The History of Christianity Part I “The Bible”

I just posted this on Ruth’s blog, http://gulliblestravelsdma.wordpress.com/, but I feel this would be a good start for the History of Christianity starting with the Bible.  A blogger on Ruth’s site was telling her Christians had been deceived by Paul and should only believe what Jesus “wrote”.  It was rather comical to see Ruth having to point out to this guy that to our knowledge, Jesus wrote nothing, at least not in the bible.  To add enforcement to Ruth’s comments (which she did not need) I provided some FYI that probably 98% of all Christians do not know.

Ken aka kcchief1  writes  “AND we’re not even sure what Jesus said. 8 NT scriptures attributed to Jesus have already been removed from many modern day bibles because over the past 100 years we have found older manuscripts which do not have these verses. A majority of modern bible scholars have determined these scriptures were added at a later date probably by redactors . Bibles which still publish these scriptures at least provide footnotes to this effect. BTW the missing “Red Letter” scriptures are : Mt 17:21, 18:11, 23:14, Mk 7:16, 9:44, 9:46, 11:26, Lk 17:36

In addition you have entire stories not found in older manuscripts. Mk 16:9-20 the “Ascension Story” Lk 24:3,6,9,12,36,40, 51 & 52 have been termed dubious and unlikely as they do not appear in earlier and more reliable manuscripts. Also John 8:1-11 “The Woman caught in adultry” for the same reasons.”

I was still teaching Sunday School when someone in my class pointed out that a scripture was missing from their bible.  I thought they had been mistaken but when they called out the scripture, sure enough, it was missing from many of the other’s bibles including my own.  That’s when I went home and googled it and found the information I have provided above.

I happen to think this should be pretty serious stuff to a Christian.  It does seem to bother some and others just act like “deer caught in the headlights”  🙂

Your thoughts ?

 

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12 thoughts on “The History of Christianity Part I “The Bible”

  1. I’ve always had a hard time understanding how we can be sure that any of the gospels contain things that Jesus truly said. Maybe we can get a general gist of some of the major themes of his ministry, but I just don’t see how we could trust that what was written down 35+ years after the fact were things he actually said. Apologists like to lean on the fact that the people back then were perfect with oral transmission of stories, but since we know that practically all scholars agree that the gospel of Thomas (and other strange gospels) are filled with bunk then we can see that oral transmission clearly was not perfect.

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    • It depends very much on who you ask. There is a whole field of study called New Testament textual criticism which tries to piece together the “original” words of the New Testament. Bart Ehrman (Christianity in Antiquity, ehrmanblog.org) is walking encyclopedia on this topic.

      The fact that there are no surviving copies of first century New Testament manuscripts (and very little even from the second century) really doesn’t help Christianity’s case very much. Christian apologists like to refer to the Gospels as “eye-witness accounts” of the life and ministry of Jesus. They are nothing of the sort.

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      • I couldn’t agree more ! I have most of Ehrmans’s books and have enjoyed reading them . Christians like to brag how many copies exist of the manuscripts which make up the Bible but they don’t like discussing anything about the “Originals or even the 1st copies.”

        Thanks for your comments and I hope you feel free to make more in the future !

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  2. You are very right Howie ! I know an “Apologist” is one who defends, but I don’t consider this the proper meaning anymore. They can no longer defend scripture. They can only say, “I know the bible has lots of questions and much of it doesn’t add up, but you just have to believe it anyway ! ”

    In today’s world, that just doesn’t get it anymore and I think they know it.

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  3. Indeed, the Gospel of Thomas and those other strange gospels ought to give pause to Christians, but I would venture that most Christians are unaware they exist. I’ll never forget the day I was searching for an obscure passage on the internet and all these weird gospel accounts popped up along with the reasons they weren’t included in the canon of Scripture. That was a pretty big chink in the armor for me. I certainly questioned how it was determined that all the writings in the Bible were legit, but the ones excluded were questionable. When I questioned my church about it I was discouraged from reading the apocryphal writings much less any others.

    As for those missing red-letters; those should be an even bigger red flag. I think that more progressive/liberal Christians could more easily overlook that, but fundamentalists are pounded with the message that the Bible is inerrant, infallible, and perfect – especially the KJV. Then when these things are picked up on it’s the originals in their original languages that are inerrant and infallible. Another big blow to my faith was finding out we don’t possess any such thing as originals. We have some old Byzantine and Alexandrian manuscripts which are supposed to be copies of the originals, but without originals how does anyone know that?

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  4. If you read the comments of someone like Unklee, he will twist it so’s he can reason his Christianity even if it turns out the first New Testament gospel was written during half-time interval at the weekly Colosseum Gladiator Festival.

    Bu you are right ,Ken, of course. Eventually the facts will have to be faced and for many(most?) Christians it will be a watershed moment.

    For now, those in the hot seats are generally keeping quiet and those in the cheap seats are simply ignorant of these facts.
    Give it time…..

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  5. @Ruth: Those are excellent points and I totally relate. Apparently there is also lots of disagreement on which books of the bible are actually to be trusted. Obviously there is the Catholic bible which includes some extra ones. Then there is Martin Luther who tried (unsuccesfully) to get rid of Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation. There is an interesting Wikipedia article here about the Antilegomena which is a list of disputed books which contained even more than Luther’s list.

    @Ark: cheap/hot seats symbolism cracked me up. Luckily I had just enough money to make it out of the nose-bleed section, because the guys selling beer usually don’t make it way up there, and I need my beer for this event. 🙂

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  6. @Ruth: oh yeah, and then I forgot to mention that I’ve met people online who believe that Paul was a ravenous wolf (which is a term they get from Genesis on a prophecy about the tribe of Benjamin) and that none of his writings should be trusted. You may find this an interesting read. Just more of the same – lots of confusion over truth among Christians.

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    • Ugh! I’ve just met up with a ‘Jesus was a prophet’ believer from another religion who thinks Paul is a trickster.

      @Ken, I’d encourage you not to engage him. He will drive you insane. I’ve given him my last pearl. 😉

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  7. Thanks for the heads up, Ruth. Life is too short. Too many fundies ……so little time . 🙂

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    • Beware that should you even mention his name he might come bothering you. I inadvertently did so and I’m paying the price. 😦

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  8. May “The Force” be with you ! 🙂

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