What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Can we trust the Gospels? So many times one of the questions I hear from a skeptic is that if this information was so important, why wasn’t it written down sooner? Of course, there’s a hidden assumption there that in the ancient world, writing something down was the best way to communicate, as if most people could read.
Eventually, the Gospels were written, but they were written according to most scholars at least 30 years later. Isn’t that a long time? How many of us can remember events from 30 years ago that well? Now I’m 39, and I can remember quite a few things. I remember that on Christmas of 1988 I got Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Brothers 2 for the NES and my parents were surprised I played Zelda first. I just thought Zelda would be more shaping of my identity and I was right.
Some of you who are older might remember other things. You might better remember Challenger exploding or the JFK assassination. Still, we all know memory is not always reliable. People do misremember things. There are several minor details that are different in the Gospels. Could this be an indication that the accounts have things wrong because people didn’t remember?
And what about the telephone game? Don’t we know that if you use oral tradition that things will get messed up? Can we really trust it? Kids don’t get the facts right when they play the game. How can we trust important information to a similar situation?
To discuss these, I’m bringing on a scholar who has studied oral tradition very well. He has written on Jesus and memory and the Synoptic Gospels. He will be with us this Saturday to talk about if we can trust oral tradition with the Gospels or not. His name is Robert McIver.
So who is he?
According to his bio:
Professor Robert K. McIver, PhD has taught biblical studies Avondale University College, Cooranbong, NSW, Australia, since 1988. Before coming to Avondale, Robert had taught mathematics at secondary and tertiary levels, before changing his career to work as a church pastor. He holds a doctorate in biblical studies and archaeology from Andrews University, and has published ten books, including Memory, Jesus and the Synoptic Gospels, and Jesus in Four Dimensions, as well as articles in academic and popular journals. He is married to Susan, and has two daughters and two grandsons.
We are also working on getting shows up for you. I just uploaded a bunch of them this week as the time with the virus is giving me that time I can do that. I hope to be all caught up before too long. Please be watching for this episode.