Historicity and the New Testament

Historicity and the New Testament February 15, 2015

On his blog, David Bokovoy wrote:

Surely, therefore, the New Testament contains “historicity.”  Wellllll. . . No. It doesn’t. In fact, not at all.

I find this claim completely baffling.  First, texts don’t “contain historicity.”  People, events, places, etc. are historical or non-historical.  Texts describe fiction people, places and events, or they can describe historical people, places and events.  When a person is imaginary (e.g. Gandalf), we say he is fictional.  When a person really existed in the past (e.g. Alexander the Great), we say he is historical.  Historicity describes the quality of a person, event, place, etc. of being historical.

Second, the New Testament is full of accurate statements about historical people, places and events that have been corroborated by other contemporary sources.  All of the major Roman and Jewish rulers and leaders mentioned in the NT really existed.  There is no question of the historicity of these people.  Likewise, the major high priests of Jerusalem.  There is no question of the historicity of these people.  Most of the numerous places mentioned in the NT existed as towns or cities at the time of Jesus. The Temple Mount as described in the NT matches contemporary religious terminology and topography.  Sites mentioned within the city of Jerusalem are clearly historicity.   There is no question of the historicity of these places.   The existence of Jesus, James, and John the Baptist are corroborated in non-NT sources.  Many events described in the NT are corroborated by outside sources.   The NT is also filled with accurate information about the culture, language, folk practices, economics, religious debates and practices, etc which are corroborated in contemporary Jewish sources.

To claim that there is no historicity “at all” in the NT is preposterous.


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