Evangelical Scholar Craig Evans Agrees: Significant Majority of NT Scholars Rejects the Eyewitness Authorship of the Gospels

Image result for image of craig evans nt scholar
NT scholar Craig A. Evans

Several weeks ago I mailed out a survey to some of America’s top conservative Christian NT scholars, theologians, and apologists regarding the authorship of the Gospels.  I asked them the following questions:

 

Dear Conservative New Testament scholar or apologist:  I am conducting a survey on topics related to the authorship of the Gospels.  Would you kindly participate?

1. Do you agree with this statement by conservative NT scholar Richard Bauckham that a significant majority of NT scholars rejects the eyewitness/associate eyewitness authorship of the Gospels:

“The argument of this book [“Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”]–that the texts of our Gospels are close to the eyewitness reports of the words and deeds of Jesus–runs counter to almost all recent scholarship.  As we have indicated from time to time, the prevalent view is that a long period of oral transmission in the churches intervened between whatever the eyewitnesses said and the Jesus traditions as they reached the Evangelists [the authors of the Gospels].  No doubt the eyewitnesses started the process of oral tradition, but it passed through many retellings, reformulations, and expansions before the Evangelists themselves did their own editorial work on it.”  p. 240   

Your answer:  Yes  or  No

2. If you agree with Bauckham’s statement that “almost all recent scholarship” believes that the texts of our Gospels are NOT close to the eyewitness reports of the words and deeds of Jesus, do you believe that this scholarly consensus is due to an objective evaluation of the evidence, or due to a bias against the supernatural, as some conservative Christian apologists allege (see here)?

Your answer:  Evidence  or  Bias

 

Gary:  Many did not respond, but a few did by email.  You can read their responses here.  Only one, evangelical NT scholar Craig Evans, responded by US mail.  Here are his responses to the above questions:

Answer to Question 1:   Yes

Answer to Question 2:  Evidence (but often the evidence is not well understood)

Gary:  This is evidence that at least two prominent evangelical New Testament scholars (Richard Bauckham and Craig Evans) agree that a significant majority of scholars rejects the eyewitness/associate of eyewitness authorship of the Gospels.  Evangelical and fundamentalist Protestant apologists need to stop denying the existence of a significant majority scholarly consensus on the non-eyewitness authorship of the Gospels!

 

 

End of post.

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23 thoughts on “Evangelical Scholar Craig Evans Agrees: Significant Majority of NT Scholars Rejects the Eyewitness Authorship of the Gospels

  1. I had not realized that there was any new, noticeable controversy or legitimate challenges to the Synoptic Gospels being only general narrations and a broad caricature of VARIOUS oral traditions regarding the charismatic rabbi-teacher Yeshua bar Yosef… later turned into a Hellenistic Apotheotic Christ after 70 and 74 CE.

    This new meek surge of radical evangelical, fundamental literalism must be part of the politicization of Faiths. History shows this seems to come and go in cycles.

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      1. make up what?

        OH – WAIT — Now you’re saying the Gospels are, like, FACT or something? Like, HISTORICAL? Is THAT what you’re saying????

        I thought you clowns were always taking issue with the “factuality” of the Gospels…

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          1. oh, I hardly do that.

            there is NOTHING about “Christianity” that has any dependencies on the Gospels at all.

            Christianity existed and was spread all over Judea and other parts of the Asian provinces long before the Gospels came along…

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      1. I don’t buy into any swoon / survival theory because had Jesus survived the crucifixion, it would have simply been the basis for some other story – and, probably one which none of us would ever have heard.

        But, there is certainly no reason whatsoever to somehow “mistake” a hobbled guy who could barely walk (if he could walk at all), and having nearly useless hands (due to the major cutting of nerve fibers) as somehow being “resurrected”. He’d be a guy who survived a crucifixion. And who eventually really did die.

        Basically, what’s being argued in the swoon / survival theory is that the disciples saw this guy who had been nailed up, and survived, and then just “made up” – out of whole cloth – the story of him having died and then getting resurrected.

        One might as well argue that Jesus wasn’t crucified in the first place, but rather, just took off with Mary Magdalene on a euro-cruise and never returned, so the disciples just made up a crucifixion and resurrection story to keep up “appearances” (pun intended).

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        1. ftbanged wrote:
          Basically, what’s being argued in the swoon / survival theory is that the disciples saw this guy who had been nailed up

          ///

          no, you didnt read the responses. Bowen does not say that jesus was “nailed up” because according to bowen, the earliest accounts do not say that jesua was nailed to a cross.

          so what evidence do u have that

          1.jesus was badly beaten up
          2.was nailed
          3. Stopped breathing
          4.was poked in the side

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          1. re: “so what evidence do u have that

            1.jesus was badly beaten up
            2.was nailed
            3. Stopped breathing
            4.was poked in the side”

            What do I need to provide any evidence for Jesus being beaten up or poked in the side? I didn’t claim either one of those things.

            And, stopped breathing? Dang, Ark – i certainly never said that.

            What I said was that he had been nailed up. And, this is because other crucifixions commonly involved being nailed up.

            But, hey, you want to presume they just sorta suggested he should get up on the cross and hold himself there? OK, fine. Or maybe you want to suggest they just tied him up there? OK, that’s great, too.

            Either way, his “survival” would still result in a different story being told. Not a “resurrection”.

            But, you seem to read so poorly, and READ INTO stuff so well, that I doubt you have comprehended a single thing I’ve said in this posting.

            Like

              1. you asked me for evidence for that stuff.

                I feel no need to provide evidence for stuff I didn’t claim, myself.

                And, I have no idea at all why you’re asking me for such evidence.

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  2. “it would have simply been the basis for some other story – and, probably one which none of us would ever have heard.”

    a guy appearing dead and then later being seen alive with no wounds in his hands and feet ( luke), would have been the basis for some other story, how?

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  3. “What I said was that he had been nailed up. And, this is because other crucifixions commonly involved being nailed up.”

    so how do u know jesus was “nailed up” ? why not tied up?
    where is the evidence that “commonly involved” was applied on jesus?

    i mean since u dont do gospels how do u know that the jews would have allowed the crucifixion of jesus HOURS BEFORE jewish religious holiday ? how do u know that the jews wanted to take out jesus publicly?
    U

    “But, hey, you want to presume they just sorta suggested he should get up on the cross and hold himself there?”

    Ftbanged, they could have tied him up. luke has jesus walking with his pals for couple of hours….no one notices holes in hands.

    “OK, fine. Or maybe you want to suggest they just tied him up there? OK, that’s great, too.”

    Whats the problem?

    “Either way, his “survival” would still result in a different story being told. Not a “resurrection”.”

    how do you know this? You did a survey on bodies which appear dead on crosses ? Nobdy which appeared dead and then appeared alive later on could have been mistaken for resurrection ?
    you sound like fukin expert on first century jewish minds, so please tell me.

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    1. re: “how do you know this? You did a survey on bodies which appear dead on crosses ? Nobdy which appeared dead and then appeared alive later on could have been mistaken for resurrection ?”

      Explain to me WHY a body that “appeared” to be dead, then appeared alive later, would have been mistaken for a resurrection, and not merely a resuscitation.

      “Mistaken deaths” were so common that it was Jewish custom to leave a tomb open for a few days in cases where death wasn’t absolutely certain.

      We’ve even seen the same thing in Western culture (albeit in a different fashion): they used to put a bell above ground, on a grave, with a string that went down to the coffin and was tied to the buried persons finger, in case they “woke up”.

      So, this idea of a person believed to be dead, but then coming back to life, is not all that uncommon. But, it’s not mistaken for a resurrection, either. It’s just resuscitation.

      So, in you’re extreme dafteness, explain to me WHY a resuscitation would be mistaken for a resurrection. I gotta hear this….

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      1. So, there is no other plausible explanation for a resurrection legend other than an actual resurrection?

        I assume you also believe:

        -There is no other plausible explanation for a prophet on a flying horse legend other than an actual prophet on a flying horse.
        -There is no other plausible explanation for a talking water buffalo legend other than an actual talking water buffalo.
        -There is no other plausible explanation for a visitation from an angel named Moroni legend other than a actual visitation by an angel.

        Is that rational thinking, ft?

        Liked by 3 people

        1. No, Gary, it is NOT rational for you to make those kinds of assumptions.

          I’m glad you asked, though. At least it shows you’re questioning your own thought process.

          As you know, I’ve long-stated that I felt you needed some professional help, and now that you’re beginning to recognize the problem with your own rationality, and to question it, it might be time for you to put some thought to getting some much-needed help.

          I strongly encourage you to do so.

          Like

      2. “So, this idea of a person believed to be dead, but then coming back to life, is not all that uncommon. But, it’s not mistaken for a resurrection, either. It’s just resuscitation.”

        ftbanged, evidence for “not all that uncommon”
        ftbanged, where is your evidence for “not mistaken for a resurrection ” ?
        ftbanged , how long after crucifixion did the disciples meet jesus?
        ftbanged, what evidence do you have that disciples saw jesus DIE on the cross?
        ftbanged, how many disciples saw jesus die on the cross?
        ftbanged, so a few disciples , from a distance see jesus hanging off a cross. one week later jesus appears to them. how did the disciples KNOW jesus was DEAD- completely dead- on the cross?

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  4. expert ftBANGED:

    ut, there is certainly no reason whatsoever to somehow “mistake” a hobbled guy who could barely walk (if he could walk at all),

    how LONG AFTER DID jesus’ pals see jesus AFTER the crucifixion?
    remember, u dont do gospelS. was it one week later? Two weeks?

    Like

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