Historian: No real evidence that Jesus thought he was God

Professor James Dunn of Durham university, possibly the leading New Testament scholar today in Britain, writes

‘there was no real evidence in the earliest Jesus tradition of what could fairly be called a consciousness of divinity’

Christology in the Making, 2003, p. 60.


Categories: Bible, Biblical scholarship, Christianity, God, Recommended Reading

104 replies

  1. I could be wrong but I think it is about 1 Corinthians 15:3-7,which dates from a few months to 5 years after Jesus’ death:

    “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

    and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

    and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

    After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;

    then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles”


  2. In the creed there is no mention of Jesus being God,so I assume it means you can be a Christian without believing Jesus is God.

    Maybe they had another creed with Jesus as divine in it,but it hasn’t survived. Martin Hengel,in his book “Four Gospels”(2000) says about 85% of the first Christian literature has been lost.


    • Very true Richard, in fact Paul would often say “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Making a clear distinction between God and Jesus. I believe also in Acts, Peter says God raised the man Jesus from the dead.
      I still think his followers believed he was divine, particularly after the resurrection but that doesn’t necessarily mean he was literally God. You can be a Christian and still hold that view, since the Trinity is a later belief acknowledged by the church rather than scripture.

      What’s more important is as you mentioned above. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Jesus did not raise from the dead then our faith is a delusion. Nowhere does he say that belief in Jesus as God is necessary for your faith. Rather his death and resurrection is the core and root belief of Christianity.


  3. “there was no real evidence in the earliest Jesus tradition of what could fairly be called a consciousness of divinity”

    How does that show that jesus did not claim deity?


    • just that there is no historical evidence he did


    • BUt how does the statement that you quoted show support the claim that jesus did not claim deity?


    • No it does not. It is just a brief quote. To see the historical evidence and analysis you will need to read the book as I have done.


    • So you quoted a line from a book claiming that it shows that jesus did not claim deity, and now admit that it does no such thing?

      CLICKBAIT!! Don’t become the islamic apologist version of the Sun newspaper.


    • What a silly idiot. Try saying something intelligent or shut up

      Liked by 2 people

    • From the Qur’an it is firmly adduced that:

      a) Jesus did not claim to be God.
      b) Jesus only called to the Worship of God alone.

      Does the Earliest Strata of New Testament evidence support or refute the Qur’anic claims?

      Answer: It supports it.

      Question: Where?

      Answer: Proto-Q Source, Mark 12: 29. Refutation of the Trinity and Affirmation of Islamic Monotheism.

      Do Historical Scholars, Theologians agree with Islam or not?

      Answer: They absolutely do, including Archbishop Michael Ramsey a New Testament professor at Cambridge before becoming a bishop, wrote ‘Jesus did not claim deity for himself’

      Jesus & the Living Past, 1980, p. 30, as well as James Dunn, and Sir Anthony Buzzard and Bart D Ehrman.

      The Bible , The Historians, The Facts all say 1 Thing: The Qur’an Depiction of Jesus is the only correct 1.

      The Bible rejects the Lies of the Church. Christ was not God according to the Bible.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Paul Williams

      “What a silly idiot. Try saying something intelligent or shut up”

      Well I don’t see why you’re being rude here. The premise of this post is unclear – not my fault.


      Which NT scholars say that the witnesses to the crucifixion were fooled by your god into believing that jesus had died on the cross but was actually only beamed up into heaven?


    • in historical context it would be the biggest novelty and most important thing the gospels could’ve told us. for a man especially one that considered himself a pharisee to call himself god is pure idolatry. had Jesus made that claim (even through the whole trinity mythology which wasn’t fully developed till 3 centuries later) we would have known about it from the NT itself. in the NT he comes across as a teacher and a prophet. nothing near to god….


  4. Do you agree that the Earliest Strata of Evidence rejects the belief that Jesus was claiming to be God or the 2nd Person of the Trinity?


  5. Read this and get Educated Idiot. You really need to read more you dumbass ugly toad. Sam Shamoun, David Woods, James White and Nabeel Quershi are not scholars or even employed. They are a bunch of morons, who have not published a single peer-reviewed research article on the Bible or anything!


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Paul Williams my comment above, with the insults, is referenced to the troll known as ”D” not to you! I hope we don’t misunderstand each other! Proto-Q Source Mark 12: 29 is clear evidence of Jesus affirming Islamic Monotheism and rejecting Trinitarian Dogma! May I suggest you acquire the book by Sir Anthony Buzzard ”Jesus was not a Trinitarian”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Why the insults? I didn’t insult you.

      But could you tell me which NT scholars agree with he islamic version of jesus crucifixion/beamed up story in the quran?


    • D all you do is insult others. You have no right to complain


    • Paul Williams

      “D all you do is insult others. You have no right to complain”

      Well, I think that you have to take some responsibility here – you might be creating an environment on this blog that fosters enmity. What do you think?


    • I think you should take responsibility for your actions. Something you never seen to do.


    • Paul Williams

      “I think you should take responsibility for your actions. Something you never seen to do.”

      You’re making us sound like a married couple.


    • God is one, Jesus said it, I believe it, that settles it!

      P.s I love me some Anthony Buzzard reading material


  7. Though not the earliest,the Gospel of John,which I think is from 70 AD,does claim in 2 passages to be from a contemporary of Jesus.

    A disciple of Jesus.

    John 1:14(The Word=Jesus):

    ”The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.


    have seen

    his glory,

    the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

    Some scholars believe there are more than 2 authors of John:

    John chapters 1-14 and 18-20(author 1)

    John chapters 15-17(author 2)

    John chapter 21(chapter 3)

    Anyway John chapter 2 is still by the same author 1(chapters 1-14 and 18-20)

    Notice John 1:14 says ”glory” twice.

    What is it specifically?It appears to refer to Jesus’ first miracle,when he turned water into wine.

    John 2:9-11:

    ”And the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said,

    “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

    What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs

    through which he revealed his glory; and

    his disciples believed in him.

    The WE of John 1:14 were ”his disciples”,in Cana.


  8. John chapters 1-14 and 18-20(author 1) has a disciple of Jesus called the Beloved Disciple(who does not appear in John chapters 15-17(author 2)):

    The Beloved Disciple is at the Last Supper:

    John 13:23-25:

    ”One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side,so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?””

    At the crucifixion:

    John 19:26-27:

    ”When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”

    At the empty tomb:

    John 20:1-4:

    ”Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

    So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

    So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. ”


  9. It is John 21(author 3) that tells us the Beloved Disciple was the author of at least John 1-14 and 18-20:

    John 21:20-24:

    ”Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?”

    When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” …………

    This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things,

    and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.”

    Then it ends with conclusion 2 of John.

    Notice conclusions 1 and 2 specifically state that they have not given all the information there is about Jesus.

    Conclusion 2

    John 21:25:

    ”Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

    Conclusion 1 of John is John 20:30:

    ”Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples,

    which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”


  10. Finally,John 21 itself gives the possibility that the Beloved Disciple=John,the apostle,son of Zebedee.

    In John 21:1-14 Jesus appears to 7 men in total, and there is a miraculous catch of exactly 153 fish.

    The Beloved Disciple is one of the 7 men

    and two of them are the ”sons of Zebedee”(James and John,brothers).

    John 21:1-11

    ”After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way.

    Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee,

    the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together.

    Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
    ……………………….So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.

    That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea……………….So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them.


  11. Ireneus,around 180 AD, wrote that that gospel was written by John,that he got the information from Polycarp,a martyr,who was a disciple of John.

    Ben Witherington thinks the Beloved Disciple was Lazarus based on John 11:1-2:

    ”Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.

    This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.

    So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.””

    While Richard Bauckham in ”Jesus and the Eyewitnesses” thinks the Beloved Disciple was John the Elder,not John the Apostle,but another John,mnetioned by Papias in a 120 AD book.


  12. finally! the NT clearly states that he didn’t think of himself as god “don’t call me good..” it wasn’t till Nicea that it was officially part of Christian faith…


  13. The Trinity was not there in the first century

    March 19th, 2016 Ibn Anwar

    Jesus, the apostles or Church Fathers? Who invented the Trinity?

    by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

    Often Trinitarians claim that the Trinity (and by Trinity, they mean the mainstream dogma that says God is three persons in one being, i.e., God exists eternally as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) is taught in the New Testament and can be found even in the first century of the Christian era. They will direct us to Patristic sources such as Ignatius, Tertullian and others.Typically, from the first century, the Patristic sources that are cited include Justin Martyr and Ignatius, but none of the available records that may have been penned by these individuals actually carry in them a clear description of the Trinity dogma as we know it today. None of these three individuals actually imparted Trinitarian formulations that could have typified the content of the Athanasian Creed. And so we move on to the second century where we have Patristic figures such as Iranaeus, Tertullian and Origen, but none of them save Tertullian and Origen actually wrote anything that may resemble the Trinity. Origen was born in 185 AD and so, one would be hard pressed to contend that he was teaching theological doctrines before the age of fifteen, which means that whatever teaching that he put forward that had some Trinitarian semblance must have been made after 200 AD,the third century of the Christian calendar. Thus, even if Athanasius was not the promulgator of the Trinity, the earliest that one can trace the doctrine to is Tertullian. And so the eminent German scholar Adolf von Harnack writes: “When the Nicene formulary is praised, it is always of Athanasius that we think; when the Chalcedonian decree is cited, it is the name of Leo the Great that is magnified. But that Tertullian is in reality the father of the orthodox doctrines of the Trinity and of the Person of Christ, and that in the whole patristic literature there is no treatise that can be compared in importance and influence with his tract Against Praxeas, it has necessarily been left to the investigations of our own day to exhibit.” [1]

    But how can Tertullian be relied upon as the Father of Trinitarianism when he was officially condemned as a heretic for his Montanist leanings? Throughout church history, Tertullian of Carthage has been disparaged for his Montanism which disqualified him from receiving sainthood from the Church. He is the only prominent Patristic figure that was not awarded the title “Saint” and so he has remained throughout the ages as simply plain old Tertullian. According to official condemnations, he “…fell into the heresy of the Montanists, who blasphemously held that Montanus was that Paraclete or Comforter which our Saviour promised to send: and that better and fuller discoveries of God’s will were made to him than to the Apostles, who prophesied only in part.” [2] If Tertullian is the inauguration of early Trinitarian formulations, then Christians will have to contemplate receiving a fundamental dogma from a heretical source. In any case, Tertullian only came to the scene around 130 years after Jesus’ departure; therefore, it is hardly conceivable that his Trinitarian predilections should have any real relationship with Jesus or his apostles and earliest followers.

    What is historically certain is that pre-Athanasian and pre-Chalcedonian sources do not contain in them the full blown and adequate Trinitarian formula. What we may see are rough patches that seem to resemble what later became orthodox church dogma through Athanasius and other such persons. And so, The New Catholic Encyclopedia says the following concerning the Trinity: “There is the recognition on the part of exegetes and Biblical theologians, including a constantly growing number of Roman Catholics, that one should not speak of Trinitarianism in the New Testament without serious qualification. There is also the closely parallel recognition on the part of historians of dogma and systematic theologians that when one does speak of an unqualified Trinitarianism, one has moved from the period of Christian origins to, say, the last quadrant of the 4th Century. It was only then that what might be called the definitive Trinitarian dogma “one God in three Persons” became thoroughly assimilated into Christian life and thought.” [3]

    Theologian and linguist Dr. Marian Hillar writes:
    “The orthodox Christian concept of the unity of God in the Trinity was developed slowly as a result of a long process of mixing various ideologies. The whole idea of the Trinity came about as a syncretic development from the clash of the Hebrew Unitarian concept of God; the Greek religion-philosophical concepts of the nature of God and the powers governing the world; the mixing of the Greek religious ideas about a Savior who acts as a mediator between God and humans with the Hebrew concept of the Messiah, who was presented and expected as a national liberator; and the Egyptian religious concept of the triune divinity.

    The Roman Catholic Church maintained that the doctrine of the triune God was contained or at least implied in the scriptural texts of the Old and New Testaments and that such was their message. The doctrine was established as a dominant one in the fourth century by combining it with a means of coercion in the form of state law and preventing any independent scholarly study of the sacred texts. It took the Reformation and Radical Reformation to initiate a painful and often bloodily repressed process of a reevaluation of the sacred texts and a return to their original meaning.” [4]

    Affirming a fourth century date for the finalisation of the Trinity and its establishment as dogma, Nancy Hedberg writes:

    “…the doctrine of the Trinity was established in the fourth century and for the most part the equality of the Father and the Son in both essence and works was defended down through the centuries.” [5]

    Agreeing with the Catholic Encyclopedia, Hillar and Hedberg on the dating of the Trinity, Professor of Religion at Seaver College Dr. Ronald Highfield writes:

    “The traditional dogma of the Trinity came to its definitive formulation in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed (A.D. 381). The Nicene Creed was adopted by the Council of Constantinople, and it brought to a close the fourth-century controversy about the Trinity. It was accepted by the ancient ecumenical church and had remained a treasured statement of the Trinitarian faith for the worldwide church.” [6]

    Thus, it is completely ahistorical to claim that the Trinity existed as an established doctrine in the early days of the Christian calendar. The earliest theologians who gave cloudy descriptions of God that may have some semblance to the fourth century Trinity doctrine gave ideas that were haphazard and non-definitive. Some were even heretics such as Tertullian. And so, we recommend that Christians of all colours and flavours to return to the original and simple creed of Jesus: “the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE” (Mark 12:29)


    [1] Cited in Warfield, B. B. (1905). Tertullian and the Beginning of the Doctrine of the Trinity. The Princeton Theological Review. p. 531

    [2] Wall, W. (n.d.). The History of Infant Baptism. London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Walsh. p. 41

    [3] Cited in Graeser, M. H., Lynn, J. A. & Schoenheit, J. W. (2010). One God & One Lord: Reconsidering the Cornerstone of the Christian Faith. Indiana: Spirit & Truth Fellowship International. p. 336 fn. 29

    [4] Hillar, M. (2011). From Logos to Trinity: The Evolution of Religious Beliefs from Pythagoras to Tertullian. New York: Cambridge University Press. p.132

    [5] Hedberg, N. Women, Men, and the Trinity: What Does It Mean to Be Equal?. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock. p.39

    [6] Highfield R. (2008). Great is the Lord: Theology for the Praise of God. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 106


  14. Maybe the germ,origin of the Trinity is the baptism formula in Matthew 28:19:

    “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

    The name of the Father is Yahweh

    The name of the son is Yeshua,a short version of Yehoshuah,which means “Yahweh saves”

    The Holy Spirit has no name,so it was deduced that it would also be Yahweh.


  15. How much real evidence in the 17th tradition points to his being a third string quarterback for the Israeli imps?


  16. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the holy spirit.

    In a loud voice she exclaimed, Blessed are you among women, and the fruit of your womb

    Seems like even those unborn babies knew…

    Out of the lives of the unborn, Glory


  17. The new testament overflows with information that Jesus was the Christ.


    • Correct. But not your personal Christ. No Jesus sailor in the NT.


    • of course the NT claims him to be christ. but not God Almighty…. Christ means christos which means messiah which is a annointed king. no where does the NT imply that Jesus was almighty… the NT claims miracles like that of Elijah and Elisha. do we find that they directed their prayers to him rather than god? i am not a chritian and i read the NT i can assure you that if you read it not through the trinitarian lense you wont find the idoltras ideas of mangod in the whole book…

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I know one objection to the Gospel of John being by a contemporary of Jesus is the Johannine School idea of Raymond Brown,a Catholic priest.

    He said after John’s death a group of his followers wrote a composite gospel and attributed it to him.I used to believe there a third author(John chapters 15-16-17) but now I believe it was wishful thinking by Raymond Brown.

    Authors have a distinct literary style,Dickens is differnt from Tolstoï.

    But chapters 15-17 have the same literary style as chapters 1-14 and 18-20.

    Two reasons are given for author 3:

    Reason 1

    John 14 ends with 14:30-31:
    ” I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming.

    He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

    Come now; let us leave.””

    Instead of leaving Jesus talks for 3 chapters.

    Then John 18:1 says:

    ”When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.””

    So the original text was:

    ”I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming.

    He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

    “Come now; let us leave.”

    ”When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.””


  19. Reason 2

    Author 1 (chapters 1-14 and 18-20) has:

    John 13:36:

    ”Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”

    Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.””

    John 14:5

    ”Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?””

    Notice Jesus was asked ”where are you going”.

    But in author 3(chapters15-17) we have:

    John 16:5

    ”But now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ ”


  20. Dickens is not Tolstoï but authors 1 and 3 speak the same.One reason for the discrepancies given as reason 1 and reason 2 could be that the author was tired and so slightly careless.

    You cannot,if the literary style of a novel is the same everywhere,say,because of little contradictions,that there are 2 different writers.

    I read a commentary that showed convinced me even more.

    John 14:30-31 says:

    I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming.

    He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

    “Come now; let us leave.””

    Notice it begins with ” I will not say much more to you”.

    So the disciples were told he would say little,yet he continues talking for 3 chapters.The only discrepancy I see is that the author in his hurry forgot,or it was later lost, to add a phrase like ”Jesus did not leave immediately and spoke”.

    The phrase in John 16:5 (”But now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ ”) was because the disciples had been told ” I will not say much more to you”.


  21. He was asleep in the boat so they woke him and told him they were in danger. He got up and said, “silence” and it was perfectly calm.


    • And that proves what exactly?


    • Give it your best shot. I see the same words you do. Apparently, the guys were in a dangerous storm and Jesus Christ spoke to the storm and it disappeared. Who does that? Not I, I assure you.


    • No, I did not think you were Jesus. I agree with Peter in Acts 2:22. He got who Jesus was. Bet you do not agree with him.


    • Please! The burden of proof is on you to show that that’s the claim the evangelist was making! For centuries it was “Hear Isreal YHWH is one YHWH”! Uh, duh, Jesus came in the name of YHWH, was “given” authority on earth and in heaven. Pssst, it’s so easy to understand, but you Trinitarians can not help it, Jesus must have been God!


  22. Of all the Evangelical scholars the one I respect the most is Michael Licona,his articles and debates offer a gold mine of technical information.

    Brant Pitre in his “The Case for Jesus”(2016) is critical of Bart Ehrman’s assertions.

    Licona wrote a very long article, a review of Bart Ehrman’s “Forged: Writing in the Name of God—Why The Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are”(2011).


    I trust him as an accurate source,he wrote:

    ” It’s disappointing too that Ehrman speaks of Acts being a forgery as though this is the conclusion of scholarship.

    Craig Keener is a New Testament scholar known for his obsessive research. His commentary on John’s Gospel is one of the largest ever written, nearly 1,700 pages. Keener has a very broad knowledge of the ancient literature which he cites more than 10,000 times in that commentary.

    At this very moment, his commentary on Acts is in the editing process with Baker Academic and will be published one volume at a time. Why publish it in stages? Because Keener’s commentary on Acts is more than 7,000 pages! Those familiar with Keener’s work carry a huge respect for his introductory content where authorship is one of the topics covered.

    Keener has told me that having surveyed the academic literature on Acts and it’s prequel, Luke’s Gospel,

    he can assert that the majority of modern scholars hold to the traditional authorship of Luke and Acts.

    (Most specialists on the Gospel of Mark likewise hold to its traditional authorship.)

    Why doesn’t Ehrman mention this, since he mentions what the majority of scholars believe so frequently throughout the book? Perhaps he doesn’t know it or he doesn’t mention it because the majority don’t support his conclusions here.”


  23. Another technical information given by Licona,in the same article,is the following:

    “Something else must be considered. There were many biographies written in antiquity.

    Plutarch was one of the most prolific biographers of that time, writing more than 60 biographies of which we still have 50. It is of importance to observe that Plutarch’s name is absent from all of his extant biographies, which are therefore anonymous like the four Gospels in the New Testament.

    Yet, modern historians are quite certain Plutarch wrote them.

    Most classical authors did not include their name. But the manuscript traditions pertaining to the authorship of Plutarch’s biographies are clear. Moreover, the Lamprias catalogue from the fourth century attributes them to Plutarch.[17]

    Does this provide us with unimpeachable evidence that Plutarch wrote the biographies attributed to him? No. Is it reasonable to believe that Plutarch wrote them? You bet. The same may be said concerning the four Gospels in the New Testament. “


  24. I like to rely on 1st century documents,and Acts is 1st century,whether one thinks it is from 60 AD or 85 AD.Far nearer than Papias (120 AD)

    It says Peter knew the mother of Mark:

    Acts 12:11-14

    “Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”

    When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.

    Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!””


  25. Acts also says Paul(Saul) knew Mark,personally:

    Acts 12:25:

    “When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.”

    Acts 15:36-40

    “Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.”

    Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.

    They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left”.

    Acts is an independent source that Paul knew Mark,the other one being an authentic epistle by Paul,Philemon 1:24:

    “And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.”

    Two other independent sources,that say Paul knew Mark,1st century are:

    Colossians 4:10

    “My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas.”

    2 Timothy 4:11

    “Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.”


  26. Papias(120 AD,2nd century) wrote that Peter and Mark knew each other,and Mark wrote down information from Peter about Jesus.

    The only 1st century document on this was written 25 years earlier, 1 Peter(96 AD):

    1 Peter 5:12-13

    “With the help of Silas,whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.

    She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark.


  27. Jesus isn’t God! IOf course that’s an assertion and not an argument, but who cares? Heck, even if a well formed and damaging an argument was presented, not a Trinitarian believing soul would budge from their position! Yes, continue and dishonor your Lord and Savior and continue to substitute the belief in a creature as opposed to the creator who is blessed for ever..Amen


  28. Just more information,the idea that Luke never knew Jesus is not just found in post 1st century documents,it is evident from the Gospel of Luke (60 AD or 85 AD)itself:

    Luke 1:1-4

    “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us,

    just as they were handed down

    to US

    by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.

    With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

    If Luke had personally known Jesus he would not have included himself in the term “us”,he would have said to Theophilus that he was also an eyewitness.


  29. Also for the record,since many don’t know,the author of Luke-Acts tells us HE personally knew Paul.

    In Acts there are what are known as “we” passages,five of them.

    These are passages in Acts where the author includes himself as an eyewitness of the events concerning the disciples after Jesus’ resurrection.

    In Acts 16:10-17 the author writes about his involvement in a missionary journey with Paul, Timothy and Silas to Macedonia using the first person plural(we,us). He says things like “we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” and “We remained in this city some days”.

    The same first person plural can be found in:

    Acts 20:5-16

    Acts 21:1-18

    Acts 27:1-28

    and Acts 28:16.Chapter 28 is the last chapter of Acts.

    In the 28:16 “we” passage the author of Acts places himself in Rome with Paul during the time of his imprisonment.


  30. To Paul:

    I do not believe everything in the Gospels and Acts is literally true,only pre 70 AD or 70 AD,but that the writers were sincere.

    Nowhere does the author of Luke-Acts say,in the text itself,something like “I,Luke met Paul”.

    He uses the third person,but in several cases in Antiquity,writers who we know 100% participated in the events,wrote books about them,and used the third person.

    As if somebody else had written the book,when it was the participant who did it.Here are the 3 most astonishing examples:

    Greek historian Thucydides (460 – 395 BC),the greatest historian of Antiquity,wrote “The Peloponnesian War”(war between Athens and Sparta)

    He includes himself in the events using the third person in chapters 1.1.1; 2.103.2; 5.26.1.

    Greek historian Xenophon (430 – 354 BC),disciple of Socrates, wrote “Anabasis”,where he was the elected leader of 10,000 Greek soldiers trying to escape the Persian empire.

    He includes himself in the events using the third person in chapters 2.5.41; 3.1.4-6 .

    Julius Caesar (100 BC– 40 AD)

    He needs no introduction, he includes himself in the events using the third person in chapters 1.7; 2.1; 3.28; 4.13; 5.9; 6.4; 7.11 of his masterpiece “The Gallic War”(about the conquest of France)

    and in chapter 1.1 of “The Civil War”(war between Caeser and Pompey for control of the Roman republic).


    • so my question was how do you know that Luke the companion of Paul was the author of Luke/acts?
      Surely he could have just made the story up. Forgeries were a problem in the ancient world. Many scholars consider the NT contains forgeries – for instance some of the letters of Paul and Peter.

      Also Thucydides, the father of history, admitted he made up speeches when he was not present at events he narrates. Why not ‘Luke’ too?

      I recommend the excellent study:

      Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics by Bart Ehrman.


  31. Sorry about the error,Luke doesn’t use the third person,the 3 examples I gave were meant for those who use as an objection that Matthew,John can’t be by Matthew,John,participants in the events,since they use the third person.
    Mistake was mine.


  32. Define forgery. Putting a name on documents not written by that person does nothing to damage the accuracy or the integrity the content.

    Putting a name on the new testament books was not without risk. Many of the early disciples were slain for holding on to the words in these sacred writings and they died gladly for his cause.


    • I define forgery as a writing that claims to be written by someone (a known figure like Paul or Peter) who did not in fact write it.

      The author of II Peter claims to be an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus. Virtually all New Testament scholars consider it not to be written by Peter, ie it is a forgery. It matters because if a writer attempts to deceive his audience by claiming to be someone he is not, what else has he made up? How can we trust him to tell us the truth?

      I recommend you read this book by a top NT historian:

      Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are


  33. Paul suffered for his Lord. Try writing fiction that releases the energy and inspires the revolution stimulated by the nt. Would you create a similar story with the main character dying and rising again? Performing miracles, healing, feeding thousands from a few fish, turning water into wine, being born of a virgin, speaking the words Jesus spoke? Who made up the beatitudes?


  34. It is tough to resist the deluge of reasons to view Christ as God as presented in the literature we have recording what he said and did, how he changed people’s lives, how he was a singular personality in all of history.

    Eventually, if you stop struggling and drowning, He will sink beneath your wisdom like a stone. What a glorious moment that is. When the most gentle, soothing, tender, kind, understanding Presence brushes against your flesh and your soul, nothing else in life means what it once did. That healing touch of his Presence, in an instant, makes all things new. It cannot be described adequately. In addition, it, he, is real.


  35. Hello Paul:

    You asked:

    ”So my question was how do you know that Luke the companion of Paul was the author of Luke/acts?
    Surely he could have just made the story up. Forgeries were a problem in the ancient world. ”

    He is a strong possibility, based on the 1st and 2nd century documents,even St Paul,in the original Greek,writes in 2 Corinthians 8:18:

    This is the interlinear passage English-Greek:


    ”With him the brother who

    meta(with) autos (him )

    ho(the) adelphos(brother)


    respected throughout all the churches

    epainos(respected) dia (throughout)

    pas(all) ho(the) ekklesia(churches)

    IN THE GOSPEL(noun)

    en(in) ho(the) euangelion(gospel)”

    In the original Greek it doesn’t have:”for his preaching of the gospel” ,”for his praise of the gospel”,”whose praise is in the gospel”. But in the original Greek nowhere does the word praise or preaching appear.

    Reading the following commentary it says,at the bottom of Barne’s Notes on 2 Corinthinans 8:18:


    ”Is in the gospel – Either for writing the gospel, or for preaching the gospel.

    The Greek will bear either construction.”

    Yes,indeed,but the second option by a stretch of the imagination.


  36. What do we know? The author of Luke-Acts tells us in Luke 1:1 that he others wrote about Jesus before him:

    Luke 1:3

    Many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed them down to us. It also seemed good to me, since I have carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you in an orderly sequence.”

    Luke doesn’t say it,but used at least one of those books as a source(Mark),since 50% of Mark is part of Luke.

    Paul in Philemon 1:24 tells us Mark and Luke were his fellow workers,so evidently knew each other,either by reference or personally,through Paul.

    So Luke knowing Mark was a fellow worker of Paul,would have heard of and read his biography of Jesus.


  37. Taking Luke-Acts as a forgery,written in 80-85 AD,we have the Pastoral Epistles(1 and 2 Timothy,Titus) written circa 80-100 AD.

    Let us put the pastoral letters in 90 AD.

    1 Timothy 5:17-18 quotes Luke,saying it is the Word of God,Scripture:

    ”Let the presbyters who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labour in preaching and teaching;

    for the Scripture says,

    “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” (Deuteronomy 25:4)

    and, “The laborer deserves his wages.””

    The second quote is from Luke 10:7:

    ”And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages.”Do not go from house to house.”

    Already,incredibly, 5-10 years after the appearance of Luke-Acts it was already regarded as the Word of God.

    If,as I believed,Luke-Acts is from 60 AD,then 1 Timothy could be from 70 AD or even 65 AD,or even the year Paul was killed. It is because of such a detail that I think,and also based on Michael Licona’s arguments,in his review of Bart Ehrman’s book ”Forged”,that the 5 epistles considered as definite forgeries(Colossian,Ephesians,1 and 2 Timothy,Titus) may not be so.


  38. The author of Luke-Acts was considered to have written Scripture,relatively soon(5-15 years),after the coming out of his book.

    What about his teacher Paul?Who had been writing letters since the 50’s AD?

    It could be his epistles,Paul being one of the 3 leaders,and even more important that the secondary figure who wrote Luke-Acts,also,in the popular mind,were accepted by some as being Scripture.

    2 Peter is often said to be 2nd century,but since Luke-Acts already,in the 1st century,was accepted by some as Scripture,the same could have happened to Paul’s letters.

    So 2 Peter is as likely to be 1st century as 1 Timothy certainly is.2 Peter says Paul’s letters are Scripture.

    2 Peter 3:15-16:

    ” Also, regard the patience of our Lord as an opportunity for salvation, just as our dear brother Paul has written to you according to the wisdom given to him. He speaks about these things in all his letters in which there are some matters that are hard to understand.

    The untaught and unstable twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures.



    • Biblical scholars rarely, if ever, ascribe gospel authorship to Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. As Ehrman tells us, “Most scholars today have abandoned these identifications, and recognize that the books were written by otherwise unknown but relatively well-educated Greek-speaking (and writing) Christians during the second half of the first century.”

      Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Christianities. P. 3, 235. Also, see Ehrman, Bart D. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. P. 49.

      Graham Stanton affirms, “The gospels, unlike most Graeco-Roman writings, are anonymous. The familiar headings which give the name of an author (‘The Gospel according to …’) were not part of the original manuscripts, for they were added only early in the second century.”

      Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Christianities. P. 235.

      So what, if anything, did Jesus’ disciples have to do with authoring the gospels? Little or nothing, so far as we know. But we have no reason to believe they authored any of the books of the Bible. To begin with, let us remember Mark was a secretary to Peter, and Luke a companion to Paul. The verses of Luke 6:14-16 and Matthew 10:2-4 catalogue the twelve disciples, and although these lists differ over two names, Mark and Luke don’t make either list. So only Matthew and John were true disciples. But all the same, modern scholars pretty much disqualify them as authors anyway.


      Good question. John being the more famous of the two, why should we disqualify him from having authored the Gospel of “John”?

      Umm … because he was dead?

      Multiple sources acknowledge there is no evidence, other than questionable testimonies of second century authors, to suggest that the disciple John was the author of the Gospel of “John.”

      Kee, Howard Clark (Notes and References by). 1993. The Cambridge Annotated Study Bible, New Revised Standard Version. Cambridge University Press. Introduction to gospel of ‘Joh

      Perhaps the most convincing refutation is that the disciple John is believed to have died in or around 98 CE.

      Butler, Trent C. (General Editor). Holman Bible Dictionary. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers. Under ‘John, the Gospel of’

      However, the Gospel of John was written circa 110 CE.

      Easton, M. G., M.A., D.D. Easton’s Bible Dictionary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers. Under ‘John the Apostle.’

      So whoever Luke (Paul’s companion), Mark (Peter’s secretary), and John (the unknown, but certainly not the long-dead one) were, we have no reason to believe any of the gospels were authored by Jesus’ disciples. . . .

      Goodspeed, Edgar J. 1946. How to Read the Bible. The John C. Winston Company. p. 227


    • “The author of Luke-Acts was considered to have written Scripture,relatively soon(5-15 years),after the coming out of his book.”

      Really? Evidence for this claim please.


  39. Greetings simple123site:

    My position is the Synoptics are pre 70 AD,the Gospel of John is 70 AD. The authors were contemporaries of Jesus,and ,possibly Mark,Matthew,Luke,John.

    You quote an author who said:

    “However, the Gospel of John was written circa 110 CE.”

    It is from a 1946 book,today 90-95 AD is given.One reason scholars used to say John was from the 2nd century was because it is in a mystical style.Similar to Hellenistic,Greek writings

    They said no Jew in Palestine in the 1st century would write like that.

    Then in 1947 (after the 1946 book you quoted) they discovered in Qmran lots of books by the Essenes,a Jewish group in Palestine,in the same,mystical style of John.The Essenes disappeared in 70 AD.

    So Jews in 1st century Palestine did express themselves like that.


  40. There is Q,a collection of some 50 sayings of Jesus,written around 50 AD.

    In Q there is a saying,in Matthew and Luke,that is in the mystical,esoteric style in John:

    Matthew 11:27

    “All things have been committed to me by my Father.

    No one knows the Son except the Father,

    and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

    Luke 10:22

    “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

    Here is the content of Q:


    Both the gospels of ,Matthew and Luke have Q,while Mark does not,nor John.In those days it was the custom to have a collection of the sayings of famous teachers.

    The most famous example is the Enchiridion,by Arrian,in 135 AD,who collected the sayings of his teacher,Stoic philosopher and ex-slave Epictetus(52 sayings):



  41. I believe you referenced the verses already, Richard. Read the last chapter of John’s gospel and First John chapter one. The author says he saw and heard and even touched God almighty. Indeed, he lay his head on the chest of Jesus shortly before they murdered him.


  42. The new testament is filled to overflowing with statements that Jesus Christ presented himself to the little world of a tiny slice of the middle east 2,000 years ago.


  43. He will take his winnowing fork and separate the wheat from the chaff. Not all who call upon him will be safe. He will say to many on that day, Get lost. I never knew you.
    IOW, talking the talk may fool others but it doesn’t fool God. He spoke and even the winds and the waves obey the guy. And for quite a few years he was surrounded by people who didn’t know who he was. Imagine building race cars with a crew and one of your fellow mechanics is God almighty! And you never notice.
    He who has seen me has seen the father. I and the father are one.
    The greatest among you shall be the least of all.


  44. No man ever spoke like Jesus. That is an excellent argument for his deity. And, he spoke with authority, not surprisingly. Can you hear him, can you see him, if you use your imagination. I can, sometimes, and it is a trip.


    • Sounds more like you’re on LSD.

      I can use my imagination for a lot of things, but imagining Jesus as God is not one of them. A man who ate, slept and went to the bathroom is not my idea of God.

      Liked by 1 person

    • No man ever spoke like Jesus. ??? Really?

      In Matthew 5:22 he said:
      “…but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”

      Yet, Jesus repeated called people fools: Matt. 23:17,19 “Ye fools and blind…” Luke 11:40 “Ye fools,…”


  45. I will send you a comforter
    He will remind you of everything I have said
    He sure did, gifting his disciples to be able to speak to others from foreign lands in their native tongue, languages they did not know. The crowd thought they were drunk, at first.


    • What does that prove? Just because your Bible says this doesn’t make it true.

      Your Bible also says that those who have faith can move mountains. Tell me. Can you move mountains? If not, does that mean that your faith is weak and that you don’t have the holy spirit?


  46. God made us sexual beings, too. I’m sure Jesus had sexual desires, just like any man. He was a full, red-blooded, living, breathing, thinking, feeling man and he was GOD.

    And he wept


  47. Son of God
    Love’s pure light

    No one has ever done what he did or spoken like he spoke. His style was completely unique. Look closely at him. Keep looking. He was not of this world and no one could make up the events as they are recorded and the things he had to say.

    Juries are asked to weigh evidence, to decide what is credible and fits together. No one can force another to believe in something. Just looking at the nt it is evident to me that this guy really did live and he really was who he said he was.

    But for Pete’s sake, if you don’t buy it, just ignore it. No one has a gun to your head. I didn’t believe this stuff for a long time. I was raised not to accept a word of the bible or what religious people said. My back ground was ivy league liberal intellectual superiority. I mean my folks raised us from that perspective, “Why I am not a Christian” Bertrand Russell stuff. My whole life.

    But, he proved himself to me personally and nothing compares to knowing him.


  48. If someone attaches his name to a document written by someone else, the one who wrote the document did not forge anything.


  49. Replacing murderous rage and fury with God’s love is more miraculous than moving a mountain, to me. To do what he has done in my heart was absolutely impossible. Way beyond absolutely impossible. But, he put his love in my heart. I had forgotten what that was like. I loved everyone I met. I loved people I wanted to harm. I forgave them without trying. It was and is the most amazing, wonderful, incredible thing I have ever known.


  50. That was the miraculous part. I hated everybody. Look at me crossed a bit and that could lead to trouble. I didn’t do what was happening inside of me. And I couldn’t believe it, having no idea there was a God, that Jesus was really real, that I could know him. I was stunned. I was drug free, cursing free, cigarette free, alcohol free, stopped using females, because he put this love in my heart.


  51. Proving? I was just sharing. I am still astounded to this very day, decades after he first set me free, that God exists, that he loves me, that he’s in me and that I don’t have to hate. I can genuinely care about other people, not wanting something in return for every thing I do. I am amazed. Absolutely amazed.

    I never thought for one second that God had heard me when I cried out to him. And I mean from the deepest part of me, over and over I begged him for help. Begged and pleaded. There was nothing left for me to do or try.


  52. And therein lies God. Scholars will dissect and analyze and study and compare and read all kinds of outstanding research on Jesus Christ, about his claims, his manhood, his divinity, his words, the words of others who refer to him. They will turn him inside out and outside in, upside down and view him from every conceivable perspective.

    In the end he remains the lamb of god who takes away the sin of the world. He remains the forgiving savior of the world and the one who took a dying repentant thief home to heaven. He is God almighty, the great I Am. He who was before Abraham, I Am. Who always existed and always existed to pay for our sins. The way, the truth, the life and no one goes to the father except through him. A true friend of sinners.


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