dimanche 6 novembre 2011

Challenge on Gospels.

I was saying on P Z Myers' blog comments that eywitness accounts trump reconstruction. That fuelled a challenge about eywitness accounts as such.


None of the gospels were written by eyewitnesses.

Two were, St Matthew (not present on Crucufixion) and St John (present on Crucifixion). The other two had access to eyewitness accounts.

They don't agree on what Jesus's last words were.

Last on Cross? There were seven in total, spread through the four Gospels. First two include and latter two omit the Psalm quote in Hebrew with Aramaic adress to God and spoonerism in the verb, antepenultime word. Other inclusions and omissions are there for other words among the seven, like only St John giving us "woman, see thy son" and "see thy mother" - impossible for him to miss for obvious personal reasons.

St John: Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost. St Luke: And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost. St Mark: And Jesus having cried out with a loud voice, gave up the ghost.=St Matthew: And Jesus again crying with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

The two that give us psalm 22 before vinegar omit the following two words only giving is the fact that one of them was cried out load and one followed by death, of which the one on consummation is immediately after vinegar and the one on the Father's hands immediately before the giving up of his ghost.

They don't agree on what happened when Jesus allegedly died.

St Matthew: [51] And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent. [52] And the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints that had slept arose, [53] And coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, came into the holy city, and appeared to many. [54] Now the centurion and they that were with him watching Jesus, having seen the earthquake, and the things that were done, were sore afraid, saying: Indeed this was the Son of God. St Mark: [38] And the veil of the temple was rent in two, from the top to the bottom. [39] And the centurion who stood over against him, seeing that crying out in this manner he had given up the ghost, said: Indeed this man was the son of God. St Luke: [47] Now the centurion, seeing what was done, glorified God, saying: Indeed this was a just man. St John: [31] Then the Jews, (because it was the parasceve,) that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath day, (for that was a great sabbath day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. [32] The soldiers therefore came; and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. [33] But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. [34] But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water. [35] And he that saw it, hath given testimony, and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true; that you also may believe.

Sts Matthew, Mark, Luke are shorter and shorter, St John gives a different line of events without contradicting the one given by St Matthew.

They don't agree on the location of his tomb.

Only St John gives location. The apparent contradiction is only there if a) Pilate was away from that place, in his palace, and b) he also gave the body as present before him, but c) either he was away and only ordered the body to be given or he was there if the body was before him.

They don't agree on how he was prepared for burial.

St Matthew: [59] And Joseph taking the body, wrapped it up in a clean linen cloth. [60] And laid it in his own new monument, which he had hewed out in a rock. And he rolled a great stone to the door of the monument, and went his way. [61] And there was there Mary Magdalen, and the other Mary sitting over against the sepulchre. St Mark: [46] And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking him down, wrapped him up in the fine linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewed out of a rock. And he rolled a stone to the door of the sepulchre. [47] And Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of Joseph, beheld where he was laid. St Luke: [53] And taking him down, he wrapped him in fine linen, and laid him in a sepulchre that was hewed in stone, wherein never yet any man had been laid. [54] And it was the day of the Parasceve, and the sabbath drew on. [55] And the women that were come with him from Galilee, following after, saw the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. [56] And returning, they prepared spices and ointments; and on the sabbath day they rested, according to the commandment. St John: [38] And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews) besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate gave leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. [39] And Nicodemus also came, (he who at the first came to Jesus by night,) bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. [40] They took therefore the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. [41] Now there was in the place where he was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet had been laid. [42] There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

St John is the one who tells us that Nicodemus brought the spices, but that is no contradiction to the myrrhophores thinking they have to supply spices. None says that the myrrhophores saw the whole process.

They don't agree on who or how many found the alleged empty tomb, who was there when they found it, and what happened afterward.

Since more than one finding of the empty tomb was done, it is no inconvenience if one sees the angels and another not. They have had time to move about.

They don't agree on when and where Jesus allegedly reappeared, and what happened after that.

There were more appearances than one, hence the same solution as to previous.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
George Pompidou Library
of Paris
Sunday the 6 of October Nov.
YooL 2011

4 commentaires:

  1. Now, Chapter Numbers for Crucifixion and Burial are, for each Gospel:

    St Matthew 27 (of 28)
    St Mark 15 (of 16)
    St Luke 23 (of 24)
    St John 19 (of 21).

    St John ends with a near prophecy (disclamed as not quite prophecy) of his own impending reception into Heaven - before breaking off narrative. Sts Luke and Mark give summary accounts of Ascension and St Matthew a fuller one. St Luke also adds a fuller one in beginning of Acts.

  2. The obvious answer, from any Christian, on St Matthew's sobriety and sanity as a witness is: one who was around when dead people or people who had died were walking around.

    Since we have no evidence he was at the Crucifixion himself, he might well have seen his dad and ma and all neighbours from the village or neighbourhood walking about. And pieced together the accounts from the Crucifixion from evidence given by St Mary or St John or from the Holy Myrrhophores. Or from St Joseph of Arimathea too.

  3. Despite the fact that none of the other gospel writers mention this important and salient alleged event, despite having every motivation to do so?

    Did they just somehow miss out on seeing any dead people walking around themselves, or talking to anyone who saw a dead person walking around -- or were they just embarrassed because they figured that Matthew was hallucinating?

    According to your take, every Gospeller had every motivation to note everything that happened. Check out why eywitness accounts differ, will you.

    If your suggestion had been true, how come the Gospel was not scrapped?

    But a modified version of it might have been true.

    a) Sts Mark and Luke were not there. Did the dead walk only around Jerusalem or all around the world? Sufficient reason for Sts Mark and Luke missing it even if true. Their sources were for St Mark mainly St Peter, who was then probably hiding and for St Luke St Mary, who had other things to think about than dead people walking, and so had St John who was right under the Cross. Unlike St Matthew.

    b) If this is true, Pagans and Jews around the place certainly noted it. But those who did and therefore believed were out of Paganism and Judaism. Those who remained un-Christian, after hearing the Christian explanation, may well have agreed to flat denial.

    c) That is not the only time, if so, that Gospellers take sensibilities of non-Christians into at least indirect account. St John in the Apocalypse hears Our Lord speak about proponents of Judaism as "who call themselves Jews, but are not so, but are liars". And first proponents of Judaism (i e first Jewish rejectors of Christianity) are never directly identified with Jewish people in the first three Gospels. But in the fourth Gospel, Our Lord is not thus identifying them either, before he speaks with Pilate: but the Gospeller shortens the "woe ye, Pharisees and Sadducees" into "and he said to the Jews, woe ye". That is, at least in part, because it is the one Gospel written after Jewish rabbinate met in Jamnia, and decided the Christians were no Jews (80-90, A.D.).

  4. Then it's strange that he did not mention the important detail of which dead person or persons he, personally, viewed, and offered no first-person account of this.

    The Gospel is not a witness account in the exact same sense that witness accounts have before court, as in a pure affidavit, but are in part witness accounts, part result of the hearing. As an Apostle St Matthew was also a judge of what witness accounts, beside his memory, were to form his Gospel.

    The very fact that he doesn't include the chain of transmission -- that is, who it was that he was getting his information from -- makes him suspect as both an alleged witness and as a recorder of alleged testimony of others.

    Same answer there.

    Given how sloppy he was, why should we believe anything he wrote had any basis in personal witness?

    A court would express itself in a way seen as sloppy if judged by standards applied to witnesses being heard.

    By the way, as a Levite, he had, before getting into Tax Collecting, had a training in making hearings and making decisions from diverse witness accounts, including or excluding his own. At least decisions on marital disputes were quite within his previous authority.