Gospel Fictions, 7

  Below, part of Gospel Fictions’ seventh chapter, “Resurrection fictions” by Randel Helms (ellipsis omitted between unquoted passages):   The earliest extended statement about the Easter experiences appears not in the Gospels but in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. It dates from the early 50’s, some twenty years after the crucifixion. Paul’s statement is…

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David Friedrich Strauss, 2

The following is excerpted from Albert Schweitzer’s The Quest of the Historical Jesus, published in 1906: a scholarly yet readable introduction to the field of New Testament studies from a modern viewpoint. Schweitzer’s eight chapter is titled “Strauss’ first Life of Jesus”: The distinction between Strauss and those who had preceded him upon this path…

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The fallibility of the Gospels (6)

A chapter from Ian Wilson’s Jesus: The Evidence Bultmann died in 1976, at the age of ninety-two. A whole generation of modern New Testament scholars, among them his Marburg successor Werner Kiimmel, Bristol University’s Dennis Nineham, Harvard University’s Helmut Koester, and others, acknowledge an immense debt to him for introducing a whole new school of…

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The fallibility of the Gospels (2)

A chapter from Ian Wilson’s Jesus: The Evidence This method is useful for showing up which episodes are common to all gospels, which are peculiar to a single gospel, the variations of interest or emphasis between one writer and another, and so on. It is immediately obvious that while Matthew, Mark and Luke have a…

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The fallibility of the Gospels (1)

A chapter from Ian Wilson’s Jesus: The Evidence It is perhaps a reflection of today’s emphasis on a Jesus of faith that most modern Christians, practising and non-practising, are quite unaware of the sort of conflicts that have riven the world of gospel studies during the last century or so. Few realize, for instance, that…

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The cult that I left

Mary Baker Eddy This piece was chosen for my collection of the 2014 edition of Day of Wrath, and I discarded it for the 2017 edition of the same book. However, it can still be read as a PDF: pages that I stole from the now unavailable edition of Day of Wrath: http://www.westsdarkesthour.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/eschatology.pdf

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Gospel Fictions, 5

Below, part of Gospel Fictions’ fifth chapter, “Miracles (II): The Fourth Gospel” by Randel Helms (ellipsis omitted): The Fourth Gospel presents an understanding of miracles quite different from that in the Synoptics, and even uses a word for miracle—sign (semeion)—which the others explicitly reject. The understanding of “signs” in the Fourth Gospel, indeed the word…

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Gospel Fictions, 4

Below, part of Gospel Fictions’ fourth chapter, “Miracles I (The Synoptic Narratives)” by Randel Helms (ellipsis omitted): Käsemann’s judgment is that the “great majority of the Gospel miracle stories must be regarded as legends.” The kind of incidents which in fact commend themselves as being historically credible are “harmless episodes such as the healing of…

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Gospel Fictions, 3

  Below, part of Gospel Fictions‘ third chapter, “Nativity legends” by Randel Helms (ellipsis omitted between unquoted passages): Two of the four canonical Gospels—Matthew and Luke—give accounts of the conception and birth of Jesus. John tells us only of the Incarnation—that the Logos “became flesh”—while Mark says nothing at all about Jesus until his baptism…

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Gospel Fictions, 2

  Below, part of Gospel Fictions’ second chapter, “How to begin a Gospel” by Randel Helms (ellipsis omitted between unquoted passages): A central working hypothesis of this book and one of the most widely held findings in modern New Testament study is that Mark was the first canonical Gospel to be composed and that the…

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