Your Common-Sense, Practical Test for the Reliability of the Bible

We are now in the closing hours of 2018.  One of the aspects of life today (and I am sure it will be true in 2019 as well) is that we rely so much on experts to address the various questions we face.  Health issue?  See a doctor, and if (s)he does not know, you can get a referral to a specialist.  Computer problem?  You find either a hardware or a software expert to help you.  In almost any area of life we turn to experts for advice and help Continue reading “Your Common-Sense, Practical Test for the Reliability of the Bible”

Archaeological Discovery of Ancient Temple Announced

The Jerusalem Post, on Christmas Day, announced the discovery of a seal used in the Temple worship in Jerusalem has been discovered.  The article, which includes a video of the artefact Continue reading “Archaeological Discovery of Ancient Temple Announced”

Hold the Eggnog Christmas is in trouble: Considering Dawkins’ claims against the Gospel story

One of the ways I assess the robustness of a controversial viewpoint (eg the Gospel) is to hear the informed arguments against it.  In other words, I want to see its weak or vulnerable points.  This gives me a handle on its overall reliability.

Session 4 gave an overview of external evidences in support of the historical reliability of the Bible.  But are there external evidences that are problems for the Biblical account?   Well-known critic of the Gospel, Richard Dawkins, in his best-seller The God Delusion dismisses the historicity of the account of the birth of Jesus.  He brings up an issue that is considered to be one of the most difficult and serious problems in squaring away the Gospel account of the birth of Jesus and what we know from external evidence.

The issue is that the Gospel of Luke places the birth of Jesus at the time when Quirinius was governor of Syria. (“This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.” – Luke 2:1)    Josephus places the time of a census while Quirinius was governor of Syria at 6-7 AD.  This places Luke’s time for the census far too late compared with other aspects of the birth narrative.  So this is considered a serious problem and Dawkins chose it as his example par excellence to illustrate errors in the Bible.  Looking at a problem will allow a good overall assessment of the viability of its historicity.  So let us examine this in some more detail in this 7 minute video.

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