Does Mark make a historical blunder regarding the ritual of Jewish handwashing?

Critics love to say the gospels aren’t trustworthy because they’re full of historical blunders. One such alleged error that often gets brought up is that Mark goofs regarding ritual purification, namely the Jewish custom of handwashing. Here’s biblical critic Bart Ehrman: “Their ignorance of Palestinian geography and Jewish customs suggests they composed their works somewhere else in the empire…Mark 7:3 indicates that the Pharisees ‘and all the Jews’ washed their hands before eating, so as to observe ‘the tradition of the elders.’ This is not true: most Jews did not engage in this ritual.” Jesus, Interrupted p 287 Bart has a point. If you read the Mosaic law, this was to be practiced by the … Read more

84 reasons why we know Luke was a traveling companion and eyewitness of the miraculous life of the Apostle Paul

Bart Ehrman claims that Luke wasn’t really a traveling companion of Paul. In his book Forged, Bart writes: “(The author of Acts) is simply claiming to be a traveling companion of Paul’s and therefore unusually well suited to give a “true” account of Paul’s message and mission. But he almost certainly was not a companion of Paul’s. On the one hand, he was writing long after Paul and his companions were dead. Scholars usually date Acts to around 85 CE or so, over two decades after Paul’s death. On the other hand, he seems to be far too poorly informed about Paul’s theology and missionary activities to have been someone with firsthand knowledge.”  (Forged: Writing in … Read more

Bart Ehrman says Matthew was written anonymously. Here are 7 compelling reasons for why we know Matthew was the genuine author of the gospel attributed to him.

If it could be shown that Matthew’s gospel was written by one of the twelve apostles, it would be a decisive weight in favor of the credibility of biblical history. After all, Matthew would have had a front row seat to Jesus’ life and alleged miracles. Because of that, skeptics have challenged the genuineness of the authorship of Matthew. For example, here’s the famous skeptic Bart Ehrman in an interview with NPR: “All the Gospels were written anonymously, and none of the writers claims to be an eyewitness…Whoever wrote Matthew did not call it “The Gospel according to Matthew.” The persons who gave it that title are telling you who, in their opinion, wrote it… … Read more

Bart Ehrman says that God has a problem. If we have free will in Heaven, what’s to stop us from sinning in the afterlife? And if God takes away free will in Heaven, then why doesn’t he take it away so we stop doing evil now?

The problem of evil comes up a lot when talking to non-believers. If you haven’t got the question about why an all-good, all-powerful God allows evil, you need to step out more. Why are there suicide bombers, school shooters and people that eat Tide Pods? Why does God allow such pointless evils? The standard Christian rejoinder is that God gave man free will. He doesn’t want Stepford Wives, he wants people who can make free choices. Free will makes love possible, but it also makes evil possible as well. Now that’s not a bad response to the problem of moral evil. There’s a problem, though. Christians are also committed to the idea that the saints … Read more

Here are 18 eye-opening passages from the Gospel of Mark that prove the deity of Jesus. Even if all we had was Mark and the Old Testament, we’d still know that Jesus is God.

Biblical critics like Bart Ehrman say that the deity of Christ was a later invention that developed near the end of the first century. Bart and others of his ilk say that Mark, the earliest gospel, has a lower view of Jesus than John, who says he’s the pre-existent Word made Flesh. Quoting Bart: “If Jesus went around Galilee proclaiming himself to be a divine being sent from God…could anything else that he say be so breath-taking and thunderously important? And yet none of the earlier sources (read: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) says any such thing about him. Did they (all of them!) just decide not to mention the one thing that was most significant … Read more