The feature article in the December 2015 issue of the New Oxford Review is an article by Maria Hsia Chang, The Virgin Birth: Where Science Meets Scripture
If that occurs — if replicability is achieved for the DNA data from the Shroud and Sudarium — it means Jesus indeed was an XX male. We are then faced with two rival hypotheses:
1. Jesus was one of those rare four out of every 100,000 all-too-human males who have two X chromosomes but no Y chromosome. But that doesn’t mean He was born of a virgin or that He had no biological father. The only problem is: How could the writer of the Gospel According to Luke, centuries before the discovery of DNA, possibly know that Jesus was an XX male and so tried to account for Jesus’ abnormal DNA with a made-up virgin-birth story?
2. Jesus was an XX male with no Y chromosome because Luke 1:26-35 tells the truth: Jesus was born of a virgin and has no human biological father.
In the end, as in the identification of the man who left His image on the Shroud of Turin, it is science that enables us to decipher DNA testimony from the Shroud and the Oviedo Cloth. There was a time when science caused an erosion of faith. But the Shroud and the Sudarium demonstrate that science and faith need not be at loggerheads. Instead of showing the Shroud and the Oviedo Cloth to be fakes, it may well be that science can confirm the miraculous character of both.
The article began by pointing out that 68% of American adults believe that Jesus is God or the Son of God but only 57% believe in the virgin birth.
Disbelief in Jesus being born of a virgin, which is a fundamental tenet of Christianity, in turn implies a belief that the author of the Gospel According to Luke lied when he wrote:
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph…. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus….” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” (1:26-35; emphasis added)
This is a philosophical minefield. It imposes assumptions about miraculous conception onto science in order to try and prove the assumption. You may not want to believe it, but Luke could have been writing myth to make a point. That is a third hypothesis. To an Atheist, what Luke (and indeed Matthew) wrote about the virgin birth is part of the fabric of what must be a much bigger fictional account.
Does the XX male argument rest on the authenticity of the shroud or is it another argument for authenticity?
“You may not want to believe it, but Luke [ and Matthew as you say] could have been writing myth [or fiction as you say] to make a point.”
You may not want to believe it, but you could be a conspiracy theorist.
The late Sir William Ramsay, 19th and early 20th century Oxford archaeologist, once called Luke an ‘historian of the first rank’. This accolade was based on extensive field research confirming the historicity of many people and places in the book of Acts and the Gospel.
Luke’s nativity account is relatively simple and unadorned, unlike typical mythological accounts in ancient history.
Luke used the Greek word ‘parthenos’ (virgin) to describe Mary when he could have used other terms.
The early church fathers were unanimous in interpreting the virgin birth as a real, historical event, not myth. And many of the church fathers were willing to see many different layers of interpretation, allegorical, theological, and historical, in other areas of scripture.
And if the virgin birth is myth, where then would you draw the line? Were the miracles of Jesus really myth? Was his sacrificial death just a metaphor? Was his bodily resurrection just a ‘spiritual’ resurrection?
Seems like if one is willing to entertain even the possibility of a supernatural, transcendent Creator, then the virgin birth becomes a live possibility as well.
Try this review of a book written by an Anglican priest who was also a scientist for many years. It is just a start.
It is of course not the complete story and we will have to go much beyond. Freud limited himself because of his own father complex:
Thanks Dave, I received your last article. I will add it on your first article, and send it out this weekend.
There is an interesting article below for you to read.
I hope you are getting better. As Jesus and I need you.
Simon Brown. http://wwwrealdiscoveriesorg-simon.blogspot.co.uk/
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16King James Version (KJV)
Quote: “To an Atheist, what Luke (and indeed Matthew) wrote about the virgin birth is part of the fabric of what must be a much bigger fictional account.”
And to a lot of modern and very serious biblical scholars, these accounts are probably not historical and come from a desire to back-up the claim of Jesus being the real Messiah with some Messianic prophecies of the Ancient Testament… Knowing full well that the New Testament books are not what we can consider modern historical biographies (their main goal was much more to strengthen the faith of the new and fragile Christian communities and maybe to get others to embrace Christian faith), I tend to agree with this vision.
For many scholars, the only sure thing we can say about Jesus origin and “hidden” years is that he probably lives a normal Jewish life in Nazareth in Galilea and that’s all. Many of them even think that this is the place where he was born…
All this doesn’t mean Jesus was not the Messiah and this surely not mean that everything we found in the New Testament is totally fictional, but I think it’s a very dangerous thing to take everything there as 100% historical…
But Joe, how much then do we take as historical? 80%? 50% 25%? What criteria do we use to make such a judgment? Which scholars do we rely upon to make such judgments? Only the critical scholars? What about the views of top moderate and conservative scholars?
Matthew and Luke offer the earliest, independently attested reports of Christ’s birth. While differing in the secondary details, they agree in the primary details. Luke is considered a top notch historian by the likes of the late Oxford archaeologist Sir William Ramsay and the late Oxford historian AN Sherwin White. And Luke was likely the most educated of the Gospel writers.
And while many modern scholars would probably not place the Gospels in the same category as modern historical biographies, I have read that some scholars do believe the Gospels fit relatively well within the category of ancient Roman biographies.
Finally, we have Jesus being called the ‘son of Mary’ in the Gospel of Mark, which is widely considered to be the earliest Gospel. And we have Paul, in the book of Galatians (written about 50 AD), referring to Jesus as being ‘born of a woman’. While the interpretations of these verses can’t be pressed too far, I have read that some scholars believe these could be implicit references to the virgin birth, as it is unusual in Jewish circles to omit the name of the child’s birth father when discussing an individual’s identity.
I will do a little Jesus of myself by answering with another question! :-)
Would it be the end of the world for you and your faith if Jesus would have been conceived like anybody else (i.e. through a normal sexual encounter between his mother and his father)?
For me, not at all…
The short answer is that it would probably cause me to seriously reconsider other key events and doctrines presented in the Gospels.
It would also seem to contradict the Apostles Creed, which is accepted by Catholics and Protestants, as well as the Niceness Creed, which is accepted by Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants.
It would seem to contradict the unanimous opinion of the early church fathers, who weren’t always unanimous on everything.
And it would seem to compromise the unique Divinity of Christ, as well as classical Trinitarian theology, though I am not a theologian.
And it would seem to contradict the historic understanding of Isaiah 7:14.
So yes Joe. It would raise a lot of red flags in my mind if your view were correct.
Sorry to hear this… What is the heart of our Christian faith? That God is love and that there’s a spiritual life for everyone after death. Whether Mary was virgin or not when she conceived Jesus shouldn’t affect this great truth!
In order to help your faith, here’s an advice for you : Simply look at Paul’s faith! Like me, the question of the virginal birth of Jesus had nothing to do with the heart of his faith, as he never talks about that in his letters! The heart of his faith was centered on the greatness of the free love of God for us and his infinite mercy. As Einstein would say : for Paul, the rest were unimportant details!
Who is this Paul? Last Sunday I told my wife that I like Paul very much because of him only now you are submitting to me. Why Paul did not say husband must submitt to their wives. Also this Paul condemned homosexuals but Jesus always told us to love your neighbour as thyself. Unlike Jesus, Paul did not know about how people were created.
Joe…think you’re kinda making this up as you go along….find your conception example bizarre….if that works for you then you’re missing the whole point
Has any other scientist, besides Dr. Tipler, analyzed and interpreted the rough DNA results published in that 1995 Italian journal?
[The XX male argument] “imposes assumptions about miraculous conception onto science in order to try and prove the assumption.”
Here a person must decide how comfortable they are in believing that God/Jesus truly performed miracles that defy the laws of science or if such miracles are merely literary devices or gross exaggerations. Certain Christians may choose to accept selected miracles (the loaves & fishes, walking on water), whereas discounting others, such as the virgin birth. For Catholics, transubstantiation could also be included in the mix, as it is a central tenet of the Roman Catholic faith. A companion consideration to those above is where one’s own personal belief lies regarding whether our current understanding of science and scientific laws is complete in 2015, soon to be 2016.
In the situations described in the article, the de la Chapelle syndrome, there is uneven crossing over between the X and Y chromosome. For the 1 out of every 100,000 males who are XX, there is still an involvement of (a portion of) a Y chromosome. True, as Tipler contends, it would not be detected by the standard amelogenin X & Y genetic tests. But a Y chromosome (or portion thereof) would be involved at some point in his scenario, just not that region that was evaluated (hence, the “negative” result). If God intervened as some interpret the gospel to read, is it reasonable that God would be limited to just a portion of the Y, including only enough to technically qualify as male? Why not the entire Y chromosome? Why would God’s Son be anything other than a perfectly healthy, normal (XY), diploid human being?
Regarding the 1995 results by Canale, additional gene sequences from chromosomes other than the X and Y were evaluated. Several are polymorphic, that is, they show variation in sequence among the population (not everyone expresses the exact same form). These are important in that they can provide information as to whether contamination of a sample (apart from any results from X or Y regions) may be present.
From http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/kearse3.pdf : “In 1995, Canale and coworkers performed DNA analysis of samples taken from both the Turin Shroud (from the soles of the left and right feet) and the Sudarium of Oviedo. Several sequences were examined, including the amelogenin X and Y genes, THO1 (tyrosine hydroxylase), vWA (von Willebrand factor), FES/FPS (tyrosine kinase), and F13A1 (coagulation factor XIII), (16). Two of these regions, THO1 and vWA, are part of the CODIS standard 13 STRs (6,7). The authors reported that contamination between male and female DNA, and all of the other sequences examined was evident (16, 17). It was stated that the presence of male DNA on the Shroud was more noticeable that female DNA, and contamination by persons who touched the cloths was considered as a contributing factor (16,17). Consequently, such results were considered essentially null and void. “
Short personal reflection: If Jesus would have been born from a virgin through a direct divine intervention, nobody in his own family (starting with his mother) would have been surprised to see him start to preach and performed miracles and all that… However, that’s exactly the opposite that we see in the Gospels. To me, this is very telling!
According to John who asked Jesus to give wine? It is Mother Mary. Why did she asked Jesus?
I dont understand the quesiton in the context of what I said in my short reflection.
Sorry I am telling about the first miracle stated in John. Jesus mother knew who Jesus was.
That’s probably why she was so suprised that he was teaching the Jewish teachers in the Jerusalem Temple at 12 years old and that’s probably why Jesus’ whole family thought he had lost his head at one point!
Note that in the part you refers, Mary never ask Jesus to perform a miracle. She simply told him that they were out of wine… A lot of interpretations are possible. On the other hand, there are many quotes from different Gospels that show quite clearly that his own family was very surprised by what he was saying and doing, which do not fit with a virginal birth coming from a direct intervention of God…
It is important to note that Mary never specifically asks Jesus to make wine, but simply states the situation.
His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
According to John, Mary had great faith on Jesus.
Yes those who are not believing in miracles can think Mary asked servants go and get money from Jesus to buy wine.
Nobody in Jesus family/thought Jesus was born of a ‘virgin’ – that’s why they would have stoned Mary during the engagement phase. There were only two people who believed she was still a virgin — Joseph and Mary. Growing up Jesus would have been the punch-line to many a joke about “Joseph’s son’.
Whether Jesus was born of a virgin is mystery — what is written may be fact, it may be myth, in the end it is not what defines him. Nor is he defined by his chromosomes – for “he was like us in all things but sin”. Like us. All things.
If the new Christian communities would have really knew she was a virgin when she conceived Jesus, it’s evident that his own family would have know this also and it’s evident that Mary, Joseph and their other childs would never have been surprised to see him preach or perform miracle. The fact that his own family didn’t understood his actions and speaches is very telling about this whole issue. The virginal birth is most probably an addition of Matthew and Luke to strengthen the faith of their new Christian communities. There are a lot of things like that that were probably added because of the difficulty to believe in a Jewish Messiah that has been crucified (which is not at all what the Old Testament was thinking about the Messiah). Most modern biblical scholars agree with me about that. Again, that doesn’t mean Jesus was not the real Messiah. That simply indicates that the new Christian communities of the First Century wanted desperately to back-up their claim about Jesus… It’s pure human nature.
Concerning the miracle of Cana, many scholars even think that the whole story is not historical at all and it is much more a made-up story to teach the community to always have faith and confidence in Christ.
Personaly, I have no problem believing that the heart of this story is historic, but the details concerning the faith and confidence of Mary versus Jesus that we found in the story can well be an addition to help a teaching about faith and confidence in Christ.
It has been proposed that Luke, a doctor, spent much time with Mary in the post-resurrection era tending to her in her elder years. It is then that she may have shared the story of the annunciation to him. Pure speculation of course.
Fact remains that Mary’s family would not have believed her explanation of her early pregnancy – perhaps Joachim and Anna did but they would have kept this a secret for the very reason that the extended family would have thought the angel/virgin birth story a bald-faced lie by Mary to cover her pregnancy outside marriage.
Joseph was faced with a dilemma. He had to accept the unborn child as his, or see Mary stoned for dishonouring her marriage pledge to him.
He chooses, after the dream, to acknowledge the child as his own. Though those close to him may have known he was not the true father, his public acceptance of the pregnancy ended the conversation.
By the time Jesus begins manifesting miracles, the only person still alive that knew of the virgin birth was Mary herself. It’s unlikely she would have shared that secret at that time — and of course who would have believed it anyway?
it would only be the post-Easter community, that believed Jesus was divine, that would have been open to such a possibility.
Again, this is all speculation. how much is myth, how much is fact or at least rooted in fact we can never know. I’m mindful of the adage ‘just because a story isn’t factual doesn’t mean it isn’t true”.
I think the question I asked before will also fits nicely here:
Would it be the end of the world for you and your faith if Jesus would have been conceived like anybody else (i.e. through a normal sexual encounter between his mother and his father)?
For me, not at all… This question of the virgin conception of Jesus has nothing to do with the heart of my faith.
To answer your question: it makes no difference to my faith who Jesus’ biological “father” was. In the end, we are all God’s children.
AMEN! I would underline the word “ALL”. That really means ALL. Because God is love and nothing else, no one is excluded. To me, that’s the profound meaning of Jesus’ Passion, death and resurrection. This is really what deserve to be call “a good news”!
To David Goulet, it is far from proven that Luke was a physician (“doctor”). Reminder: Luke in Greek is Loukas and Lucius in Latin, from the verb luceo, lucere, “to shine”.
Yaïr is the Hebrew for Luke/Loukas/Lucius and Yaïr is transcripted Iairos in Greek, which is very close to Iatros. Now in Greek the cursive “t” can easily be mistaken for a cursive “i” and iairos turn into iatros, “physician”.
Actually, no Biblical scholar worth his/her salt can tell for sure whether or not iatros is just a mistranscription in Greek of the Hebrew given name
To Max. I actually missed you on this site. Though I must say your parents misnamed you — should have named you Lex (as in Lexicon).
David, thank you for your kind lexis (sorry, I mean word).
Well, I’ll bet a pound to a penny that if the DNA of Jesus is ever accurately determined, it will be that of a normal XY male with minimal chromosomal abnormality. I doubt if anybody, however devout, would honestly bet the opposite.
Or am I wrong?
The notion that Jesus is both truly God and truly Man will I think always remain a mystery hidden from our eyes. With the greater understanding we now have of the science of genetics, perhaps as expressed in our knowledge of human chromosomes, we ask: “If Jesus did not have a human father, how can he be truly man? Conversely if he did have a human father, how can he be truly God?” The traditional response has always been that he obtained his human nature solely from Mary, and his divine nature from being conceived by her being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. But the modern question of chromosomes now arises and remains with us.
The enigma certainly created problems for the early church fathers, as any review of the patristic literature certainly demonstrates. But they saw the problem through the perspectives of classical Greek philosophy, rather than through our modern scientific perspective. It led to many divisions within the early church, and the efforts to wrestle with the problem led to a variety of heresies.
Perhaps the most critical of these heresies was that of Arius, which prompted Constantine I to summon the Council of Nicea in 323. Arius had attracted a large following through a message integrating Neoplatonism, which accented the absolute oneness of the divinity as the highest perfection, with a literal, rationalist approach to the New Testament texts. He had taught that Christ is not divine but a created being. The council condemned Arius and, with reluctance on the part of some, incorporated the nonscriptural word homoousios (“of one substance”) into the Nicene Creed to signify the absolute equality of the Son with the Father. The emperor then exiled Arius.
The Council of Nicaea, in May 325, declared Arius a heretic after he refused to sign the formula of faith stating that Christ was of the same divine nature as God. Influential support from colleagues in Asia Minor and from Constantia, the emperor Constantine I’s daughter, succeeded in effecting Arius’ return from exile and his readmission into the church after consenting to a compromise formula. Shortly before he was to be reconciled, however, Arius collapsed and died while walking through the streets of Constantinople.
The enigma had also I think created problems even for the gospel writers. When did each believe that Jesus became God? For Mark it is at his baptism by John the baptizer in the waters of the Jordan, when John sees the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus in the form of a dove and hears a voice from heaven affirming that this is God’s Son; For both Matthew and Luke, it is right from the time of his conception, so they tell the story of the Annunciation by an angel. But for the evangelist John, it is even before the beginning of time: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”
But the evangelist John also inserts in the same chapter, Mark’s story of the baptism: “John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”
The enigma continues, and from whatever any limited human perspective we attempt to comprehend it, I think it will remain a divine mystery to our limited understanding. Perhaps that is how it should be, and is intended to be part of the mysterium tremendum, How can a finite mind comprehend a God who is infinite?
How can a finite mind comprehend a God who is infinite?
“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” – Albert Einstein
Einstein was right to entertain doubts about the infinitude of the universe, as even Aristotle knew that it was finite. As for human stupidity, it is the corollary to my question.
Jesus can well have been both human and divine while having been conceived like you and me. This was only a problem for many men of Antiquity who thought the whole nature of a person was coming from the sperm of the father… I’m pretty sure that was one of the primary reason this whole virgin birth story was invented, along with a desire to strengthen the faith in Jesus as the real Messiah.
Joe….again if you read the Fatima events….which up to 100,000 people and atheistic press documented……along with the first Saturday devotion, Mary does refer to her virginity….your last post, in my opinion is a great insult to her, in my opinion
And what if she was, IN REALITY, referring to her spiritual virginity, which is the one we will ALL got when we’ll enter in Heaven? If we want to get closer to the truth, I think we must always try to see things beyond the very closed spectrum of our material space-time universe…
I don’t know why these Non Catholics abd Catholics are always deabating about Mother Mary. Shame and shame. Mother Mary is a very special person that is why God the Father selected her as mother of Jesus..
Mother Mary had only one Son and that that why at cross Jesus asked John to look after his Mother. If Jesus had own sibliings (not step brothers and sisters) Jesus would not have asked John to look after his Mother.
How can those Christians who cannot understand virgin birth can accept resurrection of Jesus from death?
There are a lot of miraculous birth stories in antiquity, but there is only one story of a crucified Jewish Messiah coming back to life. That’s one good reason to put more faith in the resurrection account versus the virginal birth account. And the heart of Christian faith is not the virginal birth but the resurrection of Christ. That’s what really matters. I don’t need Mary to be saved. I need the mercy of God.
yes….and would not God put his Son into a vessel without sin…..very special creature Mary is…
Catholics never said you need Mary to be saved…but she’s a heck of a person to pray for you if asked…..if you ask others to pray for you…why not the mother of Jesus…
Who says you need Mary to be saved? I think Catholics are asking Mother Mary to pray for them as you Christians asking your priests and/or your so called Christian brothers and sisters to pray for you. Are there any difference?
I am very sad when I hear these ignorant non Catholics are condeming mother Mary.
We cannot talk about holy writ as we used to decades ago. Some things that we find in the Old Testament cannot be verified:
The New Testament is safe so far, as far as archaeology is concerned.
Loius – The New Testament is safe so far, as far as archaeology is concerned.
Yes Louis you are correct.
However I don’t agree with Paul’s ideas about wife must submit to your husband and condemning homosexuals.
For some Christians Paul’s ideas like those are very important than virgin birth. They ignore Jesus’s new commandment.
For me Gospels are the most important books from the new testament.
Sampath….I don’t think they are saying submission to husbands….best explanation from “catholic answers”::
As men, you are to die for your family — love your wife as Christ loved the Church. Sacrificial love. As women, we are to submit to the mission (support the mission, translated) of the man, which is to serve the family.
The word “submission” can be broken down into ‘sub’-meaning ‘under’- and ‘mission’- something a person is commissioned to do. So, in this case, a woman who submits to her husband is putting herself ‘under the mission’ of her husband. And what is the mission of her husband?
“Husbands, LOVE YOUR WIVES!”
A wife is to let her husband love her as he loves his own body, and to sacrifice himself for her as Christ did for His Church. St. Paul also begins this particular section of his letter to the Ephesians by the call for all of us to be submissive to each other…..think Pope Franicis has it correct on homosexuals…but have a feeling St Paul would agree
anyway….back to the point of this post…………………….
Paul was a very Jewish Jew and so it was inevitable that he placed importance on some customs, particularly those that had to do with the creation story. However, they are not essential, so you can continue to be a practising Christian without bothering about these questions.
Thank you Rick and Louis.
I agree with you Louis.
I like Pope Francis. I thinkk he also not agreeing with Paul on many issues and that is why he told even Atheists can go to Heaven.
I discard all sort of fundamentalism. That is why I meditate only on the teachings of Jesus. As Jesus taught us we must Love each other. When we think about us we have to think about others also. We must not not condemn any other religion. Jesus was teaching us only about Kingdom of God and how can we inherit that. He treated all as the children of God and never discriminated anyone who was following oter religions and faiths. Shame today Christians are condeming Catholics and not talking about the Kingdom of God.
One day Shroud and Sudarium tell us more things about Jesus.
Bible studies, biblical archaeology and Christian theology:
The historical-critical method can be used together with other methods and one of its top proponents has been Father Joseph A. Fitzmyer, interviewed here:
The big problem is when the historical-critical method (text) goes hand in hand with biblical archaeology (spade).That is evident in recent discoveries, about which you can learn something from the interview with archaeologist Professor Israel Finkelstein:
If you feel the need to fill the gaps there are also scientist-theologians who have expressed their points of view:
Thank you Louis.
You’re welcome, Sampath. The important thing is for you to have found useful what I asked you to read.
If possible, contact me by email if you are travelling in December as there are some suggestions that I would like to give you.
Max said: “in Greek the cursive ‘t’ can easily be mistaken for a cursive ‘i’ and iairos turn into iatros, “physician”.”
There is far more to Luke’s physician status than an argument over a word translation.
The choice of medical language proves that Luke was a physician. There are clear indications of his medical profession throughout his writings. In Hobart’s “The Medical Language of St. Luke”, he points out numerous words and phrases identical with those employed by classic medical writers such as Hippocrates and Galen. The argument is cumulative. When doubtful cases and expressions common to the Septuagint are set aside, a large number remain that are unassailable. It is as good as certain from the subject-matter, and more especially from the style, and for everyone who can appreciate proof, that Luke’s work was by a man practiced in the scientific language of Greek medicine–in short, a Greek physician.
you may be right STILL in the NT, Yeshu’a’s choice of language (in his logia) do not give him away or make him a carpenter at all! Not even once in the whole NT he alludes to carpentry or use the carpenter jargon ,whether literally or figuratively. Using the same method as you use for Luke, shall we deduce Yeshu’a was not a carpenter? His choice of language apparently is much akin to that of a fisherman or a builder/stone-cutter.
Myself I can currently use the medical language and yet I am not a physician. Actually I can use the marine office language too yet I am not a marine officer (my father was).
Typo: naval officer
The reference to Luke as the “beloved physician” occurs in Colossians 4:14. “Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.” However it has been asserted that this epistle is pseudonymous, written by a Paulinist, and the end of the first century or early second century has been suggested. It was a common enough practice for pseudonymous writers to mention known affiliates of the purported author to lend authority to their writings, and it occurs elsewhere.
On the authorship of the third gospel, Encyc Brit comments:
“The author has been identified with Luke, “the beloved physician,” Paul’s companion on his journeys, presumably a Gentile (Col. 4:14 and 11; cf. II Tim. 4:11, Philem. 24). There is no Papias fragment concerning Luke, and only late-2nd-century traditions claim (somewhat ambiguously) that Paul was the guarantor of Luke’s Gospel traditions.”
“The Muratorian Canon 10.1.5 refers to Luke, the physician, Paul’s companion; Irenaeus depicts Luke as a follower of Paul’s gospel. Eusebius has Luke as an Antiochene physician who was with Paul in order to give the Gospel apostolic authority.”
“References are often made to Luke’s medical language, but there is no evidence of such language beyond that to which any educated Greek might have been exposed. Of more import is the fact that in the writings of Luke specifically Pauline ideas are significantly missing; while Paul speaks of the death of Christ, Luke speaks rather of the suffering, and there are other differing and discrepant ideas on Law and eschatology. In short, the author of this gospel remains unknown.”
Despite the use of the several “We … ” sections in the Acts sequel to the third gospel after ch 12, similar comments relevant to the disparity with the teachings in the Pauline epistles are also evident.
daveb’s first para: “it has been asserted this epistle [Colossians] is pseudonymous”? By whom? How authoritative? “It was a common enough practice”? And that proves what?
The four Captivity Epistles were written by Paul during his first imprisonment in Rome — Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon and Philippians, sometime between A.D. 61 and 63. When Paul appealed to Caesar, Luke accompanied him from Caesarea, and was with him during the stormy voyage from Crete to Malta. They went on to Rome, where, during the two years that Paul was kept in prison, Luke was frequently at his side. He was present when the Epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians and Philemon were written, and is mentioned in the salutations given in two of them: “Luke the most dear physician, salute you” (Colossians 4:14); “There salute you . . . Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke my fellow laborers” (Philem., 24).
second para: “only late-2nd century traditions claim that Paul was the guarantor of Luke’s Gospel”?
Paul himself quotes Luke twice in his Epistles. Paul quotes Luke 10:7 in his letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 5:18). Paul actually calls this 1 Timothy quotation a “Scripture”, “graphe” , meaning the written word, not an oral saying.
Paul also used wording in describing the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 that is unmistakably from Luke 22:19, plus, the words are not found in any other gospel. So Paul must have had access to a copy of Luke when he wrote 1 Corinthians, about AD 55.
Proof well before the “late 2nd century”…
third para: “References are often made to Luke’s medical language, but there is no evidence of such language beyond that to which any educated Greek might have been exposed.”
Wow — big assumption. Are you “up” on the status of the educated Greek of the first century?
Further, there is a striking resemblance between the prologue of the Gospel and a preface written by Dioscorides, a medical writer who studied at Tarsus in the first century. The words with which Hippocrates begins his treatise “On Ancient Medicine” should be noted in this connection. It is believed that Luke met Paul at Tarsus.
Also third para: “Of more import is the fact that in the writings of Luke specifically Pauline ideas are significantly missing”.
For starters, of the characteristic words and phrases which mark the three Synoptic Gospels, a little more than half are common to Matthew and Paul, less than half common to Mark and Paul, but two-thirds common to Luke and Paul.
Justification by faith: Luke: It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. They asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” “Truly I tell you, no one who has left home or wife or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God [true faith] will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Luke 18:25).
Paul: “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Rom. 5:1).
The Sacrifice: The death of Jesus was associated with the Passover sacrifice in the context of the Lord’s Supper. This conclusion can be drawn from I Corinthians 5:7. If this is so, then for the Gospel, a connection is established between the significance of the Passover and the Last Supper (Luke 22:7-20).
Nabber: “daveb’s first para: “it has been asserted this epistle [Colossians] is pseudonymous”? By whom? How authoritative? “It was a common enough practice”? And that proves what? ”
Nabber, my position is that I think very little can be proved conclusively. I am only reporting what I read from an authoritative source, which, succinctly, results from the analyses and consequent opinions of reputable exegetes who have studied these problems.
The authors of these particular sections from the Biblical Literature article I mentioned above would have included: The Rev. Krister Stendahl: Bishop of Stockholm, 1984-88. Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Divinity, Harvard University, 1981-84; Dean, Divinity School, 1968-79. Author of Paul Among Jews and Gentiles and others. … … Emilie T. Sander: Associate Professor of New Testament, Yale University, 1973-75. Coeditor and translator of The Bible and the Role of Women.
The article’s introduction to the Pauline Letters states:
“In the New Testament canon of 27 books, 21 are called “letters,” and even the Revelation to John starts and ends in letter form. Of the 21 letters, 13 belong to the Pauline corpus; the Letter to the Hebrews is included in the Pauline corpus in the East but not, however, in the West. Three letters of this corpus, the Pastoral Letters, are pseudonymous and thus are not considered here.”
“Of the remaining 10, the Letters to the Colossians and Ephesians are from the hand of a later Pauline follower and II Thessalonians is spurious. How this Pauline corpus was collected and published remains obscure, but letters as part of Holy Scripture were an early established phenomenon of Christianity.”
“The letters of Paul, written only about 20-30 years after the crucifixion, were preserved, collected, and eventually “published.” In general, they answered questions of churches that he had founded. When all the Pauline Letters as a corpus were first known is difficult to determine. Because Pauline theology and some quotations and allusions were certainly known at the end of the 1st century, the Pauline Letters probably were collected and circulated for general church use by the end of the 1st century or soon thereafter. A disciple of Paul, possibly Onesimus, may have used Ephesians as a covering letter for the whole collection.”
Concerning the Authorship status of the three Pastoral Letters to Timothy and Titus, it is stated:
“The Muratorian Canon (a list of biblical books from c. 180 includes references to the Pastoral Letters and notes that they were written “for the sake of affection and love.” They have a place in the canon because “they have been sanctified by an ordination of the ecclesiastical discipline.” These letters, however, do not appear among the Pauline letters in P 46, an early-3rd-century manuscript, and there is no clear external attestation in the primitive church concerning them until the end of the 2nd century.”
“… … Linguistic facts-such as short connectives, particles, and other syntactical peculiarities; use of different words for the same things; and repeated unusual phrases otherwise not used in Paul-offer fairly conclusive evidence against Pauline authorship and authenticity.”
You are entitled to a different opinion, if you so choose, and I respect it. Peace.
Directed to Sampath Fernando:
Sampath, there are different ways of interpreting the Bible:
Yes….but I doubt Jesus meant several different ways to interpret what he said…that’s why we have many many Christian faiths…..interpret the bible your way and start your own church…..dance with vipers, pray that people die, homosexuals go to hell, only members of my church go to heaven, rapture stuff etc…..not saying you are incorrect Louis….just that interpreting incorrectly can be a big problem
Sampath….you might enjoy this: National Georgraphic..this month…How Mary became the most powerful woman in the world”
Thank you Rick. One of my friend who is an Anglican saw 3 times Mother Mary in vision. Now he has started a charity (VACD) to help disable children in Sri Lanka (in Bandarawela area). Currently he is helping 150 children.
There are historians who say that the Virgin Birth cannot be sustained historically but confess it liturgically when they are priests. Since the doctrine continued to be held by the early Christians it led to the “mamzer” theory which found its way indirectly into the Talmud Bavli (6th century AD). It was successfully refuted by Professor Francis Schaefer: https://www.academia.edu/7471287/Book_Review_The_Tomb_of_Jesus_and_His_Family_Exploring_Ancient_Jewish_Tombs_Near_Jerusalems_Walls
I found the quote below from the opening article, by Maria Hsia Chang,
“The Virgin Birth: Where Science Meets Scripture” to be quite amusing.
“Jesus was an XX male with no Y chromosome because Luke 1:26-35 tells the truth: Jesus was born of a virgin and has no human biological father.”
My response: God, the Creator, was Adam’s father and he and all his descendants had both the X and Y chromosome. God blessed Adam and Eve with a purpose… procreation. “Be fruitful and multiply.”
Why did Adam have a Y chromosome, when he had no biological father?
Further, has it been conclusively determined that Shroud Jesus was
46-XX, (de la Chapelle syndrome) as opposed to 47-XXY (Kleinfelter syndrome)?
One of the salient features of males diagnosed with de la Chapelle syndrome, 46-XX, is they are short in stature. As well, some have short webbed-necks, among other things. Jesus of the Shroud, by comparison, was quite tall for a Hebrew male of that time.
Males with Kleinfelter, 47-XXY, syndrome present as tall in stature with long arms. This appears to be more representative of Shroud Jesus.
Yet, there are also 47-XXY MALES that DO NOT HAVE Kleinfelter syndrome.
Two quotes from males with 47-XXY that are not diagnosed with Kleinfelter syndrome are found on the patient link below:
“Physique; tall (6ft), 75kg, underdeveloped, long arms, no musculature, no fat, sparse body hair, infertile, ( yeah got that result 22 years ago).”
“I am 6ft 4 (my family are genetically tall) and weigh around 13stone to 13.5 stone. I have pretty normal musculature as I’m a runner and bike rider but generally fit with a probably typical swimmers’s build (wide shoulders).”
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