The New Testament itself is made up of four gospels, referred to as the canonical gospels. However, there are other gospels out there -- eight of them, at least -- written by the likes of Peter, Mary Magdelene, the Egyptians, the Hebrews, Philip, James, Thomas and, of course, Judas. All of them have varying degrees of departure from the main storyline and, in fact, the canonical gospels themselves have disagreements. So, why the 1:2 split?
Well, that's another story best told by experts a lot smarter than me. My humble observation is, unfortunately, an obvious one; there were A LOT of people writing about Jesus. In fact, outside of the gospels there was an entire cottage industry around Jesus as a subject and some of these writings painted a very different picture from the Bible. So, who got it right?
The fact is, a bunch of people who never knew Jesus got together and decided which gospels would make the cut and which ones would not, creating a virtual lock out on other interpretations. Two thousand years later, we're practically unquestioning of the integrity in that decision despite the fact that we live in a time where we accept that politics and personal agendas regularly distort what we know about the important figures and events of our time. Have we simply evolved into a less reputable lot or, are we simply deluding ourselves about the integrity of those who came before us?
For the sake of wrapping up this article I'm going to venture out on a branch and say we're deluding ourselves. Everything we know about our collective history is subject to, well, subjectivity. The ancient Mayans were characterized as a blood thirsty bunch who were exterminated by the bloodthirsty Spanish who happened to write about it from their perspective. Thankfully, the Spanish were themselves routed by the bloodthirsty English who were routed by the Americans that did some routing of their own indigenous population and finally, set the historical record straight -- the Spanish were the "bad" ones.
The inherent risk of believing what you're told about history is that you never really know if you're getting the whole picture. There is needed, for lack of a better word, an increasing degree of faith the farther back you go. And therein lies the problem -- the word of God is one thing, the word of humans, well, that's something altogether... fallible. That's why, I think, the more diversity in your sources, the better chance you have of understanding what really happened.
For example, when I first read Ernest Hemingway I revered the man of adventure and quiet passions but, as I discovered in later years the words "bigot" and "racist" applied as well. But those discoveries didn't diminish my interest. In fact, the more I found out, the more human he became. And the more human he became, the more I felt I understood him. So, I've got to think that the less people try to get Jesus "right," the greater chance they'll have of getting to know him.
And since THIS is the definitive last word -- no comments, please... END AKISMET -->
This article has been flagged as spam, if you think this is an error please contact us.