Jesus and the EyeWitnesses: A Study with a Skeptic Friend–Conclusion- and Reflection

Conclusion and Reflection

Many current critics will argue that the Gospels are obstacles to understanding the historical Jesus, but I believe they are the means. I think what plagues many modern scholars is a distrust of the past itself, an almost disdain for people of the past. We live in an “enlightened” age in which we seem to almost study all the horrible things in the past—colonialism, slavery, sexism, war, ignorance, oppression—as if looking for little happy things that stand out because they are like the values we have today. In this way I think most current historians and textual scholars dismiss the Scriptures. As Bauckham quotes Coady,

“The independent thinker is not someone who works everything out for herself, even in principle, but one who exercises a controlling intelligence over the input she receives from the normal sources of information whether their basis be individual or communal.”
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Jesus and the EyeWitnesses: A Study with a Skeptic , Part 9—Is Oral Tradition Trustworthy?

As with our friend we studied with, we had grown up simply weaned on the idea that since the Holy Spirit directed the writing of the Gospel, God just straight up told each writer what to write word-for-word. This doesn’t explain, for example, why Luke tells Theophilus that he himself researched the Gospel accounts before writing his. So the idea of defending scriptures by appealing to them being well-researched by their authors was actually somewhat new to me. Instead, I was used to them being defended on the grounds that proof of their accuracy was direct proof of their divine origin, regardless of any research done into the story.
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