To get a mind of your own, get informed. That could be good. Kalama Sutta should be fit for calm progress.
There is a good line of development from "There are no Bible errors" through "There are some Bible errors" to "There is too much goddamn forgery there." That is the example set by Dr Bart D. Ehrman, for example.
So far Dr Ehrman has become an agnostic. He started out as an evangelical Christian, and has written lots of well-selling books after he gathered information on Jesus. He is recognised as a New Testament expert. [Ehrman and Ehrman books]
It has to start somewhere. Have a look. The abbreviation 'vs' below stands for 'versus', against.
1. Would Jesus inherit David's throne?
Yes. So said the angel (Luke 1:32) vs no: he was claimed to be a descendant of Jehoiakim (see Matthew 1:11; 1 Chronicles 3:16).
Jehoiakim was cursed by God so that presumably none of his descendants could sit on David's throne (Jeremiah 36:30): "This is what the Lord says about Jehoiakim king of Judah: He will have none to sit on the throne of David . . . I will punish him and his children and his attendants for their wickedness; I will bring on them and those living in Jerusalem and the people of Judah every disaster I pronounced against them.'" [Jer 36:30-31]
2. Did Jesus allow his disciples to keep a staff on their journey?
Yes (Mark 6:8) vs No (Matthew 10:9; Luke 9:3)
3. Did John the Baptist recognise Jesus before his baptism?
Yes (Matthew 3:13-14) vs No (John 1:32,33)
4. Did John the Baptist recognise Jesus after his baptism?
Yes (John 1:32, 33) vs No (Matthew 11:2)
5. According to the Gospel of John, what did Jesus say about bearing his own witness?
"If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true" (John 5:31) vs "Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony is true" (John 8:14)
6. The Gospels say that Jesus cursed a fig tree. Did the tree wither at once?
Yes. (Matthew 21:19) vs No. It withered overnight (Mark 2: 20)
7. Did Judas kiss Jesus?
Yes (Matthew 26:48-50) vs No. Judas could not get close enough to Jesus to kiss him (John 18:3-12)
8. Did Jesus bear his own cross?
Yes (John 19:17) vs No (Matthew 27:31-32)
9. Did Jesus die before the curtain of the temple was torn?
Yes (Matthew 27:50-51; Mark 15:37-38) vs No. After the curtain was torn, then Jesus crying with a loud voice, said, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last (Luke 23:45-46)
10. Did Jesus say anything secretly?
Yes. "He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything" (Mark 4:34). The disciples asked him "Why do you speak to them in parables?" He said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given" (Matthew 13:10-11) vs No.: "I have said nothing secretly" (John 18:20)
11. Where was Jesus at the sixth hour on the day of the crucifixion?
On the cross (Mark 15:23) vs In Pilate's court (John 19:14)
12. The gospels say that two thieves were crucified along with Jesus. Did both thieves mock Jesus?
Yes (Mark 15:32) vs No. One of them mocked Jesus, the other defended Jesus (Luke 23:43)
13. Did Jesus ascend to Paradise the same day of the crucifixion?
Yes. He said to the thief who defended him, "Today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43) vs No. He said to Mary Magdelene two days later, "I have not yet ascended to the Father" (John 20:17)
14. What did Judas do with the blood money he received for betraying Jesus?
He bought a field (Acts 1:18) vs He threw all of it into the temple and went away. The priests could not put the blood money into the temple treasury, so they used it to buy a field to bury strangers (Matthew 27:5)
15. How did Judas die?
After he threw the money into the temple he went away and hanged himself (Matthew 27:5) vs After he bought the field with the price of his evil deed he fell headlong and burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out (Acts 1:18)
16. Who is a ransom for whom?
"The Son of Man came . . . to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). "Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for all . . ." (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
Cf. "The wicked is a ransom for the righteous, and the faithless for the upright" (Proverbs 21:18)
17. Did Jesus pray to The Father to prevent the crucifixion?
Yes. (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42) vs No. (John 12:27)
18. According to the gospels, what were the last words of Jesus before he died?
"Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" (Luke 23:46) vs "It is finished" (John 19:30).
19. Apart from Jesus did anyone else ascend to heaven?
Yes. "And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven" (2 Kings 2:11) vs No. (John 3:13)
20. How many disciples did Jesus appear to after his resurrection?
Twelve (1 Corinthians 15:5) vs Eleven (Matthew 27:3-5 and Acts 1:9-26, see also Matthew 28:16; Mark 16:14 footnote; Luke 24:9; Luke 24:33)
21. Where was Jesus three days after his baptism?
After his baptism, "the spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days . . . (Mark 1:12-13) vs Next day after the baptism, Jesus selected two disciples. Second day: Jesus went to Galilee - two more disciples. Third day: Jesus was at a wedding feast in Cana in Galilee (see John 1:35; 1:43; 2:1-11)
So far, so good?
Many may claim to descend from David through a father they do not have, but rather refrain - See what happened to Jesus who did it, according to gospels. He was executed.
There are fundamentalists around, and some claim the Bible is free of error and contradictions, although the Bible is full of them. A reviewer of Steve Wells' The Skeptic's Annotated Bible (1995) apparently finds 472 contradictions, 2178 absurdities, 428 conflicts with science, and 231 false prophecies in the Bible, for example. It seems like a fallacy to trust the numbers at face value, though, for often there are disagreements about what is ranked as an absurdity or not and other such issues. Also note: "One person's detected absurdity may well rest on his or her interpretation." So different estimates are indeed possible.
But see for yourself if you can stand King James' Version - that sort of English - and helped along by margin notes and cross-references.
If you want to see fundamentalists squirm, ask them some pertinent questions. One could be "Please explain how one can see God and still live on (Genesis 32:30) when John 1:18 says it cannot be done." On the one hand it is OK that they then look up the oldest, most reliable texts and translate from them for the sake of accuracy of translation. On the other hand it is not OK if they do it to distort or obfuscate matters. And finally, if they seemingly come up with meanings that well qualified Bible translators did not think of, it requires more effort to deal with: ask a translator if the other translation is fair and fit, and why it is not.
Many unneeded struggles and many sorrows have been due to context-independent contradictions and errors of fact in the Bible. One example: 2 Kings 24:8 says "Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months," while 2 Chronicles 36:9 says "Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days". Simply put: Eight is not eighteen, no matter how you turn it.
Or in one place (2 Samuel 6:23) David's wife Michal "Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death," while 2 Samuel 21:8 says she had five sons. Simply: Zero is far from five.
And so on.
Now you know there are many contradictions in the Bible and the New Testament to chew on for those who want to. At the back of them are forgeries. There are many forgeries in the Bible, Dr. Ehrman documents well (link above).
"Back to business:" to begin with, most topics above ask only for a simple "yes" or "no" answer on your part, or "yes and "no", or a blur, "yesno" or "noyes (well)" and so on. I think that by the blurred "noyes" or "yesno" you cover more gospel ground than by any other alternative. Maybe it is a first help out, butnot fit. You could end up stubborn, and with an unschooled, fragmented mind through it, for example.
Don't become a laughing-stock: if you answer "yes" to "When Jesus entered Jerusalem did he cleanse the temple that same day?" you get the same score as if you answer "no": Matthew 21:12 yields "yes", and Mark 1:1-17 yields "no". Both replies are supported by the Bible, but that does not resolve anything of this anyway.
Some think the Old Testament is God's Word and the New Testament even more so, because the gospels are widely believed to be written by apostles or others engulfed in the Holy Spirit of Truth and glossolalia. We will see about that. When different passages tell different stories about the presumably same happening, the gospel credibility goes downward somehow. Tenseness and uproar may set in, and much else - you hardly know.
What about rotating the gospel readings - one year for Mark, another for Matthew, and so on in a four-year cycle. In this way people are told slightly different stories year after year. One year the church-goer is expected to believe one gospel version as the gospel truth, another year a different version, and so on. It is no good solution; it is a trick that keeps many in bondage. Some eventually rise above it.
The credibility of a text may not withstand dozens of self-contradictions, except when in the wake of indoctrinations. At any rate, relax well and in time to improve your odds of grasping deep and solid points.
The question: Can you handle the truth about gospel discrepancies fair and square? If not today, maybe later. Many people do not seem to have better choices, at any rate.
A fine collection of Bible contradicions is, apart from the Bible, an internet article by Shabir Ally (source given at bottom). And if you go on to read more pages on-site, you will find some of the quirks are discussed at length there, for example points 10, 14, and 15. Also, on the next page there are over 120 self-contradictions of the Bible too, along with severe scholar views on how the Bible was made. They suggest explanations of some of the problems that are encountered by not too drowsy Bible readers. Enjoy yourself.
A more than suspect promise, is it worth resorting to at all?
The Bible tells of very much frustration. First, the Bible says the Creator made a couple and promised that an apple-eater would be killed the same day he ate of the forbidden fruit - And yet apple-eating Adam lived till he was 850 years old after that. Would you know!
Frustatred guys may become dangerous and commit themselves to fruitless combats, ending their good fortune thus. So what is the alternative to relying on suspect deep sleep promises and other suspect things? Maybe it is relying more on yourself. At least on trustworthy things. Promises that fail to come true for three thousand years are not really effective, and we need to adjust to that. Some Jews do not, however, and that is a problem.
In an old myth, Yahweh promised land to Abra(ha)m and his descendants.
As the sun was setting, Abra[ha]m fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him [in deep sleep]. Then the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates - the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites." [Gen 15:12-21]
Many do not even remember a dream, and deep sleep is deeper than dream sleep, or REM sleep. A person usually remembers nothing at all from his deep sleep. But suppose that Abram had luck and recalled all he heard - and later in life realised he lacked most of the territory enumerated anyhow. The same holds good for Abraham's descendants for three thousand years: they have never got the deep-sleep promised land. Look to the fruits. Study historical maps to see more, if you will.
❋ Unfulfilled promises are sources of resentment, and having believed in vain promises can be a cause of regrets and masquerades.
God-decrees blown away with the wind, it seems
The Bible's God set up (institutionalised) goat tent service that was to last forever, but the solemn, ritualised goat tent service took an end when King Solomon had built a temple that his father David had prepared for.
Then the covenant ark disappeared also.
Yahweh "gave in" when the people wanted a king, but presaged repercussions. The king (as an institution) was to bring basic punishment to Jews. Watch out who you select or hail; the one chosen by God, Saul, went insane, and other kings cost much, they too. [1 Samuel 1.8].
Yahweh later appears to have forgot he had killed off his lost sheep of Israel unless he meant the people of Judah - so Jesus said he was for the lost sheep of Israel largely in vain. [Matthew 10:6; 15:24]
"I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel." [Hosea 1:4] "I will crush you". [Amos 2:13] "Fallen is Virgin Israel, never to rise again". [Amos 5:2]
Afterwards, according to Jesus, he sent Jesus to save them. The plan failed. Are you surprised? One should say it was doomed to fail from the start, as judged from Old Testament evidence.
Mishmash-ridden "strategies" aside, the net was cast over Gentiles instead and the commands or injuctions of Jesus that were for Jews only, were dropped. Only four requirements were left, and no to blood food was one of them, and no to adultery. How many stand by those two today outside the Orthodox Church? [Acts 15; 21:25]
Teachings of Jesus provoked the high priests to the extent that they decided to have him executed, for things he said did not correspond to the Law of Moses, and they were not allowed to transgress, but were obliged to have a transgressor executed according to the Law.
Jesus claimed that his words and deeds were for Jews only. "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel," said Jesus [See Matthew 15;24]. But no, the Father who allegedly had sent him to save his own, decided differently after some time. Now he wanted Jesus to be butchered like a lamb instead. After some more time, millions of Gentile followers were made martyrs, even though proper faith and God's power could have hindered it and helped them to an easy, pleasant life instead of being victimised. [Matthew 28;19; John 14:12]
After the Lamb had been butchered, we are told that a Spirit or Ghost descended on his apostles and from them to Gentiles, but almost all of the Law and all the sayings of Jesus were clearly dispensed with as "not among the four requirements" when the Apostle's Decree was "hammered out" by all the apostles and the Holy Spirit [Acts 15 and 21:25]. One might as well accept that Jesus says that sane people do not need him. [Mark 2:17; cf. Matthew 9:12-13].
According to Acts 15 and 21:25, eating black pudding (blood pudding and blood sausages) was and is a no-no to non-Jewish Christians. But circumcision and Sabbath rest could be dropped, even though they were necessary for being of Yahweh's chosen people according to the Law that had mattered so much to Yahweh and which Jesus vouched for wholesale in Matthew 5:17-19.
As for the signs that are said to have accompanied Jesus, they were small in comparison to the scaring manifestations of Yahweh before Mount Sinai, on that mount, and afterwards. What Jesus really did, was to sabotage parts of the Law while claiming the whole of the Law was valid [Matthew 5;18-20]. By the way, have you noted how much easier it is to say "cast mountains into the sea" than actually doing such feats?
After 70 AD, guys who in the light of Hosea were already destroyed [and must have failed in their thinking] were shooed from tracts the Bible says that Yahweh had given them and they never had had more than a fraction of anyhow: "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates - the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, CanBible History and Bible errorsnites, Girgashites and Jebusites." - [See Genesis 15;18-21]
❋ Try to be strong against the faults of Jante and dangerous religious garble, for the welfare of the devotees and the others.
It is better not to be gullibly taken in and made a fool for it. Try to do yoga instead and strengthen and clarify your mind by it. You can also still your mind and body somehow - without meditation - and reflect so that you grasp the Bible mistakes seriously. And still your jaws, so that you get no reasons for regrets too. Then, gradually you might improve where you are, and come to bear good fruit if things go well. It gets worse for the marred, indoctrinated many and those who get crooked.
If someone presents you with a supposed contradiction in the Bible, try to check it up and ascertain what the best sources and translations tell. That could be quite another story. The TNIV (Today's New International Version) should work well for many. In fact, it does. The best translations around have sought to get rid of many translation difficulties. How the TNIV does it, is explained in its escape a lot of unreasonable criticism and getting duped by some blunt and fanatical claimants.
There are also many textual errors or disagreements that no fair translations can make all right. Near the bottom of the page are a few of the kind.
The value of check-lists for the Bible study
We may study texts such as the gospels somewhat tentatively in relation to such as:
AIR-BOC is really an all-round approach to literary study, study of movies, and much else. There is more on literary study, including the acronym AIR-BOC on another page. If you learn AIR-BOC by heart - which is recommended - you may easily recall the six main sides to general study of movies, books, and much else. Then you get a handle to investigate things - cursorily at first, and more extensively if you go on, without omitting, neglecting or forgetting significant sides to the subject you try to get to grips with - on your own terms too.
Bible sequences differ - what about it?
More than one so-called Bible contradiction - of two or more different statements about the same thing - may be resolved somewhat by being analysed, and maybe not. You will have to check.
For example, in Matthew and Mark Jesus went to pray alone three times in the Garden of Gethsemane, whereas, in Luke he went alone to pray once only. Here Matthew and Mark contradict Luke, and the other way round. "Either it was three or one times," you say, trying to get to the truth of the incidents. And then it is fit - theoretically speaking - to consider the alternative hypothesis", namely: "Three times or once, some other number, or it did not happen at all."
The point: When so-called witness accounts differ, both may lose in credibility, and then it should be fit to consider the options. The stand-by counsel here is: Believe as little as you can if you are up to it. [Kalama Sutta] A "next best" way is to "Believe, but make sure (Proverb)". By these stands you may get on a fit track of living. It may not be easy at first, though.
Bible translations differ and some may contain all right, dubious or erroneous statements brought on by the translators. For, basically, "one must in translating seek to find the closest possible equivalent" - in many cases it leads to rendering. The point not to be overlooked is that there is more than one translation principle to employ. Think of a band, a string, a scale. At one end is "formal equivalence". At the other end is "dynamic equivalence". Somewhere between those two "poles on the gliding scale" the Bible translations are ranked according to the preponderance of which equivalence they employ. "In contrast with formal-equivalence translations others are oriented toward dynamic equivalence. In such a translation the focus of attention is directed, not so much toward the source message, as toward the receptor response."
[Eugene A. Nida, Toward a Science of Translating (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1964), p. 166-168.]
"Formal equivalence focuses attention on the message itself, in both form and content. In such a translation one is concerned with such correspondences as poetry to poetry, sentence to sentence, and concept to concept. Viewed from this formal orientation, one is concerned that the message in the receptor language should match as closely as possible the different elements in the source language. This means, for example, that the message in the receptor culture is constantly compared with the message in the source culture to determine standards of accuracy and correctness.
Nida wants to see adjustments in the text which will eliminate, as far as possible, the difficulties which arise from ignorance of cultural differences. His way is "the closest natural equivalent to the source-language message." What he is aiming at is equivalence of receptor response rather than equivalence of form. It includes adaption of both grammar and lexicon (words and phrases and idioms used). Moreover, expressions, cultural specialties or large cultural differences need to be either explained somehow or rendered to some degree by use of approximations, or maybe both these approaches combined.
It is inevitable also that that when source and receptor languages represent very different cultures there should be many basic themes and accounts which cannot be "naturalized" by the process of translating.
Nida does not suppose that a version of the Bible can be wholly "naturalized" so that explanations of words, phrases, and other features of the text are made all unnecessary. In other words,
Nida acknowledges that there are limits to the method of "dynamic equivalence," and that when it is pressed beyond these limits it will distort or lessen the meaning of the original. He advocates translations that are "oriented toward dynamic equivalence" (emphasis added) without demanding an uncompromising application of its principles. We may say then, that the real difference between Nida and those who prefer a more literal approach seems to be a matter of degree and emphasis. Nida puts such importance on the goal of a "natural" translation that he would make it as natural as possible (while others might only make it as natural as necessary), and he would also reduce to a bare minimum the need for introductions and explanations.
So, translation studies are complex. The translator is called to look beyond the text itself to deconstruct and decode and assess culture-specific items, idiom and figurative language to approach the source text - and on that basis create a translation which transfers what words mean in a given context, but also recreates the impact of the original text within the frame of the translator's own language. [Wikipedia, s.v. "Eugene Nida"]
Some translate the Bible to make its wording flow rather naturally "as naturally as possible" in English (or any other receptor language), while others make the translation only as English as deemed necessary, to be "true" to various literalnesses of the original. In many bible translations there are compromises to resolve disagreements among the participating, translating scholars. Opinions differ, also in those quarters. It may take years to hammer out a compromise in such cases.
Analysis of the original Bible languages with their special limitations and nuances and the historical context of the translation need to be taken into account. As you may see from the above, it may pay to choose the most renowned translation around. Many today say that in English today it is the NIV (New International Version) translation.
Ally, Shabir. 101 Clear Contradictions in the Bible. Al-Attique Int'l Islamic Publications. IslamWay.Com. 1998-2004. Online.
Baker, Mona. Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account. Abingdon, Oxon: Francis and Taylor, 2006.
BeDun, Jason David. Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2003.
Bendana, Lola, and Alan Melby. Almost Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Translation. Toronto: Multi-Languages Corporation, 2012.
International Bible Society. Holy Bible: Today's New International Version, TNIV. Colorado Springs, CO: International Bible Society, 2005.
Kuhiwczak, Piotr, and Karin Littau. A Companion to Translation Studies. Clevdon, UK: Multilingual Matters, 2007.
Marlowe, Michael D. Dynamic Equivalence Defined, in Translation Theory and Methods. Bible Research. Online.
Mauranen, Anna, and Pekka Kujamaki, eds. Translation Universals: Do They Exist? Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing, 2004.
Neubert, Albrecht, and Gregory M. Shreve. Translation as Text. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1992. ⍽▢⍽ The authors examine what make a good translation a text (a whole) above being an assemblage of word-translations. Recommended.
Newmark, Peter. Readings in General Translation Theory. Saddle River, NJ, Prentice Hall, 1997.
Nida, Eugene A. Toward a Science of Translating. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1964. ⍽▢⍽ Online at Google Books.
Nida, Eugene, and Charles Taber. The Theory and Practice of Translation. Leiden: United Bible Societies / Brill, 1974.
Reiss, Katharina. Translation Criticism: Potentials and Limitations. Tr. Erroll F. Rhodes. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2014.
Wells, Steve. The Skeptic's Annotated Bible: The King James' Version from a Skeptic's Point of View. SAB Books, 2012. ⍽▢⍽ There are several books on Bible errors around today. I for one salute Wells for his massive undertaking and documentations. I only hope can put up with the King James' Version version he has chosen, for there is today better and more read translation, namely the New International Version (NIV), and its revision Today's New Internation Version (TNIV) of 2005. — Also, for the sake of fairness of investigation it should pay to take into account such as Berend de Boer's refutations of Wells' claims (2011). They are at www.berenddeboer.net/sab/
Zainurrahman, ed.The Theories of Translation: From History to Procedures. 2009. Online. ⍽▢⍽ "The materials in this book were taken from Translation Journals and Translation Directories [and may] be cited for academic purposes."
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