Are the Gospels Eyewitness Accounts?

J. Warner Wallace is a homicide detective who has worked cold cases.  He provides his analysis on the Gospels on his web site Cold Case Christianity.  Recently, he posted this video where he talks about the Gospels as eyewitness accounts.  Here’s the accompanying text:

J. Warner Wallace answers the following objection:

“Christians like to call the Gospels ‘eyewitness accounts,’ but why should we take them seriously as ‘eyewitness’ testimony when the authors don’t say anything about being eyewitnesses and the accounts clearly contain descriptions of events (like the virgin conception, birth narratives, and private moments of Jesus) that the authors could not have personally seen?”

Are the Gospels Eyewitness Accounts? | Cold Case Christianity.

Craig Evans and Bart Ehrman Debate the Historical Reliability of the New Testament Regarding Jesus of Nazareth

The title of this debate between Craig Evans and Bart Ehrman is “Does the New Testament Present a Reliable Portrait of the Historical Jesus?”  (recorded January 19, 2012 at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)

Craig Evans on the textual integrity of the New Testament documents (12:37-14:02):

“The Greek text of the four Gospels – indeed the text of all 27 writings that make up the New Testament – is stable, and in all probability is quite close to the original text.  No one claims that we have recovered the autographic texts – the originals – but most New Testament scholars and textual critics, think that through comparison and careful study we have reconstructed the text within – pick any percentage you want – 98, 99, more, less, percent of its original form.”

“We have the complete text of the four New Testament Gospels preserved in documents about 270 to 280 years removed from the autographs.  We have substantial portions of the texts removed by about 130 to 200 years.  We have tiny portions of the texts, perhaps as many as one dozen documents, about 70 to 120 years removed from the autographs.  All in all, not a bad record compared to the many classical writings and histories where in most cases there are gaps of 800 to 1,000 years or more between the time of the author of the original and our oldest surviving copy of his manuscript.  It is an excellent record indeed.”

I became aware of this video clip from a post on James McGrath’s blog Exploring Our Matrix.

Here is a rough outline of the debate with approximate reference points on the video:

00:14 to 01:54  Moderator Greg Monette (of the SMU chapter of Navigators) introduces the debate.

01:55 to  4:39  Moderator introduces Craig A. Evans

4:46 to 35:10  Evans’ opening statement

35:17 to 38:49  Moderator introduces Bart D. Ehrman

38:56 to 1:06:44 Ehrman’s opening statement

1:06:55 to 1:12:16  Evans rebuts Ehrman

1:12:24 to 1:18:16  Ehrman rebuts Evans

1:18:25 to 1:18:47  Moderator introduces dialogue/discussion period

1:18:48 to 1:42:07  Discussion period (Evans and Ehrman interact)

1:42:08 to 2:06:21  Questions from audience

2:06:22 to 2:10:29  Evans’ closing statement

2:10:43 to 2:16:16  Ehrman’s closing statement

The Gospel of Luke: An Introduction by Paula Gooder (St. John’s Nottingham)

Paula Gooder is a UK-based freelance writer and lecturer in Biblical studies.  Here’s a breakdown of the video:

  • 4:40 When was the Gospel of Luke written?  (60’s-90’s AD)
  • 7:47 Luke-Acts
  • 13:08 Imitating the Old Testament
  • 16:05 The mortar between the bricks (Luke sets up each story with what comes before)
  • 20:18 Luke is a master story teller (and he carefully crafted the order of his stories)

LUKE BY PAULA GOODER – YouTube (25:00).

The Speeches in Acts: Are They Authentic? | Christian Apologetics Alliance

Much of the book of Acts — about 50% — is comprised of speeches, discourses and letters. Among them, a total of eight speeches are given by Peter; a total of nine speeches delivered by Paul; there is Stephen’s famous address before the Sanhedrin (Acts 7:2-53); a brief address at the Jerusalem Council by James (Acts 15:13-21); the advice given to Paul by James and the Jerusalem elders (Acts 21:20-25); in addition to the letter to the Gentile churches from the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:23-29) and the letter to Governor Felix from Claudius Lysias (Acts 23:27-30).

via The Speeches in Acts: Are They Authentic? | Christian Apologetics Alliance.