Watt points out that the gospels cannot be literally true and also completely accurate.
On the other hand the perspective of E P Sanders was markedly different from that of Watt. As such Sanders takes a less critical stance with regard to Jesus Christ and his attitude towards scripture. Instead of representing Jesus Christ as a fundamentalist Sanders presents Jesus as an accomplished religious leader promising to guide people towards their own salvation.
From Sanders' perspective Jesus Christ is argued to have been a highly important religious prophet who had performed miracles as well as claiming to be the Jewish Messiah. Sanders also believed that it always important to place the entire gospel accounts and stories concerning Jesus Christ into the most appropriate context. Basically the gospel writers as well as Jesus himself wanted certain messages passed on to their intended audiences.
The opinions of Meier are certainly closer to those of Sanders than those of Watt. This is due to Meier also taking a much less critical stance concerning the mission, teachings, and the beliefs of Jesus Christ, as supposedly predicted within the Old Testament, and recorded in the gospels.
Personally it would be best to assume that the gospel writers just like Jesus Christ had messages to get across to people. The gospels were written due to the fact that the people who had personally known Jesus Christ were dying out and the New Testament was needed to spread the teachings of the Early Church. The gospel writers wanted to persuade as many people as possible that Jesus Christ had been the Son of God and therefore needed to provide enough evidence of his status as the Messiah does.
What do you think each of these three would write for example about the story of the transfiguration of Jesus (Mark, 9 2- 8)
Watt would more than likely write that the story of the transfiguration of Jesus Christ was not literally true, and than the gospels should not therefore be automatically taken at face value. He would probably also contend that the message, which the story of the transfiguration of Jesus Christ was intended to convey was more important than whether or not it was actually or indeed literally a true life event.
Watt would argue that the purpose of the story of the transfiguration of Jesus was to demonstrate that Jesus Christ was not only the Messiah he was also he resurrected Son of God. It is a fundamental part of mainstream Christian doctrine yet Watt might easily contend that the transfiguration of Jesus Christ did not actually take place.
Sanders would probably have written that the story of the transfiguration of Jesus Christ was based upon the events that the disciples had believed to happen. Only Jesus and his most trusted disciples had gone up the hillside, with only the disciples coming back down. Sanders would probably mention that Jesus had grouped these disciples together in order to prove that he had indeed risen from the dead. There were therefore only a small number of witnesses that could describe how Jesus had descended up to heaven. All these witnesses also played significant roles in the development and the territorial expansion of the Christian religion. The eye - witness accounts strongly