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Criticism of the Bible

The Bible is a canonical collection of texts that are not the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In fact, some of them are wide open to criticism today. It could help to be correctly informed, but maybe it does not help all who are false. At any rate, the following extracts are from the Wikipedia article "Criticism of the Bible":

Disillusionment waiting

Disturbing to some, 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.

Professor Israel Finkelstein, who is known as "the father of biblical archaeology", told the Jerusalem Post that Jewish archaeologists have found no historical or archaeological evidence to back the biblical narrative on 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. Professor Yoni Mizrahi, an independent archaeologist who has worked with the International Atomic Energy Agency, agreed with Israel Finkelstein.

The Bible has been criticised for its ethic and lack of it, as shown in its harsh subjugation of women, religious intolerance, use of capital punishment as penalty for violating the Mosaic Law (with enforced Saturday rest), many sorts of sexual acts like incest, a divine regulation of the institution of slavery in the Old Testament and toleration of it in the New Testaments, commands of wars and the upheld order to kill all the Canaanites and the Amalekites. Some religious groups see nothing wrong with the Bible's judgments; but others do indeed.

The question of how long mankind has lived on earth is another warm potato: A literal view of the book of Genesis holds that the universe and all forms of life on Earth were created directly by God sometime between 5,700 and 10,000 years ago. A look at the stars at night tells another tale if you consider the time it has taken the light from the distant stars to reach you. You can see millions or billions of years back into the universe here and now on a starry night - for that is how long it took the light from distant stars to reach us.

There are many inconsistencies in the Bible also, in part due to different teachings in different places, and in part due to different versions of tales in different places.

There are concerns about the Christian Bible's morality, inerrancy, or historicity, in addition to the questions of which books should be included in the Bible. There are well recognised forgeries also.

A desire for better readability, clarity or even trustworthiness has led to more accurate Bible translations that King James' Version (KJV) from 1611.

The Bible's universe consists of a flat earth. But this model is false.

Dangerous prophesies

False prophesies through mistranslations, prophesies after the event, prophesies not fulfilled either wholly or in part - these are three main types. Some get detrimental to the sound mind through fanatically upheld belief in them against better knowing.

According to Jewish scholars, Christian claims that Jesus is the messiah of the Hebrew Bible are based on mistranslations and Jesus did not fulfill the qualifications for Jewish Messiah.

Some read messianic predictions into passages that have other meanings. That has been the fate of Isaiah 7:14.

Prophecies after the event, also called alleged after-the-fact prophecies, are invalid and misleading works. In the Gospel of Mark the siege of Jerusalem and destruction of the Jewish Temple at the hands of the Romans in 70 AD is "predicted". Most mainstream New Testament scholars concede this is "a foretelling after the event", as are many of the prophecies in the Old Testament such as Daniel 11.

Another class of false predictions are of the type "Never came true anyway", and another is "Not fully fulfilled". For example, Joshua never lives to see the full territory God promised him. and even though God had promised him that no enemy was his equal, many were - and stopped his invasion into their territories.

Ezekiel said Egypt would be made an uninhabited wasteland for forty years (Ezekiel 29:10-14), and Nebuchadnezzar would be allowed to plunder it (Ezekiel 29:19-20) as compensation for his earlier failure to plunder Tyre (see above). However, the armies of Pharaoh Amasis II (also known as Ahmose II) defeated the Babylonians. History records that this Pharaoh went on to enjoy a long and prosperous reign.

According to Genesis and Deuteronomy (Genesis 15:18, 17:8 and Deuteronomy 1:7-8), Abraham and his descendants, the Israelites will unconditionally (Deuteronomy 9:3-7) own all the land between the Nile River and the Euphrates River for good. It has never happened.

According to Isaiah 17:1, "Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins", but Damascus is considered among the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world.

Isaiah and Jeremiah (Isaiah 27:12-13, Jeremiah 3:18, Jeremiah 31:1-23, and Jeremiah 33:7) predicted the return of the exiles taken from Israel by the Assyrians in 722 BC. It never happened.

Isaiah 19:17 predicted that "the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt". Assuming that the 'terror' implied was a large-scale military attack of Egypt, it never happened.

Jesus said in Matt. 24:2; Mark 13:2; Luke 19:44; Luke 21:6 that "no stone" of Jerusalem or of the Second Temple would be left upon another. This prophecy failed, as the wailing wall (a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple's courtyard,) still stands.

Jesus prophesied that the second coming would occur during the lifetime of his followers and Caiphas, and immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE (referred to as abomination of desolation in Matt 24:15). There was no such second coming. (cf. Revelation 1:4,11 too).

The Apostle Paul also predicted that the second coming would be within his own lifetime, 1 Thessalonians 4:17: "After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

[Main source of the chapter above: WP, "Criticism of the Bible". There is more there.]


Bible criticism, sane living, Literature  

Below are some works by the Bible scholar Bart D. Ehrman.


Ehrman, Bart D. Forged: Writing in the Name of God: Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. New York: HarperCollins, 2011.

Ehrman, Bart D. How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. New York: HarperOne, 2014.

Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus, Interrrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them). New York: HarperCollins, 2009.

Ehrman, Bart D. Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make it into the New Testament. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Ehrman, Bart D. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. New York: HarperCollins, 2005.

Ehrman, Bart D. Studies in the Textual Criticism of the New Testament. Leiden: Brill, 2006.

Ehrman, Bart D., ed, tr. The Apostolic Fathers. Vol. 1 and 2. London: Harvard University Press, 2003.

Ehrman, Bart D. The Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Ehrman, Bart D. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Metzger, Bruce M., and Bart D. Ehrman. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restauration. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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