Christian apologetics

Topics include authenticity & reliability of the Gospels, copying of the Gospels

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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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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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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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.
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