Double Standards in Reception of Ancient Documents and Their Authors

Liberal scholars make much of the fact that while the authors of the four Gospels have been understood from the beginning to be Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, they are not identified in the texts by name as the authors.  Consider then a similar situation with respect to another author of antiquity:

Dr. Mike Licona, a rising star in New Testament scholarship, has been reading an advanced copy of Forged [by Bart Ehrman]. [Licona says] that the most prolific biographer of antiquity is widely held to be Plutarch (as in Plutarch’s Lives), yet of all the 50 or so existing manuscripts we have of Plutarch, none of them are signed.  (Source: Is the New Testament Forged?)

Consider also this quote of New Testament scholar R. T. France (1938-2012):

At the level of their literary and historical character we have good reason to treat the gospels seriously as a source of information on the life and teaching of Jesus, and thus on the historical origins of Christianity. Ancient historians have sometimes commented that the degree of scepticism with which New Testament scholars approach their sources is far greater than would be thought justified in any other branch of ancient history. Indeed, many ancient historians would count themselves fortunate to have four such responsible accounts, written within a generation or two of the events and preserved in such a wealth of manuscript evidence as to be from the point of view of textual criticism virtually uncontested in all but detail. Beyond that point, the decision as to how far a scholar is willing to accept the record they offer is likely to be influenced more by his openness to a “supernaturalist” world-view than by strictly historical considerations.  (Source: William Lane Craig)

For more posts related to this double standard, see:

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