Monday, November 29, 2010

No, The Bible Was Not The Result Of A Secret Conspiracy

Michael Bird tells us about an exciting new book: Charles E. Hill, Who Chose the Gospels? Probing the Great Conspiracy (Oxford: OUP, 2010).

Here's a blurb about it from the publisher:
"It is now widely said that the four Gospels rose to prominence only after a long battle within early Christianity, a battle finally won in the fourth century, after the establishment of the Church by Constantine the Great. In Who Chose the Gospels? Charles E. Hill demolishes this claim, providing a more historically accurate, alternative account of how the Church came to acknowledge four, and only four, narratives of the life of Jesus. Hill offers not only an informed critique of recent, overtly "political" readings of early Christian history, but also a more nuanced analysis of how and why, out of all the Gospels written in the early centuries of the Church, just these four "made it" into the Bible. In fact, the author shows that despite the profusion of Gospels, there was wide agreement among church leaders, in diverse regions of the empire, at least from the second century onward, as to the authority of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Thus it was not a conspiracy but common consensus that determined the books of the New Testament."

1 comment:

Keener said...

For those of us on the outside looking in, who are undecided on what to believe, it seems a shame that one can find an authoritative church history book to support just about any view you want to believe.

I do suspect this account is correct about there not being a conspiracy, though, because I doubt that conspiracies were any easier to keep secret 2,000 years ago than they are today. I do not believe in government conspiracies, such as the Area 51 one, because the government is full of human beings, and we humans are notorious for not being able to keep secrets. I am confident the situation within the Church was no different 1500 to 2000 years ago.

I did see your Tweet the other day about Craig Keener being a genius. I am now have his "The Historical Jesus of the Gospels," and I hope I can make it all the way through it. Perhaps it will help me turn back to the Church. I see from the early part of it that he was once an atheist. If his in-depth studies led to his conversion, then the same might be possible for me.

Thanks for the blog, BTW. It's the only Christian blog I have in my feeds. Thanks also for the previous post regarding the rapturists ... I was raised as a fundamentalist and we certainly had what you would call a misreading of Jesus' words.