Monday, 5 August 2013

Dr Ben Witherington Disagrees with Dr Bart Ehrman's book Forged

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I appreciate that.
May Allah make your efforts and thoughts lead to yourself embracing Islam (if you have not already)
I find it unfortunate that you believe the video is propaganda. I would like to state the video is primarily designed to touch on the book of Hebrews.  Ehrman does have disagreement with some scholars but he is an authority who is accpeted and known worldwide. For this reason people including Muslims do use his work. Sure Muslims do gravitate towards his work as it is material which can be used as a tool to help Christians see the NT is not reliable and thus as an aid (God willing) for them to arrive at the conclusion that Jesus (p) is not God but rather a Prophet of God.
I understand Hebrews is not forged. It's simply anonymous. As for the alleged forged books; for a Muslim it is not something which is of vital importance to believe they are forged. In fact, I could well believe they were written by whom you say they were and it would not affect my views on the NT at all. I don't believe the NT to be reliable at all - it contains material from people who are not authorised and material from unreliable plus unknown people.This is not something one should base their faith.
I do believe further study is required on the part of lay Muslims and Christians into the issue of alleged forged books.
I do hope to look into the material you have presented.
Thanks for your email
I may also include it in a blog posting myself and/or put it in the comment section of Paul Williams' blog which featured the video.

Jesus taught people to do the Will of God (according to Mark 3:35) in order to become his brothers, mothers or sisters. A Muslim means one who submits to the Will of God. Do you want to become a brother of Jesus? If yes, become a Muslim. Now is the time.

Learn about Islam:

From: Removed
Sent: Monday, 5 August 2013, 1:55
Subject: Ehrman refutes shamoun

I recently saw a video of your using  Bart Ehrman to attack Sam Shamoun on the NT  being forged.  My issue is not  with  Shamoun  and his comments but with your propaganda video which  only focuses on Bart Ehrman whilst not consulting scholars with different views  as they don't serve your agenda. Now James and Jude are considered to be forged by some scholars but others do not and postulate they were written by disciples or the brothers of Christ due to  their  strong Jewish nature. Secondly most scholars would not state that Acts is forged as Ehrman does but assign it to luke . Also  Hebrews is not forged as it is not written in  the name of anyone.  Now as to the  disputed writings of paul, scholars started questioning them first around 200 years ago. There are some  scholars who do not accept they are forged . Ben Witherington a respected scholar from Asbury Theological Seminary wrote a critique of Ehrman's book Forged which you   should keep in mind  when engaging in your hateful anti-christian polemics. Why is it Muslims usually  focus so much on  Ehrman ? Perhaps  because his conclusions serve their agenda. Here is Witherington's   chapter by  chapter critique of  forged.


Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

Part I

Here is Michael Licona's review of Ehrman's "Forged".At the end of the article there is a for those who want to verify the claims.I think this is as good as one can get regarding a critique by somebody who knows all the details as well as Ehrman :

I would like to highlight the following citations:

""The fifth and final attempt cites the involvement of secretaries in the writing of letters. Most, though not all, of the arguments against traditional authorship fall into two categories: style and content. If an author employed the use of a secretary to write what he dictated as well as provide varying degrees of editing, this would explain quite well why some of the questionable letters in the New Testament have vocabulary, grammar, some content and an overall writing style that differs, even significantly, from the undisputed letters.

Ehrman recognizes this and writes, "Virtually all of the problems with what I've been calling forgeries can be solved if secretaries were heavily involved in the composition of the early Christian writings" (134). But he argues that, although it's certain that Paul often used a secretary, the secretary only took Paul's dictation. This is an Achilles heel in Ehrman's case that we will discuss at length below."

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

Part 2

In the phrase:

"At the end of the article there is a for those who want to verify the claims," I forgot to add the word BIBLIOGRAPHY,"At the end of the article there is a bibliography".

To continue with what Licona said:

"In Forged, Ehrman's bottom line message is that literary forgeries were plentiful in antiquity, many of which were written by Christians and that approximately 70 percent of the New Testament writings were not written by those to whom they are attributed. Ehrman is well read on the subject, citing from a number of doctoral dissertations, scholarly monographs, and journal articles in both English and German."

"He's a good scholar who writes clearly and compellingly. Readers who are unfamiliar with the topics of authorship and canonicity will find Forged a fascinating and/or threatening read, depending on which theological camp they fall into."

"As you may have noticed, some in the early Church placed Revelation among the accepted literature while others included it in the rejected literature.[6] Allowing a book to be included in the New Testament was a big deal to the early Church and was not taken lightly. The general tendency in the early Church was to exclude rather than include."

Anonymous said...

Part 3

From Minoria:

"For example, in his discussion pertaining to the authorship of Ephesians, Ehrman contends that Paul speaks of the resurrection of believers as a future event and provides Romans 6:1-4 and 1 Corinthians 15 in support (that Paul wrote these letters is undisputed). He then states that Ephesians teaches that the resurrection of believers has already occurred (2:5-6) and adds "[t]his is precisely the view that Paul argued against in his letters to the Corinthians" (111)!

Ehrman is correct that Paul thought of the resurrection of believers as a very real and physical event that would take place when Jesus returns.[7] Romans 8:11 and 23 teach this even more clearly than the reference cited in Romans by Ehrman. He appears unaware, however, that Paul also spoke of the resurrection of believers in a symbolic sense. Consider Romans 6:13, the same chapter in the same letter Ehrman cites for Paul's teaching that the resurrection of believers is a future event:

and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.[8]

Paul's teaching concerning the resurrection of believers in Romans is completely compatible with what we find in Ephesians and Colossians. Many of the teachings in the disputed letters of Paul that Ehrman regards as contradictory to the teachings in his undisputed letters are solved just as easily with a careful look at the texts in question. Unfortunately, because many of Ehrman's readers will go no further than reading Forged, they will fall prey to some very poor arguments."

"Ehrman goes on to argue that some forged letters attributed to Peter and Paul made it into the New Testament. Both letters attributed by Peter, that is 1 & 2 Peter are forgeries, and six of the 13 letters attributed to Paul "were probably not written by Paul" (Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus; 92-93)."

Anonymous said...

From Minoria

Part 4

"Before we leave this chapter, I want to note that at one point Ehrman has made what I regard as a huge historical blunder. In his section "Pagan Opposition to Christianity" he asserts,

"It is true that Christians were sometimes opposed by pagans for being suspicious and possibly scurrilous, just as most 'new' religions found opponents in the empire. But there were no imperial decrees leveled against Christianity in its first two hundred years, no declarations that it was illegal, no attempt throughout the empire to stamp it out. It was not until the year 249 CE that any Roman emperor—in this case it was the emperor Decius—instituted an empire-wide persecution of Christians. (164)"

How could Ehrman miss Tacitus' statement in around AD 115 that Nero had blamed the burning of Rome on the Christians because the Roman people suspected he was to blame (Annals 15.44)? Tacitus reports that, just after the fire in AD 64, multitudes of Christians were exquisitely tortured and brutally executed as a result.

"Consequently, to get rid of the report [that he was responsible for the fire], Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.[9]"

And what about the letter of Pliny the Younger (c. AD 112) in which he informs the emperor Trajan that he has been going to the homes of those accused of being Christian and executing those who had refused to deny Christ (Book 10, Letter 96)?[10] While neither of these instances within the very first century of Christianity reveal an official declaration by the empire itself to stamp out Christianity, they serve as conclusive evidence against Ehrman's statement that there was "no attempt throughout the empire to stamp it out."

Anonymous said...

From Minoria

Part 5

"I was shocked when I read Ehrman here. In a book where he is identifying deceit, it's ironic that Ehrman himself engages in misleading his readers. In a technical sense, he's correct: the reason we have the present literature in the New Testament is because a theologically orthodox group won the theology war. However, the impression Ehrman leaves his readers is that the only thing distinguishing the literature that made it into the New Testament from the literature that did not is the results of a vote (and perhaps there were some floating chads there too!).

But sometimes the winners deserve to win. Consider the following statements by an expert in the early pseudepigraphal Christian literature.

"[I]f historians want to know what Jesus said and did they are more or less constrained to use the New Testament Gospels as their principal sources. Let me emphasize that this is not for religious or theological reasons—for instance, that these and these alone can be trusted. It is for historical reasons, pure and simple."

The scholar who wrote the above has credentials identical to those of Bart Ehrman. He received his doctorate from the same school and also had Bruce Metzger as his mentor. He has published a number of books on the non-orthodox communities of early Christianity and the literature they produced. When comparisons can be made, Ehrman is almost always in agreement with this scholar. This is because the scholar who made this statement is Bart Ehrman![11]"

Anonymous said...

From Minoria

Part 6

"One of the reasons Ehrman regards Acts as a forgery is because he sees contradictions between how the relationship between Peter and Paul are presented in it and how Paul speaks of Peter in his undisputed letters. For example, in Acts, Peter and Paul are "completely aligned in every respect" (204). In fact, when it came to accepting the Gentiles as brothers in Christ and eating with them, Peter received a revelation of this even before Paul.

(This is not actually true. According to Acts 9-10, Peter's revelation occurred after Paul's conversion. And it was made known at the time of Paul's conversion experience that God was sending him to the Gentiles [Acts 9:15; cf. 22:21].) However, in Galatians 2:11-14 (an undisputed letter), Paul tells us that he opposed Peter to his face when he withdrew from eating with Gentiles (204).

Ehrman recognizes there are ways of reconciling these differences. But he extends no charity in such an exercise.

One could argue that Paul was right, that Peter was simply being hypocritical. But there is nothing in Galatians to suggest that Peter actually saw it this way or that he thought Paul was right about the matter (204).

There is also nothing in Galatians to suggest that Peter did not see it this way or that he thought Paul was wrong about the matter. Reconciling Galatians with Acts in this case is quite easy. But Ehrman will have none of it. Could it be because it would throw a wrench in his views?"

Anonymous said...

Part 7 From Minoria

"We again notice this type of stubbornness on the next page. Ehrman writes that according to Galatians, after Paul's conversion:

"[h]e went away into Arabia, then back to Damascus, and did not go to Jerusalem for another three years (1:15-19). This makes the story of Paul's conversion in the book of Acts very interesting. Here we are told that Paul is blinded by his vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus; he then enters the city and regains his sight. And what's the very first thing he does when he leaves town? He makes a beeline straight to Jerusalem to see the apostles (Acts 9:1-26). Well, which is it? Did he stay away from Jerusalem, as Paul himself says, or did he go there first thing, as Acts says? (205)"

In Greco-Roman historical writing, keeping the narrative flowing was an important component.[12] It takes very little effort to see that the author of Acts is doing precisely that. In Galatians 1:15-19, Paul said that after his conversion, he did not go to Jerusalem. Instead, he went away to Arabia for an unspecified period before returning to Damascus. Three years elapsed between his conversion experience and his first post-conversion trip to Jerusalem. In Acts 9:1-27, Paul immediately goes into Damascus—not Jerusalem—after his conversion experience and remains there for several days (9:19).

In 9:23 it's reported that after many days had passed the Jews planned to murder Paul. With the assistance of the Christians, Paul escaped Damascus and went to Jerusalem (9:23-26). If Paul remained in Damascus for several days and then went to Jerusalem after many days, what was he doing during the time in-between? The Acts narrative does not tell us. What is noticeable is the author of Acts appears to fast-forward the narrative between 9:22-23 to keep the narrative moving."

Anonymous said...

Part 8,from Minoria

Another alleged contradiction described by Ehrman concerns whom Paul met during his first trip to Jerusalem. In Galatians 1:18-19 Paul reports that he only saw Peter and James during that trip. However, in Acts 9:26-36 it's reported that the Jerusalem Christians were afraid to meet with Paul because he had been persecuting them.

So, Barnabas brought Paul to the "apostles and spends some time among them—not just with Peter and James, but apparently with all of them (9:26-30)" (205).(Here Licona cites Ehrman)

But Acts does not say that Paul met with all of the apostles. Granted, "apostles" is plural. But Paul does say in Galatians 1:18-19 that he met with Peter and James. And two apostles is most certainly plural. Moreover, if the Jerusalem Christians were fearful that Paul may have playing a trick on them in order to infiltrate their ranks and identify the key leaders of the entire Christian Church, we can understand why only two leaders were willing to meet with him until they could be certain of the genuineness of his conversion to Christianity. A wise move indeed. No contradiction is necessary.

Despite Ehrman's claim that Acts is a forgery, he likes it when it's convenient for him. Discussing why the New Testament book of James was not written by James, he writes,

"The one thing we know best about James of Jerusalem is that he was concerned that Jewish followers of Jesus continue to keep the requirements of Jewish law. But this concern is completely and noticeably missing in this letter. This author, claiming to be James, is concerned with people doing 'good deeds'; he is not at all concerned with keeping kosher, observing the Sabbath and Jewish festivals, or circumcision. His concerns are not those of James of Jerusalem (198)."

Anonymous said...

Part 9,from Minoria

"How do we know this about James? It's reported in the book of Acts. Readers will be surprised, then, to read on the very next page that Ehrman regards Acts as a forgery: "a book that scholars have as a rule been loath to label a forgery, even though that is what it appears to be—the New Testament book of Acts" (199; cf. 208). Apparently, even for Ehrman, being a forgery does not negate the possibility of providing reliable historical evidence. It's disappointing too that Ehrman speaks of Acts being a forgery as though this is the conclusion of scholarship.

Craig Keener is a New Testament scholar known for his obsessive research. His commentary on John's Gospel is one of the largest ever written, nearly 1,700 pages. Keener has a very broad knowledge of the ancient literature which he cites more than 10,000 times in that commentary.

At this very moment, his commentary on Acts is in the editing process with Baker Academic and will be published one volume at a time. Why publish it in stages? Because Keener's commentary on Acts is more than 7,000 pages! Those familiar with Keener's work carry a huge respect for his introductory content where authorship is one of the topics covered. Keener has told me that having surveyed the academic literature on Acts and it's prequel, Luke's Gospel, he can assert that the majority of modern scholars hold to the traditional authorship of Luke and Acts. (Most specialists on the Gospel of Mark likewise hold to its traditional authorship.)

Why doesn't Ehrman mention this, since he mentions what the majority of scholars believe so frequently throughout the book? Perhaps he doesn't know it or he doesn't mention it because the majority don't support his conclusions here."

Anonymous said...

Part 10

From Minoria

"Ehrman states that:

"The problems with identifying Luke as the author of the book [of Acts] are rife. For one thing, the idea that Luke was a Gentile companion of Paul comes from Colossians, a book that appears to have been forged in Paul's name after his death. To be sure, there is also a Luke named in Paul's authentic letter of Philemon (v. 24), but nothing is said there about his being a Gentile. He is simply mentioned in a list of five other people. . . (207)

I find it amazing how Ehrman can skim right past the reference to Luke in Philemon as though it's not a problem for him. It may not say that Luke was a Gentile. But Luke was a Greek name and he is mentioned as one of Paul's co-workers. The Greek word Paul uses here is sunergoi. And we will be coming back to this important observation later.

Ehrman states that perhaps the biggest challenge to the traditional authorship of Acts is that there are discrepancies between what Paul writes in his undisputed letters and what Acts reports of him. This subject is very involved. So, I will only comment that some scholars who have specialized in Paul see irreconcilable differences between Acts and Paul's undisputed letters while others contend that most of the differences are easily reconciled."

Anonymous said...

Part 11,from M

"Something else must be considered. There were many biographies written in antiquity. Plutarch was one of the most prolific biographers of that time, writing more than 60 biographies of which we still have 50. It is of importance to observe that Plutarch's name is absent from all of his extant biographies, which are therefore anonymous like the four Gospels in the New Testament. Yet, modern historians are quite certain Plutarch wrote them.

Most classical authors did not include their name. But the manuscript traditions pertaining to the authorship of Plutarch's biographies are clear. Moreover, the Lamprias catalogue from the fourth century attributes them to Plutarch.[17] Does this provide us with unimpeachable evidence that Plutarch wrote the biographies attributed to him? No. Is it reasonable to believe that Plutarch wrote them? You bet.

The same may be said concerning the four Gospels in the New Testament. The traditions concerning the traditional authorship of the Gospels begin within 30 years of the final of the four to be written and continues without debate for centuries. Thus, Ehrman's argument from the anonymity of the autographs of the four Gospels carries little if any weight."

Anonymous said...

Part 12,from M

"And now I wish to return to the crux of the matter of the traditional authorship of the disputed New Testament letters, but especially those attributed to Paul. Most scholars recognize that the use of a secretary in the writing of a letter has the potential to change much. As stated earlier, Ehrman himself recognizes the seriousness of the secretary factor related to arguments against traditional authorship.

Virtually all of the problems with what I've been calling forgeries can be solved if secretaries were heavily involved in the composition of the early Christian writings. (134)

Did Paul sometimes use a secretary? We may answer with an unequivocal yes. Of Paul's seven undisputed letters, it is certain that four involved the use of a secretary.

I, Tertius, who write this letter greet you in the Lord. (Rom 16:22)

This greeting is in my own hand—Paul. (1 Cor 16:21; cf. Gal 6:11; Phile 19)

Ehrman concurs, "There is no doubt that the apostle Paul used a secretary on occasion" (134). But how heavily involved in the letter were those secretaries? Ehrman interacts with what he refers to as the "fullest and most exhaustive" recent work devoted to the issue of secretaries in Paul's letters, the doctoral dissertation by E. Randolph Richards.[18] Ehrman is correct that the best work on the topic of Paul's use of a secretary has been done by Richards. Ehrman cites Richards' dissertation published in 1991. I've likewise read it and it's impressive.[19]

Anonymous said...

Part 12,from M

Ehrman says Paul certainly used a secretary to whom he dictated at least some of his letters. But that there's no evidence that he used them for any other services such as editing to correct grammar and improve style, coauthor to contribute to content, or compose the letter with the named author giving his final approval (134-36; cf. 77). Let's take a look at his 3 reasons for holding this.

First, Ehrman asserts that there is no evidence of this being done by anyone outside of the ultra-wealthy. He writes, "Virtually all of [the evidence for the use of a secretary beyond taking dictation] comes from authors who were very, very wealthy and powerful and inordinately well educated" (135-36).

Writing a letter in antiquity was a costly enterprise. In the updated and expanded version of Randolph Richards' doctoral dissertation, he discusses the costs involved. Papyri, labor, and courier fees added up quickly. Of course, Cicero, Seneca and the ultra-wealthy could easily afford the costs. But Paul the missionary would not have been so fortunate. Richards estimates that the cost for penning Paul's letters ranged from $101 in today's dollars for Philemon to $2,275 for Romans. And that does not include the expenses involved with a courier.[20]

Now perhaps you're thinking, "But Paul tells us he had churches that supported him (Phil 4:10-18; 2 Cor 11:9). And we know he had co-workers whom he mentioned in his letters. They would naturally have been the couriers and could even have served as his secretaries. So, he wouldn't have incurred little if any labor costs." Of course. And what's to have prevented these co-workers from also providing editorial and compositional services according to their personal abilities? Could the Tertius mentioned in Romans 16:22 have been a professional secretary who had volunteered his services? We will never know. What is clear is the fact that Paul was not a member of the ultra-wealthy does not preclude his use of a secretary for editing and composition.[21]"

Anonymous said...

Part 13,from M

"Second, Ehrman points out that letters in the Greco-Roman world were very short and to the point whereas the NT letters are lengthy treatises that deal with complex issues (136). Ehrman says this is problematic because the disputed letters of the New Testament such as Ephesians and 1 Peter are "lengthy treatises that deal with large and complex issues in the form of a letter" and are "so much more extensive than typical letters . . . in their theological expositions, ethical exhortations, and quotation of and interpretation of Scripture. These New Testament 'letters' are really more like essays put in letter form. So evidence that derives from the brief, stereotyped letters typically found in Greek and Roman circles is not necessarily germane to the 'letters' of the early Christians" (136, ital. mine).

Indeed. And what is true of Ephesians and 1 Peter is even more true of ALL of Paul's seven undisputed letters with the exception of Philemon. Ehrman has unwittingly eliminated his own argument against the heavy involvement of secretaries! Ephesians and 1 Peter are quite long when compared with the average length of the letters of Cicero and longer than the average length of the letters of Seneca.

Cicero: avg 295 words per letter, but ranging from 22 to 2,530 words[22]
Seneca: avg 995 words per letter, but ranging from 149 to 4,134
Paul: avg 2,493 words per letter (13 letters), ranging from 335 (Philemon) to 7,111 (Romans)[23]
Rom: 7,111; 1 Cor: 6,830; 2 Cor: 4,477; Gal: 2,230; Eph: 2,422; Phil: 1,629; Col: 1,582; 1 Th: 1,481; 2 Th: 823; 1 Tim: 1,591; 2 Tim: 1,238; Tit: 659; Philem: 335
Avg of Paul's undisputed letters: 3,442
Avg of Paul's disputed letters: 1,386
Other NT letters:
Hebrews: 4,953; James: 1,742; 1 Peter: 1684; 2 Peter: 1,099; 1 John: 2,141; 2 John: 245; 3 John: 219; Jude: 461
The above figures provide some interesting observations.

With the exception of Philemon, the average length of the New Testament letters is much longer than the average length of letters written by others of the period. However, notice the length of the undisputed letters of Paul. They are longer than the disputed letters. Yet no one, including Ehrman, questions whether Paul wrote Romans and 1 Corinthians in spite of the fact that those letters are each around 7,000 words! This reveals that Ehrman's argument concerning letter length is only a paper tiger."

Anonymous said...

Part 14,from M

"The early Christian Church faced many situations and theological debates. In their minds, these matters were often more important than life itself. For example, in 1 Corinthians Paul is answering a situation where some members of the church in Corinth were denying an afterlife. Paul replies that if we are not raised from the dead to enjoy eternal life, Christ was not raised from the dead either. And if Christ was not raised, our Christian faith is worthless and our loved ones who have already died are forever gone. In fact, Paul adds, if there is no future resurrection of the dead and this life is all there is, let's party hard now because we will all be dead in a relatively short period of time (1 Cor. 15:12-19, 32)!

The letters in the New Testament weren't written for the mere enjoyment of the exercise and at leisure as many of the letters of Cicero and Atticus had been. Given the importance the early Christian letters had for their authors and recipients, there was a much greater need for using a secretary in order to craft the letters carefully. We know Paul could write, since he signed many of his greetings at the end of his letters. So, why have a secretary to whom he could dictate a letter without also depending upon him for editing services? After all, as Ehrman rightly notes, Paul did not belong to the intellectually elite (135-36).

There's another very good reason for holding that Paul would want his secretary to be more involved than simply taking dictation: Paul was apparently not very good at public speaking. This conclusion comes from information provided in his undisputed letters.

In 2 Corinthians 11:6, Paul admits that he is "untrained in public speaking" (See also 1 Cor 2:1, 4). In 2 Corinthians 10:9-11 he writes, "it is said, 'His [i.e., Paul's] letters are weighty and powerful, but his physical presence is weak, and his public speaking is despicable.' Such a person should consider this: What we are in the words of our letters when absent, we will be in actions when present."

Notice carefully how the subject changes from Paul the poor public speaker in the singular to the "we" who write the letters. More than one person is involved in writing Paul's letters. So, the involvement of the secretary appears to go beyond taking simple dictation."

Anonymous said...

Part 15,from M

"In Ehrman's third and final argument against the secretary being heavily involved in Paul's letters he says there's evidence that brief stereotyped letters like land deeds and sales receipts were created by secretaries. But there is "absolutely no evidence" that such authority was ever provided to a secretary for "composing a long, detailed, finely argued, carefully reasoned, and nuanced letter like 1 Peter or Ephesians" (137). For example, Ehrman contends that 1 Peter was written by a:

"Highly educated Greek-speaking Christian who understood how to use Greek rhetorical devices and could cite the Greek Old Testament with flair and nuance. That does not apply to the uneducated, illiterate, Aramaic-speaking fisherman from rural Galilee, and it does not appear to have been produced by a secretary acting on his behalf. (138-39)

And it does not seem possible that Peter gave the general gist of what he wanted to say and that a secretary then created the letter for him in his name, since, first, then the secretary rather than Peter would be the real author of the letter, and second, and even more important, we don't seem to have any analogy for a procedure like this from the ancient world. (139)"

But recall that Ehrman himself admits that, given the length of the New Testament letters, the Greco-Roman letters are not necessarily germane.Moreover, some analogy exists related to the liberty the historian could take in recreating speeches. The digital recorder was a long time away from being invented when historians attempted to reproduce speeches in antiquity. The historian was to do his best in recalling the content of the speeches from those who had personally witnessed it.

However, according to Lucian, a Greek author from the second century who provides the only surviving treatise on the proper conventions of writing history in that era, historians were instructed to use accurate content. However, it was then that the historian could become orator and display his own elegance of words when communicating the content.[24]"

Anonymous said...

Part 16,from M

"In chapter 7, Ehrman turns to a discussion of anonymous literature, that is, literature that makes no direct claims pertaining to its authorship. He writes, "It was a lot more common to write a book anonymously in antiquity than it is today. Just within the pages of the New Testament, nine of the books—fully one-third of the writings—were produced by authors who did not reveal their names" (220). Ehrman spends some space discussing the four Gospels which were anonymous in their original manuscripts.

"It was about a century after the Gospels had been originally put in circulation that they were definitely named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This comes, for the first time, in the writings of the church father and heresiologist Irenaeus, around 180-85 CE. (225)"

The actual first mention is quite a bit earlier. Papias was an early leader in the Christian Church who wrote five volumes titled the Expositions of the Saying of the Lord. These volumes have perished. But bits of texts from them have been preserved in the writings of other early Christians. Scholars debate when Papias wrote. Most place his Expositions around AD 120. But some scholars opt for a date a few decades earlier (c. AD 95-110).[13] There is also debate concerning how closely Papias was related to the apostles. Irenaeus (c. AD 180) says he knew the apostle John and Eusebius (c. AD 325) says he knew someone who knew the apostle John.[14] In either case, Papias is very close to the time of the apostles. He is the first to inform us that Matthew was one of the twelve disciples, the tax-collector. Mark wrote his Gospel based on what he had received from the apostle Peter. And John's Gospel was penned by John the apostle who had leaned on Jesus during the Last Supper.[15] The traditional authorship of Luke is first mentioned by Justin Martyr (Dialogues 103:19; c. AD 150).

Ehrman knows of Papias' report but rejects it as referring to the Matthew and Mark in our present New Testament (226-27). Although he provides reasons, he fails to mention even in an endnote that many scholars disagree and have provided answers to what Ehrman regards as conclusive.[16]

Anonymous said...

I would like to add this,which is not in Licona's article:

About 1 Timothy and 2 Peter

2 Peter is supposed to be 2nd century,and 1 Timothy late 1st century.One reason is 1 Timothy 5:17-18 refers to as SCRIPTURE (written word of God) and cites from Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7.It says”Scripture says”.

1 Timothy 5:17-18:

“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.For the SCRIPTURE says:

1.”Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,”(Deuteronomy 25:4)

2.And “The worker deserves his wages.”(Luke 10:7)”


It can’t be since supposedly Luke was written 80-85 AD,and Paul died in 64 AD.So Paul can NOT have quoted from the gospel of Luke.But if Luke-Acts is from 61 AD,then of course he could have.

About 2 Peter

One reason why 2 Peter is considered NOT to be from Peter is because 2 Peter 3:15-16 refers to Paul’s letters,it says “letters” and NOT “letter”, as SCRIPTURE.They say Paul’s letters were not considered the Word of God in the 60’s AD.But since it can be argued that Paul in the 60’s considered Luke’s writings to be SCRIPTURE then the same for Paul’s letters.Who was the disciple of who?Luke was the disciple of Paul.

2 Peter 3:15-16:

“Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters.

His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other SCRIPTURES, to their own destruction.”

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

It was I who added the comment on 2 Peter and 1 Timothy.I have to add about 1 Peter,which,according to Ehrman is a forgery.It says at the beginnign that it is by Peter himself.

Now it also says it was written with the help of a secretary:

1 Peter 5:12

" With the help of Silas,[b] whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God."


In the next verse,verse 13 it says:

"She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love."

Babylon is ROME,since Rome in 70 AD destroyed Jerusalem and its temple like the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar did in 586 BC.


1.So supposedly,since Peter was killed in 64 AD,then he never knew Rome destroy Jerusalem in 70 AD.

2.But Jesus in Q(50 sayings of Jesus from 50 AD) talks of the destruction of the Temple.So Peter would have heard of it and concluded it would be Rome(who else would it have been?)

3.Plus I have argued that the internal evidence places Marc,Matthew,Luke-Acts(and even John),as being written BEFORE 70 AD,and the Synoptics ALL have Jesus saying the Jewish Temple would be destroyed.

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:


1.Josephus(37-100) states that before the destruction in 70 AD there were signs related to the Temple that the religious scribes concluded meant the city would be destroyed.("The Jewish War",IV.5.3"

2.Both the Jerusalem Talmud(350-400 AD) and Babylonian Talmud(500 AD)(which has more authority) say that for 40 years before 70 AD God rejected,by certain signs, the sacrifice for the sins of the Jewish people,when offered by the High Priest in Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur is the most sacred Jewish holiday.

3.In addition the Babylonian Talmud also says that because of all that Johanan ben Zakka said the Temple would be destroyed.

Who was he?Simply the greatest Jewish teacher of his time and after 70 AD the saviour of Judaism,making it possible to exist even without a Temple.He began what is known as Rabbinic Judaism.

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

Certainly,Peter,as a Jew,would have also heard of all that,and so the argument that 1 Peter can't be by him because of the word "Babylon" is not good.

Anonymous said...

@ Minora

What Ehrman says is the view of overwhelming majority of scholars except for the most fundamental ones like Michael Licona and Daniel Wallace .

Neither Mike Licona nor Daniel Wallace is among the top Biblical scholarship .

I would recommend you to read some scholarly introductions to the New Testament and see it for your self what the scholars say .


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Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

Hello Anon:

Licona gives the technical arguments as to why he disagrees with Ehrman,he also makes reference to experts on specifics who know more about particulars than Ehrman does.If Ehrman does indeed know what Licona has presented before having written the book then he offers no real counter-arguments.

He would be a case of what Marx did.Marx,when he wrote Das Kapital,literally rejected information,however empirical and objective,that went against his ideas.

For example Q(from 50 AD) has Jesus saying the Temple will be destroyed(Matthew 23:37-39 and Luke 13:34-35)


Both verses just stated ALSO say that Jesus says he will not return until the people of Jerusalem accept him as a prophet(Messiah).So he made a condition for his second coming.

Ehrman can't argue against this,and yet he still says Mark is from 70-75,and Matthew,Luke-Acts from 80-85.


Because all three say Jesus said the Temple would be destroyed and it happened in 70 AD,by the Romans,so for Ehrman it is impossible to date the Synoptics from before 70 AD,since they all mention a historical event that happened in 70 AD.Ehrman(and alot of others) willfully ignore what is in Q.

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

I will just add more info:

1.About 2 Thessalonians scholars are divided 50%.Half believe it is by Paul and half don't.

2.As for Hebrews it is from before 70 AD.It mentions animal sacrifice still happening in the Jerusalem Temple(Hebrews 10:1-4) and it mentions Timothy,a disciple of Paul,as being alive.

Whoever wrote it was a Christian and if he personally knew Jesus is not important,since Paul and Luke never knew him either,but that doesn't prevent their writings from being canonical.

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

The mention of Timothy is in Hebrews 13:23.

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

Hello Anon:

Here is the citation from Q(Young's Literal Translation):

Luke 13:34-35:

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that is killing the prophets, and stoning those sent unto her, how often did I will to gather together thy children, as a hen her brood under the wings,

and ye did not will.
35 `Lo, your house(Note:the House of Jerusalem is the Temple) is being left to you desolate,

and verily I say to you -- ye may not see me, till it may come, when ye may say, Blessed [is] he who is coming in the name of the Lord.'


It is from Psalm 118 and the way Jesus uses it is to refer to the Messiah.It appears in Psalm 118:22-26

"22 A stone the builders refused Hath become head of a corner.
23 From Jehovah hath this been, It [is] wonderful in our eyes,
24 This [is] the day Jehovah hath made, We rejoice and are glad in it.
25 I beseech Thee, O Jehovah, save, I pray Thee, I beseech Thee, O Jehovah, prosper, I pray Thee.
26 Blessed [is] he who is coming In the name of Jehovah, We blessed you from the house of Jehovah"


The one who was rejected but vindicated by God(became the cornerstone)

In Mark 12:10-11/Luke 20:17/Matt 21:42 Jesus says:

"Have you not read this Scripture: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?"

In Acts 4:11(also in 1 Peter 2:4-8),after the resurrection,the disciples said:

"Jesus is "'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone."

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

Also,Paul,in a letter NOBODY denies is by Paul,says,in 1 Thessalonian 2:14-16(from around 55 AD):

"14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus which are in Judea; for you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all men 16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they may be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last"

What is he talking about?The most logical conclusion is he refers to what the Babylonian and Jerusalem talmuds say,that the Yom Kippur sacrifice was being rejected by God.

And also to the Q saying that the Temple would be destroyed unless they accepted Jesus.