Good Question...


On...any eyewitnesses to refute the NT?



You claim that one of the reasons the NT Scriptures are reliable is because there were too many eyewitnesses around that would have criticized and brought to light any inaccuracies. I was curious as to how they would find out about them.

The first eyewitnesses would have been the Jewish Christians who BELIEVED in Jesus...they would have had access to ANY early Christian writings (or oral tradition, for that matter) and would have criticized the writings from WITHIN the church...

In fact, as apocryphal writing arose, the church DID point out that the details (e.g. early infancy stories, strange adolescent stories about Jesus) were erroneous!

Did the disciples publish the NT texts?

Interestingly enough, the first descriptions of the production of the gospels DID use the technical word for 'publish' although I don't know what all would have been entailed by that phrase...much 'publishing' was done by 'open letter' to famous or leading figures (e.g. the early Apologist literature did Open Letters to the Emperor in the 100's)...the Gospel of Luke was so written to Theophilus...(see Luke 1.1-4...it is a technical prologue, along the line of historical introductions and someone akin to prologues to medical instruction manuals--I will get the references for you when I write this up...unless you need them sooner--just let me know)...

were they widely available?

Mark, Matt, Luke were written BEFORE 66ad...Paul quotes Luke in his epistle of II Timothy as being 'scripture'...Paul died under Nero in 66ad...hence Luke had been written and accepted by the church much earlier than this...Luke SEEMS to be dependent on Mark/Matthew (according to most scholars today), which pushes them back even FARTHER...

What this means is that the gospel writings were well in circulation BEFORE the fall of Jerusalem in 70ad...during this time Christianity was simply a 'sect' of Judaism, like the Pharisees or Essenes...they met in private discussion groups (open to anyone), yet came together at temple and synagogue...and given that many priests (with copyist skills and functions) became Jewish Christians (Acts 6.7), there is a high likelihood that the earliest writing DID circulate widely (at least the Sayings of Jesus...), after the model of Rabbinical 'students' who used note-sheets of their favorite teachers...

So, there WOULD have been ample exposure to the writings for rebuttal if desired...

Isn't it likely that the actual eyewitnesses never really saw the NT texts at all, and therefore didn't have any chance to challenge them (assuming there were inaccuracies at all)??

What the above analysis tends to show is that both HOSTILE witnesses would have had access to them (in Jerusalem prior to the Fall) and that Friendly witnesses (but still critical) would have had access to them VERY much...and did actually argue with some of the earlier spurious writings...



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