You claim that one of the reasons the NT Scriptures are
reliable is because there were too many eyewitnesses around
that would have criticized and brought to light any
inaccuracies. I was curious as to how they would find out
The first eyewitnesses would have been the Jewish Christians who
BELIEVED in Jesus...they would have had access to ANY early Christian
writings (or oral tradition, for that matter) and would have criticized
the writings from WITHIN the church...
In fact, as apocryphal writing arose, the church DID point out that the
details (e.g. early infancy stories, strange adolescent stories about
Jesus) were erroneous!
Did the disciples publish the NT texts?
Interestingly enough, the first descriptions of the production of
the gospels DID use the technical word for 'publish' although I don't know
what all would have been entailed by that phrase...much 'publishing' was
done by 'open letter' to famous or leading figures (e.g. the early
Apologist literature did Open Letters to the Emperor in the 100's)...the
Gospel of Luke was so written to Theophilus...(see Luke 1.1-4...it is a
technical prologue, along the line of historical introductions and
someone akin to prologues to medical instruction manuals--I will get the
references for you when I write this up...unless you need them
sooner--just let me know)...
they widely available?
Mark, Matt, Luke were written BEFORE 66ad...Paul quotes Luke in his
epistle of II Timothy as being 'scripture'...Paul died under Nero in
66ad...hence Luke had been written and accepted by the church much
earlier than this...Luke SEEMS to be dependent on Mark/Matthew (according
to most scholars today), which pushes them back even FARTHER...
What this means is that the gospel writings were well in circulation
BEFORE the fall of Jerusalem in 70ad...during this time Christianity was
simply a 'sect' of Judaism, like the Pharisees or Essenes...they met in
private discussion groups (open to anyone), yet came together at temple
and synagogue...and given that many priests (with copyist skills and
functions) became Jewish Christians (Acts 6.7), there is a high
likelihood that the earliest writing DID circulate widely (at least the
Sayings of Jesus...), after the model of Rabbinical 'students' who used
note-sheets of their favorite teachers...
So, there WOULD have been ample exposure to the writings for rebuttal if
Isn't it likely that the actual
eyewitnesses never really saw the NT texts at all, and
therefore didn't have any chance to challenge them (assuming
there were inaccuracies at all)??
What the above analysis tends to show is that both HOSTILE witnesses would have had access to them (in Jerusalem prior to the Fall) and that Friendly witnesses (but still critical) would have had access to them VERY much...and did actually argue with some of the earlier spurious writings...