Thoughts from Jonathan

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Jonathan

What did the early Christians believe about Jesus Christ? 

Did they believe Jesus of Nazareth was God?  

There are many handwritten portions of the New Testament written in the first few centuries after Jesus was crucified. They were often written on an ancient type of paper called papyrus.  As the original language of the New Testament was Greek, then these manuscripts can be referred to as Greek papyrus texts. They are often labelled with a Gregory-Aland number (e.g. P52) and a LDAB ID number (e.g 2774 for P52).

Echoes of Jesus: Does the New Testament Reflect What He Said? (Second edition) describes many of the important early Greek papyrus manuscripts, and focuses on those that contain all or part of the four Gospels. Chapter 8 contains a table that provides valuable information about a selection of Greek manuscripts from the first four centuries. For example it notes that P104 which contains a portion of chapter 21 of The Gospel of Matthew was written sometime between 100 AD and 200 AD.  

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Jonathan

Jesus Christ in the Quran, Gospel of Barnabas, & the New Testament

Was Jesus the Messiah?

A Journey into the New Testament, the Quran, and the Gospel of Barnabas

I first became aware of the widespread nature of Muslim awareness of the alleged Gospel of Barnabas when preaching at a church for Iranians. Many of those present had an Islamic background before becoming Christians, while others were Muslims (followers of Islam) interested in knowing more about Jesus. It was during an open question time during the church service that someone asked me about this manuscript. I have since learnt that many Muslims from other countries, such as Turkey, refer favourably to the Gospel of Barnabas believing that it was originally written by a disciple of Jesus called Barnabas. There appears to be several reasons why hundreds of thousands of Muslims are aware of the Gospel of Barnabas,  including the fact that it mentions several times the name of Muhammad (also spelt Mohammed). For example chapter 39 of the book has Jesus Christ teaching that as soon as Adam was created and sprung up on his feet, he saw bright writing in the sky which said 'There is only one God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God.' Adam then asks God to write those words onto the nails of his thumbs.

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Jonathan

Was Jesus a Zealot, a Buddhist, or a teacher?

It is quite astounding to read in popular publications the many and varied claims about who was Jesus. These statements include that he was a Muslim, a Buddhist, the reincarnation of Krishna, a hypnotist, an illiterate peasant, and a revolutionary military leader called a zealot. To discover the truth about who Jesus said he was, it is first necessary to discover if Jesus was interested in motivating his disciples to preserve what he taught. If Jesus did not portray himself as being a teacher, then it is less likely that the words of the New Testament reflect his words and actions.

I hope you enjoy this extract from Echoes of Jesus: Does the New Testament Reflect What He Said? It is from the fifth chapter titled Jesus the teacher.

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Jonathan

Did Jesus say 'I am a Muslim'?

Did Jesus say 'I am a Muslim'? 

I recently received a request to respond to a pro-Islamic YouTube clip claiming that Jesus said: “I am a Muslim." The clip is by Imran Ibn Mansur. Refer to  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2m_56PZ4Ko&app=desktop, and it seems to be part of a series called Da’wah Man. In the clip Imran is speaking to two young men.

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Jonathan

Christian conversions, miracles and gullibility

This blog is the third in a series of modified excerpts from Echoes of Jesus: Does the New Testament Reflect What He Said?

The fourth chapter of Echoes of Jesus examines the relationship between miracles and gullibility. I hope you enjoy this brief look inside:

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Jonathan

Were the early Christians literate? Literacy in the ancient Roman Empire

This blog contains another modified excerpt from Echoes of Jesus: Does the New Testament Reflect What He Said?  Hopefully this will encourage even more people to read this book’s vital information.

In the second chapter of Echoes of Jesus, titled Literacy in the ancient world, I investigated the prevalence of literacy around the time of Jesus. It has often been stated that literacy was rare in the Roman Empire at that time, and that reading and writing were confined to the wealthier classes. As a consequence of this, some argue that Christianity flourished in the first few centuries only because the vast majority were illiterate and, therefore, gullible. Others, such as the author Reza Aslan, underpin much of their historical revisionism on the assertion that Jesus, his disciples, and the apostles were all illiterate peasants. 

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Jonathan

Numerous ancient historians during and before Jesus lifetime

To encourage even more people to read the vital information contained in Echoes of Jesus, the next several blog posts will include modified excerpts from various chapters.

In this excerpt from Echoes of Jesus: Does the New Testament Reflect What He Said? I have sought to engage with the common assumption that people who lived around the time of Jesus were unable to write accurate history. As a consequence of this, the small amount of literature that was produced is probably very inaccurate. One New York Times best selling author went so far as to say that those living at the time of Jesus had no notion of history being about verifiable events. 

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Jonathan

Beginnings

It has been an exciting week as the first batch of the paperback copies of Echoes of Jesus have arrived. It is a wonderful feeling seeing the book in the real world, and not just files on a computer. Matt and his team at Printcraft have produced a very high quality book with minimal fuss in a short period of time. The book looks great inside and out, and does justice to all the work involved in getting it completed.
Two separate processes are needed to make a book: the actual writing and then the publishing. Authors often comment that the writing stage is the easiest. My experience is that this phase was the most time consuming, taking about seven and a half years. However, the publishing process has taken longer than I ever expected, nearly a year having passed since the writing was completed. It is because the printed version of Echoes of Jesus represents this culmination of processes that it is surreal seeing the actual printed copies. 
I wrote Echoes of Jesus in the hope that its message will reach more people than if I simply continued to give seminars. Now that there are so many copies of the paperback, this dream looks that much closer to reality than ever before. 
For those who no longer read hard copies, the good news is that the ebook versions will be available in July.
 
Jon
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