This episode and excerpt from the Smithsonian Institute’s series Bible Hunters and narrated by Dr. Jeff Rose, is an excellent summary of just how the modern New Testament stories of Jesus’ final weeks are unreliable due to scribing errors, interpreting or interpolation, political agendas, and outright embellishments and forgeries of events by 4th century CE scriptural editors. The discoveries and studies of the last two centuries even cause catastrophic undermining of the resurrection gospel stories… the claimed cornerstone of the Christian faith and theology itself.
The oral traditions of Jesus’ life and teachings are generally agreed to have been spoken in three original languages: Aramaic, Hebrew (the two native tongues of Jesus, his family, and followers), and later Koine Greek. There exists no 2nd- or 3rd-century CE gospels of Jesus in Aramaic and Hebrew. However, there is a late 4th-century Syro-Aramaic volume called the Codex Sinaiticus Syriacus. More on it later. But there is no serious debate or consensus that there was ever any extant gospels written in Jesus’ Aramaic or Hebrew. This is the first critical problem for Christendom. If there ever were 2nd – 3rd-century Aramaic or Hebrew gospel manuscripts in existence, they would’ve certainly been more closely guarded treasures than the Ark of the Covenant! But they do not exist, perhaps they never did, especially after the sack of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE by four of Rome’s Legions.
Here’s the second and third critical problem for Christendom. The oldest surviving gospel-copies in existence today are the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus from around 300 – 360 CE, some 260-years after Jesus’ execution inside one of the most violent, chaotic, tumultuous provinces and Jewish cities of the Roman Empire. Again, they are copies of copies of copies several times over. Your modern 21st-century New Testament Gospels are largely based-off of the Koine Greek (Hellenistic) Codex Vaticanus and Sinaiticus Gospels. Furthermore, and more damaging for the veracity of Christendom, is the fact that the earliest Gospel written, the Gospel of Mark written c. 70 CE, as discussed in the above video has no resurrection of Jesus. It stops at the women being terrified at the tomb. Period. That’s it! In these two earliest Codices of Mark ≈260 years later, no sightings of a living Jesus by anyone days or weeks after his execution. Nothing.
That’s not it either. The next oldest/earliest copied Gospel volume with Mark in it, the Codex Syriacus (late 4th-century and the fourth major problem for Christianity), also ends at Mark 16:8. Stop. Nothing else. That is THREE independent, earliest Codices in their original form which do NOT have any Jesus resurrection or posthumous sightings. Therefore, all the fantastical imaginations of a resurrected Jesus actually get added to the Gospels 90-100 years later by Greek Church Fathers/Bishops. In political circles, mobs, or court room trials this process of editing and doctoring-up earlier manuscripts and evidence is called retro-fitting or retro-grading. It attempts to cover up or “erase” damaging, incriminating, smoking-gun information and facts in Jimmy Hoffa style, a save-face tactic since the beginning of recorded history.