Rivals of Jesus TV - Mysteries of the Bible TV - John Adams - Dan Barker - Robert Beckford TV - Helen Bond - James Tabor - Harold Leidner - Lee Strobel - John Hick - Mystery Files: Jesus TV - John Dominic Crossan - Blanchfield Thomas - Jesus: The Secret Life TV - Who Killed Jesus? TV - Excavating the Empty Tomb TV - Jesus Was a Buddhist Monk/Did Jesus Die? TV - Melvyn - Biblical Mysteries Explained TV - John Stuart Mill - Bible’s Secrets Revealed TV - Christopher Hitchens - Neil Oliver TV - Robert Powell TV - Janina Ramirez TV - Melvyn Bragg TV -
At the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. Constantine solidifies the Christian Church and makes it a single hierarchy with himself as leader. Constantine and his hand-picked Bishops will determine which gospels are considered sacred and which will be forbidden. Constantine makes Christianity legal. Rivals of Jesus, National Geographic 2006
Sepphoris: why do the Gospels make no mention of the business metropolis? Mysteries of the Bible s1e2: Jesus in Galilee, A&E 2004
No original manuscripts of the Four Gospels have been found. Mysteries of the Bible s3e7: Who Wrote the Bible?
Matthew and Luke may have copied the work of Mark. ibid.
No material evidence for the existence of the hypothetical Q Gospel has even been found though its influence is unmistakable. ibid.
According to most scholars the Gospels as presented in the New Testament are not first-hand eye-witness accounts. Mysteries of the Bible s3e10: The Lost Years of Jesus
The ‘divinity’ of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery that we find Christianity encumbered with.
The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, monopolized learning. And ever since the Reformation where or when has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate a free inquiry? ... The most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality, is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will soon find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your eyes and hands, and fly into your face and eyes. John Adams
The [Christian] Gospel stories are no more historic than the Genesis creation accounts are scientific. They are filled with exaggerations, miracles and admitted propaganda. They were written during a context of time when myths were being born, exchanged, elaborated and corrupted, and they were written to an audience susceptible to such fables. They are cut from the same cloth as other religions and fables of the time. Taking all of this into account, it is rational to conclude that the New Testament Jesus is a myth. Dan Barker, Godless
The first writer – Mark – was relying on hearsay. Dr Robert Beckford, Who Wrote the Bible? BBC 2004
Dozens of Gospels and dozens of letters. ibid.
None of the Gospels were written by eye-witnesses. They’re all written several decades later. Even the earliest is probably about four decades later. So you’ve got to reckon with at least forty years – if not fifty, sixty years – of changing traditions, speculation on the traditions, traditions being changed so that they speak more to particular communities. So when you actually look at them, there’s really quite a lot of inconsistencies between them. Dr Helen Bond, Edinburgh University
Luke and Matthew probably wrote some time in the eighties or nineties of the first century. We’ve actually no idea who Luke is. Most people nowadays don’t think he was an eye-witness of events. Helen Bond
If you just put the Gospels in a kind of chronological order it’s actually layered. You can just peel off the layers like a sort of forensic investigation. At the bottom you’ve got that core story of Mark – Mark was our earliest Gospel ... Matthew who writes next has ratcheted it up considerably – Pilate washes his hands; his wife has a dream; Jesus is a righteous man; don’t bother him. And the Jews take on the guilt. And then you go to Luke – it’s the Mark story but it’s amped up, and it’s getting louder and louder. And the basic idea is Pilate was just an innocent bystander, an unnecessary part of the story. And then John – he has them almost having a philosophical discussion. We are removing completely I think out of the realm of just straight history. Professor James Tabor
The gospel story is an artificial, non-historical work. It has been fabricated from source materials that can be identified and traced to their incorporation into the Gospels. There is not a particle of hard evidence that ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ ever existed. Harold Leidner, The Fabrication of the Christ Myth
The New Testament Gospels record at least forty separate miracles performed by Jesus. Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ, documentary & book
It is impossible to justify any such claim on purely historical grounds, however wide the net for evidence is cast. So far as the Gospels are concerned, the material in them is too scanty, and too largely selected and organized with reference to other considerations, to provide the necessary evidence. John Hick, The Myth of God Incarnate, letter from seven British theologians
Another key part of the Christmas narrative – the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem – is found in only one gospel. Mystery Files s2e1: Jesus, National Geographic 2011
Matthew does not cite any journey but agrees that Jesus is born in Bethlehem. It’s in Luke that the familiar story of arriving in Bethlehem where there is no room in the inn is found. ibid.
One festival of light is simply transformed into another ... But if the month of Jesus’ birth is debatable so is the year. ibid.
According to Luke, John the Baptist surfaces in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius. The year 29 C.E. So if Jesus is 30 in 29 C.E. this suggests the year 1 B.C.E. as a possible birth date. Jesus would need to be at least three years older to live in the time of Herod the Great, or seven years younger to be subjected to the Roman census. Therefore, at least a decade’s discrepancy is evident within Luke’s conflicting version of events. ibid.
Neither Gospel mentions anyone other than Mary present at the birth of Jesus. ibid.
I do not think the Nativity story in either Matthew or Luke is historical ... Parable rather than history. John Dominic Crossan, Biblical historian
Neither of these stories is historically accurate and neither of them intends to be historically accurate. Neither of them knows exactly what happened. John Dominic Crossan
Throughout the Synoptic Gospels – Mark, Matthew and Luke – we do hear of four brothers and unnamed sisters. Professor Blanchfield Thomas
Several of these lost Gospels have actually been found. And they paint an unexpected portrait of Christ. The writers of these ancient manuscripts were unknown scribes working in the three centuries after Jesus’ death. Possibly looking to promote their own versions of Christianity. Their Gospels were deemed heretical but someone thought they were worth saving. Jesus: The Secret Life
In the second and third centuries there were many different interpretations of the story of Jesus of Nazareth. These alternative stories whether fact or fiction may have been ways to come to terms with Jesus Christ. The man, the prophet, the son of God. Opinions ranged from the traditional to the extreme. ibid.
Another of the lost texts is the Gospel according to Judas, the betrayer of Christ. In this stunning document Judas is portrayed as a hero for handing Christ over to the authorities. This Gospel says Jesus told Judas to do it, and that Judas would be favoured for doing the deed. ibid.
One apocryphal text doesn’t stop at Jesus’ childhood; it actually attempts to fill in the blanks of his life between the ages of twelve and thirty. This unusual modern account tells a truly incredible tale: a tale of Jesus’ journey out of Galilee and into the Himalayas. ibid.
At Christ’s side during much of his final years is Mary Magdalene. And her story has recently sparked heated controversy. The Bible mentions Mary Magdalene eighteen times, and she’s clearly one of the Holy Book’s most important and provocative characters. And two of the alternative Gospels – The Gospel of Mary found in the late nineteenth century in a monk’s tomb, and the Gospel of Philip, which is part of the Nag Hammadi library – may hint at a surprising intimate relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. ibid.
The Gospels are not historical fact. Extraordinarily, there is no hard contemporary evidence that any of the events in the Gospel stories actually happened. There isn’t even proof that Jesus existed. Who Killed Jesus?
The last twelve verses were never part of the original Gospel of Mark ... verses 9 through 20 – or the long ending as it’s called – radically break the train of thought at verse 8 ... The writing style of the Long Ending isn’t the same. Excavating the Empty Tomb
Reasons for rejecting Mark 16:9-20: missing from many early manuscripts; contradicts Mark as well as Matthew, Luke and John; language is foreign to the rest of Mark; obsession with belief in Jesus; Eusebius and Jerome claim it is spurious, showing up in few copies; embellishment to stories was ubiquitous in ancient times. ibid.
Matthew was simply copying Mark’s copy almost verbatim with some key theological edits and embellishments. ibid.
Mark: the first gospel has all the earmarks of a work of fiction. ibid.
How did Mark know what Jesus said [Garden of Gethsemane] if everybody was asleep? ibid.