We're doing it again! This time we are biking from Petra in Jordan up to Nazareth in Israel, to raise money for the Nazareth Hospital Dialysis Unit. Last year we raised over £50,000 for the Children's Unit! Nazareth is the largest Arab town in Israel; the people are lovely, and the kids are awesome. Nazareth also treats kids in the West Bank of Palestine who have very limited access to healthcare. They need your help! Go to my sponsorship page to find out more and see what you can do! Maybe even join us..? http://justgiving.com/shanenaz

01 August 2011

Resurrecting the #Resurrection

Yes yes yes, I know I have been indulging my #Maker side (check out the hast tags - this gets fed to Twitter!) and neglecting really important things such as the complete gobbledegook that gets spouted by apologists over the alleged resurrection of Jesus. Now I have to admit that I am something of a fan of Jesus - I think he was on to something before it all went pear-shaped for the poor bloke. Not that we can trust the gospels especially - not a single gospel was written by a witness to any of the events, and the three earliest are actually largely based on the same documentary sources, so there are really only three gospels. Confused yet? Well, a useful trick (if you're interested in real history like I am; if you're just here for "belief" then you can scroll to the bottom) is to take a pair of scissors and six bibles, and chop up Matthew, Mark and Luke, and align the texts together. Six because you have the forward and reverse of each page (recto and verso as we papyrologists like to say). Alternatively, copy and paste the text in a three-column WP page.

Anyway, what you will find is that the authors of Matthew and Luke did pretty much the same thing - they borrowed very very extensively from Mark. And this is one reason why we can be very sure that they based their documents on documents, not on eyewitness accounts. And it also makes the discrepancies very very interesting. Not because they are discrepancies per se, but because of the spin the different authors put on the stories to advance their own personal agendas. Not the agenda of Jesus, but the agenda of "Matthew" and the agenda of Luke.

Try it - have a really good look at the different stories around the resurrection in particular. If you are interested in actual history, it's well worth it. And don't bother going near the apologetic rubbish that seeks to harmonise the stories. That's just lame.


  1. i was watching a great debate on the veracity of scripture wrt the resurrection the other day between carrier and licona. probably the best i've seen on the subject before. both men have amazing knowledge of scripture and the greek language, so it was really well contested. i've read a lot of carrier's material at infidels.org and it's always made a lot of sense to me. licona really did well to defend the theist position as well. it's quite a long debate, but it's worth the effort. carrier goes into a lot of detail around the gospels and pauline texts.


  2. Thanks MB for popping by! I like Carrier's style (usually), but I am far from convinced by his conclusions. He takes a very mythical approach, which I don't feel is supported by the most ancient texts (i.e. the book of Mark, mainly). If anything, Mark is a step *away* from the mythologies being constructed by Saul Paulus. But to an extent that is not that relevant; the amazing thing about the bible is that the evidence against the resurrection is all *in* there - you don't actually need to step outside its pages (much) to see what's going on. It is startling how many Christians are blissfully unaware of this - they do not, for one thing, realise that Luke and "Matthew" spun Mark; they have been hoodwinked into thinking that the contradictions in the accounts are simply "different viewpoints of eyewitnesses" - some even pretend that the contradictions *reinforce* the truth of the Resurrection! Astonishing, but that's where we are. I'll need to do a further series of posts on this; there is some work by (and against) Prof Bart M Ehrman that needs to be brought in. I guess I would be more an Ehrmanite than a Carrierian :-)

  3. Nice post again, and an interesting view on the relationship between the gospels.

    I increasingly suspect that the lack of evidence for the resurrection is symptomatic of the whole Jesus story. As an example I recently looked at one of the testable claims about the crucifiction.


    I would be interested in your thoughts on the historicity of Jesus. I have written on that topic too.


    Keep up the good work! I enjoy it. I like the variety in your blog and have a similar approach on my own. (I might even try building a TLUD too.)

  4. Thanks Shane. I'll check out Ehrman. I've heard his name pop up a few times.