Were the disciples of Jesus martyred for believing in the Resurrection?


(Originally published on The Bart Ehrman Blog. Ehrman debunks some unsubstantiated claims routinely made by evangelicals)

Over the past few years I’ve wondered how many of the disciples of Jesus came to believe that he had been raised from the dead.  The traditional answer is that all eleven of them (the twelve minus Judas, who hanged himself before it happened) did, along with a handful of women, among them Mary Magdalene.  I suppose that’s probably right, but I’m not *completely* sure.

In the end, I’m afraid we simply don’t know.  The problem is that our sources – even the ones completely favorable to the earthly disciples of Jesus — are virtually silent about them.  We know almost precisely nothing about what they thought, what they did, and what they came to believe.   Paul says nothing about them (of the twelve, he mentions only Peter and John).  The book of Acts portrays Peter, and to a much lesser degree John, as important before and immediately after the conversion of Paul, but then they themselves virtually disappear from the narrative. And the other nine or ten are discussed almost not at all.

Why is that?  I really don’t know.  But my hunch is that the author of Acts simply hadn’t heard any stories about the things they said and did.  Why would that be?  Again, I really don’t know.  Was it because he simply wanted to focus on the main people:  Peter, James, (John,) and Paul?  But why were these the main people?  Why wasn’t it important to know what the others were doing?  Is it that his sources of information didn’t give him anything?  Is it that they in fact didn’t do anything important?  Did they just go back home to Galilee to eke out an existence until they died?  Do we even know that they came to believe in the resurrection?

Acts (at the beginning) and the Gospels (at the end) are in fact explicit that all eleven became believers.  But if so, why aren’t there any stories about them?

It is in the context of this puzzling issue that I want to broach a question that I often get asked, one that is commonly asked by evangelical Christian apologists:

How could the disciples have made up the idea of the resurrection?  They were all martyred for believing in it [the questioner states].  Who would be willing to die for a lie? And would all twelve be willing to die for a lie?

It’s a provocative question, but I’m afraid I always have to turn it around on my questioner to ask:  How do you know that the disciples were all martyred for believing in the resurrection?  In fact, how do you know how they all died?

The questioner, of course, has no idea.  S/he has simply heard that all the disciples were martyred.  When asked where they have heard such a thing, they usually have no answer.   When asked what sources from the ancient world ever say such a thing, again, obviously, they have no answer.

And that’s because there is no ancient source from anywhere *near* the lives of the apostles that says any such thing.

There is a statement that James the son of Zebedee was martyred in the book of Acts. There are hints that Peter and Paul died before the Gospels and Acts were written.   There is the hint that the “Beloved Disciple” had died before the final form of John’s Gospel was written.   But in none of these three cases (Peter, Paul, the Beloved Disciple) is it clear *how* they died (James is killed by Herod for some reason; possibly Peter was unwillingly put to his death?)  or whether it had anything to do with believing in Jesus’ resurrection.

There are later legends about these figures – and others (James the brother of Jesus; John son of Zebedee) – indicating that they were martyred.  But you don’t start getting these traditions until the late second century.  And the traditions really are legendary.  Just to give one famous example:   The earliest account of the death of Paul is in a work called The Martrydom of Paul.  There he is beheaded.  And when his head is lopped off by the executioner, there spouts forth not blood but milk.  Presumably, since milk is the liquid that gives life, this means he has now inherited life.  Really interesting story.  But historical?

And what about the others?  Andrew, Philip, Nathaniel, Bartholomew, and the others? How did they did?  We don’t know.  Would they have died for a lie?  We don’t know. Were they martyred?  We don’t know.  Were they executed for believing that Jesus had been raised from the dead?  We don’t know.

I’m not saying that they did *not* die by execution or for believing in the resurrection.  I’m saying we don’t know.  And if we don’t know, then it’s not really a very good argument to say that Jesus must have been raised from the dead because all his disciples came to believe he was and they were all killed for this faith because no one would die for a lie.



Categories: Christianity, Dr Bart Ehrman

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39 replies

  1. Another extend for the subject

    I’m just wondering why Paul did not write what the disciples said or why he didn’t write from them what they had leaned from Jesus? He had the chance to do that, but he didn’t want to!
    Moreover, Paul was proud that he got his message from no man!, and he worked more than the apostles!
    “Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.”
    It’s so weird!

    When I read about Tabe’een (the companions of the companions of the prophet pbuh), I find them so eager to hear and learn from the companions of the prophet pbuh. They were devoted students to the companions of the prophet pbuh. And for those people who didn’t follow the companions, they became Khwarij. Khwarij killed some Sahabah, and they claimed they understood Islam better than the companions of the prophet pbuh! imagine!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Abdullah, how do you know that Paul is referring to Jesus’ disciples in this passage?

      Liked by 1 person

      • @ Chris

        Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
        “…the very chiefest apostles] Cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 12:11. Most modern editors render by “these surpassers of the Apostles” (Alford), “those Apostles extraordinary” (Plumptre) (literally, the overmuch Apostles), regarding the Greek as ironical and interpreting the passage as referring to the false teachers. Chrysostom and the ancient interpreters refer it to St Peter and the rest of the twelve. But possibly there is no personal reference at all. St Paul may mean that no Apostles existed anywhere, however great they might be, who could claim superiority over him. Cf. Galatians 2:6; Galatians 2:9. Robertson has some interesting remarks on the common interpretation: “Some cannot understand the feeling which prompts an expression like this. Shallow men would call it egotism, vanity, folly, as if egotism consisted only in speaking of oneself. True Christian modesty is not the being ignorant of what we are, neither does it consist in affecting ignorance. It consists in this—in having a high and sublime standard set before us, so that we feel how far we are from attaining to that.”

        So basically the “false apostle” interpretation is a modern argument to save Paul and make it look like he and the Disciples we’re holding hands and singing Kum bye ya.

        Matthew Poole’s Commentary
        The apostle, doubtless, meaneth those that were the true apostles of our Lord. those who were immediately sent out by him to preach the gospel, behind whom the apostle was not, either in respect of ministerial gifts and graces, or in respect of labours, or in respect of success which God had given him in his work. One method that false teachers used to vilify Paul, was by magnifying some others of the apostles above him, and preferring them before him; which makes him, both here, and in Galatians 2:1-21, and Romans 11:13, to magnify his office, by showing them, there was no reason why they should make a difference between him and other apostles; for he had the same immediate call, was intrusted with the same power, furnished and adorned with the same gifts, in labours (as he elsewhere saith) he had been more than they all; nor had God been wanting in giving him success in his labours, proportionable to the chiefest of them: so as he was not a whit behind them.

        Bengel’s Gnomen
        2 Corinthians 11:5. Γὰρ, for) The particle connecting the discussion with the proposition [the subject he proposed to discuss]. The sum of Paul’s boasting is here stated and repeated, ch. 2 Corinthians 12:11.—τῶν ὑπερλίαν, the very chiefest) such as James, Kephas, John…

        Pulpit Commentary
        Verse 5. – For. It cannot be that you received this rival teacher as being so much superior to me; for, etc. I suppose. Again, like the Latin censeo or opinor, with a touch of irony. I was not a whit behind; in no respect have I come short of. The very chiefest apostles. The word used by St. Paul for “very chiefest” is one which, in its strangeness, marks the vehemence of his emotion. It involves an indignant sense that he had been most disparagingly compared with other apostles, as though he were hardly a genuine apostle at all. Yet he reckons himself to have done as much as the “above exceedingly” – or, as it might be expressed, the “out and out,” “extra-super,” or “super-apostolic,” apostles. There is here no reflection whatever on the twelve; he merely means that, even if any with whom he was uufavourably contrasted were “apostles ten times over,” he can claim to be in the front rank with them. This is no more than he has said with the utmost earnestness in 1 Corinthians 15:10; Galatians 2:6. There is no self-assertion here; but, in consequence of the evil done by his detractors, St. Paul, with an utter sense of distaste, is forced to say the simple truth.

        https://biblehub.com/commentaries/2_corinthians/11-5.htm

        Verses quoted to support thi is his blatant disrespect to Peter:

        Peter (Cephas) Opposed by Paul

        11But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. 13The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.

        https://biblehub.com/context/galatians/2-1.htm

        https://biblehub.com/commentaries/galatians/2-11.htm

        Liked by 1 person

      • Stew,

        “So basically the “false apostle” interpretation is a modern argument to save Paul and make it look like he and the Disciples we’re holding hands and singing Kum bye ya.

        Paul explicitly calls them ‘false apostles’ — this isn’t an ‘interpretation’, it’s just reading the text. cf. 2 Cor 11:13.

        “Verses quoted to support this his blatant disrespect to Peter:”

        Is all criticism ‘blatant disrespect’? Paul clearly recognized his authority, as he says in the same letter (Gal 2:9, cf. also 1Cor 1: 10-17 )

        Like

      • Hello Chris,
        Besides it’s the classical interpretation for christians themselves as my brother stewjo004 has shown, it’s very obvious this’s the case from the context of the letter. The purpose of the letters to Corinthians was that there had been a division among christians. Some say they follow Peter, but others say follow Paul!
        It’s very obvious that the other side which is in the opposite of Paul’s message was for holding the Torah and its teachings! That’s why Paul started to belittle the Torah by saying “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts….He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”!
        Also, what did Paul imply by saying “We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.”? Peter and his hypocrisy?

        Moreover, Paul was not interested at all to back or legitimize his ministry by the disciples of Jesus who are by default the only way to get the true message of Jesus! However, Paul didn’t want that. In fact, he bragged about that explicitly in his letter to Galatians. He claimed even that he rebuked Peter for his hypocrisy which is something that puts Jesus’s wisdom in jeopardy! Jesus said about Peter
        “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. In contrast, Pau; said “As for those who were held in high esteem–whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism–they added nothing to my message.”!

        Finally and by logic, if those super apostles had been just “false ones”, Paul would’ve not put himself in a comparison with them! He just needed to say to Corinthians that those apostles are false ones, and you may just ask the disciples of Jesus to make sure about the identity of those people. However, we find out that those “false apostles” are also high esteem in the church of Jerusalem! Who else could be those apostles except the disciples of Jesus and their followers?

        Like

  2. awesome video!

    Like

  3. I think Ehrman is badly missing the point.

    He himself claims that

    “we can say with complete certainty that some of the disciples at some later time insisted that (a) women from their group went to anoint Jesus’ body fir burial and found it missing, and (b) he soon appeared to them, convincing them that he had been raised from the dead .” Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium , p 230

    So for Ehrman, it is ‘completely certain’ that at least some of Jesus’ disciples taught that he died and rose again.

    The argument which he is responding to holds that these disciples could not have been lying, because who would die for a lie?

    Ehrman responds that we don’t know how the disciples died, because the relevant martyrdom accounts are late and unreliable. But this is irrelevant! Regardless of how the disciples actually died, it is obvious that preaching the resurrection would have been incredibly dangerous and costly, and the disciples would have known this. Hence it is very implausible that the disciples would have preached the resurrection without actually believing it.

    Thus, contra Ehrman, the argument does not depend on the claim that the disciples were all martyred as per church tradition.

    Like

    • Chris,

      “it is obvious that preaching the resurrection would have been incredibly dangerous and costly”

      Really? Acts depicts the Jews as the main persecutors of Paul. But the idea of a Jew being raised from dead was hardly dangerous in the wider graeco-roman world.

      Were the disciples of Jesus martyred for believing in the Resurrection? I have been told many times by Christians that they were. But as Bart rightly points out “we just don’t know”. Do you disagree?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It would have been rather dangerous to consider that person as kurios, inherently opposed to Caesar who at the time commanded such authority as well as preaching monotheism to be the only path to salvation and rejecting the gods of Rome. Romans were happy with people having their own gods but not denying theirs’ existed.

        As was the case with the Prophets Abraham and Muhammad who were tolerated until they confronted the idolatry of the people.

        Liked by 2 people

      • “But the idea of a Jew being raised from dead was hardly dangerous in the wider graeco-roman world.”

        Except that this was the man whom Rome had executed for sedition. His resurrection meant that God had fully vindicated him as the true King, above Caesar and all the lords of this world. If that isn’t subversive, I don’t know what is.

        “I have been told many times by Christians that they were. But as Bart rightly points out “we just don’t know”. Do you disagree?

        Well some of them clearly were. But I agree that for the most part we don’t know. But my point was that the argument Ehrman responds to doesn’t depend on that.

        Like

      • “His resurrection meant that God had fully vindicated him as the true King, above Caesar and all the lords of this world.”

        But only Christians (significantly) claimed to have had “visions” of the alleged resurrected Jesus (see Paul’s description of his “vision” of Jesus in Acts).

        No Roman soldier would take that as a serious threat to the Pax Romana. Indeed Luke and Paul go out of their way to show how pro-Rome the new faith was.

        “Well some of them clearly were.”

        Who, for example?

        Like

  4. @ Chris

    People die for lies all the time, Joan of Arc for example so that means nothing. Also, you cannot claim to “know for certain” about something if you have no writings about the person and only a bunch of hearsay from random people.

    So you don’t know:

    a. What they believe
    b. Anything about some of your most important early leader’s lives and deaths.

    That is MAJOR. This would be equivalent to us not knowing anything about the Sahaba (or the Tabieen for that matter) and then some 3 generations down people saying this was their beliefs. And then over a thousand years later saying:

    “Oh, we know for sure they believed this…”

    What?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Stew,

      “People die for lies all the time, Joan of Arc for example so that means nothing.”

      Are you honestly telling me that Joan was lying all along about hearing God’s voice? After all

      “That is MAJOR. This would be equivalent to us not knowing anything about the Sahaba (or the Tabieen for that matter) and then some 3 generations down”

      ‘3 generations down’?? Are you serious? Both the Gospels and Paul’s letters were written while the apostles were still around.

      “you cannot claim to “know for certain” about something if you have no writings about the person and only a bunch of hearsay from random people.”

      Go tell that to Bart Ehrman. I was merely quoting him.

      Like

      • (apologies, forgot to finish my answer to your first point)

        “People die for lies all the time, Joan of Arc for example so that means nothing.”

        Are you honestly telling me that Joan was lying all along about hearing God’s voice? Even when she was on trial, and claiming to hear voices in her head boosted her chances of getting condemned to death as a witch?

        Like

      • @ Chris
        Are you honestly telling me that Joan was lying all along about hearing God’s voice?

        Yes. Or crazy you pick, but I prefer the former though. You don’t seem to understand the extent people will go when lying. Take Musaylamah or ibn Arabi. Until the death they kept lyong. Its a “in for a penny, in for a nickel” mentality. (Of course I don’t think this happened I’m just saying this argument proves nothing)

        3 generations down
        Yes I know what I wrote the first time. You have no chain of authorship until 3 generations later.

        1. Jesus(as)
        2. Disciple
        3. Writer
        4. Insert whatever Church Father who made the claim of authorship

        If you want to be more accurate, let’s use John:

        Jesus(as)<John(ra) <scribe(s)?< church leader?< Papias teacher? < Papias.

        And this is being VERY generous. Finding a random old book in a garbage dump in Egypt means nothing. Your first claim is minimum 3 generations down. We haven't even got to these people's memory or character yet and it already fails by our standards.

        4. Ehrman
        Contrary to popular belief Muslims don't just follow Ehrman as if he is oozing with All Knowing truth. I disagree with critical scholarship all the time. In this case Ehrman is wrong he does not know what the Disciples believed and concedes this in the post:

        "Do we even know that they came to believe in the resurrection?"

        5. Biography of the Disciples
        And for my final point, I find it HIGHLY suspicious that you all don't have any information about not 1, not 2 but 12 men who were essentially Jeaus's road dogs and most trusted advisors. Let's be honest here they are without a doubt the best source about Jesus(as) (other than the Quran) that we got. You're going to sit there and tell me that Early Christians don't have ANY information about these gentlemen? NOBODY wrote anything down? All these diffrent beliefs floating around and all these writings from their alleged students (which ALL sects claimed to be) but have no info about their life,death or beliefs whatsoever? Aren't they the leaders of the movement? GTFO here. We have an abundance of Sahaba writings and they were teachers and politicians. These guys weren't even doimg half as much and only had to focus on teaching. So where is it?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Waiting for a Muslim Bart.

    Like

  6. @ Chris

    Not in the context of the verse of SUPER apostles. As quoted classical scholars agreed the meaning of the verse was about the Disciples. He already threw shade at Peter the right hand man what’s the rest now at this point?

    Like

  7. @ Chris

    Yes it is disrespectful to call a Disciple a hypocrite. Hypocrites are worse than disbelivers and get the worse punishment in Hell. He is the new guy on the block and doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Even gangs recognize senior people’s authority over them. Next neither of those verses talk about recognizing Peter’s authority idk how you got that from those.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stew,

      “Not in the context of the verse of SUPER apostles”

      It’s literally in the same passage. Read 2 Corinthians 11:5-13. It’s obvious that ‘false apostles’ in vs 13 refers to the ‘super-apostles’ in vs 5.

      There’s point in throwing ‘classical commentaries’ at me. I can just as easily throw quotes from classical Islamic commentaries (Ibn Kathir etc) at you which you would disagree with.

      “Next neither of those verses talk about recognizing Peter’s authority idk how you got that from those.

      Gal 1:8-9, ” For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. James, Cephas[c] and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me.”

      Paul claims that Peter is an “apostle”, in whom God is at work. If we didn’t recognize Peter’s authority, why on earth would he feel the need to say that Peter and the others recognized him as a true apostle in vs 8?

      “3 generations down
      Yes I know what I wrote the first time. You have no chain of authorship until 3 generations later.

      1. Jesus(as)
      2. Disciple
      3. Writer
      4. Insert whatever Church Father who made the claim of authorship

      That’s not what ‘three generations down’ means. A generation is “the average period, generally considered to be about thirty years, in which children grow up, become adults, and have children of their own.” (https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/generation)

      Thus, three generations = roughly ninety years. The Synoptic Gospels were written within 30-50 years after the events. Paul’s letters were written 20-30 years after the events.

      So no, your claim that “some 3 generations down people saying this was their beliefs” is incorrect.

      “You’re going to sit there and tell me that Early Christians don’t have ANY information about these gentlemen? NOBODY wrote anything down? ”

      “but have no info about their life,death or beliefs whatsoever?”

      These are gross exaggerations. Once again, Paul in Gal 2:8-9 claims that Peter (and James and John) were true apostles, which entails that, in his view, the gospel they preached was the same as his.

      Luke (1:1-4) claims to be handing down the teaching of “those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.”, an obvious reference to the disciples.

      So, Paul and Luke claim to be teaching what the apostles taught (and thus believed).

      You can say that Paul and Luke (etc) were lying. But you can’t say that ‘nothing was written down’ about their beliefs until three generations later. And again, both Paul and Luke were writing while at least some of the apostles were still alive.

      “We have an abundance of Sahaba writings and they were teachers and politicians.”

      Where can I access these writings? Are you referring to the hadith? or the sirah? or something else?

      Like

      • @ Chris

        a. To begin Ibn Kathir(rh) is not a “classical” commentary he’s actually closer to modern times, a classical would be something like Tabari (rh).

        b. After re-reading I agree with you Paul is not attacking the 12 directly. He is attacking other political opponents who are unnamed. We only know what they taught was different than Paul since we don’t have their writings. Ehrman suggested these were the Ebionites or their ancestors (which makes sense because they hated Paul). Since they’re more than likely the original Christians (or closest to their beliefs) I am going to shift my position to Paul is indirectly attacking the Disciples in ignorance. This will then reconcile why early commentators said he was attacking the Disciples.

        c. Regarding generations if you want to to be anal and argue semantics, let’s break out the Webster:

        generation- “a group of individuals having contemporaneously a status (such as that of students in a school) which each one holds only for a limited period”

        https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/generation

        Now like I was saying, you don’t know who wrote the books. You have later Church Fathers making unsubstantiated claims. Look at their dates:

        Irenaeus (c. 130-202 CE) writes,

        Further, they teach that John, the disciple of the Lord, indicated the first Ogdoad, expressing themselves in these words: John, the disciple of the Lord, wishing to set forth the origin of all things, so as to explain how the Father produced the whole, lays down a certain principle,—that, namely, which was first-begotten by God, which Being he has termed both the only-begotten Son and God, in whom the Father, after a seminal manner, brought forth all things. [1]

        Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215 CE), as quoted by the church historian Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 263-339 CE) denotes the following:

        Again, in the same books Clement has set down a tradition which he had received from the elders before him, in regard to the order of the Gospels, to the following effect. He says that the Gospels containing the genealogies were written first, and that the Gospel according to Mark was composed in the following circumstances:—

        Peter having preached the word publicly at Rome, and by the Spirit proclaimed the Gospel, those who were present, who were numerous, entreated Mark, inasmuch as he had attended him from an early period, and remembered what had been said, to write down what had been spoken. On his composing the Gospel, he handed it to those who had made the request to him; which coming to Peter’s knowledge, he neither hindered nor encouraged. But John, the last of all, seeing that what was corporeal was set forth in the Gospels, on the entreaty of his intimate friends, and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel.[2]

        90+ years (i.e. 3 generations even by your definition of the word) until the claim of Apostolic authorship.

        c. Watch this:

        “I have this gospel according to stew here that was handed down to my family generation after generation until now. This is the original teaching of the disciples who first witnessed all the prophecies of Jesus of Nazareth.”

        Ta-dah!!! Took me about 7-10 secs. to type that. Do you think Marcion or Simon Magnus got a following by saying:

        “Hey, we made this stuff up follow us!”

        Part of what liars do is they claim to have been given authority by senior members and even forge letters or artifacts for “proof”. (An example of this in Islamic history is al-Mukhtar al Thaqafi, he claimed to have been given authority to “avenge Hussein” by his brother and had a large following in Iraq. He produced letters, artifacts, paid people to lie and taught all sorts of foolishness. Now we know for a fact this dude lied but now imagine he won and built his empire on lies. 1,000+ years later “Well, well why would do all that if he was lying? Surely he must have felt what he was saying was true!!!” I can also say the same thing of Musaylamah he took an actual conversation between him and the Prophet(saw) and built an entire religion around it. In both these incidents, Sahaba’s were very much alive and yet still they had a large number of followers believe them because things like the internet or television didn’t exist yet.) These guys are a dime a dozen in Christianity’s early years. Even the proof you presented (and this applies to most of the NT I believe but I could be incorrect) are not independent of each other correct me if I’m wrong:

        Paul and the student of Paul, Luke wrote: Galatians, Luke, and Acts. So using them for proof that the Disciples agreed with them means nothing. It is based entirely off their testimony (aka circular logic).

        d. Quite a few places (just off the top of my head):

        – Books of fiqh
        – Classical commentaries
        – ahadith
        – their student’s writings (who we know ACTUALLY attended their schools)
        – their political decrees

        Like

      • Stew,

        “Ehrman suggested these were the Ebionites or their ancestors (which makes sense because they hated Paul). Since they’re more than likely the original Christians (or closest to their beliefs) (or closest to their beliefs) I am going to shift my position to Paul is indirectly attacking the Disciples in ignorance.

        Where is the evidence that the disciples agreed with the ‘false apostles’ Paul responds to? and what is the evidence that these ‘false apostles’ held Ebionite views?

        “90+ years (i.e. 3 generations even by your definition of the word) until the claim of Apostolic authorship.”

        But this isn’t what you said earlier. You said: “then some 3 generations down people saying this was their beliefs.”

        You said that no one claimed to be writing down what the apostles taught until three generations after the events. Once again, this is false, because Paul wrote while the apostles were alive and kicking (not three generations later), and claimed that their teaching was the same as his.

        “Paul and the student of Paul, Luke wrote: Galatians, Luke, and Acts. So using them for proof that the Disciples agreed with them means nothing. ”

        There is no reason to believe that Luke got most of his info from Paul. His material does not closely correspond to Paul’s writings. And he claims in Luke 1:1-4 to have received his information from “those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning”. Paul obviously wasn’t an eyewitness to the events in the Gospel of Luke, so he couldn’t have been referring to Paul.

        “Quite a few places (just off the top of my head):

        – Books of fiqh
        – Classical commentaries
        – ahadith
        – their student’s writings (who we know ACTUALLY attended their schools)
        – their political decrees

        Are there any extant documents about the life and teachings of the Sahaba written earlier than two centuries after the events? if so, which ones?

        Like

  8. @ Paul

    Ehrman says:
    “There is a statement that James the son of Zebedee was martyred in the book of Acts. There are hints that Peter and Paul died before the Gospels and Acts were written. There is the hint that the “Beloved Disciple” had died before the final form of John’s Gospel was written. But in none of these three cases (Peter, Paul, the Beloved Disciple) is it clear *how* they died”

    Does he mention what the hints are for their deaths before these books were written?

    Like

  9. Paul,

    “But only Christians (significantly) claimed to have had “visions” of the alleged resurrected Jesus (see Paul’s description of his “vision” of Jesus in Acts).

    No Roman soldier would take that as a serious threat to the Pax Romana.

    Again, the early Christians preached that God had raised up Jesus and enthroned him *above* Caesar. I don’t see how the fact that they believed this based on ‘visions’ changes anything.

    “Indeed Luke and Paul go out of their way to show how pro-Rome the new faith was.

    If Paul was ‘pro-Rome’, why the scathing critique of the Gentile world in Romans 1? Why the insistence that Gentile Christians had to give up the worship of Roman gods? And why call Jesus ‘Son of God’ and ‘Lord’, titles given to the emperor himself?

    Like

  10. @ Chris

    1.Ebionites
    It’s in the link that we discussed regarding thw Ebionites. He lists the beliefs and compares them. I can’t find the post where discussed the Ebionites if you can find it send me the link.

    2.Generation
    Let me help you out when I say generation because I think we’re having communication issues.

    A prophet and his disciples is a generation in what I am saying.

    Someone who meets a disciple (but not the Prophet) are a new generation (as they were not exposed to the original).

    Someone who meets a person who met a person who met a Disciple is a new generation.

    People change thing in these generations. Hopefully we’re clear now.

    3. Paul/Luke
    I’m accusing them of forgery. You cannot quote them as proof of being in synch with the Disciples because he would be biased towards his teacher. You have no writings from the Disciples period so this is purely speculation on your part. I can claim with the Gnostics had the “real beliefs” of the Disciples.

    4. Sahaba
    To begin hadith was not written 200 years later lol. Only people who know nothing about hadith say that. Bukhari (who was 180 years) absorbed earlier works. Here are a few examples:
    https://discover-the-truth.com/2013/10/13/are-there-any-hadith-collections-from-early-islam/

    Next the other things I listed are earlier works as well. Again the difference between us and the Christians is our Disciples we’re leaders of an empire so these issues are not nearly as prevalent. There is no “secret letters” being passed back and forth.

    5. Lord,son of god

    Means different things in the context of the Jews. Pagans bring their interpretation and the two mix. Pretty simple.

    Like

    • Good grief, that silly “oh the hadiths were written down 200 years later” argument has gotten really old. I think it has run its course, don’t you think folks?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Stew,

      “It’s in the link that we discussed regarding thw Ebionites. He lists the beliefs and compares them. I can’t find the post where discussed the Ebionites if you can find it send me the link.”

      Here it is https://bloggingtheology2.com/2019/03/27/feature-article-christology-revisited/

      I believe you’re referring to this: “They also believed that to belong to the people of God, one needed to be Jewish. As a reult, they insisted on observing the Sabbath, keeping the kosher, and circumcising all males. That sounds very much like the position taken by the opponents of Paul in Galatia.”

      As you can see, Ehrman is talking about Paul’s opponents in *Galatia*. Not the ‘super apostles’ in 2nd Corinthians. No reason to think that these two groups were the same.

      “3. Paul/Luke
      I’m accusing them of forgery. ”

      Forgery?? So, Paul and Luke deliberately wrote counterfeit documents? Evidence please?

      “You have no writings from the Disciples period so this is purely speculation on your part.”

      For the third time, yes we do have documents from the disciples’ period: Paul’s letters and the Gospels (Mark at the very least).

      ” I can claim with the Gnostics had the “real beliefs” of the Disciples.”

      No you can’t. With the possible exception of Thomas, the gnostic Gospels are dated decades later than the canonical Gospels. The Gospel of Thomas contains ridiculous claims unworthy of Jesus, not least:

      ” Simon Peter said to them: Let Mariham go out from among us, for women are not worthy of the life. Jesus said: Look, I will lead her that I may make her male, in order that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who makes herself male will enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

      “To begin hadith was not written 200 years later lol. Only people who know nothing about hadith say that.”

      Well I don’t claim to be very knowledgeable on this. Just asking a question. From what I’ve read, the earliest *extant* biographies of Muhammad and the Sahaba date from roughly two centuries after the events:

      “Nonetheless we can attempt to discover the impulses that first led believers to become interested in their own past and to elaborate it as history by examining the relative emphasis on or neglect of various topics in the Islamic historiographical tradition , as seen both in the earliest extant historical works (mid-second/eight century) and in the culmination of this early historiographical tradition in the massive compilations of the third and fourth centuries AH”

      (Fred Donner, Narratives of Islamic Origins p.127)

      Donner is a scholar of Islam at the university of Chicago. Do you agree with his above claim?

      “Bukhari (who was 180 years) absorbed earlier works.

      And? So did the evangelists. Even the most sceptical critics of the gospels claim that they were drawing on earlier material. No one thinks they were written from scratch.

      “Again the difference between us and the Christians is our Disciples we’re leaders of an empire so these issues are not nearly as prevalent. There is no “secret letters” being passed back and forth.”

      Don’t understand this argument. which ‘issues’ do you have in mind and why weren’t they prevalent?

      Like

      • Exposing the blatant inconsistencies of Muslim apologetics

        Like

      • @ Chris1.

        Galatians/ 2 Corinthians
        Whelp I stand corrected, thank you. So scratch my last point then.

        2. Paul/ Luke
        Easy they worship Jesus(as) and taught a different religion then what he taught, which means they made things up. Examples include at least 2 of the 3 synoptic authors. (The reason is no matter which one copied from who the other 2 changed Jesus’s original statements when narrating their story to fit their agenda. I’ll let you decide who was narrating the correct version)Paul’s vision, pretty much all his doctrines of faith, his complete literary abortion of the OT and his use of “catenas”

        3. “Period”
        Oh lol, I see what’s happening now. I’m not saying “the Disciple’s period” i.e. their time frame. I’m saying period like you don’t have any writings from the Disciples, period point blank. I knew something was wrong in our communication.

        5. Gnostics
        Gnostics were around during the first 100 years of Christianity. The earliest surviving writing is Thomas (and maybe a part of proto- gospel of John) but they were around way before their books written time. Their writing simply didn’t survive because proto orthodox won and did most of the copying. Also, the “canonical gospels” have absurdities in them such as the saints rising up from the grave when Jesus(as) was allegedly crucified so that means nothing.

        6. Hadith/ Bio
        No, I believe he is a hack spreading false info and further proves why they have no right to call themselves scholars as this is pretty basic.

        I’ll now, let someone who studied at Madinah University and Yale tell you how it went down regarding bio (@ 33:31):

        http://arqadhi2.blogspot.com/2015/11/003-why-study-seerah-and-pre-islamic.html

        Yep Sahaba’s children wrote the first bio books. Christian scholars would cream so hard they might hurt themselves if they had that.

        As for hadith you must not have read my link. Bukhari was LATE in hadith, When i say “copied from earlier material, I mean we know where he got his info and we have manuscripts from some of them from Sahaba’s student’s with the same hadith on there that they heard directly when in class. Bukhari simply wrote an easy reference Encyclopedia FOR SCHOLARS (not laymen). Again no comparison to what you got. We would actually have an even better manuscript tradition if the Mongolians had not burned down the “house of wisdom” in Baghdad.

        Also again our Disciples are the governors of different provinces. They make public announcements ALL THE TIME and ARE WELL KNOWN. There’s no this is a “secret” letter from so and so, and then 1000+ years later carbon date to the time saying: “Well this MUST be authentic!” The Church doesn’t have this luxury.

        7.Issues
        As for issues, I mean we could never even replicate this if we tried.

        a. References
        Let’s start with something basic in scholarship, no references of where anyone heard a story from. This problem even plagues Luke who is claiming to make an accurate account. That alone is enough to drop the mic and walk out.

        b. The early destruction of the “source of knowledge” of the religion
        Jerusalem and the surrounding areas are where Jesus(as) preached, the place of the first church, where the Disciples were based in as well as their students, friends, and family. All these other churches (including Paul) has to come when they call. Rome comes in and ends that. It’s safe to say many of the people who learned directly from prophet Jesus(as) or a Disciple died defending the city. The reason this is important is heresies generally spread far away from areas that have a direct lineage to the revelation such as this. For example, I can’t think of a single heresy starting in Medina or Mecca (I can be wrong but I don’t recall anything).

        c. Liars/ forgers/exaggerators with no checking system
        All these letters floating around and everyone is claiming to be teaching the beliefs of the Disciples. We know for a fact large amounts of forged letters were alleged to be from them as proto-orthodox accused their opponents of this all the time (while ironically proto orthodox seems to be doing this the most). Couple this with the fact that 90% of people can’t read (and thus verify or copy correctly) are far apart and come from a background of making up dialogue and worshipping another man and you have no way to cut false stories. Bringing the next point

        4. Hellenistic (aka pagan) influence
        These people were illiterate farmers who worshipped anything (think similar to ancient India). Even Acts says they were going to deify Paul and Barnabas when they performed a miracle. So if these people were willing to worship two (who I’m sure you agree) men, what stops from them worshipping another one who performed even more? This situation happened early in Islam in Iran when some Hindus took Ali(ra) as a god. People follow the power of the day and it affects their culture because they think this is the secret to success. As I showed before with examples from the era like Philo of Alexandria these people were combining all sorts of pagan beliefs together and these crept into Christianity. Which affects the next point as well.

        5. No uniformity in belief or doctrine within the first 300 years
        There is no “Christian doctrine” to root out what is or is not a heresy as established by the prophet Jesus(as) himself. This is important because people have to know what is or is not correct EARLY. For example, when the Prophet Muhammad(saw) died and some people refused to pay Charity so they could be called disbelievers because they violated clear cut pillars defined in the religion. The fact that there was no uniformity of beliefs even in the first 100 years on who Jesus(as) was shows there were major deviants spreading lies since inception and no one to say what is or is not correct.

        These are just a few of the glaring issues we get to minimize or skip because our Disciples were the political leaders of the area. If an issue arises just walk up and ask, they then make a decree well known.

        Like

      • “Make sure you don’t hurt him, because your riding pretty hard.

        Seriously dude?

        Like

  11. @ Agnostic

    Make sure you don’t hurt him, because your riding pretty hard.

    Like

  12. @ Chris

    Oh, you. Safety first I didn’t want Agnostic to throw your back out from all the piggybacking.

    Like

  13. Agnostic, please refrain from EVER commenting on this blog again and just focus on playing Pokemon Go

    Liked by 1 person

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