- May 2011
- Rural Australia
Drews was a continuator of Bruno Bauer who had concluded that early Christianity owed more to ancient Greek philosophy (Stoicism) than to Judaism. Bauer also concluded that Paul was fabricated. Bauer's important works are still unavailable in English, or expensive. My claim that Drews is still useful is based on what as I see as a merit in taking a stance of radical skepticism to church dogma being paraded as history.Drews is out of date
You say new discoveries like the Nag Hammadi codices make Drews redundant. But what new insights have modern scholars added to our understanding of the "Gnostic Gospels" and the like? Modern scholarship still follows Eusebius and church dogma in the face of these new discoveries.
We must be all very much aware that the earliest manuscript attributed to Justin Martyr (c.100-165) is parisinus graecus dated 11 September 1363. I do not regard this manuscript to be independent of the church since it (and any earlier mss) were preserved by the church. For this reason I reject the notion that 180 CE is a terminus ad quem for the appearance of the canonical gospels in the Roman empire.As for the 180 date, there is indirect evidence from Justin Martyr , mentions the memoirs of the apostles, which seem to be referring to the gospels, and makes several quotes/references that appear to come from the canonical.gospels. While he does not name the memoirs, so it is not entirely certain if he has just the canonical Gospels in mind, it does provide independent support for their existence, it does not admittedly prove anything for certain.