Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Part 3 - Criticism of the Bible

Criticism of the Bible
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about criticisms of the Bible as a source of reliable information or ethical guidance. For the academic treatment of the Bible as a historical document, see Biblical criticism.

Criticism of the Bible concerns the factual accuracy of the claims and the moral tenability of the commandments made in the Bible, the holy books of ChristianityJudaism, and other religions.[citation needed] Devout Christians have long regarded their Bible as the perfect word of God (and devout Jews have held the Hebrew Bible similarly in high regard). In addition to concerns about ethics in the Bible, about biblical inerrancy, or about the historicity of the Bible, there remain some questions of biblical authorship and as to what material to include in the biblical canon.


At the end of the 17th century, only a few Bible scholars doubted that Moses wrote the Torah (also known as the Pentateuch, traditionally called the "Five Books of Moses"), such as Thomas HobbesIsaac La Peyrère and Baruch Spinoza,[1] but in the late 18th century some scholars such as Jean Astruc (1753)[2] began to systematically question his authorship. By the end of the 19th century, some such as Julius Wellhausen and Abraham Kuenen[3] went as far as to claim that as a whole the work was of many more authors over many centuries from 1000 BC (the time of David) to 500 BC (the time of Ezra) and that the history it contained was often more polemical rather than strictly factual. By the first half of the 20th century, Hermann Gunkel had drawn attention to mythic aspects, and Albrecht AltMartin Noth, and the tradition history school argued that although its core traditions had genuinely ancient roots, the narratives were fictional framing devices and were not intended as history in the modern sense.

The modern consensus amongst Bible scholars is that the vast majority of the authors of books of the Bible are unknown.[1]: 1  Most of them are written anonymously, and only some of the 27 books of the New Testament mention an author, some of which are probably or known to be pseudepigrapha, meaning they were written by someone other than whom the author said he was.[4]: 3:10  The anonymous books have traditionally been attributed authors, though none of these, such as the "Five Books of Moses", or the four canonical gospels "according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John" have appeared to stand up under scrutiny.[1]: 1 [4] Only the 7 undisputed Pauline epistles appear to have most likely been written by Paul the Apostle, the Book of Revelation by John of Patmos (not by John the Apostle, nor by the author(s) of the other 'Johannine literature'). Scholars disagree whether Paul wrote the "Deutero-Pauline epistles" and whether Simon Peter wrote First Epistle of Peter; all other New Testament books that mention an author are most likely forgeries.[4] Though, for the Pastorals, this can be a result of mainly a passing down the tradition of "scholarly consensus" vs. merited by the evidence.[5]

In the 2nd century, the gnostics often claimed that their form of Christianity was the first, and they regarded Jesus as a teacher or an allegorical figure.[6] Elaine Pagels has proposed that there are several examples of gnostic attitudes in the Pauline epistles.[7] Bart D. Ehrman and Raymond E. Brown note that some of the Pauline epistles are widely regarded by scholars as pseudonymous,[8] and it is the view of Timothy Freke, and others, that this involved a forgery in an attempt by the Church to bring in Paul's gnostic supporters and turn the arguments in the other epistles on their head.[9][10]


Specific collections of biblical writings, such as the Hebrew Bible and Christian Bibles, are considered sacred and authoritative by their respective faith groups.[11] The limits of the canon were effectively set by the proto-orthodox churches from the 1st throughout the 4th century; however, the status of the scriptures has been a topic of scholarly discussion in the later churches. Increasingly, the biblical works have been subjected to literary and historical criticism in an effort to interpret the biblical texts, independent of churches and dogmatic influences.[11]

In the middle of the second centuryMarcion of Sinope proposed rejecting the entire Jewish Bible. He considered the God portrayed therein to be a lesser deity, a demiurge, and that the law of Moses was contrived.[12] A similar view is referred to as Jesuism, which does not affirm the scriptural authority of any biblical text other than the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels.

Judaism discount the New Testament[13] and Old Testament deuterocanonicals. They, along with most Christians, also discredit the legitimacy of New Testament apocrypha.


Elizabeth Anderson, a professor of philosophy and women's studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, states that "the Bible contains both good and evil teachings", and it is "morally inconsistent".[14]

Anderson criticizes commands God gave to men in the Old Testament, such as: kill adulterers, homosexuals, and "people who work on the Sabbath" (Leviticus 20:10; Leviticus 20:13Exodus 35:2, respectively); to commit ethnic cleansing (Exodus 34:11–14Leviticus 26:7–9); commit genocide (Numbers 21: 2–3Numbers 21:33–35Deuteronomy 2:26–35, and Joshua 1–12); and other mass killings.[15] Anderson considers the Bible to permit slavery, the beating of slaves, the rape of female captives in wartime, polygamy (for men), the killing of prisoners, and child sacrifice.[15] She also provides several examples to illustrate what she considers "God's moral character": "Routinely punishes people for the sins of others ... punishes all mothers by condemning them to painful childbirth", punishes four generations of descendants of those who worship other gods, kills 24,000 Israelites because some of them sinned (Numbers 25:1–9), kills 70,000 Israelites for the sin of David in 2 Samuel 24:10–15, and "sends two bears out of the woods to tear forty-two children to pieces" because they called someone names in 2 Kings 2:23–24[16]

Anderson criticizes what she terms morally repugnant lessons of the New Testament. She claims that "Jesus tells us his mission is to make family members hate one another, so that they shall love him more than their kin" (Matt 10:35–37), that "Disciples must hate their parents, siblings, wives, and children (Luke 14:26)", and that Peter and Paul elevate men over their wives "who must obey their husbands as gods" (1 Corinthians 11:3, 1 Corinthians 14:34–35, Eph. 5:22–24Col. 3:181 Tim. 2: 11–121 Pet. 3:1).[17] Anderson states that the Gospel of John implies that "infants and anyone who never had the opportunity to hear about Christ are damned [to hell], through no fault of their own".[18]

Simon Blackburn states that the "Bible can be read as giving us a carte blanche for harsh attitudes to children, the mentally handicapped, animals, the environment, the divorced, unbelievers, people with various sexual habits, and elderly women".[19]

Blackburn criticizes what he terms morally suspect themes of the New Testament.[20] He notes some "moral quirks" of Jesus: that he could be "sectarian" (Matt 10:5–6),[21] racist (Matt 15:26 and Mark 7:27), and placed no value on animal life (Luke 8: 27–33).

Blackburn provides examples of Old Testament moral criticisms, such as the phrase in Exodus 22:18, ("Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.") which he says has "helped to burn alive tens or hundreds of thousands of women in Europe and America". He states that the Old Testament God apparently has "no problems with a slave-owning society", considers birth control a crime punishable by death, and "is keen on child abuse".[22] Additional examples that are questioned today are the prohibition on touching women during their "period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19–24)", the apparent approval of selling daughters into slavery (Exodus 21:7), and the obligation to put to death someone working on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2).[23]


The historicity of the Bible is the question of the Bible's "acceptability as a history".[24] This can be extended to the question of the Christian New Testament as an accurate record of the historical Jesus and the Apostolic Age.

Scholars examine the historical context of the Bible passages, the importance ascribed to events by the authors, and the contrast between the descriptions of these events and other historical evidence.

Archaeological discoveries since the 19th century are open to interpretation, but broadly speaking they lend support to few of the Old Testament's narratives as history and offer evidence to challenge others.[a][26][b][28][29] However, some scholars still hold that the overall Old Testament narrative is historically reliable.[30]

Biblical minimalism is a label applied to a loosely knit group of scholars who hold that the Bible's version of history is not supported by any archaeological evidence so far unearthed, thus the Bible cannot be trusted as a history source.[31][32] Author Richard I. Pervo details the non-historical sources of the Book of Acts.[33]

Historicity of Jesus

The validity of the Gospels is challenged by writers such as Kersey Graves who claimed that mythic stories, that have parallels in the life of Jesus, support the conclusion that the gospel writers incorporated them into the story of Jesus[34] and Gerald Massey,[35] who specifically claimed that the life story of the Egyptian god Horus was copied by Christian Gnostics.[36] Parallels have also been drawn between Greek myths and the life of Jesus. The comparative mythology of Jesus Christ examines the parallels that have been proposed for the Biblical portrayal of Jesus in comparison to other religious or mythical domains. Some critics have alleged that Christianity is not founded on a historical figure, but rather on a mythical creation. One of these views proposes that Jesus was the Jewish manifestation of a pan-Hellenic cult, known as Osiris-Dionysus.[37]

Christ myth theory proponents[38] claim that the age, authorship, and authenticity of the Gospels can not be verified, thus the Gospels can not bear witness to the historicity of Jesus.[39][40] This is in contrast with writers such as David Strauss, who regarded only the supernatural elements of the gospels as myth, but whereas these supernatural myths were a point of contention, there was no refutation of the gospels' authenticity as a witness to the historicity of Jesus.[41]

Critics of the Gospels such as Richard Dawkins and Thomas Henry Huxley note that they were written long after the death of Jesus and that we have no real knowledge of the date of composition of the Gospels.[42][43] Annie Besant and Thomas Paine note that the authors of the Gospels are not known.[44][45]

Internal consistency

There are many places in the Bible in which inconsistencies—such as different numbers and names for the same feature, and different sequences for the same events—have been alleged and presented by critics as difficulties.[46] Responses to these criticisms include the modern documentary hypothesis, the two-source hypothesis, and theories that the pastoral epistles are pseudonymous.[47]: p.47 

However, authors such as Raymond Brown have presented arguments that the Gospels contradict each other in various important respects and on various important details.[48] W. D. Davies and E. P. Sanders state that: "on many points, especially about Jesus' early life, the evangelists were ignorant ... they simply did not know, and, guided by rumour, hope or supposition, did the best they could".[49] Yet, E.P. Sanders has also opined, "The dominant view today seems to be that we can know pretty well what Jesus was out to accomplish, that we can know a lot about what he said, and that those two things make sense within the world of first-century Judaism."[50] More critical scholars see the nativity stories either as completely fictional accounts,[51] or at least constructed from traditions that predate the Gospels.[52][53]

For example, many versions of the Bible specifically point out that the most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses did not include Mark 16:9–20, i.e., the Gospel of Mark originally ended at Mark 16:8, and additional verses were added a few hundred years later. This is known as the "Markan Appendix".[54][55][56]

Translation issues

Translation of scripture into the vernacular (such as English and hundreds of other languages), though a common phenomenon, is also a subject of debate and criticism.[57] For readability, clarity, or other reasons, translators may choose different wording or sentence structure, and some translations may choose to paraphrase passages. Because many of the words in the original language have ambiguous or difficult to translate meanings, debates over correct interpretation occur. For instance, at creation (Gen 1:2), is רוח אלהים (ruach 'elohiym) the "wind of god", "spirit of god"(i.e., the Holy Spirit in Christianity), or a "mighty wind" over the primordial deep? In Hebrew, רוח (ruach) can mean "wind", "breath" or "spirit". Both ancient and modern translators are divided over this and many other such ambiguities.[58][59][60][61] Another example is the word used in the Masoretic Text[62] to indicate the woman who would bear Immanuel is alleged to mean a young, unmarried woman in Hebrew, while Matthew 1:23 follows the Septuagint version of the passage that uses the Greek word parthenos, translated virgin, and is used to support the Christian idea of virgin birth. Those who view the Masoretic Text, which forms the basis of most English translations of the Old Testament, as being more accurate than the Septuagint, and trust its usual translation, may see this as an inconsistency, whereas those who take the Septuagint to be accurate may not.

More recently, several discoveries of ancient manuscripts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Codex Sinaiticus, have led to modern translations like the New International Version differing somewhat from the older ones such as the 17th century King James Version, removing verses not present in the earliest manuscripts (see List of omitted Bible verses), some of which are acknowledged as interpolations, such as the Comma Johanneum, others having several highly variant versions in very important places, such as the resurrection scene in Mark 16. The King-James-Only Movement rejects these changes and upholds the King James Version as the most accurate.[63]

In a 1973 Journal of Biblical Literature article, Philip B. Harner, Professor Emeritus of Religion at Heidelberg College, claimed that the traditional translation of John 1:1c ("and the Word was God" and one of the most frequently cited verses to support the doctrine of the Trinity) is incorrect. He endorses the New English Bible translation of John 1:1c, "and what God was, the Word was."[64]

The Bible and science

Common points of criticism against the Bible are targeted at the Genesis creation narrativeGenesis flood myth, and the Tower of Babel. According to young Earth creationismflat earth theory, and geocentrism, which all take a literal view of the book of Genesis, the universe, and all forms of life on Earth were created directly by God roughly 6,000 years ago, a global flood killed almost all life on Earth, and the diversity of languages originated from God confusing his people, who were in the process of constructing a large tower. These assertions, however, are contradicted by contemporary research in disciplines, such as archaeologyastronomybiologychemistrygeoscience, and physics.[65] For instance, cosmological evidence suggests that the universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old.[66] Analyses of the geological time scale date the Earth to be 4.5 billion years old. Developments in astronomy show the Solar System formed in a protoplanetary disk roughly 4.6 billion years ago. Physics and cosmology show that the Universe expanded, at a rapid rate, from quantum fluctuations in a process known as the Big Bang. Research within biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and geology has provided sufficient evidence to show life originated over 4 billion years ago through chemical processes. Countless fossils present throughout the fossil record, as well as research in molecular biology, genetics, anatomy, physiology, zoology, and other life sciences show all living organisms evolved over billions of years and share a common ancestry. Archaeological excavations have expanded human history, with material evidence of ancient cultures older than 6,000 years old. Moreover, 6,000 years is not enough time to account for the current amount of genetic variation in humans. If all humans were descended from two individuals that lived less than 10,000 years ago, it would require an impossibly high rate of mutation to reach humanity's current level of genetic diversity.[67]

The argument that the literal story of Genesis can qualify as science collapses on three major grounds: the creationists' need to invoke miracles in order to compress the events of the earth's history into the biblical span of a few thousand years; their unwillingness to abandon claims clearly disproved, including the assertion that all fossils are products of Noah's flood; and their reliance upon distortion, misquote, half-quote, and citation out of context to characterize the ideas of their opponents.

Evolutionary creation, the religious belief that God created the world through the processes of evolution, seeks to reconcile some of these scientific challenges with the Christian faith.

According to one of the world's leading biblical archaeologists, William G. Dever,

Archaeology certainly doesn't prove literal readings of the Bible...It calls them into question, and that's what bothers some people. Most people really think that archaeology is out there to prove the Bible. No archaeologist thinks so. ... From the beginnings of what we call biblical archeology, perhaps 150 years ago, scholars, mostly western scholars, have attempted to use archeological data to prove the Bible. And for a long time it was thought to work. William Albright, the great father of our discipline, often spoke of the "archeological revolution." Well, the revolution has come but not in the way that Albright thought. The truth of the matter today is that archeology raises more questions about the historicity of the Hebrew Bible and even the New Testament than it provides answers, and that's very disturbing to some people.[68]

Dever also wrote:

Archaeology as it is practiced today must be able to challenge, as well as confirm, the Bible stories. Some things described there really did happen, but others did not. The biblical narratives about AbrahamMosesJoshua and Solomon probably reflect some historical memories of people and places, but the 'larger than life' portraits of the Bible are unrealistic and contradicted by the archaeological evidence....[69]

I am not reading the Bible as Scripture… I am in fact not even a theist. My view all along—and especially in the recent books—is first that the biblical narratives are indeed 'stories', often fictional and almost always propagandistic, but that here and there they contain some valid historical information...[70]

According to Dever, the scholarly consensus is that the figure of Moses is legendary, and not historical.[71] However, he states that a "Moses-like figure" may have existed somewhere in the southern Transjordan in the mid-13th century BC.[72]

Tel Aviv University archaeologist Ze'ev Herzog wrote in the Haaretz newspaper:

This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, YHWH, had a female consort and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai.[73][74]

Israel Finkelstein told The Jerusalem Post that Jewish archaeologists have found no historical or archaeological evidence to back the biblical narrative of the Exodus, the Jews' wandering in Sinai or Joshua's conquest of Canaan. On the alleged Temple of Solomon, Finkelstein said that there is no archaeological evidence to prove it really existed.[75] Professor Yoni Mizrahi, an independent archaeologist who has worked with the International Atomic Energy Agency, agreed with Finkelstein.[75]

Regarding the Exodus of Israelites from Egypt, Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass said:

Really, it's a myth ... This is my career as an archaeologist. I should tell them the truth. If the people are upset, that is not my problem.[76]

Notable critics

See also


  1. ^ "Biblical archaeology has helped us understand a lot about the world of the Bible and clarified a considerable amount of what we find in the Bible. But the archaeological record has not been friendly for one vital issue, Israel's origins: the period of slavery in Egypt, the mass departure of Israelite slaves from Egypt, and the violent conquest of the land of Canaan by the Israelites. The strong consensus is that there is at best sparse indirect evidence for these biblical episodes, and for the conquest there is considerable evidence against it.", Peter Enns[25]
  2. ^ "So although much of the archaeological evidence demonstrates that the Hebrew Bible cannot in most cases be taken literally, many of the people, places and things probably did exist at some time or another." Jonathan Michael Golden and Joseph Golden[27]


  1. Jump up to:a b c Friedman, Richard Elliott (2019). Who Wrote the Bible?. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 6. ISBN 9781501192401. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  2. ^ Encarta-encyclopedie Winkler Prins (1993–2002) s.v. "Astruc, Jean". Microsoft Corporation/Het Spectrum.
  3. ^ Encarta-encyclopedie Winkler Prins (1993–2002) s.v. "Pentateuch. §2. Theorie van gesplitste bronnen".
  4. Jump up to:a b c Bart D. Ehrman (2002). "16: Forgeries in the Name of Paul"Lost Christianities. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Archived from the original on 11 August 2019. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  5. ^ Luke Timothy Johnson (2008). The First and Second Letters to Timothy: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, vol. 35A, Anchor Yale Bible. New Haven; London: Yale University Press. p. 56.
  6. ^ Ehrman, Bart D. (2003). Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. New York: Oxford. pp. 122–123, 185ISBN 978-0-19-514183-2.
  7. ^ Pagels, Elaine (1 March 1992). The Gnostic Paul: Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-56338-039-6What perspectives can such analysis offer —if any— on the question of Paul's own relation to gnostics? Much of the discussion, as B. Pearson notes, has focused on allegedly "gnostic terminology" in Paul's letters.
  8. ^ Ehrman, Bart D. (2004). The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. New York: Oxford. pp. 372–3. ISBN 978-0-19-515462-7.Brown, Raymond E. (1997). Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Anchor Bible. pp. 621, 639, 654ISBN 978-0-385-24767-2. Scholars who hold to Pauline authorship include Wohlenberg, Lock, Meinertz, Thornell, Schlatter, Spicq, Jeremais, Simpson, Kelly, and Fee. Donald GuthrieNew Testament Introduction, p. 622.
  9. ^ Cutner, Herbert (1 July 1986). Jesus: God, Man Or Myth. Health Research Books. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-7873-0235-1In his pamphlet Paul the Gnostic Opponent of Peter Gerald Massey proves quite clearly to any unbiased reader that "Paul was not a supporter of the system known as Historical Christianity, which was founded on a belief in the Christ carnalized; an assumption that the Christ had been made flesh, but that he was its unceasing and deadly opponent during his lifetime; and that after his death his writings were tampered with, interpolated, and re-indoctrinated by his old enemies, the forgers and falsifiers, who first began to weave the web of the Papacy in Rome."
  10. ^ Freke, Timothy; Gandy, Peter (June 2006). The Laughing Jesus: Religious Lies And Gnostic Wisdom. Three Rivers Press (CA). p. 73. ISBN 978-1-4000-8279-7Not only is Irenaeus the first person in history to mention MatthewMarkLuke and John, and The Acts of the Apostles, he also claims to be in possession of a number of letters by Paul which have not been heard of previously. In these letters, which are known as the 'pastorals', Paul has been transformed from a gnostic into a literalist. Of the thirteen letters attributed to Paul in the New Testament, the three letters that are most widely dismissed by scholars as forgeries are the pastorals, which gnostics at the time also refused to acknowledge as authentic.
  11. Jump up to:a b "Bible." The Crystal Reference Encyclopedia. West Chiltington: Crystal Reference, 2005. Credo Reference. 29 July 2009
  12. ^ Vincent L. Milner; Hannah Adams (1860). Religious Denominations of the World: Comprising a General View of the Origin, History, and Condition, of the Various Sects of Christians, the Jews and Mahometans, as Well as the Pagan Forms of Religion Existing in the Different Countries of the Earth; with Sketches of the Founders of Various Religious Sects. J. W. Bradley. p. 325He [Marcion] further maintained that the law of Moses, with its threats and promises of things terrestrial, was a contrivance of the evil principle in order to bind men still more to the earth.
  13. ^ Jackson, S H. (1824). The Jew; being a defence of Judaism against all adversaries, and the attacks of Israel's advocate [publ. by the American society for meliorating the condition of the Jews], ed. [really written] by S.H. Jackson. pp. 8690Inquiry into the nature of any proposition is absolutely necessary ; particularly in matters offered for our [the Jews] conversion. And it is a very just observation of Mr. Basnage, who says, "We must prove the divine authority of the Gospel (to the Jews) before we engage in the particulars of other controversies." (History of the Jews, b. 7. c. 34.) And I add, till this is done, and the Jews admit the divine authority of the New Testament, nothing can be urged from thence for their conversion : for, in controversies, neither party can, with the least shadow of reason, make use of any authority which is not admitted or granted by the other. [...] I conclude that the writers of the New Testament could not be under the infallible guidance of God ; neither do I find that they published or gave out their writings as such. And if they did not declare themselves inspired, what authority could any one else have to declare them so? On the contrary, it very evidently appears that there was no scriptures, no writings, deemed canonical in what is called the first ages of ......ianity [Christianity], but the Old Testament !
  14. ^ Anderson 2007, p. 336.
  15. Jump up to:a b Anderson 2007, p. 337
  16. ^ Anderson 2007, pp. 336–337.
  17. ^ Anderson 2007, p. 338.
  18. ^ Anderson 2007, p. 339.
  19. ^ Blackburn 2001, p. 12.
  20. ^ Blackburn 2001, pp. 11–12.
  21. ^ Blackburn 2003, pp. 11–12: "Then the persona of Jesus in the Gospels has his fair share of moral quirks. He can be sectarian: 'Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel' (Matt. 10:5–6)."
  22. ^ Blackburn 2001, pp. 10, 12.
  23. ^ Blackburn 2001, p. 11.
  24. ^ Thompson 2014, p. 164.
  25. ^ Enns 2013, p. unpaginated.
  26. ^ Davies, Philip (April 2010). "Beyond Labels: What Comes Next?". The Bible and Interpretation. Archived from the original on 2016-04-02. Retrieved 2016-05-31It has been accepted for decades that the Bible is not in principle either historically reliable or unreliable, but both: it contains both memories of real events and also fictions.
  27. ^ Golden & Golden 2004, p. 275.
  28. ^ Grabbe 2007.
  29. ^ Nur Masalha (20 October 2014). The Zionist Bible: Biblical Precedent, Colonialism and the Erasure of Memory. Routledge. p. 228. ISBN 978-1-317-54465-4critical archaeology — which has become an independent professional discipline with its own conclusions and its observations — presents us with a picture of a reality of ancient Palestine completely different from the one that is described in the Hebrew Bible; Holy Land archaeology is no longer using the Hebrew Bible as a reference point or an historical source; the traditional biblical archaeology is no longer the ruling paradigm in Holy Land archaeology; for the critical archaeologists the Bible is read like other ancient texts: as literature which may or may not contain some historical information (Herzog, 2001: 72–93; 1999: 6–8)
  30. ^ As J.A. Thompson concludes, 'it is perfectly true to say that biblical archaeology has done a great deal to correct the impression that was abroad at the close of the last century and in the early part of this century, that biblical history was of doubtful trustworthiness in many places. If one impression stands out more clearly than any other today, it is that on all hands the overall historicity of the Old Testament tradition is admitted." J. A. Thompson, The Bible and Archaeology, 3rd ed., fully rev. (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1982), 4; See also, W. F. Albright, Archaeology and the Religion of Israel (Baltimore, 1955), p. 176.
  31. ^ Casey, Maurice (16 January 2014). Jesus: Evidence and Argument or Mythicist Myths?. A&C Black. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-567-59224-8Thomas L. Thompson was an American Catholic born in 1939 in Detroit. He was awarded a B.A. at Duquesne University, a Catholic university in Pittsburgh, USA, in 1962, and a Ph.D. at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1976. ...[Thompson] refuted the attempts of Albright and others to defend the historicity of the most ancient parts of biblical literature history.
  32. ^ Moore, Megan Bishop; Kelle, Brad E. (17 May 2011). Biblical History and Israel S Past: The Changing Study of the Bible and History. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-8028-6260-0The minimalists' first main claim, that the Bible could not be considered reliable evidence for what happened in ancient Israel, is based on a View of the text that was influenced by literary criticism and philosophical criticism of history writing. Philosophical and literary examinations of history writing are concerned with the literary shape of the text, often called history's poetics. Such study recognizes that historians chose data and put it into a narrative using preconceived notions of the meaning of the past. Thus, literary considerations of history blur the line between history writing and fiction. The events of history, like those of fiction, were seen as emplotted, or directed into a meaningful story line by an author. It is not difficult to see how the claim that history and fiction are quite similar can raise serious questions about the accuracy of a historical account.
  33. ^ results, search (9 December 2008). The Mystery of Acts: Unraveling Its Story. Polebridge Press. ISBN 978-1598150124.
  34. ^ Graves, Kersey (1875). The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors: Or, Christianity Before Christ, Containing New, Startling, and Extraordinary Revelations in Religious History, which Disclose the Oriental Origin of All the Doctrines, Principles, Precepts, and Miracles of the Christian New Testament, and Furnishing a Key for Unlocking Many of Its Sacred Mysteries, Besides Comprising the History of 16 Heathen Crucified Gods. Freethought Press. pp. 22[1]3. Here I desire to impress upon the minds of my clerical brethren the important fact, that the gospel histories of Christ were written by men who had formerly been Jews (see Acts xxi. 20), and probably possessing the strong proclivity to imitate and borrow which their bible shows was characteristic of that nation ; and being written many years after Christ's death, according to that standard Christian author, Dr. Lardner, it was impossible, under such circumstances, for them to separate (if they had desired to) the real facts and events of his life from the innumerable fictions and fables then afloat everywhere relative to the heathen Gods who had pre-enacted a similar history. Two reasons are thus furnished for their constructing a history of Christ almost identical with that of other Gods, as shown in chapters XXX., XXXI. and XXXII. of this work.
  35. ^ Massey, Gerald (1883). "The Kamite Typology"The Natural Genesis: Or, Second Part of A Book of the Beginnings, Containing an Attempt to Recover and Reconstitute the Lost Origines of the Myths and Mysteries, Types and Symbols, Religion and Language, with Egypt for the Mouthpiece and Africa as the Birthplace. Vol. 1. Williams and Norgate. p. 13The human mind has long suffered an eclipse and been darkened and dwarfed in the shadow of ideas, the real meaning of which has been lost to the moderns. Myths and allegories whose significance was once unfolded to initiates in the mysteries have been adopted in ignorance and re-issued as real truths directly and divinely vouchsafed to mankind for the first and only time: The earlier religions had their myths interpreted. We have ours mis-interpreted. And a great deal of what has been imposed on us as God's own true and sole revelation to man is a mass of inverted myth.
  36. ^ Massey, Gerald (1907). "Child-Horus"Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World: A Work of Reclamation and Restitution in Twelve Books. Vol. 2. T. F. Unwin. p. 752. Christian ignorance notwithstanding, the Gnostic Jesus is the Egyptian Horus who was continued by the various sects of gnostics under both the names of Horus and of Jesus. In the gnostic iconography of the Roman Catacombs child-Horus reappears as the mummy-babe who wears the solar disc. The royal Horus is represented in the cloak of royalty, and the phallic emblem found there witnesses to Jesus being Horus of the resurrection.
  37. ^ Freke, Timothy and Gandy, Peter (1999) The Jesus Mysteries. London: Thorsons (Harper Collins)
  38. ^ Barnes, Harry Elmer (1929). The Twilight of Christianity. New York: Vanguard Press. pp. 390–391. Among the more eminent scholars and critics who have contended that Jesus was not an actual historical figure we mention Bruno Bauer, Kaithoff, Drews, Stendel, Felder, Deye, Jensen, Lublinski, Bolland, Van der Berg, Virolleaud, Couchoud, Massey, Bossi, Niemojewski, Brandes, Robertson, Mead, Whittaker, Carpenter and W. B. Smith.
  39. ^ Drews, Arthur (1912). "Part 4, Section 1"The Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus ... Translated by Joseph McCabe [from Die Christusmythe.]. London. There is no other source of the belief in an historical Jesus but the gospels. The credibility of the historical documents of Christianity finds no support outside themselves. (Part 4, Section 1. at Wikisource)
  40. ^ Evans, Elizabeth E. (1900). The Christ Myth: A Study. Truth Seeker Company. p. 17. There is evidence that all the Gospels were borrowed from an earlier source, but whether that source was history or romance, and whether the author or the later compilers dressed up foreign and ancient materials in local and contemporary attire, cannot be known. The earliest "Fathers" of the Christian church do not mention nor allude to any one of the Gospels, but they do quote from some other work or works in language similar to and in substance sometimes agreeing with sometimes differing from, the canonical Gospels.
  41. ^ "New Foe Of Religion Arises"Chicago Tribune. February 6, 1910. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015New Foe of Religion Arises—German Professor Maintains the Messiah Never Lived.—Big Debates in Public.—Women Overcome by Hysteria Interrupt Disputants.—[by cable to the Chicago Tribune.]—Berlin. Feb. 5.—Berlin was this week the scene of one of the most remarkable theological discussions since the days of Martin Luther. It was provoked by Prof. Arthur Drews of Karlsruhe, who caused a public sensation by plastering the billboards of the town with posters propounding the startling question:—"Did Jesus Christ ever live?" ...Prof. Drews appeared in Berlin under the auspices of the League of Monists, whose position, as their name denotes, is akin to those who express their creed in the formula, 'There is no God but God; for hear, O Israel, the Lord, thy God, is the one God.'—The professor laid down his theories after the classic manner of old time university disputations. The gist of his position in large measure was like the mythical theory of David Strauss, which created a sensation fifty years ago. Strauss held there was verity in the historic Christ, but that the vast mass of miracle and supernatural wonders had been woven like wreaths around the head of Jesus. Drews goes further. He alleges there never was such a person as Jesus of Nazareth.
  42. ^ Dawkins, Richard (16 January 2008). "The Argument from Scripture"The God Delusion. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-547-34866-7The Argument from Scripture: The fact that something is written down is persuasive to people not used to asking questions like: 'Who wrote it, and when?' 'How did they know what to write?' 'Did they, in their time, really mean what we, in our time, understand them to be saying?' 'Were they unbiased observers, or did they have an agenda that coloured their writing?' Ever since the nineteenth century, scholarly theologians have made an overwhelming case that the gospels are not reliable accounts of what happened in the history of the real world. All were written long after the death of Jesus, and also after the epistles of Paul, which mention almost none of the alleged facts of Jesus' life. All were then copied and recopied, through many different 'Chinese Whispers generations' (see Chapter 5) by fallible scribes who, in any case, had their own religious agendas.
  43. ^ Huxley, Thomas Henry (1892). "Agnosticism And Christianity"Essays Upon Some Controverted Questions. Macmillan. p. 364. Agnosticism And Christianity: Therefore, although it be, as I believe, demonstrable that we have no real knowledge of the authorship, or of the date of composition of the Gospels, as they have come down to us, and that nothing better than more or less probable guesses can be arrived at on that subject.
  44. ^ Besant, Annie Wood (1893). Christianity, Its Evidences, Its Origin, Its Morality, Its History. R. Forder. p. 261. (D.) That before about A.D. 180 there is no trace of FOUR gospels among the Christians.  ...As it is not pretended by any that there is any mention of four Gospels before the time of Irenaeus, excepting this "harmony," pleaded by some as dated about A.D. 170 and by others as between 170 and 180, it would be sheer waste of time and space to prove further a point admitted on all hands. This step of our argument is, then on solid and unassailable ground —That before about A.D. 180 there is no trace of FOUR gospels among the Christians. (E.) That, before that date, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are not selected as the four evangelists. This position necessarily follows from the preceding one [D.], since four evangelists could not be selected until four Gospels were recognised. Here, again, Dr. Giles supports the argument we are building up. He says : "Justin Martyr never once mentions by name the evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This circumstance is of great importance ; for those who assert that our four canonical Gospels are contemporary records of our Saviour's ministry, ascribe them to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and to no other writers."
  45. ^ Paine, Thomas (1898). The Age of Reason: Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology. Truth Seeker Company. p. 143But exclusive of this the presumption is that the books called the Evangelists, and ascribed to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and that they are impositions. The disordered state of the history in these four books, the silence of one book upon matters related in the others, and the disagreement that is to be found among them, implies that they are the production of some unconnected individuals, many years after the things they pretend to relate, each of whom made his own legend; and not the writings of men living intimately together, as the men called apostles are supposed to have done; in fine, that they have been manufactured, as the books of the Old Testament have been by other persons than those whose names they bear.
  46. ^ "Contradictions from the Skeptic's Annotated Bible". Skepticsannotatedbible.com. Archived from the original on 2019-05-25. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  47. ^ Knight, George William, Howard Marshall, and W. Ward Gasque. The Pastoral Epistles: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary). William. B. Eerdmans, 1997. ISBN 0-8028-2395-5 / 9780802823953
  48. ^ Brown, Raymond Edward (1999-05-18). The Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library). Yale University Press. p. 36ISBN 978-0-300-14008-8.
  49. ^ W.D Davies and E. P. Sanders, 'Jesus from the Jewish point of view', in The Cambridge History of Judaism ed William Horbury, vol 3: the Early Roman Period, 1984.
  50. ^ Sanders, E.P. (1985). Jesus and Judaism. Philadelphia: Fortress. pp. 2 (Kindle Edition).
  51. ^ Sanders, Ed Parish (1993). The Historical Figure of Jesus. London: Allen Lane. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-7139-9059-1.
  52. ^ Hurtado, Larry W. (June 2003). Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans. p. 319ISBN 978-0-8028-6070-5.
  53. ^ Brown, Raymond Edward (1977). The Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday. pp. 104–121. ISBN 978-0-385-05907-7.
  54. ^ Guy D. Nave (1 January 2002). The Role and Function of Repentance in Luke-Acts. BRILL. p. 194. ISBN 90-04-12694-5.
  55. ^ The Continuing Christian Need for Judaism, by John Shelby Spong, Christian Century September 26, 1979, p. 918. see http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1256 Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine
  56. ^ Amy-Jill Levine; Marianne Blickenstaff (2001). Feminist Companion to the New Testament and Early Christian Writings. A&C Black. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-8264-6333-3.
  57. ^ "Bible." The Columbia Encyclopedia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. Credo Reference. 29 July 2009
  58. ^ The Bible in the Syriac tradition, Sebastian P. Brock, p. 13
  59. ^ Day, John (24 January 1985). God's Conflict with the Dragon and the Sea: Echoes of a Canaanite Myth in the Old Testament. CUP Archive. ISBN 9780521256001 – via Google Books.
  60. ^ Understanding Biblical Israel: a reexamination of the origins of monotheism, Stanley Ned Rosenbaum
  61. ^ The Jewish religion: a companion By Louis Jacobs, p. 251
  62. ^ Isa 7:14
  63. ^ Eric Pement, Gimme the Bible that Paul used: A look at the King James Only debate online Archived 2007-10-12 at the Wayback Machine.
  64. ^ Philip B. Harner, “Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1,” Journal of Biblical Literature 92, 1 (March 1973),
  65. ^ "Answers to Creationist Attacks on Carbon-14 Dating". 19 November 2008. Archived from the original on 11 January 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  66. ^ "Cosmic Detectives". The European Space Agency (ESA). 2013-04-02. Archived from the original on 2019-02-11. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
  67. ^ Barbara Bradley Hagerty (August 9, 2011). "Evangelicals Question The Existence Of Adam And Eve"All Things ConsideredArchived from the original on April 7, 2019. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  68. ^ The Bible's Buried Secrets Archived 2010-03-18 at the Wayback MachinePBS Nova, 2008
  69. ^ Dever, William G. (March–April 2006). "The Western Cultural Tradition Is at Risk". Biblical Archaeology Review32 (2): 26 & 76.
  70. ^ Dever, William G. (January 2003). "Contra Davies"The Bible and Interpretation. Archived from the original on 2007-02-02. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  71. ^ William G. Dever "What Remains of the House That Albright Built?", in George Ernest Wright, Frank Moore Cross, Edward Fay Campbell, Floyd Vivian Filson (eds.) The Biblical Archaeologist, American Schools of Oriental Research, Scholars Press, Vol. 56, No. 1, 2 March 1993, pp. 25–35, p. 33: "the overwhelming scholarly consensus today is that Moses is a mythical figure."
  72. ^ Dever, William G. (2002). What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It? (Paperback ed.). Grand Rapids, Mich. [u.a.]: Eerdmans. pp. 98–99. ISBN 9780802821263.
  73. ^ The Nature of Home: A Lexicon of Essays, Lisa Knopp, p. 126
  74. ^ Deconstructing the walls of Jericho Archived December 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  75. Jump up to:a b "Senior Israeli archaeologist casts doubt on Jewish heritage of Jerusalem"Middle East Monitor. 9 August 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-09-29.
  76. ^ Did the Red Sea Part? No Evidence, Archaeologists Say Archived 2017-10-11 at the Wayback MachineThe New York Times, April 3, 2007
  77. ^ Einstein: "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish." Archived 2019-04-02 at the Wayback Machine
  78. ^ Brandt, Eric T., and Timothy Larsen (2011). "The Old Atheism Revisited: Robert G. Ingersoll and the Bible". Journal of the Historical Society11 (2): 211–238. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5923.2011.00330.x.
  79. ^ Thomas Jefferson's Abridgement of the Words of Jesus of Nazareth (Charlottesville: Mark Beliles, 1993), 14.


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