Can Christians histoically rely on the current accepted Gospels to believe in the crucifixion of Jesus? Don’t the Gospels have contradictions between themselves on this issue?
All the present four Gospels, although with some differences, have narrated the fiction of crucifixion. Nonetheless, the testimony of none of them can be accepted in any court of law for the following reasons:
1. Unfortunately none of the authors of the Gospels are living for cross examination of their narrations. Hence, we can only refer to their texts available to us as their sworn affidavit.
The main problem of the present Gospels is their authors are anonymous. The authors, the date and the language of the Gospels are unknown. Thus, as Ahmed Deedat adequately expressed, ‘no civilized court of law would pay any heed to the present gospels as attested documents’.
2. None of the anonymous authors of the gospels were eyewitnesses of the crucifixion. So, where did they get their information from? For instance, it is believed that Mark had been the disciple of Peter; the chief disciple of Jesus. Nonetheless Mark says that at the time of the arrest of Jesus ‘all his disciples forsook him and fled.’ [Mark 14:50] So, either we have to agree that Mark is lying or ‘all disciples’ including Peter had left Jesus.
Then again who narrated the arrest and the crucifixion of Jesus to Mark? Yes, Mark narrates that Peter followed Jesus from a distance, but then again, to safeguard himself he stayed outside the entrance of the court, even blaspheming so that people would not accuse him of being one of the disciples. Thus, Peter was not an eye witness either. As a result, Mark could not even be an `ear-witness` to the scene. Thus, his Gospel is more of a community gossip.
As a matter of fact, the present gospels are technically less reliable than a history book such as ‘The History of Tabari’. For, Tabari at least mentions the chain of the narrators through whom he narrates the historical events, a process which enables scholars to examine and verify the authenticity of the narrations.
3. Gospels narrate different phrases for the last words of Jesus.
The last word of Jesus according to John was ‘it is finished’ (John 19:30). Luke on the other hand narrates: “With a loud voice Jesus cried: Father, into Your hands I entrust my spirit! And with these words he died.” [23:46]. The last words Mark narrates from Jesus is ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?` [Mark 15:34, Matt. 26:14-16]. Keep in mind the fact that the reason why the narrations of Mark and Matthew are practically the same is due to Matthew’s narration depending largely upon that of Mark`s. Thus, it should not be treated as a separate historical source.
4. It is very unlikely for a Messenger of Allah to have expressed such a complaint, as narrated by Mark, in the last minutes of his life, questioning Allah as to why He had forsaken him.
Sheikh Mansour Leghaei