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Old 01-26-2001, 01:58 PM   #1
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Post Request for Clarification

While reading my Alma Mater's daily newspaper online, I came across the following opinion on the Opinion page about Bibical (in)errancy.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Beginning with his inaccuracies, his column "Arian Nation" on Jan. 17, was riddled with
them, especially as referring to Christians and Christianity. The Bible has not been mistranslated through the centuries, despite what White thinks, we have multiple fragments of old manuscripts throughout history showing that there are essentially no changes.
I understand that White might have problems with the Christian religion, but I have
heard more factually supported debates against Christianity from people on Sproul
Plaza with much less than a UC Berkeley education.

David Nierengarten
UC Berkeley student
The full text can be found here. Daily Californian - Opinions for 25 January 2001

It seems that based on the discussions that I have read here that the fragments the author refers to are actually quite scant and do not solidly portray an error-free Biblical transcription history.

My questions are thus: What are the fragments he refers to, how large are they actually, what are their earliest attestation dates, and what have secular scholars concluded about their existence?

Edited UBB tags.

[This message has been edited by Crinis Villa (edited January 26, 2001).]
Old 01-26-2001, 02:48 PM   #2
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Maybe this might help?
it has to do with part of the Gospel Mark found with the dead sea scrolls. Also check the archives here at II.
Old 01-26-2001, 05:03 PM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Irvine, CA
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Okay, here's what we've got as far as old fragments:

Every book but Esther was found at Qumran, all dating to somewhere around 170BCE-70CE (Ezekiel was completely ruined, so perhaps we should exclude this as well). But many of these manuscripts differ greatly from the versions we have in our Bibles. For example, the DSS and LXX versions of Jeremiah are *way* different that the Masoretic text: 1/6th shorter, many chapters rearranged, etc.

Despite what some crazy people think, a fragment of Mark was *not* found at Qumran. The oldest copy we have of Mark dates to the early 3rd century! That's pretty damn late. The oldest fragment we have from any gospel is John, dating to 125 CE, but it is just a small fragment. Matthew and Luke's earliest fragments date to mid to late 2nd century.

None of this has anything to do with the reliability of the Bible, however. The old fragments show massive variation. There are also lots of emendations that appear in no manuscripts, like John 21 (and 15-17, for that matter), which virtually all scholars still think to be absent from the original manuscript.

The line about translation is just a joke! I defy anyone to tell me that it's appropriate to translate "morning star" as "Lucifer," "men" as "those that pisseth against the wall," and "Passover," as "Easter." Not to mention 59 uses of the nonword "Cherubims," and turning real animals like goats, jackals, and oxen into fairly tale ones like satyrs, dragons, and unicorns!

And that's all just the KJV! Don't get me started on the NIV!
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Old 01-26-2001, 05:24 PM   #4
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Actually, the oldest NT papyri we have is P46, dated to about 80AD. I will begin a thread on this shorty, covering the general issue of dating the New Testament.

And don't take anything said about dating at face value. HUGE amounts of guessing (educated and otherwise) is involved in just about any of the dates we are going to ascribe to various books of the Bible.

As for accurate transcription, I don't think anyone is going to argue that the books of the Bible have been translated and transcribed in identical fashion down to the present day. What we do have is a pretty good representation of what the originals did tell us (with minor spelling, redaction, and editorial changes noted as they are found), largely by comparing various manuscripts and texts against one another.

When people say that we have no idea what the original texts said, they are simply betraying a prejudice either against all ancient texts (since complete originals are basically non-existent), or at least against the Bible.

The entire science of textual criticism was born to deal with these questions, and it helps us a great deal in uncovering what the original books of the Bible (and other ancient works) actually said.


Old 01-26-2001, 06:17 PM   #5
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Crinis Villa

While reading my Alma Mater's daily newspaper online, I came across
the following opinion on the Opinion page about Biblical (in)errancy ...

offa, yes, there are all kinds of biblical misinterpretations
going around, i.e.,

This verse is taken from the King James version.

"MAT 02:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise
men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the
children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts
thereof, from two years old and under, according to the
time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men."

This verse is taken from "The Book" ISBN 0-8423-2542-5

"Mat 2-16 Herod was furious when he learned that the astrologers
had disobeyed him. Sending soldiers to Bethlehem, he
ordered them to kill every baby boy two years old and
under, both in the town and on the nearby farms, for the
astrologers had told him the star first appeared to them
two years before."

The first version uses the idiom "all" which represents the Jews
following (not by choice) king Herod. Notice that "all" is used
twice and each time it does not mean "each and every". These
coasts are the coasts of the Dead Sea in the vicinity of
Qumran and this is also known as Galilee (king Herod was once
governor of Galilee). This location is also called "Bethlehem
of Judea". Please note that the other Bethlehem does not have
any coasts. This wilderness area was a hiding place for zealots
especially because of the many caves and the extreme danger
of pursuing bandits in this area. The "from two years old and
under" is the author's method in telling those with knowledge
that Jesus is two years old, and, of course, this is b.c.e. 5
and king Herod will die the following year.

The second verse is "fundamental dogma" and way off course.


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