By James Bishop
One of the most common objections to Christianity is that Gospels are not reliable or trustworthy sources for Jesus. A variety of reasons are often given for this, including the religious bias of the authors and the decades in between the events and the written accounts of the life of Jesus.
Perhaps the leading, and by far most popular, skeptic and critic when it comes to contemporary Christianity is the agnostic Bart Ehrman. However, Ehrman still affirms the historical nature of the gospels, writing that “If historians want to know what Jesus said and did they are more or less constrained to use the New Testament Gospels as their principal sources. Let me emphasize that this is not for religious or theological reasons—for instance, that these and these alone can be trusted. It is for historical reasons, pure and simple” (1).
Likewise scholar Burridge argues the gospels to be reliable as historical sources, for instance when “judged by the criteria of the 1st century and I think they are pretty reliable documents. They share essentially the same story of Jesus’ public ministry, his teaching, his preaching, his activity, his healing and the events of the week leading to his death – and the fact that something very odd happened afterwards” (2).
The literary critic and expert, Holly Ordway, says that the gospels “were fact, not story. I’d been steeped in folklore, fantasy, legend, and myth ever since I was a child, and I had studied these literary genres as an adult; I knew their cadences, their flavor, their rhythm. None of these stylistic fingerprints appeared in the New Testament books that I was reading” (3). These positions are well grounded, and we will briefly review why in the following 5 reasons…
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