So I thought it was time I contributed something educational to the site and seeing as I have declared my major in history, my minor in religious studies, and have thoroughly studied the Bible from a secular and historical point of view for years now it seems a natural subject for me to contribute on. So ask me anything you want know about the so called good book, my focus of study has been the old testament but I am pretty familiar with new testament scholarship as well. So I will gladly answer any questions about who wrote the damn thing, its relation to other near eastern religions, the original meaning of passages, and the development of the Jewish and Christian faiths respectively. I will stick closely to what the modern scholarly consensus is on a given issue but will also offer my own thoughts as well.
I thought about that a bit too deep. But good thread idea! Maybe I should do something similar - also having done a History Degree.
What was the message above the head of Jesus on the cross?
*note I am not Christian. Had my eyes opened by psychedelics, but just class myself as spiritual.
Letifer Obligatus Lucrum - deadly mortal bound, under an obligation, to profit.
There is a few things in the Bible that have me miffed, and I'm going to write them down and ask a pastor or two to explain them to me.
Secondly, why didn't God create a perfect world? He created a good one yes but never describes it as perfect:
And God saw that it was good x5 times
And God saw that it was very good once.
God created the world with imperfection built in.
Good questions, GN. Always wondered about omnipotent ol' God up there.
Thanks friend Might go to the Apologist Christians and see what they have to offer by means of logical reasoning and argument. With respect to the chaps that I know in a church near me, they can't seem to provide me with answers. Nice guys though, and I do count them as friends.
Regional Network for Indigenous Peoples?
Relief to Needy Indian Persons?
Richmond Neighborhood Indicators Project?
Regulatory Nuclear Interface Protocol?
Reactive Nanoscale Iron Particle?
Or did you perhaps mean INRI?
Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm
"Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews"
John 19:20 Claims this phrase was written in Latin, Hebrew, and Greek. Eastern Greek Orthodox use it INBI or INBK "Ἰησοῦς ὁ Ναζωραῖος ὁ Bασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων" Interestingly enough Google translator translates that into "Jesus of Nazareth son of Vassilios the Jews" and in 1968 archaeologist Vassilios Tzaferis excavated a Jerusalem tomb that contained the bones of a crucified man named Yehohanan. This was first opportunity to study the process of crucifixion and Roman crucifixion methods up close. Hmmmmm....
TDR as to why cedar was used by the Romans in the near east it was most likely because it was imported from Lebanon by the ass load. However they probably used whatever was on hand and sturdy enough. They were never picky. You are also correct as to the cross inscription.
I have some theories on ole Moses I will elaborate on tommorow, did you know that his name is Egyptian in origin.
The flood is an interesting story. There two accounts of it given in the bible each with significant differences. It was most likely a retelling of a very common ancient near eastern my, for comparison see the flood acount in the epic of Gilgamesh.
I will go in depth on the issue tommorow. On the creation there are several versions given in the bible. None if them even imply that the world was created from nothing they all mention a pre existing primeval sea and land mass. Oh also on the flood one of the accounts has Yahweh some what resignedly admitting that men are born with evil in their hearts.
When I get settled tommorow I will post a bit on Hebrew cosmology, juadism' connection to ancient near Easter polytheism, just who wrote these accounts and why. I will also post a bit about early Christianity and how we got the ideas we currently have about Jesus.
What flood? The great flood oz 2013?
So lets start with some of the basics, what I am about to be say is the general scholarly consensus in the field with a few of my own ideas and interpretations.
The Torah or Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, historically have been attributed to Moses. However as early as the 12-1300's scholars have noted serious flaws in this idea. These books contain doublets and triplets of particular stories with each repetition varying a good deal in form and content, along with anachronisms and other inconsistencies. Real scholarship and research into this issue began in the 1800's in Germany, I wont bore you with the details of the earliest days of research but will instead skip to what has become the corner stone theory in the field. In 1878 German scholar Julius Wellhausen published his work History of Israel, in it he laid out his theories on the old testament narratives. He argued that the Pentateuch was comprised largely of four distinct sources, each with their own characteristic vocabulary, phrasing, geographical and political biases. This theory is called the Documentary Hypothesis, the four sources he hypothesized are named the J,E,P, and D sources.
The J source; this source is characterized by its consistent use of the divine name, Yahweh, in place of or in conjunction with honorific titles. It tends to base its narratives in the southern portion of Israel, historically called Judah, and favors characters that have been historically associated with the region. The J source tends to describe God in very human terms and makes frequent use of vivid anthropomorphism. The J source focuses on a core theme, which is Gods promise to Abraham of land, descendants, and blessing. This source was most likely written in the southern kingdom of Judah around the 10th century BCE, it also seems to have been the primary source. This source also has god revealing himself by his personal name, Yahweh, to Adam and has sacrifices practiced from the beginning.
The E source; the E sources is foremost identified by its use of the generic Hebrew title Elohim, translated simply as god, instead of the divine name. This source describes God in much more remote terms, making him transcendent sort of deity. In this source God rarely deals directly with men, instead revealing himself through dreams, divine messengers, and prophets. The E sources also makes frequent use of the term prophet. The geographical setting of E source narratives tends to be set in the northern portion of Israel, the area that in the ancient world was actually called Israel, it narratives focuses on characters that were important to the northern tribes. This source places a heavy focus on prophecy. Due to its setting, character references and certain anachronisms this source was most likely written in the northern kingdom known as Israel in the 9th century BCE. The narratives of this source seem to be fragmentary in nature, the possible reasons for this I will elaborate on later.
The D source; this source is properly named the Deuteronomic source. It is found almost entirely in the book of Deuteronomy, it is probably a book that was "found" in the temple during the reign of king Josiah in the late 7th century BCE. It like the E source focuses on prophecy and shares several other characteristics with the E source as well. It was most likely written in the northern kingdom of Israel, there is some controversy surrounding this book.
The P source; properly named the Priestly source. This source is identified by its use of honorific titles in place of God's actual, it uses the title Elohim commonly while sometime using more obscure titles such as El Shaddai translated literally as "God of the Mountains" however most bibles translate it as "God Almighty". This source is most often concerned with matters of ritual observance and the crucial role of the Priests in society. It is often found in between sections of the other sources, connecting them by means of complicated genealogies. In the narrative passages of the P sources God is even more remote and majestic than in the E source only manifesting himself in a light filled cloud that both reveals and conceals his presence. This source also has god revealing himself to men in stages, first as Elohim, then to Abraham as El Shaddai, and finally to Moses as Yahweh. The P source also has no sacrifices being performed before the time of Moses. Most importantly the P source seems to have been the source that stitched the others together so it is often found in transition from one source to the next. Parts of this source may be older however most likely the majority of this source was written during the 6th century BCE during the time of the Babylonian exile in an effort to consolidate and preserve traditions in the wake of the destruction of the temple and the Jewish exile.
Instead of doing a line by line analysis I will give a summary of each chapter and list the relevant scriptures for those who wish to look them up for themselves. Note that I personally use the Oxford press Jewish Study Bible for the old testament so there may be slight wording variations on scriptures.
The first chapter of Genesis is easily identifiable as belonging to the P source. Creation in this version begins with an unformed earth and a primeval sea of chaos, then with a divine wind sweeping over the surface of the waters and the Divine command " Let there be light", Gen.1 1-4. This idea of God creating with but a word is common to the P source and emphasizes his incomprehensible power and majesty. Genesis 1 has the creation divided into 7 days with the creations of the first 3 days paralleled by those of the next 3 days, for instance on day 1 light is created this is paralleled by the creation of the heavenly bodies on day 6. Genesis 1 has humans created as a pair on the 6th day, with no separate creation of Adam and Eve Gen. 1 26. In this version of events all creation is produced simply by divine command. Also of important note that here in the Hebrew god is called Elohim translated as God.
The account at Genesis 2 is identified as belonging to the J source. Now Genesis 2 1-4 are later additions to the text, the actual narrative here begins at Genesis 2 5, which is clearly the start of a separate creation narrative. Genesis 2 has earth already present before creation but simply notes it as unformed, curiously it notes that rain has not yet occurred at the moment of creation but that occasionally a well of water gush up from the ground, Gen 2 5-7. Now note here that Adam is created first of all things, it says that he was fashioned from the dust of the earth and God brew the breath of life into his nostrils. Also take note that in this chapter of Genesis your translation is probably using the the phrase the Lord God, this is actually a substitution for the divine name, Yahweh, as it later became taboo to pronounce it. Next we have God planting a garden in Eden, take note of the verbs used so far, God fashioned, he blew, and he planted all very physical things with none of the remoteness implied by the simple creation on command of Genesis 1. Now at Gen 2 15 God takes Adam and places him in the garden of Eden and commands him to till and tend it with the sole restriction that he must not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and bad. Soon after this he sees that Adam is without a partner and sets about creating one, he first fashions all of the beasts and birds and parades them before Adam, allowing him to name them, however none of these are suitable partners. God then places Adam in a sleep and fashions Eve from a rib. The creation of Eve marks the end of the creation account at Genesis 2. If you have noticed this account has quite a few folkloric elements, it explains how the animals were named, foreshadows the gaining of knowledge which is what sets men apart from beasts, and and explains the attraction of the sexes.
Feel free to ask questions or for further elaboration.
"I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. "
"He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. "
"Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. "
Book of Thomas Verse 16 (yup no chapters in Thomas just 114 statements made by Jesus of Nazareth to Thomas)
And used himself as an example of what NOT to do perhaps?
Another thing that I question is the use of the terms: son of god; son of man.
I'd like to learn hebrew that I might better understand the terminology.
What do you think about the idea that christianity is actually secretly a mushroom cult?
I will post links later to several biblical translations that are available for purchase that are much more literal in how they translate both the Hebrew and Greek.
I doubt the idea that Christianity was a mushroom cult simply because most I have seen that advocate that view seem to believe Jesus did not actually exist, and even secular scholars seem to agree that such a man most likely existed, though his life was likely greatly exaggerated.
The gospel of Thomas that TDR mentions is a fascinating work, it is very likely in my view as well as that of a number of scholars that it was written as early as 50-70 AD which would put it as early as any of the Cannonical gospels. It presents Jesus as a figure who teaches that salvation comes through a deep understanding of ourselves. In Thomas Jesus preaches that a deep self knowledge can lead us to an understanding of the divine spark within us all. It is very possible that Jesus could have been teaching a kind of Gnosticism, as we know that Gnosticism existed within the Christian community from the start. Though the 2nd century fathers of the Catholic Church painted them as a small minority of perverted Christ teachings, we are know coming to believe that groups we would identify as Gnostic were the majority in the first 100 years of Christianty.
Ourselves is all we control but by controlling ourselves we control the all. That is one of the many things I have been learning in my new incarnation since I died on 21DEC12. This is the same message that the Nazarene was giving to Thomas in many parts of the Book of Thomas. He also hinted at it in many other things he was quoted as saying throughout the new testament. Jesus was not the son of god. We was a god as we all are. We can manifest just as he did. You don't need a book or a guy reading it and telling you what it means to be the same thing the Nazarene was. We are all one and the separation is just an illusion created by our physical form.