The April 4 issue of the Maclean’s Magazine published an article by Brian Bethune with the title “Did Jesus Really Exist?”
The author was quoting arguments from Bart Ehrman, a professor of religious studies from the University of North Carolina. In my view his arguments did not hold water as he was comparing apples and oranges. I researched extensively for information in our Bible. The preface for the New Testament was several pages long in explaining the history of the authors of the four gospels.
The forward for each gospel provided even more information on each of the saints that wrote their gospel.
Ehrman was trying to prove that the gospels were not authentic because they were written from decades old memory.
There are two reasons why this argument does not stand up. First he was trying to compare late 20th and 21st century memory research with how people from an entirely different culture and time would remember events.
Cultures and societies that were basically illiterate seemed to have a very accurate way of remembering their historical events, as do our indigenous people.
The other flaw in his argument was that he said the gospels were all written after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., decades after Jesus was crucified, in about 36 A.D.
According to the information in my Bible, only the Gospel of St. John was written after 70 A.D.
John lived to be a very old man and he was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples as was St. Matthew. John was the disciple referred to in the Bible as the one whom Jesus loved and was present at his crucifixion.
The other gospels were written a relative short time after Christ was crucified. The Gospel of St. Matthew was written six years later, the Gospel of St. Mark 10 years later and St. Luke 24 years later. St. Matthew wrote the first gospel.
In the magazine article Ehrman says that St. Mark wrote the first gospel, so I don’t know what Bible he was reading.
In the article he suggests that much of what was written in the gospels was made up because the authors were depending on word of mouth memory as the events were not recorded at the time they occurred.
He is ignoring the fact that two of the gospels were written by disciples of Jesus. Each of the gospels was written independent of the other authors, however they record many of the same events without contradicting each other.
For example: St. Matthew, St. Mark and St. John describe Jesus walking on water or St. Matthew, St. Luke and St. John describe how Jesus fed 5000 people with two fish and five loaves.
All of the gospel authors describe the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus, some in more detail than others but none of them describe any of the events in a way that contradicts the other.
It seems that Christianity is an easy target to try and discredit.
Those who do not believe will try any way they can to cast doubt in the minds of people as to whether or not Jesus was real.
Much of what transpired 2000 years ago was miraculous as Christ was God. St. Paul states quite clearly that his knowledge of Jesus came by divine inspiration. St. Luke recorded much of the history in the Acts of the Apostles as it happened, so no one can say it was flawed by lack of memory.
A few years ago someone went to great lengths to try and convince people that Jesus did not die on the cross but emigrated to Egypt with Mary Madeline.
Christianity would not be relevant after 2000 years if it were based on the “imagination” of four gospel writers.