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Theology - Reliability of Scripture

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In order to demonstrate the "historical reliability of Scripture," the author Gary R. Habermas takes a step beyond the traditional, customary strategies of confirming document legitimacy and instead focuses on four main approaches in which contemporary scholars are more concerned with: Critical rules, the gospel and ancient historiography, the writings and thoughts of the Apostle Paul, and creeds or traditions. Habermas provides several "critical rules" to authenticating ancient written texts by preferring earlier writings and information from key eyewitnesses. Although there are many rules that go into this process, Habermas identifies two major standards to which these rules must oblige. First, there must be a strong confirmation of events. Second, the majority of scholars must declare the events historical. In his second approach, Habermas brings to discussion quiet possibly the most controversial step in the process, defending the reliability of the gospels by using the same standards given to ancient historiography. Habermas seems to remain strongly in agreement with this method, and brings up opinions of historians R.T. France and Michael Grant, exclaiming the use of normal historical techniques, in regard to the New Testament, can reveal a great deal about the historical Jesus. At the same time, Habermas also brings up that many historians are not in agreement with this comparison, seeing many weaknesses in the its overall methodology. In his third approach, Habermas brings to light the writings and thoughts of the Apostle Paul, focusing attention on Paul's epistles, credited as one of the best methods to approach the historicity of Jesus, and the reliability of the New Testament. Scholars trace historical paths from Paul's accepted epistles to the historicity of Jesus or early Christian beliefs. Paul plays a significant role in the authentication or reliability process being that he was an authoritative source and an eyewitness who was close to the data he recorded. Habermas expounds upon creeds and traditions in his fourth and final approach. Before the actual written copies of the New Testament text, oral retelling of the messages and teachings of Jesus were necessary. Habermas explains that these oral teachings date back to an exceptionally early time period and precisely reflect the preaching and teaching styles of those of who were closest to Jesus.

I find Habermas' "Critical Rules" very clear and persuasive because I agree that, above all, there must be a list of guidelines or rules in order to authenticate ancient writings as factual. In addition, I believe that there must be a set of standards that all rules follow or abide by. With that in mind, the section on "The Writings and Thoughts of Paul" is incredibly convincing because Habermas relates the reasons why Paul is authentic back to the two standards. The rule of immediacy, stated as one of the strongest ways to



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