Posts tagged ‘Gospels’

The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins

As a Christian, I was indecisive as to the origins of our four Canonical gospels. Ideally, they were four independent accounts by eyewitnesses, or associates to eyewitnesses, each showing a unique perspective of the life of Jesus. In fact, my church pastors never strayed too far from this ideal course. However, reading the Gospels for myself led me to some troubling questions.

The Gospels contain sayings of Jesus, which in some cases are identical between gospels. For example the Parable of the Leaven found in Luke 13:20-21 and Matthew 13:33 – “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened”. In other cases, the sayings are placed in the same setting, but slightly different, as in the voice from heaven’s proclamation of Jesus after the baptism (Matt 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22). The voice speaks directly to Jesus in Mark and Luke (‘Thou art my beloved son’), but the voice speaks to the crowd in Matthew (‘This is my beloved son’). Why the differences in some cases but near verbatim in others? Was this design by divine purpose, copyist error, or dare I say, differing Gospel traditions? Of course, my church never dwelled into this territory of Biblical study, and I was left with my questions parked in my brain where they remained for years.

Burton Mack’s The Lost Gospel of Q deals directly with this question with a hypothesis that is wholly plausible…

Continue Reading August 4, 2008 at 11:59 pm 26 comments

The Secretive Messiah

The gospel attributed to Mark (hereafter referred to as “Mark”) purposely perpetuates a distinctly secret nature to Jesus’ life. This concept of the Messianic secret is beyond dispute, yet the explanations of the secrecy drastically differ on several grounds. Although William Wrede coined the term “the Messianic secret” in his 1901 publication of the same name, the notion of the secrecy was probably realized as early as the writers of the gospels attributed to Matthew and Luke. The Messianic secret, as defined by Wrede, is an idiom meant to describe the commandments by Jesus to followers and demons not to reveal the secret of his Messiahship.1

Elements of Jesus’ secrecy are still prevalent in the other synoptic gospels but are given internal explanations based on the author’s purpose. Matthew, for example, whose audience was probably Jewish, explains Mark’s prevailing propensity to Messianic secrecy by using Jewish scriptures, such as in Mt. 12:16 and 13:11: the gospel writer recalls passages from Isaiah, not only reduce the significant of the secrecy, but also to highlight the prophetic fulfillments of Jesus. Yet looking at the earlier Markan source, we do not have such explanations of fulfillment of scripture. Contrarily, Mark does not give many explanations to any of the references to Jesus’ secret nature apart from the obvious references to basic privacy…

Continue Reading July 25, 2008 at 11:30 pm 22 comments

Today’s Featured Link

Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.



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