A Christmas question: Are the Gospels more reliable than scholars once thought?

By Robert J. Hutchinson

It’s the Christmas season… and once again Americans face questions about the historical accuracy of the Gospels.

For more than a century, skeptical scholars have claimed that much of the New Testament is legendary, invented by the early Christians in the decades after the crucifixion.  A few even claim that Jesus of Nazareth didn’t exist at all.

But in just the past few years, dramatic discoveries in archaeology and New Testament studies have led even many secular experts to question this hyper-skeptical approach.

For one thing, archaeology is actually confirming the existence of many people, places and beliefs mentioned in the New Testament.

These discoveries include the remains of a first-century stone house in Nazareth, announced in 2009; an elaborate and well-preserved first-century synagogue in Magdala, on the Sea of Galilee, also discovered in 2009; and a number of ossuaries, or burial boxes, with inscriptions referring to figures in the New Testament.  Archaeologists have identified the ossuary of the high priest Caiaphas and perhaps that of James the Just – believed to be the brother, stepbrother or cousin of Jesus.

Beyond archaeology, New Testament scholars also are making dramatic discoveries that undermine more than a century’s worth of skepticism toward the New Testament. One example of this is…

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A Christmas question: Are the Gospels more reliable than scholars once thought?