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Textual Criticism and the Bible

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by Uladyne, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. Uladyne

    Uladyne Greg

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    I recently read a book called Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why and found it very intriguing. Some argue that the book is somewhat biased, and I admit that the author does inject his own opinions here and there, but overall if you have an open mind it's really hard to argue with his basic point that the Bible is a human work and not inspired by devine sources. Well basically his point is that if it were truely inspired by God himself, we certainly don't have the same version that was originally "handed down to us".

    Before reading this book I had no idea there was such a subject as textual criticism. I knew it was possible that scribes over the centuries may have made mistakes in their copying of the texts, but the fact that there's a field devoted to tracking down the original form of the manuscripts on which the Bible is based makes it seem appalling to me that so many people still are able to hold onto any version of the book now, which is essentially a copy of a copy of a copy (so on and so forth) of numerous different versions of supposedly the same thing.
     
  2. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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    Yeah, text criticism is really interesting. This book is by Ehrman right? He's a really good writer; great style for a subject that can become tedious. In my opinion, the Bible is definitely a human work, but I also believe it is inspired. I think God used these writers to create the Scriptures; so it's defintiely a human work but divinely inspired. That's just what I believe though.
    It's true that there are a bunch of different versions of the Bible, but text criticism has made great progress and the Bible we have now, statistically, is 99% the original texts. (Also, a lot of the variations are miniscule).
     
  3. Uladyne

    Uladyne Greg

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    I commend you on your ability to hold on to your faith so strongly. For me however, it is difficult to beleive that theres really any way for us to know how close we are to the originals, if we don't really know what the originals said. I'm not trying to start a right/wrong conflict here, I'm just stating my personal opinion and/or lack of knowledge on the details of the process of textual criticism.
     
  4. Imp!

    Imp! Member

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    The link doesn't work...
    :/
    It's a good point to bring up, and it's foolish to just "hope" that we have the right interpretation... I believe it is though, any info I come across might change that notion, and I will look for info. I've come across a cache of books that detail the early history of Christianity, though I don't know if any of these books get into the idea of "textual criticism" I think they'd present a clearer picture of the times...

    Eh, getting off the point. What exactly are some of the things that could be misinterpreted or that are in question? I notice in the bible, particularly Mathew, that sometimes whatever is being said will come to an abrupt stop and switch into something else entirely, always wondered about that...

    Eh, there I go again..., anyway, are you Christian Uladyne? Just wondering, as you did have an interesting post earlier in another thread that made me think you were.
     
  5. Norsemaiden

    Norsemaiden barbarian

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    The original Bible had more gospels such as the Gospel of Judas and Gospel of Mary Magdelene, that Costantine threw out.
    Jesus is supposed to be an Essene, and the Essene ideology was written in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
    A couple of things misinterpreted in the Bible are: the "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's" which the Romans put there and the idea of Mary, Jesus' mother being a virgin. It was a mistranslation of "young maiden" which had no implication of virginity.
     
  6. speed

    speed Member

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    Ive read the same things.
     
  7. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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    Really?
    In my opinion that's all a bunch of crap.
    First of all, Constantine had nothing to do with the setting of the canon. Also, you can't refer to the text before the canon was set as the "Bible". It's a term used to describe the set canon, not the collection of texts that were around before the canon was officially decided upon. It's obviously not a term of that time; the word "Bible" literally just means "book" (the greek word is Biblion).
    I'd have to look more into the whole Caesar thing, but in my opinion it's completely in line with the rest of his teachings.

    The whole "mistranslation of the word virgin" is just utter trash. If you read the story the fact that she is a virgin is integral to the story. If you want me to, I can bust out my Greek New Testament and prove it more:lol:

    There is some text criticism that is good (not the kind that y'all have read), such as the ending of Mark is definitely not original. It was added later because Mark ends so abruptly. Also, I think in some translations there is left in a direct reference to the Trinity that wasn't added till the middle ages.

    There's other stuff like that in the scholarly biblical criticism world, but the stuff you guys are talking about is not really considered by scholars, because it's not even an issue.
     
  8. Thoth-Amon

    Thoth-Amon Hypochondriac

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    Actually the New Testament canon was finalized at the councils of Carthage and Hippo in the late 4th and early 5th centuries so Constantine had nothing to do with it actually. Nicea did enumerate most of what is our current New Testament but aside from a few books in dispute these texts were pretty much recognized as canonical by the church as early as the late 2nd early 3rd century. Thus there was no "original" bible prior to the late 4th/early 5th century. What you had was various groups with various canons or a single group that had disputes as to what books were canonical until a decision was finally reached well after Constantine. And even then it was not totally and completely fixed.
     
  9. Imp!

    Imp! Member

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    K, what about Jesus being an Essene? Where did this come from?
     
  10. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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    It came from a similarity of beliefs and Jesus' strong connection with John the Baptists, who in all likelihood was an Essene.
     
  11. Uladyne

    Uladyne Greg

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    I fixed the links. I guess I should've tested them when I first posted them.

    As for me, no I'm not a Christian. As a kid I thought I was, then in my teens I became an Athiest. During the past 5 or 6 years I've been trying to "regain my faith" if you will, but belief isn't a choice, you have to be able to convince yourself of something and in this I've been unsuccessful. I suppose I question things a little too deeply to hold onto anything supernatural. At the same time I try to keep an open mind and never speak negatively of any religions, as I feel that none are really "right" or "wrong". So I guess I would be considered an Agnostic.

    For me it wasn't really any particular mistranslations or certain small changes that interested me, but more the backgound of why and how some of the changes were made. Of course much of this is speculation, but there never seems to be any stretching of truth when these matters are discussed.

    Also, aside from the book, the fact that many texts were left out of the "final" New Testament, and that the New Testament itself was compiled by humans definitely taints the divinity of the Bible for me. How did anyone centuries after Jesus's passing know which canons should or shouldn't be passed on through the generations?

    An interesting point that Ehrman brings up in the book a few times is that if the Bible was divinely inspired, why would there also not be some sort of divine power protecting the original texts from corruption?
     
  12. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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    In my opinion it's because although the Bible is divinely inspired, it is still a human book and is not perfect like the true Word (Christ) is perfect.

    No depiction of God in human language is going to be perfect, IMO, because it is at its outset tainted by human thought.
     
  13. OldScratch

    OldScratch Member

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    What a craftily seemless means to insulate the supposedly divine - cloaking it in this woefully human taint of imperfection and ensuring its grand mysteries remain intact. Furthermore, what is this perfection you reference? Pefect in what way and compared to what or whom; what is the criteria to achieve such perfection?
     
  14. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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    Dude, chill out. There's no reason to attack; this is a discussion forum.
     
  15. speed

    speed Member

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    Really, these religious arguments and discussions always go nowhere.

    Bart Ehrman, and many other religious scholars whose names I long since forgotten (I havent bothered with this for sometime), have pondered or question whether jesus was in fact an essene from a century prior to when he is generally accepted to have lived. In Ehrman's Jesus as Apocalpytic prophet book, he ponders this, and a revolutionary and jewish Jesus much different than the accepted tradition: http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Apocaly...0016813?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1176217077&sr=8-8

    Also, Ehrman discusses in great detail the other gospels, and the whole process of selecting the canon in this book: http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Christia...0016813?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1176217077&sr=8-7

    But it really doesnt matter. Believe what one will. These are just sme books to support my and Norsemaiden's previous assertions. I should really find more scholars, and references, but I cannot remember (hence, take one scholar's ideas with a grain of salt). I will continue my worship of a most beneficial Thracian deity, and I hope any Christian reaps the benefits or finds peace worshipping Christ.
     
  16. Norsemaiden

    Norsemaiden barbarian

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    :p
     
  17. JColtrane

    JColtrane Member

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    Haha yeah, my bad
     
  18. infoterror

    infoterror Member

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    Textual criticism is garbage thinking in approaching symbolic works. What have 30+ years of Marxist academics learned about making great books? NOTHING, from the results. Read the bible as an anime script and it's great fun (Christ on the cross bisected by tentactle anal rape).
     
  19. Έρεβος

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    Hahaha, very true.
     
  20. OldScratch

    OldScratch Member

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    Whoah...just a few pointed questions - no attack intended. After a full weekend of being barraged with tales of the glorious Hebrew messiah, resurrections, etc. I suppose I was just beyond my practical tolerance level for mystical, perfect Christs and such.

    Norsemaiden...vielen Dank!
     

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