PROVENANCE: The history of ownership of a work of art; the copy history of a piece of data, or the intermediate pieces of data utilized to compute a final data element. a chain of custody, ownership and certificate of authenticity
There was once a Greek fellow we call EUCLID. He compiled all the known information of his day concerning GEOMETRY and created a text.
The text was handed down through the years from generation to generation and still exists in our own day.
It is perfectly preserved.
How do we know?
The "Proofs" in the text are created with perfect logical connections resulting in testable re-creations.
A person in China and a person in Tierra del Fuego can both work the same Geometry problems and obtain identical results.
The result can be PROVED. No opinion, interpretation or apologia is necessary.
This is the work of mere men but has passed the test of the millennia.
Isn't it sad that ancient Greeks could do this but the Almighty creator of the Universe could not??
We are faced with TWO CHOICES.
Either God tried to create his infallible text and the effort failed.
God DID NOT try, did not fail and what we have today is a PIOUS FRAUD perpetrated from generation to generation by POWER BROKERS in the church to maintain CONTROL over their followers.
You decide which.
Proof Texts are what Jehovah's Witnesses rely on. After that, the interpretation OF those proof texts.
If the Texts themselves are just simply bogus---they have absolutely NO foundation left!
Without a connecting, testable LOGIC the claims of the Bible as to authorship and inspiration fall flat.
What the Bible has to have is PROVENANCE. Chain of custody proving it is authentic.
The Bible has no such provenance. Without provenance there is no authentication. All that is left are "claims" without linking proof.
This would result in-----not one clear testable proof---but thousands of "possible" interpretations---all equally attested!
When I was a scripture spouting JW I was under the honestly held opinion that there existed in this world ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPH manuscripts
which--when properly translated---gave us the infallible word of Jehovah.
I did not know or even suspect no such manuscripts have existed for two thousand years!!
Brokers of scriptural purity (called: Apologists) make phoney arguments which they KNOW are strawman arguments.
They cannot face the fact that without knowing Jesus' ACTUAL WORDS we don't have christianity, theology, core teaching or interpretation.
Without original manuscipts by which we CHECK our translation for authenticity we can't have PROPHECY either!!
What are we left with? Approximations. Literary constructs. Invented dialogue. In short: historical fiction offered as "inspired."
But--those approximations aren't even based on the ACTUAL words of Jesus or Paul. We have entirely INVENTED dialogue passed off as authentic reports!
What we are quoting when we are PROVING a teaching is somebody's MADE UP WORDS!!
What did Jesus say in his prayer to his Father in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of his arrest, for example? We have every single word and a vivid description of his struggles and agony.
But--WHO was awake and copying those words down?
Nobody! The all fell asleep!
The scenario is like a screenplay and it was crafted by a highly imaginative writer at some point.
Word of mouth stories gain details which make the story more persuasive over time.
As objections are raised by listeners.....certain adjustments must be made.
The story "improves" slightly at the next telling. And so on...
Hundreds and hundreds of tellings and improvements and adjustments.....
And NO PROVENANCE!
As these stories got committed to writing entire families of texts preserved the story up to a certain point in time.
By that time, however, no record was possible of who changed what, who said what and how the "facts" were maintained.
There weren't dishonest people involved in this deterioration either! No. Far from it.
We have rabidly honest and truthful people. Each was a link in a long chain.
Each copyist, translator or redactor "helped" the text he had by "correcting it" when it didn't make sense. They tweeked it with honest intentions so that it would 'READ BETTER!"
They thought they actually KNEW how it should read and made certain that (in there copy or version) it DID!
Tens of thousands of these "corrections", insertions, sidebars had the effect of counterfeiting scripture in its chain of transmission.
Yes, there are thousands of copies of the New Testment in manuscripts and fragments. But, the sheer number means absolutely NOTHING if they are containing counterfeit words!
Which would YOU rather have? One genuine hundred dollar bill or ten thousand counterfeit ones??
Any honest inquirer can read the history of the transmission of bible texts and come to the same conclusion.
EXCEPT FOR ONE THING!!
This is vitally important to understand. Many, many apologist teachers, professors, preachers and clergymen have made it their life's work to MAKE SURE YOU DON'T find this out!! Why? Is it because they are crooks and malefactors?? No!
They too are "correcting" the story and making it come out right by making arguments, excuses and diversionary points which IGNORE the actual fact no authentic original manuscipts exist!!
If you read THOSE apologists everything is just dandy and no problem exists at all.
But, schools of honest scholars for the past hundred years have gradually unearthed the true picture of what the Bible really amounts to.
IT IS NOT a supernatural document giving us Jesus' words or God's words or Paul's words. It is word of mouth stories later written down and collated into a SOURCE DOCUMENT (Q). From that source ALL the Gospels were expanded into a story form with make-believe quotations and conversations.
That is a far cry from an iron clad document from heaven you can parse, interpret and memorize for teaching, reproving and setting things straight.
The Bible is a wikipedia and fan fiction passed off by well-intentioned people as the actual WORD OF GOD.