Ryan, conservative Christian blogger:
Gary, I included articles in my previous comment that state why I don’t side with liberal scholarship [regarding the non-eyewitness authorship of the Gospels]. I don’t accept those other views you just mentioned blindly either. If I didn’t think gravity was a real thing, I wouldn’t accept it. But based on the evidence, I believe gravity is a real thing. At the same time, rejecting the liberal view on Gospel authorship isn’t outlandish like rejecting gravity or a round earth. There are legitimate reasons for holding to eye-witness testimony (see Richard Bauckham, Larry Hurtado, Peter Williams, or N.T. Wright). Based on the evidence they put forth, I’m persuaded its more likely that eye-witness testimony stands behind the Gospels.
I’d like to know why you reject eye-witness testimony to the Gospels. What evidence do you look to for your conclusion?
The idea that the consensus scholarly position on the non-eyewitness authorship is a “liberal” position is false, Ryan. This consensus position is the position of ALL scholars except a small minority who consist almost exclusively of evangelicals and fundamentalist Protestants. The overwhelming majority of Roman Catholic scholars agree with the majority position. Who can credibly accuse Roman Catholics of having a bias against miracles or the bodily resurrection of Jesus? These Roman Catholic scholars have no bias against the supernatural yet they agree with the majority that the evidence indicates that the Gospels were authored by non-eyewitnesses, non-associates of eyewitnesses, living several generations after the death of Jesus.
I accept the consensus expert opinion on ALL issues in which I myself am not an expert. I accept heliocentricity, the law of gravity, the age of the universe, climate change, etc., etc.. I think it would be foolish for me to try to read up on these subjects and then take a position contrary to that of the consensus of experts. No matter how much I study, I will never have the insight that the experts do. This is why I also accept the majority expert opinion in New Testament scholarship. I accept the scholarly consensus that Jesus was a real historical person, that he was crucified by the Romans, and that shortly after his death some of his followers believed that he had appeared to them in some fashion.
Are you a New Testament scholar, Ryan? If not, why do you side with a small minority of experts, almost all of whom belong to one branch of Christianity? Is it possibly because you so very much want the minority’s position to be true??
For you to tell me that you have studied this issue and feel you know better than the consensus position of experts is no different than if your neighbor (who is a climate change denier) tells you that he knows more than the consensus expert opinion on climate change because he has spent several years reading some books and studying some articles on the internet. Is that really wise?
End of post.