In one case, we have argued, an eyewitness has authored his own Gospel,
and it is notable that precisely this Gospel, John's, is the one that
offers the most extensive reflection on the significance of the
eyewitness testimony. -
Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitness, Wm B. Erdmans
Publishing Co. 2006, p. 472
20 Important Bible Content Comments
1. When questioning the theology of the OT it is important to understand
that much of its theology was grounded in the mythology
of ancient man. Whether the original writers of Old Testament material were writing
down oral tradition material, spiritually stylized stories, poetry,
allegories, aphorisms, songs and war chants, prayers, or even historical accounts in
some cases, it is crucial to realize that the material was NOT protected from change
and kept pristine but was subject to redaction and embellishment by later authorities.
2. While sometimes even the spirit or meaning of an
account or passage can be lost in any translation to another language,
some clarity of meaning is ALMOST ALWAYS lost. In the case of the Old Testament, we have
lost the referents that would give us a decent translation of the
ancient Akkadian, Hebrew and Aramaic languages. Some of this is being restored by
working with the Dead Sea Scrolls and the thousands of tablets of Ebla
and other archaeological troves, but the learning is coming out very
slowly and is, of course, being resisted by various factions. Some
scholars think that up to 25% of the Old Testament should be significantly changed.
All this is on top of the loss of knowledge of even the cultural and
psychological aspects. Read Julian Jaynes' The Origin of
Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind for a startling
dimension of what probably was dramatically different in ancient
3. Equally important to any other aspect of the
development, exegesis, and translation of the Bible is the OT
context of global extraterrestrial-origin or planetary catastrophes. These were the
backdrop of the myth development through the spiritual stylization
of the events into mythic stories. Of lesser yet significant
importance is the NT context of the writers being familiar with the
basic knowledge of the planet-gods' overwhelming involvement in
ancient times. No one was ignorantólike they are todayóof the tumultuous history of the
ancient earth back in those times.
4. Essentially over 1500 Standard Chronology (SC) or 800
Revised Chronology (RC) years went by from the time of
Jesus without a Bible translation in the
common tongue of European nations except for what was done in Latin.
Tyndale's NT translation into English was published in 1525 CE (SC) or 825
CE (RC), and
this translation has probably heavily influenced all successors.
5. It is important to see that a very reasonable approach must be taken
in terms of even determining what text should be included as well as how it
is to be translated.
6. This is contrary to what is generally taught in fundamentalist
Christian sectarian education, in that they teach that the Holy Spirit is
supposed to have guided some special council of Christian Brethren into a process
of determination that is free from error.
7. The paranoid conservative element in Christianity
always is afraid of any new or different translation, even though they
are generally superior translations based upon better information and language
8. There are still several different Christian canons and
Christendom is still NOT united upon a canonical foundation. The different
bible of Catholicism and protetantism portray this.
9. The sayings and things included in the Gospel of Thomas
have been authenticated to a higher degree than
those included in the Synoptic Gospels.
10. For the first approx 100 years of Christianity, not even the Gospels
of Matthew, Mark Luke and John were considered to be authoritative by the
majority of Christendom. It
is important to understand that the scriptures up until the late 1st or
early 2nd century
did not even include the Gospels but were comprised of the OT,
the apocrypha, and the letters of Paul. This fact helps us to see more clearly
that Christianity is based
primarily upon the concepts of Peter and Paul rather than the teachings and
message of Jesus.
11. There is no concept of the Devil in the Old
Testament, and the being identified as Satan ostensibly was a member
if God's court and was working for god, filling a role.
12. Late in its development but before Christianity,
Judaism adopted constructs of the "Lord of Darkness" from
Zoroastrianism, and these borrowings laid the foundation for
concepts of the Devil in Christian understanding.
13. Understanding this development helps one to
see that there is no such person as Satan or the Devil. These terms are
the personification of the original sin idea created by human beings.
14. At the time of Jesus in the Holy Lands, demonsóboth
good and badówere given credit for compelling humans to do most
everything that had to do with ethics or "morals".
15. Jesus personified both Wisdom and original sin in
his conversation. In his teaching, this "evil one" or "Divider" is not a
heavenly being that rebelled and fell from grace but rather the original
sin or misconception.
16. The Gospel of John is the ONLY eyewitness account of
Jesus in the canon, and was written to contrast and correct the theology
of the Synoptic Gospels. Its theology does not agree, is quite different, and quite superior.
17. This basic information helps give a perspective on
the whole process of the development of the gospels inside the
development of the New Testament canon. The understanding of this basic
material concerning the synoptic Gospels is completely necessary to
a proper perspective and understanding on how to treat the material
inside of the Gospels.
18. Seeing Jesus as a greater Moses who introduced a new law and
covenant is a completely misguided theological concept, with which the author
John specifically makes a contrast (See John 1:17) "For the law was
given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."
19. In Western culture Humanism is slowly replacing the
influence of traditional sacred
writings. The United States has as its "sacred writings" both the Declaration
of Independence and the Constitution. In the Declaration of
Independence our founding fathers did something unique in the
history of men founding governments. As their rationale for
thinking and structuring a new government, they did not say, "The
Sacred Writing (Bible, Koran, Pentateuch, etc.) says thus and thus" No, they
stood up and said, "We hold these truths to be self evident". SELF
EVIDENT! And they wrote this in the context of thinking about the only two things
that give positive meaning to anything, the sustenance ("Life") and
enhancement of life ("Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness").
20. Although the Old Testament represents SOME of the
Hebrew mythology, theology and cultural aspects, it does NOT
represent these completely nor totally adequately. Although there
are some historical accounts, these cannot be taken at face value.
All together, it cannot be a basis for building a proper conceptual
framework for understanding God. Included are some beautiful
allegories and stories that represent real insight when properly
understood, and there are some wonderful nuggets of wisdom and
advice. HOWEVER, these primarily apply to mundane matters, and not
to the larger issues raised by the human condition. Within Western culture,
it is of significant value to be acquainted with its content while not
accepting it as the word of God..