Is the Bible Just Written by the Winners in History?

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  • Is the Bible Just Written by the Winners in History?

  • - 06/09/2009
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It seems as though it was just days ago that the Gospel of Judas was front and center in the news. USA Today ran a cover story titled, “Long-Lost Gospel of Judas Casts ‘Traitor’ in New Light.”[1] National Geographic channel featured a two-hour made-for-television special on thirteen papyrus pages that promised to challenge our deepest spiritual convictions and produce a genuine crisis of faith.[2] According to a vast majority of scholars “the greatest story ever told” might well be “the greatest story ever sold.”

According to Michael White, director of the Institute for the Study of Antiquity and Christian Origins at the University of Texas Austin, “Scripture, like history, was codified by the winners, by those who emerged with the greatest numbers at the end of three centuries of Christianity.”[3] Manuscripts such as the Gospel of Judas did not make it into the Bible because they were out of line with the direction “winners” wanted to take their newly minted religious notions. As a result, dozens of credible gospels simply lost out and we ended up with the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Bart Ehrman, who chairs the department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, is so enamored with the Gospel of Judas that in his view, had we embraced its perspective on Judas, we might well have avoided the Holocaust.[4]

In short a new generation of scholars is disseminating the notion that the Bible is merely the product of historical winners who preferred the dark and anti-Semitic overtones of manuscripts such as the Gospel of John over the more racially sensitive texts such as the Gospel of Judas.

A new myth, a new day, we’re constantly being barraged by myths and we have to have discernment skills to separate wheat from chaff and heat from light. We’ve addressed this in two ways recently in my new resource The Bible Under Siege and in an article in the new issue of the Christian Research Journal about a new archeological find called “Gabriel’s Revelation.” I also spoke with the author of the article Dr. Craig Hazen on the June 6, 2009 Bible Answer Man broadcast. To obtain these resources or listen to my interview go to our Website at www.equip.org.

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[1] See Dan Vergano and Cathy Lynn Grossman, “Long-Lost Gospel of Judas Recasts ‘Traitor,’” USA Today, April 6, 2006 (http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2006-04-06-judas_x.htm). All Websites accessed 6/9/09.

[2] The Gospel of Judas, National Geographic Channel, aired April 16, 2006, (http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/).

[3] Ibid. Vergano and Grossman, “Long-Lost Gospel of Judas.”

[4] See Gospel of Judas, National Geographic Channel.

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