Skeptic Mangles ZEITGEIST (and Religious History)

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#21
Jesus, the Recycled Redeemer

There is a reason the ancient historical accounts of the life of Jesus of Nazareth do not start with the phrase, “Once upon a time...” On the face of it, the authors did not appear to be writing fairytales for future generations, but rather detailed accounts of the extraordinary events in the life of a particular Jewish carpenter who actually changed the course of history.

The opening words of Luke’s account of Jesus’ life are especially clear on this point:

"Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught."

"In the days of Herod, king of Judea...."

In John’s account we find two striking claims that bookend his record, the first found in Chapter 1 and the last in Chapter 20:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God....And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."

"Many other [miraculous] signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book, but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."

Each of these ancient “biographies” of Jesus — along with the only other accounts that give any breadth of detail about the Nazarene (Matthew and Mark) — proceed in the same fashion.

First, the authors are clearly aware they are relating a remarkable story about a remarkable man who did remarkable things. Second, it is just as clear they were convinced the events in their accounts really happened. These were not sacred stories of netherworld gods and ethereal, supernatural heroes, but reports of actual historical events involving flesh and blood people with their feet firmly planted on terra firma.

The Gospel writers intended to report history, not mythology. Their accounts include the vivid detail of an observer who had witnessed the events personally, or a chronicler who had obtained the information from people who were actually there. Yet they are not merely reports, but arguments meant to persuade, citing evidence to prove their claims.

These facts on their own don’t make the accounts true, of course. But they do seem to place these writings in a class of ancient literature that doesn’t allow them to be dismissed for frivolous reasons. Yet this is exactly what has been happening.


“ONCE UPON A TIME...”

The internet is littered with allegations that the historical records of the life of Jesus of Nazareth are examples of a kind of religious plagiarism, a mere rehashing of dying-and-rising-god fictions of ancient mythology, a recycling of common details found in dozens of mystery religions in the ancient world around the time of Christ.

Simply Google Mithras, Dionysus, Osiris, Adonis, or Isis and you will be buried in an avalanche of “evidence” linking the divine teacher from Galilee with a host of characters allegedly manufactured from the same mythic material. The most well-known attempt is a flashy “documentary” called Zeitgeist — The Greatest Story Ever Sold that has gone viral on the web.

According to Zeitgeist, ancient hieroglyphics tell us this about the anthropomorphized Egyptian sun God, Horus:

"Horus was born on December 25th of the virgin Isis, Mary. His birth was accompanied by a star in the east which, in turn, three kings followed to locate and adore the new-born saviour. At the age of 12 he was a prodigal child teacher. At the age of 30 was baptized by a figure known as Adep, and thus began his ministry. Horus had 12 disciples who he travelled about with performing miracles such as healing the sick and walking on water. Horus was known by many gestural names such as “The Truth,” The Light,” God’s Anointed Son,” “The Good Shepherd,” “The Lamb of God,” and many others. After being betrayed by Typhon, Horus was crucified, buried for three days, and thus resurrected."

“Many other gods,” Zeitgeist claims, “are found to have the same mythological structure”:


• Attis (1200 B.C.) — Born of a virgin on December 25th, was crucified, was dead for three days and resurrected.

• Krishna (900 B.C.) — Born of a virgin with a star in the east to signal his birth, performed miracles, died, and was resurrected.

• Dionysus (500 B.C.) — Born of a virgin on December 25, performed miracles like turning water into wine, was referred to as “the King of Kings” and “God’s only begotten son,” died, and was resurrected.

• Mithras (1200 B.C.) — Born of a virgin on December 25, had 12 disciples, performed miracles, was dead for three days and resurrected, was known as “the Truth” and “The Life,” and was worshipped on Sunday.

Osiris, the husband of Isis in the Egyptian pantheon, is another popular contender for a dying and resurrected god. The broad claim, simply put in the words of Sir Leigh Teabing in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, is, “Nothing in Christianity is original.” This is a taxing topic because of the sheer volume of alleged comparisons advanced by skeptics. The process is complicated by the many variations of these ancients myths generated in their retelling. Books like Ronald Nash’s scholarly The Gospel and the Greeks or Lee Strobel’s popular work The Case for the Real Jesus spend time answering the particulars. In the interest of space, I want to advance a general response to this broad challenge to the reliability of the canonical accounts of Jesus’ life.

In general, the dispute entails a factual claim — certain mythical accounts that predate the Gospels contain elements matching the details of Jesus’ life — and a logical/literary claim — the existence of the older accounts proves that the account of Jesus is myth as well, being cobbled together with bits and pieces of these old stories.

There are at least three significant problems with this argument that should be enough to silence it forever. The first two speak to the factual claims. The last — and most decisive — addresses the logical assertion.


FAILED “FACTS”

First, the fact is that the “facts” listed above are almost all false, nearly to the point of embarrassment. Here are a few examples:

• There is no record Osiris rose bodily from the dead. Instead, he became a god of the netherworld. As one put it, Osiris is not a dying god, but a dead god, always depicted as a deceased, mummified king. He may be “alive” in the spirit realm, but this would be true of anyone passing into the next life who’s physical body lies decaying in a tomb. Indeed, Egyptian religion had no concept of resurrection, only of immortality beyond the grave. These are two entirely different concepts.

• Horus was not born of a virgin, but was the son of Osiris and Isis (not Mary). Horus never dies, so he could have no resurrection, though in his union with Rah, the sun God, one could say he “dies” every night and is “resurrected” every morning. Clearly, though, this is no help to the copycat messiah crowd.

• Neither the Bible nor Christianity claim Jesus was born on December 25th, so any parallels with ancient myths are completely inconsequential. The date was chosen by emperor Aurelian in the third century.

• Mithras was not born of a virgin, but emerged from a rock, and there is no textual evidence of his death, so there could be no resurrection. Mithras was a god, not a teacher, so he had no disciples.

• There is no evidence of an account of a bodily resurrection of Attis, the Phrygian god of vegetation.

• There is no evidence for a virgin birth of Dionysus.

• Krishna was his mother’s eighth son, so his virgin birth is unlikely.

The dating of many of the dying-and-resurrecting-god myths is the second obstacle. Here’s the problem. It is axiomatic that the recycled version must appear in history after the one it allegedly came from, not before. However, many mythical accounts of dying and rising gods actually post-date the time of Christ:

• There is no evidence of the influence of Mithraism in the Roman Empire until the end of the first century A.D. Nash, 138.

• The sacrifice of a bull by some Mithraists allegedly mimicking the substitutionary atonement of Christ first shows up in the second century A.D.

• The four texts that cite the resurrection of Adonis date from the second to fourth centuries A.D.

• The account of the miraculous birth of Zoroaster dates to the ninth century A.D.

The most academically exhaustive work, a ponderous study entitled The Riddle of Resurrection by Tryggve Mettinger, concludes that even though some myths of dying and rising gods may predate the Christian era, the claims made regarding Jesus of Nazareth are distinct from them in three critical ways.

First, Jesus was a flesh-and-blood human whose resurrection happened in history at a precise topographical location on earth. Second, the mythical “resurrected” deities were invariably tied to the seasons of the agricultural cycle, “dying” and “rising” repeatedly every calendar year, while Jesus’ resurrection was a one-time event unrelated to seasonal changes. Third, Jesus died as a vicarious sacrifice for sins. There is no evidence of such an atonement in any other accounts.

Mettinger sums up the evidence this way:

"There is, as far as I am aware, no prima facie evidence that the death and resurrection of Jesus is a mythological construct, drawing on the myths and rites of the dying and rising gods of the surrounding world. While studied with profit against the background of Jewish resurrection belief, the faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus retains its unique character in the history of religions."


A SKUNK IN THE WOODPILE

In his work, The Gospel and the Greeks, Ronald Nash offers a handful of suggestions to protect the novice from being misled by dubious factual claims.

Check the evidence in the primary sources. Don’t settle for a website citing a website that cites a website. Web postings often run in a circle, with each site quoting others without ever citing a primary source document (an original rendering of the ancient myth itself ). Try to get as close to the original source as you can to reduce the chance that “facts” got distorted in the retelling. Make sure your evidence comes from an established authority in the field who has access to the original material.

Check the dates. Be sure the original records (not the original myth) predate the accounts that allegedly borrowed from them. Even ancient tales get amended over time.

Determine if the parallels are really parallel and significant. Similarities are frequently overstated or oversimplified. Many are inconsequential, like the claim ancient gods were born on December 25th. Some accounts trade on the kinship of phrases like “birth of the sun” vs. “birth of the son.” This word play only works, though, when rendered in English, a language that developed millennia after these events.

Beware of Christian language and terms being read back into the ancient account.
Some refer to the death of Osiris as his “passion,” employing Christian terminology to imply a similarity that doesn’t exist. Any death can be called a passion, even when the passions themselves are wildly dissimilar. Also, no one should be impressed when Egyptian sun gods are called “The Light.”

As it turns out regarding the factual claims, once the primary sources of the ancient myths are consulted, a host of alleged similarities turn out to be fictions. The parallels remaining are usually far too general to be significant.

Further, the dating of many of the ancient records completely undermines the argument because the stories appear too late in history to have any influence on the Gospels.

But that’s not the worst of it. Even if the characterizations of the myths were accurate — that Mithras was born of a virgin, and Osiris was resurrected from the dead, and Horus had a dozen disciples, and Dionysus turned water into wine, and Attis was crucified — there is something else fundamentally wrong with the Zeitgeist challenge. Even if the facts were accurate, it proves nothing. Here’s why.


A TITANIC COINCIDENCE

In 1898, Morgan Robertson published a novel entitled Futility. The story was a fictional account of a transatlantic voyage of the cruise ship Titan travelling between England and New York. The largest vessel afloat displacing 45,000 tons, the Titan was considered virtually unsinkable. Yet in the middle of the night in April, with three massive propellers driving the ship forward at the excessive speed of 25 knots, it collided with an iceberg and sunk.

Since the number of lifeboats was the minimum the law required (though twice that was needed for its 3,000 capacity), more than half of its passengers perished.

Fourteen years later in April, the world’s largest luxury liner with a displacement of 45,000 tons — the indestructible Titanic — departed from England on a transatlantic voyage to New York. In the middle of the night, the Titanic’s triple screws drove the ship at the excessive speed of nearly 25 knots into an iceberg and sunk. Since the Titanic was fitted with less than half the number of lifeboats needed for its 3,000 capacity (the minimum the law required), more than half of its passengers were lost.

This real-life coincidence makes a crucial point. Regardless of the similarity between two accounts of different events, the second cannot be summarily dismissed as an invention simply because the first turns out to be fiction. Whether or not the details of the Titanic’s disaster are accurate is determined by its own body of evidence, unrelated to the fictional story of the ill-fated Titan that came before.

This is a critical procedural point, one best described by C.S. Lewis:

"Suppose I think, after doing my accounts, that I have a large balance at the bank. And suppose you want to find out whether this belief of mine is “wishful thinking.”...Your only chance of finding out is to sit down and work through the sum yourself....If you find my arithmetic wrong, then it may be relevant to explain...how I came to be so bad at arithmetic...but only after you have yourself done the sum and discovered me to be wrong on purely mathematical grounds....In other words, you must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong." [emphasis in the original]

Lewis’s insight applies to our challenge. Remember the claim in question: Ancient myths explain the origin of the Jesus myth. The second false account was inspired by the first ones. Do you see the misstep? The New Testament account is presumed false; then the ancient accounts are invoked to explain the fiction. The argument of Zeitgeist turns out to be circular, assuming what it intends to prove. Imagine introducing yourself to a stranger and sharing bits of autobiography only to be labelled a liar and an imposter. His evidence? In the past three months, 12 other phonies tried to pawn off the same story on him. When you offer identification, he ignores it. He’s already assumed you’re a fraud like the rest, no matter what bona fides you produce.

In addition to being offended, you’d probably be mystified. Clearly, he can’t prove you are lying about your identity by citing others who lied about theirs. No imposter of the past could logically foreclose on the possibility that you might be the genuine article. That must be decided on separate grounds. To paraphrase Lewis, one has to show that a person is lying before it makes any sense to speculate on where the lie came from.

In the same way, one first has to show that Jesus is a fiction before he starts explaining how the fiction came to be. Even if someone produced a thousand parallels with Jesus from the writings of antiquity, that alone would not prove He was just another phony. If the similarities were remarkable, it might raise eyebrows (“Not another one”) and invite a closer look. But it would do nothing on its own to disqualify Christ. Only shortcomings with the specific historical evidence for Jesus can do that.

The Zeitgeist approach is an evasion, not an argument. It is not good enough to assume Jesus is a myth and then speculate on the genesis of the error. The primary source historical documents about Him — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — must be dealt with first, not dismissed with misleading talk about alleged literary relationships with ancient dying and resurrecting gods.


JESUS, MAN OF HISTORY

Professional historians do not believe the New Testament account is merely a retelling of an ancient myth. Though not endorsing every detail of the Gospel records (most academics reject the supernatural elements for philosophic reasons), scholars, both liberal and conservative, overwhelmingly agree that Jesus of Nazareth was a man of history.

Will Durant, the Pulitzer Prize winning historian, co-authored with his wife the most successful work of history in history, the 11 volume The Story of Civilization. In “Caesar and Christ,” in spite of the “many suspicious resemblances to the legends of pagan gods,” Durant concludes:

"Despite the prejudices and theological preconceptions of the evangelists, they record many incidents that many inventors would have concealed. No one reading these scenes can doubt the reality of the figure behind them. That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic, and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels. After two centuries of higher criticism, the outlines of the life, character and teachings of Christ remain reasonably clear and constitute the most fascinating feature in the history of Western man."

The challenge in Zeitgeist is why we should consider the stories of Mithras, Horus, Attis, and the other pagan mystery saviours as fables, yet treat as factual a similar story told of a Jewish carpenter.

The answer is simple: There is no good evidence for the authenticity of any ancient mythological characters and their deeds, but there is an abundance of such evidence for Jesus. And if the historical documentation for the man from Nazareth is compelling, then it doesn’t matter how many ancient myths share similarities.

The Apostle Paul readily acknowledged that if Jesus’ resurrection was a myth and the witnesses were trading in lies, then Christians were a pitiful lot (1 Corinthians 15:19). And fools too, I might add, because it cost many of them their lives. Nothing in the Zeitgeist recycled redeemer theory, however, suggests Christians have misplaced their confidence. The sceptics’ facts are unreliable and their thinking is unsound, so their challenge is doubly dead.

According to their own testimony, the New Testament writers were not following “cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). They were testifying not to myths, but to “sober truth” about events that had “not been done in a corner” (Acts 26:25-26):

"What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life – and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us – what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also" (1 John 1:-3).

https://amazingdiscoveries.org/S-deception_Jesus_Zetigeist_history#footnotevii
 





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#22
I believe throughout history, Satan has prompted humanity to counterfeit God’s plan of salvation by developing religions with features that resemble God’s plan. Satan can do this because he has inside knowledge of God’s government. Before he sinned, Satan was one of the highest ranked created beings in heaven. “You were the anointed cherub who covers … you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones” (Ezekiel 28:14). Lucifer was a “covering” cherub, or angel. One covering angel stands on the left side of God’s throne and another on the right (Psalm 99:1). Lucifer was one of these highly exalted angels and was a leader.

He knew more than probably most angels how God's government works and after he sinned and was thrown out of heaven, he counterfeited many things to confuse human beings. Sadly, many people who consider themselves to be Christians, including some who claim to be born-again, have adopted pagan teachings and have incorporated them into their set of beliefs. However, paganism and Bible Christianity are mutually exclusive. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
 





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#23
• Horus was not born of a virgin, but was the son of Osiris and Isis (not Mary). Horus never dies, so he could have no resurrection, though in his union with Rah, the sun God, one could say he “dies” every night and is “resurrected” every morning. Clearly, though, this is no help to the copycat messiah crowd.
"The assertion that Horus's mother was a virgin can also be found in the Book of the Dead, chapter 66, in which the deceased identifies himself as Horus and says: "I know that I have been conceived by Sechit and that I am born of Neith."

http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/zeitgeist.html

I still have to read the actual the Book of the Dead itself to be sure, but I do not see any reason to doubt the author. If anyone can prove this wrong then please do so because I don't have all the time to devote to this particular research.

• There is no evidence for a virgin birth of Dionysus.

• Krishna was his mother’s eighth son, so his virgin birth is unlikely.

The dating of many of the dying-and-resurrecting-god myths is the second obstacle. Here’s the problem. It is axiomatic that the recycled version must appear in history after the one it allegedly came from, not before. However, many mythical accounts of dying and rising gods actually post-date the time of Christ:

• There is no evidence of the influence of Mithraism in the Roman Empire until the end of the first century A.D. Nash, 138.

• The sacrifice of a bull by some Mithraists allegedly mimicking the substitutionary atonement of Christ first shows up in the second century A.D.

• The four texts that cite the resurrection of Adonis date from the second to fourth centuries A.D.

• The account of the miraculous birth of Zoroaster dates to the ninth century A.D.

The most academically exhaustive work, a ponderous study entitled The Riddle of Resurrection by Tryggve Mettinger, concludes that even though some myths of dying and rising gods may predate the Christian era, the claims made regarding Jesus of Nazareth are distinct from them in three critical ways.

First, Jesus was a flesh-and-blood human whose resurrection happened in history at a precise topographical location on earth. Second, the mythical “resurrected” deities were invariably tied to the seasons of the agricultural cycle, “dying” and “rising” repeatedly every calendar year, while Jesus’ resurrection was a one-time event unrelated to seasonal changes. Third, Jesus died as a vicarious sacrifice for sins. There is no evidence of such an atonement in any other accounts.
Nobody ever said that the myth of Jesus and those ancient Gods were exactly the same. That is a strawman fallacy.

As it turns out regarding the factual claims, once the primary sources of the ancient myths are consulted, a host of alleged similarities turn out to be fictions. The parallels remaining are usually far too general to be significant.
I disagree, there are striking similarities that cannot be explained as mere coincidences. And you even mention Satan being a copycat of the Christian religion so you do admit that there are noteworthy similarities.

Professional historians do not believe the New Testament account is merely a retelling of an ancient myth. Though not endorsing every detail of the Gospel records (most academics reject the supernatural elements for philosophic reasons), scholars, both liberal and conservative, overwhelmingly agree that Jesus of Nazareth was a man of history.
That is an appeal to authority fallacy.
 





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#24
"The assertion that Horus's mother was a virgin can also be found in the Book of the Dead, chapter 66, in which the deceased identifies himself as Horus and says: "I know that I have been conceived by Sechit and that I am born of Neith."

http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/zeitgeist.html

I still have to read the actual the Book of the Dead itself to be sure, but I do not see any reason to doubt the author. If anyone can prove this wrong then please do so because I don't have all the time to devote to this particular research.



Nobody ever said that the myth of Jesus and those ancient Gods were exactly the same. That is a strawman fallacy.



I disagree, there are striking similarities that cannot be explained as mere coincidences. And you even mention Satan being a copycat of the Christian religion so you do admit that there are noteworthy similarities.



That is an appeal to authority fallacy.
If you link to the actual article (I put the link at the end of the article) it has references to the points made. Additionally to the points made in the article, personally I know the story of Jesus is real. Spiritually I know its real because there is real transformation in my life because of having faith and believing in Jesus. Fake mythological gods can't do that.
 





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#25
More (interesting) evidence showing that much of the Bible is allegorical and not to be taken in any other context than an astrotheological one:

Four Living Creatures
In his account, the heavens open, and Ezekiel sees "visions of God." The word and hand of the Lord are upon the prophet, who recounts at 1:4-6:

As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness round about it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming bronze.
And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the form of men, but each had four faces, and each of them had four wings.
Despite popular perception, this tempestuous vision is not of a spaceship with aliens but portrays ancient storm mythology. These four living creatures are called "cherubim" (Ezek 11:22), who, along with the seraphim or "burning ones" on the ark of the covenant, represent "personifications respectively of the dragonlike storm clouds and the serpentine lightnings."

Ezekiel’s "four living creatures" are described as having the faces of a man, lion, ox and eagle (1:10ff):

As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man in front; the four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle at the back.
The four in Ezekiel could be equated with the faces of Baal Tetramorphos, who "had four visages—those of lion, bull, dragon and human—and reported to have been erected centuries earlier in a temple in Jerusalem."

Fixed Signs
Ezekiel’s vision has been linked to synagogue zodiacs with Helios and his quadriga chariot in the center, as at Beth Alpha, Israel:

Here is the sun, indeed at the center of the universe, in a chariot controlled by a charioteer, in a vision recalling Ezekiel’s vision of the divine chariot (Ezekiel 1). The charioteer is God, in control of the four horses, over and above the stars and the constellations, that is, over fate and destiny.
Ezekiel’s four beasts evidently symbolize the fixed points of the zodiac, the man equated with Aquarius, the ox or cherub with Taurus, the lion with Leo and the eagle with Scorpio. These points represent the signs immediately after the winter solstice, vernal equinox, summer solstice and autumnal equinox, respectively.

"Ezekiel’s four beasts evidently symbolize the fixed points of the zodiac."

The association of these biblical four with the solstices and equinoxes or seasons may be indicated by the presence of the seasons in the corners of the synagogue zodiacs, serving as the four "living creatures" pulling the solar chariot.

Concerning this equation, Dr. Jan van Goudoever comments:

The Glory of the Lord, which was seen by Ezekiel, is elsewhere called "Chariot of the Cherubim" and can easily be recognised as a kind of "sun-chariot." The four "living creatures" are supposed to correspond to four signs of the Zodiac.... In agreement herewith the future city is described as having 12 gates, three gates for each direction.... And in his vision of the future Temple, Ezekiel saw the Glory of the Lord returning through the eastern gate.
Thus, Ezekiel’s chariot is that of the sun and zodiac, with the 12 "gates" or signs and an eastern entrance where the sun god rises.

The rest here: http://stellarhousepublishing.com/ezekielwheel.html
 





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#26
Is the Bible True?


Many people question whether the Bible can be trusted. In fact, in today's society, the Bible has become to be seen as a book of fables, and only one perspective out of many. Many people no longer revere the Bible or take a Bible verse to heart when they hear it. The Bible has become on par with any other holy book from any other religion—a book of good principles to follow, but not the standard or guide by which people should live.

Before any meaningful discussion can be had about salvation, God, the apocalypse, heaven, or any other belief, we need to determine the veracity of the Bible. Only those who accept the Bible as true can appreciate and understand what the Bible has to say about any topic. Without that fundamental understanding, any discussion is moot.

It is possible to verify the authenticity of the Bible. The field of archaeology has done much to prove the Bible's record true. Also, as we study some of the prophecies of the Bible, we can determine the truthfulness of the Bible by the fulfillment of those prophecies. The Bible itself declares itself inspired. It comprises 66 books written by 44 different authors over a span of 1500 years. These authors, from many walks of life, and of varying degrees of education and nobility, most of whom never knew each other or lived within each other's lifespan, were only able to write so cohesively through God's inspiration. An objective view of the Bible can show us that, indeed, the Bible's composition is unique and inspired.


Archaeology Confirms the Bible

The Bible contains 66 books written over a 1500-year period of time by 44 different authors. The authenticity of its stories and of the people that lived in its history has been authenticated by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1948.

The scrolls date back to 150-170 BC and contain all or parts of the Old Testament books except the book of Esther. Many other discoveries have helped prove many details of the Bible that had been scoffed at by higher critics:

The Cyrus Cylinder, discovered in 1879, records Cyrus' overthrow of Babylon and his subsequent deliverance of the Jewish captives.

The Rosetta Stone, discovered in 1799 in Egypt by Napoleon's scientists, was written in three languages: hieroglyphics, demotic, and Greek. It unlocked the mystery of the hieroglyphics which have helped confirm the authenticity of the Bible.

The Moabite Stone discovered in 1868 at Dibon, Jordan, confirmed Moabite attacks on Israel as recorded in 2 Kings 1 and 3.

The Lachish Letters, discovered in 1932-1938, 24 miles north of Beersheba, described the attack of Nebuchadnezzar on Jerusalem in 586 BC.


Archaeological Excavations

The Bible's authenticity is also evidenced by archaeological excavations that prove the existence of names of people and cities found in the Bible. The discovery of the city of Petra, for example, helped confirm the authenticity of the Bible's record.

In addition, many of the Bible's prophecies have already come true. Prophecies concerning Babylon (Isaiah 13:19-22), Tyre (Ezekiel 26:3-5), Sidon (Ezekiel 28:21-23), Cyrus (Ezra 4:3; 5:13-14; Isaiah 44:28; 45:1), Medo Persia (Daniel 8:20-21), Greece (Daniel 8:20-21), and Jesus' birthplace Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) have all been fulfilled exactly as predicted. These fulfilled prophecies are an extremely strong argument for the trustworthiness of the Bible. They signify that we can trust the prophecies concerning the Antichrist and other end- time prophecies.

Unity of Scripture

Another evidence of the Bible's inspiration is found in its cohesive unity. In more than 3000 places, the Bible declares itself inspired. It does not contradict itself.

The prophecies of the Bible in cases such as Babylon, Tyre, Petra, and Egypt, as well as the Messianic prophecies, prove the Bible's authenticity.

The Bible has survived centuries and even millennia. Despite all the attempts of Satan to hide it, destroy it, and make it inaccessible to the common person, the Bible has been preserved by God.

"The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever" (Psalm 12:6-7). Jesus also promises that "heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35).

But what does the Bible have to say about its inspiration? From where does it say it gets its revelation?

2 Peter 1:21 says, "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

In fact, the Bible states emphatically that, "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).

When this was written, it was primarily referring to the Old Testament. Those that say that the Old Testament, or the Gospels, or other parts of the Bible are no longer applicable to us, are incorrect. The entire Bible exists for our edification. The Scriptures point to Jesus and His solution for our sin problem.

From Genesis to Revelation, Jesus is revealed in His various forms. In the Pentateuch (the first five books), Jesus is revealed. In Genesis, Christ is our Creator. In Exodus, Christ is our Sanctuary, our Haven, and our Deliverer. In Leviticus, Christ is our Sacrifice and Judge. In Numbers, Christ is our Guide. And in Deuteronomy, Christ is revealed as our Reward. In the books of Revelation and Daniel, we see Christ as our Judge. And we find these aspects of Christ revealed throughout the Bible.

Psalm 119:160 says, "Thy word is true from the beginning."

In John 17:17 we read, "thy word is truth."

The greatest evidence of the Bible's inspiration is evidenced in the Christ it reveals and the changes in those who study it (John 5:39; Acts 4:12; Matthew 11:26-28).

https://amazingdiscoveries.org/S-deception_Bible_prophecies_archaeology_authors

https://amazingdiscoveries.org/archaeology-confirms-the-bible
 





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#27
Many brilliant people in the world believe no one can understand the Bible. If it is truly God’s book, shouldn’t everyone be able to understand it?

Bright people who can understand virtually anything else are often quickly perplexed when they read the Bible. The reason is that spiritual things “are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:13, 14). The deep things of the Word will never be understood by a worldly mind, no matter how brilliant. Unless one honestly seeks an experience with God, he or she cannot understand the things of God. The Holy Spirit, who explains the Bible (John 16:13; 14:26), is not understood by the secular mind. On the other hand, the humble, even uneducated, seeker who studies the Bible receives amazing understanding from the Holy Spirit (Matthew 11:25; 1 Corinthians 2:9, 10).


Some say the Bible is full of errors. How can anyone believe it is inspired?

The vast majority of so-called errors in the Bible have been demonstrated to be merely errors of judgment or a lack of understanding on the part of those who make the complaint. They are not errors at all, but simply truth misunderstood. The inspired Bible:

  1. Will always tell you the truth
  2. Will never mislead you
  3. Can be fully trusted
  4. Is reliable and authoritative in spiritual, historical, and scientific matters
It’s true that, in some cases, copyists might have mis-copied a small word or number here and there, but no such supposed error or any other alleged error has affected the absolute truth of God’s Word. Doctrine is built not upon one Bible passage, but upon the total of divinely inspired comments on a subject. Of course, some things in the Bible are difficult to reconcile. There will always be room for doubt. However, even alleged errors not yet fully explained will eventually be reconciled, as they have been in the past. It seems the harder people work to undermine the Bible, the brighter its light shines.
 





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#28
Yeah let's talk about prophecies for example.

What proof is there that those who wrote the NT did not know anything from the OT (Torah), and that they didn't write the NT by creating stories out of a "prophetic blueprint", which would automagically confirm those alleged prophecies? Those who wrote the books of the NT were very well aware of the content of the previous books, and it would have been very easy to make up stories afterwards. I could go into the alleged historicity of Jesus also and show that it is not substancial at all, so the so-called fulfillment of prophecies is rather shaky if you rely only on the idea that Jesus really existed and is not just another Sun symbol.
 





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#29
Yeah let's talk about prophecies for example.

What proof is there that those who wrote the NT did not know anything from the OT (Torah), and that they didn't write the NT by creating stories out of a "prophetic blueprint", which would automagically confirm those alleged prophecies? Those who wrote the books of the NT were very well aware of the content of the previous books, and it would have been very easy to make up stories afterwards. I could go into the alleged historicity of Jesus also and show that it is not substancial at all, so the so-called fulfillment of prophecies is rather shaky if you rely only on the idea that Jesus really existed and is not just another Sun symbol.
Would the disciples have died for made up stories? If you do not wish to believe @Helioform that is your business.

You might be interested in reviewing some of the prophecies fulfilled by Jesus and consider how easy they would be to engineer, and how likely it would be for Christianity based on no Christ, no Crucification and no Resurrection to be something Christians would trade their lives for within the eyewitness period.

https://jewsforjesus.org/answers/top-40-most-helpful-messianic-prophecies/

 





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#30
Would the disciples have died for made up stories?
That is assuming the disciples were real as well...

You might be interested in reviewing some of the prophecies fulfilled by Jesus and consider how easy they would be to engineer, and how likely it would be for Christianity based on no Christ, no Crucification and no Resurrection to be something Christians would trade their lives for within the eyewitness period
A lot of people trade their lives for all sorts of reasons. ISIS anyone?

Most of the Bible Canon was written in the second century, and not before that as there is no record of the books in history before that.
 





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#31
Most of the Bible Canon was written in the second century, and not before that as there is no record of the books in history before that.
You seem to have very little understanding of the Bible and History if you state or believe this. To believe this is to ignore the dozens of Scholars who reject such claims and to accept any negative garbage one reads on the internet, probably because they dislike the Bible and want all of it to be false.

Here is a link that goes over each book of the Bible, along with how many Scholars date each one, the earliest dates of these Scholars, the latest date of these Scholars and the average date accepted for the writing of the books. As you can see the latest of any of these books would be Revelation in 94 AD.

http://www.evidenceforjesuschrist.org/Pages/bible/dating-nt-chronological_order.html

Historically speaking almost all Scholars agree that the New Testament was completed by no later than 100-110 AD with Revelation being the last book finished, authored by John right before he died. To say that most of the Bible was written in the 2nd Century is to be wholly ignorant of the most prolific author of the New Testament, Paul. Paul died about 67 AD so considering he wrote with zero doubts 7 of the 27 books and more traditionally recognized as the author of 13 of the 27 books, and then include John who wrote 5 of the books in the New Testament who died in 100 AD you can see how asinine it is to assert that most of the books of the New Testament were written in the 2nd Century. At least 18 of them are almost universally recognized by all Scholars to be written before 100 AD because John and Paul died before then...And if you or anyone else actually believes the garbage that is reiterated in Zeitgeist then it shows nothing more than willful ignorance. There are ZERO primary sources that back up any of the claims given concerning these other "dying and rising gods" that Zeitgeist offers. The fact is almost EVERYTHING cited by those who make these claims come from 3 sources none of which hold ANY degrees or have any Scholarly knowledge and that would be that idiot Acharya S, aka D M Murdock, the guy you have been referencing, Gerald Massey and the now deceased Zecharia Sitchin.

Every credible Scholar laughs these 3 fools down anytime their non sense is brought up, no one considers them reputable except unlearned fools who want to do and believe anything they can to discredit the Bible. As for what you are copy pasting from that same cite that looks to be Acharaya S propaganda beacon concerning Ezekiel, how about learning from a reputable Scholar who actually studied Near East History and Languages to find out what is really being spoken about, because it surely isnt UFOs. In fact the person I am linking Michael S Heiser has copious amounts of written material as well as many speech all based around the ignorant topic of UFOs in the Bible and all the other garbage associated with Astrotheology...

http://www.sitchiniswrong.com/ezekielnotes.htm

In fact if you go to that site, http://www.sitchiniswrong.com/ you can see that Mike has actually challenged Zack to a debate all about the nonsense he spews and he never would enter into a debate, probably knowing he would get owned and everything he wrote would all be shown to be a fraud. That site goes over all the major claims of the Religion of Astrotheology and debunks all the garbage associated with it including the Ancient Aliens stupidity.

The Bible is Historically confirmed, the Disciples are Historically confirmed, Christianity is Historically confirmed, Jesus is Historically confirmed, and the only thing not Historically confirmed are all the baseless lies propagated by Zeitgeist and those 3 idiots that pushed Astrotheology and the Ancient Alien garbage...
 





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#32
the garbage that is reiterated
that idiot Acharya S
Ancient Alien garbage
^Triggered big time. Not that I was attempting to do that but anyway...

I don't buy the ancient alien stuff either.

Read Charles Waite's, History of the Christian Religion to the Year Two Hundred, the books appear in history in that order:

  1. Ur-Markus (150)
  2. Ur-Lukas (150+)
  3. Luke (170)
  4. Mark (175)
  5. John (178)
  6. Matthew (180)
 





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#33
How did Jesus demonstrate His confidence and belief in Scripture?

Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone’ … It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ … For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’ ” (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).

“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

Jesus quoted from Scripture when He was tempted by Satan. He also said the Bible is truth (John 17:17). Jesus quoted Scripture as the authority for everything He was teaching.

How do Bible prophecies confirm its divine inspiration?

The Bible says, “I am the Lord. … New things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them” (Isaiah 42:8, 9).

“I am God … declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done” (Isaiah 46:9, 10).

Bible predictions of future events that have come to pass dramatically confirm the divine inspiration of Scripture. These are just a few examples of fulfilled Bible prophecies:

1. Four world empires would arise: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome (Daniel chapters 2, 7, 8).

2. Cyrus to be the warrior to capture Babylon (Isaiah 45:1-3).

3. After Babylon's destruction, it would never be inhabited again (Isaiah 13:19, 20 Jeremiah 51:37).

4. Egypt would never again have a commanding position among the nations (Ezekiel 29:14, 15, 30:12, 13).

5. Earth-shaking calamities and fear toward the end of time (Luke 21:25, 26).

6. Moral degeneracy and decline of spirituality in the last days (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

What evidence for Bible inspiration emerges when we compare Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah with New Testament events in the life of Jesus?

The Bible says, “Beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).

“[Apollos] vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 18:28).

The Old Testament predictions of the Messiah were so specific and so clearly fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth that both Jesus and Apollos used these prophecies to prove that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. There are more than 125 of these prophecies. Let’s review just 12 of them:

1. He was born of a virgin.
Prophecy
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
Fulfillment
And Joseph...kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus (Matthew 1:24-25 NASB).

2. He was born in Bethlehem.
Prophecy
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2).
Fulfillment
Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea (Matthew 2:1).

3. He had a ministry of miracles.
Prophecy
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped (Isaiah 35:5).
Fulfillment
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages...healing every sickness and every disease among the people (Matthew 9:35.

4. He entered Jerusalem on a donkey.
Prophecy
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9 NASB).
Fulfillment
They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it. (Luke 19:35 NASB).

5. He was betrayed by a friend.
Prophecy
Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me (Psalm 41:9 NASB).
Fulfillment
Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him (Matthew 10:4 NASB).

6. He was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, and

7. Judas threw the money into the temple, and it was given to the potter for his field.
Prophecy
So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD (Zechariah 11:13 NASB).
Fulfillment
And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed...The chief priests...with the money bought the Potter's Field (Matthew 27:5-7 NASB).

8. He made no answer under accusation.
Prophecy
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth (Isaiah 53:7 NASB).
Fulfillment
And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer (Matthew 27:12 NASB).

9. He was physically abused.
Prophecy
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities...And by His scourging we are healed (Isaiah 53:5 NASB).
Fulfillment
Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him to be crucified (Matthew 27:26 NASB).

10. His hands and feet were pierced.
Prophecy
They pierced my hands and my feet (Psalm 22:16 NASB).
Fulfillment
When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him (Luke 23:33 NASB).

11. He was crucified with thieves.
Prophecy
He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12 NASB).
Fulfillment
At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left (Matthew 27:38 NASB).

12. Soldiers divided His garments and cast lots for them.
Prophecy
They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots (Psalm 22:18 NASB).
Fulfillment
Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier, and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. So they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be" (John 19:23-24 NASB).

What are the odds that Jesus could have fulfilled just eight of these prophecies by mere chance? Dr. Peter Stoner, former chairman of the departments of mathematics, astronomy, and engineering at Pasadena College in California, applied the principle of probability to this question.

He calculated the odds of just eight being fulfilled by one man as one in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

What would be the odds of all 125 prophecies of the Messiah being fulfilled by chance alone? It simply couldn’t have happened by chance!

Is all of the Bible inspired—or just parts of it?

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible does not merely contain the words of God—it is the Word of God. The Bible is the information and operations manual for human life. Ignore it and you will experience unnecessary difficulties.

Isn’t it unsafe to rely on an ancient book so far removed from our day?

No. The Bible’s age is one of the proofs of its inspiration. It says, “The word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1:25). The Bible stands as a rock; it cannot be destroyed. Men and even entire nations have burned, banned, and tried to discredit the Bible, but they destroyed themselves instead. Long after they were gone, the Bible remained (and remains) a bestseller in constant demand. Its message is God-given and up to date. Before you study it, pray that God opens your heart as you read.
 





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#34
@Helioform

New Testament Fragments amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Dr Bill Cooper - B.A. Hons, Phd. Thd.

In 1955 there were discovered several papyrus fragments in Qumran Cave 7. The unusual – and unexpected – feature of Cave 7 was that all of its fragments were in Greek, as opposed to the exclusively Hebrew and Aramaic scrolls that had been found in the other caves. Apart from two of the fragments which were from the Greek version of the Old Testament (Exodus and the apocryphal Letter of Jeremiah), the rest of the fragments from Cave 7 were all catalogued as unidentified, and were considered indeed to be unidentifiable.

That’s how things remained until 1972, when the papyrologist, Dr José O’Callaghan, thought that he would try to identify them. They were housed at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem, and in April 1972 he was able to do a hands-on examination of each of them and to take a series of infra-red and other photographs. What he discovered concerning them was to shock the academic world – the fragments belonged to books of the New Testament.

Sold on Kindle as “The Authenticity of the New Testament Fragments from Qumran”
 





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#35
@Helioform

New Testament Fragments amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Dr Bill Cooper - B.A. Hons, Phd. Thd.

In 1955 there were discovered several papyrus fragments in Qumran Cave 7. The unusual – and unexpected – feature of Cave 7 was that all of its fragments were in Greek, as opposed to the exclusively Hebrew and Aramaic scrolls that had been found in the other caves. Apart from two of the fragments which were from the Greek version of the Old Testament (Exodus and the apocryphal Letter of Jeremiah), the rest of the fragments from Cave 7 were all catalogued as unidentified, and were considered indeed to be unidentifiable.

That’s how things remained until 1972, when the papyrologist, Dr José O’Callaghan, thought that he would try to identify them. They were housed at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem, and in April 1972 he was able to do a hands-on examination of each of them and to take a series of infra-red and other photographs. What he discovered concerning them was to shock the academic world – the fragments belonged to books of the New Testament.

Sold on Kindle as “The Authenticity of the New Testament Fragments from Qumran”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7Q5
 





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#36
By the same token, the "Codex Sinaiticus" is almost universally accepted ;-)

https://vigilantcitizenforums.com/threads/the-critical-text-criticized.3461/

"All lies and jest
till a men hears what he wants to hear,
and disregards the rest..."
Simon and Garfunkel, The Boxer


As you assert a late dating for the writing of the NT, and the Zeitgeist "legend" narrative must surely depend on this, I will get back to you with further evidence on the dating to within the eye witness period in due course.
 





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#37
The Authenticity of the New Testament Fragments from Qumran

The following fragments were examined:-

Chapter One: 7Q4.1 & 7Q4.2 – 1 Timothy 3:16-4:3

Chapter Two: 7Q5 - Mark 6:52-53

Chapter Three: 7Q6.1 – Mark 4:28

Chapter Four: 7Q6.2 – Acts 27:38

Chapter Five: 7Q7 – Mark 12:17

Chapter Six: 7Q8 – James 1:23-24

Chapter Seven: 7Q9 – Romans 5:11-12

Chapter Eight: 7Q10 – 2 Peter 1:15

Chapter Nine: 7Q11; 7Q12; 7Q13; 7Q14

Chapter Ten: 7Q15 – Mark 6:48

Chapter Eleven: 7Q16; 7Q17; 7Q18

Chapter Twelve: 7Q19 – A Commentary on Romans?

Chapter Thirteen: What Happened to Cave 7?

Appendix One:

Report on the forensic examination of the fragment 7Q5 in Jerusalem

[translated out of Thiede’s ‘Bericht über die kriminaltechnische Untersuchung des Fragments 7Q5 in Jerusalem.’ Christen und Christliche. pp. 239-245. ]

"On Sunday, 12th April 1992 ([Sunday is] a working day in Israel), the Qumran fragment 7Q5 was examined by forensic technology at the Israel National Police Investigations Department (Division of Identification and Forensic Science). The committee governing the Israel Antiquities Authority had granted approval for transporting the glass plate with the 7Q fragments. Curator Joseph Zia conducted the transfer of the fragments from the John Rockefeller Museum to the Police Laboratory in the Sheikh Jarrah Neighbourhood. Brigadier General Dr Joseph Almog, Director of the Department, was responsible for the work by the Division of Identification and Forensic Science. The examination for this report was carried out by Chief Inspector Sharon Landau in the presence of the aforementioned gentlemen and the author.

1 The key stages of the examination were recorded by a television crew from Bayerischen Rundfunks [a Bavarian television company].

2 The aim of the study was to answer two questions in the short time available:

1. Is the fragment 7Q5 in an unfalsified condition without recent (human) tampering or changes?

2. Can it be determined that the remains of the letter in the middle of Line 2, generally considered to be crucial for identification, are two adscript letters, e.g. Iota follows Alpha? Or is it one letter, namely a Nu? At Eichstätt,

3 several specimens of Nus were presented by Herbert Hunger, the Viennese papyrologist, which showed considerable variations [of the letter Nu] within a single manuscript written by a single scribe. This is clearly seen between the complete Nu of Line 4 and the reconstructed Nu of Line 2 of the 7Q5 fragment. Hunger went on to say that Nu is not just a possibility in Line 2, but may be confidently asserted to be Nu.4

The forensic examination showed that Question 1 has a quick and clear answer: it is absolutely certain that no subsequent alterations have been made to the text of 7Q5.

The visible stock of the letter matches the original visible remains. It must remain open whether the severe damage, especially to the right side of the fragment (a turn to the right above the tear), be attributed to early human interference. The theory put forward for Cave 4 that the Romans, in AD 68 or shortly thereafter, discovered and smashed the jar and ripped up the scrolls inside, explaining the 800 small fragments in that cave, applies as well to Cave 7. The solitary jar that was found smashed, along with a few scraps of papyrus, show that 7Q5 at least, (and perhaps the two pieces of 7Q4), with their traces of wanton destruction, fit into this scenario. The stereo-microscope examination of Line 2 of 7Q5 which followed, showed the clearly discernible remnants of a stroke running diagonally from top left to bottom right, beginning at the top of that vertical line which is either an Iota adscript5 or the left vertical line of a [letter] Nu. Owing to the discovery of that diagonal line, the possibility of it being an Iota is finally excluded. Although the full length of the visible line is not preserved entirely, it is long enough to exclude the possibility of it being a Rho. It is clearly the diagonal line of a Nu, as would be required for the identification of 7Q5 as Mark 6:52-53. This is an important step toward confirming the identification. The Nu in Line 2 is now one of the ‘dependable characters’ of the fragment, and it is evidence, for critics and proponents alike, that is in favour of the identification of Mark.

Moreover, it confirms O’Callaghan’s readings with the aid of the Ibycus Computer programme. And the investigation carried out at Liverpool yielded only Mark 6:52-53 for 7Q5. Nonetheless, questions do remain. As well as identifying the Line 2 character as a Nu, the forensic examination also confirmed Herbert Hunger’s thesis concerning the wide differences that can occur between the same letters within the same fragment. For instance, the two undoubted Etas of [7Q5], make possible the identification of the remnants of another Eta to the right of the tear on Line 2. The Jerusalem laboratory, however, was unable to make certain ink remains visible even where they once undoubtedly existed. For example, the vertical stroke of the Kappa of Line 3; in the conjunction of Alpha and Iota of the kai in Line 3; or even the vertical stroke of the Nu of Line 2. In some places, the ink has disappeared altogether while it is still visible in others, depending on how deep both ink and pen penetrated the papyrus. The diagonal stroke of the Nu of Line 2 shows how the scribe pressed hard at top left, so that the ink can still be seen under extreme magnification. The examination of the [7Q] fragments is ongoing.

The investigation of 7Q5 will continue under much improved instrumentation, and this applies to the other fragments as well. The fact that the forensic examination of 7Q5 has yielded such firm results, has encouraged all parties toward this end."

Footnotes to Appendix One

1. Dr Carsten Peter Thiede.

2. “The forensic analysis of 7Q5 and its recording by Bavarian Television was part of the documentary ‘Der unbekannte Jesus’ (The unknown Jesus) which was shown on the first Channel (ARD) on 7.6.1992 in a sixty minute version, as well as in two forty-five minute programmes on 20.8.92 (repeat 23.8.92) and on 27.8.92 (repeat 30.8.92) on the Third Channel of Bavarian Television as well as on 1.9 and 6.9.1992 on Eins Plus.” Rekindling the Word, p. 197.

3. The Eichstätt Symposium papers are published in Christen und Christliches in Qumran?. 1992. Friedrich Pustet.

4. Hunger, H. ‘7Q5: Markus 6:52-53 – oder? Die Meinung des Papyrologen.’ Christen und Christliches in Qumran?. 1992. Friedrich Pustet. pp. 33-56.

5. An ‘Iota adscript’ is the joining together (in this case) of the letters alpha α and iota ι, as in the word kai, partial remnants of which might give the impression of a nu ν when written in majuscule.
 





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#38
The Authenticity of the New Testament Fragments from Qumran

The following fragments were examined:-

Chapter One: 7Q4.1 & 7Q4.2 – 1 Timothy 3:16-4:3

Chapter Two: 7Q5 - Mark 6:52-53

Chapter Three: 7Q6.1 – Mark 4:28

Chapter Four: 7Q6.2 – Acts 27:38

Chapter Five: 7Q7 – Mark 12:17

Chapter Six: 7Q8 – James 1:23-24

Chapter Seven: 7Q9 – Romans 5:11-12

Chapter Eight: 7Q10 – 2 Peter 1:15

Chapter Nine: 7Q11; 7Q12; 7Q13; 7Q14

Chapter Ten: 7Q15 – Mark 6:48

Chapter Eleven: 7Q16; 7Q17; 7Q18

Chapter Twelve: 7Q19 – A Commentary on Romans?

Chapter Thirteen: What Happened to Cave 7?

Appendix One:

Report on the forensic examination of the fragment 7Q5 in Jerusalem

[translated out of Thiede’s ‘Bericht über die kriminaltechnische Untersuchung des Fragments 7Q5 in Jerusalem.’ Christen und Christliche. pp. 239-245. ]

"On Sunday, 12th April 1992 ([Sunday is] a working day in Israel), the Qumran fragment 7Q5 was examined by forensic technology at the Israel National Police Investigations Department (Division of Identification and Forensic Science). The committee governing the Israel Antiquities Authority had granted approval for transporting the glass plate with the 7Q fragments. Curator Joseph Zia conducted the transfer of the fragments from the John Rockefeller Museum to the Police Laboratory in the Sheikh Jarrah Neighbourhood. Brigadier General Dr Joseph Almog, Director of the Department, was responsible for the work by the Division of Identification and Forensic Science. The examination for this report was carried out by Chief Inspector Sharon Landau in the presence of the aforementioned gentlemen and the author.

1 The key stages of the examination were recorded by a television crew from Bayerischen Rundfunks [a Bavarian television company].

2 The aim of the study was to answer two questions in the short time available:

1. Is the fragment 7Q5 in an unfalsified condition without recent (human) tampering or changes?

2. Can it be determined that the remains of the letter in the middle of Line 2, generally considered to be crucial for identification, are two adscript letters, e.g. Iota follows Alpha? Or is it one letter, namely a Nu? At Eichstätt,

3 several specimens of Nus were presented by Herbert Hunger, the Viennese papyrologist, which showed considerable variations [of the letter Nu] within a single manuscript written by a single scribe. This is clearly seen between the complete Nu of Line 4 and the reconstructed Nu of Line 2 of the 7Q5 fragment. Hunger went on to say that Nu is not just a possibility in Line 2, but may be confidently asserted to be Nu.4

The forensic examination showed that Question 1 has a quick and clear answer: it is absolutely certain that no subsequent alterations have been made to the text of 7Q5.

The visible stock of the letter matches the original visible remains. It must remain open whether the severe damage, especially to the right side of the fragment (a turn to the right above the tear), be attributed to early human interference. The theory put forward for Cave 4 that the Romans, in AD 68 or shortly thereafter, discovered and smashed the jar and ripped up the scrolls inside, explaining the 800 small fragments in that cave, applies as well to Cave 7. The solitary jar that was found smashed, along with a few scraps of papyrus, show that 7Q5 at least, (and perhaps the two pieces of 7Q4), with their traces of wanton destruction, fit into this scenario. The stereo-microscope examination of Line 2 of 7Q5 which followed, showed the clearly discernible remnants of a stroke running diagonally from top left to bottom right, beginning at the top of that vertical line which is either an Iota adscript5 or the left vertical line of a [letter] Nu. Owing to the discovery of that diagonal line, the possibility of it being an Iota is finally excluded. Although the full length of the visible line is not preserved entirely, it is long enough to exclude the possibility of it being a Rho. It is clearly the diagonal line of a Nu, as would be required for the identification of 7Q5 as Mark 6:52-53. This is an important step toward confirming the identification. The Nu in Line 2 is now one of the ‘dependable characters’ of the fragment, and it is evidence, for critics and proponents alike, that is in favour of the identification of Mark.

Moreover, it confirms O’Callaghan’s readings with the aid of the Ibycus Computer programme. And the investigation carried out at Liverpool yielded only Mark 6:52-53 for 7Q5. Nonetheless, questions do remain. As well as identifying the Line 2 character as a Nu, the forensic examination also confirmed Herbert Hunger’s thesis concerning the wide differences that can occur between the same letters within the same fragment. For instance, the two undoubted Etas of [7Q5], make possible the identification of the remnants of another Eta to the right of the tear on Line 2. The Jerusalem laboratory, however, was unable to make certain ink remains visible even where they once undoubtedly existed. For example, the vertical stroke of the Kappa of Line 3; in the conjunction of Alpha and Iota of the kai in Line 3; or even the vertical stroke of the Nu of Line 2. In some places, the ink has disappeared altogether while it is still visible in others, depending on how deep both ink and pen penetrated the papyrus. The diagonal stroke of the Nu of Line 2 shows how the scribe pressed hard at top left, so that the ink can still be seen under extreme magnification. The examination of the [7Q] fragments is ongoing.

The investigation of 7Q5 will continue under much improved instrumentation, and this applies to the other fragments as well. The fact that the forensic examination of 7Q5 has yielded such firm results, has encouraged all parties toward this end."

Footnotes to Appendix One

1. Dr Carsten Peter Thiede.

2. “The forensic analysis of 7Q5 and its recording by Bavarian Television was part of the documentary ‘Der unbekannte Jesus’ (The unknown Jesus) which was shown on the first Channel (ARD) on 7.6.1992 in a sixty minute version, as well as in two forty-five minute programmes on 20.8.92 (repeat 23.8.92) and on 27.8.92 (repeat 30.8.92) on the Third Channel of Bavarian Television as well as on 1.9 and 6.9.1992 on Eins Plus.” Rekindling the Word, p. 197.

3. The Eichstätt Symposium papers are published in Christen und Christliches in Qumran?. 1992. Friedrich Pustet.

4. Hunger, H. ‘7Q5: Markus 6:52-53 – oder? Die Meinung des Papyrologen.’ Christen und Christliches in Qumran?. 1992. Friedrich Pustet. pp. 33-56.

5. An ‘Iota adscript’ is the joining together (in this case) of the letters alpha α and iota ι, as in the word kai, partial remnants of which might give the impression of a nu ν when written in majuscule.
The earliest fragments of Mark found were dated 150-250AD.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/c...anuscript-earliest-not-first-century-fcm.html

As for the rest, it is totally unscholarly because it relies on single letters only:

"Thank you for your comment. There has been some attempt to identify some of the Cave 7 fragments, written in Greek, as parts of the New Testament, but these identifications are based on just a few letters, and are not generally accepted in scholarship. The identification you propose, that 7Q5 is Mark 6:52 is discussed in non-academic terms in this wikipedia article:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7Q5
The article also contains bibliography for more in-depth academic discussions of this fragment."


https://www.deadseascrolls.org.il/explore-the-archive/image/B-284859
 





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#39
The earliest fragments of Mark found were dated 150-250AD.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/c...anuscript-earliest-not-first-century-fcm.html

As for the rest, it is totally unscholarly because it relies on single letters only:

"Thank you for your comment. There has been some attempt to identify some of the Cave 7 fragments, written in Greek, as parts of the New Testament, but these identifications are based on just a few letters, and are not generally accepted in scholarship. The identification you propose, that 7Q5 is Mark 6:52 is discussed in non-academic terms in this wikipedia article:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7Q5
The article also contains bibliography for more in-depth academic discussions of this fragment."


https://www.deadseascrolls.org.il/explore-the-archive/image/B-284859
Again, I will review the evidence and let you know what I come across. I can see that late dating is important to your beliefs though. Similar claims are made by our Islamic friends so this investigation is probably a worthwhile thing.

In addition, it appears that a new Qumran cave is under investigation and I await the findings with interest:-

https://nypost.com/2018/12/04/archaeologists-are-closing-in-on-more-dead-sea-scrolls/
 





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Messages
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#40
I was reading a little bit of this book called The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors. There is a very clearly stated theory in the book that explains the motivation for sharing this knowledge, which is to cause people to move past religion. The problem with this expectation is that evidence should be the motivation to progress as a society.

The author considers the presence of similar stories to the gospel as a form of evidence. However, it is not a strong enough form of evidence to discredit the impact of the Gospel over the last 2000 years. This is what I was considering while I was reading about these other stories. Sure, there may have been an account of a crucified savior before, but when did this account ever lead to the same result as Christianity has.

For example, in the past 2000 years in the location where Christianity has played a major role in the development of society, slavery has been abolished, technology has increased, freedom of religion has been established, etc., etc., etc. In all of these endeavors, there is at least one historical figure that participated in these activities that have professed to be a Christian and where we can credit some of the motivation to succeed in this way to the Gospel. There is no way to wash away 2000 years of evidence that what the Gospel teaches produces good things.

In just about every other example where the claim is made that the same story was told, the same is not true and the account leads to an inevitable end. More importantly, this information produced no change within former societies in the same way that Christianity has produced change. So if we are going to consider these things based on evidence, there is evidence that truth is expressed in the fruit that it produces.

Whether this fruit is oppressed in some way is clearly possible. For example, there are no cuneiform tablets that we are able to reference the writing from the Old Testament. These could have been destroyed and censored. If it were possible to have them, there might be a way to know more about where the message of the Messiah originated, how long it was preached, and whether it was always supposed to reach the whole world the way the church professes.

Censoring what the Bible has to say about the Messiah is a known form of censorship of our religion. For example, many people feel that the Septuagint is more accurate because of how it validates the message concerning the Messiah more than the later Masoretic text does. Many people feel that the Masoretic text changes the wording in various places so that the New Testament will no longer quote from the Old Testament as accurately as it would have if we were using the Septuagint. Therefore, the message that Jesus fulfills the prophecy regarding the coming of the Messiah is watered down by the Masoretic text.

So it is possible that all along the subject of the Messiah was a component that was censored, which leads to a couple possible questions for the presence of other accounts of a coming Messiah. The major one that I have would be whether the message of preaching the Messiah to the whole world was censored? Was there a more detailed prophecy about the scope of the mission of the Messiah? Were the Habiru people the original Hebrew people who were traveling around the ancient world sharing this message? Very difficult questions to answer, but they are valid, because this subject is not a closed case.

Either way, while the church may be clearly oppressed in more than a few ways, there is no denying that there is more evidence that was produced by the message of Christ than with any other account that appears similar. This is not something that is easily washed away.

However, I also don't see how this creates such fear for the church to accept that the information we have has been censored in some respects. Sometimes, it is like people expect that we will still be using the Bible in Heaven, but the Bible is also something that will inevitably pass away with the end of things and the beginning of the something new.

That is not New World Order speak either. I have had this concept quoted in my signature for the past year. He says He is making all things new. This means that at some point, we should be able to shed the Bible the way a snake sheds his skin when he has outgrown it. I would imagine this will come when the prophecy in Revelation is fulfilled, and if we are almost there; then, in theory, we are almost to the end of the time necessitating the Bible. Something to think about.
 





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