Resurrecting Discrepancies 101

Why Can't We Just Agree? The Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and particularly John disagree significantly
Literalism is always a dangerous policy. Those who insist that the Bible is the inerrant, inspired Word of God are skating on melted ice. Their circular arguments for the Bible as "proof" of God's existence are wetter than the mythical flood.

Not, of course, that most of them will ever admit this. Instead, they repeat themselves ever more LOUDLY about Jesus' sacrifice, while they block their ears and close their eyes. Denial is a common coping strategy amongst those who cannot face scholarly facts.

Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling, and those who insist on believing refuted and falsified myths inevitably experience considerable discomfort. Blaming all dissonant information on the Devil is a popular fallacy.

Why so much discomfort?

The Old Testament has problems.

The New Testament has problems.

The Qur'an was based on flawed documents, some 6 centuries after the NT.

Speaking of Jesus' sacrifice, the Gospel accounts differ widely and have some famous alterations. Notably, Mark's was the first Gospel, written decades after Jesus' death (around 70 CE)*. The other synoptic Gospels (Matthew and Luke) were based upon Mark, with significant alterations. Infamously, the final twelve verses of Mark were added by a later scribe.

None of the original manuscripts have survived. We have only copies ... often copies of copies of copies. Biblical scholars have been aware of discrepancies in these hand-copied manuscripts since John Mill published a Greek New Testament in which he catalogued some 30,00 errors (1707). The total number of accidental and deliberate alterations in the surviving manuscript copies has been estimated at 200,000-400,00. Many alterations are minor, some are significant. Ignoring alterations, the Gospels still do not tell identical stories.

Crucifixion accounts contradict each other, as do resurrection accounts. Since so much wishful myth-making is based on the resurrection, let's compare. Don't take my word for it, check the on-line Bible references:

The Resurrection of Christ by Piero della Francesca (c.1420 - 1492).Who went to the tomb?
Matthew 28:1 Mark 16:1 Luke 24:1, 23:55 John 20:1

Where was the stone?
Matthew 28:2 Mark 16:4

Whom did whoever see at the tomb?
Matthew 28:5 Mark 16:5 Luke 24:4

What was whomever told?
Mark 16:7 Luke 24:7

What of this information did whoever pass along?
Matthew 28:8 Mark 16:8

To whom did whoever pass the information?
Matthew 28:8 Luke 24:8 John 20:2

How do the disciples respond?
Matthew 20:19 Luke 24:11 John 20:3

* The authenticity of 7Q5 is disputed by most papyrologists.

No comments: