The Apostle Judas Thaddeus, Anthony van Dyck, ca 1619-21. (Wikimedia Commons)
Pretty much everyone knows that Jesus had 12 original disciples. All three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) provide a list of the original 12. John’s gospel offers no list, but still refers to many of the disciples by name. The lists of the 12 are highly consistent within the gospels. However, there is one apparent contradiction that some critics like to highlight.
The Apparent Contradiction and Its Solution
The lists in Matthew (10:2-4) and Mark (3:16-19) each include a disciple named Thaddeus. In Luke (6:13-16), no Thaddeus is listed. A disciple named Judas, son of James is listed instead. The book of Acts (1:13) also omits Thaddeus and includes this person, Judas son of James. What’s going on, here? Continue reading
Painting of Luke, the author of Acts, Andrea Mantegna, 1453-54
Many anti-Christian commentators argue that the gospels and other New Testament documents, contrary to Church teaching, could not have been written by direct eyewitnesses to the events they describe. This is because, they argue, Jesus and his disciples were just simple, illiterate, Aramaic-speaking peasants who probably couldn’t write their own names, let alone a Greek gospel account. The argument is weak, and we have countered it in other articles (here and here).
However, there is another angle to this argument that we should address. Let’s allow Matthew Ferguson, a Ph.D. hopeful—and activist atheist—from UC-Irvine to lay it out for us: Continue reading