References to New Testament Persons Outside the Bible

(These could be called extra-biblical or extrabiblical sources.)

Wikipedia article:  List of biblical figures identified in extra-biblical sources

John the Baptist is mentioned by Josephus.

Jesus

Peter

James the brother of Jesus is mentioned by Josephus.

Paul

Notes on the Verisimilitude of the New Testament

My post Craig Evans on the Reliability of the Bible.  It contains a link to a transcript of an interview with Evans titled “Is the Bible Reliable?”  (The article does not, however, contain the word “verisimilitude.”)

YouTube video Bart Ehrman & Craig Evans 2012 Debate P1 (start at 14:04).  Herein, Dr. Evans describes various aspects of verisimilitude in the New Testament.

Facebook post by Neil Shenvi on The frequency of first names in the biblical accounts matches the actual frequency of names in 1st century Palestine.  Neil told me that he derived this information from R. Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Eerdmans (2006), p. 85-88.  Neil also recommended this YouTube video lecture by Dr. Peter J. Williams (Warden of Tyndale House in the UK):  New Evidences the Gospels were Based on Eyewitness Accounts (total time 53:45).

The Wikipedia article Language of Jesus identifies numerous Aramaic words found in the Greek New Testament (e.g. Abba, mammon, hosanna, Gethesemane).  Most Bible scholars believe that Aramaic was the language used by Jesus and His disciples because it was the common language of the cities and regions in which they lived and traveled.  Greek was the lingua franca of the broader world at that time.  Therefore, finding some Aramaic words sprinkled throughout documents written in Greek is just what you would expect of a first-century Mediterranean-wide social movement that originated in Palestine.

Why the Ancient Christian Record About Jesus Is the Most Reliable | by J. Warner Wallace

In this substantive post, Wallace includes a three-column chart showing the major historical claims about the life of Jesus from the point of view of the biblical writers, hostile Jewish witnesses, and hostile Gentile witnesses.

(13-minute read; 3,103 words)

Source: Why the Ancient Christian Record About Jesus Is the Most Reliable | Cold Case Christianity

(HT: Greg West at The Poached Egg of Ratio Christi)

A. N. Sherwin-White on Jesus as Historical Figure

(2-minute read; 350 words)

Source: Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes: A. N. Sherwin-White on Jesus as Historical Figure

Craig Evans on the Reliability of the Bible

The link below is to the transcipt of an interview with New Testament scholar Craig A. Evans of Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Evans is a good source of information on the Bible for many reasons, but particularly because he is not given to hyperbole and because his assurance about the Bible’s historicity is based upon subtle but important facts – such as its verisimilitude wherein so many of its details are corroborated by other historical sources from its times.

For example, Evans says:

If you have an old document, one of the first tests is to ask, Does it really reflect life back then as we know it? If it does, the historian takes it seriously. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the book of Acts—these are the basic narrative books of the New Testament. They talk about real people, real events, real places, and the archaeologist can show that; so a fictional, nonexistent Jesus makes no sense of the actual hard data we have.

Evans thus demonstrates how the biblical documents are historically valid as well as theologically informative.  This is indeed helpful scholarship and he is gentleman as well.

(12 min read; 2,986 words)

Source: Interviews: Is the Bible Reliable?

Scholars Agree: Luke and Acts are History 

In this short post, Lenny Esposito quotes respected scholar Craig Keener on the issue of the historicity of Luke’s writing.

(2 min read; 417 words)

Source: Scholars Agree: Luke and Acts are History | Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes

Evidence for Jesus Outside the New Testament

Michael F. Bird links to “Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible” – an article at Bible History Daily by Lawrence Mykytiuk.

Bird calls it “a depressing read if you’re a Jesus Mythicist.”

He also recommends Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000).

Jesus Mythicists Get Sucker Punched

For more information on this subject, go to Wintery Knight’s post on the same link.  As usual, he provides valuable commentary, organization of ideas, and additional resources (e.g. link to Gary Habermas online chapter about extrabiblical evidence for Jesus).

 

J. Warner Wallace – The Top Three Reasons the Bible Is Reliable – YouTube

J. Warner Wallace – The Top Three Reasons the Bible Is Reliable – YouTube.

Early Christian Writings Claiming Apostolicity, but Rejected as Such

What distinguishes the writings of the New Testament from all other early Christian writings was their apostolic origins.  That is, all writings that were ultimately determined by the ancient church to be apostolic were included in the New Testament.  This required the ancient church to make decisions because there were many writings in the first three hundred years making a claim to to have been from the apostles, including those listed below.

Probably because of their claim to apostolicty, the following books achieved what Bruce Metzger has called “temporary and local canonicity.”  That is, they never received widespread acknowledgement as apostolic and were ultimately rejected from the New Testament canon.

The Gospel of Peter

The Acts of Paul

The Acts of John

The Acts of Peter

The Epistle of the Apostles

The Third Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians

The Epistle to the Laodiceans

The Correspondence Between Paul and Seneca

The Apocalypse of Peter

The Apocalypse of Paul

Source:  Metzger, Bruce M.  The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance, Oxford University Press, 1987.