Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
southernwonder

Changes Made To The Bible

Recommended Posts

Hi,

I admit this topic is something I do not know much about. I am new to Progressive Christianity. Someone once told me that many content changes were made to the Bible over time. Is this true? If so, do you know of a place to read about these?

 

Thank you,

SW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi SW.

 

I'm aware of linguistic mistranslations, but I don't feel that can necessarily be considered malicious as recognition of those differences, those inaccuracies, resulted in resources such as the online NIV Bible, which also allows a comparative study of translations.

 

Buck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SW,

 

Here is a group of scholars undertaking such an issue and their results so far.in an article by the New Orleans Times.

 

http://www.nola.com/religion/index.ssf/2011/03/changes_to_the_bible_through_the_ages_are_being_studied_by_new_orleans_scholars.html

 

Joseph

 

PS Some think Constantine and the church system influenced content changes, some think not. It was a secretive document for much time in history that the general public had limited or no exposure to. How can one know for sure? It seems to me that people will believe what they want to believe but to me there are too many inconsistencies within its own pages to believe it is God's Word rather than that of men concerning their beliefs and stories about God.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Misquoting Jesus by Bart Erhman gives some insights to significant alterations, but as we don't have any original documents and the oldest versions of any New Testament writings are still hundreds of years older than their originals, it is impossible to say what changes may have been made.

 

Certainly evidence such as the Nag Hammadi texts and other Christian writings from the early centuries of Christianity, show there were plenty of other opinions and views about Jesus & God than what we ended up with in the 'Bible' as it was declared in the 300's CE.

 

Sometimes biblical scholars point out facts such as Matthew's misinterpretation of Isaiah when he writes about the birth of Jesus - Matthew used a faulty Greek version of Isaiah to misinterpret 'young women' to 'virgin'. Subsequently, it is believed the myth of Jesus' virgin birth has arisen from such a mistranslation. I wonder if the fact that such errors are still in there may be some evidence that some documents are still true to when they were first written.

 

But as Joseph mentions in part above, there are so many inconsistencies and errors in fact, not to mention the outright bigotry, sexism and racism in the Bible that it is impossible to an open minded person to regard it as the infallible Word of God. To the contrary, the Bible is a mish-mash of various interpretations and understandings of God made by a variety of authors, in a wide variety of political and cultural contexts of the day. And bear in mind that these authors thought the world was flat, that epilepsy = demonic possession, and that many in the early Christian days actually thought Jesus was returning in THAT generation. When the return of Jesus did not eventuate, Christians need to come up with a new understanding and is still demonstrated, even to this day 2000years later, that Christians are still trying to pin the return of Jesus on different translations of the Bible.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm probably better at knowing what I don't believe about God, than what I do! :)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Impossible to know what changes were made very early on. The fact that there are so many blatant contradictions suggests to me if there were changes they happened before the books were considered together. Simply, if i was going to make changes... I would start with the contradictions.The fact that they are still there suggests faithful transcriptions.

 

I like Markus Borg's description of the scriptures ...... They are the writings of a spiritual people. Divinely inspired ... perhaps?As writings of a spiritual people they include and reflect the attitudes of the time.

 

Markus Borg's books "Meeting Jesus For the First Time.. Again" and "Reading The Bible For The First Time... Again" are great starting points for adult spiritual re-education.

 

steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

I admit this topic is something I do not know much about. I am new to Progressive Christianity. Someone once told me that many content changes were made to the Bible over time. Is this true? If so, do you know of a place to read about these?

 

Thank you,

SW

 

Hello Southernwonder,

 

I'm not really sure it matters much what changes were made to the "original" Bible. As a few have pointed out, we only have fragments and pieces of hundreds of years old copies of copies of copies of these scriptures. Add to that some of the great purges by men such as Irenaeus of material that was at odds with their particular theology, and we are missing literally thousands of books and letters.

 

I think that religion is mankind's attempt to come to grips with the fact of our mortality and to imagine something greater than what we see before us. I think that this necessitates our religious writing should and will be amended, deleted, edited and rewritten every now and then.

 

I think that a religion that is static is one that is stale and not serving the best interests of those who depend on it for comfort and healing.

 

In the Jewish faith, we have the Talmud which was compiled for nearly 300 years (Babylonian Talmud [from about 200 CE to approximately 475 CE] - if you include the Jerusalem Talmud, which is incomplete, it goes back to 70 CE) and reflects an ever evolving religion. There is talk even now of updating some of the Mishnah readings that are out of date.

 

Events in history have also modified how we understand our faith. For example, the Shoah changed our understanding of both Moshiach and how G-d interacts with us. Prior to the Shoah, many still had faith that a man (Moshiach) would save us from the oppression of the Third Reich and Christian persecutors. Six million Shoah victims later, we gave up on the notion of a savior and began to look to ourselves for redemption.

 

I hope this helps.

 

NORM

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SW,

 

Here is a group of scholars undertaking such an issue and their results so far.in an article by the New Orleans Times.

 

http://www.nola.com/religion/index.ssf/2011/03/changes_to_the_bible_through_the_ages_are_being_studied_by_new_orleans_scholars.html

 

Joseph

 

PS Some think Constantine and the church system influenced content changes, some think not. It was a secretive document for much time in history that the general public had limited or no exposure to. How can one know for sure? It seems to me that people will believe what they want to believe but to me there are too many inconsistencies within its own pages to believe it is God's Word rather than that of men concerning their beliefs and stories about God.

 

I think that because we cannot trust the Bible to be the word of God and that we do not know what was changed, what was added later that is best not to read it. Maybe it is best to have conversation direct with God through meditation and contemplative prayer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Larry,

 

To me, it was necessary to read to determine what it was. Understanding what it really is seems to me to make it beneficial reading for both understanding and inspiration and to relate to others who may not yet see it the same as i. It was the inspiration of some of the writings that led me to Christ and the idea that we could have the direct communications that you mention. (1st John 2:27 comes to mind)

 

While i don't read it much anymore i think it still contains enough truth or pointers in its pages to benefit those on a journey that are ready to move on to more.

 

Just my own view,

Joseph

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the Jewish faith, we have the Talmud which was compiled for nearly 300 years (Babylonian Talmud [from about 200 CE to approximately 475 CE] - if you include the Jerusalem Talmud, which is incomplete, it goes back to 70 CE) and reflects an ever evolving religion. There is talk even now of updating some of the Mishnah readings that are out of date.

 

Hi, NORM. Where did you hear about the possible updates and who would be doing them? That's the important question to me since Judaism is not monolithic. Also, of relevance, there are some commentaries in the gemara where it's obvious one rabbi is speaking as another ... centuries later. :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No one has mentioned supplementary nad documentary hypotheses which proposes that there were several authors or groups of authors for the Pentateuch who had specific agendas. One simple example: First account of the creation was motivated by a priestly class who wanted to emphasize a seven day week with a Sabbath when people would have to come to the temple. The four voices are: JahwistElohistPriestlyDeuteronomist .

 

 

Dutch

Edited by glintofpewter
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Hi, NORM. Where did you hear about the possible updates and who would be doing them? That's the important question to me since Judaism is not monolithic. Also, of relevance, there are some commentaries in the gemara where it's obvious one rabbi is speaking as another ... centuries later. :lol:

 

More precisely, "corrections" - probably shouldn't have used the term updates. This group here, under the guidance of the Bar Ilan University:

 

http://thetalmudblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/some-new-publications/

 

They are using sophisticated computer searching and manuscript recovery techniques to update the Talmud with better translations and missing commentary. You can subscribe to the Blog to learn of their achievements.

 

NORM

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They are using sophisticated computer searching and manuscript recovery techniques to update the Talmud with better translations and missing commentary. You can subscribe to the Blog to learn of their achievements.

 

NORM

 

Thanks for the interesting resource!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the responses. I guess as I question my fundamentalist background that it is hard to know what to believe now about God.

The study of the influences of Zoroastrianism on Judaism is very revealing.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is much truth, ancient wisdom and also human failing in many of the ancient writings. These were the best efforts of pre-scientific minds around the world to explain a perplexing universe. These were intelligent human minds, often wise, but lacking in the full range of scientific knowledge that we have today (which will probably seem primitive to our descendants 2,000 years in the future if we don’t destroy ourselves before that).

 

Many of them contain much wisdom, but also much violence, internal contradictions, factual errors, etc.

We should learn from the wisdom of the ancients, but put it in perspective, balanced with the human errors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×