The necklace that John wears around his neck: a coin from the reign of Emperor Tiberius.
In episode 7 we ask: can we really trust the Gospels in the Bible? And how do the gospels – considered our best evidence for the existence of Jesus – stack up against the evidence for other historical figures of the day?
John Dickson chats with Dr Peter Williams, the author of Can We Trust the Gospels? about how solid the gospel sources for Jesus really are. Many would say they’re not as solid as, say, sources for the Emperor Tiberius, the second Roman emperor who reigned from 14 AD to 37 AD during the time it is said that Jesus lived. But Dr Williams may just change your mind…
Links related to this episode:
- Get Dr Peter Williams’ book Can We Trust the Gospels? here.
- Check out the full Twitter thread of Peter’s satirical attempt to discredit Emperor Tiberius.
- Watch more of the interview John conducted with Professor Richard Bauckham for The Christ Files documentary in 2008.
- Dig into Tacitus’ Annals here. Tacitus was a Roman aristocrat and government official writing about 80 years after Tiberius. His Annals of imperial Rome are universally regarded as the best historical source for the period.
- Find out more about the works of Suetonius, a Roman biographer writing shortly after Tacitus.
- Learn more about Cassius Dio. And the “Tiberius fan boy” Velleius Paterculus
- Want more on Pliny the Elder? Here’s some background.
- Watch a 2013 lecture Dr Peter Williams gave at The Veritas Forum at the University of North Carolina – Bible: Fact or Fiction?
- For more on undesigned coincidences, Lydia McGrew has written Hidden in plain view – Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels and Acts
- Catch up on our very first episode, Old Papers which helps answer the question of how we can be confident that what we read in the Bible today is what was originally written.
- Learn more about Erasmus, who worked on a really important copy of the Green New Testament in 1516. This article is all about 500 Years of Erasmus’ New Testament, from our friends at the University of Michigan.
Hanging out with Dr Peter Williams in Granchester Meadows, by the river Granta (sometimes called the Cam).
Thanks to our season sponsor – Selah – for all your travel needs, whether you’re a doubter or a believer. Find out more at myselah.com.au.
Get to know our guest
Dr Peter Williams is principal of Tyndale House, a Cambridge-based research institute housing one of the worlds’ most advanced libraries for biblical scholarship. He is also the chair of the International Greek New Testament Project which is currently producing the world’s most comprehensive information on the manuscripts of John’s Gospel. He is also a lecturer of Hebrew at the University of Cambridge. He has spoken in churches, universities, seminaries, high schools and at conferences and seminars/workshops across the US and the world on Biblical subjects including Bible translation, apologetics, and how to understand the Scriptures. Dr Williams is the author of several books, including his most recent published at the end of 2018: Can we trust the gospels?