Why Do Christians Trust Contested First Century Eyewitness Testimony?

Eyewitness testimony The problem is clear: the unreliability of eyewitness  identification evidence poses one of the most serious problems in the  administration. - ppt download

George Rahn, Lutheran pastor:

The bodily resurrection of Christ is a fact. Cephas saw Jesus as I see my wife from here. Not a vision, not a hallucination. Luke-Acts testifies to the bodily resurrection of Christ…not a spirit, not a subjectively-authored appearance. The language and grammar ( I am a Lutheran pastor who is also a Greek scholar) can settle the argument over whether the resurrection is a bodily resurrection. No need for outside sources to buttress up the statements in the New Testament as the internal witness via the language is convincing enough.

Gary:

Why do Christians place so much trust in alleged eyewitness testimony from the first century? Is that rational?

Conservative Christians may be very confident in their belief that the Gospels are eyewitness accounts, but the experts are divided. The authorship of the Gospels is contested. That is a fact! And it isn’t just liberal and agnostic/atheist scholars who hold this position. Most Roman Catholic NT scholars, who have no bias against the supernatural, concede that the Gospels were most likely not written by eyewitnesses or even the associates of eyewitnesses.

So conservative Christians must ask themselves: How good is contested eyewitness testimony? In particular, how good is two thousand year old contested eyewitness testimony?? Contested eyewitness testimony for an everyday claim like an auto accident is questionable evidence. So how much more questionable is contested eyewitness testimony, that is 2000 years old, for an incredibly extra-ordinary claim such as the reanimation/transformation (resurrection) of a three day brain dead corpse??

Christians are just not thinking rationally on this topic, Rev.

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End of post.

6 thoughts on “Why Do Christians Trust Contested First Century Eyewitness Testimony?

  1. Or we can follow what science says, by an large: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/eyewitness-memory-is-a-lot-more-reliable-than-you-think/

    Remember: account for at least 8 independent sources all confirming the details of the resurrection, plus corroboration from external sources (Tacitus, Josephus) – even if the Gospels were not written by eye-witnesses, they are historically reliable, and therefore it is absolutely rational to trust them.

    What is not rational is believing that a godless universe leads to morality. Or that a universe can be eternal in the past, or self-creating. That is irrational.

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    1. Remember: account for at least 8 independent sources all confirming the details of the resurrection, plus corroboration from external sources (Tacitus, Josephus) – even if the Gospels were not written by eye-witnesses, they are historically reliable, and therefore it is absolutely rational to trust them.

      Most experts do not believe that Matthew or Luke are independent sources and 50% of scholars do not believe that John is an independent source. Tacitus and Josephus may make brief mention of Jesus or a “Christ” but they give us little else.

      Historical fictions contain some facts (the names of historical figures, real cities and countries) but that in no way means that the rest of the story is true. For some reason you just cannot get this point through your thick head, Liam.

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  2. This is sort of on topic and I really want to post it because it’s such a howler- a quote from a New Testament prof at the bible college that that we were discussing in Gary’ previous post. The guy is talking about how he loves the NLT version.

    “There is no shame in using a Bible translation. Jesus and the apostles most often used a translation (LXX) even though they had studied Hebrew in synagogue school. The NLT is readable and understandable …I resonate with the NLT translators’ goal: “clarity” of the message.”

    The Apostles went to synagogue school !!!!! !!!! I assume that means they were taught to read.
    So much for Peter not being able to read and the opinion of most non conservative evangelical scholars that the disciples and Jesus were illiterate. I know he said apostles but with the exception of Paul when people say the apostles they pretty much mean the disciples. Or is it possible to go to whatever this synagogue school is but still not have to learn to read? Sounds unlikely to me.

    https://www.briercrest.ca/blog/nlt

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  3. Grammar has nothing to do with it, anyway. Mao’s Little Red Book, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and other hogwash also have perfectly acceptable grammar. And are still hogwash.

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