If the gospels are not trustworthy historical accounts of Jesus, what did the early church fathers think they were talking about? Ignatius is said to have been a disciple of the Apostle John; surely Ignatius would know the real truth behind the gospel narratives, and therefore not treat them as being true accounts?Â 1 Samuel 5:9 of the Douay-Rheims translation adds to the end of the story of the hemorrhoid plague in Gath:Â â??And the Gethites consulted together, and made themselves seats of skins.â?? What is the manuscript evidence for this? Was there a real point to the testing of Jesus in the desert?Â Re Luke 19:23-28, I have always read the lineÂ â??Bring hither, and slay them before me,â?? as meant to be spoken after the close of the parable; in other words, by Jesus in his own voice, and not Jesus as narrator. What do you think? In your opinion, who is The Beloved Disciple? I have heard that Philo of Alexandria and Paul knew one another. If so, doesn't this lend credence that Paul's Jesus is in fact the celestial Jesus to which Dr. Richard Carrier attests? What are the odds that the Paul of "The Acts of Paul and Thecla" is closer to the real Paul than the one portrayed in "Luke/Acts" Dr. Natalie Houghtby-Haddon said that many scholars think the apocalyptic aspects of Jesus probably weren't applied to him until the fall of Jerusalem in 70, and thus would not have been a part of any historical Jesus' message or ideology. Does that sound correct to you? Could you recommend a book or books that do a good job explaining the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and any other groups or subgroups: where they come from, what they believed and practiced, how influential they seemed to have been and with whom, etc.?