We are exposed to many ideas in our modern world, through the Internet,the Mainstream Media - Television,Radio and Press, and even in our churches , and in our routine contacts with friends and acquaintances.
Those ideas are not always correct. On some occasions they are incomplete in the way they address a subject.
In the case of Sacred Scripture, a multiplicity of errors abound. In the post- Conciliar period, it became fashionable for the false "spirit of the Council" people to argue for the Gospels having been written much later than had been traditionally believed , and this facilitated their assertion that they had been written, not by Saints Matthew, Mark,Luke and and John, but rather by the communities they had taught : collecting and assembling their accounts in a manner tailored to their own needs. These same spirit of the Council folk then moved on to the subject of apparent discrepancies in the Gospel accounts, and presented these in a way, and with a regularity,that served to undermine popular belief in the authority of Sacred Scripture.Curiously, or, perhaps predictably, they simultaneously ignored the Council's own document "Dei Verbum" which staunchly defended Sacred Scripture.
DATING OF THE GOSPELS
DATING OF THE GOSPELS
It is not difficult to dismiss many of the false claims described in general terms above. To take one simple example , let us consider the dating of the Gospels:
. It is universally agreed that the Gospel of Saint John was the last to be written, and in that Gospel Saint John (John 5 : 2) refers to Jerusalem in the present tense , while we know from history that the city and the Temple were destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Romans under the then General Titus , son of the newly acclaimed Emperor Vespasian (in A.D. 69).He was to succeed his Father in A.D. 79.
.Not one of the four Gospels mentions the actual destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70. However, Matthew 24 : 1-2
Mark 13:1-2 and
Luke 19:41-44 etc.
detail Jesus'prediction of the destruction of the City . They would certainly have been keen to proclaim the fulfilment of the prophesy, if the Gospels were written after A.D. 70.
According to the A.D. 836 Synod of Jerusalem attended by the three Melchite Patriarchs of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, Saint Matthew's Gospel was written 8yrs after the Ascension, Saint Mark's Gospel 11 yrs after the Ascension, Saint Luke's Gospel 15 yrs after the Ascension and Saint John's Gospel was written 32 yrs after the Ascension - all before the destruction of Jerusalem!
But, for the person committed to undermining the veracity of Sacred Scripture, it is important to have as late a date as possible for the writing of the Gospels. Why?
Well, for a start it is generally agreed that most of the Apostles were martyred under various circumstances between A.D. 44 and A.D. 75. The exception was Saint John .He died around A.D. 95 of natural causes. The later the date of writing, the Saints could not then be the authors of their Gospels in the case of Matthew and John. And, if it was well after A.D.70 , not only the 1,500,000 citizens of Jerusalem and Pilgrims to the City who were murdered by the Romans in the destruction of Jerusalem, but also most of the people who witnessed the events of Our Lord's Life, who survived that cataclysm, would have died by natural causes. And then : Lo! one can claim that the "compilers of stories and traditions"can be said to have been free to write whatever suited them, without fear of contradiction!
This modern mischievous scheme is truly diabolical in conception and detail.
ONLY ONCE ?
Another source of error, though not so pernicious in its origin (though sometimes in its use), rather seems to be the product of lazy thinking, and proceeds as if everything recounted in the Gospels was said only once. Yet common sense, and the evidence of Saint John's Gospel, makes it clear that many things that Our Lord said and did are not recorded in Sacred Scripture. The folk who proceed in this way then proceed to build mountains out of molehills of apparent discrepancies in detail in the various Gospel accounts .
It is true that there are in some cases apparent discrepancies but in these cases say, where timing and dates are concerned, scholars have shown that it is due to the multiple calendars in use at the time, coming out of the various traditions clashing in Roman Palestine : Hebrew, Greek and Roman.
In many cases , however , the explanation is far simpler. Let us bear in mind that there were very many more towns in Palestine than were mentioned in the Gospels - many dozens at least, perhaps hundreds . We know this from the contemporary historian and Romanised Jewish leader Flavius Josephus. When we consider that Our Divine Lord visited very many of these towns during His Public Life, as the Gospels repeatedly tell us , we realise that in many cases ,if not most, He would have been repeating core elements of His teaching. And that, not in a rote fashion or like an automaton, but, in His characteristic manner, tailoring His words to the circumstances of the people and the immediate surroundings.Accordingly, whilst very many separate events can be identified in the Gospels - say, the raising of Lazarus - many events would seem likely to have been broadly similar to other events happening repeatedly.
The commentators , however, often operate as if EVERYTHING Our Lord did is reported in the Gospels. This is totally false , as Saint John makes clear (John 21: 25) :
"But there are also many other things that Jesus did; were everything to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written."
So their efforts to identify "discrepancies"are very often examinations of different but similar events in the different Gospels.
A great deal more could be said on and around this subject to totally destroy the opinions of those holding these false views, but that would require far more space than this post would allow, due to the complexity of the subject. But we have shown here two headline errors that in themselves destroy the platform upon which the spirit of the Council folk stand.
In preparing this post I referred to the important paper published by Marie- Christine Ceruti-Cendrier in Homiletic and Pastoral Review January, 2005 and " Flavius Josephus" by the Jewish writer Mireille Hadas - Libel.( Macmillan 1993)