Before the Gospels

Mauro Pesce anwers Corrado Augias in the book “Inchiesta su Gesu” (Editor Mondadori, 2007) . he says “the followers of Jesus lived without the New Testament for about 170 years.”

Papia de Hierapolis collected all verbal testimonials about what Jesus said. he documented i according to most modern scholars to about 95–120  AD in 5 books with the title “Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord” (GreekΛογίων Κυριακῶν Ἐξήγησις) His work is lost apart from brief excerpts in the works of Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 180) and Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 320) Papias work is an important early source on Christian oral traditionand especially on the origins of the canonical Gospels.” (source: wiki )

Papia regarded the verbal testimonials as more reliable than the written texts available at that time. (Inchiesta su Gesù, page 20) 

Papia said according to Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 3.39.3–4 “For I did not think that information from the books would profit me as much as information from a living and surviving voice.” (source: wiki )

Bart Ehrman is interviewed in the video below. He talks about his book and about distorted and constructed memories. He says among others “When we contruct memories, we oftenleave gaps that we fill in unconsciously. We dont know in our heads where the gap is and where the members (ed. are?). So the Gospel writers may have based  their stories on misremembered (distorted)  memories.”

There are two ways  to prove if we have a distorted memory:

  1. When you have two memories of the same event that are at odds with each other, both memories can’t be historically what really happened. One of the stories must be a result of a distorted memory. I wreote about the Gospel contradictions in
  2. if a story is completely implausible that’s probably someone distorting something
    (ed. that may be the case of Lukes story about Mary traveling 80 km to Betlehem in her ninth month of pregnance. But the judgement  of  what is plausible depends on knowledge and experiences.  E.g. it was completely implausible 2000 years ago that we could fly. Some miracles may be plausible knowing about quantum phenomena like entanglement I wrote about in )

Bart Ehrman writes in his blog but gives sadly access to full articles only for paying members.