Table of Contents:  Prepublication Document Pagination

A ZEAL FOR GOD NOT ACCORDING TO KNOWLEDGE:

A Refutation of Judaism's Arguments Against Christianity

By Eric V. Snow

TABLE OF CONTENTS IN BRIEF

I. Introduction 11

II. Historicity of the New Testament Defended: The

Bibliographical Test Applied 22

III. How External Evidence Confirms the New

Testament 65

IV. The Internal Evidence Test: Does the New

Testament Contradict Itself? 110

V. Did Paganism Influence Early Christianity? 153

VI. Was Gnosticism the Source of Christian

Doctrine? 230

VII. The Messianic Texts Revisited 261

VIII. How is a Man or Woman Saved?: Judaism versus

Christianity 323

IX. Is the New Testament's Portrayal of First-

Century Judaism Accurate? 363

X. Was Jesus God? 382

XI. Appendix: Jewish Versus Christian Tran-

slations of the Messianic Texts 422

XII. Selected Bibliography 425

DETAILED TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION 11

Why Does This Debate Still Matter? 11

Methodology and Purposes 12

Christianity Proclaims It Has the Only Way to

Salvation 14

Could There Be Only One True Religion? 14

The Grim Record of “Christian� Anti-Semitism 15

The Burden of the Holocaust 16

The Sins of Christians Don't Prove Jesus Was a False Messiah 17

Why a Critique of Judaism as a Religious System Need

Not Be Anti-Semitic 17

Books That Argue the Case for Judaism against

Christianity 19

Why a Refutation of Judaism's Claims Remains Relevant

Even Today 20

II. THE HISTORICITY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT DEFENDED:

THE BIBLIOGRAPHICAL TEST APPLIED 22

Three Tests for Historical Reliability 22

The Bibliographical Test 23

Why More Manuscripts Is Better, Not Worse 24

Textual Criticism Can Rule Out Most Variations 25

The New Testament's Shorter Time Gap 26

Pagan Works Have Longer Time Gaps 27

A Short Time Gap Increases Reliability 28

How Acts Implies the New Testament Was Written

Before C. A.D. 63 30

Major Parts of the New Testament Are in Manuscripts

Older Than C. A.D. 325-350 32

The Early Second-Century Fragment of John 33

The Battle Between the Received and Critical Texts

of the New Testament 36

The Variations in the New Testament's Text 37

The New Testament Was Not Subject to Much Oral

Tradition 39

Oral Transmission in Jewish Culture 40

Problems with Form Criticism 42

The New Testament's Eyewitness Testimony Undermines

the Form Critics' Arguments 44

Internal Evidence that Oral/Written Transmission

Accurately Preserved Jesus' Words 46

Ancient People Knew the Difference Between Truth

and Fables 47

Further Internal Evidence for Believing in the New

Testament 48

Why Should This Eyewitness Evidence Be Believed? 49

How Skepticism About Primary Sources Can Destroy

One's Own Arguments 50

Could Average People in Judea Have Spoken Greek? 51

The New Testament Was Not Written in a Highly

Scholarly Greek 54

Did the Same Man Write the Gospel of Luke and Acts? 55

How the Semitic Constructions of the Gospels' Greek

Indicate No Later “Church Father� Wrote Them 56

Why Would the Aramaic- or Hebrew-Speaking Disciples

Quote from a Greek Translation of the Old

Testament? 57

How Can Anyone Be Certain That the Right Books Are

in the New Testament? 58

Did the Catholic Church's Hierarchy Determine the

Canon from the Top-Down? 61

Persecution Helps Form the Canon 64

III. HOW EXTERNAL EVIDENCE CONFIRMS THE NEW

TESTAMENT 65

Pontius Pilate Versus the Argument from Silence 66

Ramsay Converted by Luke's Historical Reliability 68

Further External Evidence for Luke's Reliability 69

The Date of Christ's Birth and the Census by

Quirinius 70

Major Roman Censuses Did Happen 73

Tacitus's Reference to Jesus 74

Other Early Pagan References to Christ 75

Pliny the Younger's Mention of Early Christians 76

Justin Martyr's Witness to Records about Jesus 77

The Controversy Surrounding Josephus's Witness 78

How Josephus's Testimony May Have Originally

Appeared 80

Was Pontius Pilate Out of Character During Jesus'

Trial? 81

The Political Reconstruction of Jesus' Trial

Reconsidered 82

Jesus Violated Jewish Law, Not Roman 85

Why Did Pilate Charge Jesus with a Crime If He

Believed Jesus Was Innocent? 86

The Romans' Indifference to Doctrinal Disputes Among

the Jews 87

Did the New Testament Plagiarize from Josephus? 88

Did the New Testament Plagiarize from Old Testament

Incidents? 89

Was Jesus Conceived or Born Illegitimately? 91

An Ancient Slander Examined: Jesus Ben Panthera 91

Was Eusebius a Reliable Historian? 92

Two Reasons for the Basic Reliability of the Church's

Early Leaders 94

The Philosopher David Hume Versus Miracles 95

Some Basic Arguments against Hume's Attacks on

Belief in Miracles 97

How Can a Miracle Be “Proven�? 99

What Can Prove a Historical Event Really Happened? 99

Evidence from Hostile Sources that Jesus Could Do

Miracles 100

The Fundamental Differences Between Pagan and

Christian Miracle Accounts 102

Why Pagan Myths Are Intrinsically Unreliable

Accounts of Miracles 104

One Way to Test Miracle Claims 105

The Difference in Miracle Accounts between the

Gospels and the Pagan Myths 107

The External Evidence of Fulfilled Prophecy 108

IV. THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE TEST APPLIED TO THE NEW

TESTAMENT 110

Does an Addition or Subtraction of Detail Create a

“Contradiction�? 110

“Contradictions� in Court Testimony? 111

Some Supposed “Contradictions� in the New Testament

Examined 112

Rabbinical Judaism V. Stephen: What Is the Verdict? 112

Did Abraham and Jacob Buy the Same Tomb? 113

How Many Died in a Plague? 114

Where Did Jacob Worship? 115

Was John the Baptist the Elijah to Come? 115

Did Matthew Misquote Zechariah? 116

Will There Be Animal Sacrifices in the Millennium? 117

How Did Judas Iscariot Die? 119

Are the Accounts of Paul's Conversion Experience Contradictory? 121

Was Christ Wrong to Call the Pharisees “Fools�? 121

According to the Jewish Calendar, on What Date Was

Jesus Crucified? 122

Are the Resurrection Accounts Contradictory? 123

The Resurrection Upsets the Old Paradigm 124

Did Mary Magdalene Touch Jesus or Not? 126

Are the Genealogies of Christ in Luke and Matthew Contradictory or False? 127

Foreshortened Genealogies 129

Was God's Curse Against Jeconiah Lifted? 132

The Great Trilemma—Jesus Christ: Lord, Liar, or

Lunatic? 132

The “Poached Egg� Option Examined 133

Jesus' Character Defended 134

Do the Sins of the Old Testament's Heroes Invalidate

It? 136

Was Paul a Deceiver? 137

The Problems of the Empty Tomb and the Resurrection 139

Why Denying the Tomb Was Empty Is Implausible 141

Were the Resurrection Appearances Hallucinations? 142

Did the Disciples Steal the Body? 144

The Swoon Theory Weighed and Found Wanting 145

How Is the Transformed Behavior of the Disciples to

Be Explained Otherwise? 147

Good Evidence for the Apostles Being Given the Option

to Avoid Dying for a Lie 148

Why the Counter-Example of the Mormon prophet Joseph

Smith Proves Nothing 150

Conclusion: Judaism's Attacks on the New Testament's

Reliability Faulty 151

V. DID PAGANISM INFLUENCE EARLY CHRISTIANITY? 153

The State of the Scholarly Climate of Opinion on the

Christian/Pagan Tie 154

Fox's Statement Against Seeing Parallels between

Paganism and Christianity 156

Some Standard Differences Between Most Mystery

Religions and Christianity 157

Ignoring Chronology to “Prove� Christianity's

Dependence on the Mysteries 159

Surface Similarities Do Not Prove Dependence 160

Maccoby's General Technique Examined 161

The Need for Specificity when Comparing between

Christianity and Paganism 163

What Meanings Did the First Christians Attribute to

the Two Sacraments? 166

How Frazer's Thesis and Terminology Forces Parallels

between Christianity and Paganism 168

Frazer's Bias against Christianity and Judaism 171

Differences Outweigh Similarities 172

Was Mithraism the Origin of Christian Baptism? 173

Is the Eucharist (the Lord's Supper) Pagan? 174

Did Paul Originate the Eucharist? 175

Did the Eucharist Come from the Cults of Mithra,

Attis, or Demeter? 176

Mere Preexistence Doesn't Prove Dependence 179

Did the Eucharist Originate in the Orgiastic Rites

of Dionysus? 181

The True Religion as Both “Thick� and “Clear� 182

Was Jesus' Birth Like Mithra's or Hercules's? 182

Did the Pagan “Savior-Gods� Die for the Same Reasons

that Jesus Did? 183

How Dionysus's and Jesus' Deaths Differed 190

Was Orphism Like Christianity? 191

Was Osiris a Dying and Rising Savior-God? 193

What Kind of “Salvation� Did Osiris Bring His

Devotees? 195

Egyptian Ritualistic Washings Not a Precedent for

Christian Baptism 196

No Precedent in Initiation Rite for the Hellenistic

Isis Cult 197

Did Firmicus Maternus Describe Gentiles Thinking

Osiris or Attis Was a Savior? 197

Were the Beliefs of Christianity and the Cult of

Attis Alike? 199

Were the Rites of the Hilaria Festival Precedents for

Christian Practices? 201

What Did the Taurobolium Mean to the Attis Cult's

Devotees? 203

Were Paul's Body Marks Like the Self-Castration Done

by the Priests of Attis? 205

Was Adonis a Dying and Rising Savior God? 206

Did Initiates Identify Themselves with Their Mystery

Gods' Fate? 208

Is Calling Jesus “Lord� Pagan? 209

Ignoring Chronology in Order to Say Mithraism

Influenced Early Christianity 211

Some Specific Ways Mithraism Differs from

Christianity 212

Did Mithraism Originate in Persia? 214

Evidence for Mithraism's Origin from Asia Minor, not

Persia or India 215

More Evidence that Mithraism Was Weak in the First-

Century Roman Empire 215

How Pagan Religions Could Have Borrowed Some from

Christianity 216

Reasons for Faith: Are the Parallels to Paganism

Necessarily so Problematic? 218

Can Paganism Caricaturize the Truth? 220

Primeval Revelation: Another Way Pagan Beliefs Could

Be Like Christianity's 222

Was Christ Like Krishna or Buddha? 223

Was Jesus' Birth Like Buddha's? 225

Is Christianity More Like Judaism or Like Paganism? 227

Christianity Did Not Depend on Pagan Religions for

Its Doctrines: A Summary 228

VI. WAS GNOSTICISM THE SOURCE OF CHRISTIAN TEACHING? 230

Just What Is Gnosticism? 230

Problems with Maccoby's Definition of Gnosticism 232

Was Plato a Proto-Gnostic? 234

Plato's Allegory of the Cave and Its Possible

Relationship to Gnosticism 237

Did Plato's God Make a Good World and Directly

Create Mankind? 238

Does Gnosticism Successfully Jump the Chronological

Hurdle? 239

Does Maccoby Prove Gnosticism Existed Before A.D.

100? 240

Skepticism about Pre-Christian Gnosticism for

Chronological Reasons 241

Late Sources Typically Used to Prove Pre-Christian

Gnosticism 242

The Fundamental Shakiness of the Evidences for Pre-

Christian Gnosticism 244

Does the Use of Jewish Sources Prove a Pre-Christian

Gnosticism Existed? 245

Did Paul and the Gnostics Use the Same Word with the

Same Meanings? 245

Is the Gospel of John Gnostic and/or un-Jewish in

Its Thought? 247

Did Christianity Take the Concept of Logos from

Hellenistic Philosophy? 249

Are Christian Doctrines Like Gnosticism's? 251

Was Paul a Moderate Gnostic? 252

Did Paul Teach that the Angels Composed the Law? 254

Does Colossians 2 Attack or Promote Gnosticism? 256

Is It Gnostic to Use Types or Duality to Interpret

Scripture? 258

Christianity's Dependence on Gnosticism Unproven 260

VII. THE MESSIANIC TEXTS REVISITED 261

What Is the Foundation of Faith in Jesus as the

Messiah? 262

Why the Messianic Texts Aren't the Sole Proof

Ultimately for Christianity 262

What Types Are, and How They Differ from Direct

Predictive Prophecy 263

The Primary and Secondary Meanings of the Messianic

Texts 265

The Suggestive Type Found in Abraham's Near Sacrifice

of Isaac 265

Could Have the Old Testament Stood Alone Permanently

as God's Final Revelation? 266

Even Under the Old Covenant, God Could Accept

Gentiles 268

How the Animal Sacrifices Indicate the Old Testament

Wasn't a Final Revelation 270

The Duality Principle of Interpreting Scripture

Defended 270

Old Testament Prophets Can Suddenly Change Subjects

and Time Periods Without Warning 272

Does Micah 5:2 Have to Refer to a Family/Clan Instead

of a Specific Place? 274

The Literal and Eternal Preexistence of the Messiah

Shows He Must Be God 275

Did Matthew Quote Hosea 11:1 Out of Context? 276

David as a Type (Forerunner) of Christ in Psalm 22 277

Did the Original Hebrew Have “They Pierced My Hands

and My Feet�? 279

The Psalms Were Reliable in the Septuagint 280

Are Psalms 16 and 69 Typological Only? 281

Is Psalm 68 Messianic? 282

Will Jerusalem's Inhabitants One Day Look upon the

God They Pierced? 284

Does Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 Refer to One Prophet or

Many? 285

Psalm 110 and David's Lord Being the Messiah 286

Does Isaiah 7:14 Refer to Jesus' Birth? 287

What Does the Word Translated “Virgin/Young Woman�

Really Mean? 288

The Use in Hebrew of the Past Tense/Perfect State in

Prophetic Predictions 290

Isaiah 9:6: The Child Is “Mighty God� 292

Zechariah 11:13: Was Jehovah Worth Thirty Shekels? 294

Psalm 2:7-9: Who Is the Son Who Comes to Conquer? 295

The Duality of II Samuel 7:14 296

Jeremiah 31:15-17: When Did Rachel Do Her Weeping? 297

Genesis 3:15: What Was the Seed of the Woman 298

Zechariah 13:7: The Shepherd Who Was Struck Instead

of the Sheep 299

Just Who Is the “Servant� in Isaiah? Jesus or

Israel? 299

The Suffering Servant of Isaiah 52-53 Points to an

Individual, not Israel 301

The Individualistic, Personal Language Describing the

Servant 305

Did the Servant Have Offspring? 307

Did Jews Always Believe Isaiah 52-53 Was about

Israel? 307

Was Jesus Anointed to Be the Messiah? 308

The Mournful and Conquering Messiahs 309

Did Some Jews Believe in Two Messiahs? 311

The Dead Sea Scrolls Reveal Other Jewish

Interpretations of the Messiah 312

Genesis 49:10 and the Timing of the Messiah's Arrival 313

How and When Did the Scepter Depart from Judah? 314

The Second Temple and the Messiah's Arrival 315

The Seventy Weeks Prophecy Predicts When the Messiah

Would Come 316

The Inserted Punctuation in Biased Jewish Tran-

Slations of Daniel 9:25 318

The Incorrect Dates Used to Explain Away the Seventy

Weeks Prophecy 320

The Battle Between Two Schools of Prophetic

Interpretation Over Dan. 9:24-27 321

Summary: Jesus of Nazareth Is the Messiah Predicted

by the Old Testament 321

VIII. HOW IS A MAN OR WOMAN SAVED?: JUDAISM VERSUS

CHRISTIANITY 323

The Theory of Atonement: Why Did Jesus Have to Die? 323

Did Jesus Have to Be God in Order to Save Humanity? 325

The Governmental Theory of Atonement 327

The Implications for the Ground of the Atonement in

the Story of Zaleucus 328

The Torah Doesn't Make Animal Sacrifices Optional

for Sinners 328

Vicarious Atonement Defended 330

Repentance and Sacrifice Are Both Necessary for an

Efficacious Atonement 331

The Torah Never Made Sacrifice Optional for Gaining

Atonement 332

Did Jesus Commit Suicide? 335

How Valuable Are Good Works without a Correct

Relationship with God? 336

Judaism's Excessive Confidence in Obeying the Law by

Human Self-Effort 337

The Holy Spirit Helps Christians to Obey God's Law 340

Christian Soteriology Vs. Self-Esteem? 341

Galatians 3:10 and the Curse of the Law 343

Is the Christian God a “Sadist�? 344

Free Will Versus Human Depravity? 346

Did Judaism Believe Man Had an Evil Human Nature? 349

Did Paul Teach Repentance? 351

Are All Christians Calvinists? 352

Did God Create Moral Evil? 353

Satan Corrupted Himself 355

Does Christianity Provide Cheap Grace? 357

Imputed and Imparted Righteousness Are Both Needed 359

Why Christianity's Soteriology Is Superior to

Judaism's 361

IX. IS THE NEW TESTAMENT'S PORTRAYAL OF FIRST-

CENTURY JUDAISM ACCURATE? 363

The Talmud Characterized 364

Were Jews and Gentiles Supposed to Eat Separately

According to Jewish Law? 366

Laws Separating Jew from Gentile in the Talmud 367

What Is to Be the Final Authority? Tradition or

Scripture? 368

Jesus Versus the Pharisees over the Oral Law's

Authority 370

Legalism Run Amuck: Rabbinical Judaism's Sabbath

Regulations 371

Did the Oral Law Prohibit Healing on the Sabbath? 373

Why Legalism Is Spiritually Problematic 374

How Old Is the Oral Law? 376

Were the Pharisees Always Good Patriots? 377

Were the Pharisees Self-Righteous? 379

Negative Portrayals of the Pharisees Found Even in

Jewish Writings 380

The New Testament's Portrayal of First-Century

Judaism Is Accurate 381

X. WAS JESUS GOD? 382

Applying Deductive Theology to Scriptural Evidence

Bearing on Jesus' Deity 383

Plural Verbs and Participles that Refer to God 383

Genesis 1:26 Remains an Obstacle to Unitarianism 384

Does the Plural of Majesty Render Genesis 1:26

Ambiguous? 384

The Plural of Majesty Is a Hoax! 385

Is Yahweh One yet Plural? 386

Psalms 45:6-7 Implies Unitarianism Is False 387

Yahweh Sends Yahweh 388

Yahweh Delivers Israel by Yahweh? 388

The Shema's Use of Echad Supports the Christian

Understanding of God 389

Moses Maimonides Uses Yachid in Creed 390

How God is One yet Is More than One Person 390

The Old Testament's Theophanies Versus Unitarianism 392

When the Messenger of Jehovah Is Jehovah! 393

The Gospel of John Proves Jesus Is God 395

Jehovah's Witnesses on John 1:1 395

Why Would John Omit the Article in John 1:1's Third

Clause? 397

Jesus' Uniquely Close Relationship with the Father 400

Jesus Identifies Himself as Yahweh 402

How to Rationalize the Stones Thrown at Jesus 403

Did Jesus' Fellow Jews Misunderstand Him? 403

The Apostle Thomas's Affirmation of Jesus' Deity 404

Jesus Could Forgive Sins by His Own Authority 405

Jesus Was Worshiped 406

Jesus Was the Creator 408

The Alpha and the Omega 408

Paul Affirms Jesus Is God 408

Sharp's Rule Versus Unitarianism 409

Messianic Texts and Jesus' Deity 411

One John 5:20 and Other Texts Likely Supporting

Jesus' Deity 411

A Doxology Shows “God� Means “God� 412

The Blood of God 413

Does the Word “God� Have More than One Meaning? 415

Does Revelation 3:14 Prove Jesus Was Created? 315

How Was the Father Greater than Jesus? 416

Did Jesus Deny His Deity? 417

Jesus Was “the First-Born of All Creation� 418

Summary: Jesus Is God! 419

The Problems with Judaism's Case against Chris-

tianity Summarized 420

APPENDIX: JEWISH VERSUS CHRISTIAN TRANSLATIONS OF

THE MESSIANIC TEXTS 422

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 425