The Bible: An Introduction with Q & A.

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Re: The Bible: An Introduction with Q & A.

Postby Rian » Fri Jan 15, 2016 5:17 pm

Particles wrote:
Rian wrote:You know what's kind of interesting (and sad!) - how many non-Christians (and some Christians) that think that Bible translation is like the "Telephone game"* played over thousands of years, like the Bible has been translated thousands of times with the previous copy eradicated.

* where one person makes up a sentence, then whispers it to the next person in line, who whispers it (along with any errors that happened in memory, saying and/or hearing) to the next person in line, who whispers it (along with any errors that happened in memory, saying and/or hearing) to the next person in line, etc. etc.


I do think the telephone game is involved in the Bible, but not in the translations so much as in what's in the original texts.

Og3, what are your thoughts on this?
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Re: The Bible: An Introduction with Q & A.

Postby Og3 » Fri Jan 15, 2016 6:37 pm

Og3 wrote: We haven't gotten to NT provenance yet... So what do you think? will it be stronger or weaker than the provenance of the Gallic Wars?
Simplyme wrote:
Og3 wrote:
Simply wrote: I do not care about the Gallic Wars. This is about a Q&A about the bible.

To examine the Bible in vacuo will not allow us to apply a scientific analysis to its provenance. We need "controls" or "comparison samples" in order to judge whether we are correctly judging the provenance of the Bible.

It's a science thing.


What does science has to do with the bible?

Well, since science is the strongest tool that we have for examining truth values, and since the truth values of the provenance of the Bible is a matter that is knowable and discoverable, why not use our best tool for this question.
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Re: The Bible: An Introduction with Q & A.

Postby Og3 » Fri Jan 15, 2016 6:53 pm

Rian wrote:
Particles wrote:
Rian wrote:You know what's kind of interesting (and sad!) - how many non-Christians (and some Christians) that think that Bible translation is like the "Telephone game"* played over thousands of years, like the Bible has been translated thousands of times with the previous copy eradicated.

* where one person makes up a sentence, then whispers it to the next person in line, who whispers it (along with any errors that happened in memory, saying and/or hearing) to the next person in line, who whispers it (along with any errors that happened in memory, saying and/or hearing) to the next person in line, etc. etc.


I do think the telephone game is involved in the Bible, but not in the translations so much as in what's in the original texts.

Og3, what are your thoughts on this?

Well, the book of Genesis as recorded by Moses (or "school of") may have been an oral tradition until that time.That would explain the relatively shorthand format of some parts of Genesis, particularly the oldest portions. So if we were to point to a weak spot, in terms of "the telephone game," that would be the weakest link. Notice, however, that the latter parts of Genesis are packed with detail. This would suggest that they were fairly fresh in the minds of the people, and that these portions had been repeated so often as to be readily familiar and easily brought to mind, much the way that some folks can recite entire passages from Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, or The Princess Bride.

(My way is not very sportsman-like).

But at the same time, I believe that God used Divine Inspiration (in the form described earlier) to bring about an accurate record.

With that said, once written, the Bible is the gold standard for accurate rendition. Jewish Scribes saw their occupations as a calling. One school is known for using a double checksum: First, the number of words in the completed copy was compared to the original, and if they differed, the copy was burned. Then the number of letters was compared, and any differences burned, and then having passed the checksums, two people would read the two texts aloud, comparing them; If the copy differed, it burned.

As an example of this, one of the scrolls found at Qumran in 1947 is a portion of the book of Isaiah. It follows letter-perfect with the Septaugint as we have it today. So from Exodus onward, I find it very credible that the Bible is precisely the same today as written then. But we have old copies to compare to -- very old copies. Shall we talk about NT provenance?
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Re: The Bible: An Introduction with Q & A.

Postby Stacie Cook » Fri Jan 15, 2016 7:33 pm

This may be a diversion of the topic, but do you all (whoever chimes in) think that people 'back in the bible times' were better at being able to remember and repeat stories with better accuracy than perhaps we would today? I am terrible at trying to memorize things... Unless it is a Seinfeld quote...
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Re: The Bible: An Introduction with Q & A.

Postby Og3 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:43 am

Stacie Cook wrote:This may be a diversion of the topic, but do you all (whoever chimes in) think that people 'back in the bible times' were better at being able to remember and repeat stories with better accuracy than perhaps we would today? I am terrible at trying to memorize things... Unless it is a Seinfeld quote...

An interesting point. The very oldest portions of scripture were likely in verse -- for example, Psalm 86 or the book of Job. The use of verse -- meter, rhyme, and repeating patterns -- general predates prose in a culture. This is because poetry and song work better in oral history and verbal repetition, whereas prose works better in written history.*

So this suggests that because Genesis was NOT in verse, that it was not originally an oral history. Thank you for pointing that out.

As an aside: For memory in general, I've recently discovered a technique called "The Method of Loci" and I am in the process of implementing it. So far, middling success.

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* Elizabeth Vandiver, Ph.D., University of Maryland, Lecture Series: The Aeneid of Virgil.
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Re: The Bible: An Introduction with Q & A.

Postby Og3 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 2:14 am

Simplyme wrote:Another assertion.......Can you prove that John wrote the book of John? Can you prove Mark wrote the book of Mark. Can you prove Luke wrote the book of Luke? If you are allowed to just make up stuff then this conversation is going to just be silly.
Particles wrote:
Og3 wrote: Well, it has his name on it, and to my knowledge that isn't contested.

None of the gospels had titles.
His disciples, such as Polycarp, attributed the book to him

Source?

In addition to the Eusebius citation in the prior post:

I also found that Irenaeus, the disciple of Polycarp, who was the disciple of John, wrote these lines in his Against Heresies:
5. ... John, the disciple of the Lord, wishing to set forth the origin of all things, ... rightly proceeds in his teaching from the beginning, that is, from God and the Word. And he expresses himself thus: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; the same was in the beginning with God."

Irenaeus, book1, Ch. 8. v.5
(But what John really does say is this: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." )

Ibid.

In the first part, the last sentence is the text of John 1:1-2, and in the second portion, the cited verse is John 1:14. These passages are unique to "The Gospel According to John", and Irenaeus definitely attaches John's name to the passages; thus we may be certain that Irenaeus attributed the work we call "John's Gospel" to John. Irenaeus would be to John as Aristotle was to Socrates, so we may assume that he had the means to know the writings of his teacher's teacher.

In any fair standard of historicity, I would call that conclusive on the point of John (the man) having written John (the gospel).
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Re: The Bible: An Introduction with Q & A.

Postby Simplyme » Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:54 am

Well, since science is the strongest tool that we have for examining truth values, and since the truth values of the provenance of the Bible is a matter that is knowable and discoverable, why not use our best tool for this question.


Ok. What does science say about a person who was tortured and hung on a stick till he breathed no more. The after being dead for three days he resurrected?

How about an early part of the bible? What does science say about the book of Genesis? Using the "scientific method", how likely. is the things that happened in the book of Genesis, to be true?

Rian, you are more then free to chime in.
I find it rather amusing, when thought of as ignorant or stupid(though I can be on many subjects). Especially by those who believe in a deity up in heaven watching our every move, and rewarding or punishing us after we have expired.
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Re: The Bible: An Introduction with Q & A.

Postby Og3 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:00 pm

Simplyme wrote:
Well, since science is the strongest tool that we have for examining truth values, and since the truth values of the provenance of the Bible is a matter that is knowable and discoverable, why not use our best tool for this question.
Ok. What does science say about a person who was tortured and hung on a stick till he breathed no more. The after being dead for three days he resurrected?

How about an early part of the bible? What does science say about the book of Genesis? Using the "scientific method", how likely. is the things that happened in the book of Genesis, to be true?

Rian, you are more then free to chime in.
What would science say?

Nothing at all. Science can tell us what happens repeatably in the general case; It can tell us nothing of what happened specifically in a single case. Further, the point has been fairly made that science says nothing; scientists say everything. Science -the method- reveals facts to us; we assemble those facts, interpret them, and from them build a knowledge-base, which is also colloquially known as "Science."

Science-the-knowledge-base tells us that it is very unlikely in the general case for a man to rise again after being thoroughly and carefully killed. But the claim of Christians is not that any general man may rise from the dead after being thoroughly and completely killed. It is that One Man did so. And because that singular case is so unlikely -- after all, if it happened all the time, then it would be repeatable, wouldn't it? -- we must pay careful attention to it.

Now, because science tells us about the natural world and the physical laws, if a thing is said to have happened which is contrary to the inductive conclusions in our knowledge base, then that thing could only happen if it were based on something outside the natural -- supernatural -- and beyond the physical -- metaphysical. If one assumes that there is nothing supernatural and nothing metaphysical (as you do) then one will conclude that no man has ever risen from the dead. But this bases on the very question that we are are asking, namely, is there something beyond the natural and the physical, namely, God?

And if our assumption is the same as our conclusion, then what sort of an argument is that? Class? Class? Anyone? Beuller?

Yes, a circular argument...

Simply, that is the last digression that I'm going to answer for you. If you wish to participate in the discussion, you will need to be on point, and you will need to bring something besides simple scoffing. Ridicule is not refutation.
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Re: The Bible: An Introduction with Q & A.

Postby Rian » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:06 pm

Simplyme wrote:
Well, since science is the strongest tool that we have for examining truth values, and since the truth values of the provenance of the Bible is a matter that is knowable and discoverable, why not use our best tool for this question.


Ok. What does science say about a person who was tortured and hung on a stick till he breathed no more. The after being dead for three days he resurrected?

How about an early part of the bible? What does science say about the book of Genesis? Using the "scientific method", how likely. is the things that happened in the book of Genesis, to be true?

Rian, you are more then free to chime in.

Then I'll chime in and say I'd like to hear a more detailed response to the answer that Og3 gave to your question. I'd like to hear more of what you're thinking than just "OK". For example, what are your opinions on the provenance question and comparing the Bible with other literary works of roughly the same time?
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Re: The Bible: An Introduction with Q & A.

Postby Og3 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:50 pm

Og3 wrote:So, we were speaking of using a fair and standard measuring stick for all ancient documents. So let's examine a few ancient documents.

Julius Caesar's The Gallic Wars or Commentarii de Bello Gallico is a good comparison because it has several things in common with the New Testament:
A.) We do not have the original autographs (i.e., in Caesar's own hand)*
B.) They are roughly contemporary with the New Testament (Ca. 50 BC).
C.) It is intended to be used as a serious history; that is, it is not intended as a work of fiction.
D.) It was highly influential.
E.) The writer was an eyewitness to the events recorded.
F.) When printing was invented, it was one of the earliest books to be printed widely.

A good article on the topic may be found here: http://www.timmitchell.fr/blog/2012/04/12/gallic-war/

Flavius Josephus' The Jewish Wars Makes a good complementary bookend to the Gallic Wars.
A.) We do not have the autographs.*
B.) It is roughly contemporary with the New Testament (ca. 75 AD).
C.) It was intended as a serious history, though it kowtows to Roman Power.
D.) It was highly influential.
E.) The witness was an eyewitness to the events recorded.
F.) When printing was invented, TJW was an early book printed. The first print copies extant today date from 1544.

For variety, let's include a third work: The Iliad, by Homer.
A.) We do not have the autographs.*
B.) It predates all the other works considered by millennia (ca. 750 BC).
C.) It was not intended as a history
D.) It was highly influential.
E.) The author did not witness the events -- The Trojan war likely dates around 1130 BC.
F.) It has been widely reprinted over the centuries.

Our yardstick needs several marks. The first is Provenance. In considering Provenance -- that is, how sure are we that this book was written when, where, and by whom it is claimed; and how sure are we that the text today is essentially the same as the autograph?

Several things give us clues.
Are the texts mentioned or cited in later works?
How many manuscripts** exist?
How much time passed between the autographs and the oldest manuscripts?
Are there significant differences between the manuscripts?

In the case of Julius Caesar's Gallic wars, we see an example of fairly good provenance:
The texts became a template for later writers recording memoirs.
12 manuscripts exist. 5 are of the "Alpha stream" *** and 7 are of the "Beta Stream."
The 3 oldest MSS date from the 9th century, ca. 900 years after the autographs. One dates from the 10th century, and the rest date to the 11th and 12th centuries.
Extremely Minor differences exist, but the vast majority of the text is identical.

So, does that sound reliable? 12 solid mss., within 1000 years of the autograph? Extremely Strong agreement between them?

Can we say with confidence that Julius Caesar intended posterity to believe that "Omnia Gallia est divisa in partes tres?"

There's no possible way that the Bible can stack up to that, right?

_______________________________
* This is true of almost any ancient document
** Manuscripts, i.e. handwritten copies, as opposed to Autographs, the handwritten originals
*** A "stream" of mss. are copies which can be traced in a linear progression. These progressions tend to branch out. In this case, there are two significant streams, alpha and beta.

Proceeding hence:

Now, The Iliad of Homer is far more ancient that the other three. It was likely composed in about 750 BC, or at least committed then to writing. That is the time of Homer, whom the ancients simply referred to as "The Poet," implying that they did not consider anyone else to be of his stature. In Plato's Symposium, we find that a group of philosophers, after their dinner, consign themselves to drink and entertainment; one of the suggested entertainments is to "match verses" from "The Poet," that is, to recite the next line of a citation from Homer. So Homer was highly respected and popular; anyone who kept a library would have had a scroll of the Iliad and the Odyssey.

Homer recorded events that occurred -- and it now appears that the Trojan War was a real war, though perhaps not quite as Homer represented it -- in the Mycenaean era, around 1130 or so BC. To place this into perspective for those familiar with the Bible, this would be somewhere roughly in the time of the Judges, and for those familiar with Rome, this would be about 400 years before Remus and Romulus, assuming the given date of 731 is accurate for the foundation of that city. Homer was writing as Rome was being built, and as Divided Israel and Judah were going through their good and evil kings, of things that happened 400 years prior. Even in Homer's day, the Mycenaeans and Minoans were shrouded in myth and antiquity.*

So what provenance do we have for Homer? Julius had 12 mss., the earliest three from 950 years later, but he wrote at the time of the events, or within a very few years thereafter. To match his provenance, Homer, writing 400 years after the events, would need to have many more mss., right? And given how much more time from the autographs -- Homer's autographs were 700 years old when Caesar took up his pen -- we would need more mss. to confirm the accuracy of the record, right?

TADA! 643 mss. in total.

Here is an image of a fragment of Homer's Iliad, from the third century AD (other, newer texts are in better condition):
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/a/apis/x-1263/c0_ixv___tif

For the fragment shown above, the date of 250 AD gives it an age after the autograph of ca. 1000 years. So, on the leaderboard at this point:

TITLE .............. MSS. Copies ......................... Autograph to Oldest Copies .................... Events to Autograph ............,,,,,,,

Gallic Wars ....... 12 ........................................ 950 years ....................................... 0 - 20 years ...................
Iliad ............... 643 ...................................... 1000 years ...................................... 400 years ......................

Any guesses where the Bible will be on this table? Anyone?





__________________
* The classical period of Greece, which we think of when we say "Ancient Greece," began around 500 BC, with the "Ionian Awakening," similar to the Italian Renaissance. Socrates, Herodotus, Euclid, Thales, Sophocles, Heraclitus, Xeno, Democritus, Demosthenes, the battle of Marathon, the battle of Salamis, the battle of Thermpylae -- all these belong to the fifth and fourth century BC. Homer wrote 350 years before that period.
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Re: The Bible: An Introduction with Q & A.

Postby Og3 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 3:10 pm

Now, as to Josephus, and the Jewish Wars:

There is a lot of data available, because this was a very popular book. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Europe, many Christian households might have contained only one or two books. If one, that one was almost without exception the Bible, and if two, that second book was almost without exception The Jewish Wars. Why? Because it provides the best extra-biblical source of information about first century Judea.

As a result, to search for details about Josephus means winnowing a lot of chaff from wheat, but I rely here on Gary J. Goldberg, PhD., a scholar specializing in the works of Josephus as historical documents. One of his papers on the subject of Josephus may be found here:
http://www.academia.edu/11901637/The_Coincidences_of_the_Emmaus_Narrative_of_Luke_and_the_Testimonium_of_Josephus

The Earliest Greek texts of Josephus -- the mss. copies like we've been talking about with Gallic Wars and the Iliad, date from around the tenth and eleventh centuries -- yes, once again, the closest copies to the autographs are 1000 years later. We do have some good luck here, though, because there is a Latin translation of Josephus dating as early as the fifth century. We also have "reflected works," that is, portions quoted by other ancient writers, such as Eusebius (fourth century).

One possible source for further information about the provenance of Josephus' Jewish Wars may be found here: http://www.loebclassics.com/view/LCL203/1927/pb_LCL203.xxiii.xml -- The reader is asked to note, incidentally, that the King Agrippa whom we meet in Acts may likely have served as an editor and advisor to Josephus in the earliest Aramaic and Greek editions.

So we add Josephus to the table:

TITLE ............ MSS. Copies ......................... Autograph to Oldest Copies .................... Events to Autograph ..........

Gallic Wars ....... 12 ........................................ 950 years ....................................... 0 - 20 years ...................
Iliad ............... 643 ...................................... 1000 years ...................................... 400 years ......................
Jewish Wars ..... 200? ...................................... 1000 years ...................................... 0 - 40 years ...................
TJW, Latin ....... N/A ...................................... 500 years ....................................... " ... " ... " ...................
TJW, reflected ... N/A ..................................... 400 years ....................................... " .... " ... " ....................

Anyone have any inkling where the New Testament will land, on this table?
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Re: The Bible: An Introduction with Q & A.

Postby Og3 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 3:16 pm

Don't be shy, now.

Hazard a guess. Does the NT stand one 1 ms. or 500 mss.? Do they date from 1066 AD, 325 AD, 1776 AD? Were they written as they happened, last week... Some point in between... ?
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Re: The Bible: An Introduction with Q & A.

Postby Stacie Cook » Sat Jan 16, 2016 3:17 pm

It's all greek to me....
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Re: The Bible: An Introduction with Q & A.

Postby Og3 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 3:56 pm

Stacie Cook wrote:It's all greek to me....

With a little Hebrew and Aramaic on the side...
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Re: The Bible: An Introduction with Q & A.

Postby Simplyme » Sat Jan 16, 2016 10:35 pm

Science-the-knowledge-base tells us that it is very unlikely in the general case for a man to rise again after being thoroughly and carefully killed. But the claim of Christians is not that any general man may rise from the dead after being thoroughly and completely killed. It is that One Man did so. And because that singular case is so unlikely -- after all, if it happened all the time, then it would be repeatable, wouldn't it? -- we must pay careful attention to it.


See you guys want me to take you serious when I find the above hilarious.

I would say science(have no idea why you would add "the knowledge base") tells us it is "highly" unlikely in any case for a man to rise again after being thoroughly and carefully killed. Then you claim that xtians claim that it was only One man? How easy you xtians forget Matthew 27:52 "The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised". So if it is the xtians claim that it only happened once with one man, I think you should be studying the bible a little more. Lets say it was just one man......Why must we pay special attention to it? Because its in the bible? Do you pay special attention to all unlikely stories? Do you pay special attention to stories abut aliens? Do you pay special attention to stories about big foot? Do you pay special attention to stories about Santa?
I find it rather amusing, when thought of as ignorant or stupid(though I can be on many subjects). Especially by those who believe in a deity up in heaven watching our every move, and rewarding or punishing us after we have expired.
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