Thus under this theory, I can only imagine there us always present "sufficient influence" to make sure the Scriptures we know today as "The Bible" is essentially what was God's intended gift to us, mankind in general but particularly to those "anointed ones" who are custodians of God's light.
So who took care of the Bible before there were anointed Christians?
Satan, of course, would be desperate to create his own works to distract from the scriptures so one would suspect other writings, even of a pseudo-Biblical nature would show up and be promoted in later times by his followers -- so there's that too.
You sound like my Dad. Anytime something could not be explained, he blamed it on Satan instead of looking at the issue logically. ;)
Interesting, but I suppose you have to have "faith" that the essential Bible is serving God's purpose. It's an amazing work and the Dead Sea Scrolls prove it is well preserved. At last the JWs do have a lot of good research on the Bible itself supporting it as a reliable copy of the original works.
The Dead Sea Scrolls only show the preservation of the Old Testament. However, the books of the New Testament are highly suspect to me for the reasons I stated earlier in this thread. I subscribe to the theory about Jeremiah. Many scholars believe that after/during their exile in Jerusalem, Jeremiah "edited" a lot of the stories and oral tradition of the Jews and made most the Old Testament.
There is no hard evidence to back up or refute this theory. Again, you get back to the blind faith argument.
Banned From the Bible
Because I missed the TV program that prompted this thread, I can't very well comment on that. However, some of the follow-up comments caught my attention. Coming to this thread a couple of days after it started, I may make several short posts in a row to in response to various people. Not having read the entire thread before posting, I may duplicate what others have already said. So, if my remarks are worthless to you, please feel free to scroll on by. I will probably never know!
Crooked Lumpy Vessel wrote:
Plus the quote that follows, "Look! Jehovah came with his myriaids..." This was quoted from the Book of Enoch. These writings were also found with the dead sea scrolls.
Jehovah appears nowhere in 1 Enoch. Only a few fragments from it were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls (written in Aramaic). The best copies available are in Ethiopic. Many libraries have copies in English. It takes up the first 100 pages of The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Volume 1) by James H Charlesworth which is usually viewed as the best current introduction to these writings (roughly 1000 pages each volume). My copies were published by Doubleday in 1983 -- ISBN: 0-385-09630-5 (v.1) and 0-385-18813-7 (v.2) -- LC: BS1830.A3 1983 -- Dewey: 229 -- LCC: 80-2443.
This show peaked my curiousity and I went to the library and found the book Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Friedman.
[email protected] replied:
Sorry, but I've never read Friedman, so I can't comment on that book or author. Literally hundreds of books have been written on this subject. Two of the most widely accepted and scholarly have the same title: The Canon of the New Testament. One is by Bruce Metzger and the other is by Aland. A slightly less dry (more "popular") book -- still by an A1 scholar -- is The Birth of the New Testament by C.F.D. Moule of Cambridge University, England. ISBN: 0-06-066029-5 -- LC: BS2330.2.M6 -- Dewey: 225.6'7 -- LCC 81-47432.
This topic is a favorite of "freethinkers" and conspiracy nuts. If you know some of the facts about the field, it is fun to read these writers to see how small-minded they are and how limited their learning. (Again, this is not a comment on Friedman, I wouldn't know him from Adam. His book may be just fine.)
While I would recommend a big grain of salt, All Scripture is Inspired of God, although vague on details, is not too bad -- the writers stole a great deal of good information from real scholars. They cover up some things -- but that's to be expected from them.
the show ... was talking about the Gospel of Nicodemous and the Appocolypse of John (I think it was John). Very interesting show. Once again, what we are presented as the "only truth" is really the 'truth' of those who assembled it. Few realize that there are countless Books not included in the Bible due to various political and religious dissagrements.
[email protected] commented:
If I remember correctly, the Gospel of Nicodemus (and Acts of Pilate) were written in Latin in the fourth and fifth centuries -- long after Constantine was Emporer. They can be found on page 501-538 of New Testament Apocrypha (Volume 1) by Wilhelm Schneemelcher (English translation by R. McL. Wilson). Currently this is probably the best scholarly introduction to these writings. The two-volume set was published by Westminster / John Knox Press in 1991. ISBN: 0-664-21878-4 and 0-664-21879-2 -- LC: BS2832.S3 -- Dewey: 299'.92052 -- LCC: 90-23504.
Contrary to conspiracy nuts, no one has been hiding these writings. Any time you or anyone else wanted them, all you / they had to do was go to a library and ask. You just didn't know to ask! Now you do. I've been studying these books for decades. (In fact, if anyone wants to make an offer, I'm sure I have an extra brand new set I could sell.) After several hours of reading these books, I find it a welcome relief to get back to the Bible. Reading NT Apocrypha too long can be like reading WT publications too long: Your eyes glaze over and roll into the back of your head, while your mind goes numb. Time for a drink of the Living Water and a bite of the Bread of Life.
Really interesting, and expounds on the theory that the writer of Luke (?) may have been a woman. I'm not entirely sure I buy the argument, but the book makes a pretty good case.
NW[email protected] replied:
Sandra M. Schneiders (note the "s" on the end) is currently one of the leading Roman Catholic Bible Scholars (and a feminist). Personally, I disagree with the vast majority of what she writes, but you might be interested in her Written That You May Believe (on the Gospel of John). She makes her case (no one else believes it) that John was written by the woman at the well! Published in 1999 (see, I'm sortta up to date) by Crossroad Publishing in New York. ISBN: 0-8245-1825-X -- LC: BS2615.2.S34 -- Dewey: 226.5'06 -- LCC: 99-31416. (A couple of years ago I wrote a short paper on her ability with Greek, which I found entirely inadequate and cited examples from this book.)
I've learned more since leaving the JW then I ever did being one. I read everything I can get my hands on now, and I don't have to hold back or read in secret anymore.
[email protected] commented:
Fortunately, I was never a JW. So, I've always been able to read everything I can get my hands on. Being free in Christ one never has to hold back or read in secret. I find it fun to talk to God about what I read while I'm reading it. (Yes, even WT publications). So far he has never been surprised at anything.
My son, take a warning: To the making of many books here is no end, and much devotion [to them] is wearisome to the flesh. -- Ecclesiastes 12:12.
Honey, please hand be the third tome down in that stack on the end table.
M.J Spoke of
The process of canonization Determination of the canon in the 4th century
[email protected] added:
To be emphasized here is that canonization was a process -- it took place over time. While it may be fair to speak of the process continuing to the middle of the 4th century (350ish), it is also fair to point out that the canon was 85% to 90% established by the middle of the 2nd century (150ish). Of the major books, only Hebrews and Revelation continued to be debated for the next 200 years, as the quotation from the Encyclopedia Britannica made clear.
On a principle of inclusiveness, both Revelation and Hebrews (as part of the Pauline corpus) were accepted [in the 4th century, thus completing]. The 27 books of the New Testament
Athanasius is to be seen as the one who first stated the concensus as it is now understood rather than the one who imposed his decision on others. He wrote a letter giving a list of books that were to be read in the meetings. He mentioned others that could be read privately, but limited public readings to these 27 NT books as the inspired Word of God. Other books were secondary according to him.
William Penwell said:
I have now read books that give the other side of the story ... Believe it or not but I would prefer to hear both sides of an issue and make my own mind up about it and not be clouded by preconceived ideas.
[email protected] shot off his mouth:
No disrespect intended, but it seems to me that if you think every story has two sides, your mind is already clouded by preconceived ideas. Many stories have three, four, and five sides -- some have dozens, or more.
I suggest that now that you know both sides of the story, look around and learn a couple of more sides. (I need to do the same.)
Double Edge called attention to this link:
I saw that show on the history channel....very interesting. Here's a link that will show you some of the "lost" books: http://www.carm.org/lostbooks.htm
[email protected] (keeps on blabbing):
Nice link! I just looked at the first page for a few seconds but it seems adequate as a starting point. It has two short lists of books often called "lost books of the Bible." Catchy title, huh? Mysterious, Esoteric, Clandestine!
Actually, the bottom list of 15 books is simply the books still in dispute among Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox. Depending on how you count the "books" (some are "additions" to Daniel, Esther, etc.), Roman Catholics have about a dozen more books in their Bibles than do Protestants. Eastern Orthodox have a few more than the Roman Catholics. (So, the truth is, the "process of canonization" has never been completed in the sense that everyone agrees on everything that should be in the Bible.) Many "Complete" Bibles on the market today contain all these 15 "lost books." Ecumenism is here!
The top list on the link has 13 "lost books" of the Bible. Of them, the first five are actually part of a larger group usually called The Apostolic Fathers. I have more than a dozen different English versions of the AF in my library (and three of four Greek editions). The AF have been available for a long time -- all in one slim volume. Perhaps the most widely distributed translation in America is the Michael Holmes revision of J.B. Lghtfoot's translation. (I have extra used copies of several different translations I will gladly sell to anyone interested.)
The last eight "lost books" in the top list on the link are well-known, widely distributed individual books from the New Testament Apocrypha (mentioned in another post). So, as the link itself points out, they are hardly "lost." Besides, you can get all of them right there on that link -- how lost is that?