Lease this WebApp and get rid of the ads.
SES - I'll Answer You Honestly...
Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:49pm (XFF:

And without assuming the conclusion.

First of all, to answer your question:
(Q) If Christian scripture is "inspired", then why do Theists care whether the gospels were written by eyewitnesses?
(A) The situation is more complicated than your question makes it out to be.

Let's break it down.

1. A great many believers DO believe that their scriptures are inspired AND that they were written by those that the scriptures claim wrote them. Most of these believers don't have a background in the scholarship of the bible or the history of the bible. They just believe. That's why they care. To them, if the authors of the gospels (and some of Paul's epistles) were not the people they claimed to be, then that is merely the first card that will bring down the whole house of their beliefs. One could even make the connection that the claim of authorship is a part of the scripture and as such, must be true for the scripture to actually be inspired.

2. To be technical about it, for many of the books of the NT, there isn't an author claimed in the text itself. The authorship is a matter of tradition. There are some who DON'T care whether the author of Matthew was the apostle Matthew or someone who later set out to write a gospel and used sources gathered from the congregations that Matthew preached to or someone who just had Matthew as a favorite apostle and chose to put Matthew's name on the gospel as an homage.

3. Plenty of Christians understand that the scholarship indicates that many of the books of the NT weren't authored by those who have been traditionally cited as the author - or even by those claimed within the scriptures themselves (like the letters of Peter). They have that view you seem to think they should have: the inspiration of the book is what matters. The authorship is irrelevant.

These are just 3 possible positions. Believers range along a spectrum. Some of the positions don't make sense. You have people who simultaneously hold the belief that every word of the Bible is the Word of God, and yet also believe that Peter didn't really write his epistles (even though the epistles claim that he did). People can be strange like that.

I think that the study of the history of the followers of Christ and also of the evolution of the collection of scriptures used by those followers is fascinating. I wish every believer was able to study that history in depth to get a sense of the types of factors that directed and drove process that brought us to where we are today.


Click here to receive daily updates

Religion and Ethics BBS