Check out the original “Call to Skeptics” that birthed this objection.
I received another challenge on the Bible that went like so:
The bible is a manuscript from the 5th century AD – Most, if not all, of the pages in the bible originally were written around 5th century AD. That means there were 500 years between the existence of Jesus and the book. So it is obvious that bible cannot be taken as a evidence for his existence. We will never know if the bible contains even a single sentence from the mouth of Jesus, even if he existed.
First, I have answered the challenge of the existence of Jesus in my post on the “Copycat Myth” theory. Go take a gander at it.
I don’t know why the fella says most of the pages in the Bible were written 500 years after Jesus’ existence on earth (or in the 5th century, which would be 400 years later). That sounds more like the Koran, but not the New Testament.
The facts are these: there exists manuscript copies well before the 5th/6th century. The Chester Beatty Papyri, containing most of the New Testament, dates from around 250 A.D. The Bodmer Papyri II collection, containing most of the Gospel of John, dates from A.D 200 or earlier. The John Rylands Papyri, a fragment of John 18, dates from A.D 117-138 or earlier.
What’s more, this fragment was discovered in Egypt, quite a far distance away from the place of original writing. Such a wide circulation takes time. This suggests the date the Gospel of John was written was much earlier than the window given for the origin of the Papyri.
There is more evidence in the writings of the church fathers, who were leaders in the Christian church after the first apostles passed. Irenaeus, writing around A.D 180, names the four Gospels specifically.
Clement, writing about A.D 95-100, made allusions to many of Paul’s letters. Polycarp, writing soon after, makes 100 allusions to the New Testament documents. Papias, yet another church father, defends Mark’s gospel from criticisms of innacuracy.
All this shows that the gentleman is quite out to lunch in his challenge.
Greg Koukl and Mark Roberts have more detail. (ID for Koukl–Pugnacious. Password–Irishman).
Check out the following related posts:
What About Other Gospels?
Hitchens-Turek Debate Analysis
Hitchens-Craig Debate Analysis
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