Tovia Singer asserts that the gospels were originally written and circulated anonymously and that nowhere in the text do they identify themselves. Moreover, Singer asserts that “These are church traditions — and in fact they are late church traditions, meaning these ascriptions are assigned about a century after the gospels are written” by Irenaeus of Lyons.
Critics of Christianity
Most of the objections raised by McBride and Hall concern arguments other than those presented in my short remarks at the beginning of their broadcast. Rather than engage with the New Testament texts (that they asked me to present on) and showing that I had misinterpreted them, McBride and Hall chose instead to bring up objections to the deity of Christ based upon Old Testament considerations.
In a video published this week, provocatively titled “Why Would Paul Willingly Die for His Belief? Another Church Lie!”, Rabbi Singer makes a number of bizarre claims. One such statement is that “the notion that Paul was beheaded by Rome is complete nonsense. It’s an invention of the church, and it’s mentioned nowhere in the Christian Bible.”
One of the most remarkable prophecies in the Hebrew Bible is to be found in Isaiah 52:13-53:12. Written some seven centuries before Christ, it depicts in graphic detail the passion of Israel’s Messiah. The discovery of the Isaiah scroll amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls, together with the fact that the Hebrew Bible has been in the custody of both the Jews and Christians, leaves no room for doubt that the text of Isaiah that we read today predates the life and ministry of Christ.
Contrary to Rabbi Singer’s assertions, Mark does not affirm an adoptionist Christology (and in fact affirms Christ’s deity). Though there are undoubtedly more statements of Jesus’ deity in John, it is simply untrue that these claims are absent from the synoptic gospels. Singer’s development arguments regarding the resurrection and anti-Semitism also collapse upon further inspection.
Though the alleged discrepancies offered by Rabbi Singer require some investigation to untangle, closer inspection — and more careful reading of the relevant texts — reveals the arguments to be unfounded. The solutions that I have offered to these challenges are not strained or forced harmonizations, but rather are suggested from within the texts themselves.
In this essay, I intend to flesh out the case that Isaiah 9:6 indeed affirms the divine status of Israel’s Messiah. I will be defending two basic contentions: (1) Isaiah 9:6 is best understood as a text concerning the Messiah, and (2) Isaiah 9:6 identifies the Messiah as a divine person.
Even aside from the issues and problems discussed in this essay, it is clear that the absolute strongest conclusion one can conceivably draw from these sources is that they attest to ministry of Jesus in broad outline.
Multiple times throughout the podcast, Ehrman points out that it is possible to make nearly any two contradictory texts harmonize if you try hard enough. This is true, but it is likewise possible to make nearly any two complementary texts contradict if you try hard enough.
Ehrman published two blog posts, claiming that the idea that Jesus is Himself Yahweh is a recent doctrinal innovation, completely foreign to the New Testament and the ancient church. Ehrman even goes so far as to say that this is the view of only “some conservative evangelical Christians” and that “I’ve never even heard the claim (let alone a discussion of it) until very recently.”