Myth #5: The Gospels contradict one another and contain fiction
Jennings: “Scholars don’t take everything that they read in the New Testament literally because there are four different and sometimes contradictory versions of Jesus’ life.”
Yes, there are differences in the Gospel accounts. Let’s begin with the first obvious difference that seems to concern Jennings so much — the story of Jesus birth. First, there are different genealogies of Jesus. The Jews knew that the Messiah was to come from the house of Judah and specifically must be a descendant of David. Up to this point, Matthew and Luke agree with one another.
There could be several reasons why Matthew and Luke contain different genealogical accounts. The church historian Eusebius, writing in the early fourth century, records that separate genealogies appear for the following reason. Jesus had both a biological mother, Mary, and a legal (but not biological) father, Joseph. Matthew records Jesus’ genealogy by “law” through his adoptive father, Joseph, and Luke records the genealogy of “nature” through his biological mother, Mary. According to Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, Julius Africanus, a third century church father, explained this alleged contradiction in his Letter to Aristides (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, book I, chapter 7).
[CONTRAST JENNINGS’ FOLLOWING CLAIMS WITH RESPONSES BY APOLOGIST J.P. HOLDING]
Jennings: “The Gospels give different versions of what happened on the day that Jesus was baptized … “
Jennings: “Historians differ about what happened a the Last Supper. Some people think His whole speech about the Body and Blood was added by the Gospel writers.”
Jennings: “The Jewish leaders take Jesus to Pilate and pressure him before he will pass the sentence. Many historians don’t believe it.”
Jennings: “Jesus is not an heroic figure at all until He gets into the hands of all the people who are going to write and embellish him.”