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Alleged Historical Errors in the Gospels

Two more lectures by Tim McGrew followed by Q & A are now available. These have been labeled numbers 4a and 4b. 4a is "Alleged Historical Errors in the Gospels--Matthew and Mark."

Here is the mp3 audio only. The handout is available in PDF here.

Part 4b is "Alleged Historical Errors in the Gospels--Luke and John."

Audio only is here. Handout PDF is here.

It may seem difficult at this point to remember a world without the Internet, but actually, many of us do remember it well. It's a blessing to have the technology to make this material available so widely. Lord willing, it will be preserved in this way, will be viewed often, and will be of help to many.

Comments (8)

I've been enjoying these talks tremendously. Keep 'em coming!

This is really great stuff. Thanks for posting, Lydia.

Thanks, gentlemen! My information indicates that 5 may also be divided into 5a and 5b.

I'm a sucker for this kind of thing. By which I mean really excellent things.

Love the talks... Thanks for sharing them

Other cliams it would be worthwhile to attempt to refute would include the following:

(1) That Nazareth was not occupied during Jesus' lifetime (see Rene Salm's The Myth of Nazareth).

(2) That the term "rabbi" was not in use until after Jesus' lifetime (see Hershel Shanks, "Is the title 'Rabbi' anachronistic in the gospels?", in The Jewish Quarterly Review, 1963).

(3) That the Pharisees would not have been a rural movement in a position to interact with Jesus during his lifetime (see Anthony Saldarini's Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees in Palestinian Society, 145n2).

Casey: I believe Tim addressed #1 in an earlier lecture. I don't remember which one, though.


1. I dealt with the claim regarding Nazareth in this lecture:


Briefly, it never had any sound basis, being a mere argument from silence, and it has been decisively refuted by recent archaeology. You can read about it here:


In the fever swamps of internet mythicism, this archaeological evidence is now being dismissed as part of a plot by the Israeli Antiquities Authority to increase tourism. Such conspiracy theories are unworthy of a serious response.

2. Hershel Shanks's piece is actually defending the position that this use of "Rabbi" was known at the time; he is criticizing Solomon Zeitlin's skeptical arguments. While Zeitlin is still occasionally cited as an authority by people who should know better, his radical skepticism (he insisted to the end that the Dead Sea Scrolls were a late forgery) has been decisively debunked by modern scholarship.

3. The footnote in Saldarini to which you refer merely cites some dated conjectures of Bultmann. An argument from silence drawn from Talmudic sources is of no significance when placed against the direct and copious testimony of acknowledged first century texts.

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