Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Craig Blomberg on the historical reliability of the New Testament

In J. Warner Wallace’s Cold-Case Christianity, chapter 5, he leverages the work of two experts on the New Testament. He cites Dan Wallace on textual transmission, and Craig Blomberg on textual criticism. Let’s take a look at an article written by Craig Blomberg which presents 10 reasons why the gospels are reliable. (H/T Chris S.)

Here are points 4 and 5:

Fourth, ancient Jews and Greeks meticulously cultivated the art of memorization, committing complex oral traditions to memory. Even before the Gospels or any other written sources about Jesus were compiled, Jesus’ followers were carefully passing on accounts of His teachings and mighty works by word of mouth. This kept the historical events alive until the time they were written down.

Fifth, the ancient memorization and transference of sacred tradition allowed for some freedoms in retelling the stories. Guardians of the tradition could abbreviate, paraphrase, prioritize, and provide commentary on the subject matter as long as they were true to the gist or meaning of the accounts they passed on. This goes a long way to explaining both the similarities and the differences among the four Gospels. All four authors were true to the gist of Jesus’ life, yet they exercised reasonable freedom to shape the accounts in ways they saw fit.

Take a look if you want a quick overview of reasons why we should give the gospels the benefit of the doubt unless they prove faulty in one or more areas.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Rachel P. says:

    Thanks, it’s helpful to look through the historical reliability of the Bible and New Testament, it helps me get review. In my English classes we’ve read Thomas Paine who makes the claim that the Bible is based off of Greek myths because of the similarities of stories about a son of God, and Olive Schreiner, who questions through her character Waldo, “Why should we believe the miracles Moses did, just because he wrote about it?” (the implication is that he could have made it up.) Sometimes challenges to Christianity come up through school and at other times by people in everyday life, the more you work through something the more able you will be to make a response when someone suddenly challenges Christianity and you weren’t expecting it. As for the myth claim, that someone could have just went in a cave and made up the Bible or made up their own myth by basing it off of Greek myths, if you look at the archaeological and geographical reality and accuracy recorded of the Bible, which are just two historical evidences of the reliability of the New Testament, it adds credibility to the rest of what is written.

  2. Scott says:

    FWIW, one site (among many) that I have frequently looked at for apologetic studies is the site by Glenn Miller (no, not the big band leader). His Christian Thinktank is loaded with articles of his, some of them quite long, and most of which are responses to various letters by either concerned believers or interested skeptics. His articles are filled with quotes from relevant authorities. Much food for thought !

    You can get a good idea through looking at the “Subject Area Index” or the “Common Objections” links. Also, under “Series, Syllabi, and Larger Studies” check out the ‘arguments and conclusiveness’ and the ‘why does Christianity need so much defending ?’ studies.

    http://christianthinktank.com/

    And on the subject of myth, for example (mentioned above by Rachel), look at this long (2 part) study: http://christianthinktank.com/copycat.html

    Hope this site help interested persons in their investigation of these issues. :-)

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