Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions (4 of 4)

Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions (4 of 4) October 29, 2018

We’ll conclude our look at Bible contradictions. Here are the final five (part 1 is here).

16. There are two incompatible Ten Commandments

You know the story: Moses got the Ten Commandments from God on Mt. Sinai in Exodus 20. The list of commandments had the familiar rules—no blaspheming, no murder, no lying, no stealing, and so on. Moses returns, only to find that the Israelites, impatient and anxious during his long absence, had made and were worshipping a golden calf, a familiar object of worship from Egypt.

Moses smashed the tablets in his rage, 3000 Israelites were killed in the opening round of punishment, and Moses eventually went back up for a duplicate set (Exodus 34), which was put in the Ark of the Covenant.

Except that it wasn’t a duplicate set. It’s a list that very few Christians are familiar with. For example, number 5 is “The first offspring from every womb belongs to me.” Number 7: Celebrate the Feast of Weeks. Number 10: “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.” This set is referred to as the “Ten Commandments” in Exodus, not the other set.

We can debate which set fundamentalists should try to illegally place on government property, but despite God’s assurance, these are two very different sets of rules. (More here and here.)

17. There are two creation stories in Genesis

There are also two creation stories at the beginning of Genesis. First is the six-day creation story that enumerates the things God created day by day, after which God rested. Next is an older creation story, the one about the Garden of Eden.

Apologists try to harmonize these two, saying that the Garden of Eden story is just an in-depth look at the last day of creation, but details in the two stories disagree. The 6-day story says that humans can eat from every tree, while the Eden story says that one is forbidden. The 6-day story has plants and animals before humans, while the Eden story has the opposite. And so on (more).

18. There are even two Flood stories

You see the trend: the Old Testament often has two different, incompatible stories. Each was too precious for ancient editors to discard, so both were jammed together somehow. The two Ten Commandments stories are separated by over a dozen chapters, the two creation stories are back to back, and they’re interleaved in the Flood story.

In Flood story 1, the older story, Noah takes seven pairs of all clean animals plus one pair of all the others. Once on board with his family, it rained for forty days and forty nights, and everything outside the ark was killed. Noah sent out a dove to scout for dry land. On the second try, it returned with an olive leaf. Back on dry land, Noah sacrificed one of every clean animal to Yahweh, and Yahweh promised to never again destroy life on earth (with a flood, anyway).

In story #2, God is named, not Yahweh, but Elohim, and specifics about the design of the ark are given. With just one pair of each animal plus provisions, Noah (now 600 years old) and family go into the ark. This time, the water comes, not from rain, but from “the fountains of the great deep” and “the windows of the heavens.” Water had covered the earth for 150 days when Elohim made the water recede. This time it was a raven that helped scout for dry land, and they were back on dry land after a year in the ark. God told them to “be fruitful and multiply.”

A leading explanation of the Old Testament’s many story pairs is the Documentary Hypothesis. It answers a lot of questions and proposes four original documents that were merged to make the Pentateuch, the Bible’s first five books. Read more on the two Flood stories and the Documentary Hypothesis here.

19. Resurrection contradictions

Forty percent of the gospels focus on the last week of Jesus’s life, from the triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to the crucifixion, resurrection, and final teachings, and they differ on many points.

A popular Christian response is to say that just because only Matthew wrote about the dead coming out of their graves and walking around Jerusalem doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. (Yeah—the other gospel writers must not have thought that Jesus causing the dead to reanimate and walk around Jerusalem, seen by many, wasn’t worth writing about.)

Or that just because John says “Mary Magdalene went to the tomb,” that doesn’t mean that many other women weren’t also with her as Luke says (“Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them”).

Or that just because only Matthew has Jesus riding on two donkeys, that doesn’t mean the other gospels’ reference to just one disagrees. (Yeah, it pretty much does.)

Or that Paul’s reference to 500 eyewitnesses to the risen Jesus might’ve been compelling to him, but it wasn’t worth writing about in any gospel (more).

From who Peter denied Jesus, to Jesus’s last words, to who the women saw at the tomb, to whether Mary Magdalene recognized Jesus or not, to how many days Jesus stayed after his resurrection, the various accounts differ. (More here.)

20. Jesus forgets the plot

At some point the three persons of the Trinity—Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit—agreed that Jesus should live as a human on earth. Jesus was born as a divine being (except in Mark, where he becomes divine with his baptism) and lives out a life that ends with crucifixion. Just before that, he prayed with his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. To the few disciples with him, he said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38). Then he prays, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup [he’s referring to the upcoming crucifixion] be taken from me.” He prays this three times. The story is the same in Mark, and in Luke, an angel strengthens Jesus.

Why did Jesus go off-script? He was part of the Trinity that decided this, so how could he be second-guessing the plan now?

We can look for a human comparison. It wouldn’t be surprising for an ordinary human to have second thoughts before a suicide mission, but in this story we’re talking about a god. Even if agony were a thing that he could perceive, why would an omniscient being question a plan that he knows is perfect?

The puzzle vanishes if we reinterpret the Jesus story as legend.

But wait! There’s more!

Religion is just superstition
which has been around long enough
to have become respectable.
— J. B. R. Yant

.

Image via Drew Saurus, CC license
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • RichardSRussell

    Contradictions only matter to people for whom the truth is important.

  • If only hardcore apologists could just be honest and tell what we already know – i.e. that such contradictions cannot be reconciled, that different people living at different times and under different circumstances had a different concept of God.

    That would be far more respectable.

    • Mark Dowd

      But that would destroy the legitimacy of their superiority complex.

    • Joe

      It would allow for much better discourse, as the past few threads have amounted to theists telling us we “have the wrong interpretation”, then tap dancing around and equivocating as to what the “one true meaning” actually is.

      • TheNuszAbides

        or “I don’t know the One True Meaning either, but it couldn’t possibly be anything You Atheists suggest, b’cuzholyspirt.”

    • eric

      I’m certainly no expert in Judaism, but AFAIK most Jews have no problem with the idea that different groups/tribes of early Hebrews had slightly different versions of these stories; even if one is a believer who considers them fundamentally true, it shouldn’t be that threatening to think that different groups would remember and record the events differently. At least, not that threatening for everyone except fundamentalist Christians.

    • Christianity as a custom, not a religion, would be a nice improvement. It defines what you do on Sundays, and maybe it opens your mind up to being a better person. And you don’t impose it on others and you certainly don’t let a politician use it as a dog whistle to change your attitude toward public policy.

    • Rudy R

      An Apologists goal is not to convert the unbelievers but to strengthen the faith of believers.

  • I have a nominee for honorable mention: Samuel-Kings versus Chronicles.

    They tell the same story, but they contradict each other pretty much constantly throughout the narratives. Sometimes in small ways, sometimes in very large ways, but they hardly ever come to full agreement about anything.

    • Greg G.

      I have noticed that there are no parallels in Chronicles about Elijah and Elisha. 1 Chronicles mentioned Elijah in a genealogy and 2 Chronicles calls him a prophet and that he wrote a letter to the king that his guts would fall out.

      • Yeah … I hate getting letters like that.

        • Greg G.

          In 2 Chronicles 21:11-15, Elijah sends that letter with the prophecy. In 2 Chronicles 21:18-19, Jehoram dies as predicted.

          In 2 Kings 1:15-18 (the end of the chapter), Elijah prophesies the death of Azahiah and he dies as predicted. Jehoram was already king of Israel but this made him king of Judah since Azahiah had no heir. In 2 Kings 2:1-12, Elijah is taken up to heaven by a whirlwind.

          2 Kings 8:16-17 says Jehoram went on to rule for eight years in Jerusalem.

          Did Elijah’s letter in 2 Chronicles get lost in the mail?

  • larry parker

    #17 is one of my gotos. Not only do the two versions contradict each other they also contradict reality.

  • Tawreos

    “Or that just because only Matthew has Jesus riding on two donkeys, that doesn’t mean the other gospels’ reference to just one disagrees”

    So how does one ride two different donkeys at the same time? Did he have the holy butt on one and his feet up on the other? Were they stacked one on top of another? Did Jesus ride them like he was skiing? I have so many questions. Personally I like the idea of riding them like skis. Long blonde hair blowing out behind him, sunglasses on looking so cool and undeniably American. lol

  • MadScientist1023

    This was the first time I’d heard #16. I just read half the book of Exodus checking that it was right, and I’m a little flabbergasted that it is. There’s nothing in the book (or at least the English translation of it) indicating that the rules most people think of as the 10 Commandments. They’re the first 10 things their God said to the whole Israelite tribe before they told Moses to go up the mountain and talk to God one-on-one because they thought they would die if their God kept talking to all of them. But their God gives Moses dozens of more rules when they’re talking in private. They rules aren’t called the 10 Commandments until the second trip up.

    I can’t wait to use this on a Christian who tells me to read the Bible. Now I can get them to tell me what the 10 Commandments are, and then tell them they need to go read their Bible again.

    • It’s also a nice rebuttal to the nuts who want to put up the 10 Commandments on government property. You can say, “What the hell is that? That’s not the 10 Commandments!”

      And then hilarity ensues as you remind them of the story they heard in Sunday school and point them to Exodus 34.

  • skl

    21. The greatest contradiction may be that perhaps billions
    of people have not been bothered by the other 20 contradictions.

    • eric

      Francis’ post above provides an excellent example of (a) a Christian ‘not bothered by’ these contradictions, and (b) why your not-bothered-by counterargument (…harped on constantly, in multiple threads…) is essentially worthless in terms of defending the consistency or rationality of the theology .

      We only need to point at the behavior and writings of actual Christians to show that, in many cases, the reason they aren’t troubled by these contradictions is that they fail to apply any deep thought to their own theology.

    • Dus10

      Not bothered by them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. It just means they compartmentalize them away. Pointing out the contradictions hopefully will engage the rational part of their brains.

      • skl

        “Pointing out the contradictions hopefully will engage the rational part of their brains.”

        Maybe in several more thousand years.

    • Zeta

      Among the billions, probably most were and are not aware of these contradictions. Most Christians do not read their holy book or at most selectively read some parts. They probably only know something from preachers in churches who are not likely to highlight contradictions.

      “The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem”
      https://albertmohler.com/2016/01/20/the-scandal-of-biblical-illiteracy-its-our-problem-4/

      Some highlights:

      1. Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels.
      2. 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments.
      3. At least 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife!
      4. Another survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife!
      5. A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham!

      Can such believers be “bothered by the other 20 contradictions.” when they do not even know that these contradictions exist?

      • skl

        Good point.

        Instead of “perhaps billions of people”, I’d revise to perhaps
        a billion or many millions of people.

      • That list is simultaneously unsurprising and fascinating.

      • Jim Jones

        > They probably only know something from preachers in churches who are not likely to highlight contradictions.

        And the congregations don’t want to hear them.

      • ildi

        I know, I know! One of the commandments is “Don’t covet your wife’s ass.”

        • “unsubscribe”

        • Max Doubt

          “unsubscribe”

          Getting a little sensitive there? All that ass coveting getting to be too much for you?

  • Sadly the multitudes of worldly and/or religious souls still worship “the golden calf{unrighteous mammon}”, that which is of this evil world and mankind’s “imag”ination!

    And TRUTH IS! Mankind’s “imag”ination IS ‘d’evil’s playground…….

    Yet while breath(Spirit, air) IS, Hope IS!

    Not for this world and/or religion’s way in this day and age, but for the soul who finally REALizes that liken unto The Messiah so also “I(ego, id, self, pride) can do nothing of my own self”! (John 5:19,30)

    FATHER Help!

    HE DID! and HE does…….

    Yet, except a soul understands and rightly comprehends the beginning, how then can a soul understand and rightly comprehend that which follows?

    “ELOHIM said, “Let There Be Light” and there was Light!” (Genesis 1:3)

    The Messiah, “The Light of the world” and “The Beginning of The Creation of Our FATHER and GOD”! (John 8:12, Revelations 3:14)

    HalleluYAH!

    • Halbe

      There is no soul, no devil, no spirit, no FATHER, no Elohim, no Messiah, no God. And if you really want to comprehend the beginning: study cosmology. However, I do agree that breathing air is a precondition for hope.

    • Lark62

      Flagged for proselytizing.

      And for being unintelligible. And unintelligent.

      • Was that dude actually speaking English?

      • RichardSRussell

        Here’s where I put in a plug for Alisa Roth’s excellent, well researched 2018 book Insane: America’s Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness, which lays out in horrifying detail how American society has allowed jails and prisons to replace community treatment, hospitals, and asylums as the places where we warehouse the subset of our population with serious mental illnesses. Perhaps if we had more humane options available, somebody could’ve helped poor Francis by now.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Also flagged

        (and WTF???!!!!…)

    • Otto

      Clean up on isle 4

    • Jim Jones

      Wot?

      Then I began to see that not just the scribal text but the original text itself was a very human book. This stood very much at odds with how I had regarded the text in my late teens as a newly minted “born-again” Christian, convinced that the Bible was the inerrant Word of God and that the biblical words themselves had come to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As I realized already in graduate school, even if God had inspired the original words, we don’t have the original words. So the doctrine of inspiration was in a sense irrelevant to the Bible as we have it, since the words God reputedly inspired had been changed and, in some cases, lost.

      Moreover, I came to think that my earlier views of inspiration were not only irrelevant, they were probably wrong. For the only reason (I came to think) for God to inspire the Bible would be so that his people would have his actual words; but if he really wanted people to have his actual words, surely he would have miraculously preserved those words, just as he had miraculously inspired them in the first place. Given the circumstance that he didn’t preserve the words, the conclusion seemed inescapable to me that he hadn’t gone to the trouble of inspiring them.

      Misquoting Jesus — Bart Ehrman

    • I will pray Eldath and Mielikki for you.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Ima try this again. Guess what people? Back in just 1978 there was a book better written than any of your “gods” did. Here it is folks. A book with actual INSTRUCTIONS. Starting on PAGE ONE. Indeed folks. Here it is the RED BOOK

    http://www.classiccmp.org/cini/pdf/Apple/Apple%20II%20(Redbook)%20Reference%20Manual%2030th%20Anniversary.pdf

    edit: and yeah you TRS-80 folks, Woz PUT THE FUCKING book in the box.
    Read the thing. Just like most buybull humpers dont read their book , we actually OWN our book

    • Christians handwave unconvincingly about the god referred to in their book, but the Apple II actually exists.

  • Otto

    OT: Greg, after Discus made a mess of things my link to recent comments for Cross Examined no longer works…do you by chance have another one?

    • @disqus_a9H6kflDom:disqus I checked my “Recent Comments” page. I can see code there, but nothing useful is happening on the page itself.

      https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/recent-comments/

      • Otto

        bummer

        • Greg G.

          Let’s see if this works. If it does, copy the text below into a text file and save it as a file that ends in “.htm” or “.html”. Then open it in your browser. Chrome works differently than Internet Explorer. You click the date on Chrome and the person’s name in Internet Explorer. Sometimes it doesn’t download the whole URL, only the comment number so it defaults to the file name. You can open it, copy the comment number and paste that over a different comment number on the page.

          <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd”>
          <html xmlns=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml” lang=”en-US” xml:lang=”en-US” xmlns:og=”http://opengraphprotocol.org/schema/” xmlns:fb=”http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml”>
          <head profile=”http://gmpg.org/xfn/11″>
          <title>Recent Comments on Cross Examined</title>
          <meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=UTF-8″ />
          <script>
          function rightnow(D){
          var a, d
          D = D || new Date()
          d = ”
          a = D.getMonth() + 1
          d += (a < 10 ? ‘0’ : ”) + a + ‘/’
          a = D.getDate()
          d += (a < 10 ? ‘0’ : ”) + a + ‘/’ + D.getFullYear() + ‘ ‘
          a = D.getHours()
          d += (a < 10 ? ‘0’ : ”) + a + ‘:’
          a = D.getMinutes()
          d += (a < 10 ? ‘0’ : ”) + a + ‘:’
          a = D.getSeconds()
          d += (a < 10 ? ‘0’ : ”) + a
          return d}
          </script>
          <form>
          <table width=”100%”><tr>
          <td><input type=”button” value=”Refresh” onclick=”location.reload(true)” /></td><td><a href=”http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/” target=”new25″><b>Cross Examined</b></a></td><td><a href=”http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/recent-comments/” target=”new25recentcomments”><b>Cross Examined Recent Comments</b></a></td><td><a href=”http://mail.google.com/mail/?hl=en&tab=wm#inbox” target=”reccomm5″><b>Gmail</b></a></td><th><script>document.write(rightnow())</script></th>
          </tr>
          <tr><td colspan=”5″>
          <div id=”text-13″ class=”widget widget_text”>
          <div class=”widget-wrap”>
          <h4>Recent Comments on Cross Examined</h4>
          <div class=”textwidget”>
          <div id=”recentcomments” class=”dsq-widget”>
          <script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://crossexamined.disqus.com/recent_comments_widget.js?num_items=25&hide_avatars=0&avatar_size=32&excerpt_length=400″></script>
          <script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://js.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/dsq-recentcomments.js”></script>
          </div></div></div></div>
          </td></tr>
          <tr>
          <td> </td>
          <td></td>
          <td></td>
          <td></td>
          <td></td>
          </tr></table></form>
          </html>

        • Greg G.

          It looks like you will have to manually fix the URLs that end in “,,,”.

        • Otto

          I appreciate the help but I am lost. Did you get it to work?

        • Greg G.

          You copy it from your browser and paste it into Notepad. Hit File > Save, then type in “recentcomments.htm” and click OK. Pay attention to where you saved it so you can find it. It will work the same wherever you save it, the computer won’t care, but you might want to decide for yourself where it belongs.

          Then open that file with your browser.

          Where you see ‘…”>’ after part of an URL, you might want to right-click (in the browser version above) and select “Copy link address”, then paste that over the partial URL in the Notepad copy.

          If you are using a Mac, I haven’t used one, so I can’t tell you but it would be analogous.

        • Greg G.

          The main part is from the tag with ‘div id=”text-13″ ‘ to the four tags with ‘/div’.

        • Otto

          That I can follow. Thanks

        • Otto

          OK, I copied all that HTML code and put it in note pad…then I have tried to follow your instruction for pasting in the correct address but I am doing something wrong.

          Have you gotten this to work?

        • Greg G.

          Try clicking the link that starts with crossexamined.disqus . That should give you the URL in the address bar. Replace everything between the quotation marks after src= but make sure there is a quotation mark on each end.

          Make sure you click off the Text Document selection when you save. Otherwise it will add a .txt extension to the file name and the browser won’t know it’s an html document. If you try to open your file with notepad and notepad can see it before you ckange the filetype to *.* then it is the wrong file type.

        • Otto

          >>>”Try clicking the link that starts with crossexamined.disqus .

          The Link in the HTML code you posted above right? When I click it I get this…

          https://crossexamined.disqus.com/recent_comments_widget.js?num_items=25&hide_avatars=0&avatar_size=32&excerpt_length=400

          And then I copy that and past it in the code in Note Pad between the quotations marks on these lines….right?

        • Greg G.

          I am pretty sure you will have to paste over where you see src=”http://crossexamined.disqus…”

          Do the right-click and copy link address, and paste between the quotation marks. And probably do the same with src=”http://js.patheos.com.s3.am…”

        • Michael Neville

          Where is src=”http://crossexamined.discus…? How do I find it?

        • Greg G.

          Right-click on it and select copy link address.

        • Greg G.

          I think

          <html>
          <script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://crossexamined.disqus.com/recent_comments_widget.js?num_items=25&hide_avatars=0&avatar_size=32&excerpt_length=400″></script> </html>

          would be enough if you paste in the complete URL.

      • Greg G.

        I saw that. I was hoping it was just my browser or something. I use the same code in an offline file and it works the same as always.

  • AsstroGirl

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    I am still waiting for Satan to take my soul. I offered him a deal, 1 soul w/one owner for a measly 500,000k. Cheap bastard aint even shiowed up to haggle.

    • Greg G.

      I am willing to let Satan take both of my soles. I need a new pair of shoes anyway.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        So they’re holey soles?

      • Otto

        I am not sure he is willing to tread there.

        • Greg G.

          One of the shoes had a lying tongue. The other had a lifted heel.

        • Greg G.

          I just realized that the release date of Blazing Saddles is closer in time to the beginning of the Great Depression than it is to the present day.

        • Otto

          OK I call bullshit on that one…Blazing Saddles was 1974…beginning of Great Depression was 1929….45 year difference
          1974-2108 is 44 Year difference…

          We still have 2 years before that statement is true.

          But it is close enough to be disconcerting…goddamn it.

        • Greg G.

          October 29, 1929 to February 7, 1974 is 44 years, 3 months, and 10 days.

          February 7, 1974 to October 31, 2018 is 44 years, 8 months, 21 days.

          EDIT: I may be a little off on the days.

        • Otto

          Oh sure…do the detailed math…I just subtracted years BECAUSE IT’S EASIER AND I AM LAZY.

        • Greg G.

          Nixon’s resignation was 44 years, 8 months, and 2 days after the beginning of the Depression, so it is still closer to us in time.

        • MR

          Stop doing that!

        • Greg G.

          Nixon’s resignation will be closer to us in time than to the start of the Depression until April 11.

  • CandaceW

    Possibly not a Top 20 contradiction but a favorite of mine: Who killed Goliath, David or Elhanan son of Jair? 2 Samuel 21:19

  • Jim Jones

    > You see the trend: the Old Testament often has two different, incompatible stories. Each was too precious for ancient editors to discard, so both were jammed together somehow.

    I know some group was trying to unwind them. Any feedback on this?

    • Perhaps “The Bible with Sources Revealed” (2005) by Richard Elliott Friedman is the kind of thing you’re thinking about. It’s the Pentateuch with the J, E, P, and D sources identified.

      • Jim Jones

        Thanks, I’ll check it out.

        • Greg G.

          I third the recommendation.

        • “Who Wrote the Bible?” by the same author is what I’d recommend. It’s an analysis of the documentary hypothesis, giving the rationale behind it, etc.

      • sandy

        I was just going to make a similar reply. From “The Bible Unearthed” Finkelstein and Silberman, they talk about the J,E, P and D sources. Concerning the duplicity of the genesis stories with “J” or the Yahweh god based stories versus the “E” or Elohim or El god stories. The two being separated or identified by geography and different tribes.

        • Greg G.

          You had a pair of duplicate posts. I tried to reply to one and it wasn’t active so I tried the other – same thing. When I opened this in a new window, they are no longer there. I am including your text and my reply.

          +++++++++++++++++++++

          I think the two nativity stories and the genealogies were inspired by John 7:40-42 where the Jews thought Jesus might be the Messiah but they wondered why he was from Galilee when the prophecies said he would be descended from David and from Bethlehem.

          Thanks for the list of contradictions Bob! My favourite contradiction is the nativity story as presented by Luke and Matthew. One of them has to be wrong and quite frankly neither are plausible or hold up to any serious critical analysis. They both borrowed extensively from Mark and Mark has no birth story, which is odd. Lots of details to go over such as the Shepards vs Wise men, the census and the trip to Bethlehem, Herod and Quirinius (you can’t have both), the star, genealogies, virgin birth, Fleeing to Egypt or to back to Nazareth and the massacre of the innocents. These are just some of the contradictions put forth by the two gospels which deal a serious blow to the historicity of Jesus and reliability of Christianity. This story of Jesus fails before it even gets started.

          Matthew and Luke used Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews which can be internally dated to about 95 AD so those two gospels would be no earlier than the end of the first century and probably second century. Matthew based a lot of the story of Moses in JA volume 2, where the pharaoh feared the Jews because of a prophecy and Moses’ father was warned in a dream. In Exodus, the pharaoh was concerned about the population and there was no dream warning. In volume 17, Herod fears the prophecies of the Pharisees and has his own son put to death. So you have the elements of babies being killed for fear of a prophecy in both Antiquities of the Jews and Matthew. The wise men are probably based on the description of the Pharisees. The gifts of the Magi are described as items used in temple rituals in Exodus and in Antiquities of the Jews but Matthew lists gold, frankincense, and myrrh in the order Josephus lists them, not as in Exodus.

          I think Luke used Matthew but rejected those stories. He probably noticed that Matthew said the genealogy was in three sets of fourteen but the third set had only thirteen names and the second set omitted four names that are in the OT genealogies. He probably didn’t like the baby killing either so he went to the early part of volume 18 about the census of Quirnius. Jesus teaching at the temple at age twelve is quite apparently taken from Josephus’ autobiography, chapter 2, where he discussed the law with the scholars at age 14 and impressed them.

        • sandy

          Something going on with my Disqus account but thanks for the repost and reply. Interesting reply and information. Greg, do you know of a book out there with a similar analysis of the gospels and Josephus?

        • Greg G.

          The Writings of Josephus: Their Significance for New Testament Study [LINK] by Steve Mason.

          There are web sites that discuss the topic but they always use that for a reference.

          I think Mark used Jewish Wars. About half of the disciples and a couple of others have a name that is used as the parent to identify active participants in the war. Josephus discussed the Sicarii and two paragraphs later he describes Judas the Galilean as “a cunning sophister”. I think he used that to create Judas Iscariot by transposing the first two letters of “Sicarii”, then used the “Galilean” part for Jesus. I see three places where Mark is using phrasing as it appears in Jewish Wars, including the names of Jesus’ four brothers in Mark 6:3 appearing in a thirteen word span in the Greek.

        • sandy

          Thanks Greg I will check that out. Above you state “I think the two nativity stories and the genealogies were inspired by John 7:40-42 ” I thought the consensus was that John was written after Luke and Matthew?

        • Greg G.

          But they assume it is a real story so they need the gospels to be written within a plausible lifetime. Since John is not synoptic, they figure it had more time to change, so they say it was later. They also like to pretend they are independent witnesses.

          It wouldn’t make sense for John to have written that if Matthew or Luke had solved the issue.

          Mark never mentions Joseph and John never gives the name of Jesus’ mother but Matthew and Luke have both. Mark doesn’t mention Caiaphas but the other three gospels have him but John says he is the son-in-law of Ananus. (gJohn names 4 women and 3 are named Mary but not Jesus’ mother.)

          I think “The Rich Man and Lazarus in Hades” is Luke’s rejection of the resurrection of Lazarus, since Abraham tells the rich man that returning from the dead wouldn’t make them believe. Antiquities 20 tells that Ananus had five sons who also became high priests. So the Rich Man wanting to send Lazarus to his father’s house to tell his five brothers is based on Caiaphas and his in-laws. The parable is apparently based on both gJohn and Antiquities.

          If the Antiquities and Luke similarities were simply coincidences, we would expect them to be evenly distributed throughout the Gospel of Luke but they are all concentrated in the 30% or so that doesn’t correspond to Matthew and Mark. The similarities with Antiquities (and Josephus’ autobiography) are spread out more evenly in Acts.

          I think i would like to rearrange some of this as it seems a little disjointed but it’s not easy to cut&paste on a phone.

        • sandy

          Thanks! Makes sense and you’ve got me wanting to do some reading and thinking, which is always good!

  • Jim Jones

    Gods are impossible, Jesus never existed, and the bible is contradictory and badly written fiction.

    Ordinary faith is expectation based on previous experience.

    Religious faith is just wishful thinking.

  • Otto

    Hey…you need to clean up this religious splooge…you made a huge mess.

  • Reading these issues it’s funny to listen Fundagelicals complaining about the failures of Catholicism (pagan deities and rituals accepted, Mary as Queen of Heaven being a refurbished Inanna, complaints of the Catholic Church and when once they got back the power they lost things will again be as during the Middle Ages, they as the source of a future NWO, taking something written by “Palpatine” Benedict XVI on the eve of the economical crises wanting for someone to control speculators as other scum as proof, with the UN as basis, etc.) when the source material they consider so true is as faulty. Fucking idiots.

    Those two Floods could explain why some of them claim to have been two of said disasters.

  • abb3w

    The list seems to be missing my personal favorite, Isaiah 40:28 versus Isaiah 43:24.

    • God gets wearied vs. he doesn’t.

      Thanks–I hadn’t heard of that one.