The Gospels had myth added to them later


#1

What would you say to people who believe the gospels were historical documents of a historical figure–namely Jesus Christ–but had the more miraculous elements added later. Perhaps added after a generation after Christ so eyewitnesses of the “historical” events couldn’t retort the miraculous “myths.”


#2

YosefYosep

What would you say to people who believe the gospels were historical documents of a historical figure–namely Jesus Christ–but had the more miraculous elements added later. Perhaps added after a generation after Christ so eyewitnesses of the “historical” events couldn’t retort the miraculous “myths.”

HI. The very first documents written after Christ died were Paul’s epistles, which mention miraculous events, chiefly the resurrection of Christ.

Do these people think the resurrection was added to Paul’s epistles? What proof do they offer?

God bless, Annem


#3

If a Christian claims that then I ask why they waste their time with Christianity if the dont believe what it teaches. For those who dont believe but make these claims then I will listen to their reasoning why they think what they think and share why I believe what I believe. Key is is to not get offended and huffy about it. Respect their opinion. It has taken me years to get that way.


#4

I would ask them to produce some creditable evidence to back up that claim (there isn’t any).


#5

Lol…I would tell them to take a number. The Catholic Church has been fighting heresies like this since it’s founding. Of course no need to take offense but we don’t have to respect this stuff either.


#6

The OP is asking about the gospels, not Paul’s letters to churches.

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#7

Well, the gospels *were *written at least a generation or two after Jesus died.

(Mark was written approx 40 years after…Matthew and Luke approx 10-20 years after that…and then John approx 60-70 years after Jesus was crucified. I think that’s roughly it.)

So I think what those people are taking about is that in the 40-70 years while the stories were passed around and passed down verbally, people would embellish along the way.

I think the gospel named John is the one that has the majority of these “miraculous elements” you mention.
So because it was written so many decades after the fact, and because many scholars believe it could not have been written by an eyewitness or a contemporary…and because many of its details are not included in the earlier gospels…these are just a few reasons why they say these elements were “added later”.

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#8

Read what the catechism has to say about inspiration and revelation. There is something in there to the effect that the New Testament authors (whoever they were!) were men of their time and culture. They are using the rhetoric of their own time and place, which is foreign to us.

Christ was one of many similar apocalyptic preachers at that time. For a light-hearted look, watch “Life of Brian.” Bart Ehrman (yes, yes, he’s an atheist–but he knows his stuff) has a Teaching Company course–I think I’m thinking of the one on the New Testament–where he describes a very Christ-like character who turns out to be a pagan figure who performs miracles, etc. etc. Apollonius? In any case, so what?

Ask yourself: If Christ didn’t come 2,000 years ago, but came today, what would he look like? A Wall Street banker? A hippie? A good 'ol boy? I can tell you one thing: He wouldn’t be unique. He’d be slotted into a category. Would he cure the sick, and blind, and the lame? Hard to say–you can see that on TV any day of the week. Same in 30 AD. That doesn’t mean He wasn’t God. They believed it at the time, and I think that’s what really matters.


#9

This is a very interesting article that dates John’s gospel before 70 AD. Some strong points in it. datingthenewtestament.com/John.htm


#10

If you are referring to the Resurrection, Paul’s letter clearly said some of those 500 witnesses were still alive. If the resurrection was not real, he would have been challenged when he did his preaching rounds in the synagogues. He had many opponents there. And if he himself did no miracles, he wouldn’t have the kind of success that he attained. He wouldn’t write about those miracles in these letters unless he can proved it or has witnesses to back what he has done. His letters were contemporary to a still alive audience, not something written when everyone has passed on.


#11

Yes, but the point is that the presence of miraculous events in Paul’s letters, which were written prior to the Gospels, weakens the argument that miraculous events weren’t part of early Christianity (but were only added later).


#12

I would say prove it.


#13

I’ve made the claim that the night my father died, he appeared in my room, he started with an apology for a lifetime of deliberate cruelty, we argued and talked, and at the end he gave this absolutely terrifyng scream and then just diaappeared.

I wrote a narrative about it quite some time later. It was probably a good twenty five years later that I wrote about it, although I’d certainly spoken about it to a few people, especially my old pastor when I was still Presbyterian.

I left a few things out of the narrative, and some of the conversation may have been not quite in the order in which it took place, but it happened all right.

So in my peculiar case, there was what you might call a verbal tradition, based on something I’d witnessed myself (unfortunately I didn’t have any other human witnesses, although the apostles certainly did).

Then there was a written tradition, based on my verbal tradition, abouit an event which I happened to experience on the night my father died.

So the apostles didn’t write them down straight away? So what? Richard Dawkins, arch atheist, is 74 this year, but I bet he could still remember what happened on his 21st birthday party, roughly who was there, where it was held, and whether he enjoyed it or not.

This is despite the fact his 21st birthday took place 53 years ago. And I bet he could write some sort of narrative about some of the things that were said and done at his 21st birthday party.

Now that’s regarding a trivial event like an iconic birthday.

How much more then would people remember someone who raised the dead, turned water into wine, killed a fig tree overnight by talking to it, stilled a storm, walked on water, drove out demons, confronted the Sanhedrin and Pilate, lashed the money changers, at whose death the sun stopped shining, the earthquake ripped the temple curtain in two, and then rose from the dead after being crucified?

Christ didn’t write about it because He didn’t need to. He knew precisely who He was, and He knew with absolute certainty that His “words will never die away.”

People who make the sorts of claims about myth in the Gospels just don’t want to believe - full stop. That’s all it is.


#14

People are starting to re-examine this dating and theory. There is a lot of internal evidence pointing to much earlier dating. Specifically, looking to Act (which was written after Luke) it ends abruptly with Paul in prison, and never mentions his martyrdom, or the martyrdom of Peter. It never mentions the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD (which was a fulfillment of a prophesy of Jesus). In fact none of the NT books happen to mention any of these three events, which seems odd that ALL 27 books ignore them completely, without any mention, even a passing one.


#15

The greatest miracle in all the Gospels, the resurrection, is also in Paul’s letters. So it makes no sense to argue about the reality of the lesser miracles but ignore the biggest one. This theory makes no sense if they don’t address the Pauline letters and their dating or the integrity of the letters.


#16

Wrong. Gospel of John has only 7 miracles in it: so called “7 signs”.

Gospel of Mark, the earliesr one, has the biggest number of miracles.


#17

This heresy sounds like kenoticism. It says that Christ may have been God, but He emptied Himself of all His divine abilities and properties when He became man.

There are some religions, Islam for example, that say that Jesus was simply a prophet. He didn’t do any miracles and he was not God.

If you believe that Jesus was God, than you should be able to understand that he could perform miracles. If you want to people to believe he was not God, the first thing you have to do is lead people to believe that he did not perform miracles.

Catholic Answers magazine Volume 19 number 1 has an article by Steve RayLoaves and Fishes: Fashionable Priests and the Miracle of Sharing. that has great insight into the myth that Jesus did not perform miracles. Check it out.
catholic.com/magazine/articles/loaves-and-fishes


#18

Apart from the resurrection, does Paul recount any other of Jesus’s miracles in his letters?


#19

I don’t think so–Paul has very little to say about the actual life and actions of Jesus. Maybe because he didn’t know; or maybe because he thought everyone already knew it; or maybe because he’s writing to solve specific issues, and the life and works of Jesus doesn’t really come into the picture.


#20

The fact is the gospels omit many facts people then (and now) would have been interested.
What was Jesus writing in the ground when confronting the hypocrites? They recorded the fact that he wrote in the ground, because they knew it, but didn’t record what he wrote, because they didn’t know it. There are countless details that a conscientious fiction writer would have filled in, that ancient writers often did fill in to supplement the known facts. But they didn’t do that with the gospels. Why did Jesus really curse the fig tree? It is not clear. But that incident got recorded, without clearing up all the loose ends, because they were careful to record only facts, even if they didn’t know what they really meant.
If the mythmakers had been at work here, do you think they would have been almost totally silent about his childhood and growing up years? If you think that, you haven’t read many ancient stories, or “amplified” factual accounts.
The gospels are credible.


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