In a message dated 1/4/00 1:03:28, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
>Well, the original writings were for the most part set down during their
>own lifetimes by those who had been in personal contact with Jesus or if
>not were nearly contemporary with Jesus and among the earliest
>Christians. So the New Testament is for the most part not purported to
>be multi-level hearsay.
The Gospels were definitely multi-level hearsay. Matthew, Mark, and
Luke were written in Greek and based on at least two different
documents previously written in Aramaic and later translated. Hence
they are at least two steps removed. John was written even later
and at least parts of Acts were written by the author of Luke.
The authors make a couple of telling translation and geography
errors, like the "camel through a needle's eye" business ("rope"
in the original Aramaic.)
Some of the purportedly apostolic letters, like James, 1 Peter,
and 1 John *could* have been written by the purported authors.
Some of them, such as 2 Peter, are either fakes or extensively
redacted. In general, however, the parts of the New Testament
which aren't demonstrably hearsay are precisely those which say
the least about Jesus.
I personally suspect the New Testament was a compilation of un-
related stories. The story of Jesus could originate from some
cult leader who was crucified but not killed. According to the
Gospels, the Romans didn't actually want to kill him and the
crucifixion as described wouldn't have actually killed anybody
(it takes days). Some of Matthew and Luke appear to come from
the Krishna myth (virgin birth, 3 Magi, flight to Egypt). So
my hypothesis is that the initial story was somebody who survived
a crucifixion, to which various other stories were accreted
in the retellings and translations.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:02:02 MDT