Tag Archives: Peter

Brian Auten interviews Peter J. Williams about New Testament reliability

I found this interview at Apologetics 315. Click through to get the MP3.

Details:

Today’s interview is with Peter J. Williams, Warden ofTyndale House, Cambridge. He talks about his work and background in biblical languages, the reliability of the Gospels, internal vs. external evidences, the genre of the Gospels, the authorship of the Gospels, the Gospels as eyewitness testimony (link to talk here), historical methods past vs. present, oral culture and literacy in the first century, the dating of the Gospels (years vs. generations), approaching apparent contradictions, correcting substandard approaches to defending the Gospels, looking at morally difficult subjects in the Old Testament, tips for answering moral objections, advice on doing apologetics, and more.

But I have even more Peter J. Williams stuff!

This is a lecture I found from Dr. Peter J. Williams. He’s giving the lecture in Texas! Isn’t that a hoot?

Here’s the main lecture: (54 minutes)

And here’s the Q&A: (9 minutes)

About Peter Williams:

Peter J. Williams is the Warden (CEO) of Tyndale House and a member of the Faculty of Divinity in the University of Cambridge. He received his MA, MPhil and PhD, in the study of ancient languages related to the Bible from Cambridge University. After his PhD, he was on staff in the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University (1997–1998), and thereafter taught Hebrew and Old Testament there as Affiliated Lecturer in Hebrew and Aramaic and as Research Fellow in Old Testament at Tyndale House, Cambridge (1998–2003). From 2003 to 2007 he was on the faculty of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where he became a Senior Lecturer in New Testament and Deputy Head of the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy. In July 2007 he became the youngest Warden in the history of Tyndale House. He also retains his position as an honorary Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University of Aberdeen.

Summary of the lecture:

  • What if the stories about Jesus are legendary?
  • were the gospels transmitted accurately?
  • were the gospels written in the same place as where the events happened?
  • do the gospel authors know the customs and locations where the events happened?
  • do the gospels use the right names for the time and place where the events took place?
  • do the gospels disambiguate people’s names depending on how common those names were?
  • how do the New Testament gospels compare to the later gnostic gospels?
  • how do the gospels refer to the main character? How non-Biblical sources refer to Jesus?
  • how does Jesus refer to himself in the gospels? do the later Christians refer to him that way?
  • how does Jesus teach? do later Christians teach the same way?
  • why didn’t Jesus say anything about early conflicts in the church (the Gentiles, church services)?
  • did the writers of the gospels know the places where the events took place?
  • how many places are named in the gospels? how about in the later gnostic gospels?
  • are the botanical details mentioned in the gospels accurate? how about the later gnostic gospels?

And here are the questions from the audience:

  • how what about the discrepancies in the resurrection narratives that Bart Ehrman is obsessed with?
  • what do you think of the new 2011 NIV translation (Peter is on the ESV translation committee)?
  • how did untrained, ordinary men produce complex, sophisticated documents like the gospels?
  • is oral tradition a strong enough bridge between the events and the writers who interviewed the eyewitnesses?
  • what does the name John mean?
  • why did the gospel writers wait so long before writing their gospels?
  • do you think that Matthew and Luke used a hypothetical source which historians call “Q”?
  • which gospel do critical historians trust the least and why?

I really enjoyed watching this lecture. He’s getting some of this material from Richard Bauckham’s awesome book “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”, so if you aren’t familiar with it, you can get an idea of what’s in it. Peter Williams is a lot of fun to listen to – an excellent speaker. And this material was NEW TO ME. I like the way that this lecture is filled with little UK expressions like “mind the gap” and “Yah?”. He doesn’t say “if you like” as much as Justin Brierley, though. Just once I would like to have a discussion with Justin and have him say that, then I would say “no I don’t like that”. I think that would be funny, and I would love to see the expression on his face when I said that.

You can read an interview with Peter Williams here on Between Two Worlds.

And you can listen to the Peter Williams vs Bart Ehrman debate on Apologetics 315.

What is the meaning and significance of the holiday of Pentecost?

From Patheos, an article by New Testament scholar and pastor Mark D. Roberts.

Introduction:

For Christians, Pentecost is a holiday on which we commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the early followers of Jesus. Before the events of the first Pentecost, which came a few weeks after Jesus’ death and resurrection, there were followers of Jesus, but no movement that could be meaningfully called “the church.” Thus, from an historical point of view, Pentecost is the day on which the church was started. This is also true from a spiritual perspective, since the Spirit brings the church into existence and enlivens it. Thus Pentecost is the church’s birthday.

I’m guessing most of you know the story of what happens. Peter preaches on who Jesus was, and the meaning of his bodily resurrection – and a whole lot of people believe him and become Christians.

Here are the topics that Roberts mentions in the article:

  1. The Presence and Power of the Spirit
  2. The Central Role of the Church in God’s Work in the World
  3. The Multilingual Nature and Mission of the Church
  4. The Inclusive Ministry of the Church

I wanted to excerpt the part of the article where Dr. Roberts explains a part that I think is important.

Excerpt:

3. The Multilingual Nature and Mission of the Church

On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit empowered believers in Jesus to praise God in many languages that they had not learned in the ordinary manner (Acts 2:5-13). Symbolically, this miracle reinforces the multilingual, multicultural, multiracial mission of the church. We are to be a community in which all people are drawn together by God’s love in Christ. As Paul writes in Galatians 3:28: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

Personal Implications: Although there are some glorious exceptions, it seems that the church has not, in general, lived out its multilingual mission. We are often divided according to language, race, and ethnicity. Pentecost challenges all of us to examine our own attitudes in the regard, to reject and repent of any prejudice that lurks within us, and to open our hearts to all people, even and especially those who do not share our language and culture. Yes, I know this is not easy. But it is central to our calling. And it is something that the Spirit of God will help us to do if we are available.

So this is a good thing to remember. Anyone who is willing to believe in Christ and re-prioritize their lives based on his identity and teachings can be a Christian.The Holy Spirit is available to anyone who is willing to respond to God’s drawing them towards himself – anyone who asks God to forgive their sins and re-orient their lives to that it is Christ-directed.

You really can’t look at a person and tell what they are going to be able to contribute to the mission of Christ. They might have a different skin color. They could come from far-away countries. And have different cultural backgrounds. They could be single and childless, or they could be married with children. They could be lonely or popular. They could be ugly or beautiful. They could be emotional and artistic, or scientific and technical. They could come from a happy family or have no family. They could be rich or they could be poor. They might not fit the mold of what we expect for what counts as a good Christian.

I’m not turning a blind eye to sin here, because sin that is celebrated and unrepented IS a reason to reject someone’s claim to be a Christian. I am trying to point out that we should not be rejecting or discounting sincere, effective Christians for non-moral considerations. This is not a country club. It’s all hands on deck.

Peter Williams on whether the gospels are based on eyewitness testimony

Peter J. Williams
Peter J. Williams

This is a lecture I found from Dr. Peter J. Williams. He’s giving the lecture in Texas! Isn’t that a hoot?

Here’s the main lecture: (54 minutes)

And here’s the Q&A: (9 minutes)

About Peter Williams:

Peter J. Williams is the Warden (CEO) of Tyndale House and a member of the Faculty of Divinity in the University of Cambridge. He received his MA, MPhil and PhD, in the study of ancient languages related to the Bible from Cambridge University. After his PhD, he was on staff in the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University (1997–1998), and thereafter taught Hebrew and Old Testament there as Affiliated Lecturer in Hebrew and Aramaic and as Research Fellow in Old Testament at Tyndale House, Cambridge (1998–2003). From 2003 to 2007 he was on the faculty of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where he became a Senior Lecturer in New Testament and Deputy Head of the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy. In July 2007 he became the youngest Warden in the history of Tyndale House. He also retains his position as an honorary Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University of Aberdeen.

Summary of the lecture:

  • What if the stories about Jesus are legendary?
  • were the gospels transmitted accurately?
  • were the gospels written in the same place as where the events happened?
  • do the gospel authors know the customs and locations where the events happened?
  • do the gospels use the right names for the time and place where the events took place?
  • do the gospels disambiguate people’s names depending on how common those names were?
  • how do the New Testament gospels compare to the later gnostic gospels?
  • how do the gospels refer to the main character? How non-Biblical sources refer to Jesus?
  • how does Jesus refer to himself in the gospels? do the later Christians refer to him that way?
  • how does Jesus teach? do later Christians teach the same way?
  • why didn’t Jesus say anything about early conflicts in the church (the Gentiles, church services)?
  • did the writers of the gospels know the places where the events took place?
  • how many places are named in the gospels? how about in the later gnostic gospels?
  • are the botanical details mentioned in the gospels accurate? how about the later gnostic gospels?

And here are the questions from the audience:

  • how what about the discrepancies in the resurrection narratives that Bart Ehrman is obsessed with?
  • what do you think of the new 2011 NIV translation (Peter is on the ESV translation committee)?
  • how did untrained, ordinary men produce complex, sophisticated documents like the gospels?
  • is oral tradition a strong enough bridge between the events and the writers who interviewed the eyewitnesses?
  • what does the name John mean?
  • why did the gospel writers wait so long before writing their gospels?
  • do you think that Matthew and Luke used a hypothetical source which historians call “Q”?
  • which gospel do critical historians trust the least and why?

I really enjoyed watching this lecture. He’s getting some of this material from Richard Bauckham’s awesome book “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”, so if you aren’t familiar with it, you can get an idea of what’s in it. Peter Williams is a lot of fun to listen to – an excellent speaker. And this material was NEW TO ME. I like the way that this lecture is filled with little UK expressions like “mind the gap” and “Yah?”. He doesn’t say “if you like” as much as Justin Brierley, though. Just once I would like to have a discussion with Justin and have him say that, then I would say “no I don’t like that”. I think that would be funny, and I would love to see the expression on his face when I said that.

You can read an interview with Peter Williams here on Between Two Worlds.

And you can listen to the Peter Williams vs Bart Ehrman debate on Apologetics 315.

And Apologetics 315 also posted Peter Williams’ assessment of Bart Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus”.

Does the book of Acts point to a physical, bodily resurrection?

Here’s a great post by Amy of Stand to Reason. She focuses on TWO passages to make a case for Acts teaching a physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus.

Excerpt:

The first is the words of Peter’s evangelistic sermon in Acts 2:22-36:

[Y]ou nailed [Jesus] to the cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. For David says of Him, “…You will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.”

In case they missed the fact that Jesus’ body did not decay, Peter continues:

Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. And so, because he was a prophet…, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.

In other words, Peter argues that David couldn’t have been speaking of himself when he wrote those words of Scripture because David’s body decayed in a tomb. He then contrasts David’s death with Jesus’ death and physical resurrection to show that the words of the Psalm are describing Jesus, and therefore Jesus is the Messiah they’ve been waiting for.

This is good, because the early sermon by Peter in Acts 2 is super early. So even if a bad guy argues that Paul’s view of the resurrection in 1 Cor 15:3-7 is non-physical, you can fall back on Acts 2 and the early eyewitness testimony of Peter. But as Amy mentions, there are other arguments as well.

Further study

The top 10 links to help you along with your learning.

  1. How every Christian can learn to explain the resurrection of Jesus to others
  2. The earliest source for the minimal facts about the resurrection
  3. The earliest sources for the empty tomb narrative
  4. Who were the first witnesses to the empty tomb?
  5. Did the divinity of Jesus emerge slowly after many years of embellishments?
  6. What about all those other books that the Church left out the Bible?
  7. Assessing Bart Ehrman’s case against the resurrection of Jesus
  8. William Lane Craig debates radical skeptics on the resurrection of Jesus
  9. Did Christianity copy from Buddhism, Mithraism or the myth of Osiris?
  10. Quick overview of N.T. Wright’s case for the resurrection

Debates are a fun way to learn

Three debates where you can see this play out:

Or you can listen to my favorite debate on the resurrection.

Extra stuff

A lecture on Bart Ehrman by William Lane Craig.

Economist Thomas Sowell explains the housing boom and bust

My favorite living economist!

The links below will take you to streaming videos.

  • Part 1 (7 minutes) The economics of the housing boom.
  • Part 2 (6 minutes) The politics of the housing boom.
  • Part 3 (6 minutes) The origins and unique features of the housing bust.
  • Part 4 (6 minutes) The pitfalls of New Deal thinking.
  • Part 5 (9 minutes) The economic proposals of the Obama administration.

Thanks to ECM for notifying me about these videos!

About Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell has studied and taught economics, intellectual history, and social policy at institutions that include Cornell, UCLA, and Amherst. Now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Sowell has published more than a dozen books. His latest book is The Housing Boom and Bust.

Full bio is here.