Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Alleged Historical Errors in the Gospels (Matthew & Mark) by Tim McGrew

In this lecture, entitled Alleged Historical Errors in the Gospels, Dr. Timothy McGrew critiques seven of the strongest objections to the historical reliability of the Gospels of Mark and Matthew. This is about 55 minutes of content followed by roughly fifteen minutes of Q&A. PowerPoint file is here. Handout PDF here. Visit the Library of Historical Apologetics. This is the fourth part of a series—part 1 here; part 2 here; part 3 here, part 6 here.
(Audio gets better after 6 minutes.)

Full MP3 Audio here. (1hr 12min)
Video on YouTube here.


James David Audlin said...

I will credit you for the very good points you make about Jesus's route homeward in Mark 7 in the next edition of my Gospel of John translation and commentary. The second paragraph below shows how I will refer to your point, but do note what I add to it, which supports your conclusion:

The texts are confusing as to what she is. In the Greek Textus Receptus she is called a ελληνις συροφοινικισσα τω γενει (“a Greek, a Syrophœnician by family/race”). The Peshitta says she is a ܚܢܦܬܐ (ḥanpetā, “heathen” or “idolater”), which suggests she is of the polytheistic Canaanite religion; it is likely that the Textus Receptus took ܚܢܦܬܐ to mean “Greek”, the Greeks being heathens from the perspective of the author of Mark, though the word is not that specific. However note that with a single letter difference the meaning completely changes in the earlier Syriac Sinaiticus text, which describes her as ܡܢ ܬܚܘܡܐ ܕܨܘܪ ܕܦܝܢܝܩܐ (“from the mountain range on the border of Phœnicia”). This tells us that she was from the Lebanon or Anti-Lebanon Mountains, or the fertile Beqaa Valley in between. That puts her close to Galilee, and very likely not a “heathen” at all but either a Jew or a Samaritan, more likely the latter, since she was living with a Samaritan, Panthera, in a predominantly Samaritan region. ...

In 7:31 the gospel says Jesus returned to his home country by first going north to Sidon, and passing around the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee through the region of Dekapolis. Some scholars say this circuitous route is unlikely and hence question Mark’s geographical accuracy, though Timothy McGrew ( points out that this route may well have been to avoid Mount Meron on the direct route to Galilee, whose summit is nearly four thousand feet above sea level. McGrew adds a further reason, saying “there is a pass from Sidon through the mountains to the Jordan river valley, where foot travelers to Galilee could have fresh water for the journey.” To these practical reasons for Jesus adopting this route I can add a personal reason: as noted above, the Syriac Sinaiticus suggests that Panthera’s woman comes from one or the other mountain chains east of Syrophœnicia or else the Beqaa Valley that lies between them. This route would send Jesus south through the Beqaa, where he might well have engaged in some kind of follow-up with the woman’s family.

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