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Are the four Gospels first hand Eye-Witness accounts?

Last update: 17/05/2022

 

By Mustafa Sahin

Note: Bellow there is a rebuttal section to a Christian also read the Debate.

Most Christians say” The Four Gospels were written by the Four Disciples of Jesus Christ known as Mark, Luke, Mathew and John.

Even Christian apologists like (Nakdemon Yesman) and many Christians believe that the Gospels were written by Contemporary Witnesses. What contemporary means is that those were the Eye-Witnesses living at the same time as Jesus and directly recorded the events as Desciple of Jesus Christ

Well is this so? Let us see what another Christian colleague to Nakdemon is another Apologist Matt Slick and his testimony on the subject:

Please notes that Both Nakdemon and Matt Slick together write articles on the Answering-Islam.com website. They’re basically on the same team.

Matt Slick Quotes:

1: Mark was not an eyewitness to the events of Jesus’ life.

2: Luke was not an eyewitness to the life of Christ. He was a companion of Paul who also was not an eyewitness to Christ’s life.

3: Mathew. Matt Slick tells us again nothing about Mathew Being an Eye-Witness instead he admits Quote:

This would mean that if Matthew did write in Aramaic originally, he may have used Mark as a map.

So as you can see Matt Slick admits that Mathew perhaps copied or used Mark’s information who also was not an Eye-Witness then added his narrations additional to the Text.

4: John( Although Matt Slick claims John was an Eye-Witness to the Events. Matt tells us

Quote: The Gospel of John was written by Eye-Witnesses or under the direction of eyewitnesses.

What he’s saying is him not sure if it was written Directly by an Eye-Witness or perhaps if someone else Wrote hearing from an Eye-Witness.

So as you can see Matt Slick admits ALL 4 Gospels written were not direct Eye-Witnesses penning down the Events. Rather they were Anonymous people Quoting from Hearsay from other Eye-Witnesses. So the next time a Christian boastfully tells you we have 4 Direct Eye-Witness Testimony by the 4 Gospels written by the Disciples of Jesus. They are simply misleading you.

Source:
https://carm.org/when-were-gospels-written-and-by-whom

Extra info:

When we read Luke 1:1 says he ( Apostle Luke) investigated from the first Eye-Witness accounts. This could mean he copied from the first eyewitnesses. And then took that knowledge and then wrote out his own accord. So they would have borrowed a Narrative.

Christian wrote to me and said Quote;
“So Luke used other sources available. Is that supposed to be a problem for some reason? That’s what any historian at the time would do. End Quote.

Muslim Response;

Luke said he investigated. This implies he didn’t trust their holy spirit. Why would someone have the Holy Spirit need to borrow from others? He should have been able to know the whole event without having to look anywhere else. Since they were all individual eyewitness accounts. This proves they were not all different eyewitness accounts rather a non-Eye Witness copied the Eye Witness of somebody else.

Yes if he was to only remain a historian we have no objection. But soon as Christians claim he was inspired and an Eye-Witness then this raises the questions of errors.

Another Christian Apologist Mike Lincon also states the same that Mathew borrowed and edited his Gospel watch:

Now the Rebuttal Question will go through how a Christian responded when he denied our article so we gave him an example of why he can not deny it. We showed him if the Writers of the Gospel were indeed based on “Eye Witness accounts” they ALL would have written the same message on the thorn crown on Jesus’ head upon the Crucifixion:

Mustafa Sahin wrote:

Tell us what was written on Jesus’ head if there were Eye Witness accounts. Surely if they are guided by God it will all read the same thing. Let’s put you through an acid test.

Christian named Nick Peters wrote:

Why should they all say the same thing? The message was written in different languages and was translated into different languages and paraphrasing was perfectly acceptable.

Sorry. I’m not a fundamentalist like you are.

Mustafa Sahin wrote:

There was only 1 language written on Jesus’ head, not 4 different languages.

Read:

(Matthew 27:37) – “And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
(Mark 15:26) – “And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
(Luke 23:38) – “And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
(John 19:19-20) – “And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

So if there are 4 different interpretations from an original? What was the original writing in Arabic? Greek? Hebrew? over Jesus’ head. It can not be ALL. Yet the Bible witness can not decide.

Of course, it will not be the same if it didn’t have first-hand multiple eyewitnesses.

Christian wrote:
Sorry Mustafa, but that’s a modern concept. Ancient minds weren’t interested in word-for-word accuracy but in getting the gist of the idea correct. Try reading scholarship.

Mustafa Sahin Wrote:

Thats a cop-out, exactly any excuse. The ancient text wasn’t interested in divine guidance as well I see?

Christian wrote;

Sorry dude, but no one holds to divine dictation theory. And no, that’s not a cop-out. Read Small’s “Wax Tablets of the Mind” for instance.

Mustafa sahin wrote:

Don’t hold to Divine dictation. Why say it’s divine guidance and thus divine inspiration?

As you can see for yourself the Christian when shown an example of why the Gospel accounts are far from being an eye-witness account rather I believe it follows hearsay. He resorted to blocking it out by saying, the scribes were not dictated to write.

Well if it’s not dictated and guided by the Holy Spirit then I agree the Scribe gave an un-guided opinion of hearsay. That can be the only explanation why ALL Scribes could not pen down ” Word for Word” what exactly was written down over the head of Jesus nailed on the Cross.

We can go a step further,

The Fact of the matter is. The 4 Gospels appear to be 4 Witnesses. But the reality is they ALL copy from Mark only improving the narrative. They all go back to Pauls’s narrative. Because Paul said if a Gospel is preached other than the one I preach then let him be cursed. So not only was the later Gospels copying from Mark they also had to stay in line with Pauls’s witness. Yet Paul never met the living Jesus during his ministry nor witnessed the Crucifixion. Additionally, the 4 Gospels are Anonymous. The term Mark, Mathew, Luke and John do not exist as Subtitle headings in the Earliest Manuscripts. These came later into the Manuscripts to show they were 4 different witnesses the reality is those subtitles were never there. Additionally when you open the Gospel of Luke 1:1″ He tells us that he is writing an account from the first eye witness. And he felt that he should write an account also. But notice Luke doesn’t claim he is writing as a witness to the events himself. Rather he narrates what he “Heard” not what He Saw himself. In the Crucifixion story for example we are told all the disciples fled and only in a distance there was 1 disciple who witnessed the Crucifixion and not 4 Disciples. But only 1 disciple. And the interesting thing is the name of that witness disciple is not even mentioned. Rather he is called ” The Desciple who he loved”.

Christian Wrote:
The authors probably wanted to eliminate interest in who wrote the story and to focus the reader on the subject. More importantly, the claim of an anonymous history was higher than that of a named work. In the ancient world an anonymous book, rather like an encyclopedia article today, implicitly claimed complete knowledge and reliability. It would have reduced the impact of the Gospel of Matthew had the author written ‘this is my version instead of ‘this is what Jesus said and did.’  – The Historical Figure of Jesus by E.P. Sanders page 66.

They also don’t all copy from Mark. John doesn’t and why shouldn’t Matthew and Luke use Mark as another source as well?

Mustafa Sahin wrote:

I didn’t say John copies only from Mark but also Paul. If John didn’t copy from Paul then John would be preaching a different Gospel. And Paul said if anyone preaches a different Gospel than the one I preach let him be cursed. ( Galatians 1:8) So if John is not narrating the same Story as Paul then John is cursed.

Im baffled also how by you think anonymous writing credits ability. If it’s anonymous then satin can be the Author and not the eyewitness

Christian wrote:
You’re confusing the gospel with the Gospels. The two are not the same. The Gospels as understood are Greco-Roman bio centred around the life of Jesus. The Gospel is the content and the message of the story. That does not mean the story has to be exact verbatim identical. The Gospel is the good news about the life of Jesus. The Gospels are accounts of the life of Jesus.

As for anonymous, this is not my opinion alone but that of E.P. Sanders, a leading Biblical scholar in the field. If we want to know who wrote the Gospels, we can look at the earliest traditions that we have and make cases based on internal and external evidence.

Mustafa Sahin wrote:
Well if they are Anonymous. Then Christians can not claim they have 4 Witnesses looking at the earliest manuscripts. For all, I care it could be 1 Witness. Copying and slightly improving or adding their vents from hearsay and not what they witnessed themselves as luke 1:1 tells us.

Because our Christian guest thought that, the story doesn’t have to be the same?

This is a wrong analysis. I agree that one story can add more information than the other which just can mean one gives more detail than the other, however,

Even in today’s Criminal Justice system if Mulitple eyewitness testimony is given as evidence. The Judge can dismiss the evidence based on the testimony if it’s not the same between the witness box, meaning the Storyline is not adding up) or if it’s contradictory. Then someone is telling a lie claiming to be an Eye- witness to the Crime scene.

Here is an example of that;

If Luke was correct mark must have been wrong?

Below we have two accounts from the same event, however, they differ in the order of chronology :

——————

Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law and later John the Baptist was arrested (Mark 1:29-31) (Mark 6:17-18)

While in Luke we find the opposite ??

John the Baptist was arrested and later Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law (Luke 3:19-20) (Luke 4:38-39)

————————-

How do u rectify this problem, it’s the same event but in the opposite order? now here’s where the problem GROWS EVEN BIGGER, Luke tells us he has an accurate account of what happened during the Ministry of Jesus?

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, (Luke 1:1-3)

————

Note from the above passage from Luke how he states MANY HAVE UNDERTAKEN TO DRAW UP AN ACCOUNT? Who are all those Many, when Mark and Matthew are his only predecessors according to the Cannon, Also notice how he HAS AN ORDERLY ACCOUNT OF THE EVENTS? ThMarks’s’sMarks’s order was WRONG and thats according to Luke if not how do u rectify this Discrepancy?

Who are all those Many, when Mark was the only one who wrote before him? Unless there were more if so where are their writings?

This clearly shows that Luke didn’t agree exactly with Mark’s narrative. Thats why Luke had to investigate. This also begs the question why did Luke have to investigate the information since he had divine inspiration? If one claims to write by inspiration there is no need to investigate. This proves the Gospel writers didn’t believe they were individually inspired.

Also, im wondering if our Christian opponents would like to use the filtering arguement here. Luke is wrong and Mark is right because the earlier the more authentic?

This is clear evidence that they were not Eyewitnesses and that accounts nor what they wrote was divinely inspired. We can see why Matt Slick was at least honest in confessing this, I hope other Christians follow in Matt Slick’s footsteps.

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Rebuttal Section:

Christian wrote:

Response:

What are you talking about. Bart Ehrman dismmises the notion the Early church fathers, knew which desciples of Jesus wrote the four gospels.

Read for example

Tertullian, of course, would have no way of knowing who actually wrote these two Gospels.  He is simply repeating the tradition he learned when he converted, that Mark represents Peter’s views and Luke Paul’s.  By his time this was the accepted view, and it continued to be the accepted view until the modern era.

Source:
https://ehrmanblog.org/why-are-the-gospels-called-matthew-mark-luke-and-john/

Sure you can say, that the gospel writers may have known the early disciples, but of course this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. They have  perhaps heard from them without meeting them. For example,

If you read the opening chapter of luke.

It writes:

1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first(B) were eyewitnesses(C) and servants of the word.(D) 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account(E) for you, most excellent(F) Theophilus,(G) 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.(H)

If you notice the person who wrote lukes gospel, was not a eye witness himself. Meaning he was not a disciple of Jesus himself.

Notice it says, early disciples wrote an account, and those accounts were handed down. But then this begs the question, why did luke write his own account to add to the account? This shows all the luke repeats some of the early things handed down to him by early disciples, his not satisfied so he continues to write and add to the account.

So what we have is, perhaps the gospel of luke which has partially the accounts of early disciples who were Jesus descipled. Mixed with the accounts of people like Luke who weren’t exactly an eye witness or a disciple of Jesus.

Related link:

Our Authentic Islamic Hadiths are more reliable then the Gospel.

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