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Chronological order of the bible


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#16    DeWitz

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 03:36 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 04 July 2013 - 01:09 AM, said:

Luke contains basically the same stuff as Mark with a few extras; Matthew has added a lot of stuff and in a few cases completely changed the story.  John comes from a different tradition that seems substantially later and is of a more neo-Platonic sort while the Synoptics are more just simple narrative.  The presumption is that Luke either had Mark at hand or something that preceded Mark ("E") that both Mark and Luke drew from.  Matthew drew from all three, and was a good inventor of stuff, as there is stuff in Matthew neither found elsewhere nor even alluded to elsewhere.

In European/American scholarship the unknown material is referred to as "Q" (from the German 'Quelle,' for 'source'). "Inventor" is a strong word, as most modern scholarship agrees there are several other smaller sources that the gospel writers used. Some may have been novel, some allied with the writers, some independent but of the same faith. Of course there is some invention in all writing, even good writing.

Otherwise this is a fine overview of the literary quality of the gospels. It's helpful, in studying the gospels (and the rest of the Bible) to keep things in context. Although Luke explicitly states his is an "historical document" (I did a term paper on that conundrum in 9th grade), all four gospels are theology, not history. Each has his own discrete 'flavor;' Matthew is concerned with relationships to the Jewish community; Mark is drama/story; Luke connects Jesus to the Roman/pagan/commonfolk world; John, as you've noted, is 'higher' (more developed) theology and poetry.

I've studied the Christian Bible for 40 years, which doesn't make me an expert. It only means I know what I'm reading, and its provenance. That gives one a lot of useless information, much of which would be corrosive to the typical parishioner's faith. I try to proceed on the basis that I don't go to Newton, Sagan or Hawking (or UM) to buttress my faith, and scripture isn't intended to give us scientific, astronomical or historical information (but the gospels aren't bad on sociology of the time and local geography). It's not even a matter of scripture being the "comic book" version of the "classics" in history or any other endeavor. They are unique documents, each giving a different perspective on Jesus, making no apologies that their four accounts are not consistent, but are complementary.

Edited by szentgyorgy, 04 July 2013 - 03:42 PM.

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#17    Jor-el

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 08:32 PM

There has been much controversy over the final 12 verses of the Gospel of Mark. Behind this dispute lies some astonishing discoveries of profound significance.

The oldest existing manuscripts of the Greek New Testament text are three that had their origins in Alexandria in the 4th and 5th centuries. Since they are the oldest (in our present possession), many regard them as having an eclipsing authority. There are a number of passages that do not appear in these Alexandrian manuscripts, and therein lies an intense ecclesiastical debate.

Textus Receptus.

At the end of the 3rd century, Lucian of Antioch compiled a Greek text that achieved considerable popularity and became the dominant text throughout Christendom. It was produced prior to the Diocletain persecution (~303), during which many copies of the New Testament were confiscated and destroyed.

After Constantine came to power, the Lucian text was propagated by bishops going out from the Antiochan school throughout the eastern world, and it soon became the standard text of the Eastern church, forming the basis of the Byzantine text.

From the 6th to the 14th century, the great majority of New Testament manuscripts were produced in Byzantium, in Greek. It was in 1525 that Erasmus, using five or six Byzantine manuscripts dating from the 10th to the 13th centuries, compiled the first Greek text to be produced on a printing press, subsequently known as Textus Receptus ("Received Text").

The translators of the King James Version had over 5,000 manuscripts available to them, but they leaned most heavily on the major Byzantine manuscripts, particularly Textus Receptus.

Textus Receptus Dethroned

Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort were Anglican churchmen who had contempt for the Textus Receptus and began a work in 1853 that resulted, after 28 years, in a Greek New Testament based on the earlier Alexandrian manuscripts.

Both men were strongly influenced by Origen and others who denied the deity of Jesus Christ and embraced the prevalent Gnostic heresies of the period. There are over 3,000 contradictions in the four gospels alone between these manuscripts. They deviated from the traditional Greek text in 8,413 places.

They conspired to influence the committee that produced The New Testament in the Original Greek (1881 revision), and, thus, their work has been a major influence in most modern translations, dethroning the Textus Receptus.

Detractors of the traditional King James Version regard the Westcott and Hort as a more academically acceptable literary source for guidance than the venerated Textus Receptus. They argue that the disputed passages were added later as scribal errors or amendments.

Defenders of the Textus Receptus attack Westcott and Hort (and the Alexandrian manuscripts) as having expurgated these many passages, noting that these disputed passages underscore the deity of Christ, His atonement, His resurrection, and other key doctrines. They note that Alexandria was a major headquarters for the Gnostics, heretical sects that had begun to emerge even while John was still alive.

It is also evident that Westcott and Hort were not believers and opposed taking the Bible literally concerning the Atonement, Salvation, etc. If you read their personal writings you wouldn't dream of letting them even teach  a Sunday School class!

The Last 12 Verses of Mark

Among the disputed passages are the final verses of the Gospel of Mark (16:9-20). (Look in your own Bible: you are likely to find an annotation that these were "added later.")

The insistence that Mark's Gospel ends at 16:8 leaves the women afraid and fails to record the resurrection, Christ's final instructions, and the Ascension. It is understandable why these verses are an embarrassment to the Gnostics, and why Westcott and Hort would advocate their exclusion, and insist that they were "added later."

However, it seems that Irenaeus in 150 A.D., and also Hypolytus in the 2nd century, each quote from these disputed verses, so the documentary evidence is that they were deleted later in the Alexandrian texts, not added subsequently.

Sources of the proof:

Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Bk. 3, Ch. 10.6 (~177 AD),
Tatian the Assyrian included the ending in his Diatessaron a document attempting the harmonization of the four Gospel narratives (~175 AD)
Hippolytus (~235 AD) quotes Mark 16:18-19 at least twice (S.P. Tregelles, An Account of the Printed Text, p. 252)

http://www.textexcav...apporiginmk.pdf

Edited by Jor-el, 04 July 2013 - 09:12 PM.

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#18    Frank Merton

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 02:25 AM

Its amazing how many people claim to have been studying the Bible all their lives and still believe it.  One wonders what they've been studying.  The reason for my remark about Matthew is that the stories unique to him tend to be the really fanciful ones, like the Three Magi.  I think he made them up.  If he didn't, someone did.  They don't hold together as actual stories but have earmarks of design.


#19    Imaginarynumber1

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 02:34 AM

View PostDoug1o29, on 04 July 2013 - 12:59 AM, said:


P.S.:  Though the Bible garbles a lot of history, it generally gets the sequence of events right.  That's especially obvious in the story of the Exodus and, I think, to a lesser extent in the NT as well.
Doug

Are you implying that the exodus out of Egypt actually took place, or just some of the historical information in exodus is accurate?

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#20    Paranoid Android

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 02:35 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 05 July 2013 - 02:25 AM, said:

Its amazing how many people claim to have been studying the Bible all their lives and still believe it.  One wonders what they've been studying.  The reason for my remark about Matthew is that the stories unique to him tend to be the really fanciful ones, like the Three Magi.  I think he made them up.  If he didn't, someone did.  They don't hold together as actual stories but have earmarks of design.
I haven't been studying the Bible my whole life.  Only the last 14 years, ever since I converted as a 19 year old while at university (I'm now 33).  And yes, I still believe it.

Of course, you know there weren't three Magi in the story.  There may have been, but the text never says how many Magi there were.  It just gives the number of gifts they brought, and since there were three, nativity scenes added three Magi, one for each gift.

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#21    Frank Merton

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 02:56 AM

Well we all know the bit about the number three not being in the text; I hadn't thought that through and just used it as a way to avoid the cliche "Wise Men."

It seems to me a case can be made that Satan arranged for the star of Bethlehem.  First, it attracts astrologers -- denounced a few times in Scripture.  Second, it leads them first to Herod in Jerusalem, apparently to alert him to the birth of a possible rival.  Then it leads them (and after them Herod) to Bethlehem, where it takes an angelic intervention to save the Holy Family.  In the end all that comes of it is the slaughter of the Innocents.  This is God's handiwork?

Of course the author of the story didn't have that interpretation in mind, it just turns out that way.  He was trying to invent ways to make Jesus fulfill various prophesies, in a rather far-fetched way, and, I suppose, to make Jesus competitive with other luminaries of the time whose births legends tell us were announced by heavenly portents.


#22    GIDEON MAGE

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 06:18 PM

The Slaughter of the Innocents, like Matthew's Zombies, the eclipse at the crucifiction, and the  earthquakes, are all imaginary episodes inserted by the fourth century compilers of the new testament.  Why would Satan post a star to lead Herod to stage a non-existent Slaughter of the Innocents?  How would John the Baptist have escaped?  There is so very little truth or accuracy in the New Testament.  It was put together as a drastic attempt to reunite the Roman Empire under one manditory Religion.  Thousands were slaughtered for not adhering to the new state-sponsored faith, and the Empire fell apart again after the death of Theodosius.  Haven't any of you seen the movie "Agora"?

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#23    Jor-el

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 06:30 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 05 July 2013 - 02:25 AM, said:

Its amazing how many people claim to have been studying the Bible all their lives and still believe it.  One wonders what they've been studying.  The reason for my remark about Matthew is that the stories unique to him tend to be the really fanciful ones, like the Three Magi.  I think he made them up.  If he didn't, someone did.  They don't hold together as actual stories but have earmarks of design.

Complete hogwash, they do hold up...

And not once does it say that there were three magi... there were three different types of gift.

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#24    Jor-el

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 06:46 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 05 July 2013 - 02:56 AM, said:

Well we all know the bit about the number three not being in the text; I hadn't thought that through and just used it as a way to avoid the cliche "Wise Men."

It seems to me a case can be made that Satan arranged for the star of Bethlehem.  First, it attracts astrologers -- denounced a few times in Scripture.  Second, it leads them first to Herod in Jerusalem, apparently to alert him to the birth of a possible rival.  Then it leads them (and after them Herod) to Bethlehem, where it takes an angelic intervention to save the Holy Family.  In the end all that comes of it is the slaughter of the Innocents.  This is God's handiwork?

Of course the author of the story didn't have that interpretation in mind, it just turns out that way.  He was trying to invent ways to make Jesus fulfill various prophesies, in a rather far-fetched way, and, I suppose, to make Jesus competitive with other luminaries of the time whose births legends tell us were announced by heavenly portents.

Again complete hogwash, the star Bethlehem was not a star it was a planetary conjunction between Jupiter and Venus, furthermore it happened twice over a period of 1 year that they overlapped each other so that they appeared to be one single star, the brightest star in the sky. Secondly, the conjunctions that took place during the period include much more than two planets overlapping their orbits to appear as one single star.

The magi were much more than mere astrologers.

Astrology to predict the future is condemned in the bible, astrology as in the study of the stars and the planetary conjunctions is an essential part of the biblical record right from Genesis 1. Even the tribes of Israel are connected to certain constellations of the Zodiac and certain constellations have very important meanings to them that give us signs put in place by God himself.

It is extremely funny to read some of the things people say in their ignorance of known facts regarding the nativity, the background of the Magi and even the political circumstances of the Herodian Monarchy.

As a matter of fact Matthews account helps us to date the birth of Christ among other things.

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#25    Doug1o29

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 06:56 PM

View Postfullywired, on 04 July 2013 - 01:19 PM, said:

I am not an historian or a bible studier but I too have noticed how apologists try to nibble away at the alleged dates of the gospels writings in an attempt to take them back, to nearer the crucifixion (alleged date)with the generalised phrase (the majority of scholars now think)but most of these scholars seem to be believers which seems to me to kind of lessen their credibility.This is only a personal view and could be wrong

  fullywired
If the evidence and reasoning are sound, it doesn't really matter whether it was a Christian that said so.  Non-Christians may have their own reasons for finding against Christianity, so those are also suspect.  The reasoning is everything.  Without it, the "scholar" doesn't have a case.


Back to the topic of the thread:  Eusebius places Papias' writings during the reign of Trajan (98 to 117 AD).   Papias lamented that there were no biographical accounts of Jesus' life - all that existed was a book of sayings by "Mark," an individual who made a collection of Jesus' sayings from people who had heard the Apostles speak.  That's not a description of the "Book of Mark" that we know.  What am I to think?  What we call the "Book of Mark" must not have existed when Papias wrote.

Aristides of Athens wrote an apology for Christianity, praising it as a good religion.  He presented this to Hadrian, who visited Athens in 125 AD.  He wrote the whole thing without mentioning a gospel or quoting from one.  Not an easy thing to do if you have any idea of Jesus' life story.  Yet Aristides managed it.  Aristides provides no evidence for the existence of any of the gospels.

Yet in 96 AD, Clement of Rome tells the story of the woman who poured oil on Jesus' head.  I realize the gospels say it was on his feet, but that's not what Clement wrote.  Clement must have been referring to another gospel, one that we don't have.


There probably were some proto-gospels, written before Clement.  I believe there are several still extant, but as I haven't read them I'll have to get back to you on them.


The reasoning behind the Q Document is that:
1.  Mark is much shorter than Matthew.
2.  You can write the Book of Mark using only Matthew as a source, but you can't do it the other way around.
3.  If you are going to have the Book of Mark written first, because it fits your theology better, then you have to hypothesize another source:  the Q Document.

The problem:  the Q Document is entirely hypothetical.  It is an invention needed to make a certain theology work.  There is nothing to indicate that such a thing existed in fact; and, it violates Occam's Razor by adding a level of complexity.

The solution:  Matthew as written first and Mark used Matthew as a source.
Doug

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#26    Doug1o29

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 07:11 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 04 July 2013 - 04:53 AM, said:

I can't say on the reasoning it was first established.  But the general idea these days is the support for the two-source and four-source hypothesis.  By this reasoning, Matthew and Luke had possession of Mark's text in order to compose their narrative.
See my reply to fully-wired ^^^.  I don't consider this a major problem as they were written at about the same time.  Within the accuracy in dating that can be achieved, they might as well have been written at the same time.

Quote

Sorry, I overlooked a sentence I should have written in.  1 Corinthians was written in 50 AD, or thereabouts, possibly a few years earlier or later.
That would fit with Clement's reference in 96 AD.  Clement referred to a "Blessed Paul," probably meaning St. Paul.  But Clement also referred to a "Blessed Judith."  Any idea who Judith might have been?

Quote

My reference to 35 AD was the particular quote from 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, which reads:

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

What Paul delivered as of first importance is that Christ died/buried/raised to life/appeared to Cephas and the 12 is viewed by most historians to be a fixed narrative-summary of Jesus that was composed and circulated sometime before 35 AD (my source for this comment is John Dickson, who made this assertion in his book, The Christ Files).  Does that clarify my point?
It helps.  It gives me source where I might find more information.  Thanks.

Quote

I am not an historian.  I cannot provide my own research on this.  I rely on the scholars who report the dating.  For example, James Tabor whom FW has just linked, includes in that article on the "strange" ending of Mark, the dating of Mark to be around the 70 AD date, or to quote Tabor, "perhaps in the decade before" - Source.  In similar fashion, This website gives an almost identical date.  These are all from scholarly sources, and do not represent the extreme of Christian apologetics (This site, for example, attempts to date the entire New Testament, including the gospels, to well before 70 AD - obviously a non-scholarly apologetics approach).

I don't know what evidence these scholars use to date the gospels.  I'm not a scholar.  On the balance of things, I prefer to accept the consensus of the majority of historians, rather than the conjecture of the minority (and indeed a minority of scholars do seem to take a later dating).  It just so happens that the majority of sources I read tend to take the view that I have presented.
Thanks.  This is probably the most-constructive discussion we've had to date.  I'll have to look those up.
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#27    Mr Walker

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 12:17 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 05 July 2013 - 02:25 AM, said:

Its amazing how many people claim to have been studying the Bible all their lives and still believe it.  One wonders what they've been studying.  The reason for my remark about Matthew is that the stories unique to him tend to be the really fanciful ones, like the Three Magi.  I think he made them up.  If he didn't, someone did.  They don't hold together as actual stories but have earmarks of design.
The underlying assumptions here are. One, that miracles do not occur, because two, a god/entity who can produce them does not exist.
Basic belief/disbelief certainly structures ones interpetation of the bible.

I do not personally believe in the resurrection although neither do i say it is physically impossible. I have seen/known the powers of god, and it is not beyond god's ability to store and resurrect human consciousnesses.
Heck we will be doing this ourselves within 50 years.


In a way, the significance of the bible story is its entirety, from alpha to omega, the wisdoms found within it, and particularly the widoms and principles epoused in the gospels, by christ. A modern human being can live entirely by those  principles, happily and productively, and if our social structure was based upon them it would be a far better place for most to live in.

The actual timeline of the gospels is irrelevant. They were formed/ created for various audiences and were placed in the modern bible, in an order, for a particular purpose, just as all the contents of the modern bible are placed and structured to tell a coherent story. Creation, separation, laws, covenant,  the nature of humanity at its best and worst, messiah, new covenant,  new codes and principles, the battle between good and evil, and the end times, with finally a new earth  and a new beginning.

There was much left out of the bible from both jewish writings and early christian ones, but enough remains to give a modern reader an understanding of the basics and the important evolution of christianity. They can make an informed choice whether christianity is for them, or not, from these writings and nothing more, and that is the significance of the bible today. It frees people from having to accepet a particular religious teaching, and allows one to find god/christ independently.

I  suspect less that less than 10 percent of christians have read the bible right through. My wife is an exception, she reads it completely once a year, ( a different version each time) along with a variety of study guides.

I have read it a few times right through and studied it for a decade or so, but now it is just a part of me. My relationship with god is the most important thing in my life, not the bible, although it continues to be the framework for my life, in how I treat people and what I eat and drink etc..

Edited by Mr Walker, 06 July 2013 - 12:24 AM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

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#28    Frank Merton

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 12:24 AM

If she would spend that amount of time reading great literature and its commentaries she would be well educated.


#29    Jor-el

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 12:34 AM

All this being said and no-one has yet addressed the basic problem of how we have Mark 16:9-20 quoted verbatim by at least three independent authors in the 2nd century long before the Alexandrian manuscripts (which are the basis of out modern bibles) were written in the 4th century, and whose lack of the said text in Mark is used as an argument to state that they are later insertions...

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#30    Paranoid Android

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 03:00 AM

View PostDoug1o29, on 05 July 2013 - 07:11 PM, said:

See my reply to fully-wired ^^^.  I don't consider this a major problem as they were written at about the same time.  Within the accuracy in dating that can be achieved, they might as well have been written at the same time.
The evidence seems to fit that a Q document did exist.  You are right that it is entirely hypothetical (hence why I refer to it as an hypothesis).  But it serves to fit the evidence of Luke and Matthew (Luke is also alleged to have had another hypothetical text known as L).


View PostDoug1o29, on 05 July 2013 - 07:11 PM, said:

That would fit with Clement's reference in 96 AD.  Clement referred to a "Blessed Paul," probably meaning St. Paul.  But Clement also referred to a "Blessed Judith."  Any idea who Judith might have been?
No idea who Judith is.  There is an apocryphal work known as the Book of Judith, but it's universally dismissed as an historical account.


View PostDoug1o29, on 05 July 2013 - 07:11 PM, said:

It helps.  It gives me source where I might find more information.  Thanks.

Thanks.  This is probably the most-constructive discussion we've had to date.  I'll have to look those up.
Doug
No worries.  Glad to be of help :tu:

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