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April 29th, 2014
12:35 PM ET

New clues cast doubt on 'Gospel of Jesus' Wife'

Opinion by Joel S. Baden and Candida R. Moss, special to CNN

(CNN) - It seemed real; it seemed fake; it seemed real again; now we’re back to fake.

"It” is the controversial little scrap of papyrus, written in Coptic, that seems to have Jesus referring to “my wife,” in contrast to the traditional stance that affirms Jesus’ perpetual bachelorhood.

The quick backstory: In 2012, a Harvard professor, Karen King, brought this papyrus to the attention of scholars and the public.

Both the material and the script looked authentically ancient at first glance, and though the notion of Jesus having a wife was remarkable, these “lost” Christian writings, such as the Gnostic Gospels, are full of unorthodoxies.

It was good enough for King, who is widely respected in the scholarly world.

From the beginning, there were doubts, however, beyond the unlikelihood that the tiny scrap that survived the centuries would happen to be the one that contained the reference to Jesus’ wife.

The papyrus, along with a few other ancient papyri of lesser novelty, had been passed to King by an anonymous figure.

Anonymity, in the world of antiquities, is often a bad sign, compounding the inherent uncertainty when dealing with texts that are bought and sold rather than discovered in a firm archaeological setting.

Then there were aspects of the text itself that seemed suspicious.

For a fragmented scrap of papyrus, it seemed to have an awful lot of important content on it. Not only did Jesus refer to “my wife,” he also potentially described a certain Mary – perhaps Mary Magdalene? – as “worthy” and capable of being a disciple.

It is (almost) too good to be true.

At the same time, the handwriting seemed surprisingly sloppy.

Then again, other scholars noted that just because a scribe has poor handwriting and a text is informative does not make it a forgery. Perhaps we just got lucky this time.

More specific issues arose in the perceived familiarity of the document.

The text of the Jesus’ wife fragment is remarkably close to published editions, available online, of another Coptic Christian text, called the “Gospel of Thomas.”

So close, in fact, that one of the typographical errors in an online edition of the “Gospel of Thomas” is replicated, uniquely, in the Jesus’ wife fragment.

What are the chances of that?

Yet some would say that the fact that there is considerable overlap with the wording of the “Gospel of Thomas” isn’t a problem: Christian authors regularly copied word-for-word from other texts.

The canonical Gospels of Matthew and Luke, for example, reproduce much of the Gospel of Mark, with only slight alterations. And the vocabulary used in the papyrus is remarkably common.

The most compelling argument for authenticity is the flip-side (or verso) of the manuscript.

There are faint traces of ink on this side that have been worn away, suggesting that they are truly ancient.

It would be highly unusual for a modern forger to get his hands on an ancient papyrus written on only one side and equally difficult to imagine how the verso might have been made today.

Yet for all the arguments and efforts, there was no smoking gun - on either side.

And so the papyrus was submitted for testing: carbon-dating of the papyrus itself as well as chemical testing of the ink. Just last month, those test results came back.

It turns out that the papyrus is genuinely ancient. The ink has the chemical composition of ancient ink. The news spread, including here, that the papyrus was the real McCoy.

Of course, tests like those can’t really prove authenticity; they can prove only potential authenticity. And they are hardly foolproof.

Once we started carbon-dating papyrus, forgers started using authentically ancient papyrus. Once we discovered how to identify ancient ink by its chemical composition, forgers started creating precisely the same ink.

Like steroids in sports, it’s safe to assume that the best bad guys are always one step ahead of the science.

And yet, the dating of the papyrus and ink did shift the burden back on to the doubters. And just this past week, they seem to have discovered something as close to proof as we can really expect in cases like this.

Although we knew in 2012 that there were other papyri in the same group that included the “Jesus' wife” fragment – the batch the anonymous donor gave King - none of them had been seen.

That changed with the release of the test results, which used some of these other papyri for the purposes of comparison.

One of those papyri was a fragment of the canonical Gospel of John. For all the uncertainty about the Jesus’ wife papyrus, this text of John evoked no such indecision. It is a forgery.

How do we know? This Gospel of John purports to be a version in a relatively rare ancient dialect of Coptic known as Lycopolitan.

Just such a Lycopolitan version of John was published in 1924 and is now available online. And this newly revealed gospel fragment just so happens to look awfully similar to the 1924 (now-online) version of John. How similar? Here’s how similar:

Herbert Thompson's "Gospel of St John," page 7 (left); Coptic John fragment recto (right), illustrating how a forger could have copied every second line of this text.

Whoever created this new Gospel of John fragment simply copied the beginning of every other line from the online version.

Turns out that if you check the other side of the fragment against its online parallel, the same thing is true (though with the end of every line rather than the beginning, logically enough).

Add to this the fact that the carbon dating of the John papyrus puts it in the seventh to ninth centuries, but Lycopolitan died out as a language sometime before the sixth century. No one wrote anything in Lycopolitan in the period in which this text would have to be dated.

So what does it matter to the Jesus’ wife fragment that this scrap of John is forgery?

Well, it’s never a good sign for a text of doubtful authenticity to be found in the company of a sure forgery.

More directly: Multiple experts agree that the fragment of John and the Jesus’ wife papyrus are written in the same hand, using the same ink and even the same writing instrument.

Simply put: If one is a forgery, they’re both forgeries.

Although 100% certainty is never achievable in such cases, given everything we know now (lab tests included), the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” never existed — or, rather, it never existed, for all intents and purposes, before 2012.

There are no great revelations to be gleaned from this text, no astounding new information about Jesus or Mary.

What the entire episode does, rather, is remind us — scholars included — that science might not always have all the answers.

This forgery was detected not through lab analysis but through good old-fashioned humanities-based detective work. This was Sherlock Holmes, not "CSI."

There remains no substitute for deep, thorough, scholarly expertise in ancient languages and texts.

Even in a case that ended up wasting such time and energy in the academic community, that community, and its collective body of knowledge, have rarely been more valuable and necessary.

Joel S. Baden is an associate professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School. Candida Moss is a professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden and Moss. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: archaeology • Bible • Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (1,337 Responses)
  1. basehitter

    Hello folks, Jesus here.

    Worship me or I will torture you forever.

    Have a nice day.

    April 29, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
    • kermit4jc

      NOwhere does Bible say Jesus/God will torture anyone

      April 30, 2014 at 2:05 am |
      • fintronics

        LE 26:22 "I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children."

        LE 26:29, DT 28:53, JE 19:9, EZ 5:8-10 As a punishment, the Lord will cause people to eat the flesh of their own sons and daughters and fathers and friends.

        NU 12:1-10 God makes Miriam a leper for seven days because she and Aaron had spoken against Moses.

        April 30, 2014 at 7:37 am |
  2. idiotusmaximus

    New clues cast doubt on 'Gospel of Jesus' Wife'...................

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLO....The problem you're making in anything pertaining to this fictional person so called Jesus is YOU PEOPLE DON'T GET THAT HE HAS NEVER EXISTED......ONCE YOU GET THAT CLEAR IN YOUR STUPID HEADS...life will be easier....and P.S.......Santa Claus is not real either, along with the EASTER BUNNY.

    April 29, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
  3. Concert in an Egg

    Three giants tower over their children;
    Tumbling rocks on an ancient river bed;
    Bright green moss connecting root and boulder;
    Branches reaching out in every direction to drink each drop of light;
    A spreading canopy over a pristine patch of forest.

    From the nothing sprang my universe;
    Thanking the Mother I sing out loud;
    God is not here and I am grateful;
    Wooden fingers gnarl and wind and snap;
    My world is sudden and breathtaking and lovely and hard;
    I will be swallowed by the texture.

    April 29, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
  4. magicpanties

    New clues cast doubt on my invisible pink unicorn emitting rainbow farts

    April 29, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
    • idiotusmaximus

      That's a bald face lie magicpanties....I had din din with it last night....and yes...it's a shocking pink!

      April 29, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
  5. MadeFromDirt

    In the world of academia where King and Baden and Moss have charted their careers, scholars are pressured and rewarded to come up with something new and potentially ground-breaking, and there is a wide audience looking for reasons to continue to refuse to submit to God's authority as revealed in the Bible, thus we get frequent absurd stories like this (or the alleged box of Jesus' bones, or the "gospel of Judas", or the "Jesus Seminar" etc.), that always turn out to be much ado about nothing (and actually like this one always were much ado about nothing from their beginning). These "scholars" and their eager audience act as if there were never any skeptics, critics, and attackers of canonized Scripture until this modern era. In truth, the Bible has been the most dissected and still the most reliable docment in all antiquity, and historians routinely accept and rely on much less verified sources for most of our knowledge of other early civilizations.

    April 29, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
    • Madtown

      refuse to submit to God's authority as revealed in the Bible
      ---–
      If the bible is God's authority, why does he willingly withhold it from so many of the human beings that he creates every day? Seems he'd want to make certain everyone he created was fully aware of his authority, otherwise why make them in the first place?

      April 29, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
      • guidedans

        Yeah! Why doesn't God just make us born with a Bible in our hands? Better yet, why doesn't He just make us born with the Bible already memorized? BETTER YET! Why doesn't He just force us to believe in Him and make us into robots that just behave in the way we were programmed?

        It is like He is trying to get us to "choose" to believe in Him or something. That is ridiculous! Making choices and decisions is for suckers.

        April 29, 2014 at 8:04 pm |
        • Madtown

          Yeah exactly, why not? He's not powerful enough to actually provide this supposed message he wants US ALL to follow?! Get real.

          April 29, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
      • MadeFromDirt

        Madtown, in addition to the sarcastic reply from my brother Guidedans about God giving us an independent mind and free will as part of His love for us in creating us in His image, and the consequences of sin's entrance into the world, I can say with certainty that our perfect Creator will judge righteously those who never were exposed to the Bible, and that your concern for them will not excuse you from your responsibility in your own situation.

        April 29, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
        • observer

          MadeFromDirt

          "I can say with certainty that our perfect Creator will judge righteously those who never were exposed to the Bible"

          Certainty? Great. Please give us the exact quote where God says you don't have to believe in him to get to heaven.

          April 29, 2014 at 8:53 pm |
        • Madtown

          will not excuse you from your responsibility in your own situation.
          ---
          LOL. Well ok, if you're ok with this scenario, where God only provides a sub-set of his human creation with the "correct" way, then to be intellectually consistent and honest, you have to be ok with the inverse: Maybe God has given the "real" religion to a different culture that you're not familiar with, and you have no knowledge of this religion. Why couldn't this be the case? It's exactly what you want to impose on other human beings with no knowledge of christianity. In short: why is your way correct, and others incorrect?

          April 29, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Madtown and observer, both of you are ignoring parts of my earlier comments, and seeing things that are not there. But anyway....

          Observer's comment comes from the false idea that Heaven is something "to get", in exchange for believing "in" God. The truth, in a nutshell, is Heaven is something that is given, to those who believe God's promises.

          Madtown's hypothetical question also presupposes a false condition, denying the reality of the situation of awareness that we are in. Our Creator is absolutely pure, immutable, and sovereign. That's what God is, He can be no less, or there would not be a God or anything else. So in eternity, everyone serves God's glory one way or the other.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:03 am |
        • fintronics

          Again, claiming "truth" without evidence is dishonest

          April 30, 2014 at 7:40 am |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Fintronics, our existence and surroundings are the only evidence we need of God. It's foolish to deny that, and it's foolish to pose a question that manufactures a scenario that requires a god to be less than perfect. The only answer to such a question creating a false god is to agree that yes, the god that is being imagined is not righteous, and does not exist. But the god in an imagination is not the God who put us here.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
        • igaftr

          made
          "our existence and surroundings are the only evidence we need of God." Incorrect. I need much more evidence bacuase existance and surroundingsd are just as much evidence that we are in the matrix, or that we are an alien science experiment, or any of an inifinite number of other possibilites, so actuall is evidence of nothing but itself.

          By your logic, I can say that the wind is generated by giant invisible dragons flying around. You feel the wind, the wind is evidence of the dragons, so the dragons must exist.
          Completely false logic.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • jbhollen

          igaftr – the appropriate alternate god is the flying spaghetti monster, not dragons. Let's not be ridiculous.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Igaftr, you argue a false equivalent, and your logic fails. In arguing against God, you presume that the matrix, aliens, invisible dragons, or any other non-divine sources of creation you want to imagine are self-existing and under no higher authority. So whichever of those things you pick, you prefer to believe that thing within the bounds of space and time is self-existing and omnipotent and beyond ultimate judgment, instead of believing an infinite and perfect God is the self-existing sovereign power and creative source, even though science has shown that the universe had a beginning and that the laws of physics and energy that govern it have been constant since then, meaning that a force outside of the universe was the initial cause. It is a non-logical choice to turn your back on that original cause outside of the universe instead of looking for the communication from Him, but such failure of logic is a consequence of sin, of being alienated from the initial perfect cause and the source of all knowledge and truth, and so such foolishness on your part is further evidence of the God of the Bible and our need for the Gospel.

          April 30, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
        • jbhollen

          Two comments. You can't reconcile the beginning of the universe (Big Bang), constant laws if physics and biblical teachings.

          Secondly, it is the height of arrogance to say just because we don't know something yet it must be magic (supernatural). Sometimes we just don't know yet.

          April 30, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Jbhollen, the "Big Bang" and the constant laws of physics are entirely consistent with Scripture. I suspect you have been led astray by some poor interpretations of the creation accounts throughout the Bible. For example, the Genesis 1:3 verse "Let there be light" refers to light striking upon the earth's surface, not light in general. We know that when the earth first formed it was shrouded by a thick atmosphere and volcanic ash. Then God began preparing it for life. If you are truly curious about the scientific accuracy of the Bible, I suggest you look into Hugh Ross' latest book Navigating Genesis, and other resources at Reasons.org.

          Your comment about arrogance is deliciously funny (but I don't expect you to get it). It is man's pride that prevents him from admitting and submitting to God's power and authority.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • jbhollen

          You cannot reconcile biblical creation with the actual age of the earth or the universe. Hugh Ross is a verbal contortionist who's main body of detractors are all Christian. Fundamentalists do not like what he preaches at all. Realists pretty much ignore him as inconsequential in the overall debate.

          May 1, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Jbhollen, you are correct that young-earth fundamentalists do not agree with Hugh Ross and other old-earth Christians. The young-earth fundamentalists are clinging with misplaced faith to incorrect interpretations of Scripture's explanations of the physical universe and its origins. Those fundamentalists' errors lead to chains of more errors, such as believing there was no death of animals until the entrance of man's sin, and those errors weaken their credibility and damage the overall effort by believers to spread the message of the Creator's Gospel. Those fundamentalists close their minds and feel threatened by science because so many scientists ignore the involvement of a supernatural Designer and Creator and so it is widely believed that science is a secular discipline, so those fundamentalists fear that if they agree with new discoveries that conflict with their prior interpretations of Scripture they will generate an impression that their faith is weak and the Bible is subject to change. But in truth, science is nothing more than the study of how God designed and works His will upon His physical creation, and He expects us to use the minds He gave us and our resulting advancing technology through the generations to discover more and more wonders of His power, wisdom, and glory. Thus, if Scripture and science conflict, it can only mean that the interpretation of Scripture was wrong, or the science is wrong, or both are, not that Scripture itself was wrong.

          It also true that nonbeliever scientists ignore Hugh Ross, for the same reasons that all deniers dismiss and shut out the truth of the Gospel, mainly pride and a desire to make your own rules. So absent God's grace, you and any other denier will never be convinced otherwise by anything you read or hear. And your short-sighted puny arguments of denial can never cause any of God's chosen people to fall away from Him.

          May 2, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • jbhollen

          MadeFromDirt – In all seriousness, it was interesting to read in your post the differences that cause a schism between the young-earth fundamentalists and old-earth christians. I'm always interested in the details. The point you make about the "death of animals" is a new one to me. I need to look into that one. But from my perspective the difference between the young-earth and old-earth christians is barely perceptible compared to the difference between free thought and belief in an unperceivable creator. As a side-bar I also struggle with the reconciliation of scripture and todays science. I've had discussions with those who claim it works, but we never seem to be able to talk specifics.

          Regarding Hugh Ross, I have read some of his material, but as I said before, once the requirement for a creator comes in, his position is not discernible from others from my point of view.

          I take exception with your closing comments. I have absolutely no desire to, nor would it be appropriate for me to "make my own rules". The rules that we have to work with are the laws of the observable universe which are constant, measurable and repeatable. Making up ones own rules would be pretty crazy unless you are onto something new and can develop proofs that can survive peer review. Assuming your new law passes the litmus test of scientific verification it would still be a constant, measurable and repeatable law. If I missed your point altogether and you were referring to rules of morality and not science I still disagree with your premise. There are no moral rules instilled by religion that a non-believer would not develop on his own. Do not steal, do not kill, do not lie, do not cheat and others are developed organically by members of human groups. You do not need structured religion and a deity to be a moral person. I will argue conversely that the history of and the scripture of christianity is rife with amoral behavior. Genocide, Patricide, Matricide, Fratricide, Infanticide, misogyny, raype, in.cest, murder and a host of other bloody violence all committed in the name of righteousness. Further, the religious, even today, can and do get so zealous that they feel righteously enabled to dish out some of gods bloody justice. Shootings in churches, suicide bombings, flying planes into buildings, gunning down family planning doctors and just last week a shooting rampage at a Jewish Community Center. My thesis is a person who is a free thinker and free of religious dogma is much more likely be and stay a moral person vs. someone exposed to the righteous violence of religious scripture. And you will never see anyone commit an atrocity in the name of atheism. You may have examples of atheists committing atrocities but not in the name of atheism. The carnage committed in the name of religion however is vast and too voluminous to discuss here.

          Regarding pride, I think you are talking to the wrong guy. I am so in awe of the wonders of science even though I understand so little of it. In the hierarchy of those who understand or work in science, my ranking would be "Dolt". Pride does not come into play. Just the opposite.
          If the pride comment was intended in a moral sense, it still does not hold water. I am not "proud" to be moral and behave morally. How could I be proud that I am not a killer or thief or a lier, etc. I suggest that if someone is proud of their morality, then they are not acting in a moral fashion. To make a comparison it is almost trite how often evangelicals hold themselves in a position of superiority, moral or otherwise, on the basis of their belief system. I think that is immoral.

          Sorry for the long post.

          May 2, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Jbhollen, thank you for taking the time to write a thoughtful and non-rambling response. It is obvious that we reside on opposite ends of many spectrums, and we have different ways of defining and seeing certain concepts. I have further thoughts about morals, pride, and your mistake of grouping together all who outwardly profess faith in Christ, and I would welcome further exchanges with you on these and many issues, but I think on this post we have both strayed too deep and too far from the tytle topic. So until we meet again on future pages that raise those issues, let us both continue in our ways our quests for more and more truth, and peace.

          May 2, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
        • jbhollen

          Thanks, I did stray a bit. In rereading my post I broke one of my own rules by speaking in absolutes. It is wrong to group all participants of any persuasion together especially when making assertions. Apologies.

          May 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm |
  6. basehitter

    The basic message of Christianity is; if you believe, you are OK, if you don't, you are condemned.

    Personally, I find that proposition annoying.

    But, to each, his own.

    April 29, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
    • MadeFromDirt

      Basehitter, your perception of Christianity is incorrect and incomplete, but is common and not surprising considering what is said and written by many who call themselves "Christian". But still, you are correct that the Gospel is "annoying" to every man; that's why we need it.

      April 29, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
      • idiotusmaximus

        The Gospels are annoying because they are all crap.

        April 29, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        What are the criteria for a christian afterlife – upstairs and downstairs.

        April 29, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          In Santa We Trust, I'm not sure what you are asking, so I'll respond generally: The criteria is God's grace.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:10 am |
      • halfdime1

        So you see Basehitter, you are interpreting Christianity the wrong way.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:28 am |
    • guidedans

      BH,

      Every person has done wrong in their past. I think that we can agree on that (e.g., when you drive, you pollute). You cannot live and do no wrong.

      To compound this, there is no way to right past wrongs. If you steal a loaf of bread, you cannot unsteal it by donating $100 to charity. If you kill a spider, you cannot unkill it by saving a different spider from drowning. You can do good, but it does not make up for the bad you have done in your past.

      If there is no way to right past wrongs, and everyone has committed wrongs, then everyone is in the same position, i.e., we are all separated from perfection by our own flaws.

      It is not a "with us or against us" type situation. It is more that we are all headed towards death, but there is a way to avoid it. We don't have to be slaves to our pasts. We can look to Jesus as a redeemer. He took the punishment for our sins so we do not have to. Christians are trying to get you to accept the free gift that is yours to take. We are just wanting to get you off the path that we believe will lead to your destruction.

      April 29, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
      • James XCIX

        guidedans –

        "... there is no way to right past wrongs."

        Only if you refuse for there to be a way.

        "We don't have to be slaves to our pasts."

        Most people accept this idea, even the non-religious; it is not unique to your religion.

        April 29, 2014 at 8:23 pm |
        • guidedans

          Ok James,

          Tell me how you right a past wrong? How do you undo a murder? What about a se.xual assault? What amount of time in prison or amount of reparations fixes those things?

          April 29, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
        • James XCIX

          guidedans –

          I haven't experienced those particular situations, but have considered many other wrongs committed against me righted. It just depends on if you allow it or not.

          April 29, 2014 at 8:33 pm |
        • guidedans

          There is a difference between forgiving someone for something and undoing what they did. You can and should forgive all trespasses against you, but that does not undo the hurt or pain caused by those actions. Justice requires that a penalty be paid for a wrong. That justice is separation from God. However, God is also merciful. That is why we have Jesus to bring us back into a connection with God.

          April 29, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          ans, If they can't be undone, how exactly does anyone qualify for the christian heaven?

          April 29, 2014 at 9:08 pm |
        • James XCIX

          guidedans – "...but that does not undo the hurt or pain caused by those actions. Justice requires that a penalty be paid for a wrong."

          Surely you don't claim to be speaking for anyone but yourself?

          April 29, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
        • Akira

          Tell me how you right a past wrong? How do you undo a murder? What about a se.xual assault? What amount of time in prison or amount of reparations fixes those things?

          Guidans, with all due respect, you would have to speak to the people who have actually done those things, not punish the ones who haven't.
          And it appears your version of Christianity does just that.

          April 29, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
      • halfdime1

        guidedans,

        Of course you can right some wrongs even if you cant undo what you did. You bring up extreme situations and I think in those cases only justice can be served. Every situations is different, but saying I couldn't man up, and apologize for certain things sounds childish.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:56 am |
      • MadeFromDirt

        The point Guidedans is getting to in his comments and exchange above is the overarching truth that God is pure righteousness, so that He cannot permit any action against His Holy nature to go unpunished, nor can He tolerate any imperfection in His presence. So by man's rebellion and failures, we are all doomed to separation from our Creator. But God in His grace has chosen to save a certain number of people by diverting His judgment and wrath to the Son Jesus Christ in our place, and imputing Christ's righteousness to our account, which is accomplished through our faith in Christ as our proxy, and allows our reconciliation to God. Our response to such a wondrous eternal gift can only be to strive to live a life that exemplifies our trust in His promises.

        April 30, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Any evidence that there is a god, that it is your god? Any independent way to verify what a god might want? Only the circular logic of the believer.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • James XCIX

          MadeFromDirt – "... the overarching truth..."

          I think you mean "the idea that some people believe".

          "...so that He cannot permit any action against His Holy nature to go unpunished"

          If that's what you believe your religion teaches about your god then that's fine for you, I suppose, but I don't see why humans need to feel that way toward each other.

          April 30, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          In Santa We Trust, the evidence is our universe and your existence. It is not circular logic to believe that the initial cause of creation self-existed outside of the universe. It is foolish logic (and contrary to scientific fact) to deny an original cause of the universe. And since we have the capacity to ponder such things, it would be foolish to not use our minds to seek out any communication from the Creator. Objectively comparing the answers found in the Bible to all other religious texts or attempts by man to explain our existence and purpose will provide you with more verification of the truth of God's Gospel than you need.

          JamesXCIX, no, I meant "overarching truth". But I do agree with you that human interaction and our responsibilities to each other should be different from our interaction and responsibilities with God.

          April 30, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
  7. plzgetreal

    All of the time, effort and money spent on determining what is and is not authentic fiction.

    April 29, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
    • Concert in an Egg

      Thank you.

      April 29, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
    • idiotusmaximus

      That's about the truth of it...but maybe a lot of fictions can add up to a reality?

      April 29, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
      • fintronics

        A lot of fictions..... add up to a lot of fictions...

        April 30, 2014 at 7:44 am |
  8. Reality

    So we have two fake passages written on ancient papyrus and written in Coptic. Assuming they are fake, who is the con artist(s)? What are their motives? Who has access to ancient papyrus and ancient ink formulas and their components? Hmmm, sounds like the making of a good reality show i.e. chasing down the culprit(s) using all the modern analytical techniques available. Shall we begin the process? And Egypt appears to be the place to start. So who in Egypt would benefit from a married Jesus? A Coptic Christian? No that does not compute. A Muslim. Hmmm, Mohammed always takes a lot of heat for having seven wives. Sounds plausible that some imam sponsored the con?

    Or maybe not. Has Dan Brown been to Egypt recently? Can he wrirte in Coptic? Considering the money, he has made from the Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, he could afford to buy the papyrus and hire the forgers. Hmmmm??

    April 29, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
    • Reality

      According to many "experts", many Mormon leaders believed Jesus was married and it is one of the reasons that polygamy was approved by these "lattered" saints!

      And the evidence continues to grow:

      To wit:

      "The Book of Abraham is an 1835 work produced by Joseph Smith[1] that he said was based on Egyptian papyri purchased from a traveling mummy exhibition. According to Smith, the book was "a translation of some ancient records ... purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus".[2] Smith's translation of the papyri describes a story of Abraham's early life, including a vision of the cosmos.

      The work was canonized in 1880 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) as part of its Pearl of Great Price.[1] Thus, it forms a doctrinal foundation for the LDS Church and Mormon fundamentalist denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement. It is not a religious text by the Community of Christ. Other groups in the Latter Day Saint movement have various opinions regarding the Book of Abraham, with some rejecting and some accepting the text as inspired scripture. The book contains several doctrines that are unique to Mormonism, such as the concept of God organizing eternal, pre-existing elements to create the universe instead of creating it ex nihilo.

      The Book of Abraham papyri were thought lost in the 1871 Great Chicago Fire. However, in 1966 several fragments of the papyri were found in the archives of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and in the LDS Church archives. They are now referred to as the Joseph Smith Papyri. "

      Could it be Mitt Romney is behind all of this adding some added fire to his next run for the presidency which failed the first time because of the Mormon anchor around his neck?

      Please add your theories below:

      April 29, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
      • idiotusmaximus

        And the evidence continues to grow:.......

        EVIDENCE???????????????????

        EVIDENCE??????????????

        You do mean and have EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE.......don't you?

        April 29, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
  9. unsername1

    wife or no wife, Jesus did not die virgin. He was a normal human being like you and me, worked for living and enjoyed family life.

    April 29, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
    • idiotusmaximus

      Lololololololollolololololololololololo......

      April 29, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
  10. seedenbetter

    Just like the Shroud of Turin and the Bible itself, all frauds and hoaxes.

    April 29, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
    • basehitter

      Mabel so, but those stories make entertaining movies.

      April 29, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
    • southerncelt

      The Church does not claim the Shroud of Turin is genuine, but hopes it inspires faith. As for the Bible, who are you to ridcule or objectify what some people choose to believe? You live your way, I'll live mine, and we will see who was right in the end.

      April 30, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
      • jbhollen

        If people of faith admitted that their faith is a "choice" as you do we would live more harmoniously. It is when people of faith mandate belief in their deity be force fed to the populous via our schools and government and take away our choice to not be exposed to it that friction occurs. Believe what ever you want. Just don't try and make that voice for others.

        April 30, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
  11. formcritic

    As noted when this papyrus story first appeared on CNN.....

    There is nothing in a medieval papyrus fragment – whether or not it dates from the Middle Ages – that reveals anything about Jesus.

    The fragment was irrelevant when it was "authentic." It is still irrelevant now.

    It tells us nothing about the Biblical or historical Jesus.

    April 29, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
    • idiotusmaximus

      Mainly form....because there was no jesus.

      April 29, 2014 at 6:54 pm |
    • alonsoquixote

      There are many different Bibles rather than one Bible considered canonical by all Christians. Protestant Bibles have a different number of books than Catholic ones and those two groups have Bibles with different books than those of Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians – see the tables for the Old Testament and New Testament in the Wikipedia article "biblical canon" for a list of books included in today's Bibles for various branches of Christianity. Even among Protestant Christians, though they may have the same books in their Bibles, there is no consensus about what material was written by the original New Testament authors and what was inserted by later scribes, i.e., what verses are interpolated. E.g., many believe the Comma Johanneum in the First Epi_stle of John (1 John 5:7–8) and the Pericope Adulterae, which purportedly gives Jesus interaction with a woman accused of adultery in verses 7:53-8:11 of the Gospel of John, are interpolations.

      But, since none of the canonical books recount Jesus having a wife, the fragment could offer a depiction different from the biblical Jesus, though the canonical material doesn't definitely state he was celibate, either. Some, e.g. William E. Phipps in "Was Jesus Married? The Distortion of Se_xuality in the Christian Tradition", have argued that it would have been very unusual for a Jewish man in the first century not to have married, since social convention deemed marriage important, especially for those considered to be rabbis, but the Jewish philosopher Philo and the Jewish historian Josephus mention that men in the Essenes, a group of apocalyptic Jews in the first century, chose not to marry. Philo wrote in the "Hypothetica", "they repudiate marriage; and at the same time they practise continence in an eminent degree; for no one of the Essenes ever marries a wife..." Josephus wrote in "Jewish War", "They do not absolutely deny the fitness of marriage, and the succession of mankind thereby continued; but they guard against the lascivious behavior of women, and are persuaded that none of them preserve their fidelity to one man." The Roman writer Pliny the Elder (died 79 CE) also mentioned the Essenes, who he placed in the area of the Dead Sea, stating that Essenes didn't marry nor possess money and claimed they had existed for thousands of generations.

      Outside the canonical material in works the Early Church Fathers did not choose to include in what became the orthodox Bibles, there is the Gospel of Mary, likely written in the 2nd century, which, though it doesn't state that Mary Magdalene was married to Jesus, indicates she had a special relationship with him and was beloved of him more than his male disciples and received secret revelations from him. The Gospel of Philip, perhaps written in the 3rd century, notes "There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary his mother and her sister and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion." The Gospel of Philip also states "And the companion of the Savior is Mary Magdalene. But Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval." Though the Gospel of Philip never states the two are married and it would seem strange that the male disciples would be offended by him kissing his wife.

      As for the fragment not revealing anything about a historical Jesus, certainly many biblical scholars would contend that the biblical Jesus is quite different from the historical Jesus with the many miracle stories being created to deify the historical figure. But, of course, one can argue that there was no historical Jesus, since, outside of the Bible, there's nothing that would confirm the existence of the figure on whom the biblical character of Jesus may have been based. E.g., see "The Truth about Jesus : Is He a Myth?" by Mangasar Magurditch Mangasarian (1859 – 1943), which is freely available in various electronic formats through Project Gutenberg at gutenberg.org/ebooks/6107 as it is long out of copyright. It is also available in audio format at librivox.org/the-truth-about-jesus-is-he-a-myth-by-m-m-mangasarian/ . Perhaps, though, he was one of many Jewish messiah claimants whose life was greatly euhemerized turning him into a god.

      April 29, 2014 at 8:15 pm |
      • Akira

        Alonso, I really enjoy your posts.

        April 29, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
      • Reality

        Once again references and commentary to the existence of an historical Jesus as studied in depth by many contemporary NT exegetes: (Ehrman's "new" book is simply a summary of these studies)

        From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.

        "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

        “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

        “While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "

        “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

        I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."

        See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

        Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

        Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

        There is also a search engine for this book on the left hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

        See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

        From ask.com,

        "One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

        Then there are these scriptural references:

        Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

        Added suggested readings:

        o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

        2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
        – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

        30-60 CE Passion Narrative
        40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
        50-60 1 Thessalonians
        50-60 Philippians
        50-60 Galatians
        50-60 1 Corinthians
        50-60 2 Corinthians
        50-60 Romans
        50-60 Philemon
        50-80 Colossians
        50-90 Signs Gospel
        50-95 Book of Hebrews
        50-120 Didache
        50-140 Gospel of Thomas
        50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
        50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
        65-80 Gospel of Mark
        70-100 Epistle of James
        70-120 Egerton Gospel
        70-160 Gospel of Peter
        70-160 Secret Mark
        70-200 Fayyum Fragment
        70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
        73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
        80-100 2 Thessalonians
        80-100 Ephesians
        80-100 Gospel of Matthew
        80-110 1 Peter
        80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
        80-130 Gospel of Luke
        80-130 Acts of the Apostles
        80-140 1 Clement
        80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
        80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
        80-250 Christian Sibyllines
        90-95 Apocalypse of John
        90-120 Gospel of John
        90-120 1 John
        90-120 2 John
        90-120 3 John
        90-120 Epistle of Jude
        93 Flavius Josephus
        100-150 1 Timothy
        100-150 2 Timothy
        100-150 T-itus
        100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
        100-150 Secret Book of James
        100-150 Preaching of Peter
        100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
        100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
        100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
        100-160 2 Peter

         4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
        5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
        6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
        7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
        8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
        9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
        (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
        by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
        10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
        Presented on March 18, 1994
        ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
        11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
        wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database
        12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
        faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/jdb016.html
        13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
        mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
        13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
        14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
        15. D-iseases in the Bible:
        http://books.google.com/books/about/The_d-iseases_of_the_Bible.html?id=C1YZAAAAYAAJ

        16. Religion on- Line (6000 a-rt-ic-les on the hi-story of religion, churches, theologies,
        theologians, eth-ics, etc. religion-online.o–rg/
        17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT n-tgate-way.com/
        18 Writing the New Testament- e-xi-sting copies, o–r–al tradition etc.
        n-tgat-eway.com/
        19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
        http://wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.p-hp?t-itle=Crossan_Inventory
        20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
        21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
        in-fidels.o-rg/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
        22. NT and beyond time line:
        pbs.o-rg/empires/pe-terandpaul/history/timeline/
        23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
        harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
        24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
        25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
        27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
        28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
        29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

        April 29, 2014 at 11:51 pm |
        • jbhollen

          I made a post about people being disingenuous in their apologetics. You cut and paste three pages of text that you probably didn't read yourself. John Crossan and Richard Watts are unabashed apologists who knew what their thesis was before they stared their "research". The first reference was of Josephus' account of the crucifixion. This is referred to as the Testimonium Flavianum and is widely believed to be falsified and added to book 18 in the fourth century by Eusebius. This post is flawed to start with and not worth the read. Reality did not bother to write this himself so why should we bother to read it.

          April 30, 2014 at 12:28 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          Reality, you quoted from Professors Crossan and Watts' book, "Who is Jesus":

          "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

          “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened."

          To claim the story is "as certain as anything historical can ever be" is certainly hyperbole.

          And in regards to Pontius Pilate, though the unknown writers of the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of John portray Pilate as reluctant to execute Jesus, but forced to do so by a Jewish mob, the Jewish scholar and historian Ti_tus Flavius Josephus tells of a quite different type of man. He reports Pilate slaughtered multi_tudes of Samaritan Jews on a spiritual pilgrimage to the holy Mt. Gerizim led by a religious fanatic who promised to reveal sacred vessels buried by Moses. After this incident Pilate was recalled to Rome by the emperor Tiberius and charged, according to the philosopher/historian Philo, with "corruptibility, violence, robberies, ill-treatment of the people, grievances, continuous executions without even the form of a trial, and endless and intolerable cruelties." Both Philo and Josephus report that Pilate repeatedly caused near-insurrections among the Jews because of his insensitivity to Jewish customs. Rather than being a Roman leader who could easily be cowed into acceding to the wishes of Jewish priests and a Jewish mob, they depict a man who had no compunction killing thousands of Jews with little respect for Jewish concerns. So why did the gospel writers portray Pilate as someone who reluctantly acceded to the wishes of a Jewish mob? Because it would hardly do to have a Roman leader be the villain in the story of Jesus death when early Christians were living in a Rome-dominated world in which they were trying to win converts among the Romans.

          Since you referenced Crossan's and Watts' book, I'd point out the authors in that book also conclude that the biblical portrayal of Pilate is inaccurate in a response to a question about Pilate.

          *** Begin quote

          In the New Testament accounts, as you suggested, Pilate is portrayed as being completely just and fair, desiring to acquit Jesus but forced reluctantly and against his will to crucify him because of the insistence of Jewish authorities and the Jerusalem crowd. But what we have learned about Pontius Pilate from other records is totally at variance with that benign picture. We know quite a bit about the historical Pilate. We have archaeological as well as literary evidence for Pilate. In 1961 in the amphitheater at Caesarea a dedicatory stone to the Emperor Tiberius was found bearing the inscription "Pontius Pilate, prefect of Judea." ...

          ...

          On another occasion Pilate provoked an uproar by confiscating money from the sacred treasure of the Temple in order to construct an aqueduct. This time he was smarter; he infiltrated an angry crowd with disguised soldiers in civilian dress with orders not to use their swords, but to beat the rioters with cudgels. So much for Pilate's gentle methods of crowd control.
          In another incident Pilate had to deal not with massed protesters, but apocalyptic prophets. A group of Samaritans gathered at the sacred Mount Gerizim, apparently expecting an apocalyptic demonstration of God's power. Pilate suppressed the movement with a heavy hand, killing some, scattering others, and putting to death a number of leaders and prisoners. In fact, his methods were so harsh that the Syrian legate Vitellius sent Pilate off to Rome to explain himself. Even by Roman standards, therefore, Pilate was judged to be excessively cruel and unnecessarily brutal. So it is impossible for me to take as historically accurate a New Testament portrayal of Pilate as a reluctant, innocent bystander in a tragedy not of his making.

          *** End quote

          The authors of the book also point out that much of the material in the Gospels comes from the imagination of the biblical writers or from those along the chain of the oral tales passing through many individuals:

          *** Begin quote

          But don't we have a very careful historical record of Jesus' last week? After all, we have almost an hour-by-hour account there at his trials and the events of the crucifixion.

          As I mentioned at the start of this chapter, part of the difficulty in dealing with the events around the crucifixion is that the fact of the crucifixion is historically certain, but the narratives are very problematic. And the reason is clear. Remember how searching the scriptures created the infancy narratives that we found in Matthew and Luke? In a similar way Christian imagination took the fact of Jesus' crucifixion and fleshed it out by searching the scriptures to provide not only a rationale for his fate, but specific narratives telling its story.

          Are you saying that we can't trust the gospel writers–that they are just making up stories as they go along?

          I'm not suggesting that they're writing fiction in a modern sense. They were engaged in a style of religious reflection that was common in Judaism in the first century. For instance, we have all heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Those Scrolls, discovered in 1947, tell us about the community life of a first-century Jewish sect whose home at Qumran was destroyed during the first Roman-Jewish War. ... As the Qumran scribes applied the Hebrew Bible to their present situation, they interwove the ancient texts with their contemporary interpretations so densely that it is hard for us to tell when Bible leaves off and commentary begins. Trying to follow their interpretative work is enough to make your head spin. I won't go into too much detail, but I do want you to understand that the texts and the history could begin to interweave and to mutually influence one another. I am suggesting that a similar process occurred among some of Jesus' followers. ... In the same way, other details of the crucifixion story–for instance, the spitting on and mocking of Jesus, the crown of thorns, the two thieves crucified with him, darkness at noon–all were created out of Old Testament texts.

          *** End quote

          The authors themselves acknowledge that the text contains material from the imaginations of early Christians. The Bible is historical fiction, not history. And for the question regarding why Jesus' followers would have invented such a story, obviously, there was a lot of the text that sprang from their imaginations and, so, we can't be certain how much was invented by storytellers and how much may have been based on the life of an actual individual. The biblical tales could have been based on the life of one particular messiah claimant or even combine elements from more than one messiah claimant with the tales becoming greatly embellished over time until the individual or individuals were turned into a god in a process the Greek mythographer Euhemerus, who lived in the 4th century B.C., described centuries earlier. Or the biblical character of Jesus may be entirely mythical.

          As jbhollen pointed out though you included "The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea", that comes from the Testimonium Flavianum, which has long been known to be a later Christian interpolation, i.e., it is a later Christian forgery written in a attempt to support Christian claims for Jesus. The first reference to the passage is the fourth-century Christian bishop Eusebius, a well-known defender of pious fraud who felt it acceptable to lie for the Church, who many scholars suspect forged the passage himself.

          There is no mention of the passage by earlier Christian writers who were familiar with the writings of Josephus and cited his passages yet never reference one that, if it had existed in their time, they would have referenced as support for Christianity. Neither Pseudo-Justin nor Theophilus in the second century have any knowledge of that passage. Minucius Felix, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Julius Africanus, Tertullian, Hippolytus and Origen in the third century, all of who were familiar with Josephus writings also make no mention of the Testimonium Flavianum. Origen who was familiar with Book 18 of Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, written around 93–94 AD, explicitly states that Josephus did not believe in Jesus Christ.

          Tacitus wasn't even born until decades after Jesus' supposed death, so can provide no contemporary account, but can only report hearsay, hardly making any reference to Jesus "as certain as anything historical can ever be." There is certainly reason to believe that the passage may also be another Christian interpolation, since such interpolations were common. Tacitus never uses "Jesus", "Jesus, son of Joseph", or "Jesus of Nazareth", but has just one reference to "...a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous supersti_tion, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome..." It is unlikely that a non-Christian historian would refer to this person as "Christ", which was a term of religious significance to Christians, rather than use a secular reference such as "Jesus of Nazareth". Though a Christian scribe would likely use a term referring to "Christ". There is also the possibility that the passage refers to another "Christ' or messiah figure. It is also odd that though the passage references Christus death occurring during the reign of Tiberius, Tacitus makes no mention of Jesus in the books he wrote covering the reign of Tiberius; there is, instead, just this one passage among the books covering the reign of Nero.

          Tacitus' Annals is sus_piciously missing information from 29 CE to 32 CE, which may be another case of "pious fraud" by Christians who destroyed that portion of his works because they contained no mention of Jesus' crucifixion nor the darkness covering the world, an earthquake, and dead people rising from their graves and walking about, events that supposedly occurred at the time of Jesus' death. It is probably not coincidental that historical works preserved by Christians would be missing information on years coinciding with Jesus's birth and death, if there would then have been a need to explain why such notable events were never mentioned.

          And again there is the question of why Christian apologists, such as Justin Martyr (100 – 165 CE), Origen 184/185 – 253/254 CE) and Tertullian (160 -225 CE) would not have used the passage, if it had existed in their time, to support their position. If his writings were unknown to all of them that would not be surprising, but Tertullian who quotes Tacitus in the third century apparently had no knowledge of the passage in his day. But even if one regards the passage in Tacitus' Annals as being written by Tacitus, at best it would be Tacitus repeating what he had heard from Christians, i.e., at best probably third or fourth-hand material, hardly stellar evidence for a god assuming human form in the first century, which is why the claim that the event is "as certain as anything historical can ever be" is preposterous.

          As Mangasar Magurditch Mangasarian (1859 – 1943) noted in "The Truth about Jesus : Is He a Myth?" in the reference I listed above in regards to the Early Fathers of the Church having no historical support they could rely upon for their claims:

          *** Begin quote

          The early Christians, Origin, for instance, in his reply to the rationalist Celsus who questioned the reality of Jesus, instead of producing evidence of a historical nature, appealed to the mythology of the pagans to prove that the story of Jesus was no more incredible than those of the Greek and Roman gods. This is so important that we refer our readers to Origin's own words on the subject. "Before replying to Celsus, it is necessary to admit that in the matter of history, however true it might be," writes this Christian Father, "it is often very difficult and sometimes quite impossible to establish its truth by evidence which shall be considered sufficient." [Footnote: Origin Contre Celse. 1. 58 et Suiv. Ibid.] This is a plain admission that as early as the second and third centuries the claims put forth about Jesus did not admit of positive historical demonstration. But in the absence of evidence Origin offers the following metaphysical arguments against the sceptical Celsus: 1. Such stories as are told of Jesus are admitted to be true when told of pagan divinities, why can they not also be true when told of the Christian Messiah? 2. They must be true because they are the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. In other words, the only proofs Origin can bring forth against the rationalistic criticism of Celsus is, that to deny Jesus would be equivalent to denying both the Pagan and Jewish mythologies. If Jesus is not real, says Origin, then Apollo was not real, and the Old Testament prophecies have not been fulfilled. If we are to have any mythology at all, he seems to argue, why object to adding to it the mythus of Jesus? There could not be a more damaging admission than this from one of the most conspi_cuous defenders of Jesus' story against early criticism.

          Justin Martyr, another early Father, offers the following argument against unbelievers in the Christian legend: "When we say also that the Word, which is the first birth of God, was produced without se_xual union, and that he, Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified, died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter." [Footnote: First Apology, Chapter xxi (Anti-Nicene Library).] Which is another way of saying that the Christian mythus is very similar to the pagan, and should therefore be equally true. Pressing his argument further, this interesting Father discovers many resemblances between what he himself is preaching and what the pagans have always believed: "For you know how many sons your esteemed writers ascribe to Jupiter. Mercury, the interpreting word (he spells this word with a small w while in the above quotation he uses a capital w to denote the Christian incarnation) and teacher of all; Aesculapius…who ascended to heaven; one Hercules…and Perseus;…and Bellerophon, who, though sprung from mortals, rose to heaven on the horses of Pegasus." [Footnote: Ibid.] If Jupiter can have, Justin Martyr seems to reason, half a dozen divine sons, why cannot Jehovah have at least one?

          Instead of producing historical evidence or appealing to creditable docu_ments, as one would to prove the existence of a Caesar or an Alexander, Justin Martyr draws upon pagan mythology in his reply to the critics of Christianity. All he seems to ask for is that Jesus be given a higher place among the divinities of the ancient world.

          *** End quote

          I haven't read all of the works you listed from the Early Christian Writings site, but I am familiar with some of them. Do you believe Jesus once had contact with dragons and slew playmates? Chapter 18 of the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew states:

          "And having come to a certain cave, and wishing to rest in it, the blessed Mary dismounted from her beast, and sat down with the child Jesus in her bosom. And there were with Joseph three boys, and with Mary a girl, going on the journey along with them. And, lo, suddenly there came forth from the cave many dragons; and when the children saw them, they cried out in great terror. Then Jesus went down from the bosom of His mother, and stood on His feet before the dragons; and they adored Jesus, and thereafter retired."

          In the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, Jesus kills another child who dispersed water with a stick that Jesus had collected in a pool. Another child dies when Jesus curses him when he apparently accidentally bumps into Jesus, throws a stone at Jesus, or punches Jesus, depending on the translation. Parents in the village where Jesus lived went to Joseph to complain about Jesus slaying their children, which angered Jesus so much that he blinded the parents.

          And Gnostic Gospels, such as the Gospel of Judas, paint a much different picture of Jesus and his disciples. In the Gospel of Judas, Judas is the only disciple that truly understands Jesus. Gnostics also viewed the Old Testament deity as a lesser deity, not the ultimate god, but instead an evil demiurge.

          Christians will, of course, say all those other tales are false, yet, clearly, there were many people making up stories regarding the biblical character early in Christianity's formation. Yet, though, Christians will insist those others are false, they will claim it is not possible for any of the tales included in their Bibles to be false. Some do go as far as to claim it would be unimaginable for people to make up such stories, though they can believe others would invent so many other tales of miraculous deeds in stories about Jesus which present a much different view of Jesus.

          The Early Church Fathers settled on one set of tales to be regarded as canonical, though there were many Christian sects with other views as to what material was true and should be regarded as canonical. And even today there is not one common Bible that all Christians regard as canonical. Instead, Catholics have different books in their Bible than Protestants and both have Bibles that don't match those of Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians – see the tables for the Old Testament and New Testament in the Wikipedia article "biblical canon" for a list of books included in today's Bibles for various branches of Christianity. Yet we are to believe at least one of those is "The Word of God", but which one, and why did the god have no concern for preserving the original copies of works he supposedly inspired?

          May 1, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        ONE needs to be more clear of the history of the Bible canonization....just because some books are included with the original 66 (ie apocrypha) does ont mean it is deemed canon....in fact.....by the NT times, the apocrypha were "accepted" by some Jews, but NEVER considered as Sciripture..but just reading material...something like if I read history books of Jewish cultures alongside the Bible

        April 30, 2014 at 2:13 am |
        • southerncelt

          The Canon of what we now call The Bible, was defined at the Council of Trent (and again at Hippo) about 380 AD. The Septuagint (Old Testament) was still in existence at the time, so It and the New Testament from the first Century AD became The Bible. 1500 years later the Septuagint had crumbled to dust so Martin Luther deleted those 7 books. He also wanted to, but didn't get away with, deleting the Gospel of St. James. He also wanted to add the word 'alone' to Romans 5:1. So, what do you want to believe, the original Bible, or the one Martin Luther tried to corrupt to justify his warped views?

          April 30, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • jbhollen

          You may have just made an honest error, but the Council of Trent occurred in the 16th century. It was a Catholic council and their task was to clarify and codify doctrines that had been a source of discord. The bible was first assembled at the Council of Nicea in 325CE by a council of Bishops. There were four Synods of Hippo. At the one in 393CE the cannon was listed and approved again by a council of Bishops. Finally at the Council (or Synod) of Carthage (of which there were 9) in 397CE the bible was approved for the last time pending buy-in from Rome.

          Regardless of Martin Luther being thwarted from including his warped views in the bible, I think plenty of warped views persisted in the one we got.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
  12. jonathanlk

    Are they 100% certain that the language died out 100 years before the papyrus was made? No. They just are lacking corroborating evidence that it did not. Also just because one is a forgery, if it is, doesn't mean all others around it are. That is a logical fallacy (guilt by assocation). I bought two paintings from a dealer once and someone identified one as a fake, and said with certainty that because they came from the same seller they both have to be fakes. But later at the Metropolitan it was determined the other work was authentic. But regarding the Jesus wife papyrus. What does it matter now if he had a wife or not. All cult leaders line their pockets and stud around behind the scenes. Muhammud had many wives, and one was only between the ages of 6 and 9 (i forget) but did that stop them from exalting him yesterday or today? I have a good wife. There is nothing wrong at all with being married. Did you know married men live longer?

    April 29, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
  13. hubert39

    Which Jesus are they talking about? The one in the Bible or one of the other ones who lived in this time period.
    Jesus, Mary, Joseph, were common names.
    I read all (65 plus year) my life Jesus was in India, the area which is now France, the area which is now Great Britain, and Africa. This does make good reading for some people.

    April 29, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
    • Vic

      We are talking about this Jesus:

      1 Timothy 3:16
      "16 By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:

      He who was revealed in the flesh,
      Was vindicated in the Spirit,
      Seen by angels,
      Proclaimed among the nations,
      Believed on in the world,
      Taken up in glory." (NASB)

      April 29, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
    • SarahSmiles

      hubert,
      There are some very good accounts of Jesus having traveled in His ministry that are not chronicled in the NT just because it wouldn't square with what direction Paul wanted to take this new ministry in. Which is why most won't have wondered what Jesus did until the BT took up the narrative; most do not care.
      It sounds like you've read them. You have a fuller picture of Jesus than most.

      April 29, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
      • SarahSmiles

        BT should be NT.

        April 29, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
    • idiotusmaximus

      Does it matter what jesus anyone is talking about...the NAME JESUS IS NOT EVEN A NAME USED IN THAT PART OF THE WORLD 2000 YEARS AGO....and is rarely used today...if ever.

      April 29, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
  14. MidwestKen

    The most interesting thing about this article, I think, is the fact that the authors decided to announce such a momentous finding on CNN Belief Blog.

    April 29, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
    • Concert in an Egg

      Hey man, there are some real tall cats on this blog man you dig? Like Vic and thefollower, Theo and Topher and so many more. Very prestigious.

      April 29, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
    • Akira

      What's interesting to me is that it's labeled an opinion piece.

      April 29, 2014 at 9:40 pm |
  15. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    “The Universe is eternal. God(s) only last a couple of thousand years at best.” ~LET

    April 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
  16. Daniel O. McClellan

    The graphic in the article, so everyone knows, should be credited to Duke professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, Dr. Mark Goodacre.

    April 29, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
    • idiotusmaximus

      I don't think Daniel that anyone really cares.

      April 29, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
    • alonsoquixote

      Thanks; I was interested in further information and the information you provided led me to an article he posted Friday on his blog ti_tled "Jesus' Wife and her Ugly Sister " at http://ntweblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/jesus-wife-and-her-ugly-sister.html

      April 29, 2014 at 8:37 pm |
  17. Andy

    Anything that goes against the Word of God is a lie and can be dismissed as hearsay!

    April 29, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
    • seedenbetter

      Yes, like the Earth is not flat nor 6000 years old.

      April 29, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
    • Pluto

      For more than 2000 years now people have been trying to find something contradictory and are unable to do so, it must be disappointing to be defeated.

      April 29, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        comedy gold!!! LOL

        April 29, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • idiotusmaximus

          Lololololololollolololololol....fools gold to boot!

          April 29, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Your god is bad at math

        (7:2-3) "Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens."
        (7:13-14) "In the selfsame day" All of the animals boarded the ark "in the selfsame day." With a million or so species (There are more than a million known today.), the animals must have boarded at a rate of at least 10 pairs/second.
        (7:15) "And they went ... into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein there is breath of life."
        (7:8-9) Whether by twos or by sevens, Noah takes representatives from each species of "every thing that creepeth upon the earth." Now this must have taken some time, along with expert knowledge of taxonomy, genetics, biogeography, and anatomy. How did Noah manage to collect the endemic species from the New World, Australia, Polynesia, and other remote regions entirely unknown to him? How, once he found them, did he transport them back to the ark? How could he tell the male and female beetles (there are more than 500,000 species) apart? How did he know how to care for these new and unfamiliar animals? How did he find the space on the ark? How did he manage to find and care for the hundreds of thousands of parasitic species? How did he obtain and care for the hundreds of thousands of species of plants? (Plants are ignored in the Genesis account, but the animals wouldn't last long after if the plants died in the flood.) No, wait, don't tell me. A miracle happened. Millions of them.
        (7:9) "There went in two and two."
        (7:17)"And the flood was forty days upon the earth."
        (7:24) "And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days."

        April 29, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • jonathanlk

          I believe it is a fact, and I can if I want, that Noah Ark would have sunk with the weight of 2 of every species on board. The NY Times once published that a stable boat needed to house so many animals, not even considering 40 to 150 days of food, would have to have been about the size of Manhattan Island, so scientifically speaking, Noahs Ark, being not even 1/100th of 1% of that size would have been top heavy and would have turned over, and so all would have drowned and if a miracle held the boat upright they all would have suffocated under the highly compressed and needless to say cramped and unsanitary conditions (no refrigerators or toilet paper in those days either).

          April 29, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
        • moxrox84

          Not to mention it doesn't explain how kangaroos got to Australia.

          April 29, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
        • SarahSmiles

          The ark was a box, if the OT is to be taken literally. The dimensions given is for a box. Ark MEANS box. IE, the Ark of the Covenant is a box

          April 29, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          lol...funny..those words do not appear in the Bible..nor were they around at Noahs time.....who says Noah took every single type of cat....dog, monkey etc etc? only people who wnt to discredit the bible..or those who don't really use critical thinking skills say such...nowhere is it even IMPLIED that noah took every kind of animal on board

          April 29, 2014 at 5:57 pm |
        • Akira

          Kermit,
          Okay. Where did all of the earths animals come from, then?

          April 29, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          uhhh...evolution? cats evolved to different breeds of cats? hello?

          April 30, 2014 at 1:59 am |
        • Akira

          The ones that currently roam the earth today, I mean, Kermit.

          LET's posts rubbing you the wrong way doesn't answer his post....is there a Biblical meaning you ascribe to "all"?
          Genesis 6:19-20 is pretty clear.

          April 29, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          you didn't read ALL of Gensis 6:19-20.it did not say of ALl animals..but of every SORT........read again..and think this..the writer is nOT stupid to think that millions can fit in such a tuny space.....NO person is that stupid....only those in the imaginations of atheists who try to discredit the Bible

          April 30, 2014 at 2:01 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          kermit, So what is the meaning of these verses
          6:19 "And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.
          6:20 "Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind shall come to you to keep them alive.

          April 29, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          you got to understand that the taxonomy was not "invented" till the last couple of hundred years...thus "kind" in the BIble has NO connection with that.....it could mean like several types of cats...types of dogs, etc..the thing is..NO person is stupid to think that millions of animals can fit in such a tiny space...I mean if the writer was stupid to think such..then NOTHING in the writing would make sense..NOTHING..virtually NOTHING....

          April 30, 2014 at 2:03 am |
        • idiotusmaximus

          You're right Jona...but the faithful never use logic and math for anything....it would corrupt and confuse their beliefs.

          April 29, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
        • Akira

          "or those who don’t really use critical thinking skills say such…"
          Since you feel that yours are so much better than the average person, can you actual show us an example of them and answer the questions? Or is a drive-by insult post your answer? Why post if you can't stick around?

          April 29, 2014 at 7:19 pm |
        • G to the T

          "it could mean like several types of cats...types of dogs, etc..the thing is..NO person is stupid to think that millions of animals can fit in such a tiny space..."

          Perhaps, but unless you can give an equivalent in modern taxonomy for "kinds" or "sorts", the rest of your argument is moot.

          Please provide a good definition for "kind" or "sort" in this context and I'll go back and figure out how many pairs of animals that would actually be. Then we can look to see if it would be possible for those to repopulate the world with the variety of animals we see today. Pretty straight-forward once you define the terms. Are you game?

          April 30, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • Akira

          Right, Kermit, so we can basically write off Genesis 6:19-20 as being inaccurate, and incorrect.

          April 30, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          NOT at all..there is no way to be innacrurate as it does not mean what you assume it to mean...Nowhere does it say that there were all kinds of cats...all kinds of dogs....two kinfds of elephants...etc etc.....that's your assumption and trying to add stuff into the Bible that isn't there (the Bible is NOT a sceicne text book..no5r intended to be....it is using everyday words to the common man..Gensis 16 is nOT a science lesson...you are the one who is inaccurate to assume it meant every type of animal known to man

          April 30, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
        • Akira

          kermit4jc
          uhhh...evolution? cats evolved to different breeds of cats?

          You have stated many times that you don't believe in evolution. Make up your mind.
          Knock off your sarcastic, smart ass attitude, Kermit. I asked you respectfully. If you don't want me to give you what you regularly give everyone else, start acting like the educated adult you profess to be and answer the questions in the same manner they were asked.

          April 30, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I have made it clear..no..I don't believe evolution as a whole..I do believe in evolution in a sense of cats evolving to new breeds of cats..but NEVER on the scale of dogs and cats having common ancestor..or apes and humans having common ancestor

          April 30, 2014 at 7:42 pm |
        • Akira

          "kermit4jc
          you didn't read ALL of Gensis 6:19-20.it did not say of ALl animals..but of every SORT........read again..and think this..the writer is nOT stupid to think that millions can fit in such a tuny space.....NO person is that stupid....only those in the imaginations of atheists who try to discredit the Bible

          Here is Genesis 6:19-20 in its entirety.
          19 And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark,to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.
          20 Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you, to keep them alive.

          Pretty straightforward, I should say.
          So where did he put them all?

          April 30, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          FINE..rip itoutof cpontext...it is straightforward not every single animal.....and again no stupid idtio would write to have millions or such fit in a tiny ark...so Yu are inaacurate in the rendering.....still does not say every breed of cat..every breeed of dog..etc etc......that's you ignoring stuff and useage of words...did I remind you yet that the BIble wasnot originally written in Modern day English by modern day americans in modern day usa?

          May 1, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
      • asudevils1

        The bible is a book of stories...nothing more...written thousands of years ago.. by politians and religous leaders......stories...thats all....past along over hundreds of years....stories of magic... burning bushes... splitting seas.. coming back to life and on an on and on.... they didnt have flat screens and movie channels...they had somebody telling stories and then those storiesd being past along...they choose stories that would scare the people and keep them in line....and if youo didnt like it ...you were murdered and in the year 2014 its stil happening... millioms have died over religieon and who thinks there right...you dont need your life run by the church or a old book of scary stories....you dont need a book or a god in the sky to be a good person....belive in yourself...stop asking a fake god for permission to enjoy life

        April 29, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
        • believer1bc

          Learn how to spell.

          April 29, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
        • Akira

          Nice comeback, believer1. Way to debate.

          April 29, 2014 at 5:56 pm |
        • idiotusmaximus

          Well beliverinbcfantasy......spelling might be a little off but the logic is right on.

          April 29, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
      • asudevils1

        Thats because its taken 2000 years for the strangle hold of the church to loosen enough for people to express what they truely belive....with all the magic that according to the great book took place ...how do i enroll my kids at hogwarts?

        April 29, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • moxrox84

          Not to mention that atheists can now walk about freely and not be worried about burning at the stake.

          April 29, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
        • idiotusmaximus

          Well moxrox.....they burned their own to.....thousands of them...in fact it's estimated the Catholic Inquisitions murdered more Christians than the Romans did and in a more gruesome way... and a little know fact is that the Office of the Inquisition is still open in the Vatican...they changed the name to 1903 to camouflage it.

          April 29, 2014 at 7:09 pm |
      • joey3467

        If you have read the Bible and didn't find any contradictions in it you might want to try reading it with your eyes open next time.

        April 29, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
      • Andy

        Actually, more like, it must be so disappointing to be on the wrong side of the truth

        April 29, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
        • fintronics

          Truth requires evidence. I guess that would put gods on the "wrong side" of truth since there is no evidence to support their existence.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
      • alonsoquixote

        See contradictionsinthebible.com

        Though not an example from that site, as an example from the New Testament, how did Judas, a central character in the stories of Jesus' death, die? Did he hang himself as the unknown author of the Gospel of Matthew purports in Matthew 27:3-5 or did he fall headlong in a field bursting asunder in the middle with his bowels gushing out as related by the author of Acts 1:15-19? None of the explanations I've heard from apologists trying to harmonize those two passages has seemed plausible to me. E.g., I've encountered some claiming he hung himself, but then his body fell headlong much later with his body bursting asunder then, but a body hanging from a tree will fall feet first, not head first. And to believe that explanation, you have to believe an author wouldn't care to note how Judas died, but would, instead, think it important to state he fell headlong with his body bursting asunder in the middle without noting the body had been hanging at the time.

        And, neither of the two separate creation myths in Genesis, the one in Genesis 1 by the Priestly Source and the older story in Genesis 2 written by the Yahwist, seems plausible given our scientific knowledge today. The order of creation presented in those creation myths, which are two among thousands mankind created millennia ago when attempting to answer the question of the origin of the Earth and mankind, contradicts what we know today. E.g., we know that plants didn't exist on Earth before the Sun and moon existed.

        The Bible has many contradictions. Ofen apologists try to harmonize contradictory verses by inventing new material not included by the biblical authors to try to explain away the differences, though. If one is determined not to see the contradictions, one can always find a way to avoid doing so.

        April 29, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          well...that PRESUMES that Judas was alive when he fell..there is nOTHING to indicate Judas was alive when he fell..thus he cannot be said to have died as a result of the falling! thus it has something to do with his body hanging (he died as result of hanging) and eventually the body fell...whether the rope was cut or it rotted..the thing is..there is no contradiction unless someone can prove Judas was alive when he fell and before he hit the ground

          April 30, 2014 at 2:17 am |
        • kermit4jc

          ALso, Gensis 2 does not even imply order....it isn't about chronology and no words are used to denote chronology....

          April 30, 2014 at 2:18 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote, "well...that PRESUMES that Judas was alive when he fell..there is nOTHING to indicate Judas was alive when he fell..thus he cannot be said to have died as a result of the falling! thus it has something to do with his body hanging (he died as result of hanging) and eventually the body fell...whether the rope was cut or it rotted..the thing is..there is no contradiction unless someone can prove Judas was alive when he fell and before he hit the ground." First you suppose that one author, the unknown author of the Gospel of Matthew, correctly relates how Judas died, i.e. that he died by hanging. Then you suggest that the body hung for awhile and then fell because the rope rotted, which would likely take a considerable amount of time, or was cut. For a body to split apart in the middle when it fell also supposes it rotted for a considerable amount of time. Yet the Torah expressly commands that even the body of a man who had been hanged shall not remain upon the tree all night. Deuteronomy 21:23 states:

          "If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse. You must not desecrate the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance."

          The Talmud (BK 81a) states that speedy burial of a corpse found unattended (met mitzvah) was one of the ten enactments ordained by Joshua at the conquest of Canaan and is inc_umbent even on the high priest who was otherwise forbidden to become unclean through contact with the dead (Nazir 7:1).

          So you would have us believe that the author of Acts wouldn't deem it important to note the cause of death, mentioning a body falling headlong and bursting in the middle without noting it was hanging, and that in this instance the Jews in that area neglected their burial obligations, and also have us believe the laws of physics were suspended as bodies hung by the neck fall feet first, not headfirst.

          You also wrote that Genesis 2 doesn't imply order, though it does. Even, if I were to agree with you, which I don't, I referred to the chronology of events in Genesis 1, which is the work of the Priestly Source, not the Yahwist's creation tale in Genesis 2. I wrote "we know that plants didn't exist on Earth before the Sun and moon existed." Genesis 1:11-3 says that plants were created on the third day, but the Sun and moon weren't created until the fourth day according to Genesis 16:19, an obviously implausible creation myth.

          April 30, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          the author of Acts was nOT talking about CAUSE of death..but that the body falling and such is in accordance to a peophecy that the author brinfgs up...please try to read the rest of that passage.....as for Creaiton...you might as well show me there is no God who can provide for those plants.....who created them in first place....rather than wasting time with that argument....

          May 1, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote "as for Creaiton...you might as well show me there is no God who can provide for those plants.....who created them in first place....rather than wasting time with that argument...." I understand that someone who will simply invoke magic whenever some implausible passages in the Bible are put forward won't be swayed by anyone pointing out that we know, because of the scientific knowledge we have gained over many centuries, that those passages regarding the creation of the world they found themselves in reflect the imaginative explanations of men living thousands of years ago and are little different that similar creation myths created by other peoples. But I hope some others may be able to see that.

          In regards to Acts, I have read the rest of the passage and I am aware that New Testament authors often wrote their stories to make events in them seem the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, e.g. Psalm 69:25 and Psalm 109:8 in this case. That does not change the fact that a body that has been hung will not fall headlong when it falls. And, again, you would have others believe that the author of Acts would deem it important to note that Judas body fell headlong bursting asunder in the middle, but would deem it unimportant to note that Judas had hung himself and was dead when his body fell.

          May 1, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
        • jbhollen

          Alonsoquixote – you are just banging your head against the wall with this guy. I'm telling you he is a brick short of a full load. I have taken to deleting anything I see with his name on it before reading.

          May 1, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          sir...again that was ONE thing..I mentioned a COUPLE of options.....again NO ONE has shown me ANY evidence that Judas was alive as he fell..period... as for "onvoking the magical blah blah blah.." that's very assumptive of you to think that's my method..Im saddedned that YOU THINK IN THIS WAY AND ASSUME HOW MY MOTHEDS ARE IN DETERMINING SUCH THINGS....I SUGGEST YOU ASK NEXT TIME OK?

          May 2, 2014 at 1:56 am |
        • otoh2

          jbhollen,

          Yeah, I often ignore him too, but you know, on message boards like these you are not only talking to the addressee - others are reading and are taking in your contributions. Most likely you will not get through to the bonehead, but he makes for a good forum to expose some of the common fallacies of his religion. If he showed up at my front door, one-on-one, I'd not bother to argue with him for a single minute, though.

          May 1, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
        • jbhollen

          I understand what you are saying, but I am unsure anyone could benefit from following a conversation with him in it. The last thing he told me before I decided to ignore him was that god was showing his love by slaughtering all the innocent babies and children in the flood and that everyone else that was killed "got what they asked for". I am used to disingenuous people on this blog. He is a bad person.

          May 1, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          NONE of you have yet shown any fallacy! all you have shown is willful ignorance of the bIble..and how to stretch things, ignore context. etc

          May 2, 2014 at 1:58 am |
        • otoh2

          jb,

          Well, at least now **that's** out there for all to see! We cannot be accused of making straw men about things these folks say.

          He's a prime spokesman AGAINST The Bible and his religion.

          I certainly understand your aversion to reading/interacting with him, though.

          May 1, 2014 at 11:05 pm |
        • ssq41

          It does show, however, that if you take the Bible literally (and all that that means), you have to work very hard to form the pretzel dough into a "logic" that can be typed or spoken.

          kermy and his friends do this well.

          May 1, 2014 at 11:11 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          stop making the foolish claims and back up your stuff......you say we twist it..you are the ones who twist and iugnore context..and IM still seeing evidence of many of you pretending the Bible was originally written by Modern day americans using modern day English

          May 2, 2014 at 2:00 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote "as for "onvoking the magical blah blah blah.." that's very assumptive of you to think that's my method..Im saddedned that YOU THINK IN THIS WAY AND ASSUME HOW MY MOTHEDS ARE IN DETERMINING SUCH THINGS....I SUGGEST YOU ASK NEXT TIME OK?" in regards to my post stating that the order of creation for plants and the Sun and moon in the creation myth in Genesis 1 is implausible, since we know that the Sun and moon existed long before plants appeared on Earth. You had an opportunity to provide your rationale in your previous response and in the response to which I am now replying. If you can explain that sequence by means other than supernatural ones, i.e., "magic", please do so, since your prior response was essentially God can do anything. To me that is no different than someone responding to someone expressing skepticism that Odin, Vili, and Vé formed the Earth and plants from Ymir's body by replying "Odin can do anything he wishes." E.g., from the Grímnismál:

          Of Ymir's flesh was earth created,
          of his blood the sea,
          of his bones the hills,
          of his hair trees and plants,
          of his skull the heaven

          Explaining the implausibilities of creation myths by claiming the god can do whatever he wants may seem satisfying to believers, but, perhaps, you can understand why nonbelievers are unlikely to find them convincing, since any creation myth can be substantiated by that means.

          May 2, 2014 at 8:04 am |
        • kermit4jc

          well..I didn't cvome up with this simply cause "God can do anything he wishes..." bit..this was something I thought through very much.....the fact that God created all things..means he is not limited by laws of nature..for laws of nature to exist..you got to have something for it to exercise itself on.....that means that God is not limited by it..since he made it.....science says sun has to come before plants....but science did not create all things....

          May 2, 2014 at 9:49 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote "God created all things..means he is not limited by laws of nature..for laws of nature to exist..you got to have something for it to exercise itself on.....that means that God is not limited by it..since he made it.....science says sun has to come before plants....but science did not create all things..."

          It is not just that we know plants require sunlight for photosynthesis in order to live that makes the sequence of creation in Genesis contradict what we have learned over the many centuries subsequent to the writing of those creation stories. The sequence of creation in Genesis 1 is as follows:

          Day 1: Light separated from darkness. Evening passed and morning came
          Day 2: A dome was created to separate the water into two separate places with water above the dome and water below it
          Day 3: Earth and sea created. Plants created
          Day 4: Lights put in the night sky. The Sun and Moon were created as two separate lights
          Day 5: Sea creatures and birds created
          Day 6: Animals and humans created

          We know that the Moon is about 4 1/2 billion years old. Lunar rocks have been found to range in age from about 3.16 billion years old for the basaltic samples from the lunar maria, formed by lunar volcanism, up to about 4.5 billion years old for rocks derived from the highlands, which may represent the original lunar crust. Lunar rocks have been dated by the rubidium-strontium and potassium-argon radiometric dating methods. E.g., the rubidium-strontium dating of lunar sample 72417 yielded an age of 4.47 billion years. Yet Genesis 1 states that plants existed on Earth before the Moon. Genesis 1:11 states:

          "And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so."

          Seed-producing plants are known as gymnosperms, which we know from the fossil record appeared less than 400 million years ago. Grasses don't appear in the fossil record until less than 40 million years ago. We also know from the fossil record that creatures lived on the land long before they flew over it.

          I have encountered young earth creationists who claim that God made it appear that the earth is much older than it is and that though astronomical studies of the light from distant stars reveal a universe about 14 billions years in age and radiometric dating of rocks shows that Earth is about 4.6 billion years in age, and the fossil record shows life dating back to about 3.5 billion years ago with life evolving over time, that the earth is only a few thousand years in age that one shouldn't rely on science, because God made it seem that the Earth is much older, just so they can continue to believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis with events preceding just as they are laid out in Genesis 1 and with the history of the human species corresponding to the Bible's genealogy.

          That suggests to me Yahweh is a trickster god, a deus deceptor, or at least a Deus quidam deceptor, i.e. "a God who is sometimes a deceiver", who has deceived mankind by making it appear that the earth and universe are much older, so that we can't learn anything reliable by studying nature. Since you insist that the Genesis chronology of creation is correct and that one should rely on it rather than the findings of science, I am curious as to whether you accept that the Earth and universe are billions of years old. I.e., is Yahweh testing the faith of his followers by making it seem that the Moon is billions of years older than seed-bearing plants, though Genesis 1 states the Moon didn't appear until after plants were present on Earth?

          May 2, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          NOT at all...I don't believe the dating systems of science are accurate at all......first of all..i do not believe earth is 6,0000 or even as young as 10,000 years.....I don't see the universe being millions or billions either..second.....God would not be a trickster God at all...again assumption based on science which does not deal with supernatural (science cannot prove nor disprove God or supernatural things)

          May 3, 2014 at 1:50 am |
      • jbhollen

        The bible is nothing but contradictions both big and small. A few big ones.
        – Jesus' last words. Take your pick. "it is finished" or "My god, my god why hast thou forsaken me?" or "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit".
        – Jesus tells the criminal on the next cross "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise." But Jesus doesn't ascend for 40 days.
        – Jesus was crucified on friday afternoon and was put in the tomb just before sunset. He was resurrected before dawn on Sunday morning. He was in the tomb for 2 nights and 1 day. However he prophesied that he would be in the ground for three days and three nights as Jonah was in the belly of the whale.
        – The messiah had to come from the line of David through his son Solomon. But Jesus impregnated his own mother to cause himself to be born, so he was not of the line of David.
        – After Judas decided he blew it by betraying Jesus he 1.) Went to the temple and threw down the 30 pieces of silver and then went and hanged himself or 2.) Used the silver to buy a field where he "fell head-on and his guts gushed out".
        – Joseph was the son of 1.) Jacob or 2.) Heli.
        – The contradictions between the four gospels regarding the resurrection of Jesus and the aftermath are too numerous to list but here are a few. – The tomb was open/the tomb was closed. 4 different versions of who went to the tomb. 4 different versions of who was seen at the tomb. 4 different versions of what the witnesses did after they left the tomb. It was night/it was daylight. Jesus first appears 1.) at his tomb. 2.) near his tomb 3.) near Emmaus several miles from Jerusalem. Jesus ascends to heaven 1.) while he is seated at a table in or near jerusalem 2.) outside after dinner at Bethany on the same day as the resurrection. 3.) at Mt. Olivet at least 40 days after the resurrection.

        Let the games begin. We are going to see apologists go apoplectic in their rush to explain each of these. The verbal gymnastics are always entertaining.

        April 30, 2014 at 1:01 am |
        • kermit4jc

          you are just blind jb...I showed that you couldn't connect the doits.....you are already shown to be a terrible candidate for FBI or CSI....stay away from them as jobs..you wont make it..youll waste time....

          April 30, 2014 at 2:23 am |
        • otoh2

          kermit,

          Trouble is, you add doits where there are no doits, and connect others that are simply ink splotches on the paper, just to nudge/fudge your final picture into being that of a cute puppy.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:09 am |
        • kermit4jc

          why is it that when I use context..and show it....people like you willfully ignore it? Are you against using context to get what the author intended? No one has really taken up the challenge of proving me wrong by using context...they yell things as you do....jb has no real capacity to connect the dots....it is very logical and reasonable that Jesus said both things before he died...nowhere did it say he died immediately following the last word of the sentence.....investigators learn to PUT THE STORY TOGETHER and jb has failed this....and as stated before about Judas..SOMEONE provide me EViDENCE that Judas was alive as he fell...and thus died as a result of the fall from a cliff

          April 30, 2014 at 4:31 am |
        • fintronics

          So nothing in the king james version should be taken literally? Cut the "context" crap, these are DIRECT statements.... you are forcing your personal interpretation on what is actually stated.

          April 30, 2014 at 7:57 am |
        • jbhollen

          I am not forcing any interpretations nor context. I'm just quoting scripture here. Contradiction abound.

          April 30, 2014 at 9:37 am |
        • kermit4jc

          QUOTUING means carp when you ignore context..thus YOu have beemn making it say what You want it to say

          April 30, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
        • halfdime1

          Kermit "why is it that when I use context..and show it....people like you willfully ignore it?"

          The same could be said to you when you're confronted with reasoned logical arguments.

          April 30, 2014 at 8:07 am |
        • kermit4jc

          what reasoned logical arguments? if when referring to the text with the Bible..reason and logic mean nothing without the context of the text....

          April 30, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
        • fintronics

          Sorry JB.. that comment was directed at Kermit, not you

          April 30, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • jbhollen

          No problems. kermit4jc is damaged goods. I quit replying to anything he posts a couple of days ago.

          April 30, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
    • snuffleupagus

      Really, Andy? Tell us how Jonah lived in a whales belly, for three days, and didn't get disolved by stomach acids. Did the whale spit him up (bad taste), or crap him out?

      April 29, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
      • idiotusmaximus

        Lolololololololololololol....I think crapping makes more sense.

        April 29, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
    • devlsadvoct

      well, all four gospels disagree with each other (see the Easter story in particular).

      so which of these shall we discard?

      April 29, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        How many people were at the cave again?

        April 29, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • devlsadvoct

          exactly. and was the stone found in place, or rolled away?

          it can't be both, so therefore at least one gospel contains an error

          April 29, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Standard replies:

          1) It is a metaphor
          2) It is taken out of context
          3) It is a translation error
          4) The ways of God are mysterious
          5) All of the above

          Don't question – just believe and obey.
          In the end, isn't that the lesson of the Eden story?

          April 29, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • southerncelt

          Also interesting to note that the CNN computer wants to "moderate" the Easter story. Must be where they get their Anti-Catholic reputation.

          April 29, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
        • otoh2

          celt,
          " ...the CNN computer wants to "moderate" the Easter story."

          What are you talking about?

          April 29, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
        • idiotusmaximus

          There was no cave so it doesn't matter how many people were there....does it?

          April 29, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
        • Akira

          There is no moderation; there's a word filter. It is in place on every story.
          CNN gets accused of a lot, most notably of being too Pro-Catholic.

          April 29, 2014 at 8:01 pm |
        • fintronics

          @doc;

          "Standard replies:

          1) It is a metaphor
          2) It is taken out of context
          3) It is a translation error
          4) The ways of God are mysterious
          5) All of the above

          Don't question – just believe and obey.
          In the end, isn't that the lesson of the Eden story?"

          What he said...

          April 30, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
      • idiotusmaximus

        FOUR GOSPELS??????????

        There are many more than 20 I think...the 4 you mention are the ones the Bishop of Rome allowed to be used....others were rejected as not being the story he wanted to sell.

        April 29, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          There were a lot of other books available for the Early Church Fathers to incorporate in the biblical canon.There are four gospels rather than 3, 5, etc., because one of the Early Church Fathers, Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, whose writings were very important in the development of early Christian theology, liked the number four. He wrote "It is not possible that the gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For, since there are four-quarters of the earth in which we live, and four universal winds, while the church is scattered throughout all the world, and the 'pillar and ground' of the church is the gospel and the spirit of life, it is fitting that she should have four pillars breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh…Therefore the gospels are in accord with these things… For the living creatures are quadriform and the gospel is quadriform…"

          A list of early Christian writings can be found at http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/

          April 29, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          HALF truths idiotus..the Four Gospels were ALZRWADy the accepted Gosoels among the churches by 150 Ad looooong BEFORE THE BISHOPS OF 300'S THE COUNSILS IN THE 300 WERE confirming what was already accepted....update your info please

          April 30, 2014 at 2:09 am |
        • G to the T

          "HALF truths idiotus..the Four Gospels were ALZRWADy the accepted Gosoels among the churches by 150 Ad"

          In Paul's (i.e. Roman) Church certainly. As for the rest of those who identified as christians at the time, not so much. They ALL had gospels supposedly written by authorities (like the disciples). If they were all accepted by 150 C, why all the controversy over including John's Revelation vs. Peter's Apocalypse? As I understand it, the cotroversy on which should be the last book of the bible went on for quite some time.

          ALSO – the "version" that was accepted around 150 CE, why did they include a version of the Gospel of Luke that is today known as the Gospel of Marcion? Just because someone uses the terms "gospels", doesn't mean the versions we have today.

          April 30, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
        • jbhollen

          I agree there were many gospels once upon a time. It was narrowed to the current 4 during the council of Nicea in 325CE at the direction of the pagan emperor Constantine. All copies of the gospels that were not accepted were commanded destroyed. So I disagree that the 4 current gospels were accepted around 150CE.

          April 30, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          uhh...not quite..first of all...the church as a WHOLE pretty much had the accepted writings by 150 AD...yes..there were SOME that strayed away and use other Gosdpels..and that's what the writers of the NT wrote about..Paul, Peter, Jude....to not accept the heresies as they were not from apostles and witnesses of Jesus...Gospel of Luke in the list of 150 AD was the actual Gospel..not a pseudographical work....update your research please....

          April 30, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote regarding non-canonical gospels that they "were not from apostles and witnesses of Jesus". In regards to the canonical gospels, though the Gospel of Matthew, which was likely written sometime between 70 and 110 CE, was traditionally attributed to one of Jesus' disciples, the actual author is unknown. The unknown author is not named within that text and does not claim to have been an eyewitness to events. Likewise, the actual author of the Gospel of John is unknown and the text is likely the work of a number of writers, a Johannine community, rather than a single individual.

          For the Pauline epi_stles in the New Testament, Ti_tus, Ephesians, First Timothy, and Second Timothy are widely regarded as pseudepigraphical among biblical scholars. Colossians and Second Thessalonians are also doubtful works. And even for those most biblical scholars would regard as the work of the Apostle Paul, Paul never met Jesus. His theology supposedly came from a vision, which is why he knows nothing of the miracle stories associated with Jesus nor of sayings attributed to Jesus by the Gospel writers, nor the Sermon on the Mount, etc. Pauline Christianity became the dominant version from among the many competing early Christian sects, but it was the work of a man who never even met Jesus. And the canonical gospels were likely built upon a tradition of oral tales that passed through an unknown number of people. So, the criticism you make applies to much of the canonical material as well. Obviously, there were lots of people making up lots of different stories. Though Christians may acknowledge that much of the early material is false, the insistence that some similarly implausible works should be regarded as relating actual events, such as the miracle stories, seems ill-founded.

          April 30, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          uh you got half truths there..Pauline epistles are NOT widely regarded as such...and we have much evidence Matthew was written sooner than what you suppose.o the first church fathers quote something that isn't there? hmm...interesting.....I think you need to update your research a bit....

          May 1, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote "uh you got half truths there..Pauline Epi_stles are NOT widely regarded as such...and we have much evidence Matthew was written sooner than what you suppose.o the first church fathers quote something that isn't there? hmm...interesting.....I think you need to update your research a bit...."

          In regards to the authenticity of some of the Pauline Epi_stles, I've excerpted some material from pages 3 to 4 of "1 & 2 Timothy and Ti_tus: A Commentary" by Raymond F. Collins (c) 2002, published by Westminster John Knox Press:

          *** Begin quote

          The Matter of Authenticity

          Early in the nineteenth century, the lexical and stylistic peculiarities of the Pastoral Epi_stles led some scholars to question their authenticity. One of the first to raise questions about 1 Timothy was J. E. C. Schmidt, who in 1804/5 published a Historical-Critical Introduction to the New Testament. Schmidt held that the vocabulary of this Epi_stle makes it highly unlikely that it was written by the same person who wrote 2 Timothy and Ti_tus. If these two were by Paul, 1 Timothy was not.
          In 1807 Friedrich Schleiermacher's study of the vocabulary of 1 Timothy led him to conclude that an author later than Paul borrowed linguistic elements from 2 Timothy and Ti_tus to write 1 Timothy. His systematic examination of the Epi_stle also noted that the biographical information contained in the text was inconsistent with what was otherwise known about Paul. Meanwhile, Edward Evanson (1805) accepted Paul's authorship of both 1 and 2 Timothy but expressed reservations about the authenticity of Ti_tus.
          From these early nineteenth-century works, a consensus of critical German scholarship began to emerge, which held the position that none of the Pastorals had been written by Paul. Johann Gottfried Eichorn's Introduction to the New Testament (1812) was one of the first German introductions to deny Pauline authorship of all three Epi_stles. Ferdinand Christian Baur's 1835 publication of Die sogenannten Pastoralbriefe des Apostels Paulus aufs neue kritisch untersucht (The So-called Pastoral Epi_stles of the Apostle Paul, a New Critical Study [1835]) added a new element to the discussion. Baur contended that the similarities between the positions attacked by the Pastorals and the Gnostic heresy so vigorously combatted by Irenaeus were sufficient to type the Pastorals as an early second-century response to this Christian heresy. Thereafter, the classic German introductions to the New Testament generally proposed that the Pastorals had not been written by Paul. Thus, Heinrich Julius Holtzmann's introduction (1885), offering a precis of nineteenth-century critical scholarship, opted for a non-Pauline authorship for these Epi_stles.
          A large number of conservative scholars dealt with the issues raised by the nineteenth century's critical analysis of the Pastorals by suggesting that these Epi_stles were written by one of Paul's scribes. To its own stylized question about the authenticity of the Epi_stles–"Whether the difficulties commonly advanced...in any way weaken the opinion which holds as ratified and certain the genuineness of the Pastoral Epi_stles?"–the Roman Pontifical Biblical Commission responded with a dismissive negative (June 12, 1913). Nevertheless, the issues were on the table and continued to be discussed.
          By the end of the twentieth century New Testament scholarship was virtually unanimous in affirming that the Pastoral Epi_stles were written some time after Paul's death. Scholars who held this opinion continued to cite the stylistic and lexical issues, the theological views, the biographical data, and the skeletal elements of church structure that emerge from critical study of the Epi_stles. As always, some scholars dissent from the consensus view. Thus, George W. Knight (1992) and Luke Timothy Johnson (1996, 2001) continue to maintain Pauline authorship.

          *** End quote

          The author, Raymond Francis Collins, is a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Providence. Though now retired, he taught as a professor at a variety of insti_tutions of higher education, including Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Catholic University of America. He also served the American College of the Immaculate Conception as its ninth rector.

          In regards to Colossians and Ephesians, from "Colossians and Ephesians" by Margaret Y. MacDonald, Professor of New Testament at St. Francis Xavier University (Nova Scotia, Canada), published by Liturgical Press (March 1, 2008):

          *** Begin quote

          The authenticity of Colossians has been questioned on the basis of language, thought, and style. For example, Colossians includes many long sentences and demonstrates a tendency to heap synonyms together. In comparison to the undisputed letters it contains a greater number of relative clauses and is notably heavily infused with liturgical influences. As is also true of Ephesians, Colossians lacks the address "my brothers [and sisters],", which appears frequently in Paul's letters and underlines the personal relationship between the apostle and his communities (e.g., Rom 7:4; 1 Cor 1:11; 2 Cor 1:8; Gal 1:11; Phil 4:1; Thess 1:4). In addition, Colossians lacks some key Pauline concepts such as righteousness and justification. The cosmological significance assigned to the Christ event (1:15-20) exceeds what is found in the undisputed letters and Colossians concentrates almost exclusively on the present salvation of believers (e.g., 3:1-1).

          *** End quote

          You wrote "we have much evidence Matthew was written sooner than what you suppose.o the first church fathers quote something that isn't there? hmm...interesting.....I think you need to update your research a bit....", yet provided no substantiation for your assertions, so I see no reason to update my statement that the consensus view of biblical scholars regarding the Gospel of Matthew is that it was likely written sometime between 70 and 110 CE. There may be a few biblical scholars who give a pre-70 CE date to the text, but I don't believe that is the consensus view. And without any reference to a particular scholar and any substantiation he might have for an earlier date that someone might evaluate, you should not expect others to change their views on the matter.

          And what Early Church Fathers are you referencing and what biblical passages did they quote that you believe supports your assertion? Without any substantiation for that claim, there is no reason for me to believe I am mistaken rather than you.

          May 1, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          WOW>..you are sure using some OUTDATED info! 1800s?? cmon man....there has been much found since then...read Brian H Edwards "Why 27" and update your information...you are waaaay behind sir

          May 2, 2014 at 1:54 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote "WOW>..you are sure using some OUTDATED info! 1800s?? cmon man....there has been much found since then...read Brian H Edwards "Why 27" and update your information...you are waaaay behind sir". For the references I listed regarding the consensus view on authorship of the Pauline epi_stles, I included the dates the two books were published, i.e., "1 & 2 Timothy and Ti_tus: A Commentary" by Raymond F. Collins (c) 2002, published by Westminster John Knox Press and "Colossians and Ephesians" by Margaret Y. MacDonald, Professor of New Testament at St. Francis Xavier University (Nova Scotia, Canada), published by Liturgical Press (March 1, 2008). In the reference from the first book, I included the following:

          "By the end of the twentieth century New Testament scholarship was virtually unanimous in affirming that the Pastoral Epi_stles were written some time after Paul's death. Scholars who held this opinion continued to cite the stylistic and lexical issues, the theological views, the biographical data, and the skeletal elements of church structure that emerge from critical study of the Epi_stles."

          The authors are reflecting views still current at the time of publication of their books. I included information about the work of earlier scholars to show that biblical scholars have long known that it is unlikely that the Apostle Paul wrote all of the epi_stles attributed to him in the New Testament.

          In regards to Brian H. Edwards book "Why Twenty Seven?: How Can We Be Sure That We Have the Right Books in the New Testament?", you mentioned the book in a post on April 16 to the article "Five things you didn't know about Moses". I'll repeat my reply to you on April 17 in regards to his book.

          I am guessing that Brian H Edwards may be claiming a date of 68 A.D. for the earliest Gospel fragment in his book based on the assumption that 7Q5 (Cave 7 + Qumran + Papyrus 5), a small Greek papyrus fragment discovered in Qumran Cave 7 among the Dead Sea Scrolls, was deposited in the cave in 68 A.D. and is a fragment of the Gospel of Mark, which many scholars believe was a source used by the authors of the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. I'd note that though the Spanish Jesuit Catholic priest, papyrologist and Biblical scholar José O'Callaghan Martínez and the German archaeologist and New Testament scholar Carsten Peter Thiede believed the fragment to be from the Gospel of Mark, their view is not shared by a majority of biblical scholars. See the Wikipedia article 7Q5 for reasons that other scholars are skeptical of that claim.

          He may also be using the date assigned to Papyrus 64, aka the "Magdalen" Papyrus by Carsten Peter Thiede as support for that claim that fragments of the Gospels have been found dating back as far as the 1st century. The P64 fragment has been identified as a fragment of the Gospel of Matthew. Thiede assigned a date range for the fragment of 37 to 70 A.D. But that date is much earlier than the consensus date assigned by biblical scholars of circa 200 A.D.

          For an overview of the claims regarding early papyri, see the Wikipedia articles with the following ti_tles:

          7Q5
          Magdalen papyrus
          List of New Testament papyri
          Carsten Peter Thiede
          José O'Callaghan Martínez

          I believe that the Rylands Library Papyrus P52 fragment, aka the St. John's fragment, is generally regarded to be the oldest fragment with a probable date range of 100 to 150 A.D.

          May 2, 2014 at 7:42 am |
        • kermit4jc

          Sorry..to claim that "virtually all scholars" is a load of carp and dishonest....I know very few scholars who unanimously agree to later Pauline letters as you pointed out.....second......there were early church fathers

          May 2, 2014 at 9:46 am |
        • kermit4jc

          second..there were early church fathers who quoted from the Pauline letters as well as Gospels...can you tell me how this is so if they have nothing to quotye from? read Brian H Edwards thoroughly please

          May 2, 2014 at 9:47 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote "second..there were early church fathers who quoted from the Pauline letters as well as Gospels…can you tell me how this is so if they have nothing to quotye from?" You don't specify the Early Church Fathers to which you are referring nor which Pauline letters you are referencing, so I have no specific instances to comment upon. But the question is not whether Pauline letters existed, but whether all of those attributed to the Apostle Paul, which are included within the biblical canon, were written by the Apostle Paul. I will point out to you that there are a number of texts attributed to the Apostle Paul that were deemed apochryphal by at least some of the Early Church Fathers, e.g., the Apocalypse of Paul, Acts of Paul, Epi_stle to the Alexandrians, and the Third Epi_stle to the Corinthians, though the latter was deemed to be canonical within the Syriac Orthodox Church in the 4th century, but lost its canonical status in the 5th century. The Catholic Encyclopedia claims it was composed by a presbyter about 160-170 CE.

          The Acts of Paul, which were probably written about 160 CE, were regarded as an orthodox text by Hippolytus of Rome (170 – 235 CE), an important 3rd-century theologian in the Christian Church in Rome. Jerome, however, rejected it. Origen, who is the first to mention the Acts of Paul, quoted from it and esteemed the work. According to Tertullian (On Baptism, 17), though, the Acts of Paul was written by a presbyter in Asia, who said he had written it “out of love for Paul.” Eusebius includes it within the Antilegomena, i.e., those texts whose authenticity or value is disputed. Tertullian found it heretical because it encouraged women to preach and baptize. It is included in the Codex Claromontanus, a 5th to 6th century Greek-Latin manuscript of the New Testament. That codex also includes several other works no longer considered canonical: Epi_stle of Barnabas, The Shepherd of Hermas, and Revelation of Peter.

          I mention those to show that early in Christianity's history there were many works attributed to Paul other than those that made their way into the biblical canon and to show that there wasn't always agreement even among the Early Church Fathers regarding what works should be used as orthodox scripture. And the references I gave earlier were to show that many scholars today believe that not all of the Pauline material now included in the New Testament canon were actually written by Paul.

          May 2, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Sir..read Brian H Edwards "Why 27" as for those you listed...those are nothing to the argument...Im referring to the actual Pauline Letters quoted by the early church fathers even before 100 AD.i cannot rmemeber off of the top of my head which of those father...but that's why I directed you to the book by Brian H Edwards....and there are other books that support this (IM a very avid reader-reading as many as 24+ books in a years time-ranging from Christian Apologetics to secular views on the Bible)

          May 3, 2014 at 1:53 am |
      • kermit4jc

        they don't contradict at all...YOUR interpretation makes them do so.....taking things out of context....etc etc.... which women went to the tomb? all of them....did two eyewitnesses see the group at the same time same place? the walk to the tomb took time.....were all the women starting from same place? or did they meet up with some of the other women later on down the road? to show THIS story contradicts..one would have to show the women started at the same point at the same time..seen by same witnesses....

        April 30, 2014 at 4:36 am |
        • G to the T

          You are conflating the stories of the 4 gospels as if they were one. If you were truly using context as part of your evaluation, you would know that this is a disingenous route for interpreting the texts. Each should stand on it's own. What you want to do is create your own "mega-gospel". For me at least, I don't believe this provides the proper context for interpretation.

          Let me ask you this – When did the curtain in the Temple rip, and WHY?

          April 30, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Hearsay or heresy?

      April 29, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
    • samsstones

      Andy
      To say that you are an idiot would be an insult to idiots.

      April 29, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      So how many slaves do you own? How many daughters have you sold off? How many times have you beat your children? All that is in the bible and not to follow it, must mean you're not following the word of god.

      April 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
    • tonythewondermutt

      What does the Bible say about "the word of God"? "For the word of God is LIVING and ACTIVE"

      Words on a page are not LIVING and ACTIVE. The written word is not the word of God. The written word is static, it's meanings change, it's intent is lost and obscured by the passage of time and the changing meaning of language.

      The doctrine that says the Bible is the "word of God" is yet another man-made doctrine (and this teaching itself–the infallibility of the Bible–is actually not even that old, started in the 1800s.)

      April 29, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        @tony...the meanings don't change at all..the aythors did not intend for any change in meanings....the context gives meaning..and the context does nt change....the Bible was written by Jews..that doesn't change..it was written over a 2000 year period by those who were kings, peasants, fishermen priests etc..THAT does not change...

        April 30, 2014 at 4:38 am |
    • Andy

      These responses sound like the herd of swine rushing down a steep slope having been possessed.

      April 29, 2014 at 5:45 pm |
      • Akira

        Something I'll assume you're intimately familiar with.

        April 29, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
      • idiotusmaximus

        I don't know what you're on Andy...but I hope your mother catches you....those pills are not working for you.

        April 29, 2014 at 7:18 pm |
    • basehitter

      And, Of course, YOU know the word go god.

      April 29, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
    • halfdime1

      Try using that excuse in court if you stoned your kids to death for talking back, apparently that is condoned by God in the babble.

      April 30, 2014 at 7:46 am |
      • fintronics

        Expect to be told that you are taking that out of context.........

        April 30, 2014 at 8:05 am |
        • kermit4jc

          whats wrong..do you hate using context to communicate?

          April 30, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
  18. jsuslvr

    I'm praying for all the unbelievers. goD – you're in for a big, big disappointment.

    April 29, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
    • moxrox84

      If there is a god, he'd better be prepared to ask for my forgiveness. I doubt I will though.

      April 29, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      You pray for us, we'll think for you. Prayer is the lazy man's way of thinking he is doing something when in fact he's doing nothing.

      April 29, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
      • jsuslvr

        You're right – truth WILL prevail. I still pray for you – even as you stone me, I pray for you.

        April 29, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          No, sorry think you have a reversal of roles happening here. Atheists are not the ones stoning people, that would be Christians-read your bible, it will explain when and how to go about it. Yes, truth based on evidence that is verifiable will prevail, not truth that is based on faith (belief without evidence. I don't wish for harm to come to you, I only wish for your belief system to not be used as a ground for denying rights of any form (women's rights; LGBT rights) and for it to be kept out of the public square (in your home and in your church is fine but it has no place outside of those 2 places). Stop pretending like you have the right god when there are so many imagined by man and not one can be verified to exist.

          April 29, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • Akira

          You have a flair for the dramatic, jsuslvr. Do you perhaps suffer from a Martyr complex?
          People won't stone you for your beliefs.

          April 29, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
        • idiotusmaximus

          You are so sick.jsuslvr....I hope you get the help you need....and galloping universe.... YOU DO NEED IT.

          April 29, 2014 at 7:25 pm |
      • idiotusmaximus

        Basically Truth that is the truth.... prayer is kind of a sofa passive action thing....if that makes any sense....but I know it doesn't....because prayers have no action....that's why most people like them...they can do something without really doing anything.....lolololololololo....sick!!!

        April 29, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          idiotusmaximus: I understand it's a 'feel good' measure but that's all it is really and the sooner Christians see that the sooner they might get off their butts and put their words in to actions.

          April 29, 2014 at 8:38 pm |
    • snuffleupagus

      jsuslvr, does talking to your self help? Does it it bring you comfort? Had any intelligent discussions/debates with yourself lately, or do you lose the arguments?

      April 29, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
  19. Vic

    ♰♰♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰♰♰

    Here is what really matters about Jesus Christ:

    John 3:16
    "16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (NASB)

    Related previous post:
    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/10/study-jesus-wife-fragment-not-a-fake/comment-page-11/#comment-2988226

    April 29, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
    • moxrox84

      Which is just an opinion...nothing more.

      April 29, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
      • samsstones

        Vic
        The catch 22, that whoever believes in him, and those that don't (me) and those that never heard of him are sh!t out of luck. Some loving god you have there, the carrot and the stick, ridiculous.

        April 29, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
      • jsuslvr

        So sad. So very, very sad. For He wants none to perish but all to come to repentance. The choices are TWO and only TWO and they're both FOREVER. Think quietly, think cautiously, ask for proof and you'll have none for blessed are those who believe but have not seen. You will see us, the saved, from across the divide and we won't have any way to ease your eternal torment. So sad. I grieves my heart at your unbelief. So sad. Father, I have no words.
        Every knee will bend, every tongue shall confess Jesus is Lord. The devil even knows and he trembles in fear.

        April 29, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • moxrox84

          It's not sad at all, it's just a different opinion...you have no facts to back up your beliefs at all, so why should i be worried about your opinion?

          April 29, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • igaftr

          "The choices are TWO and only TWO and they're both FOREVER."

          Incorrect. The possibilities are actually endless,until someone can produce some sort of evidence.

          One other possibility is that your god does not exist, and some OTHER god is watching you, or no gods exist at all.
          There are two more possibilites right there, proving your statement that there are only two possibilities false.

          April 29, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • observer

          jsuslvr

          "For He wants none to perish but all to come to repentance"

          All he has to do is PROVE he exists and possibly none will perish, but that's asking too much.

          April 29, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • samsstones

          jsus..
          Well you should be prime for fulfilling the delusion since you probably spend most of your time grovelling before your mythical lord, pathetic. Why are you so afraid of your supposidly loving mythical vindictive pr!ck of a god?

          April 29, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • southerncelt

          Moxrox84,
          What "facts" would you accept? Keeping in mind of course that Faith doesn't require facts. If the eyewitness testimony of thousands of people who saw His miracles isn't good enough, there is the empty tomb; where's His Body? For that matter where is His Mother's Body? Do you know any other idea that shaped Western History? Know any other organization that after 2014 years is still in operation? Do you accept at least the morality of Christianity? How about the miraculous healings at Lourdes that medical science can't explain? The "facts" are there, if you are willing to recognize and accept them.

          April 29, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • moxrox84

          Thousands of eyewitnesses? Where did you get that idea? Again...the Bible is the claim, not the proof. You can't point to the Bible and claim "see, there's proof the Bible is right!". It doesn't work that way.

          Judaism has been around a lot longer than Christianity, by the way. Why do you refute their claims? If you're using age of a cult as proof, then you have to discredit Christianity in favor of Judaism.

          Second, morality comes from the society in which we live, not from religious texts.

          Healing at Lourdes has never happened. There is no p;roof at all of anyone ever being healed at Lourdes. None. All claims of Lourdes healing are made up, and have been debunked already, just like all "miraculous" healings.

          April 29, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "Know any other organization that after 2014 years is still in operation? "
          -------–

          Hinduism is still going strong. It long predates Christianity.

          Confucius lived from 551-479 BCE. Taoism dates from a comparable time and the traditional Chinese folk religions are older still. The world does not revolve around the West.

          There are all manner of ancient religions.

          April 29, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • southerncelt

          Moxrox84,
          Speaking of sad, how sad your life must be. Of course Judaism is older than Christianity (boy, you really don't know much about the subject do you). As for the rest of the world's religions, I should have qualified it as Monotheistic. The Jews have Moses, but for those of us that weren't born Jewish we have Jesus Christ. Since I would not expect an Arab to follow a Jew, they have Mohammed. Many paths, one destination. Which one is right?Perhaps all, but that is God's decision, not mine (or ours).

          April 29, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
        • joey3467

          I am of the opinion that if god exists he uses the bible to send stupid people to hell. Basically anyone who takes a literal view of the entire bible is a moron and god sends them to hell so the rest of us won't have to deal with them for eternity.

          April 29, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, following the discussion, Christianity is the oldest and largest ecumenical, hence heterogeneous, Faith in the world.

          April 29, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @observber..and he does prove Himself all the time...he has to me and countless others....problem here is don't blame God for your issues..whatever they may be....you choose to be skeptic....you can choose to open your mind and accept ideas outside the box...

          April 30, 2014 at 4:41 am |
      • southerncelt

        An opinion held by a Billion or two people.

        April 29, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • moxrox84

          Are you really thinking that the number of people who believe in something determines it's truth?

          April 29, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
        • southerncelt

          No. I am comparing the number of people that believe with the number that don't. Opposing the majority suggests a deeper issue.

          April 29, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
        • moxrox84

          Opposing slavery was once the ideals of the minority. Are you telling me they were wrong to oppose slavery?

          April 29, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • tonythewondermutt

          "The way is narrow and the gate is small that leads to eternal life and FEW there be that find it."

          2 Billion is a bit more than a few.

          April 29, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
        • otoh2

          celt,
          "I am comparing the number of people that believe with the number that don't. Opposing the majority suggests a deeper issue."

          In that case, note that there are at least 5 Billion who don't believe your claims.

          April 29, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
        • idiotusmaximus

          Right moxrox.......90% of the people believe in some magical god that has and will do wonders for them....and it's hard to fight their beliefs because they are TECHNICALLY INSANE...but since all 90% are it's what's called the status quo and sold as truth.

          April 29, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
    • jsuslvr

      His people perish for lack of knowledge. It really does sadden the children of the living God that you all reject Him. I pray you come to the same place of joy that lives within me – no matter what is said about my Lord. I truly love Him...
      I pray you come to know.

      April 29, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
      • moxrox84

        And exactly which version of which god are you referring to?

        April 29, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • samsstones

          jsus..
          Sounds like you have the vib-rator installed and have it at maximum power, the joy within, ecstacy.

          April 29, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • southerncelt

          There's only One. I'm surprised you don't know that. Now you are opposing Christians, Jews, and Muslims which is a much larger percentage.

          April 29, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • moxrox84

          There are thousands of gods throughout history...and no, they aren't all the same.

          April 29, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
    • devlsadvoct

      The irony here is that John 3:17 is widely suspected among -Christian historians- to be an interpolation. The oldest surviving copies of the gospel of John do not include this verse.

      April 29, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
      • devlsadvoct

        sorry... typo: meant John 3:16

        April 29, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
      • Vic

        1 John 4:9
        "9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him." (NASB)

        April 29, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • devlsadvoct

          and? I don't think that you understand the topic. You can't prove that one verse is genuine by showing similar verses. It may help you feel that the theological belief was held at the time, but it cannot be used to address whether a different verse was in the original writings, or if it was added later.

          April 29, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • moxrox84

          What Vic, and most Christians, don't understand, is that the Bible is the claim, not the proof.

          April 29, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • fintronics

          God smites women, children and often animals with equal gusto, he seems to equal evil and wrong doing by association, rather than by being guilty of the personal, individual act: "Behold with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods: And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day." (II Chronicles 21:14-15)

          April 30, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
      • Vic

        1 John 4:14
        "14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world." (NASB)

        April 29, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
        • samsstones

          Vic
          Of course all you ever do is run back to your silly bible verses that prove nothing. Why would your vindictive pr!ck of a god have a chosen people and today leave 5 out of seven people sh!t out of luck?

          April 29, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • moxrox84

          Vic also thinks that the Aboriginals of Australia, and the Pygmies of Africa are directly related and descended from a small family that landed a boat on the top of a mountain in Turkey.

          April 29, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • southerncelt

          samsstones,
          What make you think it is 5 out of 7? What makes you think atheism is that popular?

          April 29, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • southerncelt

          moxrox84,
          Sometimes it is Turkey, occasionally it is in Iran. It depends on the politcs of the moment. That is beside the point, though. Why is a boat shaped object on top of a remote mountain? Do you have a serious explanation? I do.

          April 29, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
        • moxrox84

          Hate to break it to you, but there's no boat shaped object on any mountain.

          April 29, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • southerncelt

          Moxrox84,
          Now that is just ignorant, or are you trying to perpetuate a defunct argument?

          April 29, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • moxrox84

          Cite any non-religious website with proof of the boat shaped object.

          April 29, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
        • southerncelt

          moxrox84,
          Fox News (.com assuming you accept Fox News) , April 27, 2010. I'm not saying it absolutely is Noah's Ark, but it does make a reasonable person wonder.

          April 29, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
        • Akira

          Sam is talking about 5 out if 7 people in the world not being Christian.

          April 29, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
        • idiotusmaximus

          lOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL....SAM STONE...YOU'RE too too funny.

          April 29, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
        • Akira

          Celt, re: Fox News (and MSNBC, for that matter) Ark reporting:

          http://www.snopes.com/religion/noahsark.asp

          April 29, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
        • fintronics

          Snopes is a great site

          April 30, 2014 at 8:16 am |
    • James XCIX

      Vic – "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son..."

      How exactly did he "give" his son, since he's supposed to be with him now?. Do you mean he gave him and then took him back? That's not really giving, is it? And how can one part of your three-part god have authority over another part such that he can "give" him?

      April 29, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
      • southerncelt

        ...He gave His only begotten Son.... as a sacrificial lamb. The Jews would sacrifice an unblemished lamb on their altar as an expiation for their sins. Jesus came as that sacrificial lamb to save those of us that believe and accept Him.

        April 29, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • James XCIX

          That doesn't really answer my questions.

          April 29, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • idiotusmaximus

          That's because James they don't have an answer to something that NEVER HAPPENED.

          April 29, 2014 at 7:28 pm |
    • lewcypher

      christian god > One trick pony

      April 29, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
      • southerncelt

        That anybody can "ride"

        April 29, 2014 at 5:43 pm |
    • basehitter

      Really ? Then why did he say this ???

      "Yahweh said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the surface of the ground; man, along with animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them." Gen 6:7

      April 29, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
      • idiotusmaximus

        DESTROY....??????????????????????????????????

        WOW.........how loving is that?...no wonder you people are so screwed up...living in eternal fear and loving it....SICK!!!!!

        April 29, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
    • idiotusmaximus

      So Vic......LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLO....stop drinking!!!!

      April 29, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
  20. samsstones

    I know that refraining from responding to the gutter filth that is salero21 and the finisher01 is difficult. But these slobs are attention seeking trolls that if ignored may soon be tired of playing their silly game. The only reason they post is to draw a reply, ignore the scu-m, try.

    April 29, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I suspect it's the same troll as used to post under various other names like "Atheism Is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things"....

      Captain America, Pervert Alert, etc. ad nauseum
      Dude's been getting his jollies this way for years.

      April 29, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
      • samsstones

        Doc
        Dalahust does the same in a much more civilized manner. I wonder if it could be him when off his meds, just a thought.

        April 29, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • basehitter

          Job security for those in the religion business.

          April 29, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
    • seedenbetter

      This delusional unstable individual has been tolling for a long time. The best way to handle these types are to just ignore and never respond in any way. I suspect he's some 40 year old pimply faced guy who's never even kissed a girl before, lives in his Mother's basement and masterbates all day and every time he gets a response from one of his trolling posts.

      April 29, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.