FRDB Archives

Freethought & Rationalism Archive

The archives are read only.


Go Back   FRDB Archives > Archives > Biblical Criticism - 2001
Welcome, Peter Kirby.
You last visited: Today at 05:55 AM

Notices

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 07-30-2001, 06:50 AM   #21
ex-preacher
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: University of Arkansas
Posts: 1,033
Post

Excellent example. If someone will get two Bibles and open them to 2 Sam 24 and 1 Chron 21 and compare the passages, they would be amazed at the blatant contradictions. Of course, Jews and Christians have had thousands of years to develop intricate explanations for every one. However, even the diehard Xn must admit that these are at the very least "apparent contradictions." Why would God do that? Is he trying to intentionally confuse people and cause them to lose faith?

It is interesting to me that both passages agree on one thing: David sinned against the Lord in counting the people (2 Sam 24:10 and 1 Chron 21:8). Yet in 1 Kings 15:5, we read "For David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord's commands all the days of his life - except in the case of Uriah the Hittite."

[Edited to correct reference to 2 Sam, not 1 Sam.]

[ July 30, 2001: Message edited by: ex-preacher ]
ex-preacher is offline  
Old 07-30-2001, 09:14 AM   #22
James Still
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Pacific Northwest (US)
Posts: 527
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by jre:
<STRONG>1 Chronicles 21:1-2
And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it.

2 Samuel 24:1-2
And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people.

Common apologetic defence: "God permitted Satan to do such".
Common sense: "It doesn't say 'God permitted Satan', it says 'The LORD' and 'Satan' both did the same thing."

[ July 30, 2001: Message edited by: jre ]</STRONG>
This isn't so much a contradiction as it is a misunderstanding of the role of the adversary (satan) in the Hebrew Scriptures. Remember that Lucifer is a proper noun for the rebel who was thrown out of heaven. But the adversary is an angel still residing in heaven who acts as a counter-balance to God's judgment and opposes him in much the same way that a prosecuting attorney opposes the defense. As in the case of Job, God sides with the adversary from time to time and therefore there is no contradiction only an agreement between the two that David should conduct a census.
James Still is offline  
Old 07-30-2001, 10:46 AM   #23
Gurdur
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Buggered if I know
Posts: 12,410
Post

James Still, you wrote an interesting reply here; but what would you say about how it appears that God and Satan are in a betting competition in the Book of Job? This seems like a straight kind of Greek Gods scenario, i.e. where the gods play dice for fun.
Not to mention the "collateral damage" to Job's offspring and in-laws...

[ July 30, 2001: Message edited by: Gurdur ]
Gurdur is offline  
Old 07-30-2001, 11:22 AM   #24
Apikorus
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,396
Post

I think this contradiction owes more to the Chronicler's tendentious rewriting of history than to any ambiguity regarding the term "satan".

Also a more nuanced understanding of the term "satan" in the Hebrew Bible would acknowledge that it evolved in meaning. The first mention is in Num 22:22,32 during the Balaam pericope, which most scholars assign to the E strand (ca. 8th c. BCE). There, the hypostatic "malakh YHWH" appears to block the path of the obtuse Balaam. The word "satan" appears to function as a verb, connoting opposition (by the malakh). From this and other allegedly early passages, Elaine Pagels, in "The Origin of Satan", draws some interesting conclusions regarding the earliest meaning of the term. (I think Pagels overinterprets somewhat.)

Throughout the Deuteronomistic History, satan seems to mean a generic opponent. See 1 Sam 29:4, 2 Sam 19:23 (RSV 19:22), 1 Kings 5:4, 11:14,23,25. In each of these instances, the satan is a human adversary, usually of Israel (e.g. Hadad and Rezon; in 1 Sam 29:4 the Philistines fear that David will prove to be a satan to them). The term seems to have little theological content.

After Judaism's exilic encounter with Zoroastrian dualism, the concept of satan underwent a radical change. (Zoroastrian theology holds that there is one supreme, eternal God, Ahura Mazda, whose holy spirit, Spenta Mainyu, is engaged in an eternal conflict with a diabolical adversary, the Anghra Mainyu.) Basically, satan became (ha)Satan.

In Zech 3:1,2 the term appears with the definite article, as "haSatan" - "the Satan". This is also the terminology used in Job. (Note though that in Job, Satan is empowered by YHWH and is Job's adversary - not YHWH's.) The provenance of Job is uncertain. There's an interesting gemara which attributes authorship to Moses. Of course this is legend, but it is curious that the rabbis believed it to be so early. Most scholars assign it a Persian/Hellenistic date.

The term satan also is mentioned in our text 1 Chr 21:1, and in Ps 109:6. (The definite article is absent in both cases.) Chronicles is believed to be a late postexilic text (ca. 5th/4th c. BCE) and a (often tendentious) priestly retelling of the Deuteronomistic History (DH). Here the chronicler assigns blame for the census to Satan, in an attempt to harmonize the conflicting data from the DH, where YHWH, who was angry with Israel, induces David to take a census (2 Sam 24:1), yet David acknowledges that this was a personal sin (2 Sam 24:10).

The character of Satan inexorably grew in power and complexity, as attested to in various apocryphal and pseudepigraphal writings. The standard Christian image of the thoroughly evil, immensely powerful enemy of God who lures man to sin represents in some sense an end stage of this evolution, but in other ways must be considered sui generis.

[ July 31, 2001: Message edited by: Apikorus ]
Apikorus is offline  
Old 07-30-2001, 01:40 PM   #25
ex-preacher
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: University of Arkansas
Posts: 1,033
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by James Still:
<STRONG>

This isn't so much a contradiction as it is a misunderstanding of the role of the adversary (satan) in the Hebrew Scriptures. Remember that Lucifer is a proper noun for the rebel who was thrown out of heaven. But the adversary is an angel still residing in heaven who acts as a counter-balance to God's judgment and opposes him in much the same way that a prosecuting attorney opposes the defense. As in the case of Job, God sides with the adversary from time to time and therefore there is no contradiction only an agreement between the two that David should conduct a census.</STRONG>
1. I think it is a contradiction. Clearly, in 2 Sam 24:1 the Lord incited David, while in 1 Ch 21:1 Satan incited David. I agree that the notion of Satan evolved considerably over time. Even if Satan is taken to mean adversary, the contradiction remains. Who incited David? Unless the Lord and Satan are one and the same (hmmmm) the two passages are saying different things. Thus they contradict each other.

2. The proper pronoun Satan appears in only three places in the OT in most English translations: 1 Ch 21, Job 1-2, and Zech 3. It is obvious that his evolution into the embodiment of evil took place between the Babylonian Captivity and the time of Jesus.

3. Lucifer! Don't me started on Lucifer! That term, while popularly used nowadays as nickname for ol Scratch, is based on a bad translation in the KJV of Isa 14:12. The word is better translated "morning star" and referred to the King of Babylon. The term Lucifer is never used anywhere in the Bible to refer to Satan (aka the accuser, the Devil, Great Serpent of Revelation).
ex-preacher is offline  
Old 07-30-2001, 01:47 PM   #26
Kosh
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Orions Belt
Posts: 3,911
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by Apikorus:
<STRONG> The standard Christian image of the thoroughly evil, immensely powerful enemy of God who lures man to sin represents in some sense an end stage of this evolution, but in other ways must be considered sui generis.</STRONG>
Now that Satan has been evolved from looking
like Al Pacino to looking like Elizabeth
Hurley, I for one vote that we just freeze
the concept as is..... no more improvements
are necessary... :-)
Kosh is offline  
Old 07-30-2001, 02:32 PM   #27
Hubzilla
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posts: 24
Post

Here are my favorites:

****************
1 Kings 9:23
They were also the chief officials in charge of Solomon's projects--550 officials supervising the men who did the work.

versus

2 Chronicles 8:10
They were also King Solomon's chief officials--two hundred and fifty officials supervising the men.

Numerical differences are the hardest to explain away

****************
Genesis 1:25-26
God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let us make man in our image..."

versus

Genesis 2:18-19
The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them...

This is a good one when faced with creationists: "Okay, first of all, which creation story are you talking about: The one with the man before or after the animals?"

****************
Matthew 28:19
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations..."

versus

Matthew 10:5-6
"Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel."

Matthew 15:26
He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." (a few verses later he contemptuously refers to Gentiles as "dogs")

To many fundamentalists I know, Matthew 28:18-20 is one of Jesus' most important quotes (especially those groups who are focused on evangelism/recruiting). Nowhere did Jesus ever say to go after the gentiles, so the apostles must've no doubt been confused by this... at least until Peter's vision in Acts 10-11. Some feel these verses were an interpolation to jive with the tacked-on Mark 16:14-20

*************
1 Corinthians 15:5
...and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.

This is my favorite. How could Paul "forget" Judas? Of course, this book was written before any of the gospels. I have yet to see a good reason for this "apparent discrepancy".


(post edited because the subtle difference between 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1 has already been covered above)

[ July 30, 2001: Message edited by: Hubzilla ]
Hubzilla is offline  
Old 07-31-2001, 07:56 AM   #28
Kosh
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Orions Belt
Posts: 3,911
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by Hubzilla:
<STRONG>
Genesis 2:18-19
The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them...
</STRONG>
Hey Hub, just gonna nitpic on you here.
I don't really see this as a contradiction.
I read it as:

- Not good for man to be alone
- God HAD made all the animals
(I don't think this means he made them
after the statement about man being alone
- So then he brought all the animals
before him, the ones that he HAD
made.

Hey, anyone think that Adam might have
maybe paused for thought when the sheep were brought around?...
Kosh is offline  
Old 07-31-2001, 02:28 PM   #29
Hubzilla
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posts: 24
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by Kosh:
<STRONG>

Hey Hub, just gonna nitpic on you here.
I don't really see this as a contradiction.
I read it as:

- Not good for man to be alone
- God HAD made all the animals
(I don't think this means he made them
after the statement about man being alone
- So then he brought all the animals
before him, the ones that he HAD
made.
</STRONG>
Good point. I only used the NIV because I was originally pointing these out to a fundie friend (who believed the NIV was the most accurate). Checking out your reply, I immediately began to suspect an NIV "edit".


RSV:

18
Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."
19
So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.


KJV:

18
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19
And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.


The beginning of verse 19 in the other versions does not seem to indicate the animals were made first, certainly not as plainly as the NIV does. One thing I've noticed about the NIV is it changes words to "soften" some of the contradictions. For example:

2 Chronicles 22:2: Ahaziah's age is 42 in the RSV and KJV. The NIV has hime only 22, no doubt to jive with 2 Kings 8:26 (which has him 22 in all versions)

Acts 22:9 Paul's men do not hear a voice in the KJV and RSV. In the NIV, they merely didn't understand the voice, no doubt to jive with Acts 9:7 where they did indeed hear the voice.

Not really a contradiction, but in Isaiah 45:7, God creates evil. The NIV relaxes this to say darkness.

(edited for spelling)

[ July 31, 2001: Message edited by: Hubzilla ]
Hubzilla is offline  
Old 08-04-2001, 04:27 PM   #30
backslider
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 17
Post

Ironically, it was a Theology professor at a Lutheran college that set me down the path to atheism.

He was the first person I ever heard point out the resurrection contradictions. He believed the gospel writers were trying to 'top' each other since the order in which they were written was Mark, Matthew, Luke and then John. He made a great case-- pointing out verse by verse how each writer 'upped the ante' both when it came to the resurrection and, I think more importantly, the claims that Jesus was God in the flesh. It's interesting to read Mark (the first) and then John (the last, written decades later) and compare the language and descriptions of Jesus. My professor's theory made a lot of sense to me.

Something else this professor taught which I found astonishing (being raised a fundie) was that certain passages from New Testament epistles that are credited to Paul are really not Paul, but an imposter! I remember he specifically said that Theologians like himself (a grad of Princeton Theo. Seminary) believed that someone else had inserted the sexist text in... I think it was II Timothy. He said both the spirit of the words and the writing style itself were not Paul's, but would have been added later by someone who wanted women to be second class citizens.

It was one of my more interesting freshman courses!
backslider is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:22 PM.

Top

This custom BB emulates vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.