Can We Trust the New Testament?: Thoughts on the Reliability of Early Christian Testimony

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Open Court Publishing, 2004 - Philosophy - 242 pages
The earliest refernces to Peter reveal a pre-gospel Christianity which had not yet come to believe that Jesus had lived and died in the recent past as described in the gospels. What emerges from critical reading of the sources is that the real Peter and Paul were bitterly divided, but that later traditions tried to represent them as working harmoniously together, and presented Peter as companion of the newly-composed gospels. Peter began to be linked with Rome in the second century A.D., only much later does this legend become elaborated so that Peter is the sole founder of the church of Rome and thus the first pope.
In the final chapters, Professor Wells describes how leading church spokesmen have themselves accepted the non-historicity of much of the New Testament, and shows the varied conclusions for Christian faith they have drawn from this disturbing development.

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