Least likely to post 'We can only wish Rupert Murdoch well with his new venture'. January 16, at 8: Ah, yes, the argument that many Christians are silly, therefore That's not what I was trying to say. But even that doesn't matter too much. Or how about Ray Sullivan who was struck by lightening 7 different times. The author may choose to begin his book by introducing himself by name to the reader especially if there is a prefacebut this is not the only way that an authorial name can be attached to a book.
The scenes with this person strongly indicate that he was one of the Twelve Apostles. Also, I think if you are counting on personality to drive your blog, you may tend to focus less on the quality of the writing. I'm inclined to believe that he was either consciously or unconsciously doing things that attract lightening, or something weirder like he has a higher than normal salt concentration in his sweat that makes him more conductive than people usually are to give a random example of this class of hypotheses; note, when I and probably g give an example like this it doesn't mean we agree with it--I think this hypothesis is almost certainly false--but I think that there's probably some member of the reference class it belongs to that I personally haven't thought of that is probable. Moon did - but for the most part they would be sent to the loony farm. Plus, it protects the privacy of those around you. What grounds are there for thinking that Papias is a reliable informant about who wrote what?
Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. It is customary, both in ancient and modern times, for the authorship of a work to be stated, not in the main body of the text, but in the byline written in the title header, or else on the outside of the book. It's certainly not the primary method we use today. I have checked the earliest complete manuscript of the New Testament with my own eyes via an online scan and I find that the authors names are clearly stated on the manuscript itself, in a header e. If it were called "The gospel according to Mark, who was a close associate of the apostle Peter and based his writing on Peter's eyewitness reminiscences", that would be a different matter, but the people who named it regrettably omitted to give it that name. The question of whether apostolic authorship is consistent with textual evidence of date and style will have to wait for another post. Polycarp who was a disciple of John, again a very short chain of transmission. I think this would have basically no significance for its reliability, importance, etc. Even if we assume that the NT documents' traditional ascriptions are all correct, we have to set them alongside for instance two gospels "of Thomas", one "of Peter", one "of Mary", one "of James", plus a whole bunch of other things "of Peter". The usual story, which seems to me perfectly consistent with the evidence and doesn't require any particular dishonesty anywhere, is that the GoJ is "by" John in something like the sense in which "Surely you're joking, Mr Feynman" is "by" Richard Feynman; that is, John talked to someone else, who wrote the "gospel according to John". It wouldn't do much for the gospel, since there's no reason to think that that Luke was an eyewitness or closely associated with any eyewitness. Here the internal evidence provides a very obvious John for it to be, and I think it's fair to say that if it was originally circulated as "according to John" then either it's that John or someone was being deliberately deceitful. The question is just how much. But I'm not so convinced that this makes pseudonymy implausible. In other words, it is reasonable to assume that the texts were probably written by their stated authors, for roughly the same reason that we assume that the modern-day books on your shelf were probably written by their stated authors. The fact -- assuming it to be one; the evidence seems extremely thin -- that he was at one time taught by John is hardly much reason for thinking he couldn't be wrong about the authorship of Matthew. It's more similar to the situation with most other ancient historical documents. The scenes with this person strongly indicate that he was one of the Twelve Apostles. That the "gospel according to Mark" was produced by someone called Mark. It seems really quite unlikely that Matthew's gospel was written by one of Jesus's disciples. In any case, he seems to have been related by multiple two-step chains to the original apostles, so it would be hard for a pseudonymous work to fool him. And Papias seems to think that Matthew, or at least the sayings of Jesus it contains, were written "in the Hebrew dialect", but there's no sign at all that that's true. Although it is traditionally attributed to St. Irenaeus, in turn, was a disciple of St. There's been a lot of ink spilled about the identity of this person, but I think much of it is an effort to deny the obvious. This is based on the observation that the authorship is never explicitly mentioned in the main body of the texts of the Gospels attributed to Sts. I'd call it a strawman even-- but sadly, I'm sure you can find someone saying it somewhere. So, anyway, is the argument correct? They have a name clearly attached to them, it's just that the name is either fraudulent or fictitious depending on whether the author intended the reader to be deceived. But that doesn't mean you don't still pay a steep probability price for postulating a textual corruption. Clearly this criterion is a silly one. The Gospel of John is a special case, because the author is mentioned in the text specifically, although not by name, by the title "the disciple whom Jesus loved". That might make sense to people reasoning from a "foundationalist" epistemology, but from the Bayesian point of view the point is you pay a price for each additional deception you need to postulate. Aron, you have spelt "Irenaeus" in two ways, both of them unfortunately incorrect. But then the conclusion he actually wants is that none of them was originally anonymous. I'm reminded that at one time it was popular for scholars to believe that Homer never really existed. So you should be asking how many manuscripts of Irenaeus and Eusebius we have. The author may choose to begin his book by introducing himself by name to the reader especially if there is a preface , but this is not the only way that an authorial name can be attached to a book. One could illustrate this point by imagining a silly skeptic this one is a strawman, for purposes of illustration who refuses to believe Irenaeus is really written by Irenaeus until you show him a document by someone else saying that it was, and then he'll refuse to believe that document until its authorship is cited by another author, and so on ad infinitum. In addition to bucking the standard presumption of genuine authorship, we also have testimony from other early documents. A book of the New Testament which actually is anonymous is the Epistle to the Hebrews. Somehow, contrary to all modern experiences of authorship, they thought that the Illiad and Odyssey must have precipitated out of the folk-consciousness, without any definite author. This might mean it was by the apostle Matthew, listed in the Synoptic gospels but notably not in John; but, again, the author neglected to call it "The gospel according to Matthew, the tax collector and apostle", and unlike John it contains no internal evidence that it has anything to do with him. This has to have happened, not once, but four times. In fact, both Irenaeus and Papias assert that Papias was a disciple of John , although some scholars try to argue in my view unconvincingly that this was a different John than the apostle. It's fairly clear that John had died by the time the GoJ reached its final form; I don't think we can be sure of whether he actually got to read any of it before his death. That might be evidence for the reliability of Acts. The author was clearly known to the original readers, but in its published form it says nothing about authorship. Well, this would require believing that a class of professional singers, specially trained to memorize over 27, lines of poetry, were completely unable to remember a single word accurately. I'm guessing that the writings of Polycarp are not nearly as widespread and well-preserved as the NT documents. This is excellent evidence for the traditional authorship of the Gospels, although it may be a more efficient investment of "improbability" for the skeptic to dismiss Papias and Iranaeus rather than accept the fact that two of the four Gospels were written by direct eyewitnesses to the events in question. These two individuals are connected by very short chains to the original generation of apostles. It's just not quite as large as for the NT books. Of course this isn't as good as for the NT itself. But it's also notable that the same internal evidence also makes it clear that the document wasn't simply written by that person; some, at least, was written by someone else. This includes the writings of St. It shows every sign of borrowing a lot from Mark which makes no claim to have been written by an eyewitness ; why would an eyewitness, who was present for most of the events described, do that? Also, if you have to explain away both the NT documents and later documents, then one is stacking up more improbabilities than if it were the NT alone. There is no evidence that an earlier form of the Gospels ever circulated which did not contain the author name. Paul, the text itself nowhere says this, and there are significant differences in writing style as I know from personal experience trying to translate it one time—the Greek is difficult and uses classical words; I only got four verses in. It seems clear that at least some of the early Christians were very willing to assign books to these authors that probably were not actually written by them, and that plenty more found the assignment plausible. Papias as preserved in Eusebius and St. Irenaeus explicitly stating the authorship of the Gospels, and even providing details about how they were written e. None of that seems like it would be a huge disaster for skeptics. I should clarify that Papias only refers to the circumstances of the authorship of Matthew and Mark; he does not at least in the fragment preserved by Eusebius discuss the authorship of the Third and Fourth Gospels. If we assume -- as everyone does, with quite good reason -- that Luke and Acts were written by the same person, then here there's a bit of internal evidence that the Luke in question is the one mentioned in some of Paul's letters, who appears to have accompanied Paul on some of his journeys. The later history of Hebrews was exactly as you would expect for a truly anonymous document: By contrast, the other 13 Pauline epistles have Paul's name clearly stated in the salutation, and are therefore each either genuine or pseudonymous.
A common criticism of the Gospel accounts is that they are of low historical value because they are anonymous. However, they have to pay a probability price for this too. That the "gospel according to Luke" was produced by someone called Luke. I therefore consider the step from "There is no evidence that an earlier form of the Gospels ever circulated which did not contain the author name" to "In other words, it is reasonable to assume that the texts were probably written by their stated authors" quite wrong, and that "in other words" seems particularly overoptimistic.
Suppose for a moment that Aron's argument is basically correct; then I think we can conclude something like the following. According to this apologetics website , author names in the first century were typically written on a tag which was attached to the outside of the scroll, and possibly also in the title at the beginning or end of the document.
What grounds are there for thinking that Papias is a reliable informant about who wrote what? For Eusebius, the answer seems to be 36 , including manuscripts in Syriac, translated before In the case of Irenaeus, I found a website saying there were 3 manuscripts prior to the 10th century , with the first branch point is prior to its translation into Latin in , although the Greek manuscripts are not complete.
This isn't a watertight proof by any means, but I think it is significant when combined with the other evidence. But let's suppose that there was some definite author, and we simply don't know what his name was. Pseudonymous books are not anonymous. Some of it, maybe; it seems plausible that the gospels were circulated with their standard attributions very early on, and maybe from the outset.
To use Polycarp as evidence, we actually have to trust Eusebius and Eusebius's source s , that Irenaeus is actually independent, etc. But it all makes sense if the Gospel was originally circulated with the name "John" attached to it as it is in every copy we have. That the "gospel according to Matthew" was produced by someone called Matthew.
It would require believing that for each gospel 1 the gospel was actually written by some person of sufficiently little importance that their name was not recorded, 2 so that the document was published and first circulated without any names attached, 3 then, at some later time, someone speculated that it was really written by the proposed author, 4 belief in this authorship became widespread without any recorded dissent, and 5 all copies of the text which have descendants were modified to include the title.
We're more likely to find the author's name on the spine or title page than in Chapter One. However, achieving this would require a complicated historical process. Of course the fact that it's unlikely for something to happen independently four times doesn't mean it's unlikely to happen once out of four opportunities! I don't think this is going to add up to 20dB of evidence; maybe 10dB is possible.
Moreover, the statement of authorship in John We know that his testimony is true," doesn't make much sense if the identity of the apostle was intended to be mysterious. Polycarp comes into the chain of testimony for the Gospels as an intermediate step although we do have a letter by him to the Philippians it doesn't address the authorship of the Gospels. So I think the skeptic would do better to say that the Gospels are pseudonymous. Sounds like a terrible argument to me. Irenaeus, on the other hand, bears witness to all four canonical Gospels. Additionally there is the possibility for textual corruption of whatever manuscript of Papius Eusebius had. If we use this criterion, then as far as I can tell from briefly sampling my own library and prior reading, the works attributed to these authors also seem to be anonymous:. Now, it's certainly logically possible that the Gospels were all originally anonymous. That the "gospel of John" was produced by someone called John.