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Criteria for Authenticity

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By studying the background and comparing the text of the synoptic gospels, we can be confident of their authenticity. Many of the accounts in the Gospels appear in multiple Gospels and are confirmed by separate witnesses. Details in the narratives and parables are consistent with the culture and common practices of the time in that region.  



The Criteria for Authenticity


I. Positive Criterion for Establishing Authenticity

A. Multiple Attestation

B. Multiple Forms

C. Aramaic Linguistic Phenomena

D. Palestinian Environmental Phenomena

1. Parable of the seed

2. Parable of kingdom of Heaven like a net

3. Parable of laborers in the vineyard

E. Dissimilarity (a.k.a. Discontinuity)

1. Use of the word "Abba" for God

2. Title "Son of Man"

F. Divergent Patterns from the Redaction


II. Negative Criterion for Establishing Authenticity

A. Tendencies of the Developing Tradition

1. Peter lopping off the guy's ear - more specific

2. Mark 5:22 - less developed

B. Contradiction

1. No motorcycles in Jesus' day

2. Mark 10 - Issue of divorce

3. Herod's wife divorcing her husband

C. Contradiction of Authentic Sayings

1. Jesus used exaggeration (apparent contradiction)

2. Matthew 7:1, 6

3. Luke 14:26

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