The Bible gets an edit....

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Ender, Nov 28, 2001.

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  1. Ender Jedi Knight

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  2. Darth_Dagsy Manager Emeritus

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    the bible has gone through many edits before, and will be editted again.

    even if you look at the old testament, it is pretty tame compared to how it used to be.
  3. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 3, 1999
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    Ummm... I don't think that's from any recent discovery or translation. I remember hearing it a long time ago -- early enough that I argued it with an undergrad professor, who was kind enough to only be mildly impatient when he answered that culturally, there wasn't that much of a difference. I'm not sure I agree -- I don't speak Hebrew much, but I'm fairly certain that there's a separate word for virgin -- but the point is, it's not an edit of the Bible if we're talking about a different translation. Isaiah still used the word he used.
  4. Ender Jedi Knight

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    I realize that. This one is fairly big though as it eliminates the virgin birth.


    Edit: It's been up for debate for manys years. It's just been finalized. Now the Vatican will revise parts of the Bible.
  5. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

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    Actually, what it does logically is say that if it was, indeed, a virgin birth, then it is not what was prophesied in Isaiah (if indeed being a young woman precludes being a virgin). It doesn't address the issue of whether or not there was a virgin birth.
  6. Ender Jedi Knight

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    "It doesn't address the issue of whether or not there was a virgin birth."


    No, of course not. *rolls eyes*
  7. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

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    No, it really doesn't. As a Jew, I've never been fond of the Christian use of that passage (which is why I was having the argument with my professor in the first place).

    The basic gist is:

    passage: Isaiah made a prophecy about a young woman having a child who would be the savior of Israel. The Hebrew word he used is "young woman."

    event: Many centuries later, a woman who may or may not be a virgin gives birth to a child whose followers say is said savior, based on that prophecy (among some other things).

    So, only if you believe that the passage in question actually refers to the event in question would it say that there was no virgin birth. (I suppose that technically "young woman" doesn't preclude it being a virgin; it just doesn't necessitate it.)

    If you don't believe that the passage refers to the event, then changing the translation of the passage ends up not having much to say about the event one way or the other.
  8. Ariana Lang Jedi Youngling

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    Pardon me for jumping in here, but how can the dead sea scrolls eliminate the possibility of the virgin birth? The way I see it, you are talking about the old testament prophecy, correct?

    Well, then the Dead Sea scrolls would eliminate the PROPHECY of the virgin birth. But how can you discount Luke 1:34?

    "How can this be," Mary asked the angel, "Since I am a virgin?"

    Seems pretty clear to me.

    I agree with JediGaladriel -- I heard a long time ago that the old testament saying was "Look, the young woman is giving birth" or something to that effect. But what does it have to do with the actual birth? I say again, all I see is that this eliminates the prophecy of the virgin birth, not the fact the virgin birth happened.

    BTJMO...

    EDIT -- ok, JediGaladriel said it way better than me at the end of her passage. Just look up there.
  9. Ender Jedi Knight

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    "Well, then the Dead Sea scrolls would eliminate the PROPHECY of the virgin birth. But how can you discount Luke 1:34?"

    Luke was written after Jesus had died and been resurrected. The writers weren't around when Jesus was born so they must have been relying on the poorly translated Greek OT.


    "Elaine Pagels writes: "Although the gospels of the New Testament-- like those discovered at Nag Hammadi-- are attributed to Jesus' followers, no one knows who actually wrote any of them." [Pagels, 1995]

    Not only do we not know who wrote them, consider that none of the Gospels got written during the alleged life of Jesus, nor do the unknown authors make the claim to have met an earthly Jesus. Add to this that none of the original gospel manuscripts exist; we only have copies of copies.

    The consensus of many biblical historians put the dating of the earliest Gospel, that of Mark, at sometime after 70 C.E., and the last Gospel, John after 90 C.E. [Pagels, 1995; Helms]. This would make it some 40 years after the alleged crucifixion of Jesus that we have any Gospel writings that mention him! Elaine Pagels writes that "the first Christian gospel was probably written during the last year of the war, or the year it ended. Where it was written and by whom we do not know; the work is anonymous, although tradition attributes it to Mark..." [Pagels, 1995]

    The traditional Church has portrayed the authors as the apostles Mark, Luke, Matthew, & John, but scholars know from critical textural research that there simply occurs no evidence that the gospel authors could have served as the apostles described in the Gospel stories. Yet even today, we hear priests and ministers describing these authors as the actual disciples of Christ. Many Bibles still continue to label the stories as "The Gospel according to St. Matthew," "St. Mark," "St. Luke," St. John." No apostle would have announced his own sainthood before the Church's establishment of sainthood. But one need not refer to scholars to determine the lack of evidence for authorship. As an experiment, imagine the Gospels without their titles. See if you can find out from the texts who wrote them; try to find their names.



    We know virtually nothing about the persons who wrote the gospels we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

    -Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, (The Gnostic Gospels)


    The above text is from "Did a historical Jesus exist?


    by Jim Walker"

  10. Ariana Lang Jedi Youngling

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    Aha! But, there have been pieces of (I dunno, some Gospel) that have been dated back all the way to I believe 50 AD. Which means the person who wrote it could easily have been an eyewitness or gotten eyewitness accounts.

    Plus, there are certain sections of the Gospels that just have to much random unimportant details to really be made up. Like, right before Jesus calmed the storm, one of the Gospels mentioned that Jesus was sleeping "on a cushion." Well, did he just pull that out of his butt? Why would someone who wasn't there or hadn't heard someone describe it be like, "Hmmm...I bet Jesus' head hurt after preaching to all those people...he probably put his head down on a cushion. Ok. I'll put that." I realize that's not the best example of detail, but for some reason it always stood out to me.
  11. TreeCave Jedi Padawan

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    Ender, this is fascinating - despite the facct that I already knew about it because my father, who had a doctorate in theology and history, taught me that not all translations of the Bible are equally accurate.

    Luke 1:34:

    "And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?"

    That is from one of the most carefully researched translations of the Bible, the Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha. This particular Bible was the result of a very long research project. Many Bibles had, for years, been translated from other translations (namely Greek translations of the Scrolls), but the editors of the Oxford revision went back to the original Dead Sea Scrolls and translated as thoroughly and carefully as possible. Plus, they annotate the whole Bible with notes regarding other possible translations they can't rule out. In other words, it's as good a source as you're going to get unless you can read the Dead Sea Scrolls yourself (which in fact no one exactly can, because the written Hebrew leaves out the vowels, which makes it so many words can be mistaken for others).

    Also, the problem with using Luke as a source for much of anything (gee, I feel weird typing that on a SW board), is that it was almost certainly written some time after Jesus died, exclusively from second and third-hand sources.

    Now, somebody cite me chapter and verse for the Isaiah reference, and I'll look that up and tell you what it says, too.
  12. Ender Jedi Knight

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    Here ya go:

    "Isaiah 7:14-17: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings."


    Edit: The earliest gospel is Mark at 70 C.E. which would be 40yrs after the alleged crucifixion of Jesus. An old person in those days was 30 years old.


    Being that the authors are unknown and can give no references this really isn't good evidence.
  13. TreeCave Jedi Padawan

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    Jul 28, 2001
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    Thanks, Ender - now for the Oxford translation of that same text:

    Isaiah 7:14:

    "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

    In the annotation, it says:

    Young woman, Hebrew almah, feminine of elem, young man (1 Sam.17.56; 20.22); the word appears in Gen.24.23; Ex.2.8; Ps.68.25, and elsewhere, where it is translated "young woman", "girl", "maiden".

    There you have it - no virgin birth. But don't freak out - you still have an immaculate conception. The important element of the story is that the Holy Spirit fathered the child. It's quite possible that the mistranslation into "virgin" was deliberate, dummying the whole passage down so the rubes would understand FOR SURE that Jesus was the son of God via the Holy Spirit, and not some regular son of a man and a woman. True believers should not be bothered by the correct translation (my father wasn't) if they stop to think how incidental Mary's virginity or lack thereof is to the miracle of conception by the spirit of God.

    It's also a fact that there is a weird wind phenomenon that parts the Red Sea from time to time. Still, the fact that it happened just after the Hebrews had passed through and while their persecutors were passing through behind them is a miracle.

    I myself am not Christian, but I find you have to admire the Bible's flexibility - it doesn't lie about what it can and can't prove. It's people who do that, and unfortunately many of them have had a hand in a ton of the half-assed translations available, which uninformed people swallow as the direct word of God, not realizing how much human manipulation has been at work.
  14. Ender Jedi Knight

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    That puts him in good company with Zoroaster, Hercules, Osiris, Bacchus, Mithra, Hermes, Apollonius, Prometheus, Perseus, Krishna, and Horus who were the results of immaculate conception.

    There are quite a few others I can't think of right now.
  15. TreeCave Jedi Padawan

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    Well, that's my point.

    Some Christians would be discouraged if they find out all the nifty dramatic parts of Jesus' story aren't quite true, or unique to Jesus. "Aw, shucks, that's not exciting anymore".

    Other Christians wouldn't be put off by elements of the story turning out not to be so unique or overtly "miraculous" - they have developed a relationship with whatever Jesus is now, and who he was as a man and all that jazz is secondary. That's the point of true Christianity, anyway.

    And we non-Christians can find it interesting that these same mythic elements keep recurring in all the savior stories and pantheons of every culture (by the way, ever notice the Greek Pantheon sounds a lot like the angels, if you really dig into what the Bible says about angels and their interactions with man on God's behalf?). To me, it's amazing that so many people who can't all have talked to each other have come up with these same ideas.
  16. Ender Jedi Knight

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    Actually, like goods, customs and religious ideas get traded.

    Doesn't surprise me at all.
  17. Primetime_Jedi Jedi Grand Master

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    Apr 21, 2000
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    These articles do not disprove anything about the bible, including the virgin birth. It is just as valid as it has always been.

    Like others have wisely said, if even the Isaiah 7:14 verse means "young woman" instead of virgin, it absolutely does not preclude Mary being a virgin. This has been noted in the New International Version of the bible for years. It's not new and does not cause any problems with traditional interpretations of scripture. Saying that she was not a virgin because of this verse is using the logical fallacy of distraction--arguing from ignorance which states: because something is not known to be true, it is assumed to be false. It means in this case that because Isaiah 7:14 does not use the word "virgin" then that means that she was not a virgin. That is an unnecessary logical inference (wrong assumption).

    And you are overlooking the obvious and wonderful fact that this prophecy did come true! God gave us a sign and a young woman or virgin gave birth to a child and he was known as "God with us". Quibbling over whether it states she was a virgin or not completely misses the point--something Jesus condemned the Pharisees for--missing the point of God's truth. Besides, there are other verses which state Mary was a virgin, even besides Luke 1:34:

    Luke 1:26-27

    "In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary.

    And no credible scholar who objectively studies the gospels doubts their authorship. The New Testament is the most historically accurate book of the ancient world. We might as well believe that Homer did not write the Iliad or the Odyssey.
  18. Darth Geist Jedi Master

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    When one considers the context of Isaiah 7, it becomes clear that the passage hardly apply to Christ at all; it's a prophecy of Isaiah's immediate future.

    In this chapter, King Ahaz finds himself under siege from two neighboring kings, and asks Isaiah for a sign. Isaiah answers:

    "Behold, a virgin/young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings."

    First and most obviously, Christ's name was Jesus, not Immanuel. Second, the passage predicts that Ahaz's rival kings will fall from power before the prophecied child grows up. Third, a child being born 700 years down the road would have meant squat to Ahaz.

    Like so many other passages referenced in the book of Matthew, the Gospel's author takes this verse completely out of context (adding a questionable retranslation in the process), creating a prophecy of his own design.
  19. Primetime_Jedi Jedi Grand Master

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    Apr 21, 2000
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    Hi DG,

    When one considers the context of Isaiah 7, it becomes clear that the passage hardly apply to Christ at all; it's a prophecy of Isaiah's immediate future.

    I agree it does have to do with Isaiah himself, but prophecies in scripture can have double meanings. Where in the Book of Prophecy does it say that this cannot happen?

    First and most obviously, Christ's name was Jesus, not Immanuel.

    There are hundreds of names give to Christ in the bible. Back then, names are not exactly the same things they are today. Names were also titles given to great people, and the names usually contained attributes of the person. It was not just the actual literal name that people called the person when they walked on earth.

    In the gospels, people called Jesus: Teacher, Lord, the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the Living God. The rest of the New Testment gives him a plethora of names--all describing his amazing character: author of life, holy and righteous one, bright morning star, king of kings, lord of lords, etc. "Immanuel" fits perfectly with all of these.

    Third, a child being born 700 years down the road would have meant squat to Ahaz.

    That's why the prophecy has two meanings. It meant something to Ahaz at the time, plus it has an eternal meaning for all generations.

    Like so many other passages referenced in the book of Matthew, the Gospel's author takes this verse completely out of context (adding a questionable retranslation in the process), creating a prophecy of his own design.

    That's your opinion with no proof. Again, who says a prophecy can't be used again?

    Do you believe that just the first prophecy came true? If so, then that proves that God is real and that he is supernaturally in control of all events. --even if the second one did not apply to Jesus.
  20. Darth Geist Jedi Master

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    Oct 23, 1999
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    Thanks for responding. :)

    In regards to the name Immanuel, the prophecy predicts not only that the child shall have that name, but that his mother shall give it to him. Did she? Not on record.

    "Do you believe that just the first prophecy came true?"

    Well, no, and neither does the Bible; in the end, Ahaz's troops were slaughtered, and most of his kingdom was lost--a far cry from Isaiah's promised victory. This is far from the only prophecy of his to go awry; allow me to repost the following from an earlier thread:

    "Isaiah 19:5 predicts, "...And the waters [of Egypt] shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up." This has never happened, despite the fact that the Bible repeats the prophecy twice (first in Ezekiel 30:12, and then, more vaguely, in Zecheriah 10:11).

    Likewise, Isaiah 17:1 declares that the city of Damascus will be razed to the ground, and never inhabited again. ("Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.") This also has never happened.

    For all the Bible's prophecies about the fate and fall of Egypt, it has often found itself completely off base. Isaiah 19:18 predicts that five cities in Egypt will come to speak Canaanite (which never happened, and never can, as the language is now extinct). Further into the same chapter, Isaiah 19:21 predicts that Egypt will convert to Judaism. This also has never occurred, nor is it likely to."

    If I correctly predict the winner of a football game, am I a prophet? Likewise, even if Isaiah had correctly picked the outcome of Ahaz's war (and he had a fifty-fifty chance), what would that have proven?

    And as for the issue of the double prophecy, how does "King Ahaz will conquer his enemies before this child develops its sense of right and wrong" translate to anything else? I could just as easily argue that, rather than a prophecy of Christ, the passage predicts the end of Ghostbusters II, when the heroes defeat the villain before the baby grows up.

    With enough creativity, you can argue that any Bible verse means anything.

    EDIT: One more thing--if you want proof that Matthew twists existing prophecies and invents his own, look no further than Matthew 2:23, which reads, "And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene."

    There is no such prophecy, and I challenge you to prove me wrong. :)
  21. Master_Ben Jedi Padawan

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    Aug 3, 2001
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    Revelation says that anyone who tampers with the Bible will be cursed for life. I seriously doubt that Vatican officials would "rewrite" the Bible. Let me suggest the theory that you got this stuff from a illegitemate source. And the whole thing about it being "official" that Jesus wasn't born of a virgin birth is just crazy. Obviously you haven't read the Bible or you wouldn't make such a stupid comment. The Jewish people placed incredible importance on virginity and to say that they didn't know what they where talking about is just ludicrous. I don't have time to waste in this thread so I bid you goodbye.

  22. InnocentIII Jedi Youngling

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    Personally, I dislike internet forums that are off-topic because I don't believe that subjects (like Christianity, pro-life, conservative issues, etc) get a good representation. I've always found that there are considerably more liberals, atheists, agnostics, etc on the internet than in real life, and it seems to me that you all simply aren't fit to talk about such issues.
    I don't mean to insult your mental faculties, or some such, but quite frankly it's none of your business. We Christians will have to put our trust in the Holy Spirit when it comes to the Bible, and not worry about silly secular people running around intent on disproving it. So, if you aren't a Christian, unless you're going to take this type of thing with a grain of faith, please get off the subject.
  23. Darth Geist Jedi Master

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    I beg your pardon, InnocentIII, but I believe this is the topic. ;)
  24. Ariana Lang Jedi Youngling

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    Innocent, I too often feel outnumbered by the people who do not believe as I do. But I don't tend to mind it being a good natured debate (as this is right now). What I mind is when it turns to Christian bashing -- when the people who preach about not generalizing that all Muslims are like Bin Laden because he's an extremest then point out that Hitler was a Christian. Well, wasn't Hitler an extremest??? Anywho, that's not going on here. Yay!

    30 was certainly considered older than it is now, but not OLD. I mean, his mother Mary (whether she was a vigin or not) would have been in her mid-forties when Jesus died. So, for someone (like John, who was only a teen when he met Jesus) to still be around in 70 AD (and just because this is the first copy we have found doesn't mean it's the first copy ever) to tell Mark or whoever about what he/she remembers about Jesus, is feasable.
  25. TreeCave Jedi Padawan

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    In the spirit of Jesus or any other representative of goodness, I will simply ignore those who are insulting non-Christians. They only serve to make us look more Christlike than they themselves have managed to be.

    Now, back to topic. You know the big problem with Bible interpretation? Disagreement over it is the main reason Christians have two main branches (Catholic and Protestant), each with quite a number of sub branches, and each branch with more than a few divisions of it. All the sincere Christians I know consider that a sad point for their religion: Jesus was able to hang out with thieves and prostitutes, but some of his alleged followers can't worship together because they disagree about some obscure, archaic verses that really don't matter a hill of beans in the overall picture of their religion. Christians in the Slavic lands have been slaughtering each other for centuries in a war that began over this question: when you have Communion, does the wine REALLY transmute into Christ's blood, or is that just symbolic? *sigh*

    So I reiterate: the important thing to a Christian is supposed to be his relationship with Jesus, God, fellow man.... not exactly who wrote the gospels or whether Mary was a virgin. There's certainly nothing wrong with speculating and investigating, I simply mean scholarship shouldn't offend a true believer because it can't turn up a verse that invalidates your sincere beliefs. (It can only faze the "beliefs" of those who aren't very sure to begin with, and are mostly Christian just because it's the going thing in their community.)

    Primetime, you raise interesting points, and yet I want to clarify a few things. First, I don't think anyone was concluding Mary was not a virgin. I was simply stating that the prophecy doesn't require a virgin, and the actual record of the event is unclear as to whether she was a virgin or not. But the passages clearly state that Mary was impregnated by the "shadow of God" or "Holy Ghost" or "angel of God", not a man. That's the miracle, not her virginity.

    And no credible scholar who objectively studies the gospels doubts their authorship.

    This is not correct, unless I'm misunderstanding you. MOST scholars agree the gospel authorship is inconclusive. Again quoting from the Oxford revision annotations:

    On Matthew: "This Gospel is anonymous. The unknown Christian teacher who prepared it during the last third of the first century may have used as one of his sources a collection of Jesus' sayings that the apostle Matthew is said to have made." (Don't know the author, he may or may not have used these sayings of Matthew's that may or may not exist.)

    On Mark: "...this gospel is anonymous..." then relates the tradition of Mark as author.

    On Luke: "Although the Gospel is anonymous and the evidence pertaining to the identity of its author is inconclusive, there are many considerations supporting the early Christian tradition that the author was the physician Luke..."

    On John: ""Tradition says it was the apostle John. Many scholars, however, suggest a disciple of John who recorded his preaching as Mark did that of Peter."
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