Editing of The Bible

It was a complex situation, with quite a few Jewish factions fighting other Jews. while Josephus is hardly an unbiased reporter, he offers a lot of insight as to what happened. Joel Edmund Anderson reviewed those events in a well written series of blogs that I found enlightening. Here is the first one to get you started if you wish to learn more: https://www.joeledmundanderson.com/the-jewish-war-series-part-1-the-beginning-of-the-revolt/


Yes, there were some Jews fighting other Jews. Maybe some of them were with the Romans getting rewards. And Josephus is not unbiased as you say. Thank you for the link to the blogs. They look very interesting.

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There was far more infighting than you seem to suggest. The warring factions within a surrounded Jerusalem burned their own granaries to keep them out of the hands of their fellow Jewish opposition.


Or possibly their stupidity stemming from their condescending covenantal theology. Many innocent people that probably wanted nothing to do with this rebellion suffered and died as a result. It would be naive to imagine all those protesting Roman taxes all as heroic freedom fighters. It ended in disaster for Jewish people.



To return to the original question: The conclusion that the last bit of Mark 16 is not original reflects its absence from many manuscripts, different versions of a conclusion, significant stylistic differences, and the fact that it seems to be a summary of other sources, added to fill in the rather abrupt ending. But most of the textual variations are completely insignificant, variation of a letter or two that perhaps changes a verb tense or first versus third person, or maybe just a spelling error (e.g., the copyists seem not to have been too sure about the name of the town with the curing of the demoniacs and invention of deviled ham). None of them make any difference theologically or historically, except for the heretical misuse of the end of Mark by the proponents of snake handling and poison-drinking. Removing the resurrection is not legitimate textual criticism; that is the Thomas Jefferson approach of using scissors to cut out the parts you don’t like. Of course, all that textual criticism can say is that this is our best understanding of what the original text was; it does not tell us if the claims of the text were correct.

Textual variation does not disprove inerrancy, but it requires a more nuanced understanding than is typical of its popular advocates or critics. If Scripture is inerrant in what it teaches, then our job is to carefully seek to understand its teaching, not to insist on the inerrancy of our favorite interpretation. Also, we should not expect technical scientific-style precision on issues that are not the main focus. God obviously has not considered it necessary for us to be certain about the exact numbers from Old Testament lists, for example; after all, they are much trickier to copy correctly than words. Anything you write with numerals will be a number, whereas we can figure out that fafkh must be a mistake in copying English. (Of course, letters were used for numerals in ancient Hebrew and Greek, but any combination of those would work as a numeral). Also, they tend to catch the interest somewhat less, for most people. But it is theologically quite unimportant just how many years the number might be for Methuselah, or whether we’ve mixed up the number systems, or how many people from which family group returned from exile.


Yet there is an error, which is not a textual variant, in the book of Hebrews which prevents anyone from claiming that that book, specifically, and the whole Christian bible, as well as the New Testament–in the original and in any translation–from being completely and perfectly Divinely inspired or Divinely protected from error. Recognition of the error requires one to read Genesis 47:29-31.

  • Genesis 47
    29. When the time for Israel to die drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “Please, if I have found favor in your sight, place now your hand under my thigh and deal with me in kindness and faithfulness. Please do not bury me in Egypt,
    30. but when I lie down with my fathers, you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.” And he said, “I will do as you have said.”
    31. He said, “Swear to me.” So he swore to him. Then Israel bowed in worship at the head of the bed.

Now, look at the NASB-97 translation of Hebrews 11:21. “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.”
Here, we read that:

  • When Jacob was dying,
    • Jacob blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and
    • Jacob worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

So, according to Genesis 47:31, “Then Israel bowed in worship at the head of the bed”, but according to Hebrews 11:21, “[Jacob] worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.”

  • The Hebrew text for that clause in Genesis is: וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל־רֹאשׁ הַמִּטָּֽה׃
    • Translated, it is: “Israel (bowed)/(worshiped)/(prostrated himself) on the head of the bed”
  • The Greek text for that clause in Hebrews is: καὶ [Ἰακὼβ] προσεκύνησεν ἐπὶ τὸ ἄκρον τῆς ῥάβδου αὐτοῦ
    • Translated, it is: “and [Jacob] (bowed)/(paid homage)/(worshiped)/(prostrated himself) on the top of his staff”

So which did Israel/Jacob do? … “Bow on the head of the bed” or “bow on the top of his staff”? The Hebrew text says the former, but the Greek text says the latter. And how did the author of Hebrews come up with “with top of his staff” when the Hebrew text clearly says: “on/at the head of the bed”??

To discover the source for version written by the author of Hebrew’s, we need to go–not to any Hebrew text–but to the Greek translation of the Hebrew text, i.e. to the Septuagint where we find that the first translators of Genesis, from Hebrew into Greek, translated Genesis 47:31 as: “καὶ προσεκύνησεν Ισραηλ ἐπὶ τὸ ἄκρον τῆς ῥάβδου αὐτοῦ”.

Bottom line: The translators of Genesis 47:31, from Hebrew into Greek, translated the Hebrew text incorrectly, and the author of the New Testament book of Hebrews relied on the Septuagint version, not the Hebrew version of Genesis 47:31.

And Jews who know about the mistranslation and its appearance in the New Testament have been laughing ever since discovering it.


However, as @paleomalacologist pointed out, that doesn’t make a huge theological difference to the passages.

None of this disproves mine conclusion above.None.So because all the gosepls had the ressurection it couldnt be edited out>Or because Paul wrote it happened?

How do i know that the writers didnt edited the Original; Mark to convey that story?How do i know theyve twisted the message to the ressurection and the message actually was something along the line of “human ressurection” meaning how we get out of the pit on this life and climb to happiness lets say.

Whether it makes a huge difference or not depends on each person’s definition of inerrant scripture. Anyone who subscribes to a “stenographic view” of scripture and revelation is up a proverbial creek without a paddle. I don’t, so the error that I describe is of no consequence to my faith.

You accept it or you don’t. But Paul was pretty clear: 1 Corinthians 15:19 εἰ ἐν τῇ ζωῇ ταύτῃ ἐν Χριστῷ ἠλπικότες ἐσμὲν μόνον, ἐλεεινότεροι πάντων ἀνθρώπων ἐσμέν.

“Their condescending covenantal theology” was also the theology of Jesus. Jesus never rejected Judaism AND he was crucified for sedition.

However apart from that you don’t understand the basics of life. This is not about protesting Roman taxes. The Jewish people fought for Dignity and Freedom and thus for the 80% of humanity, that being the humane. Their fight was a holy war and it inspires all people who would stand for justice from those times until today. They are certainly an inspiration for me, as much as is the fight of the Greeks against the axis powers in the second world war. Same story there too.

If you live for this life alone, you live for nothing. God is above everything!

There was, according to Flavius Josephus a lot of warring factions, but how much can we trust the words of a traitor because that is what it appears he was in the end. Even if there were people against the revolt, you need to see that there were many who stood on the Romans’ side against their own people. This is not unique to Jews. In every country there are traitors, who would fight and destroy their own country men and women.

So after the Romans crucified Jesus, destroyed the Judea, especially Jerusalem and the temple AND sparked of anti-Semitism, we are going to trust that they were not going to edit documents of the NT.

Romans persecuted Christians. Christianity was an illegal religion. Not something they would rewrite.

Isn’t that the whole idea that: the word became flesh and dwelt among us?

It makes no theological difference at all.

Hi, Richard; and welcome to the forum!

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Thank you for your advice!

It’s not an error of translation. It’s a difference of interpretation of the same consonants. Both “staff” and “bed” are possible readings of the Hebrew consonantal text that would have been used by the translators of the Septuagint. In context, and given his hip, “staff” is quite plausible for 47:31. The Masoretic reading of 47:31 may be influenced by 48:2. In this case, there is no particular reason to think that the Masoretic version is superior to the Septuagint. On the whole, the Masoretic is more reliable, but the Pentateuch was much more carefully translated than some of the other parts.

The New Testament writers, writing in Greek, generally used the Septuagint, but sometimes more closely follow the Masoretic text, and seem to have translated themselves on occasion (although the Dead Sea Scrolls show that additional versions existed at the time).

But it is also true that an old, lame guy is likely to lean on lots of things. Also, it’s important to clearly distinguish among the quite wide range of possible claims. For example, it is one thing to claim that the 1611 Authorized Version was a good translation for the time and can reasonably be regarded as authoritative, and quite another to say that there are no points where translation could not be improved or to claim that any impression that comes into the mind of a modern reader is infallible, even if that reader is not aware of changes in English usage since Elizabethan times (like some more recent translations, the editors in 1611 favored familiar wording from previous translations over up to date language use).

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The gospel/Gospel thing is orthography, not a theological point. These things are decided by style guides, not theologians.

The Word of God vs word of God vs Bible vs Jesus has been discussed here to the point of driving people to the verge of insanity:

Go and make that argument to the Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, and let me know how many your claim persuades. More likely, I suspect, you’ll be told something like: "There is a very good reason to think that the Masoretic version is superior to the Septuagint; thinking otherwise invites speculation that:

  • The modern Septuagint is the ancient LXX, when it is “commonly known that the modern Septuagint is a messed-up fusion of various different Septuagint fragments mixed together with Christian interpolation. Thus, this text is not authoritative for Jews in any manner.” [Source: the expressed and common opinion of an Orthodox Jew and several others in another forum.] From the perspective of Orthodox Jews, translating המטה as a “staff” rather than a “bed” is an error according to Jews, not a mere difference of interpretation open to debate.

Indeed. However, I suspect that you are as aware as I am of Protestant KJV loyalists who will object to and reject your “opinion”. You may have missed the recent stir created in this forum by a member who holds a “stenographic view” of the Bible and its post-1611 KJV translation and who based his view on personally-delivered Divine authority and his personal appointment by God to be a “Prophet”.

If you think you have found something important in a biblical text that’s worth repeating, you should look at some other translations before writing something rash.

I thought the translation of “dull-eyed” Leah in Genesis was important so I used 5 translations to be sure it was correct.

See: The Book of Genesis from a Darwinian Perspective

“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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