New Revelation does confirm some of the researches done in the field of Bible criticism, particularly with regard to changes made in the Gospels by churchmen. Yet Bible criticism would often overshoot the mark, losing itself in baseless speculation.
There is agreement, for instance, when E. Hirsch states that "constant corrections, deletions and additions were made" to Luke's Gospel. 30 Luke wrote (1, 3) that he had "followed all things closely for some time past" (or "from the very first", as the Authorized or King James' Version puts it, translator), and New Revelation confirms that he took such care. Yet he would hardly have been able to test the reliability of his informants. New Revelation therefore also writes that "There was no question ... of checks being made" (Gr XI p. 277). Roman Catholic theologians are also saying quite openly today that Luke deliberately glossed over certain events or toned them down. Paillard accuses Luke of having made arbitrary chronological changes and not defined places sufficiently. 31
Irenaeus, Origen, Eusebius and Jerome report, during the early centuries, that "Matthew wrote his gospel in Judea, for the Hebrews ... for the faithful who were converts from Judaism ... before he departed and left them." 32 This corresponds to the facts, as described above.
In his Letter to the Colossians (4, 14), Paul writes of "Luke the beloved physician". It was simply concluded that this referred to St. Luke the Evangelist. New Revelation makes it clear that this was the wrong conclusion, and instead confirms the legend that Luke was a painter. 33 The widely differing views presented below will make it clear how much the views held by scholars were at times inspired by their powers of imagination.
Paillard even goes so far as to state, for no good reason at all: "His (Luke's) vocabulary shows evidence of thorough medical knowledge based on Hippocrates, Dioscorides and other authorities." 34 Other theologians categorically refute this flawed hypothesis. A textbook on religious knowledge states: "According to the traditions of the early church of the second century, the author, a physician, is said to be Paul's travelling companion. Yet the author had no medical training, nor was he well versed in Paul's theology. 35
In the light of New Revelation, the information given in a Catholic publication is correct: "It is only church tradition from the 2nd century (Irenaeus, Muratorian fragment) that makes him a physician, and identical with Paul's companion of the same name. But we should not weigh such statements down with too much burden of historical proof." 36
All kinds of assumptions have been made, for more than two hundred years, concerning the role Mark and Evangelist played in relation to the other synoptic gospel writers. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke contain many pericopes also found in the Gospel of Mark. Many scholars therefore assumed that Mark's Gospel provided the basis and the other evangelists had copied him. This hypothesis was already refuted by D. Fr. Strauss, Wrede and F. Ch. Baur in the last century; in their view, it is not Luke and Matthew who derive from Mark, but exactly the other way round. 37
Others again consider Mark to be an "unknown gentile convert to Christianity who has only poor knowledge of Palestinene - no eye or ear witness, therefore" 38 Arthur Drews holds a very radical view, saying that Mark simply spun all his stories out of the Old Testament, compiling his phantasies with the aid of the starry heavens. Drews denies the existence of Jesus, of course, and therefore cannot come to any other conclusion.
Going back to early Christian sources, we find that Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis (d. A.D. 120) presents Mark as Peter's interpreter, saying that he had learned this from the presbyter John." 39
The earliest ecclesiastical writer, Eusebius, wrote that Clement of Rome did know that Mark was writing his gospel when Peter was still alive. Irenaeus and Papias (2nd c.) maintain that he only wrote it after Peter's death. There are so many contradictory views that it is evident that tradition cannot be relied on. We know, from the passages from New Revelation quoted above, that Mark was Peter's son and wrote his own gospel, independent of the others. He had no need to copy. One scholar therefore asks, quite rightly: "What makes his writing so alive?" 40
Mark gives certain details with an accuracy that indicates that he had lived in Galilee. He wrote, for example, that the men carrying the paralytic, finding that they could not get into the house because of the crush of people, "removed the roof above him (Jesus); and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet..." (Mk 2, 4). New Revelation says that in Galilee the roofs of dwellings (no houses as we know them today) consisted of rushes that could be quickly taken up again. 20th century Bible critics think they know better, and in their view this is a mistranslation. Their concepts are clearly conditioned by ferro-concrete roofs, so that according to one author, the passage actually is supposed to read: "They brought him up onto the roof." 41
In considering Mark's Gospel, we need to go back once more for a moment to Matthew's Gospel, as there is a connection there to what will follow. lt has been mentioned that Matthew went to India. In the course of his travels he reached a city "that was then called Babylon, though the old Babylon was a great heap of rubble at quite some distance from this city (Gr X 162, 2).
Matthew had established good relations with the king of that country, but the priestly caste insisted that he did not proclaim the gospel. "Seven years later," New Revelation literally says, "it so happened that Peter came to this king, with his son Mark, and was also well received," (Gr X 161, 5) Peter, too, was expressly warned of the fury of the priests of Baal. "Peter", we read on, "did resist the impulse (to proclaim the teaching of Jesus, author) for some time, particularly as Mark, his son and assistant, had also seriously warned him." "After some years, Peter nevertheless on one occasion went beyond the city and healed the sick" (Gr X 161, 9-10). He was then lured into a small grove, and "in this grove the priests took hold of Peter, removed his clothes, slew him and hung him by his feet from a dead tree.*" (Gr 161, 15).
Next comes a remarkable statement. "I am thus giving you the knowledge as to where and how the first of the apostles died for this world. Not in Rome, therefore, and certainly not in Jerusalem, but in the new city of Babylon that later was given the Sarazen name Bagdad." (Gr X 161, 21) This is also confirmed elsewhere, emphasizing that Peter never saw Rome in his life (Gr IX 246).
This agrees with the First Letter of Peter 5, 13: "She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark."
The Roman Catholic Church absolutely insisted that the scriptures were to be believed to the letter, but in this case, for obvious reasons, the place name "Babylon" was reinterpreted as "Rome". The independent scholars who have specifically gone into this question have come to the same conclusion as New Revelation, that Peter had never been to Rome. 42
* The German "Myrthenbaum" may refer to a holly or a cajeput tree; it is unlikely to have been myrtle. Translator.