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Did Matthew write Matthew? Did Mark write Mark? Did Luke write Luke? Did John write John?

Did Moses write Genesis (spoiler alert: probably not)?

While we were discussing Steve Lortz' excellent question about the impact of the presence of errors and contradictions in the Bible on the status of those books as "God-breathed," Steve and I became engaged in a side discussion about whether Luke wrote the gospel of Luke and Acts. Steve says yes (or would it be more fair to say "probably?") and I say no (or, more accurately, "probably not").

Different scholars approach the material in different ways. There is a right answer, but no one can lay claim to it with 100.0000% certainty.

The Floor is Open.

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From the God-breathed thread:

Usually when you write, Raf, you are SPOT ON! But in this case, I think you've allowed your passion to make you miss the mark. I can understand that. I remember how I felt when I first learned that people I had trusted had lied to me about the Bible and about God. That was a long time before I got involved with TWI. I was a little more cautious than many during my time in the Way, and still am.

An assumption is a guess that a person makes when she/he has to take a decision with incomplete information. Making assumptions is NOT a bad thing. We ALL have to do it because none of us ever have 100% COMPLETE information. The keys to dealing successfully with assumptions are, first of all, to be AWARE of your own assumptions. Then, as soon after the crisis is over as possible, and you have time to collect more information, FIND OUT whether or not your assumptions were correct.

I'll agree with that. Not that I missed the mark, but everything else you wrote.

SNIP

In the scholarly world, we don't have to take instant decisions. We are expected to gather sufficient information before delivering our interpretation. When we deliver our interpretations, we are expected to state where our information has been incomplete, and suggest how we might acquire a more certain understanding, if possible. That is the same in the humanities (the world of poetic knowledge expressed as simile and metaphor) as it is in the world of "hard" science (the world of propositional knowledge stated in mathematics).

(I am using first person in the previous paragraph because I AM receiving the training of a professional scholar. I AM part of the scholarly community, more so than Wierwille or other leaders of TWI ever were or are.)

I need to stop to ask you here, with an apology, where you are receiving this scholarly training. I apologize because I know you have mentioned it, but I have not committed that to memory. I'd like to know the name of the school and the particular degree program.

In journalism, responsible writers sometimes find it necessary to conceal the sources of their information. In scholarship, writers are required to reveal ALL of their sources in order to accept responsibility, or run the danger of committing plagiarism whether intentional or not.

True. However, two things need to be said: First, when a source is concealed, the information provided by that source needs to be corroborated elsewhere. Otherwise, in ethical journalism, the information cannot be used without jeopardizing the reputation of the reporter. Now, sometimes a reporter will be willing to take that risk. But when he does so, he knows it is HIS integrity on the line. For example, we once obtained the blood alcohol content of someone who had been involved in an accident. The source could not be exposed publicly, or he would lose his job. But ANY source that divulged the information would have lost his job, so there was no way to verify it. What we did was, we reported it anyway, indicating we had a source but refusing to divulge it. Then we waited. And when we weren't sued for libel, we knew that the risk we took in reporting unverified information paid off.

This does not happen in historical scholarship because the need to protect sources is generally not there.

So, what were my sources when I wrote the things I did about Luke?

My first New Testament exegesis paper was What Must I Do To Inherit Eternal Life? Luke 18:18-30. I had eight sources listed in the bibliography, but I'm only going to use one of those, a commentary, in this post, and two other sources that I didn't use in my exegesis paper. The commentary is:

Bock, Darrell. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Luke Volume 1, 1:1-9:50. Grand Rapids:

Baker Books. 1994.

Darrell Bock is a scholar, but he is far from unbiased. This is not to say that what he writes can't be trusted. It's just biased. The man's an evangelical. He's not going to say "Luke didn't write Luke." He's not going to say Paul didn't write all the letters attributed to him in the New Testament. He's going to defend tradition. The fact that he's writing an exegetical commentary tells you all you need to know. Historians don't write exegetical commentaries. That is the work of a preacher, not a historian.

AND THAT'S FINE. You just need to know that going in, and treat his conclusions accordingly.

To take another example, Walter Cummins. Walter Cummins was a sharp cookie (still is, I assume). And we could learn a lot from him when he writes about textual variants and such. But I will never expect him to conclude that Jesus is God. Just won't happen. Just like I won't expect Darrell Bock to conclude Jesus is not God. Not gonna happen. So I'm not trying to insult Bock. I just take his traditional conclusions with a grain of salt if/when the evidence is contrary to the conclusion, as it is in the case of the authorship and research of Luke. The man is writing as a preacher, and probably a very good one, but not a historian.

The other two sources are:

Ehrman, Bart D. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. 5th ed. New York: Oxford University Press. 2012.

To be clear here, Ehrman agrees with me. "Luke" did not write Luke, nor was the author of Luke a companion of Paul. That you cite him only bolsters my position.

Majeski, Kimberly. BIST 6210 class discussion covering Luke 1. Anderson, IN: Anderson University School of Theology. November 2, 2015.

Associate professor of Biblical Studies at Anderson University, a Christian college, described in her online bio as a scholar, preacher and author.

Again, not unbiased.

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Steve is at Anderson University, Anderson, IN. It's a "Church of God" affiliated university (which is along the lines (doctrinally) of an "Assemblies of God")

  • Upvote 1

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Of the three people you cite, only Ehrman walks away unscathed in the bias department. Alone among the three, Ehrman went into his research intending to prove tradition and changing his mind because the evidence led him elsewhere.

-----

Lets start with your last sentence first: "2. It assumes "Luke" wrote the gospel. No serious, unbiased scholar believes that."

The phrase "serious, unbiased scholar" is a tell that this is not a statement of objective, doctrinal content, but rather a tendentious confession of faith.

No, it's a statement of objective content (note, I left out "doctrinal," because "doctrinal" is not relevant to bias in this context).

A serious, unbiased scholar goes where the evidence leads. He does not lead the evidence to where he wants to go. Yes, everyone has biases, but you can check those as you write, and most scholars are very, very good at that.

Unbiased scholars do not exist, no more so than unbiased journalists do. The things is, scholars are expected to be aware of their own biases, to take them into account, and express them in setting forth their argument. Unlike the work of journalists, scholarly work subjects bias to intense scrutiny and discussion. By saying "No serious, unbiased scholar believes that." you are implying that you have examined all scholarship and that anyone who disagrees with your bias CANNOT BE taken seriously.

Not at all. I am saying I have examined enough scholarship concerning the authorship of the gospels to the point that I am confident in declaring that anyone who believes Matthew wrote Matthew, Mark wrote Mark, Luke wrote Luke-Acts and John wrote John cannot be taken seriously. I absolutely stand by that, and modern scholarship agrees with me overwhelmingly (remove the "preachers" from the ranks of "scholars" and "overwhelmingly" approaches "unanimously").

How about Bart Ehrman?

How about the scholar who concludes without hesitation that Luke did not write Luke, and that whoever did write it was not a companion of Paul? How about him? He agrees with me.

On page 137 of The New Testament he wrote,"All these features are found in Luke 1:1-4. The author (whom I will continue to call Luke for convenience) indicates that ..." That's ALL Ehrman said about the authorship of Luke in his chapter on the gospel of Luke.... "for convenience..."

Which strongly implies what he explicitly states elsewhere: The author of Luke is not "Luke."

If you read the introduction to Bock's commentary, you will find the same thing I did in examining a number of commentaries. There is no internal evidence attributing the authorship of Luke-Acts to a person named Luke.

BAM! Stop right there. That's where scholarship stops and speculation begins.

However, scholarship from patristic times forward has universally held the author to be an apostolic companion named Luke.

Well, there you go. "Tradition" is not "scholarship." There is no "scholarship" from patristic times holding that author to be an apostolic companion named Luke. That is tradition, and it is a tradition that post-dates the writing of the gospel by, oh, about a century.

There is NO evidence that anyone ever taught that there was an author other than a "Luke."

As already mentioned, there's no evidence anyone taught from earliest times that the author WAS Luke. Or anyone else. The author of Luke was anonymous. You cannot conclude that it was a man named "Luke" just because no one said otherwise! That's not scholarship. That's embracing tradition for tradition's sake.

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Anderson has become far more "liberal" in its teaching in the last 20 or so years - since dropping College from its name and taking on University. I know a number of people who have attended and some found the liberalness of the campus sufficient reason to go elsewhere.

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It is not certain whether the Luke of patristic tradition was the same as the Luke of Colossians 4:14, but there is NO evidence precluding the possibility either.

Actually, there is. The Luke of Colossians 4:14 is someone who was close to Paul. The writer of Acts is someone who flagrantly contradicts Paul on more than one occasion, crucially. So it's really unlikely that the author of Acts got his information from Paul. If he did, you would expect him to agree with Paul a bit more closely.

If Ehrman had any evidence that Luke was not written by Luke, he would have presented it, convenient or not. There is no evidence that Luke-Acts was written by anybody other than somebody named Luke, and there is strong probability that the Luke who wrote Luke-Acts was Paul's companion mentioned in Colossians 4:14.

Hilariously, the portion of what you wrote that I highlighted in bold is the polar opposite of Ehrman's conclusion. Ehrman concludes: "But there’s little reason to think he was Paul’s traveling companion and virtually no reason, in my opinion, to think that he was a physician named Luke."

How have you brought yourself to cite Ehrman to reach the exact opposite conclusion of Ehrman?

-----

"The notion that Luke interviewed eyewitnesses to the events in question assumes two things that are not true.

1. It assumes Luke made this claim. Read the verses. He does not make this claim."

Luke 1:1&2 (NRSV) say, "1Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account [diegeomai] of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2just as they were handed to us by those who were from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,"

Luke never made the claim that he himself was an eyewitness, but let's look at what Bock had to say:

"The verb diegeomai in the NT speaks of both oral and written accounts... so whatever type of narrative Luke alludes to in 1:1, it is not clear whether the sources are oral or written or both." (p. 53)

This is true, but by the time Luke is writing, most of the original sources of this information are dead.

"We should not think of Luke as a student locked up in a library, especially since written material was so rare in the ancient world. Here was an inquiring student, who took in whatever he could, oral or written." (p. 61)

Now we've gone from speculating to declaring the speculation true by fiat. In the preceding sentence, it is not clear whether the sources are oral, written or both. Suddenly, it's emphatic that he has both. This, of course, assumes "he" is Luke in the first place, so you're now building one piece of speculation on another. This is not scholarship.

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Anderson has become far more "liberal" in its teaching in the last 20 or so years - since dropping College from its name and taking on University. I know a number of people who have attended and some found the liberalness of the campus sufficient reason to go elsewhere.

Fair enough, but here's the issue:

When your goal as a university, or as a student, is to study theology, it is not the same as studying history. You may employ history while studying theology, but what happens when they're in conflict? Easy. Faith wins.

If you are a student of theology, there is an inherent conclusion at the beginning of your study: That God (not religion, but God himself) is something that can be studied.

Again, I don't know Steve's course of study, nor do I judge it. It simply helps me to understand what field I'm dealing with as I engage in this dialogue. Speaking of which, I need to finish my thought...

Edited by Raf

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Regarding Luke's use of the word akribos, "carefully" in verse 3, Bock wrote, "Some commentators see this as a description of how Luke wrote his material (i.e. modifying graphai) rather than as a description of his investigation. But the word order of the sentence makes this connection less likely. So, Luke's study is the fruit of a careful and thorough investigation that went back to Jesus' birth." (p. 62)

But again, we still have no reason to insist, or even conclude tentatively, that interviewing eyewitnesses was a part of this careful investigation. In fact, we have every reason to believe it did NOT include an interview with the eyewitness Mary, who would have known that there was no census that required Joseph to bring her pregnant self from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem because he had an ancestor who lived there a millenium ago!

Who better to interview in a careful and thorough investigation that went back to Jesus' birth than Mary, his mother?

PURE speculation. Not a scrap of evidence to back it up, and every reason to believe otherwise.

Orthodox tradition that can be traced back to the 8th century holds that Luke painted the first icon, a portrait of Mary, during or after his interview with her.

This, of course, proves nothing at all, not even a little.

Dr. Majeski teaches the New Testament, both at the introductory level to freshmen at the University, and at an advanced graduate level at the School of Theology. She is a serious scholar, though she will be the first to say that she is biased,

Second.

and will explain her biases in more excruciating detail than you want to hear. She has also presented at the SBL convention and writes a blog. She is taken seriously by N.T. Wright, who invited her to dinner with his circle of friends at the SBL convention. She has a selfie of herself with N.T. Wright to prove it!

Nice. Ehrman was close to Wright, too.

Her field of specialty is the role of women in the NT... not feminist-gender theology, but examining the things people like Mary, Martha, Lydia, Phoebe, and Priscilla thought and did. Dr. Majeski recently adopted an infant son, and motherhood is now having a strong influence on her thought. I attended her graduate level NT class on Monday, Novenber 2, when she was covering the first chapter of Luke. She makes a convincing case that the only place Luke could have gotten his information about Mary's visit to Elizabeth, and about Jesus' visit to the Temple at the age of twelve would have been from Mary, and how the incident recorded in Luke 8:19, where Jesus denied his earthly family, would have been seared into Mary's memory and would have been an important part of her testimony.

It would have been. Had "Luke" (whoever he was) interviewed Mary. But there's no reason whatsoever to believe he did.

-----

So...

" The notion that Luke interviewed eyewitnesses to the events in question assumes two things that are not true.

1. It assumes Luke made this claim. Read the verses. He does not make this claim.

2. It assumes "Luke" wrote the gospel. No serious, unbiased scholar believes that."

Are you still willing to stand on the soundness of what you wrote, Raf?

Love,

Steve

Absolutely.

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What is the significance of bias when it comes to evaluating a scholarly work?

One of the first things we need to consider is whether the bias is relevant to the work itself. No one wonders about the intellectual biases of the writers of a math textbook, for example.

But when we're dealing with questions of who wrote the various books of the Bible, bias does indeed come into play.

An evangelical will be predisposed to accepting traditional claims of authorship, and reluctant to consider evidence to the contrary. This agenda is VERY difficult to overcome, because the consequences for the biased scholar have the potential to be profound. It is not fair to dismiss an evangelical conclusion just because it's an evangelical conclusion, but you really have to at least account for the bias and make sure you're not being too permissive.

But what about the reverse? Is an agnostic like Bart Ehrman predisposed to rejecting traditional claims of authorship because he has an anti-Christian agenda?

In Ehrman's case, the answer is demonstrably "no." Why? Because, to begin with, Ehrman did not enter the field of textual studies as an agnostic. He entered as an evangelical, determined to REFUTE those who were challenging such concepts as traditional authorship. If anything, his bias went the other way for a significant period of time. Further, and this is crucial, embracing traditional authorship does nothing to undermine agnosticism or atheism. Ehrman (and I) could believe without hesitation that Luke wrote Luke-Acts, and it would not change or affect his (or my) underlying beliefs. Ehrman has no quibble with the authorship of several Pauline epistles, but that doesn't seem to have any effect on his agnosticism (or my atheism). He is (and I am) willing to accept the evidence that Luke is not the author of Luke-Acts because the evidence FOR such a claim is simply not there (in fact, the evidence is the opposite of there, if you're being objective about it).

So what's the problem? Well, the problem is that if someone were to reject the traditional authorship models to advance an atheist agenda, there doesn't seem to be a ready way to distinguish such a rejection from an intellectually honest one.

So here are some things to look for in evaluating ANYONE.

1. Identify the bias.

2. Consider what's at stake for the scholar if the evidence undermines the scholar's preconceived positions.

3. Consider whether the scholar embraces the evidence EVEN THOUGH it undermines the scholar's preconceived positions. When you have something like that, you can often bank on it. I posted a while back about an evangelical who considers Luke 2 a serious problem because of the Quirinian census issue. He rejects a number of attempts by other evangelicals to reconcile the passage with history, convincingly, even though doing so undermines his position that the gospel of Luke is God-breathed in the sense of being without error. He won't twist the facts to suit his agenda. I remain impressed with his honesty.

4. When the scholar holds a position that confirms his bias, check to see whether he's given the alternative view fair consideration. This is usually where you'll find trouble.

5. Consult peer-review. It's there for a reason.

In the case of the authorship of Luke, the first sign we see of someone attributing the gospel to Luke is a full 100 years after the gospel is said to have been written. There are no alternatives, but the fact that it takes 100 years to attach an author to the work is problematic to say the least.

Other problems to take into consideration are the historical problems with Luke (that would not have been there had he interviewed people who were eyewitnesses to what took place), his disagreement with Paul about the events of Acts, and the growing body of scholarship questioning the authorship of Colossians and II Timothy. This last bit is crucial. If Paul didn't write Colossians, then the basis for Luke as a Gentile physician is a forgery.

Now, will you expect an evangelical to look at the evidence regarding Colossians and conclude that it's forged? Probably not. So if you are an evangelical, you're going to have to check your bias before you look at the evidence.

Because everyone else will be.

More later.

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One of the issues you have to contend with while exploring the issue of who wrote the books and letters of the Bible is preconception: What does the observer consider "on the table" and what is considered "of the table" in terms of consideration.

For someone who already considers authorship to be off the table for consideration, no amount of evidence will suffice to dissuade, and flimsy evidence in support of such a person's position will be exalted. Thus, the fact that numerous church fathers cited the gospel of Luke without an identifying author's name until the first mention of his name is made A FULL CENTURY after the gospel was written, somehow becomes incontravertible. This is, of course, ridiculous. The names of the gospels were attached to bestow authority on them, not the other way around.

We actually SEE this with other gospels.

John, for example, is attributed to an apostle, even though the writer of the gospel flat out tells the reader that he is not providing a first person account (he refers to the disciple-source in the third person and the body of believers in the first person plural). Whoever wrote John, it was not John.

Mark? Read it with a map. This gospel was not written by someone who was familiar with Palestinian geography, which Mark would have been. Whoever wrote Mark, it wasn't Mark.

An early church father describes the gospel of Mark as containing everything Peter told Mark about Jesus. Everything. EVERYTHING? It barely has anything! It's the shortest and least detailed of the gospels, and the details it does contain are problematic. In one section, Jesus walks from Texas to Florida, stopping on the way in Chicago. I might have the place names mixed up, but the upshot of the story is the same.

But don't trust me on Mark's errors. Trust Matthew and Luke: They try desperately to fix them. Go ahead. Do a side-by-side comparison.

This demonstrates that whatever the gospel of Mark is, it is not the document described by an early church father as having been written by Peter's companion Mark.

This same church father (I want to say Papias, but don't hold me to that) describes the gospel written by Matthew as merely a collection of Jesus' sayings. Oh, and it was written in Hebrew or Aramaic. I'll double check that and get back to you. .

Two problems. One: That doesn't describe the gospel of Matthew. It's much more than just sayings. And Matthew was indisputably written in Greek, no matter what Wierwille or Lamsa claim.

So Papias refers to a gospel of Matthew and a gospel of Mark, but the gospels we have today with those names are clearly not the documents of which Papias spoke. Horrors!

So the gospel of Mark is written in Greek by someone unfamiliar with Palestinian geography. Attributed to Mark to confer authenticity, though the document itself contains no such attribution.

Matthew is written in Greek, does not match what the early church father says Matthew wrote, but whatever. The gospel of Matthew also plagiarizes from the gospel of Mark. Relentlessly. Not something you would expect an eyewitness to do, copying the second-hand information of someone who wasn't there. At least he tries to fix some of Mark's geographical errors.

Luke is written by someone who really wants you to think he was Paul's companion, but he disagrees with Paul on so many crucial issues that you have to conclude he considered Paul a liar (and the feeling was apparently mutual, considering that Paul implies the Acts writer's account of his history is a blatant lie). So was Luke a companion of Paul? Well, Colossians says he was. Problem is, a lot of scholars don't think Paul wrote Colossians. Or Ephesians. Or II Thesallonians. Or I and II Timothy. But back to Colossians, if Paul did not write this letter, then the identifications of Luke as a physician and a gentile are forgeries. You can't hang history on a forgery.

Of course, if you're looking at the evidence, you may or may not reach the same conclusion. But if you've already concluded that the authorship of Colossians is off the table, then shucks, there's nothing to argue, is there?

And John TELLS YOU he wasn't an apostle, and therefore could not have been the apostle John. He uses the third person to talk about the beloved disciple, and the first person to differentiate himself from that person. (This, of course, assumes the beloved disciple IS John. If he is someone other than John, then the identification of John as the author of the gospel of John becomes even MORE problematic: An apostle claiming he got his information from a disciple who was not an apostle).

None of the gospels were written by the people whose names they bear.

Disinterested scholars know this and teach this. Biased scholars know this and hide it.

Edited by Raf

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I was going to post this in the other thread, but decided it was more at home here:

One piece of evidence mentioned by Steve regarding Luke interviewing Mary concerns Luke 8: 19-21

19 Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd.

20 And he was told, "Your Mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you."

21 But he said to them, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."

This incident, we are told by Steve, would have been seared into Mary's memory, and serves as evidence that Luke interviewed Mary.

The problem with that assertion is that this episode is lifted wholly from the gospel of Mark, and no one is claiming Mark interviewed Mary.

Mark 3: 31-35

31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

If Mark could have gotten this second-hand (and no one is suggesting he interviewed Mary), then Luke could have gotten it second-hand. And the same goes for every story about Mary in the gospel of Luke. Assuming Mary was a figure who reappeared through Jesus' ministry all the way until the end and through the ascension, there is no reason to think she did not share her recollections with others who were present at the time: Peter, her son James, John, all the other disciples and apostles.

To insist that the stories about Mary in the gospel of Luke prove he interviewed Mary is untenable. Alternate explanations better account for Luke's errors while maintaining the position that Luke did interview eyewitnesses (which, again, he never actually claims. By the time "Luke" is writing, enough other gospels have been produced that he feels the need to sort them out and get to the truth, a task at which he fails, though not for lack of effort).

Luke's heavy reliance on the gospel of Mark is not coincidental. It is systematic. Mark is not just "a" source, it is a MAJOR source.

Why would someone who interviewed witnesses independently then turn around and use a second-hand source like Mark for the backbone of his account? It makes no sense.

Luke 1:1-2

1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.

That term, "handed down to us," implies the passage of time. Most scholars place the writing of Luke after 80 AD. Peter is long dead. Paul is long dead. MOST of the apostles are long dead. There were VERY few people around to interview who were actually eyewitnesses. Luke claims to have done some investigating, but he never says or hints that interviews with eyewitnesses were part of his investigation.

We don't know when Mary died, but we do know that she was of child-bearing age when Jesus was born (duh). So assuming 3 B.C. as Jesus' birthdate, by the time Luke starts writing, Mary is at least 95 years old.

Life expectancy at the time was not high. Certainly not 95. Possible that someone lived that long? Sure. But you're straining credibility unless you have some real evidence. For what it's worth, Catholic tradition places the assumption of Mary at 41 AD or so. I don't put any stock in that, but it's worth mentioning at least.

When you learn history from historians, you get history. When you learn history from theologians, you get history*. History* may be valuable, and it may overlap with history, but you can't escape the fact that there's an agenda at work.

Most "Bible scholars" are not historians. They are theologians. They have an agenda. Peer review is one way you get experts to call out other experts. But when it comes to Biblical studies, this is complicated by the vast number of people who approach the information with a bias. You're still able to get widespread agreement on the facts, but on the conclusions, it gets sketchy. So by all means, compare what the experts say. But, for example, when you cite Nelson's Bble Dictionary to prove Luke wrote Luke, understand that you are NOT looking at an unbiased source.

The unbiased sources are those with no vested interest in the conclusion, and they overwhelmingly agree that Luke did not write Luke. Yes, I'm getting this second-hand. So is Steve. Neither of us have polled Bible scholars.

But here's what we do know: I found three scholars without even trying. At least one IS a theologian, so his conclusion that Luke did not write Luke is especially credible because it goes against his natural bias, which would be to affirm Lucan authorship. Instead, he admits what I've repeatedly stated here: "most contemporary critical scholars remain unconvinced that Luke-Acts was written by a companion of Paul..." He goes on to list the reasons, including the contradictions with Paul's undisputed letters, the theological differences with Paul, etc). The author of Luke, had he been a companion of Paul, would have had access to Paul's letters (and if it were Luke, he would have been present for the writing of at least one!). It would be, therefore, inexcusable for him to contradict Paul on key aspects of Paul's life.

Yet he does.

More later.

Edited by Raf

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Steve also cited three scholars. Two had identifiable biases. The third did not.

Problem is, the third scholar cited by Steve actually disagreed with him, 180 degrees.

So, thus far, we have six cited scholars. Four agree that Luke did not write Luke. The other two are preachers.

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The scholar I cited earlier in detail is Eugene Boring, in case anyone wants to check. Steve cited Bart Ehrman, leaving us with the false impression that Ehrman agreed Luke wrote Luke. I doubt that was intentional. I think Steve genuinely believed that when he wrote it. But it doesn't change the fact that Ehrman emphatically believes Luke-Acts was not only written by someone other than Luke, but that it was written by someone who was not a companion of Paul.

That doesn't mean Ehrman is right. It only means you can't cite him as a scholar who believes the opposite of what he does.

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When it comes to the New Testament, scholars don't agree on everything. And of course, this becomes complicated by the fact that the people most interested in the subject matter are also the most biased (which is not to say they are untrustworthy, but you need to correct for it).

I keep coming back to Bart Ehrman for a simple reason: He went into the field as an evangelical, biased up the wazoo, and ended up changing his mind because the evidence convinced him otherwise (that is, he changed his mind about matters of Biblical authorship. That he changed his mind on other matters is less interesting to me, but you may consider it evidence of a new bias in the opposite direction of his old bias if you're so inclined).

Anyway, according to Ehrman, only eight of the 27 books of the Bible are correctly attributed (that is, they were all but certainly written by the people whose names are attached to them).

Those books are:

Romans, I and II Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, I Thessalonians, Philemon and Revelation.

Based on Ehrman's writings, I think he is being a little harsh here. I'll explain.

Most of the New Testament letters whose authorship is undisputed by scholars were written by Paul.

Revelation, according to Ehrman, was written by "John." The catch is, it's probably not the John who appears in the gospels. It's just some disciple named John. It's a common enough name.

On that basis, I don't see how Ehrman excludes James from the list. There's no reason to believe the person who wrote James was not named James. There is, equally, no reason to believe that this James was the brother of Jesus. He never claims such a relationship and never asserts his authority as a leader of the first century church. He's just some dude what wrote a letter.

I haven't looked at the Johannine epistles lately, but I have no reason to think they were written by anyone other than someone named John either. Maybe or maybe not the same John who wrote Revelation.

Whatever. I don't know why Ehrman only lists eight when the same criteria he used to include Revelation can also be used to include James and possibly I, II and III John.

There's no reason to think any of those people named John also wrote the gospel of John.

Skipping the issue of the gospels, which we've beaten to death without coming to agreement, we move on to the disputed letters of Paul, and they are fascinating.

It's important to note that scholarship is not unanimous on these matters, but I'm not inclined to take the time to sort out which scholars are which. Be assured, evangelical scholars will disagree with Ehrman. Period. Their faith will not allow them to do otherwise. But of the rest, I am not aware whether there is a consensus.

Paul did not write Ephesians. Let that sink in. Ephesians actually conflicts with the other epistles on issues like salvation (in Romans, we will be saved; in Ephesians, we were). He didn't write Colossians (so much for Luke the Gentile physician). He didn't write II Thessalonians (which makes sense. Look at the second coming in I Thess and compare it to II Thess. See any differences? YEAH! How did we miss them for so long?)

He didn't write the pastoral epistles! Timothy... Titus... those were not written by Paul!

Well, yeah. In Corinthians, Paul is like, "If you're married, stay married. If you're single, stay single. Then you get to Timothy and suddenly he's like, "If you want to be a bishop, you should be married. And ladies, childbirth saves you." HUH?

But, but, but...

What about the verse at the end of II Thess? "The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write."

Wow. Except that's not the token in any of his undisputed letters. The letter is a fraud.

By the way, there are some who believe I Corinthians 14:34-35 are an interpolation as well. You know the verses:

34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

A few chapters earlier, he tells women to cover their heads when they're praying and prophesying in church.

So which is it: Cover your heads when you pray and prophesy? Or "SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP, B---! Make me a sammitch! Men are prophesying here!"

Wierwille's explanation of I Corinthians 14:34-35 is simply laughable. Read the section again and skip over those verses. Makes a lot more sense now, doesn't it?

No one has the slightest idea who wrote Hebrews.

And no, Peter did not write I and II Peter.

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I haven't looked at the Johannine epistles lately, but I have no reason to think they were written by anyone other than someone named John either. Maybe or maybe not the same John who wrote Revelation.

Whatever. I don't know why Ehrman only lists eight when the same criteria he used to include Revelation can also be used to include James and possibly I, II and III John.

There's no reason to think any of those people named John also wrote the gospel of John.

I just skimmed I, II & III John, and the name "John" does not appear in any of them; I believe that they are attributed to the person who wrote the Gospel of John due to stylistic similarities. II & III John are claimed to be from "the elder"...I forgot to check Revelation

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I would guess that to those who credit the traditional cast of characters as the authors of the various books of the bible it makes a big difference whether The Gospel and Epistles of John as well as Revelation were written by the Apostle John, or just some otyer dude named John, or whether the Epistle of James was penned by James, Jesus' bro, or by one of the countless men with that name in that time and place.

If they're saying that John wrote John, they don't mean somebody who happened to share the name, they mean THE John.

According to Ehrman in Lost Christianities tacking on a famous or well-respected name in order to give a gospel or letter some heft or impressive credentials was not unheard of - who cares if it was John the janitor? Everybody cares if it's John the Apostle.

If a gospel or epistle is attributed to somebody, whether in the body of the work or by tradition, I can't imagine that the intent was for us to believe anything other than it was the famous guy, not the anonymous guy.

I think that's what Ehrman's point is when he won't say that James was written by James...he means that it wasn't written by THE James, not A James

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Oakspear: I wrote mostly from memory and I'm nopt going to wed myself to any particular line. That Ehrman cites eight books, and which ones they are, is definite. Why Revelation and not James? I don't recall specifically. I seem to remember him saying that Revelation was written by "John, but not THAT John," but maybe I'm wrong. Or maybe he gave some other reason that escapes my memory.

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I've got at least three on my Kindle. Did Jesus Exist (probably. More than likely). Jesus, Interrupted. And Forged.

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And now I've been through good chunks of "Forgery and Counterforgery," which I had no intention of buying until I saw it offered for a fairly reasonable price on Kindle.

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Some scholars say that 1 & 2 Corinthians are actually fragments of other letters that have just been put together (no doubt unwittingly) and that there should be 3 and 4 Cor as well.

It would be fair to say that Paul wrote many more letters than the very few that are preserved and attributed to him.

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There are letters known as III and IV Corinthians. They are so obviously forgeries that, to my understanding, no one argues otherwise.

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