The Divine Jest: The Shroud of Turin (Amended)

imageAn interesting article by Isaac the Eagle on the website of St. Stephen’s Anglican Church in Timonium, Maryland (Just north of Baltimore):

And [Russ Breault] has a fascinating tale to tell: not least, The Shroud might aptly be described as a divine joke at the expense of skeptics. It is unique in that it would be even more miraculous if it were to be a fake than if it were to be genuine.

And this:

imageThe findings of Professor Fanti—a life-long atheist—and Roberto Maggiolo, both from the university’s department of mechanical engineering, were recently published in the highly regarded journal of the Institute of Physics in London.

Ed: Fanti is not a life-long atheist.

While the front of the shroud has been studied intensively over the years, the back has remained hidden under the Holland cloth sewn on by the nuns. However, in 2002, that protective layer was removed for restoration and the back of the cloth was photographed.

The two scientists studied these photographs, using mathematical and optical techniques to process the images. They discovered that the face that can be seen on the reverse of the shroud matches that on the front.

“We can detect the presence of a nose, eyes, hair, beard and mustache on the back surface that correspond in place, form, position and scale to those of the front,” Prof. Fanti said.

The findings, he said, support the contentions of those who maintain the cloth is genuine.

Don’t expect the skeptics to take the news quietly. This is a comedy that isn’t going to close any time soon. Indeed, it’s already run for seven centuries.

A life-long atheist, pictured here with Benedict XVI? Here is something that Giulio Fanti wrote for posting in this blog on November 4, 2011:

I am Christian Catholic by faith and I had the privilege to confirm more than one time my faith by means of personal physical proofs.

From my researches on the Turin Shroud and on other Objects connected with the Supernatural I understood that positivism is not always applicable and that there is necessary to suppose the existence of something that is out the traditional science to explain some phenomena connected with God, to the Mother of God, or to Religion in general.

I therefore approach problems related to the Turin Shroud and to other supposed relics knowing that Science and Faith are not in contrast each other but the one helps to explain the other.

I am sure that the Turin Shroud is authentic in the sense that it enveloped the dead Body of Jesus Christ and I tend to suppose authentic also the Oviedo Sudario, the Tunique of Argenteiul and the Titulus Crucis (being the first more reliable for me than the last) from knowledge I have on these Objects (that is not so wide as the knowledge I have for the Turin Shroud).

I am the leader of a Research Project on the Turin Shroud financed by the University of Padova also addressed to study the possible environmental effects that could have influenced the radiocarbon dating on the Turin Shroud and also from these on progress results I formulated the hypothesis recently presented. I repeat, it is only a working hypothesis that should be tested in the future, but for me it must not be a priori discharged.
There should be too much to write about the argument and much of it should be read in my publications, therefore my messages must be synthesized as much as possible. For example in this view I only presented two hypothesis in my recent posting in reference to the two possibilities of authenticity or falseness of the four Relics of Christ.

29 thoughts on “The Divine Jest: The Shroud of Turin (Amended)”

  1. Reminder: at the 4th International Conference held in Paris in 2002, Pr. Nello Balossino TOTALLY disagreed with Fanti and Maggiolo’s conclusion made from the photographs. According to him, eidomatically speaking and from direct observation in situ textilis, there is no ‘body images’ stricto sensu on the reverse side of the TS.

  2. Prof Fanti Quote: “… and I tend to suppose authentic also the Oviedo Sudario, the Tunique of Argenteiul and the Titulus Crucis (being the first more reliable for me than the last) from knowledge I have on these Objects …”

    The Titulus Crucis certainly existed, was said to have been discovered by St Helena in 325 AD, and was attested by pilgrim Egeria in 383 AD, and by other later notables. It may well have had the same form as the present relic of the portion held in the Church of St Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome.

    Around 455, during an attack by Visigoths, the relic was hidden and forgotten until 1492, when it was discovered by workmen restoring a mosaic, behind a brick inscribed “Titulus Crucis”. [Remember that the Image of Edessa was also said to have been found behind a tile in a wall; deja vu?]

    In 2002, the University of Arizona conducted carbon dating tests, and asserted that the present artifact was made between 980 and 1146 AD. It would seem that carbon dating is the nemesis of alleged relics!?

    There may be reasons why the carbon dating is in error, although I’m not aware of why this should be so. If in fact the carbon dating is accurate, I can only think that the present artifact is a replica of the original, which may have deteriorated with time, and perhaps it was considered important to maintain a semablance of the original as a kind of historic record. As I noted above, the original certainly seems to have existed. The order of the texts in different languages and scripts (different from the gospel accounts), together with the incorrect reading of the Latin and Greek from right to left (parody of Hebrew/Aramaic or else ignorance?), suggest it was not intended as a deliberate forgery.

    1. Hi Dave. The problem here is that nothing here is consistent with other results.

      History: The relic certainly existed in the 4th century, and was lost in 455 till 1492. So it is either original, or forgery created in Helena’s times

      Paleography: According to Thiede and the Israeli experts asked by Hesemann the writing on Titulus dates back to the 1st century AD. So it can’t be deliberate forgery, it is either the original or a faithful replica of original.

      Carbon Dating: It dates the relic between 980 and 1146 AD. So it can’t be original. Nor it can be a forgery, because the script of the 1st century was certainly unknown around 1000 AD! But it can’t be also a faithul replica, because the original was already lost in that time. So carbon dating is in conflict with two other scientific disciplines! Which is right then?

    2. O.K: The relic was hidden in 455 to protect it during the Visigoth attack, but it seems that its hiding place was known to a few. Antoninus in the 6th century reports seeing a titulus in Jerusalem (see below). Wiki states that sometime before 1145 the present relic was placed in a box which has the seal of a cardinal who became Pope in 1144 (which would seem to be Pope Lucius II). So it seems that the present artifact dates at least from this time. I would think that Helena was well enough endowed with crucifixion relics, to have insufficent motive to arrange a forgery of any other. I should also think that both Helena and Lucius would be suffiently versed in Greek and Latin, not to reverse the lettering. Thiede argues that the lettering may have been done by a Jewish scribe (hence the reversed lettering) and the order of Hebrew, Greek and Latin, matches what is historically plausible, whereas a forger would have adhered to what is in the NT canon [John = Hebrew, Latin, Greek]. Joe Nickell is known to dismiss this argument as second-guessing, as forgers commonly do the unexpected. I’m not sure why you argue that the 1st century scripts were unknown in 1000 AD. If the original had badly deteriorated during the first millenium, then Lucius or someone else may have thought to create a replica from what then remained.

      The report of Antoninus differs from the present text. ‘The 6th century pilgrim Antoninus from Piacenza describes a Titulus in Jerusalem and its inscription: it said “Hic est rex Iudeaorum” (Here is the king of the Jews), while the one kept in Rome shows “Iesus Nazarenvs Rex Iudeaorum” (Jesus the Nazarene king of the Jews)’. Either Antoninus is relying on a faulty memory when he writes this, or it is some other titulus.

      The carobon dating was apparently reported in the peer-reviewed journal “Radiocarbon” – Francesco Bella; Carlo Azzi (2002). “14C Dating of the Titulus Crucis”. Radiocarbon (University of Arizona) 44 (3): 685–689. ISSN 0033-8222.

      1. I am sure everyone knows that Thiede’s datings are controversial. When he dated a papyrus of Matthew to the first century AD he said it compared well with scripts from the papyri found at Herculaneum that were, of course, covered by lava in 79 AD. All looked good until Robert Bagnell, and others, pointed out that the papyrus from Herculaneum was actually first century BC and so Thiede had found something truly remarkable a gospel of St. Matthew dating to before Christ was born. Much merriment all round – I don’t think there has been support for Thiede’s first century AD attribution either.
        I have seen the titulus in Rome- still venerated – by a nun who came in to pray before it when I was last there.
        Certainly relics were remade. The Volto Santo at Lucca is not the original. This is supposed to have been destroyed by pilgrims taking slivers of wood off it!

      2. Dave:

        I looked back to Thiede and Hesemann, and indeed, the relic was found again in 1143 by Cardinal Gerardus , and then hidden in wall again in 1146. Perhaps the replica was created then, and also hidden (why?). So if the thing discovered in 1492 is a replica, so then next question comes: where is the original? Perhaps still somewhere inside the walls of Santa Croce di Gerusalemme! Fascinating!

        Remember what is preserved now in Rome is only a PART of the Titulus -Helena split it into parts, one part was left in Jerusalem, one traveled to Rome. The Jerusalem part probably traveled later to Constantinople, as it is mentioned in Byzantine relic inventories. So far I remember it was even transferred to Louis IX (and then finally lost during French Revolution), but I must check within my sources where I found it.

      3. Dave: “I’m not sure why you argue that the 1st century scripts were unknown in 1000 AD. If the original had badly deteriorated during the first millenium, then Lucius or someone else may have thought to create a replica from what then remained.”

        The inscription from Titulus was examined by several specialists in paleography: Hannah Eshel, Gabriel Barkay, (specialists of Hebrew), Leah di Segni, Israel Roll, Ben Issac and Carsten Peter Thiede (Greek/Latin). All of them confirmed that the script dates back to the 1st century.

        Remember there was no such a discipline paleography in 1146. The alleged forger couldn’t fake it to imitate the 1st century script (and even didn’t have a need to do so) -had he not have the ORIGINAL within the sight of his eyes.

        Charles:”When he dated a papyrus of Matthew to the first century AD he said it compared well with scripts from the papyri found at Herculaneum that were, of course, covered by lava in 79 AD. All looked good until Robert Bagnell, and others, pointed out that the papyrus from Herculaneum was actually first century BC and so Thiede had found something truly remarkable a gospel of St. Matthew dating to before Christ was born.”

        I think it is not a big problem,(especially if it concerns just a single example). The margin of error in paleography can still be around 100 years (or even more). Styles of writing sometimes evolve slowly, sometimes rapidly. The range 1st century BC -1st AD is still acceptable. You are just trying to troll now.

      1. Thanks Gian; Probably explains why the two authors’ names appear to be Italian. But evidently the University of Arizona was involved; Was it their lab that did the testing, or was it just done under their auspices?

      2. Daveb, the only connection with Arizona is that the paper by Bella and Azzi was published by Radiocarbon (44, 2002, 685-689), a journal from that University. The paper is freely available on the internet. I quote: “Dating was performed in a new radiocarbon (14C) laboratory (“E. Amaldi” Physics Department of “Roma Tre” University) using 2 highly sensitive liquid scintillation spectrometers. Control measurements were performed on samples of known historical dates.”

      3. O.K. I think ‘troll’ is rather extreme. I only post what is backed up by scholarship or is clearly my own opinion as author of A New History of early Christianity and Holy Bones, Holy Dust on relic cults, both published by Yale University Press. Read Roger Bagnell’s Early Christian Books in Egypt if you have not already done so.
        The more significant problem is the failure of Shroud scholarship to move on into avenues such as the early relic trade from Jerusalem to northern France and Constantinople that might well reap rich rewards. But I suppose that means ditching Wilson and Edessa and that s a bridge too far.

  3. Charles, you are right about C.P, Thiede. Many years ago I had occasion to interview some top biblical scholars and they did not agree with his identification of fragment 7Q5 (Qumran, cave 7) as a fragment from Mark. He had actually supported the respected scholar Father José O’Callaghan in identifying these letters are part of a Gospel text. The problem was that he did some computer searching and assumed that the disputed letters belonged to a Marcan text. He did not like it when I had to mention his computer searching in the article I had written, however the method employed by him to identify the letters is rejected to this day.

    1. Louis: “The problem was that he did some computer searching and assumed that the disputed letters belonged to a Marcan text. He did not like it when I had to mention his computer searching in the article I had written, however the method employed by him to identify the letters is rejected to this day.”

      Rejected by whom? And why?

  4. O.K. There are very few letters and other matches were also found. The trouble with some Christian scholars is that they forget that the Gospels were originally an oral tradition (Hebrew and Aramaic) — surely Father O’Callaghan knew that — and try to clutch at anything to demonstrate that it was put down in writing during an earlier period. The Jesus movement, that became the Church later, was moved by action, not by emphasis on texts. Thiede’s silence on the question of his computer searching could only mean that he himself was unsure about the method he was employing and he knew that it would not convince many, and that is what actually happened.

    1. This is not the answer. I asked who dispute the method (electronic stereo microscopy) used by Thiede to identify alleged Nu in the second row of 7Q5, and on what basis. I know the identification of 7Q5 is controversial. And I know that some from the infamous “Academia” will never aceept its identification as Gospel of Mark (for obvious reasons).

    2. And BTW: I have Thiede’s book “The Jesus Papyrus”. And I know that Thiede was absolutely certain that 7Q5 is Mark. And I also know that Thiede maintained that the gospels were written down BEFORE 70 AD, contrary to usually maintained opinions by most literary scholars -basing on often quite absurd assumptions.

  5. This is a closed chapter for me and there is sufficient literature available for those who want to dig up what was said. All I can say now is this: C.P.Thiede did not take the matter further ( see #13) and I did not push it because for me it is true that the Gospels were written before AD 70, however 7Q5 does not constitute written evidence. If people clutch at straws to try to prove something to biased scholars that approach, in my view, is certainly wrong.

    1. Louis: Amen. Fully agree. Just wanted to know whether someone could undermine the validity of Thiede’s identification of one particular letter nu in 7Q5. Which is, of course, not necessary to show that Gospels were written before 70 AD.

      One note: Thiede quotes calculations of Albert Dou, spanish professor of mathematics, who claimed that the probability that 7Q5 is not Mark is like 1:900 000 000 000. Of course, as always the question is whether Dou’s assumptions and modellings are valid.

  6. O.K. it is difficult to reach an agreement when it comes to 7Q5. The biblical scholar Cardinal Carlo Martini agreed with the identification proposed by O’Callaghan/Thiede, however that was not the case with top scholars I spoke to. One said that only one letter could be identified with some certainty, another, an expert in Greek, rejected any identification with the Markan gospel. At present the majority of scholars hold these kind of views.

    There are also other questions that are raised in this issue: the Essenes in Qumran were extreme separatists, far away from “mainstream” Judaism, and the Christian conception of God was different. Why would they hide Christian documents? Did Jesus refer to the Essenes as “Herodians”, as Yadin believed? Well, they were not obliged to make an oath of loyalty to Herod, and the “War Scroll”, written in Herodian script, shows dependence on a Roman military manual. On the other hand did Jesus refer to the Essenes when he spoke about eunuchs? It is possible, but no one can say with certainty.

    From my point of view, the primitive Christian community was intent on action, and texts were secondary. They were not distributing material like what the Jehovah’s Witnesses or members of “Jews for Jesus” do today. They were preaching, living in closely-knit communities bound by love, sharing possessions. These actions spoke louder than texts, which only appear to have become necessary when the Jesus movement began to spread beyond Palestine.

    1. It is not even certain that Qumran documents should even be linked to the Essens, or at least maybe not all. It is possible that several groups were hiding their documents in caves, and those could be plundered well before 1947. Another possibility is that the Essens studied Christian literature, from curiosity or for polemical purposes for example. And also relations between Christians and Essens are completely unknown, some scholars claim the hostility, others sympathy, some (but this is fringe theory) think that the Essens created Christianity, while others (even Christian apologists) think that some of the Jesus’ disciples actualy came from Essen society, or joined Christians later. Theories, no proof for any of them.

      About what the majority of the sholars hold: these are only opinions and guesses. No solid facts. Most of them believe that Gospels cannot date back before 70 AD. There is still a widespread (and completely unjustified) myth that all of the Apostles were illiterate, or that first Christians were too primitive/didn’t have need to write their memories. And of course ‘oral tradition’. Yes it was important, but it absolutely doesn’t mean that the Gospels couldn’t be written quite early, within the first 20-30 years.

      Another myth is that early Christians could be nothing more than local Palestine sect with maybe a few hundred believers. And the more I study the topic, the more convinced I am that this is COMPLETELY WRONG. The speed of Christianity spread in the 1st century (and primary among higher classes) was incredible.

  7. O.K. Perhaps you could try and get hold of a copy of “The Oral Gospel Tradition” by James D.G. Dunn, a highly respected NT scholar. It will clear doubts about the importance of the oral tradition, which gave rise to the texts that came to be known as the Gospels.

  8. It should not be overlooked that Saint Paul died ~67AD, so that epistles that can be attributed to him were written within 20 to 30 years after the crucifixion. St Peter died ~65AD, and reading from Papias that Mark was Peter’s amanuensis and wrote as he remembered, then if Papias can be relied on, it might be inferred that Mark wrote after 65AD. However some exegetes read into Mark 13 that the temple is still standing, whereas in Matthew and Luke this is no longer the case. A reasonable argument thereore might be made that Mark may have been written before 70AD. Some Aramaic, along with some latinisms are preserved in Mark. We might ask whether Mark made any notes soon afterwards of what he heard from Peter, whether these were transcribed in Aramaic or Greek, and whether they were later incorporated into a complete gospel. Although Mark is used by both Matthew and Luke, we are probably on surer ground on ascribing elements of an oral tradition into Matthew and Luke, or into their proto-gospels.

    1. Dave: Dating the Gospels is pretty simple, if using some common sense and starting from Luke’s Acts. They end in 62 AD in Rome, and don’t mention death of Paul, which occurred in 64 or 67 AD. So they can be very easily dated to 62-63 AD (had they not been part of the Bible no scholar would ever doubt this dating). Because Acts were preceded by Gospel of Luke, written rather short period before, the Luke can be dated to around 60 AD. The final (Greek) version of Matthew can be dated to about the same time, because most of the critics consider Luke and Matthew being written parallely. Now Mark. As it seems that both Luke and Matthew depend on Mark, it must be earlier, perhaps around 50 AD. Now finally John. He knows earlier Gospels, and mentions Peter death, but doesn’t mention destruction of the Jerusalem. So he wrote his Gospel perhaps around 70 AD, but the date could as well be later.

      Now how those dates had been screwed by the modern critics. First response to what you wrote about Papias: “reading from Papias that Mark was Peter’s amanuensis and wrote as he remembered, then if Papias can be relied on, it might be inferred that Mark wrote after 65AD”. Papias NEVER claimed that Mark wrote after Peter’s death.

      Next: destruction of the Temple. You wrote: “However some exegetes read into Mark 13 that the temple is still standing, whereas in Matthew and Luke this is no longer the case.”
      This is the main argument of those who claim that the Gospels cannot be dated before 70 AD. However it is based on COMPLETELY FALSE presumption, and has a hidden statement of non-believe in Jesus’ meesianic claims.

      The very ambiguous prophecy of destruction of the Temple is in Mark 13, Matthew 21, and Luke 21. According to the critics, it was put in the Jesus’ mouth to make him a prophet. Thus they suggest, that Jesus COULDN’T be a prohpet, and couldn’t predict it. But if you are a Christian and believe that Jesus WAS a Prophet and Messiah, this is obviously PURE ABSURD. Nonsense. And even if Jesus hadn’t been a prophet such prophecy claimed by him would have been nothing impossible. There are plenty of “prophets” today who herald the end of our civilization, the same was in Palestine of the 1st century, when apocalyptic and messianic expectations were very common (just to mention Essens). Many Jews considerd Temple as corrupt. The Temple was once destroyed, by Babyloninas in 586 BC, so why couldn’t this happen again. In political situation in Palestine, when uprising against the Romans could start every moment, the eventual destruction of the Temple was very easy to predict. And one final note: THERE IS NO PLACE IN THE GOSPELS WHICH CLAIM THAT THE PROpHECY HAD FULFILLED.

  9. Sorry, O.K., I don’t buy it, arguments too flimsy, too much wishful thinking.
    1) I can agree that there would have been oral traditions circulating at a very early time after the crucifixion. I would agree that these would most likely arrive at a standard fixed form. Peoples of this era and even indigenous people today had and have specialists with remarkable recall of oral transmission. I see it here in NZ with both Samoan and Maori who can recite very long genealogies entirely from memory handed down from their forbears. It’s also evident in their knowledge of astronomy for navigation. [Recall Alex Haley’s “Roots” and his encounters with African peoples] These oral traditions (particularly Matthew’s) would have been recited as part of liturgies. The Parousia was soon expected and there would be little point in setting them down in writing until it became apparent that eye-witnesses were dying out, and the Parousia was not as immediate as they had imagined. I could agree that there may well have been a few written sources which were available for the evangelists to draw on.

    2) The argument from Luke’s Acts, I believe will not stand up. There is too much discrepancy between Paul’s own teachings in his epistles and Luke’s interpretation, for Acts to be contemporaneous with Paul. There is no need for Acts to record the death of Paul, and this is a flimsy argument to assert that Acts predates it.

    3) If Papias has Mark as Peter’s amenuensis, why does he then say that Mark wrote as he remembered, but not in the right order, as if Peter was not then available to correct any errors that Papias believed Mark had got incorrect? And clearly Matthw and Luke both draw on Mark’s final gospel (95% of mark in Matthew).

    4) Concerning the prophecy of the temple’s destruction, one could brutally say that these are words that Matthew and Luke put into Jesus’ mouth, after the event. It is not included in Mark 13, in the discourse on the end-time. However, with the political situation in Jerusalem from about 65AD, any astute observer would likely have had little diificulty in foreseeing the destruction of the temple together with the associated Roman suppression.

    5) I see the final redactors of the gospels, particlarly Matthew and Luke, not so much as original authors, but more as editors each with a specific purpose, who assembled a mix of oral traditions and written material, set their own particular viewpoint upon this material, before the gospels attained their final form. The pericope form so prevalent throughout their gospels is the clue that this was the process they followed.

    1. So once again:

      “I don’t buy it, arguments too flimsy, too much wishful thinking.”

      The same is even more true about approach of the modern critics dating the Gospels after 70 AD. They depend more on wishful thinking and absurd reasoning. If anyone was using the approach used to discredit biblical stories to any other classical literature (Tacitus, Herodotus, Thucydydes, Suetonius and so on) he would be considered a madman. Because biblical and classical studies are in fact two different worlds. And modern critics are not interested in searching for the truth -but rather in gradual denial of Christianity.

      1). Oral tradition. It was certainly there. It was also AFTER the Gospels were written. Several additional informations can be possibly found in the early Church Fathers Writings, as well as some Apocrypha. The unwritten Tradition is still important part of Catholic and Orthodox Christians. But this absolutely doesn’t exclude the possibility that Gospels were written before 70 AD.

      “The Parousia was soon expected and there would be little point in setting them down in writing until it became apparent that eye-witnesses were dying out, and the Parousia was not as immediate as they had imagined.”

      This is another myth. Based on what -on some remarks in the Paul’s letters (who wrote himself that the date of Parousia is uncertain) and on THE GOSPELS! Which, according to this version, shouldn’t be written because early Christians didn’t need them. Besides it is not certain that all early Christians would expect Parousia within their lifetime. Remember, the prophecies of Jesus were quite ambiguous, as all the prophecies have to be. Most commentators see the words of Jesus “Verily I say unto you, there are some of them that stand here, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:28) to the Transfiguration of Jesus. Read Benedict XVI “The Jesus of Nazareth” for example.

      2).”The argument from Luke’s Acts, I believe will not stand up. There is too much discrepancy between Paul’s own teachings in his epistles and Luke’s interpretation, for Acts to be contemporaneous with Paul.”

      This is another nonsense. Remember, what we write about ourselves usually differs from that what others write about us.

      “There is no need for Acts to record the death of Paul, and this is a flimsy argument to assert that Acts predates it.”

      At the end of Acts, Paul is alive and well. Why? Why does Luke not mention at all his ultimate fate? There is no piece of evidence that he wanted to write the third volume, after Gospel and Acts, as some claim.

      3).”If Papias has Mark as Peter’s amenuensis, why does he then say that Mark wrote as he remembered, but not in the right order, as if Peter was not then available to correct any errors that Papias believed Mark had got incorrect?”

      The chronological order is not important. Can you find A SINGLE hitorical or biographical book which maintains it through the whole text.

      And according to Christian tradition, Mark was later Bishop of Alexandria and died circa 68. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Mark Some commentators place the Peter’s first visit to Rome around 45-50 AD.

      4). As I said the argument from destruction of the Temple is simply absurd.

      5).”I see the final redactors of the gospels, particlarly Matthew and Luke, not so much as original authors, but more as editors each with a specific purpose, who assembled a mix of oral traditions and written material, set their own particular viewpoint upon this material”

      And that’s right, because they certainly used some earlier material. Most probably, Matthew took some notes during the Jesus lifetime (Papias mentiones that), which formed the basis of later Gospels. Some traits of it perhaps can be found in the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas (with several gnosticisms added later). Remember, Jeremiah had a secretary, Baruch. So why Matthew couldn’t be Jesus’ secretary? The Thiede writes about that in his “Jesus Papyrus”. Of course the modern criticism created another absurd viewpoint that Matthew was illiterate.

      Then later Mark wrote his Gospel, basing on Peter and Matthew’s notes. This served as a basis for Matthew to write a final form of his Gospel, and for the Luke. Remember, there was no copyright in the 1st century.

      “before the gospels attained their final form.”

      The textual variations in Gospels are very minor. This, and internal logic of the text suggest that they were written in a form very close to today’s relatively quickly. Their slow evolution is another myth of critics. Who -it should be underlined -are not interested in searching for “the truth”, but rather in practicing negationism.

  10. Sorry O.K: Too much conspiracy theory sbout biblical critics – their theories not all that modern, been known for most of 20th century and accepted by Catholic scholars, too much subjectivism; argument from destruction of temple not absurd but accepted by Catholic scholars. No point in continuing the discussion.

    1. Dave: Try to think about what I have written again and again.

      The points I presented are not just mine. Once, I was thinking the same way you do. But good texts of several apologists like Carsten Peter Thiede, Peter Seewald (who recently wrote very interesting biography of Jesus, recommended by Benedict XVI), and some Italian apologists like Antonio Socci (a little bit sensationalist but nevertheless very interesting), Andrea Tornielli, McDowell and others (like Jan Lewandowski, my friend from Apologetyka.info forum) opened my eyes.

      “argument from destruction of temple not absurd but accepted by Catholic scholars” -yes but it doesn’t mean anything. It was accepted after Vaticanum II, when there was too much tendency to be “modern” and “progressive”. The Catholic scholarship before 1960s usually accepted dating before 70 AD based on the end of the Acts,just as I presented. Check Daniel Rops for example.

      The more I delve in the topic, the more convinced I am that the biblical critics live in completely different world than normal people. I know it is hard to accept this now, just like it is initially hard for most people to accept that the Shroud is genuine, for example. It is not a mystery that biblical critics invent their theories not to seek the truth, but to destroy the credibility of Christianity. And later present those theories as “scientific” and “absolute” truth. And several other scholars, even the Catholic ones, fall into this trap, because they are afraid of being “non-scientific”. This is herd instinct.

      The attitude of Biblical critics is typical, because being anti-Christian is popular since the time of Enlightment circa 1700. Even Barrie Schwortz, a Jew, noticed that. You now how absurd theories of Nickell, Garlaschelli, Schafersmann and others about the Shroud are presented in popular media. The same is true about Biblical Scholars. The same was true about several myths about “bloody” Inquisition, alleged medieval belief in flat-earth, and so on.

      Have you ever engaged in polemics with militant atheists? I did and I know the dirty tricks they use.

  11. O.K. Take it easy, if the Gospels were written after AD 70 there would be mention of the destruction of the Temple. Read CCC 585 and CCC 586 in the Cathechism of the Catholic Church regarding what Jesus said.

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