Literal, inerrant Bible?

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Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by ZenYen on Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:44 pm

Someone close to me sees the New Revised Edition of the Bible as, in his words, "very close to the original." He also contends that the "original" — which no one has, by the way — is literally true and inerrant.

He and I have debated this a bit — I contend it is silly to claim any current translation is "very close to the orginal" when we don't have the original and when we know the haphazard history of Biblical distribution, translation, etc. I kept asking him how he knew the NRV was close to the original. Eventually, he got frustrated with me, said I knew nothing of Bible scholarship and told me he would write a lengthy blog post explaining the "advanced textual criticism" techniques, etc., that demonstrate convincingly that the NRV is close to the original, and that the original is the literal, inerrant, God-breathed truth. I said I would hold off on arguing about it with him until I read what he wrote.

Months later, I'm still waiting for him to write his convincing argument. (He's started a different big blog project in the meantime, so I have my doubts as to whether he will ever produce his opus). In the meantime, I thought I'd throw the topic open here. If there are any Christians on this board who agree in whole or in part with my friend's statement, I'd like to see your arguments presented here.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by AutumnalTone on Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:53 pm

If he's serious about scholarship, point him to the actual scholars, then. Let them explain the history of the scriptures to him. He'll then find out that none of the original versions have survived, that all anybody has are later copies, edited to match the prevailing thoughts of later centuries and with biases to match those of the editors, that we don't have all of the texts, as not all survived, that some texts were deliberately excluded due to political conflict among factions, and so on.

There are many books available that touch on this stuff. Look for books by Mark A. Smith, for starters.
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by ZenYen on Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:58 pm

SeventhCrow wrote:If he's serious about scholarship, point him to the actual scholars, then. Let them explain the history of the scriptures to him. He'll then find out that none of the original versions have survived, that all anybody has are later copies, edited to match the prevailing thoughts of later centuries and with biases to match those of the editors, that we don't have all of the texts, as not all survived, that some texts were deliberately excluded due to political conflict among factions, and so on.

There are many books available that touch on this stuff. Look for books by Mark A. Smith, for starters.

He will not read them. They're all "liars" or "seriously
mislead by Satan" or "pushing a liberal, Godless agenda." I mentioned
Spong to him and you'd have thought I had suggested a Christopher
Hitchens polemic.

"Serious about scholarship" is how he would characterize himself, but it isn't a phrase that fits him well.
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by DotNotInOz on Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:08 pm

That's amusing but hardly surprising.

Spong is among the milder of the critics, I'd say, since he still holds that there is value in the "Jesus as metaphor" approach.

I find it mindboggling that this guy can claim any version of the Bible is close to the original when as you mention, ZenYen, we've no idea how far removed the manuscripts we have are from the originals.

As for his fondness for the New Revised Standard Version (which I'm guessing you mean by NRV), I prefer the RSV myself. The language of the NRSV is so dumbed down that it's insulting. Not as bad as the NIV but not far removed.

Now, I have been told that on the whole, the RSV and NRSV are closest to known manuscripts of any of the versions we have, but that's not worth very much as far as I'm concerned when the basis for the whole thing is largely inspirational fiction.
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by ZenYen on Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:29 pm

DotNotInOz wrote:That's amusing but hardly surprising.

Spong is among the milder of the critics, I'd say, since he still holds that there is value in the "Jesus as metaphor" approach.

I find it mindboggling that this guy can claim any version of the Bible is close to the original when as you mention, ZenYen, we've no idea how far removed the manuscripts we have are from the originals.

As for his fondness for the New Revised Standard Version (which I'm guessing you mean by NRV), I prefer the RSV myself. The language of the NRSV is so dumbed down that it's insulting. Not as bad as the NIV but not far removed.

Now, I have been told that on the whole, the RSV and NRSV are closest to known manuscripts of any of the versions we have, but that's not worth very much as far as I'm concerned when the basis for the whole thing is largely inspirational fiction.

Now that you mention the NIV, it might have been that version he was touting. It was a while back, and it doesn't really matter to me which version he was talking about as I can't see how he can leap past the fact that we don't have the original documents and we know the whole process of copying, distributing, translating, etc. was riddled with errors.

My friend also glosses over the fact that there were a lot of documents — gnostic gospels, etc., — that could easily have been included in the Bible, but were not. He says the books in the Bible are "the ones that are supposed to be in there" but cites no argument in support of that notion other than to say that those making the choices were "divinely inspired." This, to him, is a rational argument.

Anyway, I can see how someone might say "this is the most accurate version we have, based on what we know" or something like that. But to say "This is very close to the original" seems very out of line with common sense.
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by DeavonReye on Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:57 pm

When I read the bible, . . . I see it as it probably was. . . .the writings of primative desert dwelling iron age men. It is so DE-advanced that no truly advanced being would ever have actually ordered and made into law what is written therein. As for the person who made the claim about "as close to the original", . . . when there ARE no originals, . . . that's about the stupidest statement one can ever make, within a religious framework... I would say, "Do you not see how flawed your logic is?"
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by DotNotInOz on Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:18 pm

DeavonReye wrote:As for the person who made the claim about "as close to the original", . . . when there ARE no originals, . . . that's about the stupidest statement one can ever make, within a religious framework... I would say, "Do you not see how flawed your logic is?"

Yeah, well, you know the answer to that one, Deavon. Who needs logic when you know it's God's Word?

As I was so often told when I questioned how something of this sort could possibly be true, "Just have faith."
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by ZenYen on Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:29 pm

Heh ... my friend got mad at me for always asking him "how?" or "why?" But he claims to be in favor of free inquiry. Go figure.
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by AutumnalTone on Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:55 pm

ZenYen wrote:
SeventhCrow wrote:
There are many books available that touch on this stuff. Look for books by Mark A. Smith, for starters.

He will not read them. They're all "liars" or "seriously
mislead by Satan" or "pushing a liberal, Godless agenda." I mentioned
Spong to him and you'd have thought I had suggested a Christopher
Hitchens polemic.

"Serious about scholarship" is how he would characterize himself, but it isn't a phrase that fits him well.

Correction: Mark S. Smith (Mark A Smith, while a learned man, works in a different field). He's the Skirball Professor of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University. I believe he is Christian, himself, so any notions of a "godless agenda" or him being a liar or anything else is simply slander. He's a noted scholar in the field. His books appear in as part of Harper & Row's highly selective academic books program. The editorial board of the Biblical Resources Series, which selected at least one of his books to include in the series, is impressive--his work is recognized by other scholars.

In short, it's folks like him who are the most competent to speak on the issue at hand. Anybody claiming otherwise is simply spewing nonsense. I'd probably laugh at anybody making those claims.
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by john5180 on Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:44 pm

It has been my experience that most of the Fundamentalist ministers I have met have been of the "self ordained" variety, or at the very most educated at a minor bible collage of the denomination they belong to, which explains the dogma of thier particular denominations, and damn little else. The majority of the training given to these ministers only goes as deep as justifying some denominational beliefs set by the denomination's founder, and nothing backed up with scriptural authority. Actually, the earliest denomination of Christianity was set by the Emperor Constantine and the Council of Nicaea. The dogma, including the holy days (Christmas, Easter and Halloween) as well as the trinity, and the deification of Jesus is a man made event, just as surely as the rapture which is believed by some sects, and has no biblical backing to justify this belief. The Fundamental scholars who do attend seminary, or continue their religious study generally end up the same as Bart Ehrman.

The mind set I have experienced is one of "don't confuse me with facts......" And the idea that someone could possibly question the inerrancy, or validity of the bible send many running away in a panic. The rest simply plug their ears with their fingers and scream LALALALALALALALALA at the top of their collective voices.
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by sacrificialgoddess on Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:25 pm

john5180 wrote:It has been my experience that most of the Fundamentalist ministers I have met have been of the "self ordained" variety, or at the very most educated at a minor bible collage of the denomination they belong to, which explains the dogma of thier particular denominations, and damn little else. The majority of the training given to these ministers only goes as deep as justifying some denominational beliefs set by the denomination's founder, and nothing backed up with scriptural authority. Actually, the earliest denomination of Christianity was set by the Emperor Constantine and the Council of Nicaea. The dogma, including the holy days (Christmas, Easter and Halloween) as well as the trinity, and the deification of Jesus is a man made event, just as surely as the rapture which is believed by some sects, and has no biblical backing to justify this belief. The Fundamental scholars who do attend seminary, or continue their religious study generally end up the same as Bart Ehrman.

The mind set I have experienced is one of "don't confuse me with facts......" And the idea that someone could possibly question the inerrancy, or validity of the bible send many running away in a panic. The rest simply plug their ears with their fingers and scream LALALALALALALALALA at the top of their collective voices.

So you have had conversations with my parents' minister?




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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by john5180 on Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:07 pm

sacrificialgoddess wrote:So you have had conversations with my parents' minister?




It's altogether possible, SG. But it's more likely that this is the rule, rather than the exception.
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by Davelaw on Fri Dec 25, 2009 1:30 pm

For the record as I just said in another thread; there are a few inerrantists who also believe in reason=but we seperate the two into their seperate categories.

Among this group, there are some who are preservationists-those who believe God always preserves His word-but did not preserve the original because that would lead to text worship.Among that group are those who believe the term textus receptus applies not to the comment by Erasmus; but to the majority Text that was read in the Greek by the Greek speaking majority at the time the scriptures were penned as a long as Greek remained the majority language.

These people cite that second and third centuries letters all cite the same Greek text; that even the text we have today is 95% in agreement and that disagreements come from texts found in discard piles not from storage areas meant to preserve things.
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by gillyflower on Fri Dec 25, 2009 2:13 pm

So many think that if they all agree that it must be so, eh? I've run across that line of reasoning with many Christians. How can we all be wrong? they ask. It must be true if we believe it. Smile

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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by DotNotInOz on Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:49 pm

Davelaw wrote:Among this group, there are some who are preservationists-those who believe God always preserves His word-but did not preserve the original because that would lead to text worship.

This renders the word "preserve" meaningless.

Evidently, we're back in the realm of "just have faith that it's God's inspired word," because this concept of what constitutes preservation is so nonsensical as to defy all credulity.

I think we've gone through the looking glass and met Humpty Dumpty. "Words mean whatever I say they mean; that's all."
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by gillyflower on Fri Dec 25, 2009 4:22 pm

Can I just say that people are crazy?

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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by MaineCaptain on Fri Dec 25, 2009 4:24 pm

gillyflower wrote:Can I just say that people are crazy?
Yes you can, it is so true

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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by john5180 on Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:17 pm

gillyflower wrote:Can I just say that people are crazy?

I'll admit to having more than a few minor quirks, but deny crazy. Now that's my opinion, but I wouldn't expect a concurrent answer from Fang.
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by john5180 on Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:20 pm

MaineCaptain wrote:
gillyflower wrote:Can I just say that people are crazy?
Yes you can, it is so true

Hummmmmmmm.... In your case, dare I say I agree?
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by DotNotInOz on Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:22 pm

Dare it you did, John.

I'm not hanging around for the consequences. Zipaway
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by john5180 on Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:31 pm

DotNotInOz wrote:Dare it you did, John.

I'm not hanging around for the consequences. Zipaway

Fortunately for me, Dot.... I can faster than MaineCaptian can .
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by MaineCaptain on Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:43 pm

john5180 wrote:
DotNotInOz wrote:Dare it you did, John.

I'm not hanging around for the consequences. Zipaway

Fortunately for me, Dot.... I can faster than MaineCaptian can .
Watch it Mister, I shall come down there are bring my little pink plastic squirt gun and squirt you with Maine blueberry jelly.

You will be sticky for weeks...SO there!

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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by john5180 on Sat Dec 26, 2009 3:25 pm

MaineCaptain wrote:
john5180 wrote:
DotNotInOz wrote:Dare it you did, John.

I'm not hanging around for the consequences. Zipaway

Fortunately for me, Dot.... I can faster than MaineCaptian can .
Watch it Mister, I shall come down there are bring my little pink plastic squirt gun and squirt you with Maine blueberry jelly.

You will be sticky for weeks...SO there!






































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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by MaineCaptain on Sat Dec 26, 2009 4:20 pm

John

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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

Post by DeavonReye on Sat Dec 26, 2009 5:19 pm

I'll take a jar of it.
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Re: Literal, inerrant Bible?

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