Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Do Mark and Matthew Contradict on Jesus Words on Peter’s Denial?

Recently, Bart Ehrman was making the media circuit talk about his new book, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them). Another of his alleged discrepancy in the Bible is that “in Mark’s Gospel Jesus tells Peter that he will deny him ‘three times before the cock crows twice.’ In Matthew’s gospels he tells him it will be ‘before the cock crows.’ Well which is it–––before the cock crows once or twice?” [1]

In response let me first point out that—as his more attentive students have likely discovered—Professor Ehrman is engaged in a cocky game of slight-of-mind. The truth is that Matthew does not tell us how many times the rooster crowed, he simply tells us that the rooster crowed (Mt. 26:34). As such Ehrman is only knocking down a straw man.

Furthermore, only an extreme literalist bent on undermining Scripture would attempt to make this particular passage walk on all fours. In recounting past events or stories, we obviously don’t all highlight the same details. In the case at hand, Mark simply provides a bit more detail than does Matthew (Mt.26:34; Mk 14:30).

Finally, Ehrman has set up a rigged game in which it’s impossible for him to lose. Since Matthew and Mark do not provide identical testimonies he cries contradiction. Conversely, if they had provided identical testimony he would charge them with collusion.

In sharp contrast to Ehrman’s methodology, credible scholarship looks for a reliable core set of facts in order to validate a historical account. In this case, Matthew and Mark merely provided complementary perspectives.

So there’s no problem and we don’t have to make a big deal out of Bart Ehrman’s all too convenient cock crowing conundrum. It’s easily explained, it’s not a problem and certainly isn’t a reason for us to say that the Bible can’t be trusted. In fact, the reasons the Bible can be trusted are overwhelming including the evidence for the manuscripts themselves, archaeological evidence, predicative prophecy and scriptural synergy.
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[1] Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them) (New York, Harper One, 2009), 7.

10 comments:

Boris said...

We are expected to believe that Jesus was entirely ignored by all secular writers at the time that he supposedly lived even though:
Special star appears to signal his birth (Matt 2:2).
Massacre of infants in attempt to kill him (Matt 2:16).
Goes about 'healing every disease and every infirmity' (Matt 4:23).
Fame spreads throughout all Syria so 'all the sick' are brought to him - who are then healed by him (Matt 4:24).
Followed by 'crowds' (Matt 5:1).
'Great crowds' follow him (Matt 8:1).
Heals leper (Matt 8:3).
Heals paralysed servant (Matt 8:13).
Heals Peter's mother-in-law (Matt 8:15).
'Many' afflicted brought to him: he heals 'all who were sick' (Matt 8:16).
Great crowds follow him (Matt 8;18).
Heals demoniacs and kills some pigs (Matt 8:32).
Heals paralytic (Matt 9:7).
Crowds witness healing (Matt 9:8).
A ruler comes to him for help with daughter (Matt 9:18).
Heals woman with hemorrhage (Matt 9:22).
Heals ruler's daughter (Matt 9:25).
'Report of this went through all that district' (Matt 9:26).
Heals two blind men (Matt 9:30).
They 'spread his fame through all that district' (Matt 9:31).
Heals dumb demoniac (Matt 9:33).
Crowds marvel (Matt 9:33).
Heals 'every disease and every infirmity' as he travels about cities and villages (Matt 9:35).
Followed by crowds (Matt 9:36).
Preaches in cities (Matt 11:1).
Speaks to crowds (Matt 11:7).
Heals man with withered hand (Matt 12:13).
Many follow him and 'he heals them all' (Matt 12:15).
Heals blind and dumb demoniac (Matt 12:22).
'Great crowds gather' around him (Matt 13:2).
Speaks to the crowds (Matt 13:34).
Herod hears about Jesus' fame (Matt 14:1).
Crowds follow him, he heals the sick, and feeds 5000+ (Matt 14:13).
On entering Gennesaret, he is recognized and all the sick are brought to him and all those who touch him are healed (Matt 14:36).
Great crowds come to him with the sick and they are healed (Matt 15:30).
'The thong' see 'the dumb speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking and the blind seeing' (Matt 15:31). Feeds 4000+. Crowds are sent away (Matt 15:38).
Meets crowd and heals epileptic (Matt 17:14,18).
Large crowds follow him in Judea and he heals them (Matt 19:2).
Great crowd follows him on leaving Jericho (Matt 20:29).
Heals two blind men (Matt 20:34).
Ejects Temple traders (Matt 21:12).
Heals blind and lame (Matt 21:14).
People call for his execution (Matt 27:23).
All the people admit responsibility (Matt 27:25).
Darkness 'over all the land' (Matt 27:45).
Temple curtain torn and earthquake (Matt 27:51).
Saints came out of their tombs and appear in Jerusalem (Matt 27:52-53).
Resurrected from dead (Matt 28:1ff).
It is of course too absurd for words for any rational person to suggest that anyone who was involved in all of this (and the above is only from Matthew - John has further miracles), and in just three years (John) or one year (Synoptics), could go unnoticed by all the secular writers of the time, and indeed anyone capable of writing. – Mark Smith

Boris said...

Notice Hank hasn't the nerve to respond to any of my posts. That's because he's a liar. Come on Hank come to Papa so I can give you the intellectual smack down you deserve for being such a liar and such an evil man.

Anonymous said...

To: Boris, you call Hank evil.So you agree that there is evil out there and there must also be sin and hell and on and on.Therefore there must be GOOD,HEAVAN,and so on.

Anonymous said...

To:Boris, you are not expected to believe anything- but you expected to make a choice. I bet you have sat down and watch Discovery shows about Caesar who's life events were recorded about 1000 years later(according to the earliest writings) and never once questioned Discovery about it's accuracy. However Paul when writing to the Corinthians mention people still LIVING who saw the resurrected Christ. Sounds like your BIAS

Anonymous said...

This is for Boris on his post May 7. He said "We are expected to believe that Jesus was entirely ignored by all secular writers at the time that he supposedly lived..." Well Boris, DR Luke tells us in chapter 1:1 "MANY (underscore that word) have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us" You would not have known about the "Massacre of infants" and so on -had these events not been recorded 2000 years ago in what we call the bible. One more thing,if you don't believe in Jesus-WHY is it a issue with you.If you care to check out Gary Habermas books regarding non-biblical writings about Jesus it's well worth the time and investment.

Boris said...

Anonymous,
To: Boris, you call Hank evil.So you agree that there is evil out there and there must also be sin and hell and on and on.Therefore there must be GOOD,HEAVAN,and so on.

Boris says: Good and evil are human concepts. Typically you offer no evidence on which to connect this series of crude assertions.

To:Boris, you are not expected to believe anything- but you expected to make a choice. I bet you have sat down and watch Discovery shows about Caesar who's life events were recorded about 1000 years later(according to the earliest writings) and never once questioned Discovery about it's accuracy. However Paul when writing to the Corinthians mention people still LIVING who saw the resurrected Christ. Sounds like your BIAS

Boris says: Unlike the mythical Jesus Christ, we know what Caesar looked like and we have a complete history of his life. In turn, general, orator, historian, statesman and lawgiver. We have words written by Caesar himself and words written by both his friends and his enemies. Artifacts confirm his life and death, as do his successors. Caesar established a style of government – and a calendar – which endured for centuries. – From Jesusneverexisted.com

This is for Boris on his post May 7. He said "We are expected to believe that Jesus was entirely ignored by all secular writers at the time that he supposedly lived..." Well Boris, DR Luke tells us in chapter 1:1 "MANY (underscore that word) have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us"

Boris says: How come we don’t have one other word from any of these MANY?

You would not have known about the "Massacre of infants" and so on -had these events not been recorded 2000 years ago in what we call the bible.

Boris says: The important thing is no one knows anything about Herod’s supposed massacre of the infants including the author of Luke. Or didn’t you notice that? The author of Luke also knew nothing about corpses coming back to life, climbing out of graves and appearing to many other people in Jerusalem either. These events could not have occurred and gone completely unnoticed and unreported by any secular historian or indeed by anyone who could write.

One more thing,if you don't believe in Jesus-WHY is it a issue with you.If you care to check out Gary Habermas books regarding non-biblical writings about Jesus it's well worth the time and investment.

Boris says: It’s the same old nonsense about Josephus, Pliny, Tacitus and Suetonius. I’m familiar with all 24 sentences that Christian apologists point to trying to claim Jesus actually existed. Even if these mentions weren’t forgeries done by such revisionists as Eusebius and other church propagandists they are far too late to be considered contemporary. The last three historians don’t mention Jesus by name anyway only the existence of Christians. Using any of these historians writings as evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ is like saying teeth prove the existence of the Tooth Fairy.

I have to say after reading your posts that if torturing logic were a crime you and Hanegraaf would be doing hard time in a prison somewhere.

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