Craig Evans on “Is the Bible Reliable?”

Here is an interview with Craig Evans on “Is the Bible Reliable?” Note that in this interview here he says:

“Archaeology usually clarifies things. If Jesus didn’t exist and the Gospels are fictions, then how is it that they get so much right? Why, at every place where they can be tested, do we find they are talking about real people, real events, real things that we can unearth? If we are talking about a nonexistent person who grew up in a nonexistent village, as some people actually allege, there was no Nazareth. Yet when we dig there, we find it. Historians are very interested in that. If you have an old document, one of the first tests is to ask, Does it really reflect life back then as we know it? If it does, the historian takes it seriously. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the book of Acts—these are the basic narrative books of the New Testament. They talk about real people, real events, real places, and the archaeologist can show that; so a fictional, nonexistent Jesus makes no sense of the actual hard data we have.”

Interviewer: You mention solid first-century evidence of Jesus. What does it consist of?

Evans: “Well, it says He goes to a synagogue at a certain place. The place exists, and there is a synagogue there. He talks about being in a fishing boat with His disciples and crossing the Sea of Galilee. We have pictures of fishing boats and we actually have a fishing boat that probably was old and out of service in the time of Jesus; it would hold the disciples. So what we find is that every time the Gospels say something, it coheres with the way it was. You also have sources outside the Bible talking about Jesus. Historians know who He is. Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, explains to his readers who He is and what happened to Him and how He was crucified by the Roman governor. If you are not willing to listen to those sources and take them seriously—Christian ones, Jewish ones, pagan ones—then you are not interested in doing history. You are not open-minded at all. You really don’t want to hear what the evidence has to say.”

If you want to go deeper on the kinds of archaeological  finds on the NT, see Peter S. Williams examines the historical reliability of the New Testament in the light of the findings of archaeology.

 

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