Why did Jesus not write any scripture himself?
- It’s the same of asking, ″Why didn’t God create1 the Bible?″ God has already created many things, including the world, living creatures, humans, and the intelligence of man. He is the creator of all things. God endowed man with the ability to reason as well as the power to choose. What if God1 was the one who penned the Bible? In my opinion, there is nothing good about doing so. Many people will continue to believe that it was a fabrication. There will be no difference between now and the time of the Book of Mormon’s discovery. God desires that his word be communicated by genuine people, one-on-one, from the heart. As a result, we now have an original book. People from various epochs (about 1500 BC – 100 AD) are writing in isolation from one another, but the purpose is the same, the message is the same, the concept is the same, and the Author is the same as well. All of these features distinguish the Bible and provide credibility to it. It is not like the Qur’an, which was penned by a single individual and conveyed just his or her own views. God, of course, once handed man2 a book written by His own divine hands, which was the Two Tablets of the Ten Commandments, which contained the Ten Commandments in their entirety. Nevertheless, God had concealed it so that no one could uncover it. God did this because He wants his book to be written by actual people, and genuine people are writing it. As a result, Jesus was under no need to compose any Scripture. After all, Jesus is the embodiment of all of the Scriptures’ words of fulfillment. A Natural Delivery is one of my favorite phrases from this essay. The New Testament was not ″dropped″ from heaven
- it was not ″delivered″ by an angel
- it was not ″dug up″ in a farmer’s field as golden plates like the Book of Mormon
- it was not ″discovered″ in a clay jar with 27 ″books″ intact like the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Nag Hammadi texts
- and it was not ″discovered″ in a clay jar with 27 ″books″ intact like the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Nag Hammadi texts.
- During the first 250-300 years of Christian history, the New Testament canon grew, or evolved, into what we know today as the Bible.
- If the New Testament had been presented by an angel or excavated as a whole unit, it would not be nearly as credible as it is.
- The fact that we can trace the evolution of the NT, if not as exactly as we would want, contributes to the historical legitimacy of the text.
- 1to bring something into being out of nothing 2Moses, the author of the Torah.
Why didn’t Jesus write any books in the Bible?
- Answer to the question Numerous people have inquired as to why Jesus did not write any books or why whatever He may have written has not survived.
- His texts, according to conspiracy theorists, have been concealed for malicious purposes.
- Given the importance of the written Word (2 Timothy 3:16), it’s understandable to wonder why Christ didn’t leave any written records of his life.
- Scripture does not provide us with a definitive solution.
- However, we can make educated predictions about the situation.
- The most plausible explanation has to do with humanity’s tendency to overemphasize some items and concepts while losing sight of the bigger picture in the process.
- In His final discourse to the disciples at the Last Supper, Jesus announced that He would be departing from the physical world (John 16:5).
- Then, in an unexpected turn of events, He stated that his departure was beneficial to them (John 16:7).
- At the moment, it would have been difficult to comprehend what he was saying.
- After all is said and done, it does make sense in hindsight.
- As long as Jesus was physically there, the disciples would always be able to rely on His bodily presence to guide their religious beliefs.
- They would only rely on a personal, internal connection to God’s will once Jesus had left them and the Holy Spirit had come into their lives.
- If Jesus had remained physically present in this world, every choice they made would have been postponed until they could approach Him for counsel in person, which would have taken years.
- The gospel’s ability to spread would be limited by where He was physically located at any particular point in time.
- To the exclusion of other Christians and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, obedience to God and the outworking of faith would have been predicated on the actual presence or hearing of a physical Christ.
- When we examine the reasons why Jesus did not write any of the books of the Bible, we may find that identical concepts apply.
Even when they have the Bible, some people dismiss or discount anything in it that is not the words of Jesus: these are the ″Red Letter″ sects.It is not just the fact that ″red letters″ are not identified in the ancient texts that makes this approach reading the Bible problematic; it can also result in the neglect of crucial messages from God.It is a misguided attempt to lay greater emphasis on certain aspects of God’s Word at the expense of others.In reality, everything in the Bible comes from Jesus since it is all from the same source: God.If we possessed writings that were personally penned by Jesus, many people would go above and beyond to revere them by putting all other words of Scripture aside.The existence of a ″book of Jesus″ would encourage people to disregard inspired comments that did not appear in that text.
When it comes to Bible scrolls, if any physical copies of any book of the Bible were discovered, people would regard them as gods, just as they do with claimed ″relics″ linked with Christ.It was Jesus’ clothing that were the last thing he had left on earth after He died, and they were carried away instantly by uncaring Romans (John 19:23–24).If He had left anything else behind, such as books, the relics would have sparked idolatrous impulses almost immediately.People were captivated with an object linked with Moses in the Old Testament (Numbers 21:49; 2 Kings 18:1–4), which is reminiscent of what transpired in the New Testament.Knowing what we know about human nature, it’s possible that God purposely avoided providing humans with something to adore.
- The fact that we know so little about Jesus’ infancy and looks may be due to this factor.
- Such specifics would very certainly serve to entice us and divert us far more than they would reveal anything about God that we needed to know.
- We don’t have a definitive answer as to why Jesus didn’t leave any writings of His own to us.
- Nonetheless, human frailty appears to be the most plausible reason.
- Individual comprehension and appreciation for all of God’s Word are required for effective discipleship.
- We would be inclined to concentrate over and perhaps adore a book of the Bible that was authored by Jesus if we had access to it.
- For as much as the disciples would have wished for Jesus to remain with them and for us to wish for a copy of His handwritten words, our sin nature decides that not having those things is, ironically, beneficial to us and our relationship with God.
- Questions regarding the Bible can be found here.
- What is the reason that Jesus did not write any books in the Bible?
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Why Didn’t Jesus Write Anything Down?
- Candida Moss and Joel Baden, two historians, published an intriguing essay on The Daily Beast yesterday that I thought you would like.
- Author Michael Paulkovich’s newly published book, No Meek Messiah, has an argument in which he seeks to show proof that Jesus did not exist.
- In this article, they dismantle his thesis and present their own.
- Paulkovich’s thesis is summarized in the following fashion by Moss and Baden: The case of Paulkovich is supported by three key pillars.
- First and foremost, it was discovered that no ancient writers from the first several decades CE made any reference to Jesus.
- Secondly, the notion that most writers should have included Jesus in their works, given that he was the Son of God and all.
- In the third place, there’s the astute comment that Jesus never authored anything.
- Despite the fact that it is an indisputably persuasive trifecta of arguments, it is not without its logical flaws and weaknesses.
- Moss and Baden, for the most part, provide an effective response to these assertions.
- It wasn’t until I read this that I realized I was completely in accord with them: The clincher in Paulkovich’s thesis is the fact that Jesus himself never wrote anything about himself or his life.
- Literacy rates in the ancient world were estimated to be approximately 5 percent, according to scholarly estimations.
- As a Galilean carpenter, it’s hardly unexpected that he lacked the necessary knowledge and resources to write on papyrus with a stylus.
- It is an issue of education, not non-existence, that is at stake.
- To this, many Christians may react with the statement, ″Of course Jesus was literate and wrote.″ ″He’s the Almighty!″ All in all, Christians believe unanimously that the Bible is the written word of God, and they have no reason to doubt this.
- If you already think that Jesus is divine, this is a compelling case.
- For others who are unfamiliar with the concept, more proof may be necessary.
Jesus read in the Synagogues
- There is evidence in the New Testament that Jesus was able to read and understand what he was reading.
- For example, Luke 4:16-21 tells us that Jesus returned to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and that he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his tradition.
- And he rose to his feet to read from the book of the prophet Isaiah, which had been entrusted to him.
- ″The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to preach good news to the needy,″ he read as he opened the book.
- To announce freedom to the prisoners and sight restoration for the blind, to set at loose those who have been afflicted, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,″ he has sent me.
- And he sat down, closing the book and handing it back to the attendant, drawing the attention of everyone in the synagogue to him.
- And he started to address them, saying, ″Today, in your presence, this scripture has been fulfilled.″
Jesus was able to write
- There is further evidence in the New Testament that Jesus had the ability to write.
- When the scribes and Pharisees arrived, they brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery, placing her in the middle of the group and saying to him, ″Teacher, this lady has been caught in the act of adultery.″ In John 8:3-9, we read: Now, according to the law, Moses instructed us to stone those who do such things.
- ″Can you tell me what you think of her?″ They said that they were doing this to put him through his paces in case they had a charge to file against him.
- In the midst of his writing, Jesus bowed down and placed his finger on the ground.
- And as they continued to question him, he rose to his feet and addressed them, saying, ″Let anyone who is without guilt among you be the first to cast a stone at her.″ And once more, he knelt on the ground and scrawled with his finger on the surface of the earth.
- However, as soon as they heard it, they all fled, one by one, beginning with the eldest, leaving Jesus alone with the lady who was standing in front of him.
- Jesus’ education is thoroughly documented in the New Testament, beginning with his early childhood experiences in the temple (Lk 2:41-51), and continuing with his subsequent encounters with the educated Jews of his day.
- However, because he lived in a predominantly oral society, we shouldn’t be astonished if he didn’t leave any written records behind.
- If he did, then it is almost guaranteed that we will never know.
No Writings from Jesus: A Catholic Answer
- According to Catholics, the fact that we don’t have any writings from Jesus or that he didn’t handwrite the Bible on his own is not a major source of concern.
- While the Bible is vital, it is not the sole means of conveying the Faith from one generation to the next.
- There are a variety of other methods.
- In order to do this, Jesus founded his Church, which St.
- Paul refers to as ″the pillar and foundation of the truth″ (1 Tim 3:15).
- This is why Jesus picked his followers and spent time with them during their training.
- They would serve as the means of transmission in this case.
- I feel that Moss and Baden are incorrect in their assumption that illiteracy is one of the reasons why we do not have any manuscripts from Jesus on our shelves.
- The evidence that is now available presents a different image.
FAQ #88 Why didn’t Jesus write any of the books of the Bible? – Les Feldick Bible Study
- 2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture has been given by inspiration of God and is beneficial….
- The author and finisher of our faith, Jesus, is praised in Hebrews 12:2.
- According to II Peter 1:21, prophecy (the Word) did not come in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved (inspired) by the Holy Spirit.
- In reality, Christ wrote the whole Bible from beginning to end, using human tools to do so.
- Colossians 1:15 says that our Lord Jesus Christ is the visible manifestation of the unseen God (Godhead).
- As a result, He personifies all three of the Persons.
- When the Bible states in Acts 16 that the Lord opened Lydia’s heart, we know it was literally the Holy Spirit who did it.
- Peter is told in Matthew 16 that your Father in heaven had revealed it to you, not flesh and blood, and that it was also revealed to you by the Holy Spirit.
- Understanding the workings of the Trinity is beyond the scope of human comprehension, thus we must rely on faith.
- Isaiah 9:6: For unto us (Israel) a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder (King of Kings), and his name shall be Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace; these are all titles that will be given to him when he becomes King of Kings.
- Keep in mind who is being spoken about in the first portion of the passage – the Son.
If Jesus Wanted a Bible, Why Didn’t He Write One?
- My focus this morning will be on a theological subject that does not receive nearly enough consideration.
- I have a question: ″If Jesus desired that there be a Bible, why didn’t he write one?″ In the southern United States, the religion of Jesus is frequently equated with the Christian Bible.
- In any case, we are located in the Bible Belt.
- There is a strong focus placed on biblical religion, biblical teaching, biblical ideals, biblical readings, and biblical interpretations in this curriculum.
- One of the intriguing things about Jesus, on the other hand, is that when it came to his own message, he placed less importance on the written word than other religious leaders.
- In fact, Jesus did not record any of his lessons in any way.
- So, why didn’t Jesus write the book himself if he desired a book that delivered his message in an authoritative manner?
- Consequently, let us take some time this morning to dwell on a question that is all too frequently left unasked.
- In the oral tradition, Jesus was seen as a teacher.
- He had a gift for telling stories.
- For the first three decades following the crucifixion, his teachings were disseminated mostly through oral transmission.
- The first gospel wasn’t written until at least 30 years after his death, according to historical records.
- Before the invention of the written word, the tradition was passed down orally by storytellers who, in many cases, altered the narrative to suit the needs of their listeners in various locations around the Mediterranean region.
- Here’s why there are so many discrepancies in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John if you’ve ever wondered why there are so many differences between them.
- The narrative was presented in a variety of ways by different storytellers to a variety of different audiences.
- After 60 ACE, nothing was written, but a lot was written after that, including numerous books that did not make it into the Bible, such as the gospel according to Thomas and the gospel according to Mary, as well as the gospels of Judas, Peter, Bartholomew, Nicodemus and other authors.
Each of these gospels paints a vastly different picture of Jesus than the other.In the gospel of Mark, Jesus appears to be a down-to-earth human teacher, a storyteller, who teaches by example.For any matter, in the oldest form of Mark’s gospel, there is no mention of the resurrection at all.In the Gospel of John, Jesus appears to float above the ground while delivering lengthy theological discourses on many topics.The gospel according to Thomas is mostly a compilation of teachings from Jesus himself.Readings from the gospel of Thomas, which was not included in the Bible, have been some of my favorite readings recently.
″When will the kingdom arrive, this kingdom of heaven that you talk about?″ the disciples inquired of Jesus one day, according to the gospel, when the kingdom would come.″It will not arrive when people are looking for it; they will not say, ‘Look, here it is,’ or ‘Look, there it is; rather the kingdom of heaven is spread out across the earth, and people do not see it,″ Jesus explained.″If your leaders say to you, ‘See, the kingdom of God is in heaven,’ then the birds of the heavens will fly before you; if they say to you, ‘See, the kingdom of God is in the sea,’ then the fish will go before you,″ Jesus remarked in this non-canonical narrative on yet another occasion.″However, the kingdom is both inside you and outside of you.″ It is my intention to publish these lessons in order to demonstrate that there are many intriguing anecdotes and teachings of Jesus that did not make it into the Bible.In addition, these stories and lessons can provide us with valuable insights.
- For example, if we are unable to perceive the kingdom of heaven spreading out across the surface of the planet, the fault may be with our own sight, our own attitude, or our own viewpoint.
- If we are unable to locate anything outside of ourselves, it is possible that we must seek within ourselves.
- It says in the Gospel of Thomas, ″If you bring forth what is inside yourself, that which you bring forth will rescue you.″ It will destroy you if you do not bring forth the things that are already within you.″ This means that we will not be able to get the answers we are seeking alone by reading.
- The answers we seek can only be discovered by looking within ourselves.
- When it comes to the Bible, I have a Quaker friend, John Innes, who explains the Quaker approach to it as follows: ″We are so preoccupied with talking to the author that we forget to really read the book.″ As a result, less emphasis is placed on the things that we can learn through books, and more emphasis is placed on the things that we can learn from direct human experience without the use of a middleman or a veil.
- ″Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, acknowledged in all cultures, that pushes us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the energies that generate and sustain life,″ according to the Unitarian Universalist tradition.
- To put it another way, religion is not limited to what we may learn through books alone.
- Books can be useful, but they are not the only means of learning available.
- Though looking backward and reflecting on the gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John may be beneficial in certain circumstances; the most important experience is the gospel of the present moment.
- The light that illuminated the past is of limited value if that light does not also illuminate the present moment.
- ″Tradition is not about the worship of ashes,″ as composer Gustav Mahler famously stated.
- It is all about the preservation of fire,″ says the author.
- Have you ever noticed how a good storyteller can bring a narrative to life for the audience?
- Every year, the International Storytelling Festival is held in Jonesboro, which is just a few miles up the road.
- In addition, if you’ve ever gone to a play, you’ll know that no one ever comes up on stage and just reads from a script.
- That isn’t a good piece of narrative.
- It would never be acceptable to read a narrative from a book.
- You must convey the narrative in such a way that it comes to life in the audience’s mind.
- And it was the primary method of spreading the gospel for at least 30 years.
- The gospel message was communicated in a way that brought it to life.
- In the beginning, the gospel was part of a grassroots movement that spread like wildfire, evolving and changing in response to the changing circumstances.
- Eventually, though, a top-down movement to standardize and make the faith more homogeneous was launched.
- This is what I refer to as the ″business takeover of Christianity″ on occasion.
- When the Roman Emperor Constantine declares Christianity to be the official religion of the Roman Empire, he is a participant in this corporate takeover; this grassroots, peaceful, community faith becomes the official religion of a top-down, militaristic empire, as the phrase goes.
- He begins the process of creating creeds (such as the Nicene and the Apostles Creeds, among others) that are intended to determine who is allowed to enter and who is not.
- In addition, a Bible was created that excluded many of the gospels that were in circulation at the time of the corporate takeover.
- The driving force behind corporate takeovers is the same around the world.
Pizza isn’t something you expect to find at McDonald’s when you go there.Similarly, when you go to Pizza Hut, you don’t expect to be able to order burgers.When you walk into a store, you know exactly what to expect and what will be available because the products are standardized.The corporate takeover of Christianity was an attempt to offer a vision of Jesus that would be identifiable no matter which church you went to or what denomination you were affiliated with.Needless to say, not every depiction of Jesus was included in the final cut.The Bible was edited to exclude some books, and several early Christian groups were expelled from the church, along with their books, because of their content.
- Although effective in certain ways, the standardizing of Jesus was not entirely successful.
- Although there are many diverse depictions of Jesus in the official canon, the official canon did place restrictions on which viewpoints could or could not be included in the Bible.
- The Reverend John Buehrens, a former minister of this church, has written a book titled Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers, and Religious Liberals, in which he argues that ″the Bible is a human book about the divine, not a divine book about humanity,″ and that ″the Bible is a divine book about humanity.″ There are biblical academics that attempt to present the Bible as a single book that recounts a single tale that has a single meaning for all people, rather than as a collection of books.
Rather than saying the Bible is a collection of books, a more historically accurate statement is that it is a library of books that tells many different stories with many different meanings for many different individuals.In total, there are 66 books in the Bible if we consider both the Hebrew and Christian texts, yet Jesus did not write a single one of them.The question is, how do we filter through all of the varied meanings and messages that we discover in all of these different writings, both canonical and noncanonical?
- As it happens, the answer to that issue may be found in the text that the Reverend William Ellery Channing picked for his sermon entitled Unitarian Christianity, which was delivered in 1819 and was pivotal in the establishment of the Unitarian Church in the United States.
- ‘Do not regard the prophesies with disdain, but test them all, and hold on to the good,’ says the verse he picked from the book of Thessalonians.
- In other words, we are active agents in our search for meaning and guidance from whatever book we may be reading at any given time, and we have the authority to test everything and hold on to everything that is good.
- It is not always possible to make meaning of the language of antiquity in the current day.
Some people appear to be hopelessly enmeshed in the cultures, attitudes, and habits of their forefathers.Others appear to be really objectionable, particularly those that appear to grant heavenly approval to genocide, ethnic cleansing, mysogeny, homophobia, and child abuse.Others appear to be downright offensive.But the words of Channing, as well as the content of the book of Thessalonians, may be expressed simply in the more current saying, ″Don’t toss the baby out with the bathwater.″ Quakers believe that ″the scriptures bear witness to the source, but they do not constitute the fountain themselves.″ As a result, test everything to ensure that the water is pure and safe to consume.
Everything should be tested to ensure that it is truly alive water, water that can sustain life.The Bible can be a particularly difficult document to read for women, members of the LGBTQIA community, and any other group of people whose stories are not included in the Bible’s canon of literature.As a result, the renegade Unitarian philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson exhorted his audience to ″create your own Bible.″ Take all of the words and sentences that have come to you like a blast of triumph from Shakespeare to Seneca to Moses to John to Paul and more″ and we might add Fannie Lou Hammer and Ella Baker and Emma Gonzales and Bayard Rustin and Audre Lord and Marsha P Johnson and Gandhi and the Dalai Lama and more to that list.
The other day, I was watching a cartoon and a buddy said, ″Are you highlighting all of the sections that you find most significant?″ The person replied, ″Yes, I’m underlining every passage that I find most meaningful.″ ″No, I’m underlining the portions that I don’t agree with,″ the other individual said.I’m sure many of the folks who are listening to me now are doing the same thing.The following is some advice from my New Testament professor, Richard Gardiner, who used to tell me: ″Chris, it is appropriate to question the scriptures, but you must also allow the scriptures to question you.″ In order to benefit from the scriptures, we should allow them to question us.For example, sometimes the scriptures advise us to be more loving and forgiving than we would like to be, less egocentric than we would like to be, and more passionate for social justice than we would like to be.The Bible is a large collection of literature, and there are certain themes that stand out above the others.
- ″Treat your neighbor as you would like to be treated.″ Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
- This is the Golden Rule.
- If you forgive, you will also be forgiven.
Don’t pass judgment on others lest you be judged.Welcome the stranger because you may be entertaining angels while you are not even aware of it.Do what is right, show kindness, and walk humbly.Allow justice to cascade down like water and righteousness to flow like a never-ending river.″ However, while Jesus did not write the Bible, he directed our attention inside toward the law that has been implanted in our thoughts and inscribed on our hearts.Others got down 30 years after his ministry to record his teachings to the best of their abilities, and those words have been passed down from generation to generation since then.The mission of our church, on the other hand, is not to worship the ashes.
- The aim of our congregation is to keep the fire burning, to fan the flames of the gifts that are inside you and throughout all people, in order for the light that lights everyone who comes into the world to shine even brighter in the world around them.
- Not to the ashes, but to the flames, is our responsibility.
- (This sermon was delivered on Sunday, September 26, 2021, at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church by the Reverend Chris Buice.)
The Story Of The Storytellers – An Introduction To The Gospels
- The four gospels of the New Testament, though they narrate the same tale, represent widely diverse thoughts and concerns, despite the fact that they were written over the span of almost a century following Jesus’ death.
- authored by Marilyn Mellowes The death of Jesus and the composition of the first gospel are separated by a forty-year interval.
- However, despite the fact that history provides us with little direct evidence concerning the events of this time period, it does show that the early Christians were engaging in one of the most fundamental of human activities: story-telling.
- Mike White describes it this way: ″It appears that they are certainly presenting stories between the death of Jesus and the composition of the first gospel, Mark, during the time period between the death of Jesus and the writing of the first gospel, Mark.
- They’re passing on the oral tradition of what occurred to Jesus, what he stood for, and what he did, by repeating and reciting the story again and over in their own words.
- And, in the process, they are defining Jesus in their own minds and hearts.″ Oral tradition is the term used to describe these shared recollections that are passed down from generation to generation through word of mouth.
- They featured accounts of Jesus’ healings and miracles, as well as his parables and teachings, as well as his death.
- Some of the stories were eventually written down.
- The first recorded texts were very certainly an account of Jesus’ death as well as a collection of sayings ascribed to him, according to speculation.
- Then, about the year 70, an evangelist by the name of Mark penned the first ″gospel″ – the phrases ″gospel″ and ″good news″ about Jesus, respectively.
- It is unlikely that we will ever learn the writer’s true identity, or even if his name was Mark, because it was normal practice in the ancient world for written works to be attributed to prominent persons.
- However, we do know that it was Mark’s brilliance that enabled him to be the first to put the account of Jesus to paper, thereby establishing the gospel tradition.
- ″The gospels are one of the most unusual sorts of literary works.
- In the words of Prof.
- Paula Fredriksen, ″They are not biographies, but rather a form of religious marketing.″ By employing Jesus of Nazareth as a spokesman for the evangelists’ stance, they are able to declare their specific author’s interpretation of the Christian message to a wider audience.″ Matthew’s work was created around 15 years after Mark’s, in approximately the year 85 CE, drawing on a range of sources, including Mark and a collection of sayings that academics eventually dubbed ″Q,″ which stands for Quelle, which means source in German.
- The Gospel of Luke was written between the ages of 85 and 95, almost fifteen years later.
This group of three gospels is referred regarded as the ″synoptic gospels″ by scholars because they all ″see″ things in the same manner.The Gospel of John, which is commonly referred to as ″the spiritual gospel,″ was most likely written between 90 and 100 AD.It stands out from the other three due to its unique style and visual presentation.Interestingly, each of the four gospels portrays Jesus in a different light.These characterizations are based on the writers’ own experiences as well as the unique conditions of their respective localities.History shows that Mark wrote for a Jewish community that had been greatly affected by the collapse of the First Jewish Revolt against the Romans.
During the postwar period, Matthew wrote for a Jewish community that was at odds with the Pharisaic Judaism that dominated Jewish life in the United States.To a predominantly Gentile readership, Luke’s letter was written with the goal of demonstrating that their Christian views did not interfere with their capacity to be a decent citizen of the Roman Empire.However, despite these variances, the ″passion narrative,″ which is the fundamental theme of Jesus’ suffering and death, is found in all four gospels.There is a clear connection between this narrative and the Christian liturgy of the Eucharist.As HelmutKoester has remarked, the ritual cannot ″life″ without the tale, which is why it is so important.
- While the gospels narrate the story of Jesus, they also serve as a reflection of the developing tensions between Christians and Jews throughout this time period.
- By the time Luke finished composing his piece, the tension had erupted into open animosity.
- As a result, by the time John’s gospel was written, the quarrel had escalated to the point of being an open rupture, as seen by the vituperative venom of the author’s vocabulary.
- Eric Meyers describes it thus way: ″The majority of the gospels were written at an era of controversy, including theological disagreement.
- Because it’s a narrative that has such terrible consequences in later times, the New Testament depicts the story of a shattered connection, which is part of the sad drama that develops between Jews and Christians throughout time.″
How Early Church Leaders Downplayed Mary Magdalene’s Influence by Calling Her a Whore
- She was Mary of Magdala, one of Jesus of Nazareth’s early disciples, and she was one of the most famous women in the world.
- It is said that she journeyed with him, witnessed his Crucifixion, and was one of those who were informed of his Resurrection, all according to the Scriptures.
- Everybody, from early church officials and historians to authors and filmmakers, has contributed to the revision and expansion of the tale of Mary Magdalene throughout history.
- On the one hand, they downplayed her significance by stating she was a prostitute, a wrecked woman who repented and was rescued by Christ’s teachings.
- On the other hand, they emphasized her value by claiming she was a prostitute, a ruined woman who repented and was saved by Christ’s teachings.
- Mary Magdalene, on the other hand, is represented in several early Christian scriptures as more than just a mere follower; she is also depicted as Jesus’ close companion—which some have taken to suggest his wife.
- Which begs the question: is there any truth to either of these tales?
- What exactly do we know about Mary Magdalene, the lady who is considered to be the most intriguing woman in the Bible?
- WATCH: Jesus: A Biography on the HISTORY Vault
What the Bible Says About Mary Magdalene
- However, only the Gospel of Luke discussed Mary Magdalene’s role in Jesus’ life and ministry, listing her among ″some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities″ (Luke 8:1–3).
- All four canonical gospels of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) noted Mary Magdalene’s presence at Jesus’ Crucifixion, but only the Gospel of Luke discussed her role in his life and ministry.
- According to Luke, when Jesus drove out seven devils from her, Mary joined a group of women who went with him and his twelve disciples/apostles, ″proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.″ They were ″proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.″ However, although Magdalene is not a surname, it is associated with the city of Magdala, which is located in Galilee, in the northernmost area of ancient Palestine, and from whence Mary hailed (now northern Israel).
- In the words of Robert Cargill, an associate professor of classical and religious studies at the University of Iowa who is also the editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review, ″Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus’ early supporters.″ ″She was mentioned in the Gospels, which indicates that she was significant.
- There were hundreds, if not thousands, of followers of Jesus, but we don’t know the names of the majority of them, according to what we know.
- As a result, the fact that she has been identified is significant.″ Mary Magdalene had an important role in the tale of the Resurrection, which took place after Jesus’ crucifixion, which she observed from the foot of the cross with many other women, and after all of Jesus’ male disciples had fled from the scene.
- In accordance with the gospels, Mary went to Jesus’ tomb on Easter Sunday, either alone herself (according to the Gospel of John) or in company with several women, and discovered that the tomb was vacant.
- The ladies are the ones who go to the disciples and inform them what has happened, as Cargill points out.
- That’s crucial since they were the ones who found that Jesus had resurrected from the dead.
- According to the Gospel of John, Jesus personally comes to Mary Magdalene after his Resurrection and urges her to inform his followers of his appearance (John 20:1-13).
- READ MORE: What Did Jesus Look Like When He Was Alive?
Mary Magdalene as sinner
- Because of Mary Magdalene’s obvious significance in the Bible—or maybe because of it—some early Western church leaders attempted to minimize her power by presenting her as a sinner, notably as a prostitute, according to the Bible.
- In Cargill’s words, ″There are many academics who think that because Jesus empowered women to such a great extent early in his career, it made some of the males who would govern the early church uncomfortable later on.″ In response to this, there were two different reactions.
- She was to be turned into a prostitute, for example.″ Early church leaders conflated Mary with other women mentioned in the Bible in order to portray her as the original repentant whore.
- These women included an unnamed woman, identified in the Gospel of Luke as a sinner, who bathes Jesus’ feet with her tears, dries them, and applies ointment to them (Luke 7:37-38), as well as another Mary, Mary of Bethany, who also appears in Luke.
- Pope Gregory the Great clarified this confusion in a sermon in 591 A.D., saying, ″We think that the Mary, whom Luke names the wicked woman and whom John calls Mary, is the Mary from whom seven demons were evicted according to Mark.″ ‘By becoming a prostitute, she has diminished in importance.’ It has a negative impact on her in some manner.
- Look at what she did for a job, and you can see why she couldn’t have been a leader,″ Cargill adds.
- ″Of course, the second option was to advance Mary to the next level.
- Some believe she was actually Jesus’ wife or friend, rather than his mother.
- ″She had a particular place in the world.″ READ MORE: The Bible Claims That Jesus Was a Real Person.
- Is there any further evidence?
Mary Magdalene as Jesus’s wife
- While some early Christians wanted to downplay Mary’s influence, others sought to emphasize her as a source of inspiration.
- Several centuries after Jesus’ death, the Gospel of Mary, a document dating from the second century A.D.
- that was discovered in Egypt in 1896, ranked Mary Magdalene higher in wisdom and influence than Jesus’ male disciples.
- She was also extensively featured in the so-called Gnostic Gospels, a collection of books thought to have been authored by early Christians as far back as the second century A.D.
- but which were not discovered until 1945, near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi, and which were written in Greek.
- According to one of these manuscripts, referred to Mary Magdalene as Jesus’ friend and said that Jesus loved her more than the other disciples.
- This document is known as the Gospel of Philip.
- Possibly the most contentious statement in the scripture was that Jesus used to kiss Mary ″frequently on her.″ Damage to the writing rendered the final word illegible, while some scholars have substituted the word ″mouth″ for the unreadable term.
- In the years after its publication, Dan Brown’s enormously popular mystery The Da Vinci Code has been consumed by tens of millions of readers worldwide.
- The premise of the novel revolves around the long-held belief that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had children together.
- This concept was also at the heart of The Last Temptation of Christ, a novel written by Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis in 1955 that was subsequently made into a film directed by Martin Scorsese, as well as the cinematic adaptation of the novel.
- And then there was the discovery of a previously unknown papyrus fragment in 2012 that was considered to be a copy of a second-century narrative in which Jesus refers to Mary Magdalene as ″my wife,″ according to Karen King, a professor at Harvard Divinity School.
- She ultimately changed her mind after being bombarded with criticism and concluded that the so-called ″Gospel of Jesus’s Wife″ was most likely a fake after defending the document’s validity.
Mary Magdalene as trusted disciple
- The Bible, on the other hand, provided no indication that Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ wife.
- One can’t get a sense of that type of connection from any of the four canonical gospels, despite the fact that they include the women who travel with Jesus and, in some cases, their husbands’ names as well.
- The depiction of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute endured for decades after Pope Gregory the Great declared it official in his sixth-century sermon, though neither Orthodoxy nor Protestantism embraced it once their respective religions separated from the Catholic Church later in the sixth century.
- At long last, in 1969, the Church acknowledged that the text of the Bible did not support that interpretation..
- Mary Magdalene is now venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches, and her feast day is celebrated on July 22nd in all four of these denominations.
- According to Cargill’s conclusion, ″Mary appears to have been a disciple of Jesus.″ ″What’s important is that Jesus had both male and female disciples in his ministry, which was not always the case at the time,″ says the author.
- He notes that while the prostitute and wife hypotheses have been around for centuries, they are tales and customs that have developed long after the fact: ″Neither of them is anchored in the Bible itself.″ MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: The Evolution of Christian Thought
Who Wrote the Bible?
- The Bible has been read by billions of people over the course of millennia.
- Researchers have dedicated their lives to it, while rabbis, pastors and priests have devoted their careers to interpreting, educating, and preaching from the text’s pages.
- As the sacred text for two of the world’s leading religions, Judaism and Christianity, as well as other faiths, the Bible has had an unparalleled impact on literature, particularly in the Western world.
- The Bible is the most widely read book in the world, and it is the most widely read book in the world.
- It has been translated into about 700 different languages, and while exact sales numbers are difficult to come by, it is usually believed to be the best-selling book in the whole world.
- Nonetheless, despite the Bible’s undoubted significance, questions about its origins continue to be raised today.
- Although the Bible has existed for than 2,000 years and has been the subject of generations of study by biblical academics, we still do not know with confidence who wrote its various sections, when they were written, or under what conditions they were written.
- MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: The Bible asserts that Jesus was a real person.
- Is there any further evidence?
- The Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew Bible, is a collection of stories, laws, and moral lessons that serve as the foundation of religious life for both Jews and Christians.
- It spans approximately a millennium and begins with God’s creation of the world and humankind and concludes with God’s judgment on the people of Israel.
- According to Jewish and Christian tradition for at least 1,000 years, one author wrote the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
- These five books are collectively referred to as the Torah (Hebrew for ″instruction″) and the Pentateuch (Greek for ″five scrolls,″ respectively).
- Moses, the Hebrew prophet who led the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt and across the Red Sea to the Promised Land, was regarded as the only author of the book of Exodus.
- Nonetheless, readers of the Bible have noted practically from the beginning that there are things in the so-called Five Books of Moses that Moses himself could not possible have witnessed: For example, his own death happens at the close of the book of Deuteronomy.
- According to a volume of the Talmud, which is a compilation of Jewish rules written between the third and fifth centuries A.D., this discrepancy was resolved by stating that Joshua (Moses’ successor as leader of the Israelites) was most likely responsible for writing the lines describing Moses’ death.
MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Discovering the Early Christian Church’s Conversion Tactics from Within In the words of Joel Baden, a professor at Yale Divinity School and author of The Composition of the Pentateuch: A New Interpretation, ″that’s one opinion among many.″ The Documentary Hypothesis is being re-examined.″However, they’ve already raised the question of whether it was conceivable or not forto have authored them.″ Almost all religious academics were seriously challenging the concept of Moses’ authorship by the time the Enlightenment began in the 17th century, and many were even skeptical that the Bible could possibly have been the product of a single author.Even within a single portion of text, those first five books were replete with conflicting and repeated content, and it appeared as though multiple versions of the Israelites’ tale were being told at different times.Specifically, as Baden notes, the account of Noah and the flood is a ″classic illustration″ of this misunderstanding (Genesis 6:9).″You read along and think to yourself, ‘I have no idea how many creatures Noah brought on the ark with him,’″ he explains.″In this statement, it indicates that there are two of each animal.
In this line, he picks two creatures from one category and fourteen species from another.″ In a similar vein, the length of the flood is recorded in the book as 40 days in one location and 150 days in another.READ MORE: New research demonstrates that early Christians did not always interpret the Bible literally.
The Old Testament: Various Schools of Authors
- Most academics generally agree that the tales and regulations included in the Bible were passed down orally, through prose and poetry, over hundreds of years, which helps to explain the Bible’s inconsistencies, repetitions, and overall quirks, among other things.
- Starting about the 7th century B.C., distinct groups, or schools, of authors wrote them down at various points in time until they were eventually merged into the unified, multi-layered text we know today (possibly during the first century B.C.).
- The first of the three major blocks of source material that scholars agree comprise the Bible’s first five books was believed to have been written by a group of priests, or priestly authors, whose work scholars designate as ″P.″ The other two major blocks of source material were believed to have been written by a group of priests, or priestly authors, whose work scholars designate as ″N.″ A second block of source material is referred to as ″D″—for Deuteronomist, which refers to the author(s) of the great majority of the book of Deuteronomy, who wrote the book of Deuteronomy.
- ″Except for the fact that they’re both delivering rules and presenting a tale about Israel’s early history,″ Baden continues, ″the two of them aren’t actually tied to each other in any important manner.″ The third major block of source material in the Torah can be divided into two different, equally coherent schools, which are named after the words that each uses to refer to God: Yahweh and Elohim.
- According to some scholars, including Baden, the Torah can be divided into two different, equally coherent schools.
- ″E″ is assigned to stories that use the term Elohim, whereas ″J″ is assigned to stories that do not use this name (for Jawhe, the German translation of Yahweh).
- Other researchers do not agree on two entire sources for the non-priestly content, and they have their own theories.
- The evidence instead points to a considerably more slow process, in which material from multiple smaller sources was stacked together over an extended period of time, according to Baden.
- READ MORE: Why Were Most of the Old Testament Books Removed From Bibles Given to Slaves?
New Testament: Who Wrote the Gospels?
- A narrative that serves as a fundamental foundation for Christianity, just as the Old Testament chronicles the story of the Israelites over a millennium or so before Jesus’ birth, the New Testament chronicles the life of Jesus, beginning with his birth and teachings and concluding with his death and resurrection, a narrative that serves as a fundamental foundation for Christianity.
- In the first century AD, around four decades after Jesus’ crucifixion (according to the Bible), four anonymously authored chronicles of his life began to appear.
- These chronicles would go on to become foundational books in the Christian religion.
- The four canonical Gospels, which were named after Jesus’ most committed earthly disciples, or apostles—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—were generally believed to be eyewitness descriptions of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
- However, this was not always the case.
- The Gospels, along with many other works of the New Testament, have been widely accepted by scholars for more than a century as having been authored by persons other than those to whom they are assigned in the first place.
- According to the evidence available, it appears as if the stories that constitute the foundation of Christianity were originally given orally and then passed down from generation to generation before being gathered and recorded in writing.
- READ MORE: What Did Jesus Look Like When He Was Alive?
- Jesus, Interrupted by Bart Ehrman is a book written by a Bible scholar that explores the relationship between names and the titles of the Gospels (such as ″the Gospel according to Matthew″).
- Nevertheless, these titles were added to the Gospels later by editors and scribes in order to educate readers who the editors believed to be the authority behind the various versions of the Gospels.
- 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament were traditionally credited to Paul the Apostle, who became a Christian after meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus and went on to write a series of letters that helped spread the religion throughout the Mediterranean world following his conversion.
- However, just seven of Paul’s epistles are today accepted as authentic: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon, according to modern scholarship.
- Because they are thought to have been written between 50 and 60 AD, they are the first known proof of Christian belief in the world.
- Following Paul’s example, the authors of the subsequent epistles may have been disciples of the apostle, who may have exploited his name to add validity to their works.
- As early as the fourth century AD, Christianity had established itself as the preeminent religion in the Western world, with the New and Old Testaments serving as the faith’s most hallowed writings, respectively.
- Despite the mystery surrounding its beginnings and the ongoing, intricate controversy over its authorship, the Bible would only grow increasingly important in the lives and religions of millions of people throughout the world in the centuries to come.
What was the first Bible like?
- The tale of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection was not immediately recorded in the years after his crucifixion at Calvary.
- Instead, it was recorded decades later.
- Before anybody documented the experiences of disciples like Matthew and John for posterity, they would have been heard and replayed over and over again at countless dinner tables and funerals, maybe for years or even decades.
- Until a few years after Jesus’ murder, St Paul, whose writings are also essential to understanding the New Testament, was not even present among the early followers of Christ.
- However, while many people will be aware of the time lapse between the events of the New Testament and the publication of the book that emerged, few will be aware of how little we actually know about the first Christian Bible.
- The earliest full New Testament that has survived to the present day dates from the fourth century, although it has predecessors that have long ago perished in the flames of the flames.
- As a result, what was the first Christian Bible like to look like?
- What caused it to appear and where did it come from?
- And why are we researchers still debating this 1,800 years after the event has place?
From oral to written
- The New Testament places a high value on historical accuracy.
- The problems at stake were contemplated by Luke the Evangelist himself in the book itself, as he discussed the motives for writing what would become his namesake Gospel.
- ″I, too, have chosen to write an orderly narrative…
- in order that you may be aware of the certainty of the things you have been taught,″ he writes.
- For example, in the second century, the church father Irenaeus of Lyons argued in favor of the legitimacy of the Gospels by stating that what the writers initially proclaimed after obtaining ″complete knowledge″ from God was subsequently recorded in writing.
- Currently, scholars disagree on these issues – ranging from the American writer Bart Ehrman, who emphasizes how much accounts would be changed by the oral tradition, to his Australian counterpart Michael Bird, who argues that historical ambiguities must be tempered by the fact that the books are the word of God, to the British scholar Richard Bauckham, who emphasizes the importance of eyewitnesses as guarantors behind the oral and written gospel.
- Historically, the first New Testament books to be written down are thought to be the 13 letters that make up Paul’s epistles (approximately 48-64 CE), which are thought to have started with 1 Thessalonians or Galatians.
- Following that is the Gospel of Mark (circa 60-75 CE).
- After the first three Gospels, the letters of Peter and John, and other writers were added to the canon, and Revelation was added at the end of the first century.
- The other writings were all added before or around the end of the first century.
- It is likely that significant church libraries would have held copies of these writings by the mid- to late-hundreds CE, often with other documents that would eventually be classified as apostolic.
- The moment at which the works are considered to be true scripture and canon is a topic of discussion among religious scholars.
- Some believe they were first employed in weekly worship services about the year 100 CE, however some believe they were used even earlier.
- They were treated on a same footing with the ancient Jewish Scriptures that would eventually form the Old Testament, which had for generations had a prominent position in synagogues across modern-day Israel and the wider Middle Eastern region.
- The church’s introduction of the terms ″Old Testament″ and ″New Testament″ prior to or around the year 200 CE is emphasized by certain historians.
- This significant move clearly recognises two primary collections having biblical validity that comprise the Christian Bible – which are related to one another as ancient and new covenants, prophecy and fulfillment, respectively – and that they are part of a larger whole.
This demonstrates that the first Christian two-testament bible had already been established by this time.Another set of researchers, on the other hand, believes that this is not formal or specific enough.They prefer to concentrate on the late fourth century, when the first of the so-called canon lists were on the scene – such as the one established by Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, in 367 CE, which recognizes 22 Old Testament writings and 27 New Testament literature – rather than earlier periods.
- The Codex Sinaiticus, a beautifully written entire text of the New Testament that was ″found″ at the St Catherine monastery at the base of Mount Sinai in Egypt in the 1840s and 1850s, is the earliest surviving full copy of the New Testament.
- It is thought to have been written either in Rome or Egypt about 325-360 CE, although it is not known where.
- Printed on both sides of the page, it is composed of animal skin parchment and printed in continuous Greek script on both sides of the page.
- It incorporates the entirety of the New and Old Testaments, however only roughly half of the Old Testament is still in existence (the New Testament has some fairly minor defects).
- Sinaiticus, on the other hand, may not be the earliest surviving bible.
- An further collection of Old and New Testaments is the Codex Vaticanus, which dates from roughly 300-350 CE but contains just a small portion of both testaments due to extensive loss of material.
- There are various differences between these bibles and also between them and current bibles – for example, following the 27 New Testament books, Sinaiticus includes as an appendix the two classic Christian edifying literature Epistle of Barnabas and Shepherd of Hermas, which are not included in modern bibles.
- Both bibles also have a distinct running order, with Paul’s writings appearing either after the Gospels (Sinaiticus) or after Acts and the Catholic Epistles, depending on whose version you read (Vaticanus).
- They both have fascinating characteristics, such as particular devotional or creedal demarcations of hallowed names, known as nomina sacra, that distinguish them from one another.
- Words like ″Jesus,″ ″Christ,″ ″God,″ ″Lord,″ ″Spirit,″ ″cross,″ and ″crucify″ are shortened to their first and last letters, with the first and last letters of the words underlined with a horizontal overbar.
- For example, the Greek name for Jesus, o, is written as o, whereas the Greek word for God, o, is written as o.
- These were occasionally displayed in gold letters or made larger and more ornate in later editions of bibles, and this tradition persisted until the advent of bible printing, which occurred around the time of the Reformation.
- As previously stated, though both the Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus are believed to have been copied from long-lost predecessors (in one form or another), previous and later standardised New Testaments were comprised of a four-volume collection of individual codices – the fourfold Gospel; Acts and seven Catholic Epistles; Paul’s 14 letters (including Hebrews); and the Book of Revelation.
- They were essentially collections of collections, which was the case.
- However, due to the lack of a single book dating back to before the fourth century, we must make do with the numerous earlier fragments that have been discovered in the twentieth century, which have made headlines.
- We now have around 50 fragmented New Testament manuscripts written on papyrus that date from the second and third century – including the remarkable Papyrus 45 (fourfold Gospel and Acts) and Papyrus 46 (fourfold Acts) – that have been discovered (a collection of Pauline letters).
There are nearly entire or incomplete versions of 20 of the 27 New Testament books in total, which is a significant amount.The search for new origins of the original books of the New Testament is likely to continue in the future.Because it is doubtful that anybody will ever come across an older Bible that is equivalent to Sinaiticus or Vaticanus, we will have to continue putting together what we now have, which is a substantial amount of information.That being said, it is an enthralling narrative that will no doubt continue to elicit heated debate between academics and aficionados for many years to come.