Bible criticism






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The way of guessing





Occasionally, some liberal researchers claim that new evidence, important data, has been found that is in conflict with the view of Jesus given in the Bible, and which cancels it. In this context, the gospel of Thomas, the secret gospel of Mark, the gospel of Peter and especially the so-called “Q source” are mentioned and said to cancel the view of Jesus given by the New Testament.

   However, we should study these sources and their reliability. We will find that there are numerous problems with this evidence. We are going to study some of them below:


Finding of the sources. The following is known about how the four writings mentioned above were found:


 - The Q source has never been found. It is based on a mere hypothesis, and assumed to have existed. However, more and more researchers doubt that it even exists.


- The Secret Gospel of Mark is based on the claim of Morton Smith that he found a letter by Clemens Alexandrian (ca. 150–215 A.D.), in which this writing was mentioned.

   The problem is that nobody has ever seen the secret gospel of Mark. Another problem is that nobody has ever seen the above-mentioned letter by Clemens; it disappeared mysteriously from the monastery in which Morton Smith claimed to have found it! This kind of evidence has no value whatsoever.


 - The gospel of Thomas has never been commonly known or accepted. It was actually not found until a little more than fifty years ago, and most researchers date it at the middle of the second century. This collection includes clear Gnostic features (for example, a woman must make herself a man in order to enter the kingdom of heaven), and there are also some familiar words of Jesus from the Gospels, but there is no reason to assume that they are anything more than quotes from the Gospels of the New Testament.

   As a matter of fact, this text cannot even be regarded as an actual gospel, because it does not tell when and in which situations the words were spoken. It only includes separate expressions with no historical frame of reference.


- The myth-like Gospel of Peter was found as recently as a little over hundred years ago.


Myth-like. Many of the above-mentioned sources and books of apocrypha are myth-like.

   For example, the Gospel of Peter mentioned above includes Jesus who feels no pain on the cross. When he comes out of the tomb, there are two men with him whose heads almost reach the heavens, and the head of Jesus reaches above the heaven! In addition to this, a speaking cross comes out of the tomb after them!

   In the gospel of Thomas it is told how child Jesus plays and creates living sparrows from clay, and as a learning carpenter, stretches wooden logs as if they were rubber, and also makes other tricks with no purpose in mind. This list could go on and on.

   J.B. Phillips has written about this issue in his book Ring of Truth: A Translator's Testimony (1967, p. 95). He says how these writings that had been left out from the New Testament are based on magic and mystification, myths and imagination: 

"I had to admire their wisdom. Obviously, most people have not had the chance to read apocryphal ‘gospels' and ‘letters’, even though all researchers have read them. I can only state that in these writings, we move to the world of magic and mystification, myths and imagination. When I was translating the New Testament, I never --- experienced the eerie world of sorcery and magic powers radiating from these books that have been left out of the New Testament. It is just this realistic faith of the writers of the New Testament that convinced me that their writings are genuine." (17)


The time of writing. In addition to the books of apocrypha being myth-like and based on imagination, they have also been normally dated at the 2nd or 3rd century, or even at a more recent point in time. Thus, they have been written a long time after the actual events and they also lack the eye-witness descriptions and the accurate geographical and other details that are so usual in the New Testament. These properties are completely missing from these writings of a later point in time.







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