Ancient Manuscript Reveals NT Gospels to be a 5th Century Hoax!

…just kidding…but seriously, what would the Christian Churches actually do, if some archaeologist were to find an ancient text, that in essence said that:
-Jesus was not God
-the NT gospels were invented in the 5th century
-the 12 apostles never existed
-Jesus was an unremarkable Jewish rabbi, pretty much the same as Hillel
-there is no heaven and no hell
What do you think the pope, the Archbishop of Canterbry, and the Patriarch of Constantinople would do?:eek:

Deny it, say it was a fraud, anything to discredit the text and its discoverer. Way too much at stake for them to just say “oops. Don’t we feel dumb!”

What jk1245 said.

You’re missing the point. There is no “what if?” question to be asked. I’d put my life on the line to say that that would never ever once happen. If it does, you have my humble permission to kill me, and if it “happens” after we die…have your kids call my kids. they can kill them.

In other words, its never going to happen.

Interesting supposition. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been dealing with this issue concerning one of their canonized scriptures. In their book The Pearl Of Great Price there is a book allegedly translated by the founder of the church from ancient papyrus. The founder, Joseph Smith, claimed that the papyrus was “The Book of Abraham”, and “translated” it and published it, and in 1880 it was accepted as scripture by the church.

This papyrus was found in recent years and Egyptologists have translated it. Interesting that the papyrus contains NOTHING whatsoever to do with Abraham, that it is a basic Egypt funeral text called The Book Of Breathings, and was prepared for an important Egyptian named Horus who died.

You can read about this here.

Yet Mormons dismiss this as nothing, that there are numerous explanations for this major discrepancy in their beliefs, including the favorite, that the text only INSPIRED Smith to write the book.

A Christian’s reaction to the OP’s supposition would probably be along the very same lines.

Actually Pants, I think you’ve missed the point. The point is hypothetical. Speaking as an atheist it still seems unlikely to me that it would happen either, but the question was simply “what if?”

“What if” Zeus and Odin appeared in Washington D.C. tomorrow demanding the resumption of their worship? How would the mainstream religious believers react?

“What if” a huge asteroid strikes tomorrow without being previously detected? What would happen to society?

“What if” your kids decide they don’t share your beliefs, will you kill them?

All hypothetical, I hope. And let your kids decide for themselves how they’ll die.

Still trying to figure out if the thread title qualifies as trolling…

Moving on.

So one ancient manuscript claims to discount the NT but not the OT? I’m curious as to why you gave that limitation, that you’re more interested in how Christians would react to an attempt to invalidate their faith than how Jews would. Or Muslims.

I doubt things would change much. Your talking about one ancient scroll being used to invalidate hundreds of more-ancient scrolls. I think much more conclusive “proof” would be needed before any sort of wholesale abandonment of Christian tenets would occur.

Upon reflection, I actually think nothing would happen, other than a short period of slightly-louder-than-usual debate between atheists and Christians. While proselyte atheists, Jews, Muslims, etc. would be vehemently pointing to this newly discovered text as “proof”, for the majority of Christians, the question would come down to, “Which set of ancient, uncorroborated texts do you belive to be true?”

Ultimately, IMHO, you wouldn’t be able to change a True Believer’s mind. The reason for that, in the end, goes back to God.

For example:

Suppose someone finds a papyrus in the Sinai desert that says:

Some secularists would take it as proof that the Sinatic revelation was false. Others would dismiss the note as a possible forgery.

But how would the religious look at it? They’d wheigh what they believe to be the evidence:

Taking it as a given that the Bible comes from God, they have to weigh that against the new discovery. Since they have, what they believe to be a God-given document, anything that contravenes it (including the new find) must be false, unless you could prove that the original document (the Bible) is not God-given.

Therefore, really, before any new “documents” could come to light, you must first prove to the TB that the Bible is not God-given first. Contravening evidence can only then follow…

Zev Steinhardt

It’s not trolling; it’s a pretty decent question, and one my friends and I used to joke about in Catholic school. The discovery of a print of the NT with a cover page saying something along the lines of “Dedicated to my good friends Peter, John, and Mary. Hope you enjoy the story, your’s, J.C.” Don’t get pissy with the fact Ralph chose the NT, you’re just being an ass.

There have been a few cases already of “Proof” of Jesus’s divinity and the attempts to discredit them. I can’t remember the proper name right now, but the Shrowd that Jesus was supposedly burried in. For a loooong time, it’s been believed that this relic was indeed the shrowd Jesus was burried in and was proof of his existance and divinity. Then, several years ago, some scientists managed to create the same effects of the shrowd using juice or poweder made from a specific berry and used carbon dating to “prove” that the shrowd was actually created in the dark/middle ages. Some people still believe it to be real, some people believe it to be a hoax.

Something like one singular scroll would be denied and “disproven” by the Catholic Church, and by all Christian Churches. Shit, the movie Stigmata was a really bad movie about a similar situation, where apparently there was a scripture found where Jesus essentially said the creation of a Church is useless and misses the whole point of his teaching. There’s another story where, apparently, Jesus comes back some time during the Spanish Inquisition, and the Church keeps him locked away because people have grown more dependant on the Church than they have on Jesus. To be honest, either of these scenarios are viable, assuming you believe the Church to be so desperate and self centered (which many people do).

I think it would create a huge debate about the scroll’s authenticity and reliability, but you can be sure, it wouldn’t bring Christianity to it’s knees. Well, maybe just in prayer to have all those heathens trying to destroy the teachings of Christ to be smotten, but it would be interesting to see what type of conversations and debates would be brought up.

Actually, I diddnt miss the point. I know and understand it was hypothetical. That is why I involved my future kids. My ultimate point is, I honestly believe within my entire soul and life that there would never be legit “proof” that the bible is false.

So if I were to answer this question if I base my entire life off of the truth of the subject, I could easally make up an entirely different scenario. For example, what if scientists “proved” that food and water make no difference to a human body, and therefore it is not nessisary to eat or drink anything to survive. There would be no hypothetical answer to what we would do. If we know blatantly that something is true, I honestly believe we as humans couldnt understand what we would do…I.E. try explaining color to a person who has been blind for life. I hope you can make sence of my point in that giant mess of a paragraph :smiley:

I just wanted to say, I’m not blasting anybody in here. Even though I’m not Catholic, I do like what the pope once said…“The truth isnt always majority decision.”…I respect everyones beliefs, even though I might not agree with it myself.

If you ask me though, It seems like this has made “Great Debate” material…but thats not up to me.

Pants over and out

I don’t think this is a Great Debate, but more of an IMHO thread.

To answer the OP: an archeologist finds a document asserting that the New Testament is false. Why would a Christian choose to believe that document over the New Testament?
A document saying “there is no heaven and no hell”: I can find plenty of 20th century documents that say that. Why would an ancient text carry more weight than those 20th century documents? is chock full of factual information about thousands of things, but people hawking those internet emails still want to believe the original story.
Always will.

People want to believe what they want to believe, regardless of nonsense like facts.

Now about this rumor of the USA having once landed on the moon…

I’m not a Christian–I don’t worship Jesus of Naz as God, I just kind of hero-worship him.

If you demonstrate to me that the tales were a 5th century hoax, I shrug and acknowlege that I hero-worship a well-crafted fictional character with a great message.

I would imagine that anyone who puts the emphasis on the message and not the Peter Pan glitz would do likewise.

Geez. You people never read Wallace’s The Word, did you? Sets up exactly this situation.

[hijack]James Lileks has often tossed something similar to this into his columns: The existence of Thor as one of the Marvel superheroes. This is an actual Norse God flying around in the air, and yet Marvel deftly managed to avoid ever examining any of the theological implications for 20th Century America. At the very least, it should have caused people to stop and think.[/hijack]

I have heard of a theory that Judaic tradition was antedated and that really it dates from about the time of the Babylonian captivity. The return of the Jewa really being the attempt of the Babylonians to set up a buffer state between them and Egypt. The archeological evidence to support this thesis is interpreted as showing no coherent culture in Palestine until after this time. I seem to remember that this evidence was uncovered by a Jewish archeologist comparing sites from all over Israel.

So it’s not inconceivable that a cuneiform tablet could show up saying, " Hail Getsu son of Harati , Nebchadnezzar light of the world et. et. wants to know how the new religion in Caenna project is going.

Marvel has actually dealt with the issue. Most of the general public of Earth believes Thor (and Hercules) to simply be regular modern-day super-powered people who are “cashing in” on the mythology.

My source is the Deluxe Edition of the Handbook of the Marvel Universe.

Zev Steinhardt

Not quite true, I’m afraid. There is enough archaeological evidence to corroborate at least the later Judean kings, which predates the Babylonian Exile.

Zev “Jewa” Steinhardt

Typos happen, when they happen to you I hope your readers are not infantile enough to mock you.

I said, “is interpreted”, as in, is interpreted by the people who put forward this theory. You obviously have a different interpretation which you are bold enough to state as fact.