Posted in Bible, Faith, Religion on  | 4 minutes | 1 Comment →

The Bible claims for itself to be a recording of the creator’s interaction with the creation, specifically the ancient Hebrews or Israelites, the predecessors of our modern day Jews. The word ‘bible’ comes from ta biblia, the Greek neuter-plural form of to biblion, which translates, ‘book,’ or ‘scroll.’ Hence, 'the Bible,' or ta biblia means ‘the books,’ and the plural form suggests that the Bible is not a single work but a small library of books written by many authors. Indeed that is the case with 66 different books in the canon, written by roughly 40 different authors of different backgrounds at different times occurring over a period of almost 2,000 years. The first book ever printed was in fact the Gutenberg Bible in the mid-fifteenth century, so named after the man who invented the printing press, John Gutenberg.

It is important to locate the Bible in geography and time. The lands of the Bible extend from the Persian Gulf north along the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, across and down Syria and Palestine all the way into Egypt and the Nile. The territory between these two great rivers was called Mesopotamia, which means ‘between the rivers.’ The name ‘Palestine’ derives from Israel’s ancient enemies, the Philistines. The Genesis account describes a pre-history period where man had no possible way of recording the events of his time other than by committing them to memory and passing them down to subsequent generations.

The biblical timeline as we understand it begins pre-history in Genesis and we have nothing conclusive that points to any sort of time or date. Both times and dates are relative to human beings, and the farthest back we can really trace things is to the patriarch Abraham, with a date somewhere near 1850 b.c. assigned to him. Many scholars accept a date of 1250 b.c. for Moses and the exodus from Egypt. King David appears ca. 1000 b.c. and the first Jewish dispersion occurred 587 b.c. at the hands of Babylonian monarch Nebuchadnezzar. In 64 b.c., Rome took control of Syria and became the dominant power of the mid-east. About sixty years later we have the birth of Christ, and thirty-three years after that the story pauses. The Old Testament covers human history intermittently from Abraham to the end of the Hellenistic period, about sixty years before Christ. The New Testament covers a much shorter time period of about a hundred years. Though historically speaking the Bible covers the time period from 1850 b.c. to about a.d. 60, (dates are approximate) many of its prophesies and foresights are said to concern modern times.

Writing was first discovered in Mesopotamia at Uruk (Erech) and is believed to have begun at least as far back as five thousand years. Early writing utilized various mediums ranging from hieroglyph-style wall paintings to engravings to parchments, or papyrus writings, the earliest predecessor to our modern books and magazines. A papyri manuscript in roll form is referred to as a scroll or volume, while a manuscript assembled in book form is known as a codex. The constant rolling and unrolling of a text lends well to deterioration, and soon the difficult and cumbersome scroll form of storing papyri writings came to be replaced by the codex form, which more resembles our modern book. Our earliest complete manuscripts of the Bible are called codices, plural form of the word codex, and they are all in book form with the text flowing continuously, lacking any space between letters.

Aside from its status as the world’s original, best-selling book, the Bible is also perhaps the most misunderstood, misinterpreted and misused manuscript ever assembled by man. Various interpreters have used it to conquer countries and create them, to liberate men and control them, to educate people and keep them in darkness. One person reasons that the Bible has been changed several hundred times over the last two millennia and therefore is unreliable; another feels the Holy Writ to be inerrant just as it claims to be. Some feel the stories in the Bible are little more than allegorical moral tales designed to illuminate a central truth regarding human behavior, others feel the stories are to be taken literally, and still others have gone so far as to say that the stories are false in their entirety and that central figureheads like Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene never even existed in actual history whatsoever.

This website aims to address some of these issues, and a few of the topics discussed will be the translation chronology, extra-biblical references, the contributions of archaeology, and an examination of difficulties and contradictions.

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