On the Bible...

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On the Bible...

Post: # 902Post Egaladeist
Wed Jan 04, 2006 12:11 am

Just to add something to this forum...an except from another discussion I am having...

The bible is a document of jewish faith and history...recorded throughout time in an oral tradition until it was written down in approximately 80BC...it is specific to the jews and their culture...it neither cares for nor involves itself in the cultures of others except to it's own ends...

it is not meant specifically as the word of god...but rather a combination of history with the word of god...it is neither all about god or all about history...

it is considered to be divine by modern standards of belief but the early jews had no such notion...it was a record of their life and their faith...nothing more

is it accurate in that respect? as a record of their faith and life is it as accurate as any history book and should be credited with the same reverence.

The new testament is a different book...it has been touted to be many things from a book of a jewish reform movement to the inspired word of god...
there are no historical records of yeshua or this movement outside of what we know from those sectors that followed it...there is no roman documentation other than a few references to persecution ( eg. Marcus Aurelius )...apart from the players involved it appears to have been a non issue, too unimportant to bother recording in their own annals...
it follows a messiac pattern of a man named yeshua until his own death...and resurrection...then follows the lives and beliefs of his followers to an extent beyond...
it is now considered by most followers to have been divinely inspired...but the definition of this term is open to debate...



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Post: # 910Post Kwiep
Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:42 am

I'm raised a christian, but I kinda lost track of it, so excuse my mistakes. I read a few books that talk about the bible. I can look up the exact source of this if anyone wants, because the books are in me closet.

The old testament is jewish because it is pre-jezus and talks about the jewish history and stories that come from the jews. Jezus was a jew iirc. It contains "the laws", wich are called the books of Mozes (genesis, exodus etc.) how the world started and all that, it contains history of isreal, it contains poetry, it contains prophecies. It's a historical source of information, it's not a history book like you get at school. It does contain the fundaments of the jewish beliefs though. I don't know if the entire old testament has a religious meaning to the jews (altough it talks about their history), but the part with the books of mozes (also called the thora) does.

About the new testament. The new testament is formed of a bunch of stories who are selected by some bishop a few hundred years after jezus at his own likings and later acknowledged by two concilies (translation?). A big part of the new testament consist of the gospels (translation by freetranslation.com). Those are written by people who were not the direct followers of jezus. They prolly didn't even know him personally. All four of them write about jezus though and they appear to be written sort of independantly, because they contradict eachother on several things. For example were jezus came from, what kind of parents he had etc. The gospels are quite likely changed over time just by copying them so often. They are however not entirely rewritten as they wouldn't have been contradicting themselves anymore if they were. There are theories that the gospels are indeed a sort of jewish propaganda that preach for a new king who would free the jews of the romans who conquered isreal at that time. Most modern bible knowers agree the resurection part was added later.

In short, my light on your questions: I think noone ever claimed the bible to be the word of god, it is the holy book of the christians though. The old testament is about the jews, the new testament isn't. The old testament contains history alongside stories, poetry and prophecies, it's not a history book. It is a historical source though. The gospels on their own are not directly christians propagande, so they are as good (or bad) a source as any other that jezus existed. They are also just like all other sources that old, changed over time.

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Post: # 4307Post The Duck
Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:55 am

For what it's worth, there have been books written by over 45 atheist historians who witnessed Jesus and the "miracles" he performed... Some of those 45 historians have written books that talk about their experience witnessing the resurection... Archaeology is a beautiful thing :).

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Post: # 5042Post DaFoxx
Wed Feb 22, 2006 11:26 pm

there have been books written by over 45 atheist historians who witnessed Jesus
not to nit pick BUT :
isn't a historian, someone who reports on HISTORY ?
from the historical perspective

that is, they were not there, they are merely recording their observations gleaned from other books ??

and by this, are you trying to say that there are books from WITNESSES to JC ?

I seem to be missing something here
and to be fair, it's not just here I'm missing something :)
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Post: # 5050Post Panama Red
Thu Feb 23, 2006 12:20 am

Myself, I believe a lot of what is written and read is sometimes lost in translation, we are still studying old texts.
I think it's like this, way back when you had clerics or elders/scribes, who because shorthand wasn't developed yet they would try to take dictation, only it would take years to write this all down, so just like if I told one member here a story, and he told another who told another, and eventually it got told to a hundred people, I would bet the end story did not resemble the original story what so ever, I am sure they were as accurate as possible, but history is subjective to whoever happens to be writing it at the time. Let's face it were lucky it wasn't Stephen King writing those tombs back then, just think of who we would be worshipping now (Carrie).

this is why History and Archeology sometimes conflict, was there a tower of Babel, or Soddom and Gommorah, they say the sites exist, but they also said the remains of the Ark are stuck in the side of a Mountain (Ararat).

So as to being Historical in context, some of what is written is subject to critiscism, so depends on who reads it, opinions will differ, taking the literal word of someone who wrote so long ago is very hard to authenticate, like no witnesses.....could very well be just like the old hermit in The Life of Brian, some old geezer who is mistaken for the prophet because people want to believe, so they PR it up, and before long everyone say's they were there when the prophet crawled out of his hole and spoketh thus....and then it starts to snowball, so I take a lot of this stuff with a grain of salt, mostly why I am agnostic/cynical
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Post: # 5053Post Kwiep
Thu Feb 23, 2006 12:47 am

foxyloxley wrote:
there have been books written by over 45 atheist historians who witnessed Jesus
not to nit pick BUT :
isn't a historian, someone who reports on HISTORY ?
from the historical perspective

that is, they were not there, they are merely recording their observations gleaned from other books ??

and by this, are you trying to say that there are books from WITNESSES to JC ?

I seem to be missing something here
and to be fair, it's not just here I'm missing something :)
So, what are you saying, you can't be a historian and a witness at the same time? Also, Jesus made quite an appearance, claiming to be the messiah and all, and that in an area that was conquered by Rome. I'm guessing there were plenty of literate (upper-class) people arround who could've noticed Jesus's things and have wrote about them.

I'm not sure about the atheist thing though, but that's something else.

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Post: # 5054Post Egaladeist
Thu Feb 23, 2006 12:53 am

Sorry The Duck...but no such books from eye-witnesses exist.

The only records of Christianity are from the various sects that practised it...there were a few references of christians ( as stated ) and there was an inclusion in the works of Josephus ( the official jewish historian/recorder at the time ) but that inclusion has long since been disputed by even christian scholars as it is an obvious attempt to validate christianity by whoever made the inclusion.

For all intense purposes the only people who seemed even aware of jesus were christians...or...if other people were aware they didn't feel it was important enough to discuss themselves and record in their own annals.

Even Marcus Aurelius the emperor of the Roman Empire directly after the death of jesus...makes no mention of him...he does however talk about the christians in the instances of persecution and states it was a regret to have to persecute them as he felt they were harmless...so...

this is one reason scholars are starting to agree that early christians had not yet elevated jesus to god...as in the case of other early chistian writings they refered to jesus as rabbi/teacher...and still praised the god of the jews...so...Marcus would not be aware of any connection to a man named jesus because at this point in history there wasn't any.

It wasn't until after Ireneus had taken control of the church and started to persecute other christians in approx. 150AD in an attempt to have one church with one view that the first instances of an elevated jesus began...Ireneus felt christians needed their own god.

Eg ;)

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Post: # 5057Post Kwiep
Thu Feb 23, 2006 1:13 am

The only records of Christianity are from the various sects that practised it...
That's not true. In fact noone of the gospels in the new testament were written by chistians or members of a christian sect. They were jewish and roman. Later developments of christianity were also recorded by pretty much every civilisation that had to deal with it.
For all intense purposes the only people who seemed even aware of jesus were christians...or...if other people were aware they didn't feel it was important enough to discuss themselves and record in their own annals.
There were no christians during Jesus's life, maybe just some fans of his. He was supposed to be the jewish messiah, who would liberate israel from the romans, being the rightfull heir of king David etc. And as said the gospels weren't written by christians. In fact they were geared toward romans.
Even Marcus Aurelius the emperor of the Roman Empire directly after the death of jesus...makes no mention of him...he does however talk about the christians in the instances of persecution and states it was a regret to have to persecute them as he felt they were harmless...so...
Obviously the emperor of rome has other stuff to bother about then some guy 1000 km away. So he didn't mention him right away. That only proves his "cult" (or whatever) wasn't well known arround that time. That doesn't prove others didn't write about it. It's also well known the roman empire turned into the holy roman empire, spreading christianity all over europe later. So, later emperors DID notice stuff and most of them weren't christian.

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Post: # 5063Post Egaladeist
Thu Feb 23, 2006 1:39 am

hi neel,

The writers of the Gospels were Christian followers..eg. Luke was a follower of Paul as were others.

Yes...they were not called christains at the time but i call them christians as a reference to their faith...if I called them jews that would only cause confusion as to whom I am refering to.

Yes...Rome was converted...but that is just a testimony to the aggressive nature that the religion took under the rule of Ireneus and his later followers to promote the faith...it does not prove it's validity any more than the successes of other relgions.

Eg ;)

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Post: # 5064Post Egaladeist
Thu Feb 23, 2006 1:44 am

Hi neel,

as foxy can tell you...as he's read many discussions on this and other topics...I am not trying to prove or disprove anything...i'm just sorting out the facts from the misconceptions and historical inaccuracies.

Eg ;)

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Post: # 5718Post rapier57
Fri Mar 03, 2006 5:02 am

OK, I'll jump into this.

EG, you heading down the right road with regard to the Old Testament. Yes, it is a history as well as a description of the development of the Jewish belief system. Genesis, the first couple chapters anyway, is basically an alegory to describe the creation of the universe. In a nutshell, so to speak. There is a lot missing from Genesis, according to some scholars, since some of the old transcriptions seem to have disjointed text. One of the best known is:

There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. (Gen 6:4, New KJV)

This phrase doesn't seem to have any context with the surrounding story, but there seems to be a parallel with older Jewish oral and written tradition that describes the angels having children with humans (also see Roman and Greek mythology). There was some mixing of theologies back that far.
Also, some blendings occurred between Jewish tradition and other cultures. A portion of the Epic of Gilgamesh had some parallels with the Genesis flood story. This influence probably came from the long captivity in Babylon.

The recent, relatively, translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls have brought out a number of things that were missed through the centuries of transcriptions up to the modern texts. Much of this has been included in the New Revised Standard Version. These additions help to add some new perspectives to some of the old books.

As for the New Testament, this can get a bit touchy. When Emperor Constatine set Christianity as the state religion of what was left of the Roman Empire, the church leadership got together and had to compromise on the books that would represent the core beliefs of the religion. In this process, they adopted the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Books that were not chosen included the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of James and the Gospel of Thomas, among others. The main reason for the exclusion was they represented, for the most part, the Gnostic interpretation of Jesus' teachings. Of the four chosen, though, John is the closest to being--at least a little--Gnostic.

Granted, most of the books selected for the New Testament weren't put to papyrus or phyllum until 60 to 120 AD. Most of the known Gnostic works weren't written until 100 to 200 AD. Some even later. After the selections, there seemed to be some doctrinal cleansing going on, since most of the Gnostic texts we are aware of were found well hidden. The four gospels provided an interpretation of Jesus' life, teachings, miracles and resurection that focused on salvation and the new covenant. The Gnostics took a bit different path and claimed secret powers were given to the disciples. Salvation wasn't part of the dogma.

The rest of the books of the New Testament are sermons, in a way, and were written by Paul and some other later disciples. They delve into the various topics of the four gospels and deal with them in depth. They are also very targeted to the various audiences. For example, Hebrews is written directly to the Jews to explain the new situation, the new covenant. Others are addressed directly to Greek or Roman audiences. This is sometimes described as the gentile-ification of the Christianity.

Peter, who Jesus called "the Rock," and James, Jesus' brother, were at odds about how to progress after the resurrection. James wanted to evangelize the Jews and ignore the rest of the world. Peter took the act on the road and evangelized the rest of the Mediterranean.

There is the editing that cut Mary Magdalene from the New Testament after the resurrection, but that was all addressed in a recent History Channel or Nova episode.

Some books of the Old Testament (Issiah, Micah, Ezekial/Ezekiel) and the New Testament's Revelations may be considered prophetic writings. Prophetic writings are a category unto themselves. That is the main reason there are divisions in the Christian churches over the interpretations of Revelations. The question is, is Revelations prophetic writing describing the fall of Rome, a coded history of the fall of Rome, or a prophecy of the end of the world?

Divine inspiration? Direct word of God? Infallible? Well, to be honest the books were written and transcribed over and over by fallible humans. Often by humans with agendas. There is proof that mistakes and changes have crept into the transcripts over the centuries. You cannot deny the empirical evidence of that. Inspired? That is possible, if you believe that God would understand our fallibility and know that we would at least get the core message through all the smoke and mirrors.

I'm an old journalist, so I'm sceptical. I always have to lift the rock to see what kind of bugs are crawling underneath.

I'm also a Christian and have a strong faith.

Yes, there are inconsitencies in the books, Jesus' geneology, things like that. Even the Old Testament Genesis doesn't necessarily agree from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2 on the exact sequence of the creation of the world or Man.

It is the final message that is important. The bottom line is: it is about your relationship to the Creator, and your place in the universe. Do you believe in God? Do you believe you have an eternal soul? Do you believe that he sent his only son to live as one of us, teach, suffer and then die as a substitutionary sacrifice for our salvation? Do you believe in resurrection and life after death, a return to the presence of God?

That is all that really matters.
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Post: # 5972Post The Duck
Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:02 am

not to nit pick BUT :
isn't a historian, someone who reports on HISTORY ?
from the historical perspective
Yes, your thinking a little to hard :D...


The significance of them being aethiests is that they don't beleive in god, but still report that jesus did indeed exist. When I say books that doesn't necessarily mean BOOKS, but could mean a one page documentary or scripture... Evidence has been dug up in archaeological digs...

I will not be debating this issue much more as this topic gives me a headache... I don't know what it is about this topic, it just give me a headache :D.

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