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Old 12-16-2006, 02:39 AM   #1
Peter Kirby
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Default IIDB BC&H FAQ v. 0.7 ~ Ask basic questions here!

IIDB BC&H FAQ, Version 0.7 [December 15, 2006]

You are encouraged to discuss this FAQ in this thread. Also, raise any basic questions (or not so basic questions!) that you may have about Biblical Criticism & History.

0. About this FAQ

This FAQ is the distilled wisdom of IIDB regulars concerning Biblical Criticism & History. It is rewritten monthly and posted as a sticky in the BC&H forum of IIDB, at this URL:

http://www.iidb.org/vbb/forumdisplay.php?f=60

Maintainers: Peter Kirby <peterkirby@gmail.com>

Copyright © 2006. All maintainers agree to dual license their work as GFDL and CC-by-sa.

1. The Bible in General and Errancy

1.1 Translations of the Bible

Threads: Catholic Bible - which one?, Amplified Bible, A Question About Translations

1.2 Authority of the Bible

Threads: Is biblical literalism biblical?

1.3 Errors in the Bible

As you would expect of a set of documents compiled from five dozen authors, written over a span of about eight centuries, the Bible does contains error, even contradiction within itself.

Threads: What are the weird commands in bible?, Grammatical errors in ze Bible?, The Bible Has Never Been Controverted by Solid Historical Data

1.3.1 Does the Bible say that pi is 3?

Not directly. For discussion, check the threads.

Threads: The Bible and Pi, Pi in Bible

1.4 Contradictions in the Bible

Threads: What is the GREATEST Bible contradiction?, Regarding Biblical Contradictions in the Library, Your Favorite Bible Contradictions??, A(nother) Contradiction, A practical approach to bible contradictions, Favorite Contradiction, Solid examples of errancy?, biblical contradictions, Most Concrete Contradictions

1.5 Prophecy

Some argue that the Bible contains no accurate oracles. Some argue that what the NT authors take as messianic prophecy is not such.

Threads: Magus55: take the Prophecy Challenge!, Is Isaiah 7:14 a messianic prophecy?, Messianic Prophesies, Are there any messianic prophecies in the OT?, Another thread about christ in the old testament, Some Alleged Messianic Prophecies, Is Jesus the messiah of the OT?, Has any prophecies come true?, JimLarmore on Prophecy!

1.6 Eschatology

Eschatology is the subject of the end of the world.

Threads: Layman's Dubious Interpretation of Hebrews 9:26

1.7 Salvation

Threads: Universalism is biblical

2. History in General and Religion

2.1 Metahistory

Threads: Benefit of the Doubt, Realism and Biblical History, Historical Method, Craig's Employment of the McCullagh Criteria

2.2 Minimalist debates

Joel Ng had some good answers in this area before.

Threads: Biblical "Minimalism" vs "Maximalism", When did the Hebrews emerge as a separate people?, Minimalist recommendations and a few others, Do the biblical minimalists have any credibility?, Did Ezra Exist?

2.3 Zoroastrianism

Threads: Zoroastrianism as a Source For Christianity?

2.4 Judaism

Threads: Hippolytus on the Jewish Religion

2.5 Mystery religions

Threads: Help on crucifixion of Dyonisis, Xtianity = Mithraism?, Mithras insciption question, Source material for mystery religions, Mithraism split from Similarities between Jesus and Pagans, Similarities between Jesus and Pagan Gods, About Mithras and Mitra. Sol Inviticus and Mithraism. Answered Questions, "Dionysus in the Tree", "REAL" mythology books dont show simularities, Christianity and Paganism, Dionysos and Chrisna

2.6 Roman history

Threads: Imperial Correspondence

3. Jewish Scripture

3.1 Books of Jewish Scripture

3.1.1 Genesis

Genesis is the first book of the Bible.

3.1.2 Proverbs

Proverbs is a collection of advice on living.

Threads: The Value of Proverbs

3.1.3 Job

Threads: A fair and completely unbiased view of Job, Ending of the Book Of Job

3.1.4 Isaiah

Threads: Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12

3.1.5 Daniel

Threads: Daniel: Multiple authorship of Daniel, Prophesy

3.1.6 Dead Sea Scrolls

Threads: The Whitewashing of John Allegro, Dead Sea Scrolls 7Q5 and New Testament, Essenes and scrolls, On Eisenmann's "arbitrary" dating of DSS and Selective Criticism

3.1.7 Josephus

Threads: Language(s) used by Josephus

3.1.8 Talmud

Threads: What is the Talmud?

3.2 The Pentateuch and Authorship

Threads: Mosaic authorship of the Torah, J, E, P, D Alternatives, Documentary Hypothesis again, To 'E' or not to 'E', that is the question...

4. Christian Scripture

4.1 Books of Christian Scripture

4.1.1 Matthew

Matthew is a Synoptic Gospel.

Threads: Is GMk 3:29 (cf. GLk 12:10) a get out of conversion free card?

4.1.2 Mark

Mark is a Synoptic Gospel.

Threads: From John to Capernaum: Mark 1:14-34, The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark, The Silence of Mark, Geographical Errors in Mark and J.P. Holding, My historical commentary on Mark, Any theories as to who the naked man in Mark is?, Mark 8:19-21: What kind of hint is Jesus giving?, Book Review: Gundry's Mark: A Commentary..., Mark-Q Overlaps, Examining Markan Priority, Is Mark 15:40-7 a Doublet of Mark 16:1-8? or a Chiasm?, The Chiasm in Mark 15:1-15...savor this thing of beauty, The Chiasm in Mark 10: another beaut, Is there a verse missing in Mark 15: the chiasm in Mark 15, How much of Mark is from OT?, Chiasm for Mark, Was Detering Right about the Dating of Mark?

4.1.2.1 Ending of Mark?

Most scholars believe that the verses Mark 16:9-20 are unoriginal.

Threads: Mark's Ending, Does the original Mark end with 16:8, How did the Gospel of Mark end?, Mark 16:9-20 ascribed to Ariston?, Some preliminary remarks on Sowing the Gospel, How early is the longer ending of Mark?, Mark 16 and Beyond

4.1.3 Luke

Luke is a Synoptic Gospel.

Threads: On Luke Redux, Earliest reference to the gospel of Luke?, Could Marcion Have Predated Luke?

4.1.4 John

John is the maverick Gospel.

Threads: Johannine Sectarians, gJohn authorship: attribution to Cerinthus, Johannine Dependence on the Synoptics/ Mark, P52 and John, John 7:38, Pericope de Adultera--Internal Evidence, Pericope de Adultera--External Evidence, Gaius and the fourth gospel, Early References to the Gospel of John

4.1.5 Acts

Acts is the story of the early Jerusalem church and of Paul.

Threads: Evolution of Acts - Additions from Euripides?, Discrepancies between Acts and Letters, 1st Mention of Acts?, To Rick: Why AActs was not Paul's companion: Letter-writing, Chris Price: Genre, Historicity, Date, and Authorship of Acts

4.1.5.1 What is the significance of the 'we passages' of Acts?

Threads: Are the "We-Passage" in Acts Literary Conventions for Describing Sea-Voyages?, Vernon K Robbins replies to Layman on We Passages in Acts, Confirmation and Correlation in Acts and the Pauline Epistles, Did the author of Acts have access to Paul's letters?, References on Acts Requested, First Person Perspective in Ancient Sea Travel, Kirby on Robbins : Is the Sea Voyage Genre Theory Shipwrecked?, Contra Robbins: Chris Price and Peter Kirby

4.1.6 Galatians

Galatians is a letter of Paul.

Threads: Authenticity of Gal 1:19

4.1.7 Hebrews

Hebrews is an anonymous epistle.

Threads: Doherty's translation of Heb 8:4, Hebrews, MT, LXX and the Dead Sea Scrolls

4.1.8 Catholic Epistles

Threads: 1 Peter 5 Is this a lie?

4.1.9 Revelation

Revelation, the last book in the Bible, declares itself written by John of Patmos.

Threads: 666: What is supposed to really mean?, Explain Revelation, Mystery of 666, Why is Revelation's John so special?, That Devil's new #: 616

4.1.10 Secret Mark

Also known as the "Gospel Hoax."

Threads: "Secret Mark", We know Smith wrote Secret Mark! Er, I think, update about the Secret Mark, Secret Mark is authentic: the evidence, Secret Mark is authentic: the evidence (Parts 3-4), Death knell begins to toll for "Secret Mark", Secret Mark: the state of the question, Thomas Talley in support of SecMk, Carlson's attempt to debunk Secret Mark, Is the Secret Gospel of Mark a Modern Forgery Based on a Cheesy Christian Novel?, The Gospel Hoax by S. C. Carlson, A review of Carlson's debunking of Secret Mark

4.1.11 Gospel of Thomas

The Gospel of Thomas is considered a "fifth gospel," as it is a widely celebrated collection of sayings of Jesus.

Threads: The Alleged Late Dating of GThomas, Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Thomas?, Gospel of Thomas

4.1.12 Ignatius of Antioch

Threads: Are the Ignatian epistles authentic?, Redating Ignatius ?

4.1.13 Aristides

Threads: Aristides in Syriac

4.1.14 Papias

Threads: Papias

4.1.15 Theophilus of Antioch

Theophilus was a church father.

Threads: Had Theophilus heard of Jesus?

4.1.16 Gospel of Judas

Threads: Gospel of Judas

4.1.17 Hegesippus

Threads: Raskin: Change Your Underwear! Hegesippus is a Fraud

4.1.18 Irenaeus

Threads: Did Ireneaus Really Know the Gospels We Have Today?

4.1.19 Eusebius

Threads: Would Eusebius have Fabricated an Organized Church History to Please Constantine?

4.2 Issues with the Gospels

4.2.1 Dating the Gospels

When were the gospels written? Your guess is as good as mine, within certain bounds.

Threads: Dating Matthew and Mark, Round tomb blocking stone as evidence for a late dating of Mark?, When were the gospels written, Gospel Author evidence, Did Jesus Really Exist?, Dating the Gospel of Thomas, Date and authorship of the Gospels, Jesus in the Talmud?, Were the Gospels written within the so called 'Eye Witness Period'?, NT writings substantiated before 100 CE, Dating Papias' attestation of GMark, What POSITIVE Evidence is there for a 1st Century dating of the gospels?, Shredding the Gospels, Dating of Mark [before 70 CE?]

4.2.2 Synoptic Problem

You'll find that the priority of Mark, the idea that Mark was the first Gospel written, is very popular on this board.

Threads: Unfamiliar or unusal words in Mark?, A statistical approach to the synoptic problem, Any Q Skeptics?, Q: If there is no Q, is there really no Q?, Mark, Luke, then Matthew?, Is this a plausible scenario of how the gospels came to be?, Three Arguments for Lukan-Matthean Dependence, Are Q1 teachings found in Paul's epistles?, Inquiry on synoptic statistics, Matthew 10.24-39, an argument for a sayings source like Q

4.2.3 Infancy Narratives

These are the contradictory stories of Jesus' nativity.

Threads: Census thing again!, King Herod, The credibility of Matthew, Another Lukan Historical Error?

4.2.4 Instability of Texts

In other words, the way that the gospels changed over time.

Threads: Textual Evolution, Helmut Koester and What Josh Mcdowell Forgot to Tell us..., The Corrupted Text of Canonical Mark

4.3 Letters of Paul

Threads: Redating of p46 to ca. 85 CE, Historicity of Paul, Paul the Obscure, Is 1 Cor. 15:3-11 an interpolation?, E-Mails with Dr. Price and Dr. Walker on whether 1 Cor. 15:3-11 is an Interpolation, Dating of p46 to 85AD?, A Lexical Look at the Paulines, Did Paul Write in AD 70-100?

4.4 Textual Criticism of the New Testament

Threads: Missing verses in RSV, Luke 3:22, Adoptionists, and Bart Ehrman, Translation concerns for Matt 19:16-17, New Testament Manuscripts, Do we have the original NT?, Textus Receptus vs. Alexandrian texts, The Mighty Abiathar (Mk 2:26)

4.5 Original Aramaic NT?

Threads: Mark 9:49. salted with fire?, Was Romans written in Aramaic?, new testament really written in greek?, Paul wrote to Corinth in Aramaic?, Hebrews written in greek, The language of original NT manuscripts, Further linguistic evidence against the NT being written in Aramaic

4.6 Canon of Scripture

Sorry, the boys in funny hats didn't actually determine this by vote.

Threads: How did the Nicene Council influence the Bible?, Extent of cannon unity in 4th century?, General Biblical questions

5. Christian Origins

5.1 Historicity of Jesus

The phrase "the historicity of Jesus" refers to whether or not there was a man named Jesus known to his brother James, the apostle Peter, and other followers of Jesus.

5.1.1 Arguments against HJ

Threads: Today's Leaders, The Strange Silence of Samuel Rutherford, There ARE Echoes of Jesus in Earlier Myths, 7th Century crucifixion iconography - Why so late?, The origins of the Passion Narrative, The Passion Narrative and Philo, Philo, There was no historical Jesus, What's the best argument against historical Jesus?, Support for Doherty Please, Kata Sarka, Jesus' presence, Messianic Memorabillia, Problem for Doherty's thesis, Doherty on Christian use of the Old Testament, 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 is an Interpolation, Historical Jesus Skepticism FAQ, A Thorough Review of Doherty's Analysis of Hebrews, Argument on "born of a woman" "of the seed of David", Thread on Challenging Doherty Continued, Flipping Layman's Frazzled Factoids: Earl Doherty and the Apostolic Tradition, Earl Doherty, Tatian: a dagger in the heart of Doherty's thesis?, Doherty's 'smoking gun': Minucius Felix, 2nd Century Silence: A look at Doherty's claim, Didache and Jesus Mythicism, The Jesus Puzzle- has anyone read it?, The Gospels - are they Roman plays?, Critiquing Doherty, Doherty on Ignatius, Archons, Ascension of Isaiah, and the Jesus Myth theory, A Note on Trypho, Jesus and the Mythic Hero Archetype, The Jesus Myth Gets another Scholar, According to the Flesh, Doherty and the 2nd Century Apologists, Minucius Felix etc, Paul, Plutarch, sublunar realms and the Buffyverse, Response to Earl Doherty's Top 20 Silences, Reply to 3 of Carrier's claims against Muller regarding Doherty's thesis, The Ascension of Isaiah, KATA SARKA in Aristotle and Epicurus

5.1.2 Arguments for HJ

Threads: Doherty's Dubious Analysis of Hebrews 13:11-13, Doherty's Dubious Interpretation of Hebrews 9:27-28, How Do We Know When Jesus Lived?, Is Gmark the product of the fictionalization of a heavenly Christ myth?, What is the conclusive, historical evidence for the existence of Jesus?, A Good Indication That Jesus Existed, Crossan's First Stratum, They don't make dying/rising savior gods like they used to!, Evidence for Jesus existence is solid, Jesus Variants, Jesus Was Born of a Woman = Jesus was a Human Being, Doherty's Erroneous Approach to the Apostolic Tradition, Baptism by JtB and the historicity of Jesus, Proof of the HJ : Paucity of Gentile Related Material in Synoptic Gospels, Jesus Methodolog and Peter (re Vork), Paul Believed Jesus Was Born of a Descendent of David According to the Flesh, Will Durant and Jesus Christ's Historicity, What is the case for a historical Jesus?, 2 Peter shows evidence of gJohn, Jesus Story: no other versions, Van Voorst's refutation of the Mythical Jesus Theory, Paul: Christ died sometime after the time of Moses?, Evidence of a 1st Century CE Jesus

5.1.3 Methodology and the Historicity of Jesus

Threads: New XTALK article blasts Meier on Multiple Attestation, Historical Jesus Methodology, Meier on the Baptism, The development of ideas, Bernard Muller's reconstruction, Is there any evidence the gospels are based on oral tradition?, Old Pamphlet on Napoleon?, Diversity of Ancient Christianity, reliable records?, Mani vs Jesus - the external evidence, The Anti-Legend Argument, The Shameful Argument from Shame, HJ vs. HB (Jesus v Buddah), Ken Olson has new Blog, great article satirizing Conservative "Historical" methods, Mark's "Community" and pre-Markan traditions, Longinus, Carotta, Doherty, paranoia and the mainstream, Any book commendations?, a start on the historical jesus, Historical Method for Dummies, My 20 silences in early epistles--response to Doherty, Earliest Christian Traditions, Getting new ideas accepted by scholars - how is it done?

5.1.4 Books about the Historicity of Jesus

Threads: Book Review: The Jesus Myth (Wells) and Deconstructing Jesus (Price), Crossan's The Historical Jesus: A Review, The Jesus the Jews Never Knew: Book Review By Earl Doherty of Zindler's New Book

5.1.5 Polls about the Historicity of Jesus

Threads: Are you a HJer, JMer, or agnostic on the issue?, Was there a Historical Jesus? The IIDB Poll, Which Major Religious Figures do You Think Existed, Have supporters of HJ shown there was a HJ?, Jesus: entirely mythical, or a historical person?

5.2 Non-Christian Sources

Threads: The Remsberg list of early writers who failed to mention Jesus - improved

5.2.1 Josephus on Jesus?

Threads: Kirby on the Testimonium Flavianum (1), Kirby on the Testimonium Flavanium (2), Kirby on the Testimonium Flavianum (3), Kirby on the Testimonium (4), Ant. 20.9.1 (for Bede), Open Discussion on Arguments for TF, The Christ Passage in Josephus, "called Christ" ONLY was added to Ant. 20.200, The Testimonium Flavianum is Partially Authentic, Testamonium Flavium, Testimonium Flavium and discourse analysis, The brother of Jesus called Christ, whose name was James, Jesus called Christ in Josephus AJ 20.9.1, Did Voss (Vossius) possess a Josephus Manuscript without the TF?, Eusebius forged Hegesippus, Eusebius did not create the TF, Question about Josephus quote, Josephus and the Slavonic Version of the War, Gathering info for a new look at Josephus

5.2.2 Philo on Jesus?

Threads: Philo and "Christ"

5.2.3 The Talmud on Jesus?

Threads: Jesus in the Talmud?, Jesus in the Mishna, Comments from you experts please

5.2.4 Thallus on Jesus?

Threads: Did They See That Darkness?, Thallus as a litmus test

5.2.5 Seneca on Jesus?

Threads: Possible Historical Reference to Jesus in Seneca?

5.2.6 Tacitus on Jesus?

Threads: Tacitus & co, New Thread on Tacitus, christianos or chrestianos in Tacitus?, Tacitus, Nero, Christians, Fire...Carrington's Page on the Testamonium Tacitus

5.2.7 Modern Fake Texts on Jesus?

Threads: Letter from Pontius Pilate to Tiberius Caesar??

5.3 Entheogenic Theory

Threads: Jesus Used Cannabis

5.4 Resurrection

Jesus is dead.

Threads: resurrection debates, Proof Of The Resurrection?, Easter Account Contradictions, The truth about the empty tomb, Wright anyone?, The Historicity of the Empty Tomb Evaluated, Paul's Belief in a Bodily Resurrection, Peter Kirby and Empty Tombs, Resurrection: Physical vs Spiritual, guards at the tomb?, Tektonics Critiques The Empty Tomb, The Empty Tomb: Reviews

5.5 Apostles

They must have died somehow...the question is how.

Threads: Evidence for the historical apostles?, Apostolic Martyrdom, Matthew wasn't martyred, Martyrdom of the apostles, Existence of apostles, for Greek speakers: name of Peter?, Tales from the Crypt: the Martyrdom of Peter and Paul

5.6 Christology

Threads: The messiah as son of David, Son of Man, Sophia, where art thou?, Use of the word "Christos" before Jesus?, Chrestos and Christos, Christian?, Meaning of "Jesus" in Greek?, The etymology of Christ

5.7 Jesus and 'Nazareth'

Threads: The Hometown of Jesus, Where the hell was Nazareth?, When is Nazareth first mentioned in datable literature?, Where was Jesus born?, Nazarene Nazwraios variations, A Few Questions on Nazareth, "Nazareth" from "Gennesaret"

5.8 James Brother of Jesus Ossuary

And the world spins on, a few reputations bruised, and brain cells wasted.

Threads: First Century Archeological Evidence for the Existence of Jesus?, First Century Relic Laughed at by Christians, Inscription To Be Publically Displayed and Tested Again, The First Century Jesus Inscription (a compliation of relevant information), a crack through Jesus, Ossuary was genuine, inscription was faked, Experts Question Authenticity of Bone Box for `Brother of Jesus', Aerospace engineer's examination of the ossuary, Israeli Geological Service's statement on the ossuary, Updates on the ossuary, Fitzmyer's position regarding authenticity of the ossuary, Ossuary, ossuary, who's got the ossuary?, Oded Golan (ossuary owner), Response to Robert Turkel on the authenticity of the ossuary, Response to Turkel on the ossuary, part 2, More ossuary nonsense, Discovery Channel on the Ossuary of James, Make your own ancient artifact! a How-to Guide, New in BAR, XTALK just posted: Ossuary reportedly determined fake..., Jehoash Tablet reportedly judged a forgery, Israeli Antiquities Authority says ''James Ossuary'' inscription a fake, The Ossuary and The Committee, Altman's Latest Devastation of the Ossuary, Shanks: "I'm still not convinced", BAR article, Jul/Aug 2003: New tests bolster case for authenticity of ossuary, Please help save our reputation, Ossuary Owner Arrested for Fraud, Final Reports on the Yehoash Inscription and James Ossuary from the Israeli Antiquities Authority, Slouching toward Lemaire..., Shanks has not conceded on the Ossuary, New Ossuary Article at BibInterp, Ossuary Again, Relatively new article on grammar of James inscription, Ossuary Dethroned...but by whom??, "James" Ossuary, Ossuary latest, Run Down on the Antiquities Forgeries at Trial

5.9 Other NT Archaeology

Threads: John the Baptist's cave found?

6. Islam

No, I won't be writing "peace be upon him" after the name Muhammad.

Threads: Quest for the Historical Muhammad?, What do we know about Muhammad?, External References to Islam

...

I'm currently working on January 2006's posts--if I missed any from before January 2006, please let me know.

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Peter Kirby
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Old 03-12-2007, 03:43 AM   #2
Throbert McGee
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May I suggest that brief definitions of the sometimes-confused terms "Torah," "Tanakh," and "Talmud" be added to the head of the Jewish Scripture section? For example:

"Torah" is synonymous with the Greek "Pentateuch," referring specifically to the first five books of the Bible that tradition ascribes to Moses (see 3.2).

"Tanakh," which is more or less synonymous with "the Jewish Bible," refers collectively to the same texts that Protestants regard as the Christian OT, although Jewish and Christian traditions differ on how the books are numbered and arranged.

"Talmud" (see 3.1.8) is the name for a multi-volume collection of rabbinical commentaries ABOUT the Jewish Bible, but not part of it.
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Old 03-12-2007, 04:46 AM   #3
Throbert McGee
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Reading your surprise in the "What do we know about Muhammad?" thread about the fact that Muhammad gets very few mentions in the Qur'an, I might also suggest brief definitions of "Qur'an" and "hadith":

The "Qur'an" is the Holy Scripture of Islam, supposedly dictated to Muhammad by angelic visitors and supposedly a verbatim transcript of an original copy that has eternally existed in Heaven. It is less varied in literary style than the Jewish/Christian Bible, and most noticeably absent are narrative stories similar to those in Genesis or the Gospels, describing the earthly adventures of Muhammad and other Muslim figures. Some parts of the Qur'an may be roughly compared, in literary style, with Leviticus; others with Proverbs and Psalms. Finally, although scholars of Arabic often prefer the Latinized form "Qur'an" for reasons of consistent transliteration, the widely used spelling "Koran" is not in any way "less correct."

The "ahadith" are post-Quranic -- i.e., non-Scriptural -- Muslim accounts describing the deeds and sayings of Muhammad in a narrative style that resembles the Gospel accounts of Jesus. ("Ahadith" is an Arabic plural that can be legitimately anglicized to "hadiths," while the singular is "hadith" in both Arabic and English.) Many hadiths are widely accepted by Muslims as "authoritative" and historically reliable, but in contrast to the Qur'an, they are not regarded as "divinely inspired."
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Old 07-07-2007, 01:10 PM   #4
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I'm looking for a good overview or summary of the various methods used to attempt refutation of biblical contradictions. I know that a very common one is "copyist's error", but I'd like to see something fairly comprehensive on the subject.

Is there such a thing somewhere on the web?

Thanks!
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