Posted 25 April 2011 - 10:38 AM
1. When did Jesus get crucified?a. At the 3rd Hour (9am), on Friday, the morning of Passover.b. Shortly after the 6th Hour (noon), on Friday, the day before Passover.c. He didn’t really get crucified, his identical twin Thomas Didymus did.d. He didn’t really get crucified, he only appeared to be crucified.e. We don’t know for sure, since the gospels disagree irreconcilably.e. We don’t know for sure, since the gospels disagree irreconcilably.Note: According to the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), Jesus was crucified at 9am on Passover; John insists it was in the afternoon the day before Passover. To make matters even worse, they all say this was on a Friday. Later Christian sects argued he was never crucified at all; it was just a spiritual ruse2. What supernatural events occurred at his death?a. An earthquake hits Jerusalem (actually, two); strong enough to break stones.b. Supernatural darkness covers all the land.c. The sacred temple curtain spontaneously rips in half.d. A mass resurrection of all the Jewish holy men, who crawl out of their graves and appear to many in Jerusalem.e. All of the above, depending on which Gospel you read.e. All of the above, depending on which Gospel you read3. What historical evidence do we have for those supernatural events?a. Every major ancient writer of the time worldwide mentioned them.b. Many important writers in Judea discuss them.c. Several writers in Jerusalem mention them.d. No one mentions them, but we do have archeological evidence for them.e. There is not a single lick of evidence for any of them, written or otherwise.e. There is not a single lick of evidence for any of them, written or otherwise.Note: Incidentally, though we have no historical evidence for any of these spectacular events, oddly we do have historical accounts for much less interesting incidents including the antics of other, lesser, would-be messiahs during the same time period when the Gospels say Jesus’ fame was spreading like wildfire throughout Judea, Galilee, and beyond to the Decapolis and Syria4. How many women went to the tomb?a. Three: Mary Magdalene, James’ mother and Salome.b. Two: Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary.”c. Lots: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, James’ mother Mary and other women.d. Just one: Mary Magdalene.e. No way to know, since none of the Gospels agree.e. No way to know, since none of the Gospels agree.Note: a. Three: (according to Mark)b. Two: (according to Matthew)c. Lots: (according to Luke)d. Just one: (according to John)5. What did they find there?a. A young man, sitting inside the tomb on the right.b. Two men, standing inside.c. Two angels sitting on each end of the bed.d. An armed guard of Roman soldiers standing watch, when suddenly a great earthquake occurs, and an angel descends from heaven, his face blazing like lightning and his clothing white as snow; the Roman guards are utterly terrified and all faint dead away; the angel rolls away the stone and sits on it.e. No way to know, since none of the Gospels agree.e. No way to know, since none of the Gospels agree.Note: a. A young man: (according to Mark)b. Two men: (according to Luke)c. Two angels: (according to John) d. Guards/Earthquake/Blazing Angel/Romans Terrified: (according toMatthew)6. What happened after the visit to the tomb?a. The women ran away in terror and never told anyone what they saw.b. Jesus appears, is initially mistaken for the gardener, and then is tenderly reunited with Mary.c. The women tell the disciples, who don’t believe them.d. Peter runs and beats everyone to the tomb; or possibly gets beaten by one of the other disciples.e. No way to know, since none of the Gospels agree.e. No way to know, since none of the Gospels agree.Note: The women running away in terror and never telling anyone is the original ending of Mark, which stopped at ch. 16, verse 8; the rest of the chapter was one of two endings which were added much later. John tells the story of Mary coming alone and mistaking Jesus for the gardener. Luke has the women run and tell the disbelieving disciples, but then has Peter change his mind and run to the tomb. John has Peter and “The Beloved Disciple” both run to the tomb, and has Peter lose the race – so obviously, the beloved disciple (who is supposed to be the real source of John’s Gospel) is the best.7. Where/when did the risen Jesus first appear to the disciples?a. On a mountain in the Galilee (60-100 miles from Jerusalem), just as the angel told them he would.b. We don’t know; we aren’t told anything after the women run from the tomb.c. He appears to two followers (not disciples) on the road to Emmaus (seven miles from Jerusalem)d. He materializes in a locked room in Jerusalem as the disciples are at dinner.e. No way to know, since none of the Gospels agree.e. No way to know, since none of the Gospels agree.Note: Matthew has Jesus meet his disciples on a mountain in the Galilee. Mark’s gospel originally ended at the empty tomb with no appearance of Jesus. Later an ending based on Luke’s was added. Luke has Jesus appear first to Cleopas and another unnamed follower on the road to Emmaus before he appears to the disciples, which of course begs the question: Who the hell is Cleopas, and how does he rate? John, as we saw, has Jesus appear first to Mary before he magically interrupts the disciples’ supper – but not all of them; he has to come back a week later to convince Doubting Thomas8. When/Where did Jesus ascend back to heaven?a. Jesus returns to heaven on the same day he arose, right after dinner, from a room in Jerusalem.b. We don’t know exactly, but it’s at least 8 days after the resurrection, when the despondent apostles have gone back to being fishermen on the sea of Tiberias.c. After his resurrection, Jesus spends at least 40 days of teaching his disciples in Jerusalem before ascending to heaven from the Mt. of Olives.d. Jesus didn’t ascend into heaven; he met his disciples in the mountains of Galilee and told them he would be with them always.e. We don’t really know; Luke is the only gospel writer who actually mentions the ascension.e. We don’t really know; by the way, Luke is the only gospel writer who actually mentions the ascension.Note: Mathew ends his gospel with Jesus still on the mountain in Galilee with his disciples. John ends with the disciples instead returning to being fishermen again, and Jesus appearing to them at the sea of Tiberias. Neither gospel mentions an ascension. Mark originally ended at 16:8 with no account of the ascension either, but the ending tacked on by later editors followed Luke and had him ascend right after dinner the same day of his resurrection, though Mark’s dinner takes place in Jerusalem and Luke’s in nearby Bethany. Strangely, Acts 1:9-12 (also written by the author of Luke) contradicts all four gospels by telling us Jesus was around for forty days (!) (with no reaction from the public or his enemies who executed him!) before he ascends to heaven from the Mt. of Olives9. Who wrote these gospels, anyway?a. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John – I mean, come on, it says so right there.b. Actually, none of the gospels even claim to be written by eyewitnesses – all were originally anonymous and written at least a generation later.c. Well, it’s more like the end of first century for Mark and sometime in the early to mid 2nd century for the others, if you must know.d. Hold on – Not only that, but Matthew and Luke just reworked Mark gospel, adding their own material and tweaking Mark’s text to better fit what they thought it should say.e. Get this – if all that weren’t enough, all the Gospels have been edited and added to by later editors, and for the first 200 – 300 years, we have no way to determine how faithfully the originals were preserved.e. Get this – if all that weren’t enough, all the Gospels have been edited and added to by later editors, and for the first 200 – 300 years, we have no way to determine how faithfully the originals were preserved.Note: Technically all of these are true, except for a.10. Where does the word “Easter” come from?a. From the Aramaic word for Passover.b. It originally was “Eastern Holiday” – referring to the Passover celebrated by Jews in the eastern part of the Roman empire.c. From est ova, Latin for “Where are the eggs?”d. From an ancient Celtic pun that means both “Bunnies” and “Chocolate.”e. from Eastre/Eostre, the pagan Goddess of Springe. from Eastre/Eostre, the pagan Goddess of SpringNote: Only e) is correct; The rest are pure lies. Fun fact: The goddess Eastre (a.k.a. Eostre) may be a later variant of the Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar/Astarte, though some scholars suspect the medieval St. Bede just made her up
As Eric Idle wrote: You know, you come from nothing - you're going back to nothing. What have you lost? Nothing!