3. Response to abundance of evidence

F.F. Bruce suggests in The New Testament Documents that the rejection of the truth of the Gospel accounts by some western academics has not depended so much on historical evidence as it has on philosophical presuppositions.

Would you agree or disagree?

I am writing this blog on the other side of the world from our home, during a week of consideration of the insights of F.F. Bruce and Paul Barnett with a friend who works all year in the midst of vigorous, authentic Muslim-Christian interaction. I am curious, of course, to know which of these insights my friend finds useful in a world in which questions of truth and scriptural reliability are very much alive.

Bruce proposes that one of the most important questions in assessing the trustworthiness of ancient historical writings is,"How soon after the events took place were they recorded?" (p. 9) He points out that the New Testament (NT) writings tend to be questioned by historians much more than other writings of the same period. He notes the abundance of early manuscripts of the NT compared with the poor attestation of other ancient works which are commonly accepted as authentic. Bruce catalogues some of the major NT manuscript discoveries during the past 80 years. He describes how the abundance of manuscripts and the science of textual criticism has helped scholars to recover the exact original wording. He quotes the judgment of Sir Frederick Kenyon that the interval between original composition and earliest extant evidence of NT writings is so small "as to be in fact negligible." (p. 15)

Is Bruce right to think that there is more to the response of western scholars to the New Testament than academic rigour? Does Bruce's argument lead you in the direction of the reliability of the New Testament manuscripts?

There are conflicting ideas

There are conflicting ideas about the New Testament and people are now questioning about the truth behind all of this.

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