Editing of The Bible

Marks gospel have been found to be edited .The Gospel original ended at verse 16:8 with the young man telling the women that Jesus was risen and they fled in terror, telling no one.So Mark 16:9-20 is a later interpolation. .This give me a pass to another question.If this is edited what else is?How can we be sure that the gospels didnt end at the death of Jesus and the later was then edited in?This might be too far streched but it has some holding ground.It seems that the bible has been edited.How many things might be edited in and we havent found out?Think about it.For me the thought is horryfic.Since we have the Bible to hold some at least authority doesnt that make it lose credibility?I guess well have to find out if anything else has been edited in by archeology.

It is called textual criticism. We basically have to look at all the copies of these works in different regions and languages and quotations of them by church fathers the first three hundred years or so (and in some cases even later). This allows us to have some confidence in the reliability of the text. Though it is my opinion that evangelical textual critics build bridges way too far. Yes we have a bazillion copies of the NT works and we would have to be suspect of a lot of other works if we dismissed them but that’s okay to me. I have no interest in defending the textual integrity of a classic work the only copy of which exists a thousand years after the fact. We don’t have many texts the first few hundreds years of the Gospel’s existence.There is a largely blank area when the texts would probably have been most fluid. This is the dirty little secret of textual criticism no one wants to bring up. Apparently, copies of copies of copies of copies of works hundreds of years later are somehow given historical certitude.

Like canonization, accepting the textual integrity of the NT requires faith. If God inspired the Bible would he have let it become corrupted to the point of being unusable for his intended purpose? Would he have let a church canonize all the wrong books so that our Holy Book does not serve his intended purpose?

Though as one who dispenses with inerrancy, I think the textual problems in the NT are on my side. Christian exegetes have been so concerned with an error-free text but God didn’t seem to think it mattered at all, textually speaking. No one in the history of the church has EVER possessed an inerrant Bible.

Jame’s Snapp has an NT textual criticism group on Facebook and he argues adamantly that the long ending was original .I am not buying it yet but we know the text of Mark was stable enough and that of Matthew and Luke as well. We could not have a synoptic problem or a 2 source theory if this wasn’t the case.

Even if Mark ends at 16:8 for whatever stylistic reason, Jesus is clearly appearing to the disciples in Galilee. He predicts this in chapter 13 as well IIRC.

Also, the idea that the original publication was inspired by God is a mistake to me. God could have inspired any version of Mark he so choose. These authors could have published their own works in a number if sittings, leading to different versions. Which one is inspired? Is the MT or Septuagint inspired? Both? Or the MT in general but Septuagint when the NT quotes it? It matters as sometimes the translation changes the original meaning of the text and some NT authors seem to make arguments based off of improper translations.

Vinnie

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Why not get a good study Bible, like the Harper’s Study Bible? You’ll get good scholarly opinions.

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  • The following list of significant events, obtained by patching stuff together from other sources, tells me that:
    • circa 34 AD - Stephen is Stoned
    • circa 34–36 AD - Paul encounters Jesus on the road to Damascus
    • circa 53–57 CE - 1 Corinthians is written by Paul from Macedonia (widely accepted)
    • circa 64-68 CE. - Death of Paul
    • 70 AD - Siege of Jerusalem and destruction of the Second Temple
    • circa 65–73 CE. - Gospel of Mark is written
    • circa 80–90 CE. - Gospel of Matthew is written
    • circa 80–90 CE - Gospel of Luke is written
    • circa 90–110 CE, - Gospel of John is written

I note two things:

  1. The gospel received and preached by Paul, recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8:
      1. Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,
      2. by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
      3. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
      4. and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
      5. and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
      6. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;
      7. then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;
      8. and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
  2. And Mark’s Gospel.
  • Neither Mark nor Paul mention Jesus’ conception or birth.
  • Both Mark and Paul affirm Jesus’ resurrection.

Trivia: two of my brothers and I are in our early 70s, our youngest brother is 66. We enjoy telling each other stories from our teens–in which all four of us were present–and harassing one another over this or that brother’s lapse of memory.

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I love it @Vinnie. God could literally not care less about the Bible. Like all of our responses to the incarnation, it’s down to us.

With this claim the Bible loses all credibility and our faith as well.Why do you believe then if Jesus ressurection could possibly be an edited in story?The history of Jesus on the secular level goes as far as his crucifixion.So the ressurection could possible been edited.Adding your claim the Bible then seems as a literature book with nothing more than stories of self-development

I don’t believe in Jesus because I studied the Bible and determined it is all true. Is that how you came to believe? I experienced God while reading the Gospel and for me it wasn’t Paul or the sacrifice. It was God being seen in the words of Jesus. The Bible mediates the Sacred to me and serves the purpose God intended it to despite it not being inerrant or infallible on every detail as some now think of it. If I had not had this experience with God the Bible would be just another book to me. That is all it looks like without the Holy Spirit, another fallible human work. I already gave you my reason. It was faith:

Like canonization, accepting the textual integrity of the NT requires faith. If God inspired the Bible would he have let it become corrupted to the point of being unusable for his intended purpose ? Would he have let a church canonize all the wrong books so that our Holy Book does not serve his intended purpose? In the end, what is wrong with trusting God over the apologetics argument of men? Who is the better witness here?

To this you could add the magisterial teaching of the Church as well. But in the end it’s more or less a priori reasoning from a belief that the Bible was inspired by God based on a transformative religious experience with God while reading sacred scripture. I tend to agree with the moderate and liberal interpretations of Dei Verbum:

“Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures” (CCC 107, quoting the Vatican II document Dei Verbum 11).

There are some interesting interpretations of that statement from the RCC. Conservatives see it as affirming basic inerrancy but many others who were involved in the council understand all the debate that occurred and that Dei Verbum ended up having 5 revisions before being finalized. The language seems to be a compromise of sorts. God wished to see confided in the bible for the sake of our salvation. No, the RCC does not teach only Salvific issues are inerrant as there are many corollaries that relate to salvation and not all Catholics interpret this the same way. But many do.

When I judge the truth of the Bible I am not asking if every event is literal or happened the way it is claimed in the story. I don’t care how Judas ultimately died or whether the stone was already rolled away or not. The point is to convict us of our sin, show us God’s love and forgiveness, bring us to salvation through Jesus and equip us with the courage and understanding to do every good work. By that metric I think the Bible is inerrant but certainly not infallible in regards to every single detail. As another example. “Out of Egypt I have called my Son” is not historically true to me. It is not even a prophecy of Jesus despite what Matthew claims. Matthew is presenting Jesus as a new and much greater Moses with far more authority. That is the truth of what he is teaching and the truth I affirm. I don’t need to affirm or deny the virgin birth in order to believe the main truth of Matthew’s Gospel which was originally written for a time-conditioned community. It takes on added meaning when put into a larger corpus of inspired works. Why must every detail in the Gospels be historically factual? Does Genesis 1-11 have to be historically factual? Every horror story in the OT? What truth is this work conveying? Why does God want me to read this book? That is the question I ask. The Gospels are not modern biographies and they should not be read, examined and judged according to that metric.

The textual history of the Bible to a large degree fits very nicely with this view. There are literally thousands of textual corruptions in the New Testament. Many additions and omissions in our manuscripts and a complete paucity of information the first hundred years. It always boils down to faith and trust in God for me, after being saved. Without that experience with God, again, the Bible is just another book. It starts with just another creation story. Records the successes and failures of just another group of people. Tells the story of just another wonder-worker and religious leader who thought he was God’s Son and died on a cross. Just another story of a dying and rising deity.

Also, the resurrection requires faith in my view. You cannot prove the resurrection. Given all we know about biology and the world, a claim from 2,000 years ago that a man was killed and rose from the dead 3 days later is highly suspect. In academia, any explanation will be intrinsically more likely than affirming bodily resurrection: the disciples were lying, they had visions, they lost the body, etc. Even if these aren’t the most historically cogent reconstructions on an individual basis, from a critical standpoint, they are still more probable than the alternative – unless you already believe. History tries to reconstruct what is most probable in the past. Miracles, by definition, are events that are the most improbable of all. Thats why they are miracles. We can affirm with an extremely high degree of confidence the following:

  1. Jesus died on a Roman cross.
  2. Very shortly after, many of his original followers claim to have seen him and continued his mission.

Why? Well we have contemporary primary data from Paul in the 50’s relaying these older traditions. Paul also had first hand contact with original followers of Jesus. This is as historically certain as it gets in New Testament issues. That is all I can affirm historically. Affirming the truth of the disciples beliefs and what happened to them goes beyond history to the realm of faith and experience. Without my experiences with God and the Holy Spirit, this is just another miracle story. Likewise, no secular scholar should deny Paul had a transformative religious experience where clearly he thought Jesus had appeared and spoken to him. I’m okay without proof. There is nothing that controverts the resurrection, historically speaking. We simply have scientific reasons for being suspect of any claim that a person rose from the dead. I don’t think stories written 40-70 years after the fact are strong enough on purely evidential grounds to overturn this. Apologetics like this doesn’t work very well. You really expect me to believe a man rose from the dead 2,000 years ago because a story has women in it? History can’t really deal with miracles. They are events outside of nits perview. Just my opinion.

Vinnie

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I didn’t say that :grinning:. I said an inerrant Bible. Its clear no one in the entire Church has ever possessed one so its not high on His to-do list for sure. But if you believe in inspiration then you believe God cared about leaving us a record of the Good News or as I told Nick: “the point is to convict us of our sin, show us God’s love and forgiveness, bring us to salvation through Jesus and equip us with the courage and understanding to do every good work.” I believe God cares about that. If God did truly condescend Himself and become human in the person of Jesus, surely he did so for a reason and wanted us to have a record of it. I believe the fourfold Gospel was intentional. Each one approached Jesus from a different angle and community. I accept a softer inspiration. God didn’t engage in mind control or dictate every single word to the authors. I also don’t know what to make of the claims “100% written by God and 100% written by man.” Add yet another divine ineffable mystery to the list for some I guess.

Vinnie

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It’s the rational conclusion Vinnie. I have no idea what inspiration means beyond the effect of the Incarnation augmented ineffably by the Spirit.

For what it is worth, the dates you list are those embraced by critical scholars who are reading the material through an unambiguous anti-supernatural lens. These dates are hardly undisputed. In particular, I am baffled by the arguments for the dating of Luke-Acts.

I don’t know anything about the author of the following site, but a quick search I found the following which sums up well what seem to me glaringly obvious details that suggest a ~62AD composition.

http://www.datingthenewtestament.com/LukeActs.htm

If Luke was written in 80-90 AD or after; then we have to deal with an extremely devious, shrewd, and calculating author who carefully constructed a narrative wherein he carefully crafted and invented numerous subtle implications that he wrote it some 20-30 years before he did… for no apparent reason that I can discern.

For the record, I am not an assiduous scholar of new testament textual chronology. Rather, admittedly, I’d be willing to call myself “a dabbler” in it. As such, I’d love to see a collection and arrangement of positions “for and against” different dates of each book, and even each part of each book just to give me an idea of what’s still debated, who is debating, and how fierce is a particular debate. If there is such a collection and arrangement–in book form or on-line–I’d sure like to know where I can find it One thing I readily admit to is a very strong bias against “the Lost Gospel and the Book of Q” [such as can be found in the efforts of Bart Erhman or Burton Mack. IMO, they make their living feeding anti-Christian trolls among the heathen.

As for the bias that you note in the scholars who argue for a later date for Luke-Acts, I don’t dispute the possibility or probability of such a bias. I just found The Dating of the New Testament - Norman Geisler which may (or may not) be more to your liking. The purpose for my patchwork chronology of events was to point out that Mark and Paul have two things in common: Both–as far as I can tell–affirm the death and resurrection of Jesus and neither begins with the nativity of Jesus. Why is that important to me?

Because, over the last decade or so, I have become increasingly interested in identifying for myself “the litmus test” for ascertaining what is the minimum that one must believe and value in order to have the confidence, indeed: the certainty, that I’m headed up the right path on the right mountain. Again and again, I find myself herded back to the cross and the resurrection: Mark and Paul’s Jesus.
.

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Can anyone recommend a good book or books detailing the history of the Bible from ancient manuscripts to the present day?

This one by Lee Martin MacDonald was recommended by NT scholar Mike Licona:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D6IE0S6/

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Those dates are accepted by most NT scholars, including the ones without supernatural bias. I generally acccept them but Luke-Acts may have been 10-20 years later and we cannot be fully dogmatic on any dating, early or late.

The only decent argument for dating Luke-Acts early is it does not narrate Paul’s death. Granted Marcan priority this means Mark predates that time as well. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only piece of evidence and many suggest a later date and offer explanations for why Luke doesn’t narrate Paul’s death. Some hints might be what they see in Luke as a pro-Roman attitude or even that Luke died before finishing it.

But I would just quote you in our debate on the resurrection details against a person who claimed the failure to narrate Paul’s death as evidence. You seemed to be highly critical of me in claiming what I should expect the authors to narrate about the resurrection stories if they knew of it. If you were to argue this I’d ask you to take your own medicine and mention that arguing from silence and offering exegesis based on what the evangelist does not say is highly speculative. It’s amazing how that knife cuts both ways, isn’t it?

But yes, a good way of dating a text is looking at the last event it mentions. I mean, do you expect any competent exegete today to claim that Moses narrated his own death before the fact? They would be laughed out of academia.

Vinnie

Um, I personally didn’t outline any arguments for dating of Luke, I only put in a link to an article that i found that outlined numerous observations, and did not rely on the single question of selection or omission of one single event.

Appreciate the thoughts. one last note… just as i was searching articles, I found yet another example of this very thing…

The main argument for Luke being post-70 is that he changes the somewhat vague wording of Mark to “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies” (21:20). That very much sounds like someone writing after it happened.

C. S. Lewis’s observation in this regard is still spot on…

Here is an example of the sort of thing that happens if we omit the preliminary philosophical task, and rush on to the historical. In a popular commentary on the Bible you will find a discussion of the date at which the Fourth Gospel was written. The author says it must have been written after the execution of St Peter, because, in the Fourth Gospel, Christ is represented as predicting the execution of St Peter. ‘A book’, thinks the author, ‘cannot be written before events which it refers to’. Of course it cannot—unless real predictions ever occur. If they do, then this argument for the date is in ruins. And the author has not discussed at all whether real predictions are possible. He takes it for granted (perhaps unconsciously) that they are not. Perhaps he is right: but if he is, he has not discovered this principle by historical inquiry. He has brought his disbelief in predictions to his historical work, so to speak, ready made. Unless he had done so his historical conclusion about the date of the Fourth Gospel could not have been reached at all. His work is therefore quite useless to a person who wants to know whether predictions occur. The author gets to work only after he has already answered that question in the negative, and on grounds which he never communicates to us. This book is intended as a preliminary to historical inquiry. I am not a trained historian and I shall not examine the historical evidence for the Christian miracles. My effort is to put my readers in a position to do so. It is no use going to the texts until we have some idea about the possibility or probability of the miraculous. Those who assume that miracles cannot happen are merely wasting their time by looking into the texts: we know in advance what results they will find for they have begun by begging the question.

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Most kind. Thank you!

Im tired of the same argument beign made in this forum.Faith faith faith.NO.Its not only faith.I cant believe anything.Im the one who criticizes the very scientists based on my own perception and database from others and make my own mind about them.Im the one who looks at evidence and says “Sure this correct i can believe that"or"No this is false”.

Lets say im an atheist. Im asking you “How do you know the bibles core message is not edited in”? And you answer" It might be but i have faith in it? Really is that the response? I wont waste my life believing in something i cant be 100% sure about this.Its blind faith.If so i will become an agnostic.Im a christian now and the answers really dont help my faith.THey rather destroy it slowly. For the record i dont accuse anyone here of this.Just beign mad about myself and the perception i had that the Bible had some basis and was "defendable"from Critics.It turns out it isnt

Your link claims Luke was writing while Paul was a prisoner. Lack of narration of Paul’s death is standard. The pro-Roman attitude can come after Nero as well, just probably not right after. Decades would have needed to have passed by and probably a generation. He also argues Jame’s death wasn’t narrated and neither was Peter’s. Again, this is the only good evidence for suggesting Acts was written before these events happened. Nothing else on the link holds up to any sort of scrutiny.

I admit the lack of narration of any of these major pillar’s deaths is a point that needs to be seriously considered but so are what scholars consider references to the destruction of the Temple. Luke’s dependence on Mark is also a factor. There are alternative explanations (Luke died before finishing, Luke planned a third volume, etc). You have to look at the totality of all the evidence. It’s difficult to be dogmatic on any dating because most of it is an educated guess based on reading the author’s minds.

Vinnie

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I don’t consider trusting God or the peace and understanding that brings to be a waste of life whether I have certainty or not. I’m not missing or sacrificing anything in being a Christian. On the contrary, I have gained everything and have been called to a higher standing of living. Do you not feel God’s presence in your life?

I think you are also prioritizing man’s rationality and arguments attempting to prove the Gospel over experiencing it personally with God. I never advocated blind faith. I just find God and my experience with him to present a far more cogent reason for belief than any man-made babble. In comparison, they are just words, words led out into battle against other words. I have better evidence than man-made arguments. I have been saved by the creator of the universe. Even if you can prove God’s existence that means nothing. Even the demons believe in God and shudder.

If you desire certainty in your belief I can only wish you the best of luck in finding it. I have been where you are. Maybe you will find better sources than me and come to a different conclusion. It seems like you make a “skeptic question of the week” type post here though. Looks like you are questioning some things. I know many here are extremely knowledgeable and will help you in any way they can. I do wish you the best in your quest for knowledge! I think the central salvific purpose of the New Testament is very much defensible from critics, if not provable. I do not think conservative views of inerrancy are remotely tenable though. For many people, the all or nothing mentality when it comes to the Bible becomes destructive and hurtful in the long run. I hope you perservere.

We really have no reason to doubt the textual integrity of the resurrection narratives. There is a lot of debate over whether Mark ended at 16:8 or had another ending and many think John 21 was added to the Gospel as a second ending. We have no certainty but if the stories were very fluid they would probably look more alike and wouldn’t have so many contradictions. I don’t think it’s possible they are all true to begin with in lieu of mutually exclusive details. That changes nothing. That Jesus’s original followers believe he appeared to them shortly after his death is a bedrock of history. There is absolutely NO credible alternative. The specifics as to the details are open to investigation on my end.

Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings,(A) because we know that suffering produces perseverance;(B) 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope(C)does not put us to shame, because God’s love(D) has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,(E) who has been given to us.

The struggle is not in vain!

Vinnie

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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