy and analyzing why Jesus was actually so controversial destroy his objections to the reconciliation.

Mmmm? Not sure why unfortunately for me?
Does their discarding and exclusion from the final canon of the NT have a negative impact for women or somethin’?

No, but if you want to advocate that they ought to be included in the Canon, or are historically reliable at all, you need to do more than just point them out.

I’ve read a bit of them and I find them very, very interesting, tho.

I find them fascinating too. But this fascination led me to study them and realize that their limit to aiding academia is in contextualizing gnosticism, and they can’t tell us anything significant about Jesus.

Which leads me to a question, and I don’t know who to ask. You seem to be smart and know a lot, Pieman. Plus, you have the name of my favorite dessert, so that counts a lot to a woman. So can I ask you a question?

Sure. Hit me.

When the Christians who were deciding on which “books” to include in the NT in the 4th century were going through that process during those 3-4 centuries…do you know if any of them wrote down* why *they made the decisions they did?

Well, I don’t know if they themselves wrote it down, but scholars have deduced what their criteria were. Unfortunately I’m typing this in programming class so I can’t go into specifics, but I can assure you they are indeed reliable.

Why some of the writings–even Thomas, which actually claims to be written by Thomas himself, I think–would be left out?

Again, I will list these criteria and analyze any text you want later, when I have more resources later.

I know that Josephus fellow touched upon the Simon-Peter one in his big book, I think… but do you know if any of these people who did the deciding told anyone or recorded down anywhere why they made the decisions they did?

Irenaeus did, but he was a while before. I don’t know of any primary sources, but as I said above scholars are virtually certain of their criteria.

Or did they just make their decisions and then have the books that did not “make the cut” banned and burned and that was that?

No, they were legitimate criteria, but even if not, the books were not burned, except for Arius’ works. Nowhere did anybody say you should or had to burn Gnostic works.

Were the members of the Pontifical biblical commission in the early 1900s 180 degrees wrong when it came to the authorship of New Teastament books?

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