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This article outright denies Jesus' resurrection[edit]

There is a significant number of people who both deny and accept the written accounts of Jesus' resurrection. Shouldn't Wikipedia take a neutral stance on the resurrection of Jesus, and not categorically describe it as a myth?

Yet this article outright denies the resurrection stating, "In the immediate aftermath of Jesus' death his followers expected him to return at any moment…"

This sentence is in total contradiction with what the Bible says and what Christians believe: that after Jesus died, he was buried, was dead for 3 days, then he rose from the dead, came back to life, and continued his ministry on earth for a further several weeks, appearing to hundreds of people and doing many miraculous things, before ascending to Heaven, physically flying up through the clouds. Thus, according to both the Bible, and all Christians, Jesus' death was by no means the end of his story. The last physical event of Jesus' time on earth was his ascension to Heaven, not his death.

In the interest of neutrality I changed the article from "aftermath of Jesus' death" to "aftermath of Jesus' life on earth" which is neutral wording. But someone has changed it back.

Currently, this article denies the Bible as being true, claiming that Jesus was not raised from the dead, and that his death was the end of his story. Not only is this biased, but as a Christian I find it quite offensive, especially considering that this article is about a Christian subject, and it is most likely to be read by Christians, since it does not concern people of any other religion.

I have seen Wikipedia articles about other religions which deny the Christian Bible, and I suppose that there is some leeway for them to do so, since those articles are concerned with their own religion, written for believers of that religion. But an article on a Christian topic should not outright deny the Bible. Wikipedia is supposed to be neutral, and people here apparently know that. So how can they allow the article to contain a statement which categorically says the Bible is false?

Grand Dizzy (talk) 12:54, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

The resurrection of Jesus ain't an objective fact.

Marcus Borg has suggested that "the details of Strauss's argument, his use of Hegelian philosophy, and even his definition of myth, have not had a lasting impact. Yet his basic claims—that many of the gospel narratives are mythical in character, and that 'myth' is not simply to be equated with 'falsehood'—have become part of mainstream scholarship. What was wildly controversial in Strauss's time has now become one of the standard tools of biblical scholars."<ref>[ Marcus Borg, David Friedrich Strauss:Miracles and Myth.]</ref>

— from David Strauss
So "myth" does not mean "false", it simply means "unproven". Tgeorgescu (talk) 14:09, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
The germane policy: WP:RNPOV. Tgeorgescu (talk) 14:16, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
Firstly, your arguments over semantics are irrelevant to the issue I raised. Seconfly, I did not say the Resurrection was an objective fact (though it certainly is to those of us who have met the risen Jesus ourselves), I said that a Wikipedia article should be neutral, and calling the Bible untrue is far from neutral. (For the record, The Bible is provably true but Wikipedia is under the control of evolutionists who put their superstitions and religion before actual science and reason.) Grand Dizzy (talk) 10:47, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

Grand Dizzy, the sentence you quote ("In the immediate aftermath of Jesus' death his followers expected him to return at any moment…") is concerned with establishing the conditions under which the Gospels were written, more specifically that the immediate followers of Jesus had no motivation to write accounts because they believed he would return in their own lifetimes. (See the first few sentences at the top of page 17 of Reddish's book, in the bibliography). It is not about the resurrection, and does not deny it: the death of Jesus was the fact to which these early Christ-followers were reacting. And then there was the resurrection. The very earliest reports seem to be contained in an epistle of Paul, in the form of what appears to be a very early "credal statement" to the effect that Jesus had appeared to various people and groups after his death. Paul doesn't say much about those appearances, but he does say that Jesus Christ also appeared to him, and it's clear that his was a visionary appearance (it's repeated in Acts). As he says that his vision was equivalent to those of the first apostles, it seems that those earliest appearances were also visionary. In other words, not a bodily resurrection. The bodily resurrection appears in the gospels (the subject of this article). It's not in the earliest gospel, the Gospel of Mark, which in the original form breaks off with a promise of an appearance in Galilee but no actual appearance. The other three gospels are very conflicted but all have a bodily appearance of sequence of appearances, as does Acts. Dating all these is notoriously difficult, but the "credal statement" would date from Paul's meetings with the apostles and disciples in Jerusalem in the late 30s, and his vision from about the same time. The letters in which he describes them are somewhat later, probably the 50s. Mark dates from around 70, and the other three gospels from the last three decades of the 1st century, roughly 80 to 90 AD. You see a development: visions of Christ for Paul and the early disciples, then later a bodily resurrection. So to sum up: our article reflects Reddish when it says that the earliest Christians expected Jesus to return at any moment, certainly within their own lifetimes (Reddish, page 17). It's not the business of Wikipedia to say if their visions were true, we merely reflect our sources, which is what the sentence you quote is doing. PiCo (talk) 01:18, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

You are fully entitled to your opinion that the Apostles and early Christians were lying, but your opinion should not be stated as fact in a Wikipedia article. For there are billions of people who believe that Paul was telling the truth when he wrote:
"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, ​and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. ​Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. ​Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. ​Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me." 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
Grand Dizzy (talk) 10:47, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
The point is not the appearance, but the manner of the appearance: Paul seems to say that the way in which Jesus appeared to him was exactly the same way he appeared to all these: as a vision, not as a tangible, touchable bodily man. That's the experience conveyed in Acts, and also in Paul's own account of his visit to heaven.PiCo (talk) 11:42, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
As stated by PiCo, the fact that Jesus died isn't controversial. Historians cannot report miracles as historical facts, since they work with methodological naturalism. So, there is no problem with stating that Jesus died as a historical fact. Whether that would deny the resurrection is not what our article does, but only your impression. Tgeorgescu (talk) 11:44, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
"You are fully entitled to your opinion": our personal opinion is not what matters, we must report what scholars wrote on the subject. We can also cite Biblical primary material where appropriate but only when we can then discuss their interpretation using secondary or tertiary sources (not our own interpretation). — PaleoNeonate — 13:03, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
  • The disputed section is fine as it stands; it neither affirms nor denies the resurrection, which is a complicated thing to discuss and is handled in its own article. It was written to discuss the production of the gospels and trying to load other issues into that discussion isn't helpful. Jytdog (talk) 01:10, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

To all: There seems to be a consensus amongst you that this article is perfectly fine as it is - completely denying that the Apostles ever physically met Jesus again after his death. This of course makes liars of the Apostles, who wrote that 3 days after Jesus died, he physically came back to life, ate food with them at every appearance, and they put their finger in his wounds, and after 40 days, Jesus physically ascended up to heaven, flying through the clouds. If you still think it is acceptable for the article to deny this, then so be it. I am not going to waste any more time discussing this. But I want to put it on record that I think the article completely fails to be neutral, and I wish you could see that this is disrespectful to the Christian faith and offensive to Christians, to whom the article is of primary relevance. Grand Dizzy (talk) 13:30, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

We do not cater to true believers. We simply render scholarship according to WP:UNDUE. I have explained this point at WP:ABIAS: what is good enough for top universities is good enough for Wikipedia. Tgeorgescu (talk) 16:38, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Also explained at WP:NOTNEUTRAL. Tgeorgescu (talk) 16:42, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for the links, very informative, and quite appalling! I was already aware there was a strong religious bias on Wikipedia but did not realize until now that the enforcement of this bias was official policy. According to these articles, Wikipedia does not believe in true neutrality, intellectual honesty, or even presenting an objective view of scientific fact - instead its policy is to blindly adopt, and affirm as true, whatever religious view happens to be currently taught by the controlling scientific majority in Western society.
So if America happened to be Islamic, according to these articles, Wikipedia would affirm the 'truth' that Allah was God, merely on the basis that the major scientific institutions happened to be controlled by Islam, and thus Islam would have the most credibility in society.
Right now, the majority western religion currently happens to be Evolution - a collection of outlandish speculations about 'magical' events which run contrary to all rational thought, reason, mathematics, and scientific evidence. However, since this religion is believed and taught as fact by the majority (in pure faith), Wikipedia reports this religion as being actually true, based on its "credibility".
I find this tragic. In my firm opinion, an encyclopedia should NOT present controversial beliefs as true fact, it should be TRULY neutral. The prevalence of a major religious view should determine how much significance and importance the encyclopedia ascribes to it, but should never determine whether the religion is reported as true or false. Since I do not own Wikipedia, there's nothing I can do about that, but I will say that I have lost all respect for Wikipedia because its policies bear no relation to the normal sense of the word "neutrality". In fact, I find it to be evil. Ascribing truth to a view, merely because it is the majority view, is a terrible thing to do. Grand Dizzy (talk) 12:58, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
We go by the major views of worldwide academia. We do not speculate about Absolute Truth. Evolution is uncontroversial in the scientific community and "miracles cannot be reported as historical facts" isn't controversial among post-Enlightenment historians. So, we only state that falsifiable religious claims have been busted when this isn't controversial for mainstream academics. Of course, these being said, see:

Like any Christian (and indeed any theist), I believe that the world has been created by God, and hence "intelligently designed". The hallmark of intelligent design, however, is the claim that this can be shown scientifically; I'm dubious about that.

...As far as I can see, God certainly could have used Darwinian processes to create the living world and direct it as he wanted to go; hence evolution as such does not imply that there is no direction in the history of life. What does have that implication is not evolutionary theory itself, but unguided evolution, the idea that neither God nor any other person has taken a hand in guiding, directing or orchestrating the course of evolution. But the scientific theory of evolution, sensibly enough, says nothing one way or the other about divine guidance. It doesn't say that evolution is divinely guided; it also doesn't say that it isn't. Like almost any theist, I reject unguided evolution; but the contemporary scientific theory of evolution just as such—apart from philosophical or theological add-ons—doesn't say that evolution is unguided. Like science in general, it makes no pronouncements on the existence or activity of God.<ref> {{cite news | url= | title=Evolution, Shibboleths, and Philosophers |publisher=[[The Chronicle of Higher Education]] | date=April 11, 2010 | first= | last= | accessdate = 2010-04-28}}</ref>

Quoted from Alvin Plantinga. The gist is that science can bust some miracles but it cannot bust all miracle claims. Tgeorgescu (talk) 14:44, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

If Wikipedia had been available around the sixth century B.C., it would have reported the view that the Earth is flat as a fact and without qualification. And it would have reported the views of Eratosthenes (who correctly determined the earth's circumference in 240BC) either as controversial, or a fringe view. Similarly if available in Galileo's time, it would have reported the view that the sun goes round the earth as a fact, and if Galileo had been a Vicipaedia editor, his view would have been rejected as 'originale investigationis'.

Quoted by Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:09, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

It seems that the issue here is not that the statement directly denies the resurrection, but that it makes an inaccurate claim (that just so happens to depend on the Resurrection not being true). The only source we have on how the Apostles reacted to the death of Jesus is ancient Christian literature (including the New Testament), and they are in general agreement that the Apostles' first reaction to Jesus' death was disbelief. They hardly believed he would actually die (violently) at all, virtually until the moment it occurred, and thereafter seemed reserved to their fate as followers of a failed Messianic claimant. In the literature, it is only after the Resurrection (and really, after the Ascension and Pentecost) that the Apostles begin to interpret certain sayings of Jesus (and Old Testament passages) as pertaining to his Messianic sufferings, Resurrection, and imminent return. In fact, the first direct mention of Jesus' bodily second coming may have been at the Ascension, where the accompanying angels note that he'll return in the same way that he ascended (visibly, bodily, etc). So, after Jesus' death the Apostles expected nothing, and between his alleged Resurrection and Ascension there was no return to speak of, since he was alive and those he appeared to were not necessarily aware he was going to leave (with the exception of Mary Magdalene, whom at the empty tomb Jesus told not to touch him since he had not yet ascended to heaven). All this is to say that the statement in question in the article is not only biased but totally unsupported by extant ancient literature. It should really say that immediately after Jesus' (alleged?) *Ascension*, they began to expect his imminent return. It does not change the point that New Testament literature probably didn't start for another couple decades; it just avoids a silly and unfounded POV statement. natemup (talk) 18:08, 16 December 2018 (UTC)

@Natemup: Historians can neither prove nor disprove ancient miracles. Therefore miracles can never be objective historical facts. Please state what you would like to change into what. Tgeorgescu (talk) 18:17, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
I don't think I made any claims above about proving miracles. And I did state what I wanted changed. To be specific, we should change "In the immediate aftermath of Jesus' death his followers expected him to return at any moment, certainly within their own lifetimes, and in consequence there was little motivation to write anything down for future generations" to "In the immediate aftermath of the Ascension of Jesus, his followers likely began to interpret certain sayings of his and certain Old Testament passages as pertaining to his imminent return, perhaps even during some of their lifetimes. A few passages in the letters of Paul, Peter, and John appear to bolster this thought. The meaning of these passages is disputed, however, and there is no way to be sure of what the first Christians actually made of them, if there was a consensus at all." natemup (talk) 19:32, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
That Jesus told them that he will return during their generation is the consensus view; many Bible translations render it like that. You need very strong WP:RS to overturn the consensus view. Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:43, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
Not looking to overturn it. We can agree that Jesus literally said those words, but my change addresses what he meant and what the disciples made of them. What kind of return might they expect, especially since the consensus view is also that they were not yet convinced he was going to really be murdered and rise again? In what sense did Jesus mean for them to understand his words, since "come" and not "return" is the word used by Jesus in the relevant (mostly Matthean) passages? We don't and probably can't fully know the answers to these questions, My change allows for precision without bias.natemup (talk) 03:13, 23 December 2018 (UTC)

Visionary appearances (an old thread resurrects)[edit]

The theory that the resurrection appearances were merely visionary is beset with problems. First, the most formidable obstacle for the visionary theory to overcome is its failure to explain appearances to groups of people. Since a vision exists only in this subjective, personal sense, it is obvious that others cannot witness it. And yet, Jesus not only appeared to numerous individuals but to groups, as well—and on numerous occasions. Still more problems remain. Jesus not only appeared to His disciples but to skeptics, such as his brother James, as well as to Saul of Tarsus (later to become the apostle Paul), a self-professed enemy of the Christian faith. How likely is it that these two would also have individual visions of a resurrected Jesus to whom they had no previous commitment? Even if all of these obstacles could be overcome, a further problem remains for the theory: the empty tomb. If all of the disciples of Jesus had simply been the victims of numerous individual and group visions, the body of Jesus of Nazareth would have remained where it was, interred in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. How likely is it for the disciples of Jesus to have gained converts—after preaching a bodily resurrection in the very area where Jesus was buried—if His tomb were in fact occupied with a recently crucified man? The critic who appeals to visions must then combine this theory with another hypothesis to explain why Jesus' tomb was found to be empty. Visions, by themselves, cannot begin to explain all the data. When all of these factors are taken into account, the visionary theory crumbles under the weight of the facts. Pure Facts (talk) 15:46, 22 April 2018 (UTC)

Bart Ehrman has an answer for these objections: Protestant scholars call Marianic apparitions "hallucinations", although it is clearly documented that thousands of people have relatively recently experienced such visions, so they agree that there are mass hallucinations. Skepticism was written into text, all we have are documents that seek to convince their reader that Jesus is the awaited Messiah, i.e. their authors are biased, they have an agenda. About the grave of Jesus, Ehrman claims that Jesus was left on the cross and eaten by scavengers, this happened to all crucified people, it was part of the punishment, since every person in the Antiquity wanted a decent burial for himself/herself. Besides, Bart Ehrman writes WP:RS, Pure Facts doesn't. Suppose an Ancient document would be discovered stating that Antiochus Epiphanes was raised from the dead and appeared to several thousand people. Would that constitute historical evidence of Antiochus's resurrection? Obviously not, so the case of Jesus is just special pleading and WP:FRINGE/PS (pseudohistory). Tgeorgescu (talk) 07:07, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
Marian apparitions are not comparable, for many reasons. I might agree they were hallucinations, but perhaps better yet were bald-faced lies, strategic machinations involving a strange mix of devout but gullible people and power-hungry leaders. They were largely not at the same time, widespread, or readily accepted by anyone outside of the region in question (likely due to specious evidence; to this day, the Catholic Church is still reviewing apparitions from years and years ago to determine their veracity). The Resurrection, on the other hand, is said to have involved hundreds of people over the course of 40 days in a large region, and apparently verifiable in such a way that people from afar believed based on compelling eyewitness testimony (which of course came alongside otherwise proofs such as miracles, as is alleged with Marian apparitions as well). Not to mention the fact that the ancient Christian literature making Resurrection claim (nay, even the original claims themselves) arose, unlike Marian apparitions, at a time when there was no material benefit to converting people or being converted to Christianity; it was a ticket to suffering in many cases during the first few AD centuries, and yet people were accepting the Resurrection claim as a fact; that's most likely because it had good evidence being communicated by eyewitnesses. Also, the apologetic that denies a mass hallucination does not hinge on the fact that such a thing isn't possible. That's not the point. It's that it is so unlikely that it is not a reasonable argument against the Resurrection claim. Moreover, that apologetic is not the sum total of our reasons for believing the Resurrection; it is only a fraction of the reasons, moreso a reactive argument than an catechetical sticking point. Given the myriad reasons we affirm the resurrection of Jesus, a document concerning the resurrection of Antiochus would obviously be irrelevant unless a movement with substantial, suffering-embracing membership had developed as a result, based on empirical evidence and a long line of established prophecies over thousands of years. For starters. natemup (talk) 18:37, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
As stated, Bart Ehrman writes WP:RS, you don't. No historian worth his salt would agree that Jesus's resurrection is an objective historical fact. No one teaching from Ivy Plus to state universities, whatever they may believe about it as private persons. Tgeorgescu (talk) 18:43, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm not pushing for my argument to be included in the Wiki. I'm just responding to to the argument concerning Marian apparitions. natemup (talk) 19:03, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
The word "resurrection" appears twice in the article. What do you want to change into what? This isn't clear from what you write inside the talk page. Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:07, 16 December 2018 (UTC)

Section on Johannine authorship is a bit skewed[edit]

There is a POV claim near the end of the "Composition" section about who wrote the Gospel of John and the Johannine letters. While it's perfectly neutral to state that John probably originated as a "signs source", to say that the "Johannine community" "produced [the Gospel of] John and the three epistles associated with the name" is to rule out the possibility John actually wrote what Christian tradition and many scholars say he did. Or at least it seems to rule it out. It would be good to either make this single claim more neutral or to include it as a position of some scholars (and include the position of other scholars and make clear it is a debated issue).

If not, at least change the wikilink for "Johannine community" to the page for "Johannine Christianity" (which I think deals primarily with the community in question) rather than its current link to the page for "Johannine literature" (which obviously is not the same thing as the community itself). natemup (talk) 17:39, 16 December 2018 (UTC)

The article Authorship of the Johannine works goes into this in some depth - Epinoia (talk) 17:54, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
Yup, we follow WP:RS/AC. If we want to know why read WP:ABIAS. Tgeorgescu (talk) 18:19, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
Agreed. That wiki is very neutral, not making a hardline claim either way:
"There may have been a single author for the gospel and the three epistles. Tradition attributes all the books to John the Apostle. Most scholars agree that all three letters are written by the same author, although there is debate on who that author is. Although some scholars conclude the author of the epistles was different from that of the gospel, all four works probably originated from the same community..."
This "Gospel" wiki, however, states the community claim in such a way that (at least semantically) rules out the possibility of John having authored the works attributed to his name. The community claim is a theory among many. natemup (talk) 18:46, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
John who? The academic consensus is that it wasn't John the Apostle. For the rest all bets are off. Tgeorgescu (talk) 18:48, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
I don't see that claim or source there. It says there could have been one author for all, that one theory/tradition says it was John, and that scholars debate who wrote the letters. It is impossible to square that paragraph with the bald claim that "a community produced all four documents". I understand that it could be true that all four originated from a community in one way or another, but it should be made clear this doesn't rule out a single author or that possibility that it was John. natemup (talk) 18:56, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
Again, we don't go by what you say, we go by WP:RS. Ehrman's view is that John the Apostle was an illiterate lowly peon. Did he go to evening school, learned to write, then learned a foreign language, the he got very good at that foreign language, then learned rhetoric and composition? Highly unlikely. Only a tiny elite could write like that, and he wasn't elite. Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:00, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm well aware of Ehrman's hardline views on a number of issues concerning Christianity, but to prop him up as an especially reliable source that puts the burden of proof on all other positions seems a bit pedantic. He is one of the single most controversial figures in his field and often shown to be biased, learned though he may be. A source he is; incontrovertible proof he is not. My proposed change does not contradict any source cited on the page, it agrees with the Johannine Authorship wiki, and the idea that a Torah-educated Jew may very well have produced a Jewish religious document should not cause you or Dr. Ehrman so much consternation. There is certainly no consensus view against John's authorship, a fact that the quote from the Johannine Authorship wiki betrays quite clearly. This "Gospel" wiki should line up more with that wiki's statement for obvious reasons.natemup (talk) 03:13, 23 December 2018 (UTC)

Everything we say in the article has to be drawn from reliable sources - hence the tags identifying those sources all through the article. For John we say: "There is a near-consensus that this gospel had its origins as a "signs" source (or gospel) that circulated within the Johannine community (the community that produced John and the three epistles associated with the name), later expanded with a Passion narrative and a series of discourses." This is sourced to Burge 2014, page 309. Burge is Gary Burge, who wrote the entry "Gospel of John" in the Routledge Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus, which is a reliable source. The encyclopedia was published in 2014, which means it reflects current scholarly thinking, and being an encyclopedia means it reflects general thinking rather than the views of the individual author, which is the role of monographs. Unfortunately, the relevant page (page 309) has fallen foul of the google-hole, by which the number of pages that can be accessed is reduced each time you look. I tried looking on a different browser but it was even worse - no google books version at all. In other words, I can't check that our article accurately reflects Burge without going to an old-fashioned library.
You're quite right that Burge implies that the apostle John did not write the gospel of John. This also is the scholarly consensus, as we imply in an earlier sentence: "All four [gospels] are anonymous ... and none were written by eyewitnesses." That's sourced to Mitchell Reddish's "Introduction to the Gospels", published 2011, and also a reliable source. Reddish does say that all four are anonymous, but not that none were by eyewitnesses - the article is not accurately reporting the source (or more exactly, the second half of the statement is not sourced).
That same source, however (Reddish 2011, page 42) does say that "most scholars" believe that the Johannine works were produced by a Johannine community. This is equivalent to Burge's "near-consensus".
(I'll do something to fix the lack of sourcing for the "eyewitnesses" claim).PiCo (talk) 03:00, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

Ok, about Ehrman: he is only controversial for Bible-believers who don't know what major US universities teach about the Bible. He does not claim to be inerrant/infallible, but in general he has a very good idea of what most Bible scholars from US universities say about the Bible. He also stated that consensus isn't evidence, but as far as we are concerned, we, as Wikipedians, work with WP:RS/AC, not with "evidence". A scholarly complaint about Ehrman is that he is "too mainstream". Tgeorgescu (talk) 12:36, 11 February 2019 (UTC)


Gospel: "Glad tidings" or "good news, " from Anglo-Saxon godspell. Source: Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. -Inowen (nlfte) 00:52, 29 January 2019 (UTC)

- see the article The gospel and the section Etymology - cheers - Epinoia (talk) 01:43, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
Its the same word, uppercase or lowercase, why is the etymology not included in this article?Inowen (nlfte) 06:14, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
- if you look at the first word of the opening sentence, you will see [Note 1] beside it - the etymology is given in the note - cheers - Epinoia (talk) 16:05, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

Ancient biography and 'the real Jesus'[edit]

The lead says

...the books in which the message was set out [...] The four canonical gospels [...] are the main source of information on the life of Jesus.

while "Genre and historical reliability" says

The consensus among modern scholars is that the gospels are a subset of the ancient genre of bios, or biography. Ancient biographies were concerned with providing examples for readers to emulate while preserving and promoting the subject's reputation and memory, and so they included both propaganda and kerygma (preaching) in their works [..] Despite this, scholars are confident that the gospels do provide a good idea of the public career of Jesus, and that critical study can attempt to distinguish the ideas of Jesus from those of later authors and editors.

If the Gospels are ancient biography, why then is the emphasis on a modern understanding which tries to extract a 'real' Jesus from these writings, and not on what those writings where meant to be by their authors, namely media to spread 'the message' mentioned in the first line, and elaborated in the "Contents"-section? It means that not the Gospels are the main topic of this article, but the modern reading of those writings, c.q. a concern with a 'real Jesus', which was not the concern of the authors of the Gospels. That's a serious bias, which at least should be adressed: "since the late 18th century scholars have postulated that the Gospels are based on an older, oral tradition, and have tried to identify the oldest layers of the texts, whih they regard to be the 'authentic' sayings and deeds of Jesus." There are unacknowledged concerns, assumptions and methodologies behind the lines quoted above, which were not the concerns of the authors of the Gospels. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:38, 1 February 2019 (UTC)

Do you have a concrete proposal for the article?PiCo (talk) 09:18, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

Reddish Source[edit]

@PiCo: I agree with all your up until this point. There are issues here as phrasing something differently from what Reddish does. I kindly request you to reread the quoted pages on Reddish. In fact he uses the word "apparently". You cannot just leave off the modifier for convenience or whether you and I agree or disagree. Changing the source's wording, in fact, does not summarize it but alters the original meaning. Dr. Ryan E. (talk) 06:55, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

I like to keep close to sources, to express statements in sentences, and to source every sentence. In your version, this sentence is unsourced:
  • In the immediate aftermath of Jesus' death and resurrection as described in the Gospels, his followers apparently expected him to return at any moment, as a completion of the "coming reign of God".
Of course, you mean Reddish as your source, but as it stands this is an unsourced sentence, and it's followed by another:
  • As eyewitnesses for verification and authenticity began to die, and as the missionary needs of the church grew, there was an increasing demand and need for a more authoritative record of the founder's life and teachings.
The close use of sourcing matters, because this article attracts a lot of editors and a lot of editorial activity, and it's important that we hold ourselves (and editors) to what the experts say.
Those two are followed by another sentence:
  • Other factors include the growth of the Christian movement and broader missionary work spread throughout the Mediterranean region.
This is sourced to Reddish, and is fine in that regard (I understand Reddish to be saying this in the first para of page 17), but I have some problems just the same. They relate to what can be called style. First, by cutting the original single sentence into three and adding so much material, you run the risk that the reader will lose track of your point: "other factors" in what? Second, I think you've unintentionally altered Reddish's meaning and made it seem that the shift from oral to written tradition occurred in the immediate aftermath of the Crucifixion - I know you didn't intend that, but that's the reading I take away.
In short, I think the original single sentence, while saying pretty much the same thing, is clearer in its meaning: Jesus died and was seen in resurrected form, his followers talked about that and his return, then as those eyewitnesses died there other people started writing things down. The summary from Burkett which follows sets out the process.
I have no problem with adding the word "apparently" ("his followers apparently expected..."), but I think splitting the single sentence is not a good idea stylistically, and I think you add too much. PiCo (talk) 08:15, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

The Canonical Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony[edit]

It is insufficient to say that "none of the gospels was written by an eyewitness." The gospels do claim to be based on eyewitness testimony (e.g., in Luke 1:1-4), and regardless of whether this is the case or not, it is seriously considered by many modern scholars (e.g., Riesner, Gerhardsson, Byrskog, Bauckham). Most scholars believe that at least some degree of eyewitness testimony underlies the canonical gospels. What is disputed is how much of the material is directly based on eyewitness testimony. Its best to state the current status of research clearly (such as "this is what the gospels claim for themselves, although modern scholars continue to debate the issue") and let the reader come to their own conclusions. I have cited appropriate, scholarly monographs that discuss the issue. comment added by Ancientinterests (talkcontribs) 07:23, 2 August 2019‎ (UTC)

Seek WP:CONSENSUS for your edits. As the hidden text says Do not change without first discussing on Talk page. Imho, Riesner's claim of verbatim memorization seems pretty WP:FRINGE, seen the work of Elizabeth Loftus and some anthropologists of oral transmission.
You state that Riesner's claim is fringe, "imho." But IMHO is not sufficient for academic discussion. Hence, I'm citing sources. My understanding of the Wikipedia terms of use is that there is a desire to be academic, refer to books and articles that support stated views, and not merely base statements on "opinion" as in your "imhO". The idea behind referring to Riesner, Gerhardsson, Byrskog, Bauckham, etc. is that these sources are a. Independent and b. Reliable, both per Wikipedia's definition of WP:FRINGE. comment added by Ancientinterests
As I have stated below, it is WP:FRINGE according to WP:RS/AC. The question if people from oral cultures could memorize texts verbatim can and was researched empirically. The academic consensus is that verbatim accuracy is only a concern for written cultures, and the consensus is that the vast majority of people from Ancient Palestine could neither write nor read. Tgeorgescu (talk) 17:39, 2 August 2019 (UTC)

A review of Richard Bauckham's book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony states "The common wisdom in the academy is that stories and sayings of Jesus circulated for decades, undergoing countless retellings and embellishments before being finally set down in writing."[1]

You are probably familiar with the old birthday party game "telephone." A group of kids sits in a circle, the first tells a brief story to the one sitting next to her, who tells it to the next, and to the next, and so on, until it comes back full circle to the one who started it. Invariably, the story has changed so much in the process of retelling that everyone gets a good laugh. Imagine this same activity taking place, not in a solitary living room with ten kids on one afternoon, but over the expanse of the Roman Empire (some 2,500 miles across), with thousands of participants—from different backgrounds, with different concerns, and in different contexts—some of whom have to translate the stories into different languages.

— Bart D. Ehrman, The New Testament. A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.[2]
Copy/paste from Oral gospel traditions. Tgeorgescu (talk) 15:10, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
Ehrman's POV is well-known. As above, to find a contradictory opinion neither falsifies nor verifies a given perspective, it merely points out that there is an ongoing debate, a point that I am interested to put before Wiki readers. comment added by Ancientinterests
If only him would have such POV, I would have fought against including his POV in the article. See e.g. Tgeorgescu (talk) 17:43, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
- the article states that "it is almost certain that none were written by an eyewitness" - this is different than claiming that they were "based on eyewitness testimony" - even if they were based on eyewitness testimony, which is debatable, they were not written by eyewitnesses - Epinoia (talk) 15:22, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
No doubt, there is a difference in how the two sentences are phrased. However, unlike the original sentence, my updated version 1) clarifies the language to give the reader a picture of the status quaestionis in academia, and 2) cites sources relevant to larger issue. To simply cite Reddish and consider it done obscures the bigger issues from interested readers. In keeping with the original request to discuss before changing, I would appreciate if you would state reasons, not merely disagreement, before changing back. Debate is a great way to clarify your thoughts and challenge some of the assumptions by comparing them with the broader academy! comment added by Ancientinterests
Many reviews of Bauckham's work are available, with as many judgments (positive and negative) as there are reviewers. For instance, Jonathan Bernier writes, "Bauckham's primary training is as a historian, and it is as a historian that he writes. As is the case with probably most New Testament scholars, many of his critics received primary training in the analysis and interpretation of texts, but as much as such work might constitute a necessary antecedent to history, it remains something that is not quite history. ... By rehearsing and reinforcing [in the second edition of this book] the argument that the authors of these gospels were either in personal contact with an eyewitness (in the case of Mark's Gospel) or were an eyewitness (in the case of John's), Bauckham can argue in chapter 21 that form criticism's view of an extended process of transmission is unnecessary to account for the relevant data." [3]}} To find a negative review is hardly disqualifying evidence for the validity of a source. (It is interesting in that regard that I could not find any scholarly reviews of the Reddish book, so heavily relied upon above, which is much stronger evidence of the lack of scholarly interest in it.) Ancientinterests (talk) 17:18, 2 August 2019 (UTC) AncientInterests
You should read WP:RS/AC. E.g. see that "common wisdom in the academy" reflects the academic consensus. The WP:ONUS is upon those who push minority WP:POVs. Tgeorgescu (talk) 17:33, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
"Bauckham's primary training is as a historian...." I don't think this is true, actually. His training is is biblical studies and theology, not history. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 04:20, 3 August 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ Hahn, Scott W.; Scott, David, eds. (1 September 2007). Letter & Spirit, Volume 3: The Hermeneutic of Continuity: Christ, Kingdom, and Creation. Emmaus Road Publishing. p. 225. ISBN 978-1-931018-46-3.
  2. ^ Bart D. Ehrman, The New Testament. A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 44
  3. ^ Jonathan Bernier, Toronto Journal of Theology, Volume 33, Number 2, Fall 2017, p. 303-304

Eyewitness in John[edit]

What this means, then, is that the Gospel of John does discuss this shadowy figure, the unnamed “Beloved Disciple, but he does not identify himself with him or speak of him using the first person pronoun. When the author DOES use the first person pronoun, it is precisely to differentiate himself from the beloved disciple. So once again, we have a completely anonymous book.

— Bart Ehrman, Did the Beloved Disciple Write the Gospel of John?

Quoted by Tgeorgescu. See also Loftus, John W. (10 October 2012). Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity (Revised & Expanded). Prometheus Books. p. PT410. ISBN 978-1-61614-578-1. With the Gospel of John it is equally clear that John was not the author, for at the end of it he speaks of the "Beloved Disciple" (John 21:24). The author of this gospel clearly distinguished between that disciple ("the one who testifies") and himself ("we know that his testimony is true"). The other Gospels do not fare any better. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:15, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

This article needs heavy improvement[edit]

So, basically, we need to improve this article greatly. I already made good changes, and would welcome any feedback. Basically, there are several problems. First, the way this article is written does not align with other, even MORE detailed articles we have on Wikipedia. Without going into too much detail, I would like to draw your attention to the sub-section of "Genre and Historical Reliability", when discussing the Genre, the article is good, but when it moves on to historical reliability part, it starts to get really weak. Let's for a second ignore the possible ideological bias here. This subsection does not even link to a MORE expanded, separate article specifically on historical reliability, or other relevant articles. Rather than being an introduction on what the consensus is on the methods used for determining historicity, the different moments that are accepted, and some episodes that are doubted... The subsection jumps to a very specific example of "Census of Quirinius" and uses 1 citation. After that, the article stops talking about historicity and inexplicably starts to talk about textual history of the gospels. Instead of giving an outline of EVEN THAT, it jumps to a very particular case of Matthew and Luke using Mark for their own purposes. Again, we have at least 10 separate pages that discuss the various theories on the compositions... rather than giving an outline of ANY of it, it simply uses a very specific example, then quotes Origen, concludes that the Gospels are "corrupt" and moves on. And I will repeat, most of this subsection does NOT even deal with historical reliability. It does not introduce the various tools scholars use to assess it, the diversity of views, the episodes of Jesus' life that are universally accepted and which ones are doubted... It doesn't even LINK to separate articles, for heaven's sake. This is travesty.

Here is a change I propose. It is taken from the intro of a large article on wiki, dealing with this specific issue. It gives broad outline of what historicity is, how it is determined, what views are there, what methods scholars use... And it links to a separate and relevant article for details.

I ask you that you take a look at this and come to a consensus. If it is NOT reached, then I will have to separately correct this, hand by hand. Thanks GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 18:20, 15 November 2019 (UTC)

- see Wikipedia:Copying within Wikipedia - I added a hatnote linking to the "Historical reliability of the Gospels" article - this article is a general article and a brief summary is sufficient - more in-depth detail can be left to dedicated articles - Epinoia (talk) 21:54, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
But it is NOT. I disagree with that assessment. It does NOT give an introduction. It doesn't even discuss the Historical reliability of the Gospels... It inexplicably jumps to textual history... Concludes they are "corrupted" and then moves on. There is no introduction. It needs to reflect WIDER views, and CONCENTRATE on "Historical Reliability" debate, rather than jumping to assessing its textual history GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 22:44, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
I agree with Epinoia - this is a general article, hatnotes and hyperlinks can take readers to the more detailed main articles. It does discus the historical reliability of the gospels, it has a paragraph on that, and seems to cover the topic adequately, saying in essence that they aren't reliable but can be used to reconstruct the life and teachings in a general way. Certainly this article should not concentrate on that subject - that's the job of the article Historical reliability of the Gospels.Achar Sva (talk) 01:56, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
You are missing the point. The tone of this article contradicts what we write in more detailed articles. If one article is telling you one thing, and the other is telling you something else... you've got a problem. I will try to make some edits. GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 03:41, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
My edits are being censored. I am bringing reliable references GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 03:44, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
- it might be a good idea to present your proposed edits here on the Talk page before changing the article - My edits are being censored., please remember to assume good faith (WP:GF) - if other editors feel your edits improve the article, then they will be allowed to stand - Wikipedia works on consensus (WP:CONS) - Epinoia (talk) 03:51, 16 November 2019 (UTC) HERE ARE my proposed edits. All of them are well referenced, and ALL OF THE references can be found on Wikipedia itself. Removing them is tantamount to censorship. --GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 03:53, 16 November 2019 (UTC)

- for copying between articles, please see Wikipedia:Copying within Wikipedia - the information added is in the article Historical reliability of the Gospels, does it need to be repeated here? - especially trivia such as scribes possibly having poor eyesight - irrelevant detail for this article - and please remember to assume good faith (WP:GF) - let's wait for some other editors to weigh in - be patient, we need consensus here (WP:CONS) - thanks - Epinoia (talk) 04:08, 16 November 2019 (UTC)

That matters. The article is implying something COMPLETELY different when you omit those sources. --GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 04:18, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
Since you mention your sources, this is what I find when I look at that list of six consecutive ones you have in support of your line, "Some believe that all four canonical gospels meet the five criteria for historical reliability; and others say that little in the gospels is considered to be historically reliable":
  • E.P. Sanders, "The Historical Figure of Jesus": No page number given, therefore unverifiable.
  • Alvar Ellegard, "The Myth About Jesus": Ellegard is a proponent of the "Christ myth" theory, which is fringe, which makes his book irrelevant (one important Wikipedia guideline is that we present consensus, or else major and important minor points of view, and Christ myth falls outside those). Also you didn't give a page number or link.
  • Craig Evans, "Life-of-Jesus Research and the Eclipse of Mythology": I can't find this paper and you give no link, but from what I can find Evans doesn't seem to be discussing the reliability of the gospels so much as engaging in the mythical-vs-historical Jesus debate.
  • Charles H. Talbert, "What Is a Gospel?", p.42: Once again, no link provided. It's not essential to do so, but material has to be verifiable and links help verification. I did find the book, but page 42 says nothing about historical reliability. (It's about the cultural background to the accounts of the ascent of Jesus in Matthew and Mark).
  • Dr Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, "Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word (Vol. II): Meditations on the Gospel According to St. Matthew": a devotional work, not relevant to our article. No book-link, no page indicated.
  • Robert M. Grant, "A Historical Introduction to the New Testament": Published 1963, meaning more than half a century old - too old to be relevant when we're trying to establish modern scholarly views. No book-link, no page.
All in all, none of these sources are admissible, although some might be if page numbers were provided. (As I said, book-links are not essential, only useful). If this came from the article needs to be re-written.
Just a final point, one of your earlier edits resulted in this statement: "The degree to which the Gospels are historical is disputed", sourced to Reddish, "An introduction to the Gospels", page 22. Reddish does not say this. The mis-attribution happened because you inserted you own statement into an existing sentence. Please be careful of this sort of thing. Achar Sva (talk) 05:44, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
Ok, I just read Reddish pages 22-23... I need to comment that to reach a consensus I propose following changes. First, take out the specific example, and instead put in the point Reddish is making. Reddish says, in pages 22-23, that the gospels are historical in the context of their OWN time... So we should look at them from that standpoint, he is NOT necessarily making the point that they are not historical. His point is that they are historical by the standards of their OWN TIME, and this is how we should look at them. That they are written in the style of ancient history. 2) Mention that Markan priority is the most accepted theory in scholarship, list quick reasons why, and then mention other theories that have been proposed. Third, mention that the textual variants or "corruption" in the gospels are a result of very minor changes, and that very few of these changes are meaningful... Because right now, the tone of the article implies that textually, the New Testament is completely corrupt... and our other articles say JUST THE OPPOSITE... I can provide citations for that... I believe this will change the subection's tone of being almost a scathing analysis of Christianity to presenting what our other articles on the subject do. I can reference them if you want. I feel like I am willing to compromise TOO much, but I want to see some compromise from your side too. I am here to reach a consensus. Please, make clear, what changes I can make, that would be accepted and that would also bring this subsection MORE in line with how the rest of the articles read, rather than this being a seemingly scathing report on a "corrupt" "ahistorical" book. --GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 07:22, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
Taking your three proposals one by one:
# We should put in the point Reddish is making ... that the gospels are historical in the context of their OWN time. The point Reddish is making is that ancient historians felt free to make things up ("prone to use fiction", p.21) and didn't bother to check their facts ("Luke ... was thwarted by faulty data" - Luke could have checked. p.22), and that 1st century biographers were first and foremost apologists and hagiographers who selected, reshaped and retold traditions "in order to highlight or downplay certain aspects" - p.22; this leads to his conclusion, that the gospels "may not correspond to what actually happened". If you want to make this more explicit, that's fine by me, but we have to explain that the gospels contain fiction, questionable facts, and propaganda.
# We should mention that Markan priority is the most accepted theory in scholarship, list quick reasons why, and then mention other theories that have been proposed. We already do mention the existence of non-Markan hypotheses - see footnote 2 in the Composition section. The synoptic problem is too complex for a detailed discussion in this background article, and readers are directed to the article Synoptic problem for further information.
# We should mention that the textual variants or "corruption" in the gospels are a result of very minor changes, and that very few of these changes are meaningful. The article could certainly use a paragraph on texts and textual transmission, probably in the "canonisation" subsection. Feel free to draft something, preferably no more than half a dozen lines in keeping with the overall balance of the article. Use the sources in the bibliography where possible, otherwise add new sources in the existing format (just to be neat). Try to use the most recent and neutral sources you can find. And post it here before putting it in the article.Achar Sva (talk) 09:14, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
OK. Here is a draft page of the changes I made. I added to the Historical reliability subsection, and created a new subsection for textual history. Here you can compare the differences between the present version and the changes I am proposing. GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 19:15, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
- I don't think we need to get into the existence of Jesus on this page - I don't see this as an improvement of the article - copying text between articles is not always a good idea (WP:COPYWITHIN) because the source article can be corrected, amended or improved, but the copied text remains uncorrected and conflicting information creeps into articles - also see Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a reliable source - Epinoia (talk) 18:05, 17 November 2019 (UTC)
I will be honest and say that I feel slight frustration, and not with any specific person, but with the situation, because I feel like I have been willing to compromise for the sake of a solution, but I am just not getting anywhere. I am willing to let you guys make the first step, I have been waiting patiently, but all I see is a denial of the problem. The problem is there. Aside from this article's section being misleading, it also contradicts other articles we have here on wikipedia. I have checked other articles on the topic, and they are saying something different. First, I tried re-writing this article, and you guys objected. Then I tried leaving the material, while adding other stuff, you guys objected. So I ask you to work with me towards the solution. I will not leave this article, since I can demonstrably show it has severe problems. It is written poorly, and it contradicts other material we have here. If you have a problem with copying other Wikipedia places, I can write it in my own words, while providing a citation or whatever. Basically, the ball is in your court. I am willing to meet you half way to get to the solution, but I ask that you guys also meet me half way. I am willing to work closely with you, so that we can all come to a compromise, and better this article. I am not willing to leave these obvious mistakes and contradictions within this article. GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 17:30, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

- the edits have been confusing as it has not been clear exactly what the problems are - you point out two problems: 1) poorly written, 2) contradicts other Wikipedia articles - perhaps you could lay out clearly where the contraditions are in a "Gospel article says/the other article says" format so the contradictions can be dealt with individually - after the contradictions are dealt with, we can work on improving the writing of the article - thanks - Epinoia (talk) 20:00, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

I had been holding off posting because I was hoping that more people would join in, but so far that hasn't happened. GoogleMeNowPlease, your paragraph on textual history doesn't really address the topic - you rely on WIkipedia articles, but you need to go to books. I suggest you start with Hill and Kruger's "The Early Text of the New Testament", which is an authoritative recent study. In your paragraph you'll need to mention, but no more than mention, the earliest textual fragments (don't go into details or you'll be swamped), and then the earliest complete witnesses. (In the jargon of biblical studies, a text is a "witness"). You might also consult Hurtado's edited volume, The Freer Biblical Manuscripts - the Preface includes some concise information, though the essays are rather specialised. Your point about the number of texts and the generally trivial nature of the differences is true but disguises the fact that most of these manuscripts are many centuries later than the originals and that they do, in fact, contain major theological differences, such as Johannine Comma, which need to be mentioned, otherwise there's no history. Hurtado's blog post here is probably the first thing you should read (note his comments about "{wild" texts), but we can't use blog posts in the article. Achar Sva (talk) 04:34, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
Ok, I have to say that as much as I appreciate all of you being so respectful and kind to me, I still do not feel like we are understanding the root of the problem. Let me try to outline the problem. I have a problem with a specific part of this article. I will put the quotes in Italics, so you can distinguish it better. All quotes will be without references. I just want you to take a look at how this looks from the eye of a neutral observer. So, the following is what I have a problem with: As Luke's attempt to link the birth of Jesus to the census of Quirinius demonstrates, there is no guarantee that the gospels are historically accurate. Matthew and Luke have frequently edited Mark to suit their own ends, and the contradictions and discrepancies between John and the synoptics make it impossible to accept both as reliable. In addition the gospels we read today have been edited and corrupted over time, leading Origen to complain in the 3rd century that "the differences among manuscripts have become great, ... [because copyists] either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they make additions or deletions as they please. (taken from this article, subsection Historical reliability). Now, please, read these paragraphs from the eyes of a neutral observer. Let's start with an easy one. I will now bring a quote from our article on Jesus, subsection "Cannonical Gospels" Not everything contained in the New Testament gospels is considered to be historically reliable. Views range from their being inerrant descriptions of the life of Jesus[91] to their providing little historical information about his life beyond the basics. Look at the phrasing. Are they saying the same thing? They are NOT! But let me get more technical, and take it point by point. Let us start with our most obvious example. Our article says this: The gospels we read today have been edited and corrupted over time, leading Origen to complain in the 3rd century that "the differences among manuscripts have become great, ... [because copyists] either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they make additions or deletions as they please." Please read this from an outside perspective. Now, let's compare what you just read, with this paragraph, taken from the article "Historical Reliability of the Gospels": Per Aland and Aland, the total consistency achieved in the Gospel of Matthew was 60% (642 verses out of 1071), the total consistency achieved in the Gospel of Mark was 45% (306 verses out of 678), the total consistency achieved in the Gospel of Luke was 57% (658 verses out of 1151), and the total consistency achieved in the Gospel of John was 52% (450 verses out of 869). Almost all of these variants are minor, and most of them are spelling or grammatical errors. Almost all can be explained by some type of unintentional scribal mistake, such as poor eyesight. Very few variants are contested among scholars, and few or none of the contested variants carry any theological significance. Modern biblical translations reflect this scholarly consensus where the variants exist, while the disputed variants are typically noted as such in the translations. Not only are these 2 not saying the same thing, they contradict each other. They are saying the exact opposite of each other. In addition, we have at least 5 articles (List of textual variants in the NT, List of Textual variants in Mat/Mark/Luke/John), that also agree with the above and contradict the statements in this article. Notice also, how even when making the same point, the wording is crucial. For example, our article says the following about Synoptics vs Gospel of John:discrepancies between John and the synoptics make it impossible to accept both as reliable. This same point, citing 3 different authors, is phrased this way, in our article on "Jesus": According to a broad scholarly consensus, the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), and not John, are the most reliable sources of information about Jesus. This distinction in phrasing is CRUCIAL. Because the second one leaves open the door for what scholars actually think... that John presents some views in a theological way, rather than presenting the same views and making a mistake. For example, as Bart Ehrman outlines, John may have changed the day of Jesus' death, to coincide with the day of slaughtered lambs, to make a theological point about how Jesus is a lamb. Our phrasing leaves no room for these kind of changes. I could sit here all day and outline all our articles that contradict or phrase things differently from our article in those specific points, I could get into how our article simply assumes Markan priority whereas most of our articles present Markan priority as just the consensus among scholars, and not without its critics, and how our other articles boldly say that the synoptic problem so far has had NO SOLUTION, while this article presents Luke and Matthew copying Mark (instead of Ur-Mark for example) as an established fact... in short I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. We have phrasings and statements here, which disagree with majority of our articles on the same subject. And I am NOT ok with that. Think about it. If we had one article about the Holocaust that discusses it as an established fact of history, and then we have another article that discusses it as something that is debated, would you say that those 2 articles are saying the same thing? Would you be ok with that? So, I will divide the parts in this article that I have a problem with in 4 parts

Part 1: As Luke's attempt to link the birth of Jesus to the census of Quirinius demonstrates, there is no guarantee that the gospels are historically accurate.

Part 2: Matthew and Luke have frequently edited Mark to suit their own ends

Part 3: contradictions and discrepancies between John and the synoptics make it impossible to accept both as reliable

Part 4: In addition the gospels we read today have been edited and corrupted over time, leading Origen to complain in the 3rd century that "the differences among manuscripts have become great, ... [because copyists] either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they make additions or deletions as they please."

I have a problem with the phrasing of the first 3 and their dogmatism... The 4th one outright contradicts almost every article we have on Wikipedia dealing with the same topic. I propose 2 solutions. Solution 1 is rewrite this whole thing, maybe provide different references, phrase it differently or whatever. Solution 2 is leaving these as they are, but adding the different viewpoints to balance them out, so that we do not have a case of one article that contradicts 5 others on the same subject.

I ask you to work with me to resolve this problem. I do not like to pretend the problem is not there, when I can show that it is there. In case you are unconvinced, I can keep bringing many more examples of such outright contradictions between the statements and sentiments here, and virtually on ANY other article dealing with the subject. Thank you all --GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 06:56, 23 November 2019 (UTC)

I will reply with some quotes:

Modern Bible scholarship/scholars (MBS) assumes that:

• The Bible is a collection of books like any others: created and put together by normal (i.e. fallible) human beings; • The Bible is often inconsistent because it derives from sources (written and oral) that do not always agree; individual biblical books grow over time, are multilayered; • The Bible is to be interpreted in its context: ✦ Individual biblical books take shape in historical contexts; the Bible is a document of its time; ✦ Biblical verses are to be interpreted in context; ✦ The "original" or contextual meaning is to be prized above all others; • The Bible is an ideologically-driven text (collection of texts). It is not "objective" or neutral about any of the topics that it treats. Its historical books are not "historical" in our sense. ✦ "hermeneutics of suspicion"; ✦ Consequently MBS often reject the alleged "facts" of the Bible (e.g. was Abraham a real person? Did the Israelites leave Egypt in a mighty Exodus? Was Solomon the king of a mighty empire?); ✦ MBS do not assess its moral or theological truth claims, and if they do, they do so from a humanist perspective; ★ The Bible contains many ideas/laws that we moderns find offensive;

• The authority of the Bible is for MBS a historical artifact; it does derive from any ontological status as the revealed word of God;

— Beardsley Ruml, Shaye J.D. Cohen's Lecture Notes: INTRO TO THE HEBREW BIBLE @ Harvard (BAS website) (78 pages)

First of all, I believe that when Dan kept saying “radical skeptic” I think he was referring to me. [audience laughter] I’m not completely sure about it but I think that’s what he had in mind. The term radical refers to… a radical view is a view that is so extreme that very few people hold it.

The views I laid out for you are not radical in that sense at all. In fact, the are widely held among scholars in this field. Arguably the most erudite scholar in North American in recent decades is the lately deceased William Peterson whose book Collected Essays came out two weeks ago, who argues in essay after essay that it does not make sense for us any longer to talk about the original text.

The senior person in the field of New Testament textual criticism in North America is named Eldon Epp. He teaches the text criticism seminar at Harvard University. He also has written essays arguing that it no longer makes sense to talk about the original text. The chair of the New Testament Textual Criticism section of the national Society of Biblical literature meeting is AnneMarie Luijendijk who is a professor of religion at Princeton University. She also does not think that it makes sense to talk about the original text. Her predecessor was Kim Haines-Eitzen who’s chair of the Department of Religion at Cornell University. She also does not think that we can talk about getting back to the original text. The leading scholar in the field in the English speaking world is David Parker who teaches at the University of Birmingham in England. He’s written an entire book arguing that you cannot get back to the original text and it doesn’t make sense to talk about the original text. These are not extreme views. These are the views of the leading scholars in the English speaking world.

— Bart Ehrman, [1]
Ehrman was speaking about William L. Petersen, Eldon J. Epp, AnneMarie Luijendijk, Kim Haines-Eitzen and David C. Parker.

The differences are all over the map: who goes to Jesus’ tomb? How many women were there and what were their names? Was the stone rolled away before they got there or after they arrived? What did they see there? What were they told there? Did they do what they were told or not? Which of the disciples saw Jesus, if any? And when? And where? And on and on.

— Bart Ehman, How Changing My Views Affected My Relationships
Conclusion: historians always analyze the gospels critically, they do not simply assume that the gospels would be reliable merely because the Christian Church says so. The gospels do contain some nuggets of historical facts, but a historian cannot simply trust them on their word. Also, all miracles are unhistorical per the historical method (methodological naturalism is part of it). So, yeah, the view that the NT gospels are historically accurate is not tenable according to WP:MAINSTREAM WP:SCHOLARSHIP. I know that inerrantists disagree, but they are WP:FRINGE, therefore unwelcome here. They do not hold that the Koran, Vedas and The Urantia Book are the inerrant Word of God, therefore they are guilty of special pleading. Wikipedia has no reason to take their charade seriously (i.e. as objective truth). Tgeorgescu (talk) 08:57, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
@Tgeorgescu:, @Epinoia: @Achar Sva: Basically, I am interested in finding the solution. I will quickly outline what I propose, and I REALLY hope that I will not be dismissed.

I will divide the part that I have a problem with into 4 sections. I will propose what changes I want to see in all 4 sections. I ask that these be considered. Ok so this is what I have a problem with

  • 1) As Luke's attempt to link the birth of Jesus to the census of Quirinius demonstrates, there is no guarantee that the gospels are historically accurate

  • 2) Matthew and Luke have frequently edited Mark to suit their own ends
  • 3)the contradictions and discrepancies between John and the synoptics make it impossible to accept both as reliable
  • 4) In addition the gospels we read today have been edited and corrupted over time, leading Origen to complain in the 3rd century that "the differences among manuscripts have become great, ... [because copyists] either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they make additions or deletions as they please."

Ok, so I want to propose changes to all these 4 individually.

  • In the 2nd sentence, I do not see much of a problem, BUT, I want it to state clearly that the synoptic problem is NOT solved, and this merely reflects the majority view, and that the synoptic problem is still open. Preferably citing a reference like this highlighted one.
  • In the 3rd sentence, I do not have a problem with the sentiment, but I want the phrasing changed to reflect what scholars actually think. So I want it to make it clear that the differences are thematic, sometimes John concentrates on theology and thus sometimes has a more narrative and thematic style of writing, citing this highlighted reference
  • In the 4th sentence, I want us to add that most of the textual differences are seen as minor and almost none of them impacts the theological meaning. I would want it to cite this highlighted reference and this highlighted reference. I would also like to include the following quote from Bart Ehrman : "Most of these differences are immaterial, insignificant, and important for nothing more than to show us that ancient scribes could spell no better than most people can today."... this is from Misquoting Jesus and is often repeated by Dr Ehrman on his blog and elsewhere.

I spent time researching this and writing this. I know that we will not come to an agreement on EVERYTHING, but I ask that we come to a consensus to change some of these things, because if all of what I wrote is ignored, not only will it be a slap in the face, but it might also amount to censorship. I thank you all GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 19:50, 23 November 2019 (UTC)

The quote from Ehrman is only part of the story. Ehrman recognizes big time that the epistles of "Paul" from the New Testament severely contradict the theology of the epistles of Paul from the New Testament. Of course, this is not germane to the gospels, however, there are theological conflicts among the gospels, e.g. when did Jesus became God? At baptism, at birth/conception or he was always God (since eternity past)? You see, some views are more WP:MAINSTREAM than others, especially if we speak of history instead of theology. Tgeorgescu (talk) 10:53, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
That the gospels oppose each other in theological matters is known to the average Christian who ever bothered to read through a Bible. But neither Mark, nor John include a birth account or put emphasis on Jesus origins. And the one who insists on the Pre-existence of Christ is John, who depicts Jesus as Logos personified. Dimadick (talk) 12:38, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
GoogleMeNowPlease, I appreciate your sincerity and your real desire to help WIkipedia with good articles. I'll answer your four points one by one, but first a general and very basic point of my own: all our articles rely on reliable sourcing. That means, in the case of articles like this, on books by academics involved in biblical studies - which means it's pointless to say that this article differs from other articles, because our standard is the sources, not other articles.
*1) As Luke's attempt to link the birth of Jesus to the census of Quirinius demonstrates, there is no guarantee that the gospels are historically accurate. The source is Reddish, page 22, which says: "there is no guarantee that the events or details described by the evangelists are in actuality historically correct", followed by the the example of the census of Quirinius. The sourcing seems solid to me.
You go on: "I want to first begin with how there are a range of views, ranging from it being very historically accurate, to not accurate at all. I want it to cite the following references, Gudrem, "Systematic Theology", pp.90-91, [[Kostenberger et al, "The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown", pp.117-125], and Ehrman, "Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium", pp.22-23." I think you're implying that Reddish's comment doesn't represent the range of scholarly opinion, but when I look at these three I find that the first is by an extreme inerrantist and therefore represents a fringe opinion, while the second and third aren't about the reliability of the gospels at all (both are talking about various scholarly interpretations of the Jesus of history, not the reliability of the gospels) and don't contradict Reddish (one could hardly have such divergent conclusions about Jesus if the accuracy of the gospels were guaranteed).
You go on: "I would also appreciate if it mentioned that many scholars accept the basic outline of Jesus' life, citing this highlighted source and this highlighted source, and this highlighted source". I won't go into this, as our article already does say that scholars accept the gospels as a guide to the career and teachings (you seem obsessed with the former while ignoring the latter): "modern scholars are cautious of relying on the gospels uncritically, but nevertheless they do provide a good idea of the public career of Jesus, and critical study can attempt to distinguish the original ideas of Jesus from those of the later authors" (that's the final sentence in the same paragraph you criticise for being inadequate).
*2) Matthew and Luke have frequently edited Mark to suit their own ends. Your concern here is that the synoptic problem is not yet resolved and that Markan priority is questioned. Yes, and we say that explicitly in a note, with an inline link to the article on the synoptic problem. The synoptic problem is too complex to treat here, we certainly don't want to repeat the main article, and although Markan priority is questioned it remains the overwhelmingly most popular hypothesis.
*3)the contradictions and discrepancies between John and the synoptics make it impossible to accept both as reliable. In your note to this you say this wording is misleading, that John "concentrates on theology" and t"has a more narrative and thematic style of writing", asking us to look at page 3 of Molony and Harrington's The Gospel of John. That page is actually about the literary dependence of John (i.e., the sources used by the author, and in particular the question of whether he knew of the synoptics), not the differences between John and the three. In any case you badly underestimate the differences in both theology and narrative between John and the three: for John, Jesus is co-eternal with God (the Word), while for Mark he's a man (Mark even refrains from calling him God) who becomes the "son of God" at some point in his career - and they don't agree on what point that is. Nor do the incidents of the narratives align. All this is covered in our article, and sourced.
*4) In addition the gospels we read today have been edited and corrupted over time, leading Origen to complain in the 3rd century that "the differences among manuscripts have become great, ... [because copyists] either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they make additions or deletions as they please." You want us to add want us to add that "most of the textual differences are seen as minor and almost none of them impacts the theological meaning," based on chapter 3 of Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus and pages 134–138 and 157–158 of Assessing the Stability of the "Transmitted Texts of the New Testament and the Shepherd of Hermas" (I'm rather at a loss as as to why you think the second is useful - it's extremely technical and the page ranges are very large). What you say is true as regards the trivial nature of most differences, but not true as regards the importance of some of them - the long ending of Mark and the Comma Johanneum to mention only two. Still, it's a good point, and I invite you to draft a sentence or two.
So apart from that, I don't feel your complaints have a real basis. Achar Sva (talk) 02:36, 25 November 2019 (UTC)
@Tgeorgescu:, @Epinoia: @Achar Sva: Ok, so here are the changes I am proposing. This is how it looks compared to what we have now. I tried to compromise as much as I could. Please, meet me half way, or at least, offer constructive criticism so we can reach some consensus. Thanks --GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 19:11, 26 November 2019 (UTC)
GoogleMeNowPlease: The Talk page seems abruptly to have gone off on entirely new tangents, and I'm afraid your concern is getting lost. I do accept that we need to mention that most textual changes (from copy to copy) are minor, and I'll try to edit the article to reflect that. See what you think. I should say, however, that not ALL such changes are minot - the famous comma on the Trinity is pretty major, as is the longer ending of Mark.Achar Sva (talk) 08:45, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
I wrote something, then lost it through hitting wrong keys (I guess); I'm too tired to do it all over, but you might like to do it yourself. Feel free to edit the articvle directly. Achar Sva (talk) 09:41, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
Comma Johanneum has no relevance to the gospels. Additionally, I STRONGLY disagree that it is significant. Biblical doctrine of the Trinity is taught in many passages, and the early Church fathers reached this conclusion without ever appealing to the Comma. Mark 16:9-16 is absent in most early manuscripts... so it is rarely seen as an even debate. I also want to ask you once again, to stop censoring verifiable data. --GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 05:53, 5 December 2019 (UTC)

None were written by eyewitnesses[edit]

I checked the reference that is given to support the controversial statement that "it is almost certain that none were written by eyewitnesses", and the book does not appear to contain the word "eyewitnesses" or anything similar. I also submit that while it is probably easy to find a scholar who says "it is almost certain that none were written by eyewitnesses", it is also easy to find scholars who say that the gospels were written by eyewitnesses (that being the nature of studies on controversial subjects). Wikipedia should not give the impression that the opinion of one scholar reflects the consensus view. Unless I am given convincing arguments I intend to remove this statement.

Given the controversial statement of this, let me explain further. In order to state categorically that "the gospels were not written by eyewitnesses" it is necessary to do more than find one scholar who is prepared to write "it is certain that the gospels were not written by eyewitnesses", because it is certainly possible to find many scholars who say that at least one of the gospels was written by an eyewitness. Scholars in this area unfortunately have a tendency to write about what "is certain" when all they mean is "I am certain in my own mind". To make a statement like this you would need to find a consensus statement from someone who has genuinely surveyed many scholars from all sort of backgrounds and concluded that none believe a gospel was written by an eyewitness. I think it is very unlikely you will find someone to say that. (And be aware that "reputable scholar" is frequently used to discount those who the writer disagrees with as "not reputable"). DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:28, 29 November 2019 (UTC)

- In An Introduction to The Gospels, Reddish says that it is unbelievable that Matthew was a disciple or eyewitness (p 37) and that Mark was "not an eyewitness or a disciple" (p 37); "Luke does not claim to be an eyewitness to the events he narrates" (p 157); and that the author Gospel of John was "more than likely" someone who preserved the teachings of the Beloved Disciple "and ultimately produced the fourth Gospel." (p 42) - so none were by eyewitnesses according to the source cited - Epinoia (talk) 21:34, 29 November 2019 (UTC)
Epinola, you have conclusively proved that Reddish believes that none of the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses. And I agree with that. He very probably does. But he is only one person and I can find many, many scholars who believe something completely different. What we need here is evidence that everyone believes that, or the statement cannot stay in the article. DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:16, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
It's only controversial for fundamentalists (meaning people who believe that the Bible is without error). It's a vanilla claim in WP:MAINSTREAM WP:SCHOLARSHIP. Tgeorgescu (talk) 10:21, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
There are certainly people who believe that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses who don't believe the Bible is inerrant. And plenty of people who believe the Bible is inerrant who don't believe it waas written by eyewitnesses. And 'fundamentalist' is the wrong label to apply to both those kinds of people. But more importantly don't try to exclude an entire community from debate on this matter. Otherwise you end up with "Everybody supports the conservative government, except liberals who don't count." DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:16, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
E.g. Muddiman, John; Barton, John (22 April 2010). The Gospels. Oxford University Press. p. 243. ISBN 978-0-19-958025-5. Finally it is important to realize that none of the four gospels originally included an attribution to an author. All were anonymous, and it is only from the fragmentary and enigmatic and—according to Eusebius, from whom we derive the quotation—unreliable evidence of Papias in 120/130 CE that we can begin to piece together any external evidence about the names of their authors and their compilers. This evidence is so difficult to interpret that most modern scholars form their opinions from the content of the gospels themselves, and only then appeal selectively to the external evidence for confirmation of their findings.
Expressing "most scholars": Ehrman, Bart D. (2005). Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. Oxford University Press. p. 235. ISBN 978-0-19-518249-1. Tgeorgescu (talk) 15:52, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
Page 235 of the book you cite simply does not contain the statement you say it does, that most scholars believe this. And even if it did, that is a long way from making it the kind of unopposed fact that the article here would have you believe. If a signifcant minority of scholars believe something else, we should record that. The quote in your first paragraph simply expresses the opinion of the author, and I don't doubt that it correctly represents his opinion, but his opinion is not held by all scholars. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:30, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

Why then do we call them Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? Because sometime in the second century, when proto-orthodox Christians recognized the need for apostolic authorities, they attributed these books to apostles (Matthew and John) and close companions of apostles (Mark, the secretary of Peter; and Luke, the traveling companion of Paul). Most scholars today have abandoned these identifications,11 and recognize that the books were written by otherwise unknown but relatively well-educated Greek-speaking (and writing) Christians during the second half of the first century.

Verbatim quote. Tgeorgescu (talk) 17:55, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
Once again, this is just one person's opinion (meaning it is one person's opinion that most scholars have abandoned these identifications), and the fact that he is not necessarily right is evidenced by the fact that many, many scholars do not hold that view. And, again, even if it were true, "most scholars" is not "all scholars". The article currently states this viewpoint as a fact, whereas really it is just what 51% or more of scholars believe. Do I have to quote John Robinson, who believed that the whole NT was pretty much in its current form by 75AD?
Secondly, the line in question literally contradicts what is written on the previous line of the article, where is says the Gospels were written between 66AD and 110AD. Let's try to have at least a couple of paragraphs between parts of the article that contradict each other, eh?
But let's start talking about the article. At the very least the opening paragraph should acknowledge the place of the Gospels in Christian doctrine, which is at least as important for the reader to know about as the thoughts on dating of a single critical scholar. I'm very happy for the opening to then go on to mention current theories on dating, but they shouldn't be the main thrust of the introduction. (Unless of course your intention is for the article to become an attack on Christianity.) DJ Clayworth (talk) 20:17, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

@DJ Clayworth: could you please provide sources to back-up your claims? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 20:05, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

Sure. Which specific claims did you have in mind? The one that lots of scholars believe in the traditional authorship of the gospels, and certainly in contemporary authorship? DJ Clayworth (talk) 20:19, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
That the Gospels are eye-witness-accounts, and that that's not a pov which is outside mainstream scholarship. The scholarly discussion does not seem to be about the quation whether the Gospels are eyewitness accounts, but whether they are rooted in eyewitness-accounts. See Graham Stanton, The Gospels and Jesus, p.170], OUP. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 20:28, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
OK, let's start with the few that are to hand - anything by John Robinson, Gordon Fee, Richard Bauckham. There are plenty of others. Any quick browse of conservative scholarship will find you them. However if you would like to add to the lead the belief that the gospels were based on eyewitness accounts, that would be fine. I'd certainly settle on that as a compromise, and it would be better than what we have now.(And by the way, your link above appears to be in Dutch. Could you provide an English version?)DJ Clayworth (talk) 21:52, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

Here is my proposal for the sentence under consideration: rather than "and it is almost certain that none were written by an eyewitness.", I suggest " and the majority of academics believe that they were not eyewitness accounts, but may have been based on eyewitness accounts". DJ Clayworth (talk) 22:06, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

"Believe" is not WP:NPOV; and the second part is inaccurate: it is amatter of academic academic to what degree, and in which form, the Gospels are rooted in eyewitness-accounts. The term "eyewitness-account" is misleading in this respect. The Gospels are about "Jesus remembered," not about "Jesus historical." Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:13, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
I've added the following to the lead:

All four are anonymous (the modern names were added in the 2nd century), and it is almost certain that none were written by an eyewitness, but composed by later Christians from oral traditions, written collections, and proto-gospels.

That's in line with what the article says. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:19, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
That's a good statement. I've made a slight amendment "They were not originally ascribed to specific authors", because "they are anonymous" would imply that they do not currently have a name associated with them. I'd settle for "they were originally anonymous". DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:56, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

This article needs to be brought to the attention of a wider community[edit]

Ok, so I tried to improve this article, but I now realize that this article might be affected by POV pushing. I read the contents section, and instead of reading about actual contents, it is basically a list of contradictions in the gospels. The article presents the inaccurate view that in the 3 Gospels Jesus is portrayed as a man, and only divine in the 4th one. This view has been denounced by the most critical scholars even. Dr Bart Ehrman has made 2 blog posts, see 1 here specifically making it clear that he 100% accepts that ALL synotpic gospels present Jesus as divine. Mark 1:3, Matthew 3:3 and Luke 3:4 identify Jesus explicitly as Yahweh. In all synotpic gospels, Jesus is identified as a pre-existing Son of Man figure, and Mark specifically implies that Jesus literally is God in Mark 2:1-12. Many scholars like,J. A. T. Robinson, F. F. Bruce, Leon Morris, and Martin Hengel still accept the traditional attributions of the gospels, at least, to some degree, and we can cite them here, for example, here, here and here. But none of this is going to be accepted. The "consensus" on this article is run by 3 or so Wikipedians who are determined to maintain the explicitly anti-Christian tone of this article. Instead of reading like an introductory article, this reads like a list of arguments against Christianity from some blog.

Do not bother arguing. I spent more than a week working hard to get consensus, and they wouldn't even let me include a small phrase that suggests that the synoptic "problem" isn't solved.

We need to bring this whole article to the attention of the larger community, and make this a neutral article that reflects reality, instead of being turned into anti-Christian apologetics page by 3 or so anti-Christian random Wikipedians. I demand that this article be given for consideration. There is censorship going on here, sources that do not comport with the particular anti-Christian view of people sitting on this article are getting removed... etc. I tried arguing and getting consensus, people sitting on this article are not interested in any consensus. They will play dumb as much as they can, to ensure that the article reads like an anti-Christian apologetics blog. --GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 01:15, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

I just watched Bart Ehrman debates Peter J Williams, are the Gospels Historically Reliable? on YouTube. Therein Peter J. Williams says that he cannot prove to a history department that the gospels are historically reliable, mainly because history departments are ridden with bias (they're skeptical). See WP:RGW. Tgeorgescu (talk) 10:40, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
I agree with this. This article seems to be an outpost, because it actually contradicts some of the things that are said elsewhere in Wikipedia. Sometimes you get that - people weight in to a battle on one article (and it is a battle - there are literally people who think that certain viewpoints should be excluded from Wikipedia - you can see an example in the section above) but then changes are quietly made in another article which nobody notices. DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:27, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
I have made a request at Wikipedia: WikiProject Bible for more people to come and look at this. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:34, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

There are massive contradictions within the article. In one place it states that the Gospels were authored in 66-150AD, yet in others there are statements predicated on a second century authorship. There is virtually no mention of the place of the Gospels in Christian belief (surely a significant thing !!!!). Discussions of the different theories of dependency deserve way more space than they get. "Mark, the first gospel to be written," is stated as a fact, denying alternative theories which are widely popular even among scholars. One sentence just finishes half way through with three dots. More space is devoted to non-canonical gospels than to the contents of the canonical ones. In short, this article needs some serious work. DJ Clayworth (talk) 20:35, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

The absence of a section describing the significance of the Gospels to Christianity is a major omission. Does anyone feel like writing one? DJ Clayworth (talk) 22:01, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

DJ Clayworth - where are the statements predicated on 2nd century authorship?Achar Sva (talk) 10:44, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
Not in the article as I'm looking at it now. They were there before. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:47, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

"definitive and authoritative accounts"[edit]

I've just removed the following sentence form the lead:

According to Christian belief they provide definitive and authoritative accounts of Jesus' life, teaching, death and resurrection.


unsourced, too general, and not a summary of the article

  • unsourced, indeed;
  • too general: do all Christians believe this? Liberal Christians don't;
  • per WP:LEAD: the lead summarizes the article; there's no corresponding section in the article.

Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 20:41, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

A huge majority of Christians do believe this, and should be obvious enough to not need a source. The fact that there is no corresponding entry in the main article is a huge omission which I intend to correct at some point. But for now, let's take baby steps towards getting this to be an adequate article. I've made another edit for you to consider. DJ Clayworth (talk) 21:34, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

- there is a separate article, The gospel which is about the message of Christianity. This article is about the written accounts of Jesus' life. - Epinoia (talk) 21:47, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
Yes, that is exactly my point. This is all about the written accounts of Jesus life. DJ Clayworth (talk) 21:53, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
- reverted edit - the lead already says, "They are the main source of information on the life of Jesus" so there is no need to repeat it - this article is about the written accounts of Jesus' life, not about Christian beliefs about those accounts - Epinoia (talk) 22:14, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
Please don't just revert stuff. Try discussing instead. The Christian beliefs about the place of the Gospels is absolutely paramount. Without it they would be just an obscure piece of ancient writing (and probably wouldn't even exist because they wouldn't have been preserved). Anyway, I've made another attempt. DJ Clayworth (talk) 22:23, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
- that's why there is an article The gospel dealing with Christian beliefs - the gospels as books and gospels as articles of faith are two different subjects - Epinoia (talk) 22:51, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
Everything I've put in this article is absolutely about the books. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:46, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
The article also didn't mention the quest for the historical Jesus; a double standard. I've added a new section, and put back some of DJ Clayworth's info to the lead. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:37, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
DJ Clayworth, you say that "a huge majority of Christians ... believe" that the gospels "provide definitive and authoritative accounts of Jesus' life, teaching, death and resurrection," but is this so? You give no source, and you should, because many Christians believe some quite fundamental things that aren't in the gospels at all (e.g. the existence of the Holy Trinity) or believe that the gospel accounts of events such as the nativity and the resurrection are "definitive" when in fact they're deeply contradictory, one to another (eg, Matthew has the angel send the disciples off to Galilee to meet the risen Christ, but Luke has the same angel command them to stay in Jerusalem). You really need to provide sources for such statements.Achar Sva (talk) 09:57, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but if you don't understand that the Gospels are fundamental source texts for the life of Jesus for virtually all Christians you should not be editing this article. Please go and read up on what the Gospels actually are, then come and edit. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:26, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
Worse: the Gospels, and the Pauline letters, tell us that the Kingdom of Heaven is coming, and that the dead will arise from their graves. But none of them says that the soul will go to Heaven after death, a quite common Christian belief. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 10:23, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
Exactly why we need to avoid popular Christian belief and stick to scholarly analysis.Achar Sva (talk) 10:42, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
You absolutely cannot write an article about the Gospels and not talk about their impact and affect on Christianity, nor ignore what Christians believe about them. That would be a complete travesty of an article. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:28, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

I've just gone through the lead, doing no more than checking statements against sources, and it was pretty awful - I had to delete and rewrite a fair amount, and frequently find sources that say what the lead says. Please, when editing, be careful of sources.Achar Sva (talk) 12:02, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

Christian Attitudes to the Gospels[edit]

The central problem here is that there seems to be an unwillingness to write anything about how Christians view the Gospels. This is obviously a huge omission. Contrast the article on the Quran, which starts "The Quran (literally meaning "the recitation") is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be a revelation from God (Allah).", or Bible which includes in the lead "Varying parts of the Bible are considered to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans by Christians, Jews, Samaritans, and Rastafarians." If we can write those, why should we not make a similar statement on the Gospels?

I propose that we have some serious discussions on how we address this lack, what we should write in such a section, and what parts of it should be added to the lead. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:53, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

- this article is about the history, development and scholarly approaches to the gospels - there is a separate article, The gospel which gives Christian perspectives - Epinoia (talk) 17:48, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
I'm talking about the Christian approach to the Gospel texts, and what the texts mean to Christians, not the general "gospel" that is part of the Christian message. As you say, there is a separate article for that. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:51, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
- this article is objective - it neither promotes nor criticizes Christianity, but gives facts and scholarly research on the gospels - injecting Christian interpretations into the article would disturb the neutral point of view - as noted, what the texts means to Christians is covered in a separate article, The gospel - Epinoia (talk) 18:14, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
Yes, and I'm expecting to see objective descriptions of how Christians view the Gospels, what objectively is the significance of the Gospels is to Christians. That is totally in keeping with NPOV. If you are not sure about how NPOV would handle that, please ask. Go and check other articles and see how they do it. DJ Clayworth (talk) 19:06, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
I saw the problem with your edits at [2]. Namely WP:GEVAL to true believers and WP:MAINSTREAM WP:SCHOLARSHIP. Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:52, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
DJ Clayworth, what, concretely, would you propose? Bear in mind that we still need sources.Achar Sva (talk) 22:39, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

I propose sections on how the Gospels are viewed by Christians, how they have been approached and treated over the centuries, how their contents has shaped theology. If we can do those then it would be a good start. Later we might add information about Gospel manuscripts. DJ Clayworth (talk) 23:32, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

And the sources?Achar Sva (talk) 07:06, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
Do you have available sources that Christians assign any special significance to the gospels? Theology has drawn from other parts of the New Testament, which are out of scope for this article. Dimadick (talk) 17:21, 2 December 2019 (UTC)


The Content section contains surprisingly little of the actual content of the Gospels. It barely mentions parables, the Sermon on the Mount, miracles, conflict with the Pharisees, Jesus' claims to authority or Messiahship, his death or his resurrection. Someone reading this article would go away with almost no knowledge of what was actually written in any of the Gospels. We need to fix this. In an NPOV way of course. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:10, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

- if the content section is to be improved it would probably be by removing content and generalizing rather than adding irrelevant content to this article - there are other articles that more fully cover the content, there are individual articles on the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, articles on The gospel, Miracles of Jesus, Ministry of Jesus, Teaching of Jesus about little children, Life of Jesus in the New Testament, Genealogy of Jesus, Nativity of Jesus, Chronology of Jesus, Resurrection of Jesus, Crucifixion of Jesus, Passion of Jesus, Last Supper, Feeding the multitude, Cleansing of the Temple, etc. - in fact, almost every event in the life of Jesus has an independent article, so trying to fully cover the content of the gospels here is redundant and unnecessarily repetative - Epinoia (talk) 21:34, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
I am not proposing adding irrelevant content. I would suggest we actually write about the content of the Gospels. Currently everything in the content section is about criticism of the gospels. How about a few paragraphs summarizing the events, teachings and themes that can be found in the gospels? That would be a good starting point. And of course links to the articles you mention. DJ Clayworth (talk) 23:28, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
I don't see anything at all in the contents section that's criticism of the gospels, except in the sense that it reports the work of scholars. What do you see that's critical in any other sense?Achar Sva (talk) 23:34, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
I mean "criticism" in the sense of "textual criticism". The section has lots of it. DJ Clayworth (talk) 02:54, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

Later today I will hopefully get to proposing something to put in a "content" section. But it will have to wait a bit. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:47, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

OK, it took a few days, but here is my proposal for the start of the "content" section. Note that I am not suggesting remvoing anything that is there (unless we decide that there is redundancy). Feel free to edit this.

The four Gospels tell the story of the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus. The bear little resemblance to modern biographies. With the exception of the stories of his birth, they tell almost nothing of his early life, beginning the narrative at the start of his teaching ministry. Large amounts of the narrative focus on the last few days of Jesus' life, especially his trial, death and resurrection.
The first three Gospels - Matthew, Mark and Luke - present a similar picture of Jesus' life, and are called the Synoptic Gospels, meaning 'same view'. The Gospel of John presents a different picture - omitting events that the synoptics present, including unique material, and presenting some events in a different order.
Kinds of material found in the gospels includes:
Material Matthew Mark Luke John
Genealogy Yes No Yes No
Birth narrative Yes No Yes No
Summoning of Disciples Yes Yes No Yes
Public teaching Yes Yes Yes Yes
Private teaching Yes Yes Yes Yes
Parables Yes Yes Yes No
Miracles or Signs Yes Yes Yes Yes
Confrontation with Jewish Leaders Yes Yes Yes Yes
Arrest, trial and death Yes Yes Yes Yes
Resurrection Yes Added after the first written version Yes Yes

Much more we can do, but there's a start. Obviously there will be more links. Let me know what you think. DJ Clayworth (talk) 01:39, 6 December 2019 (UTC)

DJ Clayworth, these are far too manyposts being made for me to keep up, but I do agree with what you're trying to do here. My problem is, however, that as it stands this is OR (I don't disagree with it, but it's what you or I might come up with, and it needs a source). Achar Sva (talk) 11:37, 6 December 2019 (UTC)

Remvove clean up banner[edit]

- removed banner, "This article is lacking significant sections vital to the understanding of the subject." - this article provides basic information for the understanding of the history, development and scholarly approaches to the gospels - based on previous comments on the Talk page, I believe that the poster of the banner meant "This article is lacking significant sections vital to the Christian understanding of the subject." - for a Christian approach to the gospels, see the article The gospel - Epinoia (talk) 18:01, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

Please do not remove banners like that without discussing. The template meant exactly what it said, not what you thought it meant. Maybe you could instead think about how to expand the coverage of the article. See the above section for one of the ways it needs to be expanded. DJ Clayworth (talk) 19:08, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
- I removed the banner and started a discussion - that is the correct procedure - see WP:BRD - that the article is lacking significant sections vital to the understanding of the subject is one editor's opinion and without support - Epinoia (talk) 20:39, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
I agree with Epinoia; the approach advocated by DJ Clayworth would lead to unnecessary redundancy and the repetition of content in more detailed main articles.Achar Sva (talk) 21:43, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

I don't see a discussion here. I'm saying stuff here, making suggestions, and you guys are just reverting. Where is this duplication you speak of? And why is it necessarily a bad thing? We have lots of articles that cover the same ground. Why do you think it is wrong that an article about "Gospel" should contain a summary of the contents of the Gospels in its contents section? DJ Clayworth (talk) 23:14, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

The article does contain a summary of the contents of the gospels. It has three long paragraphs. Considering that there's so much else to cover, and that there are individual articles on each gospel, that would seem adequate. Achar Sva (talk) 23:32, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
The article does not contain a summary of the contents. The three paragraphs in the section marked "Contents" are almost entirely about the differences between the texts, not about the actual content. It's like having a plot summary of Hamlet which almost entirely talks about the variations between manuscripts without ever describing the plot. DJ Clayworth (talk) 01:50, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

I will copy paste what I wrote earlier:

Ok, so I tried to improve this article, but I now realize that this article might be affected by POV pushing. I read the contents section, and instead of reading about actual contents, it is basically a list of contradictions in the gospels. The article presents the inaccurate view that in the 3 Gospels Jesus is portrayed as a man, and only divine in the 4th one. This view has been denounced by the most critical scholars even. Dr Bart Ehrman has made 2 blog posts, see 1 here specifically making it clear that he 100% accepts that ALL synotpic gospels present Jesus as divine. Mark 1:3, Matthew 3:3 and Luke 3:4 identify Jesus explicitly as Yahweh. In all synotpic gospels, Jesus is identified as a pre-existing Son of Man figure, and Mark specifically implies that Jesus literally is God in Mark 2:1-12. Many scholars like,J. A. T. Robinson, F. F. Bruce, Leon Morris, and Martin Hengel still accept the traditional attributions of the gospels, at least, to some degree, and we can cite them here, for example, here, here and here. But none of this is going to be accepted. The "consensus" on this article is run by 3 or so Wikipedians who are determined to maintain the explicitly anti-Christian tone of this article. Instead of reading like an introductory article, this reads like a list of arguments against Christianity from some blog.

Do not bother arguing. I spent more than a week working hard to get consensus, and they wouldn't even let me include a small phrase that suggests that the synoptic "problem" isn't solved.

We need to bring this whole article to the attention of the larger community, and make this a neutral article that reflects reality, instead of being turned into anti-Christian apologetics page by 3 or so anti-Christian random Wikipedians. I demand that this article be given for consideration. There is censorship going on here, sources that do not comport with the particular anti-Christian view of people sitting on this article are getting removed... etc. I tried arguing and getting consensus, people sitting on this article are not interested in any consensus. They will play dumb as much as they can, to ensure that the article reads like an anti-Christian apologetics blog. GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 01:07, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

Wikipedians who are determined to maintain the explicitly anti-Christian tone of this article fails WP:NPA. Historical criticism isn't anti-Christian! "Criticism" does not mean being against Christianity, it means critically evaluating historical sources, including the Bible. Historical method demands criticism, there is no way around it. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:32, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
GoogleMeNowPlease, that's not a helpful approach. Making accusations against people does not help any cause. What would be helpful would be to find actual references where Robinson, Bruce, Morris and Hengel actually talk about the traditional authorship. (And Fee and Stuart while you are about it) DJ Clayworth (talk) 01:51, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
To be precise, making unfounded accusations against people does not help any cause (here on Wikipedia, wherein evidence can easily be checked). Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:55, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

Apologies for the delay in commenting, but I have been away. This offending paragraph is written in a non-neutral manner and almost like a ad for the "born-again" movement. Considering Bundy's other attempts to avoid execution, one must doubt the sincerity of this conversion. As I have stated elsewhere on Wikipedia, this article received GA status as a result of the efforts of DoctorJoeE and a para such as the one being discussed completely wrecks the neutrality of the article. I strongly oppose any re-insertion. David J Johnson (talk) 13:32, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

Seen the above, it seems I am accused of being both pro-Christian and anti-Christian. The same as in pornography articles I got accused of being both pro-porn and anti-porn. Tgeorgescu (talk) 02:07, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
GoogleMeNowPlease, nice work on those references. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:25, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

Epinoia, if you are going to start removing tags saying "see talk" you actually have to write something in the talk. I have written above what critical sections are missing from this article, and you have said nothing, nor contributed to adding content that might make up the deficiency. Please do not just edit war. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:45, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

@DJ Clayworth: - I started the Talk page discussion and gave my reasons for removing the banner - you have presented no compelling reasons or evidence to show that "This article is lacking significant sections vital to the understanding of the subject." - it is an opinion, not supported - contested material should not be re-added until consensus is reached - WP:BRD says, "Don't restore your changes or engage in back-and-forth reverting." (there are other guidelines that support concsensus editing) - "The onus to achieve consensus for inclusion is upon those seeking to include disputed content." (WP:ONUS), so you need to show that the article lacks sections vital to understanding beyond expressing opinions and you need agreement from other editors - I presented my views on improving the content in the "Content" thread above - so I request that, as there is no consensus to add it, you remove the banner as contested material and achieve consensus before re-adding it as per Wikipedia guidelines - thanks - Epinoia (talk) 18:33, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
@Epinoia:I responded to your messages, and explained the deficiencies qyite a while back, long before you removed the tag. There are in fact two whole sections on this talk page detailing them, and in neither case have you posted anything. Please try to spend your time improving the article, not edit warring. DJ Clayworth (talk) 19:25, 2 December 2019 (UTC)


It may seem like a small thing, but the Gospels are not anonymous. They may not have had an authors name attached to them originally, but they now very definitely have names attached to them - Matthew Mark, Luke and John. If you want to express that they did not originally have names attached, please find a way to say that. I'm suggesting "were anonymous", "did not originally have names attached", "did not have make claims to authorship", something like that. DJ Clayworth (talk) 04:14, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

Doesn't bother me. But I doubt anyone will pick up the distinction.Achar Sva (talk) 06:24, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
- Merriam-Webster defines Anonymous as "of unknown authorship" - although authorship was ascribed in the 2nd century, the actual authors of the gospels are unknown, therefore, they are anonymous - this is a quote from a book I happened to have handy, Who Wrote the Gospels by Randal McCraw Helms (1997):

The gospels are so anonymous that their titles, all second century guesses, are all four wrong...It's relatively easy to show that these identifications are imaginary and based on wishful thinking.

- there are other reliable sources that confirm this - Epinoia (talk) 16:14, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
What would be the purpose for this? The texts themselves offer no information on the writers. All information on Evangelists is part of Christian mythology, not part of the New Testament. Dimadick (talk) 17:29, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
Let's not call this "mythology". At the time of the ascription of the gospels there could easily have been people still alive who were living when the documents were written. Just because the people of the second century didn't leave document recording the reasons for their decisions that survived to the 21st century let's not assume their decisions were just fabrications. DJ Clayworth (talk) 18:28, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
- that could easily have been is speculation and not verifiable - see WP:VERIFY, "All material in Wikipedia mainspace, including everything in articles, lists and captions, must be verifiable." - Epinoia (talk) 19:39, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

Reversion on eyewitness authorship in lead[edit]

Arbitrary break #1[edit]

So there you go. I just gave 5+ citations diff, and they would not allow it diff. They don't even allow the statement that some notable scholars disagree with reddish. I submit the sources, and it is big names, like FF Bruce, Richard Bauckham, Dan Wallace etc. I can provide citations too, but they do not allow it here. They literally sit on this article, and disallow ANYTHING, no matter how sourced it is, if it disagrees with Reddish --GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 07:05, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

I've taken the liberty of putting this into a new thread since it deals with a new topic. The subject is whether the gospels are by eyewitnesses: we have Mitchell Reddish, "An Introduction to the Gospels", as the source, saying "we the persons responsible" for any of the gospels that and "we must consider the authors as anonymous". I was the one who reverted you, and I'll explain why.
  • First, it's a basic principle of Wikipedia that we reflect the dominant academic opinion. If there's no single dominant opinion we note differences; and we ignore minority opinions entirely - this is called Due Weight. The dominant opinion in this case is that the gospels are not by the various people named in the superscriptions, and at no point in the gospels themselves is this claim made, not even in John.
  • Second, you haven't done your sourcing properly. You should simply have the name of the author, the year of publication, and the relevant page number - this allows readers to check.
  • Your sources don't back you up. For example, John Morris in his commentary on John says that most scholars do NOT hold that the author of that gospel was John (pp.4-5). We could use Morris as a source for the existing statement, but we can't use him for yours.
In short, you need to find where the academic consensus lies, and not pick up the extremist evangelical views you have here. Achar Sva (talk) 08:49, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
Please, remember that Wikipedia is based around verifiability and not "truth". I can verify that published scholars of the New Testament disagree with Mitchell Reddish's conclusions. These are not extremists. These are published scholars. Additionally, I don't see your problem. We mention reddish first and imply that his view is the consensus. It seems that you do not want any other views mentioned here, which, of course, borders on original research and censorship. We will not be censoring this information. These are published scholars that disagree with Reddish. I already allowed for the article to give the impression that most critical scholars regard them as not being written by eye witnesses. What you seem to want is complete censorship of the verifiable fact that respectable scholars disagree with Reddish. And I don't see why we should let you censor verifiable facts. Neither should we have you defaming world class, published scholars like Dan Wallace, Mike Licona, FF Bruce, Martin Hengel, Richard Bauckham,Michael J Kruger, Leon Morris, Darrell Bock, F. David Farnell etc... These are world class professors with PHDs and published academics of the New Testament, some of these scholars are leading the way in their fields (e.g Dan Wallace's involvement with Papyrus 137). All of them disagree with Reddish, and the idea that this should not even have a mention is laughably insane. GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 10:47, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
We have WP:PAGs like WP:UNDUE and WP:FRINGE. It's not policy, but the WP:ONUS is upon you for why should Wikipedia teach something that WP:CHOPSY cannot teach. Tgeorgescu (talk) 15:43, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
Why do you think CHOPSY does not teach this? In my experience it does. Not by everybody, but certainly by some. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:34, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

Let's not start calling reputable scholars "Extremist". WP:NPA doesn't just apply to contributors. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:37, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

I would not say "extremist", but in respect to WP:MAINSTREAM WP:SCHOLARSHIP conservative evangelical views are outliers. Tgeorgescu (talk) 17:31, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
Good for you, but others did. Even if not mainstream, those scholars certainly represent a significant strand of scholarship. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:40, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
Hello. And thank you for bringing up these policies. Let me make something clear. I am NOT giving undue attention to these disagreements. I am giving them exactly the attention that pretty much any other article on this subject gives them. This article is not special, and should follow the format any other one follows dealing with similar subjects. Secondly, this idea, while not the consensus, is NOT fringe. Fringe theory is something that would significantly undermine the credibility of a New Testament scholar. The idea that the authors of the Gospels are all unknown and not eye witnesses is the consensus among scholars, broadly speaking, and I do note it as such. What you seem to want is to omit any mention of alternative views, held among academically published scholars, because of something that could amount to original research. I have no way to test how much credence Yale divinity school gives to the traditional authorship of Mark or Luke. I have no way to determine that. That would be original research. I can only cite authors that say, broadly speaking, what the consensus is, while also giving verifiable data of notable, published, PHD level scholars that disagree, some in their published works. You know what I think. I think the burden of proof is upon you to tell us why you think this specific Wikipedia article is so special that it should follow a different format than literally ANY OTHER Wikipedia article dealing with the similar topic. Our other Wikipedia articles dealing with similar subjects give the consensus view, and also give other published scholars that disagree. For example, our article on who wrote the Johanine works,Pauline works, Colossians, Peter's works, 1 Peter, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy etc. Notice how these articles, and others like them follow the format of first giving the consensus view, and then giving the view of serious scholars that disagree. Tell us why our article should not follow the same format of noting the consensus and also the scholars that challenge that consensus? Tell me why our article should be one of the only ones censoring the information that is accepted on pretty much every other article dealing with the same subject? GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 18:04, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
I am not opposed to something like "Traditionally, Christians considered these attributions to be genuine and some scholars still take such view." As long as it is clear that from Ivy Plus to US state universities and from mainline US Protestant divinity schools to US Catholic divinity schools they don't teach it as true, objective historical fact. Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:32, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
That is original research. I have no way of knowing that. Some of these ivy league schools offer accredited apologetics classes. And I suspect that, at least some of them, would still take the traditional view. Additionally, it would depend on the scholar. For example, the idea that Q source existed is overwhelmingly the consensus, but Mark Goodacre has taught at ivy league universities, and challenged the Q consensus. The Jesus seminar included some of the top ivy league New Testament scholars, and they rejected the view of Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet. Now, Bart Ehrman, is another ivy league professor who teaches almost exclusively, the view of Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet. There is academic freedom, and I have no way to evaluate which courses in which Ivy League university give how much credence to the traditional view. Case in point, JAT Robinson accepted the view that an eyewitness wrote at least some parts of the Gospel of John, and he taught at Trinity College in Cambridge. What I can show is that serious and important New Testament scholars challenge this consensus. And they are NOT extremists. Some of these scholars are literally leading the way for others. Dan Wallace is one example. Also, something like Christ Myth Theory is fringe. I do not know of a single active, relevant New Testament scholar that holds this view. Someone holding this view would be seen as completely fringe within his own discipline. There is NOTHING like that for holding to the traditional view. All 4 gospels carry the names "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John" on manuscripts AS EARLY as we can go. We only go back to the 2nd century, because there are only about 4 or so fragments from the first century. It is entirely possible that these names were written on manuscripts in the 1st century too. There is no early Church father that is not unanimous with others on who wrote these. The only one who does not name them, is Justin Martyr, who nevertheless, calls them "memoirs of the apostles".. again, associating them with an apostolic origin. These are far from fringe arguments. They are NOT the consensus, but they are not fringe at all. And putting all of this aside, my challenge still stands. Why do you think that this article should be written differently than literally ANY OTHER written on this topic. I gave about 6 other articles that deal with a similar topic, and their writing style resembles mine. They first present the consensus view, and then the scholars that challenge the consensus. Why should this be written differently? Isn't that special pleading? GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 19:53, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
I am also not opposed to something like what Tgeorgescu proposes, although I am open to further discussion too. DJ Clayworth (talk) 21:54, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
GoogleMeNowPlease Yes, I think we all agree that "Christ myth" is fringe. And yes, we need to beware of talking about Ehrman as if he was the definitive source of truth. DJ Clayworth (talk) 21:57, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
I am ok with what he proposes. It's just that I do not see how what I inserted is different. We do not need any further clarification. It is clear from the context that the consensus is that the gospels were not written by eyewitnesses. We need to mention what I put in, because it is verifiable and necessary. GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 22:23, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
About Ehrman: nobody claimed that he would be inerrant and infallible. However, he is a reputed scholar, he knows virtually all US full professors from his field, and he wrote trade books seeking to express their consensus. Also, he said, the broad public thinks that it's a conflict between 2 POVs. He stated: more likely among 300 POVs. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:55, 3 December 2019 (UTC)
Sure, but what is your point, though? Ehrman clearly is reflected in this article as being in the majority. GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 02:56, 3 December 2019 (UTC)
It was a reply to we need to beware of talking about Ehrman as if he was the definitive source of truth. Tgeorgescu (talk) 03:10, 3 December 2019 (UTC)
About accredited apologetics classes: liberal Christians are not bothered that Matthew did not write the Gospel of Matthew and so on. So apologetics for mainline Protestants and Catholics is not centered around biblical inerrancy. The Catholic Church does officially maintain that the Bible is infallible, however they do not mean it in the Sola Scriptura sense and leave open the possibility of historical mistakes. Tgeorgescu (talk) 23:35, 3 December 2019 (UTC)
I am TOTALLY opposed to Aschar Sva censoring these changes. It seems that we all agreed on this. I am NOT going to allow this censorship to stand. The fact that some scholars argue for traditional attribution will NOT be censored. I provided reliable references, and I do NOT accept them being totally taken out. GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 05:46, 5 December 2019 (UTC)

Arbitrary break #2[edit]

@GoogleMeNowPlease: instead of edit-warring, you could try to respond to the objections to your additions. And you could try to reduce the amount of text, by using named notes. Take notice that, in my opinion, you're using the lead to build an argument. Maybe you could include this info in the body of the article, but the way you put it in the lead is not okay.
This is what you added (in formatted form):

Despite the traditional ascriptions all four are anonymous, and none were written by eyewitnesses,[1] although others, notably


[Other references and quotes, regarding John:]

  • Edwards, R. A. "The Gospel According to St. John" 1954, p 9. One reason he accepts John's authorship is because "the alternative solutions seem far too complicated to be possible in a world where living men met and talked".
  • Hunter, A. M. "Interpreting the New Testament" P 86. "After all the conjectures have been heard, the likeliest view is that which identifies the Beloved Disciple with the Apostle John.

[Morris further argues that the view that John's history is substandard "is becoming increasingly hard to sustain."][note 2]

Like the rest of the New Testament, they were written in Greek.[7]


  1. ^ Morris: "Continental scholars have ... abandoned the idea that this gospel was written by the apostle John, whereas in Great Britain and America scholarship has been much more open to the idea." Abandonment is due to changing opinion rather "than to any new evidence." "Werner, Colson, and I have been joined, among others, by I. Howard Marshall and J.A.T. Robinson in seeing the evidence as pointing to John the son of Zebedee as the author of this Gospel."[5]
  2. ^ Morris: "The view that John's history is substandard "is becoming increasingly hard to sustain. Many recent writers have shown that there is good reason for regarding this or that story in John as authentic. ... It is difficult to ... regard John as having little concern for history. The fact is John is concerned with historical information. ... John apparently records this kind of information because he believes it to be accurate [...] He has some reliable information and has recorded it carefully [...] The evidence is that where he can be tested John proves to be remarkably accurate."[5]
    See also:
    • Dodd p. 444. "Revelation is distinctly, and nowhere more clearly than in the Fourth Gospel, a historical revelation. It follows that it is important for the evangelist that what he narrates happened."
    • Temple, William. "Readings in St. John's Gospel". MacMillan and Co, 1952. "The synoptists give us something more like the perfect photograph; St. John gives us the more perfect portrait".
    • Cf. Marsh, "John seems to have believed that theology was not something which could be used to read a meaning into events but rather something that was to be discovered in them. His story is what it is because his theology is what it is; but his theology is what it is because the story happened so" (p 580–581).


  1. ^ Reddish 2011, pp. 13, 42.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Robinson, J. A. T. "The Priority of John" P 122
  4. ^ Bruce 1981 pp. 52–4, 58. "The evidence ... favor[s] the apostolicity of the gospel. ... John knew the other gospels and ... supplements them. ... The synoptic narrative becomes more intelligible if we follow John." John's style is different so Jesus' "abiding truth might be presented to men and women who were quite unfamiliar with the original setting. ... He does not yield to any temptation to restate Christianity. ... It is the story of events that happened in history. ... John does not divorce the story from its Palestinian context."
  5. ^ a b Morris, Leon (1995) The Gospel According to John Volume 4 of The new international commentary on the New Testament, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, ISBN 978-0-8028-2504-9, pp. 4–5, 24, 35–7.
  6. ^ Hengel, Martin (2000). Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ (1st ed.). Trinity Press International. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-56338-300-7.
  7. ^ Porter 2006, p. 185.

Indeed, poorly formatted, and mixing-up references for two different statements c.q. arguments. Most of this is about John, not all of the four gospels. At the very least, you shouldn't write "although others [...] disagree," but write "some authors have argued that the Gospel of John is not anonymous." And then still you should write if that's scholarly concensus, or a minority view. What makes Kruger or Bruce "most notably"? Not to mention that you should check the sources; I can't access Hengel (2000), but Barnett (2019), Making the Gospels: Mystery or Conspiracy?, p.200, states that Hengel argues that John "the elder," and not the Apostel John, was the author of the Gospel of John. You seem to be very eager to prove a certain point of view, instead of carefylly contributing to building an encyclopedia. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:40, 3 December 2019 (UTC)

- I removed a list of names and some citations from the lead for the following reasons:
  • the lead serves as a summary of the article per MOS:LEAD, and WP:REPCITE, "Material that is repeated multiple times in an article does not require an inline citation for every mention."
  • as the same names and citations are included in the Composition section there is no need to repeat them in full in the lead per MOS:LEADCITE, "avoid redundant citations in the lead" and WP:OVERCITE "adding too many can cause citation clutter, making articles look untidy in read mode and difficult to navigate in markup edit mode."
  • the lead was turning into a bit of a citation farm - see WP:OVERCITE, "In controversial topics, sometimes editors will stack citations that do not add additional facts or really improve article reliability, in an attempt to "outweigh" an opposing view when the article covers multiple sides of an issue or there are competing claims...and is an example of the fallacy of proof by assertion: "According to scholars in My School of Thought, Claim 1.[1][2][3][4][5] However, experts at The Other Camp suggest that Claim 2.[6][7][8][9][10]"
  • the multiple citations give undue weight to a minority viewpoint per WP:UNDUE, "articles should not give minority views or aspects as much of or as detailed a description as more widely held views or widely supported aspects."
  • I left the citation to Reddish because, as I recall from previous talk page discussions (I searched the archive and was unable to find the thread I remember), the Reddish citation is there as a convenient source to point to for edits, largely by IP editors, that regularly changed "almost certainly none were by eyewitnesses" to "almost certainly were by eyewitnesses" without offering any verification to support the change. Most of the references supplied seemed to refer only to the Gospel of John and cannot be used for all the gospels. If a single reference can be found that substantiates the views of other scholars, it could be added to balance the Reddish citation if anyone thinks it is necessary.
- Epinoia (talk) 16:50, 3 December 2019 (UTC)
I am in general agreement with the removal of the list of names from the lead. However the current edit has two problems. 1) It leaves the 'other scholars' statement as unreferenced. Removing the names does not mean we have to remove the references. We should put those back. 2) we now have a structure of "<overarching statement>, but other scholars disagree". We need to say who it is who holds to the first statement, and thus who the 'other scholars" are "other" from. May I suggest "Most scholars say <statement>, but other scholars disagree." I'd like to get it more specific than that, but baby steps. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:30, 3 December 2019 (UTC)
- I agree with that, but perhaps "Most scholars say <statement>, but others disagree." to avoid the repetition of "scholars" - Epinoia (talk) 17:34, 3 December 2019 (UTC)
The text in the "Composition" part was still a mess, as noted above; I've copy-edited this, and the statement in the lead diff. I've also expanded some of the references; Wiki-editing is more than copy-dumping large chunks of ttexts from one article into another article... Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 18:10, 3 December 2019 (UTC)
Epinoia I think that would be OK. It's a little vague but I don't have a really better suggestion. DJ Clayworth (talk) 00:25, 4 December 2019 (UTC)
- the sentence has been changed (not by me) to "...though some scholars argue for the traditional attribution." with a link to a supporting note - I think that covers it adequately - Epinoia (talk) 00:31, 4 December 2019 (UTC)
The problem is that the number of scholars arguing for the traditonal ascriptions is almost invisible small - only a tiny minority of ultra-conservative voices. We need to reflect the fact that there's an overwhelming consensus. Achar Sva (talk) 03:29, 5 December 2019 (UTC)
I have already explained to you that that is not true. People like JAT Robinson taught their lectures in Cambridge, and these scholars and people like him have argued for the traditional ascriptions. These views will NOT be censored. I refuse to let you have them censored. GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 05:56, 5 December 2019 (UTC)

Textual History and Canonisation[edit]

This is another embarrassingly short section, containing basically a reference to Marcion and a cherry-picked statement about the number of Gospels. Nothing about the actual selection of the canonical gospels, or the history of the process. We have better articles on this elsewhere on Wikipedia, and we should take a lead from them. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:33, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

Agree.Achar Sva (talk) 20:25, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

And similarly, though I won't make another section for it, the article has virtually no discussion of the current (or past) theories on interdependence of the Gospels. Q gets precisely one mention, in the middle of a sentence talking about something else. That's another huge omission. We should at least have a paragraph or so on this. DJ Clayworth (talk) 22:00, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

You're talking about how they shared material? Or the origins of their contents? A very contested and very complex field. Achar Sva (talk) 10:51, 3 December 2019 (UTC)
I am. And just because it's complicated doesn't mean we should ignore it. And what we do have gives no indication that it's a contested field - it presents a single theory as though it were the universally agreed one. DJ Clayworth (talk) 14:53, 3 December 2019 (UTC)

The lead[edit]

The lead is currently awful, and not just because of the disagreements over authorship. At this time you could read the lead and still not know what a gospel actually is, it's place in the Bible, it's significance, its history or lots of other important things. As it stands the lead does not even say that the gospels purport to describe the life of Jesus. It reads like the article author wants to immediately start talking about how unreliable they are before even explaining what they are. let's do our readers the favour of explaining the basics before we start into the criticism.

I should say that the detailed listing of the scholars who hold traditional authorship is a bit much, in the lead. It's appropriate to list them in the main body, but not at the top. Can we agree on some phraseology that describes the sides of the debate without having to get too detailed. DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:04, 3 December 2019 (UTC)

I made a small attempt to put the basics into the lead. Please try not to undo them while you are busy reverting other parts of the lead. If you disagree with something there let me know - I'm open to other wording. DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:15, 3 December 2019 (UTC)

"There is no guarantee that the events which they describe are historically accurate." Weasel words. There is no guarantee that anything is historically accurate. Let's replace with what scholars actually think, or drop it from the lead. DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:25, 3 December 2019 (UTC)

- perhaps something like this sentence from the Historical reliability of the Gospels article: "scholars differ on the historicity of specific episodes described in the Biblical accounts of Jesus,[1]" - Epinoia (talk) 17:40, 3 December 2019 (UTC)


That sounds pretty good. DJ Clayworth (talk) 00:21, 4 December 2019 (UTC)

Scholarly consensus on the authorship of the gospels[edit]

Since @GoogleMeNowPlease: seems to think that the idea that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John might be seen as credible by a largish number of scholars, I post this:

On this basis, it would be dishonest for us to give the impression in out article that traditional authorship is has any real support in modern scholarship. You've been warned about edit-warring before.Achar Sva (talk) 09:07, 5 December 2019 (UTC)

AGAIN, we reflect the majority view, while mentioning that there are serious scholars that disagree. Your account personally is new, and you have been warned for trying to stick it to Christians. You previously tried describing the Battle of Jericho as "fictional" even though other Wikipedians disagreed with you. I have cited top verifiable scholars that have disagree with the consensus. These are scholars that have taught at Cambridge and have been involved in some of the most significant disdoveries. Each one of them has a separate Wikipedia page, and more than 10 Wikipedia pages mention the challenge of the consensus by scholars like these on the respective pages. Additionally, I got the consensus of other editors to make these changes. You do not get to sit on these articles. We will not allow you to take control of these articles. The information will stand. GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 10:20, 5 December 2019 (UTC)
You don't seem willing to admit that the majority view is not just a majority but overwhelmingly so. You're pov-pushing, please stop.Achar Sva (talk) 10:50, 5 December 2019 (UTC)
I have no problem with us mentioning that this is the majority view. But i categorically reject any attempt to completely omit the mention of serious scholars that have challenged the conseus in piblished works. All of our other articles on the authorship of the New Testament first mention the consesus and then give the opposing view. i do not agree that this article shdould be different . We need to mention serious public scholars that challenge the anti-Christian consensus. GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 11:34, 5 December 2019 (UTC)
It is not an anti-Christian consensus, more like anti-fundie.

I don't want to be rude, but to be somewhat blunt: a fact remains a fact regardless of whether you understand it or not. If you wish to think that a popular author with no academic the training in the field is an expert because he's popular, then you're wrong. Plain and simple. And that a view is fairly widely held (an unproven claim) is utterly irrelevant. Creationism is a widely held view among both Muslims and Christians, we still do not try to pass it of as credible. All you show in your post above is that you don't understand academia, and Wikipedia policies. Again, I don't mean to be rude, but this is getting somewhat tedious. Your personal beliefs do not trump academic consensus. Jeppiz (talk) 00:51, 16 December 2018 (UTC)

And one more thing: kindly refrain from that old "atheism vs Christianity"-argument. This is about academia vs conspiracy theories. We have countless articles contradicting Christianity, and rightly so. On numerous topics academic consensus clashes with Christian belief and we rightly go for the academic view. That is what we are doing in this article ad well, regardless of whether it's contrary to your beliefs. At least have the honesty to stop using blatantly false arguments to gain sympathy. Jeppiz (talk) 00:57, 16 December 2018 (UTC)

Quoted from Talk:Christ myth theory. Tgeorgescu (talk) 12:35, 5 December 2019 (UTC)
Ok, so I just want to remind everyone reading this, that I am the person that has spent weeks here and several hours researching to try and help this article. I came here respectfully and tried to get consensus. I accepted all corrections and compromised as much as I could. I gave verifiable sources and a direct quote from a scholarly book of Bart Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus chapter 3... that word for word says, that most of the textual variants are insignificant. The reference was removed simply because a user did not feel like allowing it. I try to remind everyone that Wikipedia is about verifiability, and not personal feelings. So I will try again to earnestly put my time into this, and diligently explain everything. I have put work into this. Please, do not splash cold water in my face by ignoring everything I write. So here goes:
Christ Myth Theory is a bad example. As you can see above, Christ Myth Theory is NOT a view that simply isn't held by majority of scholars. It is objectively and verifiably a conspiracy theory. It is NOT taught by published, New Testament academics, it is rejected in all Universities, NOT as a minority view, but as as a conspiracy theory, and people writing about it, are mostly self-published amateurs, like Earl Doherty. NOTHING like this is true for the traditional attributions of the Gospels. You set out a criteria for me and told me that something is fringe if it is not taught in places like Harvard and Cambridge. I met this criteria. JAT Robinson was a Cambridge professor, who taught New Testament scholarship in this "Ivy League" University, and he TAUGHT in Cambridge that the Apostle John, eyewitness actually wrote John. He published his source, and is cited in the references I provided. Leon Morris, a published New Testament scholar has not only published these views, but has, in his published works, written that entire parts of the British Academia have been more receptive to the traditional view of John, at least. You cite sources. And those sources merely say that majority of scholars no longer hold to the traditional view. AND I AM FINE WITH THAT. Let's cite those sources, and then let's cite the most notable scholars that disagree in PUBLISHED, Academic works. I am NOT asking that we cite every Christian apologist that has disagreed. I ask that we include scholars that have taught these views in Ivy League Universities, like Cambridge, that have published these views in scholarship. This is verifiable. I provide verifiable data. How did you decide that it is too fringe to be mentioned? What criteria is there? I have met EVERY SINGLE criteria that was demanded. I showed that it HAS BEEN taught in an Ivy League University, like Cambridge, I have shown that top New Testament scholars have, in their PUBLISHED WORKS disagreed with the majority view, and I have shown that entire parts of British Academia have been receptive to the idea that John wrote John. Additionally, there are other things to consider. For example, the earliest papyri that we can find, begin with ascribing the gospels to the traditional authors. For example, the Bodmer Papyri, all early sources hold to the traditional authorships, see here, here. And finally, EVERY SINGLE other Wikipedia article that we have on New Testament authorship, first mentions the consensus view, and then mentions the notable scholars that challenge the consensus. Why should this one be different?
PLEASE, set out an objective criteria I could meet to have this put back in? I have met the criteria of these views having been taught in an Ivy League University, like Cambridge, I have met the criteria of citing leading NT scholars who have challenged the views in their published Academic works, and I have shown that some parts of entire Academia of Britain have been accepting of these views. WHAT ELSE CAN I DO? What citation could I provide to deserve a mention here? At what point do we realize that you guys are doing original research by censoring these views? How did you decide that these views are "too fringe" to mention here, if they meet every criteria to be mentioned here? Stop doing original research.
I have put time and sweat into this. PLEASE, keep this in mind. GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 18:54, 5 December 2019 (UTC)

The traditional view is that Matthew wrote the Gospel of Matthew and so on—fine with me. That some scholars still take this view—fine with me. As long as we make clear that besides fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals very few scholars take this view, and they get less and less as time goes by. However, I cannot speak for others, if they feel that this fails WP:UNDUE and/or WP:FRINGE. Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:40, 5 December 2019 (UTC)

I have NO problem making it clear that this view is in the minority. That's how it was put in there. But denying that reputable scholars do hold this view, is again censorship and original research. --GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 19:56, 5 December 2019 (UTC)
There are two readings of WP:NPOV: one is that every notable voice has to be represented and another is that only mainstream scholarly majorities are represented.

Thank you for your views. Wikipedia has a strong bias in favor of academic sources for history. That is how it should be. If archaeology says Beersheba was founded 6000 years ago and the bible says it was founded 4000 years ago, archaeology wins. Zerotalk 13:06, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Quoted by Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:03, 5 December 2019 (UTC)
Again, that is not how we write other articles. I have asked you to give me a criteria which my citations have to meet. You told me that the criteria was, whether the view would be taught at elite universities, and counted down places like Harvard, Cambridge etc. I showed you that scholars like JAT Robinson have taught at Cambridge and have PUBLISHED these views. Then I showed you other published scholars who disagree... so my question is... who are you to reject this verifiable data? I am NOT asking that EVERYTHING be given attention. I am clearly citing sources published by academics. You are doing original research by rejecting them. GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 00:40, 6 December 2019 (UTC)
Reading WP:NPOV to state that only scholarly majorities are represented is a bit of a stretch. Darlig 🎸 Talk to me 01:12, 6 December 2019 (UTC)
I completely agree. We should mention the consensus, and then mention notable scholars that have challenged the consensus in published works GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 01:21, 6 December 2019 (UTC)
Darlig, the applicable policy is due weight - we give the consensus if it exists, otherwise the majority position followed by major minority positions. Achar Sva (talk) 11:26, 6 December 2019 (UTC)
I agree with you, Achar Sva. I was simply stating that I disagreed with Tgeorgescu's statement that minority positions should be ignored. It is important to fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources. The minority position, in this case, is not insignificant, althought it is a minority and should be represented as such. Darlig 🎸 Talk to me 18:20, 6 December 2019 (UTC)

Last time I viewed this page we had a consensus here. In answer to this discussion, which is basically the same as the last discussion, I also am in favour of describing the majority view (that traditional authorship is incorrect etc.), making it clear that it is the majority view, and also noting that a minority of scholars disagree. I'm even OK with calling those scholars "conservative" if you like (though some of them do not fit most people's idea of a conservative). Their number is substantial, and they are well qualified, so I see no reason to discard them, unless you take the view that disagreeing with the majority is reason enough to ignore someone. DJ Clayworth (talk)

this is exactly my point. Last time we came to a consensus to include it, and properly cited it, but because 1 person did not "feel" like it, we are back here again. At what point, will someone take a note of all this? GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 01:58, 6 December 2019 (UTC)
It's not unusual on Wikipedia. A number of people arrive at a consensus and edit the article to suit it, someone new shows up and thinks the article is wrong, makes a post emphatically stating their disagreement, and you have to go through the same thing again. Consensus is great but it ain't quick. DJ Clayworth (talk) 02:55, 6 December 2019 (UTC)
So can you, please, see to it that this isn't taken out anymore? No more censorship. We have come to an agreement. GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 05:21, 6 December 2019 (UTC)
GoogleMeNowPlease, I think I've mentioned this before, but when you give sources they have to be correctly formatted. I have no problem with the thought in this, but it should be in sfn format, and "chapter 3" is simply too vague - you need to give a page number. I'm talking about this: "though, scholars are quick to note, that most of the textual differences are completely immaterial and insignificant and do not impact the theological meanings of the texts in any significant way. - Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus, Ch 3, (2005). If you edit this to correct these two things I'll be fairly happy, although it can be (and must be)m stated in far fewer words. (I speak,of course, as a new editor with very little experience, for which I apologise). Achar Sva (talk) 11:23, 6 December 2019 (UTC)
Ehrman's work is significant in that he is not only a reputable scholar but he has 6 NY Times bestsellers. I also agree that citations must be detailed and accurate as to the page number(s) of the specific reference as outlined in Wikipedia:Verifiability. Darlig 🎸 Talk to me 23:38, 6 December 2019 (UTC)
So have we FINALLY come to the consensus? I am waiting to hear when it is time to put the censored info about the scholars who still defend the traditional attributions? GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 21:47, 7 December 2019 (UTC)
Post your edits and ensure they are in conformity with Wikipedia's content policies. Remember you are adding a minority position. Darlig 🎸 Talk to me 22:53, 7 December 2019 (UTC)
I posted the edits PER Consensus, as we agreed. You are witnesses that I got agreement before making these changes. I made the changes EXACTLY as agreed. I did not misrepresent the scholarly consensus --GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 03:37, 8 December 2019 (UTC)
Even Achar Sva agrees that they should stay, but not in the lead and not formatted like this. Also, in Bible scholarship sometimes 20 years is a long time for WP:RS, 53 years is very long ago. Tgeorgescu (talk) 07:21, 8 December 2019 (UTC)

@GoogleMeNowPlease: obciously, your assumption that there is a consensus for reinserting your preferred info is not correct. I also think it's undue for the lead. And Tgeorgescu mentioned the qualification "conservative," with which DJ Clayworth agreed. I've changed

almost certainly none were by eyewitnesses, and all are the end-products of long oral and written transmission,[1]though some scholars argue for the traditional attribution.[note 1]


almost certainly none were by eyewitnesses, and all are the end-products of long oral and written transmission,[1] though some conservative Christian scholars have argued for the traditional attribution,[2] or eyewitness-authorship, especially for John.[note 1]


  1. ^ a b Reddish 2011, pp. 13,42.
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference Kruger was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  • Conservative Christian, because it's quite obvious that faith can interfere with the approach towards faith-inspired texts, c.q. ancient biography.
  • "have argued," because the 1990s is quite some time ago not to mention the 1950s.
  • Eye-witness authorship, because Bauckham argues that the "beloved disciple" was an eyewitness, though not John the Apostle. See Stanley E. Porter, Ron C. Fay (2018), The Gospel of John in Modern Interpretation, p.40-41. There's more nuance to this "dissident" scholarship than simply an attribution to John the Apostle; if mentioned in the lead, it should be correct, and not simply satisfy a faith-perspective.

NB: you also removed the following text (in bold):

They are biography,[1] but ancient biographies included propaganda and kerygma (preaching);[2] yet while there is no guarantee that they are historically accurate, careful study can often distinguish Jesus' own views from those of his later followers.[3][4] Many non-canonical gospels were also written, all later than the four, and like them advocating the particular theological views of their authors.[5][6]


  1. ^ Lincoln 2004, p. 133.
  2. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 174.
  3. ^ Reddish 2011, p. 22.
  4. ^ Sanders 1995, pp. 6.
  5. ^ Petersen 2010, p. 51.
  6. ^ Culpepper 1999, p. 66.

Where's the consensus for that removal? NB: "biography" is not the correct term here; I've changed it into "They are ancient biography, which included."Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 09:04, 8 December 2019 (UTC)

@GoogleMeNowPlease:, nobody is trying to suppress you or your views. However, this is the thing: authorship by the traditional authors is so much aminority position that it simply cannot go in the lead, as that would be undue weight. It can go in the body of the article, but even then it has to be properly formatted, which means you use sfn and you have just a single source. (You'll see that elsewhere in the article, when we have more than one source it's because the sentence concerned covers more than one point). Please try again with this in mind. I'm prepared to help you, as it's not my objective to make your life miserable, whatever you may think. And I actually have a lot more experience than you might think.Achar Sva (talk) 09:54, 8 December 2019 (UTC)
Ok, I personally am satisfied with the outcome. The way it is included now is very good. I think this is how it should stay. Thanks all GoogleMeNowPlease (talk) 19:36, 8 December 2019 (UTC)
Hurray! Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:37, 9 December 2019 (UTC)

Ehrman 2005[edit]

There are two books Ehrman 2005. Help us sort them out. Tgeorgescu (talk) 23:59, 7 December 2019 (UTC)
Cite error: There are <ref group=note> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist|group=note}} template (see the help page).