Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why – Introduction

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why ?

Introduction

By Bart D. Ehrman

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Bart D. Ehrman

More than almost anything I’ve ever written about, the subjectof this book has been on my mind for the past thirty years,since I was in my late teens and just beginning my study of the NewTestament. Because it has been a part of me for so long, I thought Ishould begin by giving a personal account of why this material hasbeen, and still is, very important to me.The book is about ancient manuscripts of the New Testament andthe differences found in them, about scribes who copied scripture andsometimes changed it. This may not seem to be very promising as akey to one’s own autobiography, but there it is. One has little controlover such things.Before explaining how and why the manuscripts of the New Testamenthave made a real difference to me emotionally and intellectually,to my understanding of myself, the world I live in, my views ofGod, and the Bible, I should give some personal background.I was born and raised in a conservative place and time—the nation’sheartland, beginning in the mid 1950s. My upbringing wasnothing out of the ordinary. We were a fairly typical family of five,churchgoing but not particularly religious. Starting the year I was infifth grade, we were involved with the Episcopal church in LawrenceKansas, a church with a kind and wise rector, who happened alsoto be a neighbor and whose son was one of my friends (with whom Igot into mischief later on in junior high school—something involvingcigars). As with many Episcopal churches, this one was socially respectableand socially responsible. It took the church liturgy seriously,and scripture was part of that liturgy. But the Bible was not overlyemphasized: it was there as one of the guides to faith and practice,along with the church’s tradition and common sense. We didn’t actuallytalk about the Bible much, or read it much, even in Sunday schoolclasses, which focused more on practical and social issues, and on howto live in the world.The Bible did have a revered place in our home, especially for mymom, who would occasionally read from the Bible and make surethat we understood its stories and ethical teachings (less so its “doctrines”).Up until my high school years, I suppose I saw the Bible as amysterious book of some importance for religion; but it certainly wasnot something to be learned and mastered. It had a feel of antiquity toit and was inextricably bound up somehow with God and church andworship. Still, I saw no reason to read it on my own or study it.Things changed drastically for me when I was a sophomore inhigh school. It was then that I had a “bornagain”experience, in a settingquite different from that of my home church. I was a typical“fringe” kid—a good student, interested and active in school sportsbut not great at any of them, interested and active in social life but notin the upper echelon of the school’s popular elite. I recall feeling akind of emptiness inside that nothing seemed to fill—not runningaround with my friends (we were already into some serious socialdrinking at parties), dating (beginning to enter the mysterium tremendumof the world of sex), school (I worked hard and did well but wasno superstar), work (I was a doortodoorsalesman for a companythat sold products for the blind), church (I was an acolyte and prettydevout—one had to be on Sunday mornings, given everything thathappened on Saturday nights). There was a kind of loneliness associatedwith being a young teenager; but, of course, I didn’t realize thatit was part of being a teenager—I thought there must be somethingmissing.That’s when I started attending meetings of a Campus Life Youthfor Christ club; they took place at kids’ houses—the first I went to wasa yard party at the home of a kid who was pretty popular, and thatmade me think the group must be okay. The leader of the group was atwentysomethingyearoldnamed Bruce who did this sort of thingfor a living—organized Youth for Christ clubs locally, tried to converthigh school kids to be “born again” and then get them involved in seriousBible studies, prayer meetings, and the like. Bruce was a completelywinsome personality—younger than our parents but older andmore experienced than we—with a powerful message, that the voidwe felt inside (We were teenagers! All of us felt a void!) was from nothaving Christ in our hearts. If we would only ask Christ in, he wouldenter and fill us with the joy and happiness that only the “saved”could know.Bruce could quote the Bible at will, and did so to an amazing degree.Given my reverence for, but ignorance of, the Bible, it allsounded completely convincing. And it was so unlike what I got atchurch, which involved old established ritual that seemed moregeared toward old established adults than toward kids wanting funand adventure, but who felt empty inside.To make a short story shorter, I eventually got to know Bruce,came to accept his message of salvation, asked Jesus into my heart,and had a bona fide bornagainexperience. I had been born for realonly fifteen years earlier, but this was a new and exciting experiencefor me, and it got me started on a lifelong journey of faith that hastaken enormous twists and turns, ending up in a dead end that provedto be, in fact, a new path that I have since taken, now well over thirtyyears later.Those of us who had these bornagainexperiences consideredourselves to be “real” Christians—as opposed to those who simply wentto church as a matter of course, who did not really have Christ in theirhearts and were therefore simply going through the motions withnone of the reality. One of the ways we differentiated ourselves fromthese others was in our commitment to Bible study and prayer. EspeciallyBible study. Bruce himself was a Bible man; he had gone toMoody Bible Institute in Chicago and could quote an answer fromthe Bible to every question we could think of (and many we wouldnever think of). I soon became envious of this ability to quote scriptureand got involved with Bible studies myself, learning some texts,understanding their relevance, and even memorizing the key verses.Bruce convinced me that I should consider becoming a “serious”Christian and devote myself completely to the Christian faith. Thismeant studying scripture full time at Moody Bible Institute, which,among other things, would involve a drastic change of lifestyle. AtMoody there was an ethical “code” that students had to sign off on: nodrinking, no smoking, no dancing, no card playing, no movies. Andlots of Bible. As we used to say, “Moody Bible Institute, where Bible isour middle name.” I guess I looked on it as a kind of Christian bootcamp. In any event, I decided not to go halfmeasureswith my faith; Iapplied to Moody, got in, and went there in the fall of 1973.The Moody experience was intense. I decided to major in Bibletheology, which meant taking a lot of biblical study and systematic theologycourses. Only one perspective was taught in these courses, subscribedto by all the professors (they had to sign a statement) and by allthe students (we did as well): the Bible is the inerrant word of God. Itcontains no mistakes. It is inspired completely and in its very words—“verbal, plenary inspiration.” All the courses I took presupposed andtaught this perspective; any other was taken to be misguided or evenheretical. Some, I suppose, would call this brainwashing. For me, itwas an enormous “step up” from the milquetoast view of the Bible Ihad had as a socializing Episcopalian in my younger youth. This washardcoreChristianity, for the fully committed.There was an obvious problem, however, with the claim that theBible was verbally inspired—down to its very words. As we learnedat Moody in one of the first courses in the curriculum, we don’t actuallyhave the original writings of the New Testament. What we haveare copies of these writings, made years later—in most cases, manyyears later. Moreover, none of these copies is completely accurate,since the scribes who produced them inadvertently and/or intentionallychanged them in places. All scribes did this. So rather than actuallyhaving the inspired words of the autographs (i.e., the originals) ofthe Bible, what we have are the error riddencopies of the autographs.One of the most pressing of all tasks, therefore, was to ascertain whatthe originals of the Bible said, given the circumstances that (1) theywere inspired and (2) we don’t have them.I must say that many of my friends at Moody did not consider thistask to be all that significant or interesting. They were happy to reston the claim that the autographs had been inspired, and to shrug off,more or less, the problem that the autographs do not survive. For me,though, this was a compelling problem. It was the words of scripturethemselves that God had inspired. Surely we have to know whatthose words were if we want to know how he had communicated tous, since the very words were his words, and having some other words(those inadvertently or intentionally created by scribes) didn’t help usmuch if we wanted to know His words.This is what got me interested in the manuscripts of the New Testament,already as an eighteenyearold.At Moody, I learned the basicsof the field known as textual criticism—a technical term for the scienceof restoring the “original” words of a text from manuscripts thathave altered them. But I wasn’t yet equipped to engage in this study:first I had to learn Greek, the original language of the New Testament,and possibly other ancient languages such as Hebrew (the languageof the Christian Old Testament) and Latin, not to mention modernEuropean languages like German and French, in order to see whatother scholars had said about such things. It was a long path ahead.At the end of my three years at Moody (it was a threeyeardiploma),I had done well in my courses and was more serious than ever aboutbecoming a Christian scholar. My idea at the time was that there wereplenty of highly educated scholars among the evangelical Christians,but not many evangelicals among the (secular) highly educated scholars,so I wanted to become an evangelical “voice” in secular circles, bygetting degrees that would allow me to teach in secular settings whileretaining my evangelical commitments. First, though, I needed tocomplete my bachelor’s degree, and to do that I decided to go to a toprankevangelical college. I chose Wheaton College, in a suburb ofChicago.At Moody I was warned that I might have trouble finding realChristians at Wheaton—which shows how fundamentalist Moodywas: Wheaton is only for evangelical Christians and is the alma materof Billy Graham, for example. And at first I did find it to be a bit liberalfor my tastes. Students talked about literature, history, and philosophyrather than the verbal inspiration of scripture. They did this froma Christian perspective, but even so: didn’t they realize what reallymattered?I decided to major in English literature at Wheaton, since readinghad long been one of my passions and since I knew that to make inroadsinto the circles of scholarship, I would need to become wellversed in an area of scholarship other than the Bible. I decided also tocommit myself to learning Greek. It was during my first semester atWheaton, then, that I met Dr. Gerald Hawthorne, my Greek teacherand a person who became quite influential in my life as a scholar,teacher, and, eventually, friend. Hawthorne, like most of my professorsat Wheaton, was a committed evangelical Christian. But he wasnot afraid of asking questions of his faith. At the time, I took this as asign of weakness (in fact, I thought I had nearly all the answers to thequestions he asked); eventually I saw it as a real commitment to truthand as being willing to open oneself up to the possibility that one’s viewsneed to be revised in light of further knowledge and life experience.Learning Greek was a thrilling experience for me. As it turnedout, I was pretty good at the basics of the language and was alwayseager for more. On a deeper level, however, the experience of learningGreek became a bit troubling for me and my view of scripture. I cameto see early on that the full meaning and nuance of the Greek text ofthe New Testament could be grasped only when it is read and studiedin the original language (the same thing applies to the Old Testament,as I later learned when I acquired Hebrew). All the more reason, Ithought, for learning the language thoroughly. At the same time, thisstarted making me question my understanding of scripture as the verballyinspired word of God. If the full meaning of the words of scripturecan be grasped only by studying them in Greek (and Hebrew),doesn’t this mean that most Christians, who don’t read ancient languages,will never have complete access to what God wants them toknow? And doesn’t this make the doctrine of inspiration a doctrineonly for the scholarly elite, who have the intellectual skills and leisureto learn the languages and study the texts by reading them in the original?What good does it do to say that the words are inspired by Godif most people have absolutely no access to these words, but only tomore or less clumsy renderings of these words into a language, such asEnglish, that has nothing to do with the original words?’My questions were complicated even more as I began to think increasinglyabout the manuscripts that conveyed the words. The moreI studied Greek, the more I became interested in the manuscripts thatpreserve the New Testament for us, and in the science of textual criticism,which can supposedly help us reconstruct what the originalwords of the New Testament were. I kept reverting to my basic question:how does it help us to say that the Bible is the inerrant word ofGod if in fact we don’t have the words that God inerrantly inspired,but only the words copied by the scribes—sometimes correctly butsometimes (many times!) incorrectly? What good is it to say that theautographs (i.e., the originals) were inspired? We don’t have the originals!We have only error riddencopies, and the vast majority of theseare centuries removed from the originals and different from them,evidently, in thousands of ways.These doubts both plagued me and drove me to dig deeper anddeeper, to understand what the Bible really was. I completed my degreeat Wheaton in two years and decided, under the guidance of ProfessorHawthorne, to commit myself to the textual criticism of the NewTestament by going to study with the world’s leading expert in thefield, a scholar named Bruce M. Metzger who taught at PrincetonTheological Seminary.Once again I was warned by my evangelical friends against goingto Princeton Seminary, since, as they told me, I would have troublefinding any “real” Christians there. It was, after all, a Presbyterianseminary, not exactly a breeding ground for bornagainChristians.But my study of English literature, philosophy, and history—not tomention Greek—had widened my horizons significantly, and mypassion was now for knowledge, knowledge of all kinds, sacred andsecular. If learning the “truth” meant no longer being able to identifywith the bornagainChristians I knew in high school, so be it. I wasintent on pursuing my quest for truth wherever it might take me,trusting that any truth I learned was no less true for being unexpectedor difficult to fit into the pigeonholes provided by my evangelicalbackground.Upon arriving at Princeton Theological Seminary, I immediatelysigned up for firstyearHebrew and Greek exegesis (interpretation)classes, and loaded my schedule as much as I could with such courses.I found these classes to be a challenge, both academically and personally.The academic challenge was completely welcome, but the personalchallenges that I faced were emotionally rather trying. As I’veindicated, already at Wheaton I had begun to question some of thefoundational aspects of my commitment to the Bible as the inerrantword of God. That commitment came under serious assault in my detailedstudies at Princeton. I resisted any temptation to change myviews, and found a number of friends who, like me, came from conservativeevangelical schools and were trying to “keep the faith” (afunny way of putting it—looking back—since we were, after all, ina Christian divinity program). But my studies started catching upwith me.A turning point came in my second semester, in a course I was takingwith a much revered and pious professor named Cullen Story. Thecourse was on the exegesis of the Gospel of Mark, at the time (andstill) my favorite Gospel. For this course we needed to be able to readthe Gospel of Mark completely in Greek (I memorized the entireGreek vocabulary of the Gospel the week before the semester began);we were to keep an exegetical notebook on our reflections on the interpretationof key passages; we discussed problems in the interpretationof the text; and we had to write a final term paper on aninterpretive crux of our own choosing. I chose a passage in Mark 2,where Jesus is confronted by the Pharisees because his disciples hadbeen walking through a grain field, eating the grain on the Sabbath.Jesus wants to show the Pharisees that “Sabbath was made for humans,not humans for the Sabbath” and so reminds them of what thegreat King David had done when he and his men were hungry, howthey went into the Temple “when Abiathar was the high priest” andate the show bread, which was only for the priests to eat. One of thewellknownproblems of the passage is that when one looks at the OldTestament passage that Jesus is citing (1 Sam. 21:16),it turns out thatDavid did this not when Abiathar was the high priest, but, in fact,when Abiathar’s father Ahimelech was. In other words, this is one ofthose passages that have been pointed to in order to show that theBible is not inerrant at all but contains mistakes.In my paper for Professor Story, I developed a long and complicatedargument to the effect that even though Mark indicates thishappened “when Abiathar was the high priest,” it doesn’t really meanthat Abiathar was the high priest, but that the event took place in thepart of the scriptural text that has Abiathar as one of the main characters.My argument was based on the meaning of the Greek words involvedand was a bit convoluted. I was pretty sure Professor Storywould appreciate the argument, since I knew him as a good Christianscholar who obviously (like me) would never think there could beanything like a genuine error in the Bible. But at the end of my paperhe made a simple onelinecomment that for some reason wentstraight through me. He wrote: “Maybe Mark just made a mistake.” Istarted thinking about it, considering all the work I had put into thepaper, realizing that I had had to do some pretty fancy exegetical footworkto get around the problem, and that my solution was in fact a bitof a stretch. I finally concluded, “Hmm … maybe Mark did make amistake.”Once I made that admission, the floodgates opened. For if thereCould be one little, picayune mistake in Mark 2, maybe there could beMistakes in other places as well. Maybe, when Jesus says later in Mark4 that the mustard seed is “the smallest of all seeds on the earth,”maybe I don’t need to come up with a fancy explanation for how themustard seed is the smallest of all seeds when I know full well it isn’t.

And maybe these “mistakes” apply to bigger issues. Maybe whenMark says that Jesus was crucified the day after the Passover meal waseaten (Mark 14:12; 15:25) and John says he died the day before itwas eaten (John 19:14)—maybe that is a genuine difference. Or whenLuke indicates in his account of Jesus’s birth that Joseph and Mary returnedto Nazareth just over a month after they had come to Bethlehem(and performed the rites of purification; Luke 2:39), whereasMatthew indicates they instead fled to Egypt (Matt. 2:1922)—maybethat is a difference. Or when Paul says that after he converted on theway to Damascus he did not go to Jerusalem to see those who wereapostles before him (Gal. 1:1617),whereas the book of Acts says thatthat was the first thing he did after leaving Damascus (Acts 9:26)—maybe that is a difference.

This kind of realization coincided with the problems I was encounteringthe more closely I studied the surviving Greek manuscripts

of the New Testament. It is one thing to say that the originalswere inspired, but the reality is that we don’t have the originals—sosaying they were inspired doesn’t help me much, unless I can reconstructthe originals. Moreover, the vast majority of Christians for the

entire history of the church have not had access to the originals, making

their inspiration something of a moot point. Not only do we nothave the originals, we don’t have the first copies of the originals. Wedon’t even have copies of the copies of the originals, or copies of thecopies of the copies of the originals. What we have are copies madelater—much later. In most instances, they are copies made many centurieslater. And these copies all differ from one another, in manythousands of places. As we will see later in this book, these copies differfrom one another in so many places that we don’t even know howmany differences there are. Possibly it is easiest to put it in comparativeterms: there are more differences among our manuscripts thanthere are words in the New Testament.

Most of these differences are completely immaterial and insignificant.A good portion of them simply show us that scribes in antiquitycould spell no better than most people can today (and they didn’t evenhave dictionaries, let alone spell check). Even so, what is one to makeof all these differences? If one wants to insist that God inspired thevery words of scripture, what would be the point if we don’t have thevery words of scripture? In some places, as we will see, we simply cannotbe sure that we have reconstructed the original text accurately. It’sa bit hard to know what the words of the Bible mean if we don’t evenknow what the words are!This became a problem for my view of inspiration, for I came torealize that it would have been no more difficult for God to preservethe words of scripture than it would have been for him to inspirethem in the first place. If he wanted his people to have his words,surely he would have given them to them (and possibly even giventhem the words in a language they could understand, rather than

Greek and Hebrew). The fact that we don’t have the words surelymust show, I reasoned, that he did not preserve them for us. And if hedidn’t perform that miracle, there seemed to be no reason to thinkthat he performed the earlier miracle of inspiring those words.

In short, my study of the Greek New Testament, and my investigationsinto the manuscripts that contain it, led to a radical rethinkingof my understanding of what the Bible is. This was a seismic change

for me. Before this—starting with my born againexperience in highschool, through my fundamentalist days at Moody, and on throughmy evangelical days at Wheaton—my faith had been based completelyon a certain view of the Bible as the fully inspired, inerrant word ofGod. Now I no longer saw the Bible that way. The Bible began to appearto me as a very human book. Just as human scribes had copied,and changed, the texts of scripture, so too had human authors originallywritten the texts of scripture. This was a human book from beginningto end. It was written by different human authors at differenttimes and in different places to address different needs. Many of theseauthors no doubt felt they were inspired by God to say what they did,but they had their own perspectives, their own beliefs, their ownviews, their own needs, their own desires, their own understandings,their own theologies; and these perspectives, beliefs, views, needsdesires, understandings, and theologies informed everything theysaid. In all these ways they differed from one another. Among otherthings, this meant that Mark did not say the same thing that Lukesaid because he didn’t mean the same thing as Luke. John is differentfrom Matthew—not the same. Paul is different from Acts. AndJames is different from Paul. Each author is a human author andneeds to be read for what he (assuming they were all men) has to say,not assuming that what he says is the same, or conformable to, or consistentwith what every other author has to say. The Bible, at the endof the day, is a very human book.This was a new perspective for me, and obviously not the view Ihad when I was an evangelical Christian—nor is it the view of mostevangelicals today. Let me give an example of the difference mychanged perspective could have for understanding the Bible. When I

was at Moody Bible Institute, one of the most popular books on campuswas Hal Lindsey’s apocalyptic blueprint for our future, The Late GreatPlanet Earth. Lindsey’s book was popular not only at Moody; it was, infact, the bestsellingwork of nonfiction (apart from the Bible; andusing the term nonfiction somewhat loosely) in the English language

in the 1970s. Lindsey, like those of us at Moody, believed that the Biblewas absolutely inerrant in its very words, to the extent that you couldread the New Testament and know not only how God wanted you tolive and what he wanted you to believe, but also what God himselfwas planning to do in the future and how he was going to do it. Theworld was heading for an apocalyptic crisis of catastrophic proportions,and the inerrant words of scripture could be read to show what,how, and when it would all happen.I was particularly struck by the “when.” Lindsey pointed to Jesus’sparable of the fig tree as an indication of when we could expect the futureArmageddon. Jesus’s disciples want to know when the “end” willcome, and Jesus replies:From the fig tree learn this parable. When its branch becomes tenderand it puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also you,when you see all these things you know that he [the Son of Man] isnear, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not passaway before all these things take place. (Matt. 24:3234)What does this parable mean? Lindsey, thinking that it is an inerrantword from God himself, unpacks its message by pointing outthat in the Bible the “fig tree” is often used as an image of the nation ofIsrael. What would it mean for it to put forth its leaves? It wouldmean that the nation, after lying dormant for a season (the winter),would come back to life. And when did Israel come back to life? In1948, when Israel once again became a sovereign nation. Jesus indicatesthat the end will come within the very generation that this wasto occur. And how long is a generation in the Bible? Forty years. Hencethe divinely inspired teaching, straight from the lips of Jesus: the endof the world will come sometime before 1988, forty years after the reemergenceof Israel.This message proved completely compelling to us. It may seemodd now—given the circumstance that 1988 has come and gone, withno Armageddon—but, on the other hand, there are millions of Christianswho still believe that the Bible can be read literally as completelyinspired in its predictions of what is soon to happen to bring history aswe know it to a close. Witness the current craze for the TimLaHaye and Jerry Jenkins series Left Behind, another apocalyptic visionof our future based on a literalistic reading of the Bible, a seriesthat has sold more than sixty million copies in our own day.It is a radical shift from reading the Bible as an inerrant blueprintfor our faith, life, and future to seeing it as a very human book, withvery human points of view, many of which differ from one anotherand none of which provides the inerrant guide to how we should live.This is the shift in my own thinking that I ended up making, and towhich I am now fully committed. Many Christians, of course, havenever held this literalistic view of the Bible in the first place, and forthem such a view might seem completely onesidedand unnuanced(not to mention bizarre and unrelated to matters of faith). There are,however, plenty of people around who still see the Bible this way. OccasionallyI see a bumper sticker that reads: “God said it, I believe itand that settles it.” My response is always, What if God didn’t say it?What if the book you take as giving you God’s words instead containshuman words? What if the Bible doesn’t give a foolproof answer tothe questions of the modern age—abortion, women’s rights, gay rights,religious supremacy, Westernstyledemocracy, and the like? What ifwe have to figure out how to live and what to believe on our own,without setting up the Bible as a false idol—or an oracle that gives usa direct line of communication with the Almighty? There are clearreasons for thinking that, in fact, the Bible is not this kind of inerrantguide to our lives: among other things, as I’ve been pointing out, inmany places we (as scholars, or just regular readers) don’t even knowwhat the original words of the Bible actually were.

My personal theology changed radically with this realization, takingme down roads quite different from the ones I had traversed inmy late teens and early twenties. I continue to appreciate the Bibleand the many and varied messages that it contains—much as I havecome to appreciate the other writings of early Christians from aboutthe same time and soon thereafter, the writings of lesser knownfiguressuch as Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, and Barnabas ofAlexandria, and much as I have come to appreciate the writings ofpersons of other faiths at roughly the time, the writings of Josephus,and Lucian of Samosata, and Plutarch. All of these authors are tryingto understand the world and their place in it, and all of them havevaluable things to teach us. It is important to know what the words ofthese authors were, so that we can see what they had to say and judge,then, for ourselves what to think and how to live in light of thosewords.This brings me back to my interest in the manuscripts of the NewTestament and the study of those manuscripts in the field known astextual criticism. It is my conviction that textual criticism is a compellingand intriguing field of study of real importance not just toscholars but to everyone with an interest in the Bible (whether a literalist,a recovering literalist, a never in your life would I ever be a literalist,or even just anyone with a remote interest in the Bible as ahistorical and cultural phenomenon). What is striking, however, isthat most readers—even those interested in Christianity, in the Bible,in biblical studies, both those who believe the Bible is inerrant andthose who do not—know almost nothing about textual criticism. Andit’s not difficult to see why. Despite the fact that this has been a topic ofsustained scholarship now for more than three hundred years, thereis scarcely a single book written about it for a lay audience—that is,for those who know nothing about it, who don’t have the Greek andother languages necessary for the indepthstudy of it, who do notrealize there is even a “problem” with the text, but who would be intriguedto learn both what the problems are and how scholars have setabout dealing with them. 2That is the kind of book this is—to my knowledge, the first of itskind. It is written for people who know nothing about textual criticismbut who might like to learn something about how scribes werechanging scripture and about how we can recognize where they didso. It is written based on my thirty years of thinking about the subject,and from the perspective that I now have, having gone through suchradical transformations of my own views of the Bible. It is written foranyone who might be interested in seeing how we got our New Testament,seeing how in some instances we don’t even know what the wordsof the original writers were, seeing in what interesting ways thesewords occasionally got changed, and seeing how we might, throughthe application of some rather rigorous methods of analysis, reconstructwhat those original words actually were. In many ways, then,this is a very personal book for me, the end result of a long journey.Maybe, for others, it can be part of a journey of their own.

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4 Comments

  1. Posted March 8, 2008 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    More research on the Bible and its eternal truths

    SEE VIDEO:
    Ancient Judaism Tanakh – Astarte-Ishtar and the Host of Heaven, Origins of Pagan New World Order Western Judeo Christian Values

  2. Posted August 19, 2008 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    You mention the idea that “Israel” was foretold by Jesus, with the 40 year thing.

    The modern nation of Israel has NOTHING to do with ancient Israel, morally, ethnically, politically.

    It is a most corrupt and godless country, started by the devil-serving Rothschilds and co., as part of their strategy.

    This is a reasonably intelligent writing, non fanatic. I can’t believe you also wrote the one trying to “expose” Brahma and Sarasvati. That has fanatic and destructive spirit.

    You make a lot of dark karma when you attack religions like that. The spirit of that author is not correct, not kind. If you were me, i would work on unresolved issues causing anger. Seek the right spirit and you won’t get drawn into fundie or liberal levels, but the interior spirit.

    Particularly, the writings of Saint Gertrude the Great and Teresa of Avila, once you get past the revelling in worthlessness which unfortunately pollute even the greatest of souls under Christ-I AM ity.

    Lost Years of Jesus by ECP will also open some more vistas.

    Victory to the Good.

  3. an human being
    Posted November 24, 2008 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    Hi,

    First of all, I would like to tell people of all religions shut your mouth and think like a human.
    In all the religions Hinduism,islam, chritianity the texts were to spread PEACE.What’s happening now a days.fighting each other against religion.

    I am not against any religion, but i hate christianity in one angle, Forcefull Conversion of people into christians.You americans have money,put them in proper use.
    I am an indian.I have seen christians converting mainly the weakeast and poor and backward people and tribes in india.

    why, because they are the one you christians can change them by giving money and giving false promises.

    Don’t you be ashame of doing this, instead of spreading PEACE.i think JESUS is ashamed of you people doing all false things in his name.

    whereas Hinduism and Islam doesn’t convert people.Why do you do this. Don’t you asshole have any other work.

    Let me tell you one more fact.

    Chrisitanity – Jesus ( BC & AD )
    His life was inbetween BC and AD.

    Islam – Allah ( BC )

    Hinduism – Many Forms ( long long before Islam and christianity ).

    Don’t you know this. you knew it but still don’t accept it . why? answer it yourself.

    may be you are not given the right training / right facts.

    change yourself guys….

    thanks.

  4. Sam
    Posted February 7, 2009 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    SCIENTIFIC ERRORS IN BIBLE-

    CREATION OF UNIVERSE

    Book of Genesis Ch 1 V 9-19

    1. Universe was created in six days, 24 hours a day.
    2. Light was created on 1st day (V 3-5)
    3. Earth and vegetables were created on 3rd day (V 11-13)
    4. Sun was created on 4th day (V 14-19)
    5. God created two lights (LAMPS)….referring sun and moon….means moon also omits light. (V16)
    6. “Rainbow is God’s promise…..” (9:17)

    COMMENTS :
    Scientifically how could it be possible: light was created before its source (sun)…day was of 24 hours before the creation of sun and earth….both sun and moon omits light to brighten the earth……earth was created before sun then what was its orbit….etc

    Book of Hebrew : says “Earth will perish”
    Book of Psalms 78:69, says “The earth will abide forever”
    Book of Job: says “All fruits and vegetables are edible”

    ……whereas, even a child knows that there are several fruits and vegetables that are extremely poisonous…

    FALSIFICATION TEST

    Gospel of Mark 16:17-18….”Every Christian has to drink deadly poison, those who survive are true Christians”

    COMMENTS :
    How many of you have undergone this test…if not it means either you don’t believe your holy book or you are not true Christian and you r sure that u wont survive……

    DISINFECTION

    Book of Leviticus C12 V49-53 : “To disinfect house against leprosy, take the blood of a bird, a wood and another live bird, then dip them in water, sprinkle the water seven times around your house”

    COMMENTS : Blood as disinfectants how ridiculous.

    ADULTERY TEST

    Book of Numbers C5 V11-13 : Initially it gives the method to prepare a bitter water from holy water then it says “Let the women drink bitter water, if they have committed adultery their stomach will swell and thighs will rot and the curse will be on them”

    COMMENTS : How funny it would be to see whole west with swollen stomachs and rotten thighs, as I don’t think that there is a single person who has not committed adultery…as you say it is not a sin/crime….

    Book of Numbers C12 V1-5 : Says that women remains unclean for 40 days (7 days and continued to 33 more days) if given birth to a male child…and she remains unclean for 80 days if given to a female child……

    COMMENTS : Do anyone have any scientific reason that why the period of unclean is double in case of female baby…..

    ADDITION ERRORS

    Book of Ezra C2, V2-65 and Book of Nehemiah C7 V7-66 provide the names and list of people released from Babylon….there are 18 different errors and contradictions in first 60 verses only of both books…

    Ezra 2:64 says “total count in first 60 verses is 42, 360” whereas if you count yourself the figure comes out to be 29,818……similarly Nehemiah 7:66 also gives “total count 42,360” whereas in this book the total count is 31,089…..

    COMMENT :

    I never say that God could make mistake in counting (God forgives me), what I want to clear is that lot of changes have been make in bible and it is not in pure form……therefore not authenticated….

    CONTRADICTIONS

    If you read following books, you will find lot of contradictions within the books….few are given..
    I and II book of King Ch 7, I and II book of Chronicles Ch 11 & 16, Book of Ezra Ch2….the contradictions are..

    1. difference in singing men and women 200 or 245….
    2. King Solomon took 2000 baths or 3000 baths….
    3. Jehoichain rained for 3 months or 3 months 10 days….
    4. Basha invaded Judah at what period….in one book the period mentioned was even 10 years before his birth….

    Dr. William Campbell, author of “Quran and Bible in the light of Science” said on 1st April, 2000 at Niles West High School Chicago, in the presence of thousands of historians and intellectuals.” I don’t have any answer to these contradictions, except to say that these contradictions have damaged the authenticity of Bible” Unquote…….

    ADD TO THE VIOLENCE HERE ARE MANY CONTRADICTIONS AND SCIENTIFIC ERRORS IN PRESENT DAY BIBLE WHICH IS ENOUGH OF PROOF TO TELL OUR BROTHERS WHO FALSELY FOLLOW CORRUPTED BIBLE BY SCHOLARS WHO PLAGERISED FROM ANTIENT GREEK TEXT AND SOME THEIR OWN SATAN HANDIWORK.

    Allah is truelt great and free of errors. Thus, bible cannot be word of GOD


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  1. […] precepts wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptUp until my high school years, I suppose I saw the Bible as amysterious book of some importance for religion; but it certainly wasnot something to be learned and mastered. It had a feel of antiquity toit and was inextricably bound up … […]

  2. […] carllunanHAt the same time, thisstarted making me handle my wiseness of scripture as the verballyinspired eloquent of God. If the overpowered communication of the book of scripturecan be grasped inner by studying them in Hellenic (and Hebrew),doesn’t this … […]

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