Originally posted by ElectricUniverse
Originally posted by adjensen
Um, you're kind of all over the map there, but the canonical Gospels (Mt, Mk, Lk, Jn) are all dated probably mid-50sAD to maybe (for John) 90AD or so.
Paul's letters obviously predate his death in 67AD. The rest of it probably falls somewhere in between. We have evidence that the New Testament
canon was in pretty much the form it is now (with two "extra" books and missing a couple of the Epistles) in the early second century.
Since when does 67 AD predates Jesus' death? Jesus Christ supposedly died in 33 AD. Or are you talking about Paul's death? Either way, it took Paul
34 years to start writing about Jesus?
As the others have pointed out, I was referring to Paul's death in 67AD, and I didn't say that he wrote all of his letters in his dying days, the time
frame appears to be that they were written over at least a decade.
People labour under a pretty big misconception about writing in the first century, spoiled, perhaps, by the ease by which we communicate today. They
had no typewriters, no Xerox machines, no faxes. Letters or books were written by hand, often "hired hands", because most people in the time were
illiterate, and being a scribe was a job, not something that just anyone did.
And for something to survive 2,000 years, it generally needed to have enough copies out there that some would survive. That means that someone had to
read, say, Paul's letter to the Corinthians and decide that it was worth preserving or sharing, hire someone to make copies by hand, and pass those
copies out. There are clear indications that Paul wrote more than 13 letters, he references them himself, but those are the ones that the early
church a) had copies of and b) thought were relevant.
Why are you so willing to accept the claimed writings of Paul, which were 34 years after Jesus' death, but not that of non-canonical
Well, the criteria that the early church used to determine the canon was that the works needed to have an apostolic connection, that they support what
we now call proto-orthodoxy and that they were widely used. Some things (like the writings of Clement or Justin Martyr) were rejected, not because
they were wrong, but because they lacked one of those criteria. Others, like the Gospel of Thomas, are non-canonical because they are heretical (and,
thus, were probably never considered for inclusion, though the Gnostic Christians would, of course, include it in their canon.)
I don't understand why you question the inclusion of Paul's writings because they were 34 years after the death of Christ, but you argue for the
inclusion of something like The Gospel of Truth
which was written over a 100 years after Christ's death, and claims "secret knowledge" from
Christ, when the author couldn't possibly have met him, or anyone who knew him.
And where is this proof that the New testament was written in the same form as it is now?
It is in the Muratorian Fragment
, dated 170AD or so. Apologies for my error in stating
that it was "early 2nd century" -- it's a bit later than that. But the books that make up that canon are, indeed from the 1st Century.
No, they are viewed as a forgery because these books give a completely different view of what could be the real teachings of Jesus and his
disciples, that's why.
Again, you are confusing terms. Your "different view" is why they are considered heretical (which means, literally, "wrong teaching", it's not an
evil term,) but persons who study ancient documents use the term "forgery" for a document which claims to be something that it is not. It was fairly
common, because no one wanted to read "The Gospel of Roger", who had ideas, but was a nobody. But they'd certainly read "The Gospel of Simon the
Zealot", when Roger titled his missive that, never mind that Roger lived 100 years after Simon.
Excursus: The Number of Pilgrims
The book estimates about 125,000 pilgrims to the festivals. This study is based on the number of animals killed at a Passover (18,000), how many could
eat of each animal (ca. 10), the number of people killed at wars during the festivals, and the number in the courts. The population of Jerusalem was
about 50,000 (so the number rose to 125,000 in the festivals. This number is too high, probably; most would say a population of about 30,000 in
Jerusalem, swelling to 80,000 or even more at the festivals.
Like I said, I'm not an archaeologist, but you're missing two things -- the factor of geography, as Jerusalem likely represented a cool place to be
buried in for a Jew, so one might guess that non-inhabitants of the city might be interred there. And the factor of time -- the population of a city
at one point in time is not a limiting factor. People were being buried there for centuries, and would continue to be buried there after Jesus was
edit on 11-1-2011 by adjensen because: Meant Clement, typed Origen. doh!