The Bible comprise of Old Testament and New Testament. The word, ‘Testament’ comes fro the Latin ‘testamentum’, translating the Greek ‘diatheke’, the word chosen by Septuagint to translate the Hebrew word, ‘berith’, which strictly speaking means ‘Covenant’ or the covenant between human beings and God’.
The Jewish Bible, which include the Hebrew scripture, the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa, forming the covenant between God and the Jewish people that is the foundation and Bible of Judaism while for the Christians it constitute the Old Testament. Except for a few passages in Aramaic, the Old Testament was written originally in Hebrew. The composition of the various books of The Old Testament began in about 1000 B.C. and continued for more than a thousand years. Much oral material was included. This was repeated from father to son, revised over and over again, and then put into written form by various editors in different languages, under different circumstances; writers of almost every social rank, statesmen and peasants, kings, herdsmen, fishermen, priests, tax-gatherers, tentmakers; educated and uneducated, Jews and Gentiles; most of them unknown to each other, and writing at various periods during the space of about 1600 years. There is a break of 400 years between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The New Testament comprising the Gospels, Acts, Pauline and other Epistles, and the Book of Revelation, together viewed by Christians as forming the record of the new dispensation belonging to the Church.
The writers and editors often worked in different locales and in different time periods and were usually unaware of each other. Their work was primarily intended for local use and it is unlikely that any author foresaw that his work would be included in a “Bible.” No original manuscripts exist. There is probably not one book which survives in anything like its original form. There are hundreds of differences between the oldest manuscripts of any one book. These differences indicate that numerous additions and alterations were made to the originals by various copyists and editors. The Old Testament as adopted by Christianity numbers more works because: Firstly the Roman Catholic canon, derived initially from the Greek-language Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible, absorbed a number of books that Jews and Protestants later determined were not canonical; Secondly Christians divided some of the original Hebrew works into two or more parts, specifically, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles (two parts each), Ezra-Nehemiah (two separate books), and the Minor Prophets (12 separate books).
The authenticity, accuracy and originality of presently available Bible [Torah, Psalm, Gospel and other books] as revealed scriptures is doubtful, as evident from the long history and complex process of compilation, transmission, revisions, translations and canonization, the fact admitted even by Christian scholars.
Video-1: Is the Bible God’s Word: [Video 01:30] A great debate between Sheikh Ahmed Deedat and Jimmy Swaggart. The debate took place in U.S.A at the University of Louisiana, It’s Worth seeing Don’t miss it.
The New Testament books appear to have been completed within the 1st century. However, the original manuscripts of the New Testament books do not survive today. The autographs were lost or destroyed a long time ago. What survives are copies of the original. Generally speaking, these copies were made centuries after the originals from other copies rather than from the autograph. The earliest manuscript of a New Testament text is a business card sized fragment from the Gospel of John, Rylands Library Papyrus P52, which dates to the first half of the 2nd century. The first complete copies of single New Testament books appear around 200, and the earliest complete copy of the New Testament, the Codex Sinaiticus dates to the 4th century after Christ. With Christinisation of Roman Empire, process of canonization of Bible started.
Conference of Nicea: In 325 C.E in the Conference of Nicea (Iznik-Turkey), four Gospels were selected out of a minimum of three hundred available and the rest, including the Gospel of Barnabas (most authentic), were ordered utterly destroyed. All Gospels written in Hebrew were also ordered to be destroyed.
Councils of Laodicea & Carthage: In 364 C.E, another council in Laodicea confirmed decisions of Nicea and added six books as believable. In 397 C.E another conference was held at Carthage, with 126 learned participants. They confirmed the decisions of the two previous Councils and also added six more Books.
Conferences at Trullo, Florence and Trent: Three more conferences were held after this in Trullo, Florence and Trent (1545-63 C.E). They confirmed the decision of the Council of Carthage and included nearly all the previously doubtful books in the list of acknowledged books. The status of these books remained unchanged until the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.
Protestants Repudiation: During 16th Century, the Protestants repudiated the decisions of the councils and declared that there are only 66 truly “inspired” books of God, and not 73 as claimed by the Catholics. If it is blasphemy to take even a title from the Bible, who is blaspheming? Those who added these seven books from the very beginning, or those who expunged them.
Jesus Christ did not dictate the revelations, nor were they written in his time, there is no chain of narration leading to Jesus Christ. The language of Jesus Christ and his disciples was not Greek. Most of disciples of Jesus Christ were illiterate or little educated to compose highly complex books in Greek. The recent discovery of ‘most ancient’ manuscripts around 200 C.E, do not contain some passages interpreted to support Church doctrines in ‘ancient’ scripts 400 C.E or later. Obviously with the passage of time the scripts get corrupted.
The real authors of the books of New Testament are unknown; they have been attributed to disciples of Jesus Christ for the purpose of credibility. The writers of these books do not claim authorship, hence we read Gospel ‘according to’ Mathew, Mark, Luke and John as against ‘by’ etc. Most biblical scholars accept that the Gospel According to St Mark was the first written of the four canonical Gospels. Mark’s Gospel was written in Greek, and there is ample textual evidence that Matthew’s Gospel and Luke’s Gospel were based on Mark’s Gospel.St John’s Gospel appears to have been based on Luke’s Gospel, but the author clearly also knew Mark’s Gospel and copied some material from it.
The necessity of applying textual criticism to the books of the New Testament arises from two circumstances: none of the original documents is extant, and the existing copies differ from one another. When comparing one manuscript to another, with the exception of the smallest fragments, no two copies agree completely throughout. Note, however, that a single difference prevents agreement. There has been an estimate of between 400,000 variations among all these manuscripts (from the 2nd to 15th century) which is more than there are words in the New Testament. The textual critic seeks to ascertain from the divergent copies which form of the text should be regarded as most nearly conforming to the original. The New Testament has been preserved in three major manuscript traditions: the 4th-century-CE Alexandrian text-type; the Western text-type, also very early but prone to paraphrase and other corruptions; and the Byzantine text-type, which includes over 80% of all manuscripts, the majority comparatively very late in the tradition.
Every year, several New Testament manuscripts handwritten in the original Greek format are discovered. The Bodmer Papyri are a group of twenty-two papyri discovered in Egypt in 1952. They are named after Martin Bodmer who purchased them. The papyri contain segments from the Old and New Testaments, early Christian literature, Homer and Menander. The oldest, Papyrus 66, dates to c. 200. [‘most ancient’] The papyri are kept at the Bibliotheca Bodmeriana, in Cologny, Switzerland outside Geneva. In 2007 the Vatican Library acquired two of the papyri, Papurus 74 and Papyrus 75, which are kept at the Vatican Library, believed to contain the world’s oldest known written fragment from the Gospel of Luke, the earliest known Lord’s Prayer, and one of the oldest written fragments from the Gospel of John. …. …… Among the Bodmer Papyri, as well as gospel texts: Papyrus 66 (P66), is a text of the Gospel of John, dating around 200 C.E, in the manuscript tradition called the Alexandrian text-type. Aside from the papyrus fragment in the Rylands Library Papyrus P52, it is the oldest testimony for John; it does not contain the passage concerning the moving of the waters (John 5:3b-4) and the pericope of the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:11), which could assumed to be a later addition? The latest substantial find was in 2008, when 47 new manuscripts were discovered in Albania; at least 17 of them unknown to Western scholars.
According to Textual scholar Bart Ehrman : “It is true, of course, that the New Testament is abundantly attested in the manuscripts produced through the ages, but most of these manuscripts are many centuries removed from the originals, and none of them perfectly accurate. They all contain mistakes – altogether many thousands of mistakes. It is not an easy task to reconstruct the original words of the New Testament….”
The RSV New Testament was well received, but reactions to the Old Testament were varied and not without controversy. It was claimed that the RSV translators had translated the Old Testament from an odd viewpoint. Some specifically referred to a Jewish viewpoint, pointing to agreements with the 1917 Jewish Publication Society of America Version Tanakh and the presence on the editorial board of a Jewish scholar, Harry Orlinsky, and claimed that other views, including those of the New Testament, were not considered. The focus of the controversy was the translation of the Hebrew word עַלְמָה (ʿalmāh) in Isaiah 7:14 as “young woman” rather than the traditional Christian translation of “virgin”, agreeing with the Greek word παρθένος (parthenos) found in theSeptuagint‘s translation of this passage as well as the New Testament at Matthew 1:23.
Discovery of ‘most ancient texts’ of Bible revealed that some important verses mentioned in translations of ‘ancient texts’ like RSV based upon KJV were not found in ‘most ancient texts’ , hence they were removed in the 1971 first edition of RSV Bible. This was not an ordinary rephrasing or reordering the text but a very serious matter. Some of the basic doctrines of Church evolved over the period were rendered useless devoid of scriptural authority and support. Many Fundamentalists and evangelicals resisted this because it was hitting the very foundations of Christianity. It was decided by them to boycott the RSV, which could result in to huge financial loss to the publishers. So they decided to restore the relevant passages with some remarks in 2nd Edition of 1971 RSV Bible to make it acceptable to the Church. One has to go in to details of each change to fully comprehend the implications. Let’s analyze these passages and remarks:
Mark 16:9-20 is not found in ‘most ancient texts’, this passage narrates the reappearance of Jesus Christ after alleged crucifixion and directing disciples to preach to humanity, one of the basis of Christina Doctrine “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned. And these signs shall accompany them that believe: in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover:(Mark 16:15-18). This ambiguous, un authentic passage not found in most ancient scripts conflicts and contradicts the clear teachings of Jesus Christ: Matthew 10:5-6 &15:24, reproduced below:
“ These twelve Jesus sent forth, and charged them, saying, Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”[Matthew 10:5-6]
“But he answered and said, I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” [Matthew 15:24]
This passage regarding a women accused of adultery brought to Jesus Christ, who is set free by Jesus Christ against law of Moses, on condition that only innocents to stone her.
This passage is not found in ‘most ancient scripts’, it also conflict with law of Mosses and statement of Jesus at Matthew 5:17-19:-
“Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”[Matthew 5:17-19]
Removing this passage was correct but just to support the church doctrine to abrogate law of Moses, this passage have restored with a foot note.
The strikethrough lines [in Luke 22:19b-20] are not found in most ancient scripts, this is a later addition, to support Christian Church sacraments and doctrines’:-
“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. And the cup in like manner after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, even that which is poured out for you.”[Luke 22:19b-20]
Luke 24:51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. This passage was not found in most ancient script, so was deleted deleted but now have been restored in 1971, 2nd Edition to support the doctrines of Church.
Luke 22:43-44 And there appeared unto him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.
With new manuscript support two passages, Luke 22.19b-20 and 24.51b, are restored to the text: and one passage, Luke 22.43-44 is placed in the note, as is a phrase in Luke 12.39. Notes are added which indicate significant variations, additions, or omissions in the ancient authorities (Mt 9.34; Mk 3.16; 7.4; Lk 24.32, 51, etc.).
Trinity: 1Epistle of John 5: 7 & 8
Trinity the basic doctrine of Christianity, has been the subject of intense debate since 2000 years. The basis of theology of any faith rests upon the authority of the holy scripture, however in the case of Trinity, it is not the case. The only one verse in the whole of Bible which, the supporters interpreted to supports this Christian dogma, and that is: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one.”(The first Epistle of John; 5:7,8). (in some volumes this changed as : “There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree”). In the foot not of this verse in ‘New International Version Bible’ it is written; ‘not found in any Greek manuscript before the sixteen century. Dr C.I, Scofield, D.D. backed by eight other D.D.’s in a footnote to this verse opine: “It is generally agreed that this verse has no manuscript authority and has been inserted.”The fundamentalist Christians still retain this fabrication whereas; in all the modern translations including the Revised Standard Version (RSV) this pious deceit has been unceremoniously expunged. Dr.Brad D Aherman, in his scholarly discourse at Stanford University in 2007, also mentions about the the reference form the Old Testament in support of Trinity and how it got in to the scripture!
Excepts remind us what Jesus Christ and prophets said in Bible:
.”Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord”(Moses, Deuteronomy;6:4; Jesus,Mark;12:29).
“Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee,”(2 Samuel;7:22 )
“And he (Jesus) said unto him, Why you call me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”(Mathew;19:17).
“Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right” [Jesus Christ;Luke;12:57]
The comparison of different translations of verse 9:38 of Gospel according to John is self explanatory:
- “And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him” (King John’s Version)
- “He said, “Lord, I believe”; and he worshiped him”(Revised Standard Version)
- “And he said, I believe, Lord: and he did him homage”(Darby Translation: by John Nelson Darby)
- “I believe, Sir,” he said. And he threw himself at his feet.”(By Richard Francis Weymouth)
- “and he said, “I believe, sir,’ and bowed before him.” (Young’s Bible 1863: By Robert Young).
Jesus claimed divinity, the argument goes, when he said: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, said the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (King James Version; Revelation;1:8). Alpha (The 1st), Omega (the last) are the attributes of God. However in the Revised Standard Version, biblical scholars corrected the translation and wrote: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (RSV;Revelation;1:8). A correction was also made in the New American Bible produced by Catholics. The translation of that verse has been amended to put it in its correct context as follows: “The Lord God says: ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’ ” Hence after this correction, it becomes evident that this was a statement of God wrongly attributed to Jesus.
According to the Bible of King James Version of 1611 : “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only ‘begotten’ Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. (John;3:16). The word ‘begotten’ used here (John;3:16) has been expunged in the Bible- Revised Standard Version, being wrongly added because word ‘begotten’ does not exist in the original Greek script.
The Bible and violence:
From its earliest days, Christianity has been challenged to reconcile the scriptures known as the “Old Testament” with the scriptures known as the “New Testament“. Ra’anan S. Boustan asserts that “(v)iolence can be found throughout the pages of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament.” Philip Jenkins describes the Bible as overflowing with “texts of terror”. In response to these charges of violence in their scriptures, many Christian theologians and apologists respond that the “God of the Old Testament” is a violent God whereas the “God of the New Testament” is a peaceful and loving God. This approach is challenged by those who point out that there are also passages in the New Testament that tolerate, condone and even encourage the use of violence. For example, Terence Freitheim describes the Old Testament as a “book filled with …the violence of God”. He asserts that while the New Testament does not have the same reputation, it too is “filled with violent words and deeds, and Jesus and the God of the New Testament are complicit in this violence.
John Hemer asserts that the two primary approaches that Christian teaching uses to deal with “the problem of violence in the Old Testament” are:
- Concentrate more on the many passages where God is depicted as loving – much of Isaiah, Hosea, Micah, Deuteronomy.
- Explain how the idea of God as a violent punishing war monger is all part of the historical and cultural conditioning of the author and that we can ignore it in good faith, especially in the light of the New Testament.
In opposition to these two approaches, Hemer argues that to ignore or explain away the violence found in the Old Testament is a mistake. He asserts that “Violence is not peripheral to the Bible it is central, in many ways it is the issue, because of course it is the human problem.” He concludes by saying that “The Bible is in fact the story of the slow, painstaking and sometimes faltering escape from the idea of a God who is violent to a God who is love and has absolutely nothing to do with violence.”
Gibson and Matthews assert that many studies of violence in the Bible focus on violence in the Old Testament while ignoring or giving little attention to the New Testament. They find even more troubling “those studies that lift up the New Testament as somehow containing the antidote for Old Testament violence.” This apparent contradiction in the sacred scriptures between a “God of vengeance” and a “God of love” are the basis of a tension between the irenic and eristic tendencies of Christianity that has continued to the present day. Read more >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_and_violence
Sexuality in Bible:
Some passages on sexuality are:-
- Ham’s actions in Genesis 9:20-25, are debated upon because of the vagueness of the script, but some[who?] interpret it as Ham doing something sexual with his father, Noah, while Noah was passed out drunk in his tent.
- Lot has sex with his daughters after they get him drunk for the purpose of becoming pregnant in Genesis 19:30-36.
- The sin of Onan (Genesis 38:8-10), which is often misinterpreted as masturbation, was coitus interruptus or withdrawal. He was also violating the duty of Yibbum. Onan was struck down and killed by God because he “spilt his seed upon the ground” while he had a duty to impregnate his brother’s wife (to whom he was brother-in-law).
- Genesis 38:13-24 tells the story of Tamar trading sex with Judah for ownership of a goat.
- Exodus 20:14, as the seventh commandment, prohibits the act of adultery. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
- Leviticus 18 lists several prohibitions concerning sex according to biblical rule.
- Deuteronomy 23:17-18 states the prohibition of prostitution. 17″(A)None of the daughters of Israel shall be a cult prostitute, (B)nor shall any of the sons of Israel be a cult prostitute. 18″You shall not bring the hire of a harlot or the wages of a [a](C)dog into the house of the LORD your God for any votive offering, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God. (New American Standard Bible)
- Second Samuel 11:3-5 describes David with Bathsheba and his act of adultery with her. “3 And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, ‘Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’ 4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. 5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, ‘I am with child'”
- Proverbs 5 shows how sexual sin causes scars and pain.
The list is meant to identify possible problems in the Bible, especially problems which are inherent in a literalist or fundamentalist interpretation. Some of the selections may be resolvable on certain interpretations–after all, almost any problem can be eliminated with suitable rationalizations–but it is the reader’s obligation to test this possibility and to decide whether it really makes appropriate sense to do this. To help readers in this task, these lists are aimed at presenting examples where problems may exist given certain allowable (but not always obligatory) assumptions. It should be kept in mind that a perfect and omnipotent God could, should, and likely would see to it that such problems did not exist in a book which s/he had inspired. It should also be kept in mind that what is and is not a vulgarity or obscenity is to some extent a matter of opinion. You are entitled to disagree with the author that these are, in fact, vulgarities or obscenities. One such passage from KJV Ezekiel 23:1-49 may suffice.
* Criticism of Bible & Christianity