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Certainly Paul. Paul was one of these. Was he an eyewitness to the Jesus and Galilee? But what's fascinating is in 1 Corinthians 11, when he wants to recount the story of what happened at the Last Supper, he says, "I pass on to you what I received. Like nearly verbatim.

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Jon: So that's a guy who's traveling around and saying, "Here are stories that you need to know about Jesus? Jon: So Luke, he seems very analytical, right? Tim: Yeah, totally. Jon: Then he's got some sort of strategy here. As he talks with the eyewitnesses and servants, he must have noticed their discrepancies of "Oh, you said that the Centurion said this and this eyewitness said this, and this servant now is saying that, and there are some differences.

There was a really significant Roman who wanted Jesus to heal his servant. So did the Roman himself come to Jesus as in Mark, or did the Roman leader send messengers to Jesus on his behalf? And does the difference really matter? But there's a difference in the parallel versions of the story. Jon: Luke must have been aware of these differences and his conclusion is, "You can have confidence in the things you were taught. I'm going to write an account of all this and you can be confident that what actually happened actually is accurate. He says, "I wanted to get to the bottom of things for myself.

But then the more that I read and reflected on them and marked up my synopsis on the parallel version some more Because the differences are almost never But what they show us is that the Jesus tradition, it was the what he calls the living tradition.

It was a tradition meant to be preached and passed on to living communities. And they didn't feel free to just invent wholesale stories that never happened, at least in that first generation.


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Though, there's a lot of debate that's obviously a point of contention. But what we do see when there are parallel stories is faithfulness to the basic meaning of a story, but variation in wording. Jon: Faithfulness to meaning. Tim: Faithfulness to the basic outline. Again, we can test this because there are many stories that have two or sometimes you have a story that Matthew has, Mark has, and Luke has. And so, you can cross compare and see how they differ from each other. And almost never is the is the story completely like a different story.

It's almost always a variation in wording but the same basic message. Jon: And they are okay with that?

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Tim: Nobody seems to have had a problem with this. And also, it's important to the process of memorization wouldn't have only started after the resurrection. Jesus is a rabbi, traveling itinerant teacher who speaks and teaches in very memorable oneliners and parables and stories. Jon: So that they could be passed on. Tim: He's an oral teacher.


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So the memorization process among Jesus's disciples would have started immediately from his first announcement. This is a whole field of New Testament studies with centuries of history to the conversation. But it's fascinating. I'm obsessed with this whole field because it really interesting and it's so amazing that we have four counts of Jesus.

But it forces you to reshape your paradigm of what the Bible is around just the historical fact of these four accounts. Jon: I'm trying to get that reshaped paradigm and I'm struggling. Tim: A parallel of my own life that I've discovered, Jessica and I just celebrated 15 years of being married. When we meet somebody new, we go over to dinner to someone's house, and they ask, "How did you guys meet?

Tell us a story of how you guys met. It's not like we go like, "Oh, yeah. Well, man, that was 15 years ago, I don't Tim: We've been telling the same story over and over and over again for 15 years. And here's what has happened. We've condensed it, we've assigned part unofficially, but she does the part of the story of in the library, and I do the part of the story of horses on the beach.

And so, we have these fix things. And are there moments where totally we've condensed two events into one? Yes, of course, we have. Is it a faithful representation of what happened? Yes, I lived our story. But we've condensed it adapted it over the course of the retelling also to reflect what we now can see the significance and meaning of those events in our life stories.

Parallel Lives of Jesus

And so, I think we have to envision something similar where Jesus had a deep impact all of these individuals. They're not going to forget the day that he healed my eyes or the day that he calls Zacchaeus into his home. These events will mark these individuals for the rest of their lives. And they're not waiting 10 years before they go tell them to somebody else. But as they retell them, the stories get adapted, and we have to reckon with that. That's part of how the Gospels came into existence.

And Luke wants his readers to have to have confidence. Christianity is based on both claims that something took place in history around Jesus of Nazareth, but it's also a claim about the meaning of those events that clearly wasn't compelling to everybody who was there and saw Jesus. Because there were many people who thought he was full of it, and there were people who killed him and hated him.

So there were different interpretations of Jesus. And what we have are the version of what happened according to His disciples. Jon: I think what a modern reader would wish to have is an unbiased empirical account of everything that actually was said and done so that you could come to your own conclusion. But what we have instead is the crafting of these happenings in such a way that it's designed to explain to you not exactly what happened, but more importantly the significance of why it happened.

Tim: I wouldn't put a "but" in there. It's "and. I think in the Gospel authors minds, they want you to read these stories and say, "Oh, yeah, Jesus did and said this. And Luke says, "Oh, yeah, the centurion just saw that Jesus was innocent. That's what he said. Tim: Well, that one's a little easier because I think I'm fairly confident about the order of the sources there. I think Luke had Mark in front of him as one of his sources. Jon: So Luke would have been like, "Well, yeah, yeah, yeah.

So I put those words in his mouth. Jon: And then you wouldn't lose confidence in Luke's gospel that he just threw words in someone's mouth? Tim: No. Well, confidence of what? Jon: Confidence in faithfulness? We used the word faithfulness. Tim: Yeah, faithfulness. Jon: So, is Luke being faithful to what actually happened, and why it mattered if he's able to change what happened? Tim: By faithfulness, a faithful representation of what happened and the meaning of what happened, I'm trying to let my version of faithfulness be redefined by what the gospel authors actually did, not what I think they ought to have done according to whatever our modern standard might be.

I don't know any other way to reconcile myself to this. And then also reconcile my vision of what the Bible is as a divine and human product also has to be reconciled with this. It seems like the first generation of Christians didn't have a problem in doing this.

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It's our problem where we have the ability because we have something to compare it to. We have their way of doing history compared to just like my mobile camera documenting everything. Jon: But our bias is always better. Jon: They had their way of doing medicine and we have our way of doing medicine. They had their way of traveling by foot and horse, we have our way of travel.

And so, there is kind of this bias of like everything's been advancing. And so, is the way that we do history— Tim: The way we do history is naturally better, or it's naturally more free of bias. And that's a highly questionable assumption. Tim: Because the moment any historical event is filtered through a human brain and recounted in a literary work, it's already undergone multiple stages of interpretation.

Retelling you what I had for breakfast this morning would be an interpretation. I couldn't possibly recreate for you what actually happened - all you have is my testimony. And that's what the gospels are — their testimony. Jon: And for me, it seems like confronted with this, the only thing I know to do is to say, "Well, did Jesus rise from the dead?

Did that happen? Whether or not the centurion said one thing or the other, or if Jesus said, "poor in spirit or just poor," or did he do the miracle before he went to Jerusalem or after, or whatever details are, like, "Okay, I guess I don't have to care. I think this is what actually happened.


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  • This account where he's just like, "I'm going to change what he said," that doesn't give me confidence. Tim: Yeah, interesting. But again, I think that should trigger in us, oh, well, does the fact that he would adapt the wording, what's standard am I holding him to call that? I don't know, manipulation of the sort. Jon: So if I'm— Tim: No, no. What I'm forcing you to undergo in 30 minutes is what has taken me years to sort out and come to terms with. So it's fine. It's also a significant to notice he doesn't talk about having a vision or a trance.

    He's like, "I'm investigating. We also have to factor that into our view of what the Bible is how it came into existence because he says how he made the book. Jon: So we have to go into this book aware that Luke is taking some license at times and what people say? Tim: Yeah, he's both a preserver of the Jesus tradition and he is a creative author in his own right. Because that's what he says. So he's brought an order to it to emphasize things about the story of Jesus that are unique to his account.

    There you go. That's what the gospels are. Jon: I guess I'm sort of now interested in what is it that I would want other than this. Tim: Well, it's clear what Tatian wanted. Jon: Tatian? The director David Batty said this week that he saw "the word as the prime mover" of the project. As words and images are independent, the film can be reproduced with different narrations.

    Versions in German, French, Dutch and the Scandinavian languages are set to be released next year. The ambition of Hannah Leader, the producer of the project, stretches further: "I want to see it in languages or translations! Mr Batty described the project as "one story seen from four different angles". Filming took 99 days, and the footage for all four films was gathered together. The films are only made distinct in the cutting room, rather like four different garments fashioned from the same piece of cloth.

    This process allowed for differences in the Gospel accounts to be portrayed on-screen.

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    The production team attempted to assemble a cast with physical characteristics as close as possible to those of the figures they portrayed. The producers hoped to avoid the kind of criticism attracted by Ridley Scott's Biblically-inspired blockbuster 'Exodus: Gods and Kings' which stars white actors as Moses and Pharaoh. The Gospel films were cast almost exclusively in Morocco, and feature many of the country's best known actors.

    Ray Bruce, the consultant and associate producer, said that the multilingual case, with limited shared language, had had to focus intently on each other in order to play the scenes. Mr Bruce, an RE teacher turned film producer, claimed that this created a palpable on-screen "chemistry" between the figure of Jesus and the other characters. Mr Rasalingam described the role as an "exciting challenge".

    He actively avoided watching any previous dramatic depictions of Christ, in an attempt to ensure that the primary inspiration remained the text of the Gospels. Clips from the films have been used by the website TrueTube, a resource used by schools with content covering citizenship and religious education.

    TrueTube invited school children to write commentaries for the silent clips, and the best were invited into the studios to narrate them, with the subsequent videos featured on the website. Children's Books. Save to List. Go to Basket.

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    If you're buying for a church, school or business, why not Buy Now Pay Later? Find Out More If you'd like to open a Buy Now Pay Later account please fill in the simple form below and we will be in touch within 15 minutes during normal office hours. Parallel Lives of Jesus Full Product Description This is an introductory guide to the four New Testament Gospels as overlapping accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, each with their own distinctive emphases and concerns.

    Part One deals first with the fact that there are four Gospels in the canon and looks at how the fourfold Gospel emerged. The literary relationships between the Gospels are dealt with next, followed by the composition of the Gospels.