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Intruducing Myself: Melissa Cutler


Melissa Cutler
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Hi everyone,

 

I'm Melissa. For a few years now I've been maintaining a website on which I present evidence that several books of the bible underwent substantial alteration during the first few centuries of Christian history.

 

One of the vistors to my website recently mentioned John Shelby Spong, and said that I might be interested in his work. I've been having a quick look at I certainly am. In the past I have found few Christians who's beliefs I can relate to; my beliefs are so radically different to the "mainstream" that even liberal Christians some times have a probalem with my views - I think they feel threatened when I show them evidence that certain passages in the Bible are fraudulent.

 

Anyway, Bishop John Shelby Spong also seems quite radical, so I wonder if this is a place where I might be welcome. I also wonder if some of the people here (and perhaps even John Shelby Spong himself) might be interested in the studies I have done on the history of the Bible.

 

As you probably know, some of the Epistles of Paul are very disjointed (especially Romans and 1 & 2 Corinthians). In places the text jumps abruptly to a new topic, and then back to the original topic a little later on. I believe this is because extra passages were added to the text. The extra passages are often in a different writing style, and often express views that contradict Paul's statements elsewhere and disrupt the original written structure of the letters. It is in these fraudulently added passages that many of the most negative Christian teachings are found: the concept of original sin, misogyny, homophobia, and a lot of very negative material about human condemnation.

 

In ancient times there was a group of Christians called the Marcionites. They established the contents of their Bible about 2 centuries before the Council of Nicaea. Their Bible included a copy of the Epistles of Paul which was much shorter than the modern version. Many people say that the Marcionite version of the epistles was shorter because the Marcionites cut out the parts which contradicted their beliefs; but, those are the passages which do not fit in with the structure or tone of Paul's epistles. Why would Paul use one writing style for the bulk of his writing, then switch to a different writing style just for the passages that the Marcionties would later reject.... I don't think so. The Marcionite texts are closer to the originals than the version found in our modern Bibles.

 

Is this something that Bishop John Shelby Spong and other people here might be interested in?

 

An English translation of my reconstruction of the first few chapters of Romans can be found here:

http://www.marcionite-scripture.info/Romans_General_Purpose.pdf

 

A number of articles about my work can be found online:

www.Original-Bible.com

 

Please would people let me know what they make of that,

 

thank you,

 

Melissa

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Melissa,

 

First, welcome. I doubt that many participants in this forum believe that the Bible is inerrant.

 

Have you read any of Bart Ehrman's books? "The New Testament:A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings" would be particularly pertinent to your work. Also, a very good source I use is "The Early Christian Reader" by Mason and Robinson.

 

Since you are interested in Paul, you might be interested in a recent article in "The Fourth R" (a publication of the Jesus Seminar) titled "He made it up." The author argues that Paul made up the passage about the Last Supper at 1 Cor. 11:23b-25.

 

Bishop Spong is very knowledgeable about the Bible. However, he interjects his theology into his scholarship which, I think, may impair his objectivity as a historian. Also, he sometimes is highly speculative such as his claim about Paul's sexual orientation.

 

George

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Hi Melissa,

 

Thanks for the great introduction. You are definitely not alone here nor do your beliefs sound radically different so far. I don't know about others, but speaking for myself, i do not require any further proof concerning the Bible and inerrancy. It is something so programmed in us as children and adults that it is difficult to prove to anyone who believes otherwise unless they are ready and open to look at it from a different perspective. Some here might be interested in yur writings but you would probably be speaking to the choir for the most part.

 

Again welcome,

Joseph

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Hi Melissa,

 

Thanks for the great introduction. You are definitely not alone here nor do your beliefs sound radically different so far. I don't know about others, but speaking for myself, i do not require any further proof concerning the Bible and inerrancy. It is something so programmed in us as children and adults that it is difficult to prove to anyone who believes otherwise unless they are ready and open to look at it from a different perspective. Some here might be interested in yur writings but you would probably be speaking to the choir for the most part.

 

Again welcome,

Joseph

 

Melissa,

I went first to the web then your intro to try to find out about you, as I love people and wanted to know a little about you before I made a comment. I just started a thread about the "concept" of Jesus and Paul as a CEO as described in a book I read with a book group I am in. I have a tendency to jump from one reading to another; I am now reading several of Spong's books as well as the next book for my group, "Perennial Philosophy" by Alduous Huxley, a novel so I can talk to friends not interested in spiritual matters and an Afro-American book so I will have something to talk about at my volunteer job where I am the only white person.

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Welcome, Melissa.

 

As George and Joseph have said, there are probably very few here that would see the Bible as inerrant and infallible. And while there are probably a number of us who might respect or value the Bible for its historical value or sacredness to the Christian religion, a few of us, myself included, question whether or not it is even worth trying to "save the Bible" through critical analysis or reconstructionism. I recognize the Bible for its sacred status to Christianity, but it is no longer a guidebook for my life. My own philosophy is more humanitarian, which, oddly, is what I think Jesus' teachings really pointed to anyway. :D

 

But you will find a wide range of views here on this forum, with many of us engaged in good-natured conversation. So I hope you join in where and when you can and add to the conversation.

 

Regards,

sbnr1

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Melissa, Welcome I think you will fit in and have many strengths to add to the conversations taking place.

 

Dear Melissa,

Welcome. I found your information about the Marcionites very interesting. It is amazing how many directions Bible study is going. I think all the study validates the Bible not as a book to be taken literally but a book which has a very important place in Christianity

Kay

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Melissa - The thing I love about this forum is that nobody seems to get angry or take offence at people expressing various views.... I feel free to explore my own understanding of Christianity, and people offer input and insight, and people disagree, but in a very supportive way...I think you will enjoy it here, and we will certainly learn from the work you have done!

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