Saturday, June 10, 2006

Cry Havoc, and release the dogs of War...

So Christian opened up a discussion about the bible and offered up his interpretation of it. So the question is - is the Bible Truth, Fact, Fiction or Other? In my capacity, based on my education and study of theology (in that being Biblical History) it is all these things.

Depending on which bible you read, the translation or Interpretation may differ in ways. The bible is a collection of stories, which in the Old Testament have been passed down orally from an oral culture for centuries. At some point those stories were written down. Take Genesis for instance. There are two "creation" stories. Who wrote which and which one is true or could we ask, Fact? The "earth created in 7 days" is the story that Christianity usually holds up as biblical truth, case in point an Easter Vigil Mass during the tridium celebrations. Here is the biblical times line in order.

  1. Ancestral Patriarchal 1800 BCE
  2. Mosaic Period 1290 - 1235 BCE
  3. Judges Period (Pre Monarchic) 1250 - 1020 BCE
  4. Monarchic (UK United Monarchy) 1000-930 BCE
  5. Divided Monarchy (Divided kingdom) 930 - 722 BCE
  6. Judah Alone 722-586 BCE
  7. Exilic Period 586-540 BCE (the most productive in writing and religious time)
  8. 2nd Temple Period (Post Exilic Period) 540-333 BCE
  9. Greek Period - Hellenistic 332 - 63 bce
  10. Roman Rule
Attribution of biblical chapters or book - Usually indicate a figure head
Authorship on the other hand was named for the actual author

Writers of Influential groups would be:
  1. Priests - laws - rituals
  2. Prophets
  3. Poets
  4. Story tellers
  5. Wise Men
  6. Sceond Temple Period ( Apocalypticists )
The HEBREW bible was compiled, written, edited over ages of time. The bible IS the end result of a long process of transmission. 1000 years before the common era there was 1 bible by many authors up to the 1st century of the common era. When biblical writers "write" they have something to say. By using HISTORY they are talking to a people who will understand the writer (ie Jews or Greeks)

Textual criticism: To establish which is the correct text, we do not have enough original text copies (there are over 5000) the science to determine the original or the closets to the original. There are over 5000 different manuscripts for the New Testament, and they are all different.

Canons: accepted books of the holy scriptures

Protestant ......... there are 7 more books in the Catholic Old Testament


The science by which we study texts is (textual criticism) The science which we decide which is closest to the original, translations are written based on chosen texts.
  1. The first stage collecting material manuscripts, collecting texts to compare.
  2. Evaluate each of these readings (scriptural exegesis)
  3. Translations come by the writer who transcribes the texts. letters are similar and languages were similar. Word divisions and letters
  4. Scribes were known to change offensive words or change texts to reflect what "THEY" thought it said.
There are 2 major parts to the Bible:

1st - The covenant Hebrew Bible (the OT)
2nd - The New Testament ( Greek or Christian)
The New Testament is a new INTERPRETATION of the Hebrew Bible


The Jewish tradition Hebrew Bible T.N.K.
  1. The Pentateuch - Torah (1st 5 books)
  2. The Prophet - Nebi 'im
  3. the Writings - Ketubim
The Pentateuch - scholar
The Torah - Jewish
The Law - Greek

  1. Genesis
  2. Exodus
  3. Leviticus
  4. Numbers
  5. Deuteronomy
The Nebi 'im

  • A - The Major Prophets
  • B - The Minor Prophets
  • C - The Former Prophets
Major - Isaiah - Jeremiah - Ezekiel
Former - Joshua - Judges - Books of Samuel 1/2 and Book of Kings 1/2

History is narrated from a prophetic point of view.

Ketubim - Book of Daniel (Apocalyptic nature) the writing of historical stuff, historical narrative Ezra and 1/2 Chronicles some was written (Job) as Wisdom literature, liturgical nature, and poetry (Ruth and Esther).

During the diaspora the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek. The (Septuagint) the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible.

The first 5 books - The Law
the Second - The Histories
the Third - Poetic division
Ketubim - Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiates, Song of Songs
the fourth division - The Prophets - Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel

The Greek Tradition includes 7 more books (Deutoral canonical books) the 7 books not part of the Jewish tradition (Judith, Tobit, Baruch, 1/2 Maccabees, Ecclesiasticus, and Wisdom of Soloman. The Pseudepigrapha refers to the extra biblical texts.

To know the History of Israel, one must know the sequence of the time periods which I listed above. The bible is written with 2 mojar divisions. The Hebew Bible and the New Testament.

the 4 Gospels were written last
Paul's Epistles were written FIRST

Acts - The story of the birth of the church
14 Epistles are letters - Pauline letters to Philemon
Non- Pauline letters Hebrews, James, 1st Peter, 1/2/3rd John, Jude
Revelation - Apocalypse

The bible is the end result of a process of transmission, Canonization is the end result of a literary process. The stages are
  1. Composition
  2. Copying
  3. Editing
  4. Classifying - Categorization
  5. Collecting documents
  6. Archiving
Canonization starts in a box on a shelf. It is a community that decides (inclusion) ...

Let's take a short look at Genesis.

The FIRST creation story was written in the Post Exilic Period the SECOND creation story was written during the Monarchic period.


Word - Genesis 1:1 to 2:4a Adam/Eve & Cain/Abel
Man - Genesis 5:1-3 Flood, Sons and Daughters of God
Noah - Genesis 9:18-29 Noah gets drunk
Noahs Sons - Genesis 10:1-31 Tower of Babel
Shem - Genesis 11:10-26
Tenak - Genesis 11:27
Shorter geneology - groups of people who contracted together became brothers not necessarily by blood ties. Writings used to link narratives together - a literary technique to connect writings.

Biblical Sources:

J - Earliest source (Yaweh, in German Jahweh) "J" is first to compose a continuous narrative of Israels origins.

E - The Elohist source - The Pentateuch second oldest narrative strand they used (Elohim) rather than Yaweh.

After 721 bce J and E combined texts with the result of conflicting stories amongst chapters. The Third principle source (Deuteronomist) "D's" work largely confined to book of Deuteronomy, Numbers. Scholars say that "D" is the dominant influence in the Pentateuch. "P" the priestly source from 587 bce to the 4th century bce. The Post Exilic school of priestly redactors who collected preserved and edited Israels religious heritage.

The Gospels:

LUKE and the Acts of the apostles were written by the same author. The gospels were the battle
ground proving Jesus was the Messiah. Biblical timeline:

  1. Jesus (life) 4bce - to - 30 ce
  2. Paul 50-60 ce (earliest christian literature) They know very little of the historical Jesus Jesus' 1st resurrection - genrally the "risen" figure mattered to Paul. Greco-Roman gentiles familiar with life - death - resurrection (mystery cults). Pauls ideas find themselves into gospels (LK) Luke writes infance narratives.
  3. Mark - 60-65 CE No resurrection narrative - narrative there was added much later. The syntax language - etc... different writer earliest gospel (source for Mt, Lk) one of the original gospels.
  4. Matthew 75 - 80 ce Mk - Mt - Lk Synoptic gospels narrative lines up in areas
  5. Luke 80 - 85 ce
  6. John 90 - 100 ce Metaphysical, Greek in a way, philosophical - Sayings of Jesus
2 sources ( Mt-Lk) the Q source (Quelle) sayings SOURCE. there are 4 sources

MT and Lk editors had Mark at hand + the Q source they did not know each other.

MT and MK might agree but Lk is different
Mt and LK agree w/one another only when they agree with Mark.

Paul had first hand experience - he was a missionary, he met desciples in Jerusalem. 15 of 20 books of the New Testament were ATTRIBUTED to Paul, some used his name ...

7 letters are authentic to Paul ... Theology of Paul - early christian table fellowship. Jewish Gentile had problems at the table. The shared meal to Paul was vital to him. The theological reasons were

  1. Memory and death and resurrection of Christ
  2. To proclaim a genuine faith
  3. Manifests at shared meal - oneness of kingdom
  4. Shared meal was in anticipating the end of time (immanent then)
  5. Jesus is first fruits the general resurrection was near
  6. God becaome what he is not in Jesus, a lowly human being
Knosis - to empty out (oneness "be as Christ")
Phil 2:1-8 God becomming man and dying on the cross for Paul this was the consummate "action."

Paul lived 40 - 60/65 ce Paul was familiar with early christian traditions, there was ONE gospel for each community. For Paul the christian banquet was paramount to faith.

  1. Creating without separations
  2. if you separate at the table - you undermine community
  3. the table is the convergence point
  4. all in fulfillment of God's will
  5. death - faith in Christ - Salvation forgiveness
  6. Salvation of one and all - Jews first because Jesus came to the Jews
  7. Ultimate Sign - resurrection from the dead - that cancels out all sin if you believed in Christ
  8. If you broke up table you threaten community and peoples ability to participate. This was important to Paul.
How is that for some religious teaching !!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question: there is no mention of the Gospel of Solomon here. It has been widely excluded from many interpretations of the bible and tends to shed an entirely different light on many of the biblical contradictions. Do you have a comment on that?

Good post!

11:10 AM  
Blogger CanEragon said...

In the accepted Biblical canon of today The Song of Soloman can be found in the OT between Ecclesiates and the book of wisdom.

In the Gnostic Texts a separate book I have here, The Songs of Solomon are located in the section of writings called Thomas and oterh Syrian Literature. But as for the Canon of the bible the Gospel of soloman does not exist. as far as I know and see here.

11:39 AM  

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