The Gospels: Fact or Fiction?


I’m am watching that new show “Finding Jesus” and I have watched two episodes. Much like other shows about Christianity and Catholicism I watch them and put little stock in the anti-Catholic claims they make.

So in this particular show, about Pilate, which was very well done, I am happy with most everything until they start talking about how the Gospels account of the trial of Jesus are a fictional court account made up by the apostles and the Church because they didn’t want to make the Romans who were converting to Christianity feel bad about Pilate crucifying Jesus, the apostles wanted all the blame to go onto the Jews.

Okay a bunch of non-sense, but what really got me is there is a priest, Father James Martin, a Jesuit, who agrees! He goes along with the others and basically states that it was all because the apostles didn’t want to upset the Roman converts.

Do I believe this, ABSOLUTELY NOT! However, I am struck by the fact that so many people, both Protestant and Catholic, are willing to claim that this part of the Gospels is “made up.”

I really can’t even express my frustration and disbelief right now, because then they go on to say that Pilate’s obvious reluctance to crucify Jesus was not only nothing and fictional, but that Pilate mocked Jesus with the sign “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” which according to what I have always believed and been taught, it was not Pilate mocking Jesus, it was Pilate making an underhanded cut to the Sanhedrin for forcing him to crucify this man he thought to be innocent.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for the innocence of Pilate, but the above statements really do need an answer. If we can so easily say that one part of the Gospels is falsified, then what else can we say is a fake? What’s next?

So to get to the point, here is the question, did the apostles make up this part of the Gospels, and did the Holy Spirit allow it to be included into the Holy Bible even though it was not accurate?


The Gospel accounts are historical FACTS.

What you need to do when confronted with this type of nonsense

is ask yourself: Where are the historical facts that back up such foolish

claims people make?

Regarding the Holy Spirit, He is the Spirit of truth so he wouldn’t pull “a fast one”

on you:

John 15:26 But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father,* he shall give testimony of me**.*

Do you except The Holy Spirit’s testimony? Sure ya do!!

God bless!! :thumbsup:


Unfortunately people are willing to claim all sorts of things.

Yes the Gospels are quite true!

(indeed what I say here is “the gospel truth” :))

Jimmy Akin has I a whole talk in this if you wish.


The funny thing is that the show produced in this century yet makes claims that they know better than the accountings found in the gospels from when it happened. It’s so hard to watch these movies when they are so blatantly false. And I agree with you on why Jesus was mocked. It was to release Pilate from all guilt. That’s also why Pilate washed his hands, to free himself of guilt. We read these scriptures on Palm Sunday perhaps the Hollywood Industry should attend Palm Sunday masses and they’d learn the truth so to make their movies more historically accurate.:slight_smile:

Matthew 27:“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!"24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”


I wouldn’t trust CNN and that series to talk about Jesus, me personally. I wouldn’t really take much stock into any of those shows about Jesus or the Bible. There’s not enough info on those shows for me to decide whether I should believe them or not. Your case for example; did they give evidence to back up their explanation of why they think that the trial was fictional? I’m guessing it took 3-5 minutes max for a showing evidence, if they gave some at all. I would need a lot more personal study in order to decide whether I believe that or not than a 5 minute block on TV.

You mentioned that there are a lot of people who believe this part is “made up”. You can probably guess what I will ask. Who? Let’s have some names.

I would suggest that if you want to learn about Jesus historically, read books. It will take more of your time, but you’ll get a lot more in-depth explanations and/or evidence than watching a TV show.


Yes, books. TV history as of late is incomplete or wrong on certain things. The faith and the Gospels sometimes fall into that category. We now have to do our own research. Most media is no longer “a welcome guest in our living room” as it once was.



Who Wrote The Gospels?

Though it is evidently not the sort of thing pastors normally tell their congregations, for over a century there has been a broad consensus among scholars that many of the books of the New Testament were not written by the people whose names are attached to them. So if that is the case, who did write them?

The gospels (and Acts) are anonymous, in that none of them name an author. While the Gospel of John might be considered somewhat of an exception, because the author refers to himself as “the disciple Jesus loved” and claims to be a member of Jesus’ inner circle, most scholars today consider this passage to be an interpolation (see below).

There is general agreement among scholars that the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) show a high level of cross-reference. The usual explanation, the Two-source hypothesis, is that Mark was written first and that the authors of Matthew and Luke relied on Mark and the hypothetical Q document. Scholars agree that the Gospel of John was written last, using a different tradition and body of testimony. In addition, most scholars agree that the author of Luke also wrote the Acts of the Apostles, making Luke-Acts two halves of a single work.

The “synoptic problem” is the question of the specific literary relationship among the three synoptic gospels–that is, the question as to the source upon which gospel depended when it was written.

The texts of the three synoptic gospels often agree very closely in wording and order, both in quotations and in narration. Most scholars ascribe this to documentary dependence, direct or indirect, meaning the close agreements among synoptic gospels are due to one gospel’s drawing from the text of another, or from some written source that gospel also drew from. [citation needed]…

The synoptic problem hinges on several interrelated points of controversy:

Priority: Which gospel was written first? (Clearly, where one text draws from another, the source must have been composed first.)
Successive dependence: Did each of the synoptic gospels draw from each of its predecessors? (If not, clearly the frequent agreements between the two independent gospels against the third must originate elsewhere.)…

Translation: Jesus and others quoted in the gospels spoke primarily in Aramaic, but the gospels themselves are each written in Greek. Who performed the translation, and at what point?

Redaction: How and why did those who put the gospels in their final form expand, abridge, alter, or rearrange their sources?

The synoptic gospels represent Jesus as an exorcist and healer who preached in parables about the coming Kingdom of God. He preached first in Galilee and later in Jerusalem, where he cleansed the temple. He states that he offers no sign as proof (Mark) or only the sign of Jonah (Matthew and Luke). In Mark, apparently written with a Roman audience in mind, Jesus is a heroic man of action, given to powerful emotions, including agony. In Matthew, apparently written for a Jewish audience, Jesus is repeatedly called out as the fulfillment of Hebrew prophecy.

In Luke, apparently written for gentiles, Jesus is especially concerned with the poor. Luke emphasizes the importance of prayer and the action of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’s life and in the Christian community. Jesus appears as a stoic supernatural being, unmoved even by his own crucifixion. Like Matthew, Luke insists that salvation offered by Christ is for all, and not the Jews only.

So…seems like the Gospels were written by anonoymous, random people and were chosen and assembled by Church leaders with an agenda.



Only for unreliable sources.


Lots more over at the main CA site.


“Fake” , “make up” and “falsify” are not accurate words for the Gospel.

The authors were much more concerned about telling a theological story than reporting news. They wanted to explain, describe and interpret the meaning of Jesus in their lives and they used a lot of symbols to do that. That is why John is so different than Mark, for example. They were addressing different communities and emphasizing different points in different phases of Church development.


From the Catechism:


"105 God is the author of Sacred Scripture. "The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit."69

"For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself."70

"106 God inspired the human authors of the sacred books. "To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more."71

"107 The inspired books teach the truth. "Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures."72

"108 Still, the Christian faith is not a “religion of the book.” Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, a word which is “not a written and mute word, but the Word is incarnate and living”.73 If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, "open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures."74



Exactly. It is wrong to cite the gospels as being “historical fact” in the way we think of historical fact. They were written in a certain way for a particular reason aimed at specific groups.


I have yet - with one exception - to experience a TV program on National Geographic, CNN, HBO, or any other channel which, to a greater or lesser degree, wasn’t all about “debunking,” undermining, raising doubts concerning, or otherwise casting aspersions on, Christianity. The single exception to this was a John Romer series decades ago called “Testament.”


Jesus didn’t perform all those miracles? He didn’t die as a sacrifice for all men? He didn’t establish His Church? And the God of the Old Testament did nothing literal?

The Bible is just as relevant today as when it was written. All the sins people do now are the same sins. Human beings have not changed. Being led to being a Christian is open to all, right now.



Ed, you prove the point of my post to the letter.


The Bible is a mixture of history, parable, poetry, law, song, letters, all sorts of literature.


We see scripture scholars who may have very different opinions.


This is a theme that keeps coming up over and over. I’m afraid there are no (and I’m not implying anyone here said it) simple answers, but on the other hand, many things should be obvious. The Ten Commandments, what Jesus said about Divorce, and other things that should be outside the realm of debate. Clarifications, sure, but not this almost constant “don’t take this literally” versus God actually did things that had real-world effects.

The Catechism explains how to read the Bible, but the basics aren’t complicated. Sexual immorality is the greatest problem facing the West today.



“Not taking risks, please, no… prudence…Obeying all the commandments, all of them… Yes, it’s true, but this paralyzes you too, it makes you forget so many graces received, it takes away memory, it takes away hope, because it doesn’t allow you to go forward.”

Pope Francis

“How do I receive the redemption, the forgiveness that God has given me, the making of me a son with His Son? Lovingly, tenderly, with freedom? Or do I hide in the rigidity of the closed Commandments, that are more and more “safe” – with emphasis on the scare-quotes – but that do not give joy, because they does not make you free.”

Pope Francis

Casting doubt on the words of Jesus leads to despair. Instead, we should trust in God’s promises

St Jerome, one of the great Doctors of the Church and the patron saint of Biblical scholars, famously said that “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” Yet in a recent interview, the current Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr Arturo Sosa SJ, asserted that Jesus’ words, as recorded in the Gospels, are not necessarily what He meant to say. If Fr Sosa is right, then it appears that the Scriptures are not a trustworthy source to know Jesus Christ.


Why do you bring sexual immorality into a discussion about hermeneutics?

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