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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 planet god 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 distinctive dimension of what probably was dramatically different in ancient times.

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 circa 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 cautious 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 understanding.

8. There are still several different Christian canons and Christendom is still NOT united upon a canonical foundation. The different bible of Catholicism and Protestants portray this.

9. The sayings and verses 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 at best the personification of the original sin idea--Jesus did this--created by human beings.

14. There was a monstrous misunderstanding at the time of Jesus in the Holy Lands that clouded the issue of human responsibility. Demonsóboth good and badówere given credit for compelling humans to do most everything that had to do with ethics or "morals".

15. Among other things, Jesus personified both Wisdom and original sin in his conversation. In his teaching, the "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 necessarily gives 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 certainly 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 any of these completely nor totally adequately. Although there are some historical accounts, these cannot be taken at face value because they were somewhat/largely? allegorical. 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 human salvation or destiny, and 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..

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