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Have started reading the bible again from the beginning

(113 Posts)
NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Wed 02-Jan-13 13:41:38

am mightily confused about some things to do with the God in whom I believe.

anyone want to try to help with some of my questions?

JakeBullet Sun 06-Jan-13 09:45:31

Thanks for those links Avuncularsmile .

Another thing which has occurred to me regarding the six days of creation and the Sabbath is that nowhere in Genesis does it relate the days were consecutive. ....just that there were six days where certain events occurred. Then there was the Sabbath. ...panda who is to say God's work is done? This Sabbath could simply be a rest period until a next event

Ooh it has all got me thinking again and that is good smile .

Avuncular Sat 05-Jan-13 22:51:54

Christianity Rediscovered - on Kindle

(Wrong image comes up but the content is OK. Have 'bumped' Amazon about it.

Avuncular Sat 05-Jan-13 22:40:56

Yali tribe video from Wilsons / Crawfords
(Have your airsick bag ready: flying in Indonesia is quite 'exciting'!)

BTW the Wilsons' local presentation was subtitled 'My grandfather was a cannibal'. The meeting flyer stated, as an incentive to attend, Finger buffet provided. This was quite true, but the inadvertent 'punning' tied to the title found its way in to 'New Scientist' and thence to BBC R4 Newsquiz. LoL

Back to thread now .....

Avuncular Sat 05-Jan-13 22:17:43

Yali Bible and other translation work in Indonesia

Also found 1 DVD on Google - still looking for my favourite

Avuncular Sat 05-Jan-13 22:05:56

Wiki on NT dating

Totally off - thread but I once met J.K. Galbraith at a post-chapel student breakfast in J.A.T. Robinson's sitting room. MUIT Robinson totally 'Liberal' but of course that doesn't it any way negate the quality of the scholarship, which must always be judged on its own merits.

Everyone has an 'agenda' of course, and it's important to consider the 'agenda' of everyone conducting research, be they OT translators, scholars, archaeologists, or scientists. Did the agenda (or the study 'paymasters') affect the study approach, or the resulting message?

Avuncular Sat 05-Jan-13 21:41:57

Holo .... Christianity Rediscovered yes I feel it's a 'must read'.
Have read it twice, it's so thought-provoking.

I'd forgotten about the 'translation aspects'.

Regarding these I had been more engaged by the story of John and Gloria Wilson (who we hosted some years ago to do an open presentation in our local community) who over a 10 year period produced the first indigenous translation of the Bible in West Papua / Irian Jaya (the western / Indonesian half of Papua). Indonesian is the 'official' language, so for the Yali this was the equivalent of the first English translation for UK when hitherto the Bible had only been in Latin. I don't think there is a book, but there is a DVD, and there may be stuff on the Internet.

I'll go looking.

For me the book illustrated a totally radical 'shake up' to and challenged me ponder, as Donovan did for those Africans, what it would mean for UK 21st century society to ditch all the 'baggage of the past 2000 years' and go absolutely back to the basics of applying the central Gospel to our individual lives and let this work itself out in Society.

Fanciful I know .... but refreshing

tabulahrasa Sat 05-Jan-13 21:32:53

70 AD is a bit off though, it's pretty much accepted that the vast majority of the NT was finished by 70 AD...with some parts written as early as 48 AD.

You're still relying on memory, but not a lifetime away in most cases - of course that's if you assume that the NT is supposed to be an historical account of facts. Personally I don't think it is, I think it's people trying to make sense of Jesus and what it all means. That's never going to be straightforward.

Avuncular Sat 05-Jan-13 21:08:14

70AD, so if Jesus was crucified at age 33, that means that the first writings were 37 years after the resurrection.

So just ask: would I trust my parents' or grandparents', friends' or even siblings' recollections of very important events in their lives? Again, we have to ask whether any key information was missed or distorted.

Avuncular Sat 05-Jan-13 21:00:02


Wikipedia on the OT usual comments about Wiki apply - but I think the key issue is 'were any essential ideas lost or important distortions introduced during the process?'

It's not an impossible task for the lay person to get hold of a Hebrew dictionary (Strong's Exhaustive (ing?) Concordance indexes, amongst other things all OT words) and to go back to a bit of Hebrew text to verify the translation process.

(Just as once I went through the 'Begats' to see where Bishop Ussher got 4004 BC, and what gaps there were. Not many.)

Apparently the Jews went to incredible lengths in their proof-reading and copying (long before printing!) to ensure that the 'Scriptures' were meticulously preserved.

More .... (can't see the posts while composing)

AntoinetteCosway Sat 05-Jan-13 16:43:14

Yes! Thank you. I was beginning to worry about a God that only cared about one group of people being different to the God that cares for everyone, but the way you put it makes sense. I should probably re-read the OT...

niminypiminy Sat 05-Jan-13 11:25:37

Antoinette, the Israelites were part of a wider middle-eastern religious culture in which tribal and then national groupings had their own cultic deities which promoted their own particular interests. One of the major themes of the OT is the development of the Israelite's realisation that their God, Jaweh, is not simply one tribal cultic deity among many, but the one god, the God of Everything, the creator of the universe. The OT tells in part the story of the people of Israel coming to accept the one God - becoming monotheists, the first popular monotheistic religion in history.

Because their realisation emerged from an earlier conception of tribal and cultic deities, they saw the one God as 'theirs' - or rather they saw themselves as his chosen people. One of the ways of understanding all this is to say that God is trying to reveal himself to everyone, everywhere, but for various reasons, the people of Israel were able to hear the message in a more direct form than other religions. So they came to see that God didn't want sacrifice, but praise; and that he didn't want atonement for sins, but holy living.

Then came the Jesus event - and Jesus is clear that his message is for everyone, not simply for the Jews. One of the things that is going on in the NT is that in the early church there was a struggle between Christians who wanted to keep the message of the gospel for the Jews, and those who saw that it was essential to carry it to the Gentiles.

Does that make sense?

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Sat 05-Jan-13 10:55:04

Ok so I have been awake most of the night with a poorly child and it has given me chance to think.......

The Analogy according to NEVER

In the beginning there was a cave on a hill... A safe place that the people knew they could go to in times of crisis (every community had something similar)
Raiders who came to the village had no weapons in the beginning and hiding was sufficient.
After weapons were developed a wall was built round the entrance to the cave. To protect those inside from the outsiders

Over time the wall became a room.... This then became a tower... With other rooms incase the villagers needed to stay longer.. Then it developed as the villagers decided the only place they could exist was in the castle that had developed round the cave. With all its trappings.

This was the new community those inside the walls and those outside .

Here endeth the analogy according to NEVER. For the OT. We then get to the NT where we are encouraged to remember the original purpose. The cave under all the buildings the sanctuary the safe place for heart mind and body.....

Pick apart to your hearts content... These are mere rumblings of an overtired mummy :-)))

AntoinetteCosway Sat 05-Jan-13 09:04:19

I mean, I understand why for the Israelites they'd want to believe they were chosen, but what is the Christian consensus about why they were chosen? Are we meant to believe the Jews were better/more important to God than everyone else on earth? Because if so then why the switch to Jesus dying for us all?

<head explodes>

I am coming at this from a super liberal 'God loves everyone, all religions are essentially the same as your faith has a huge amount to do with where you're born and what culture you're raised in, everyone's equal' point of view.

AntoinetteCosway Sat 05-Jan-13 08:55:08

Greenheart you mentioned God choosing a people being quite a radical idea for the time-and it made me wonder...if God created ALL peoples then why did he choose the Israelites? Was everyone else on the planet too sinful? It seems rather mean...

(I'm a woolly Christian but this has never really occurred to me before blush)

HolofernesesHead Sat 05-Jan-13 08:37:01

Sashh, interesting post. Have you read 'Christianity Rediscovered' by Vincent Donovan? He was a missionary in Africa and talks about the process of translating the Bible into a tribal African language.

Re unicorns; where did you learn this? In the two versions of the flood story we have in Gen. 6 -9, the animals aren't listed, just the types of animals; do where are unicorns specified? And do you know which textual variant it is that has it? I guess it's not a very well attested translation, or it'd be better attested. Do you have any more info on it? (There is, of course, the famous unicorn / Noah's Ark joke) smile

sashh Sat 05-Jan-13 05:40:09

BTW I assume your comments about translations are intended to apply to the NT, not the OT

Sorry, when I said nothing was written down until 70AD, obviously I was thinking NT but the OT has, also been translated and retranslated.

Some versions of the OT have unicrons listed as being on the Ark, some don't. I think that is due to an issue of translation.

If you ask someone to list all the animals they can think of they are going to start with the familiar ones and for some time unicorns were believed to exist.

There is also the true meaning of a word. If we take the English word 'bread' it can easily be translated into other languages as 'bread' but if I say I made a ham sandwich with bread you will, likley, think of white sliced bread, a french person would quite possibly think of a bagette.

Even within the same language a 'house' in the UK is normally two or three stories. To my Astralian relatives a house is 99% of the time a single story building.

There are a number of ways to translate things, I thinkk we are all familiar with literal translations but there are also cultural translations, these rely on the translator's knowledge of both the culture of the origional writer and that of the intended audience.

Cultural translations often include extras for the reader, so in the bread example above, translating into French a cultural translation for a modern audience might include that an 'English sandwich, made as usual with slices of a large loaf of bread', because most French people are aware that we in Britain eat sliced bread.

For an audience 100 years ago the translation may well have not had that caveat as French people were not used to, or had never seen that kind of bread so it would raise more questions than answers.

Did that make sense.

Obviously this is all comming from a linguistic point of view, not a spiritual one.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Sat 05-Jan-13 00:13:35

Will post more tomorrow when i am not on my phone

Avuncular Sat 05-Jan-13 00:00:21

OP I love the story of 'Doubting Thomas' (John 20:25).

Poor chap, he wasn't there when the other disciples saw Jesus alive again after being crucified.

Thomas was so down to earth, practical. Perhaps he had been away on some important errand when Jesus met the others?

Anyway, Thomas insisted on hard evidence for himself. Christ honoured and respected that.

Some had then (and have today) the gift of 'faith' without seeing first-hand. But Jesus recognised Thomas' individuality and appeared graciously to help Thomas with the information he needed. I agree with you totally that we should explore the basis of our faith as far as we are able. And not flinch at the issues it throws up.

I think I know the type of 'evangelical lady' you are talking about.

Yes the central message of Christianity is so simple that a young child can understand it.
[One of our DCs grew into it from an early age, but others had to come to a definite examination of what it was all about, and what the implications were for them and their future lives.]

But when we grow up, we have a duty, I believe, to explore as far as our intellect, and time, allow. This thread is helping me with that. Thank you.

ForkInTheForeheid Fri 04-Jan-13 23:22:14

What I don't get is how people can accept the fallibility of the bible and its place within a historical context, yet still use it as a "holy" book, the ot at least. At least if you consider the bible the literal word of God you're coming from a relatively consistent position. I consider myself an agnostic atheist, I.e. I can't possibly know for sure that there is no god but I don't believe in the existence of one. My values are probably closely matched to the message of tolerance, love and care for our fellow humans, I just don't see the need for a deity to hook that in to. I have no problem with Christianity and spirituality but I do have a problem with hte dogma that goes along with adherence to a text that is self contradictory and lacking in acceptance of the diversity of humanity. In a nutshell, presuming god exists, what would be seen as more important in his/her judgment of you - the way you treat your fellow humans or your knowledge and understanding of historical theology? If the latter then not a god worth believing in IMO.
Op, your discovery of the inherent contradictions within the bible should do nothing to affect your faith, it is man-made historical document. Your personal faith is down to your own mind and nothing else, again IMO.

JakeBullet Fri 04-Jan-13 23:20:27

Definitely worth understanding the roots .....and an acceptance that there will be conflicts.

I have not done anywhere near enough Bible study to answer stuff knowledgeably. And Tbh I find the Old Testament very hard going.

Evangelical stuff is as bad as the hard right Creationist stuff.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Fri 04-Jan-13 23:09:42

Also..... Surely it is important if you are going to be/identify with Christianity you should understand its roots

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Fri 04-Jan-13 23:06:33

Hi all thanks for the discussion. Had lengthy discussion with very evangelical Christian and she was eager for me to trust and not to try to understand too much... That has made me really quite frustrated

CoteDAzur Fri 04-Jan-13 22:59:43

"Human suffering.....humans make stupid decisions along with good ones......sometimes the stupid decisions mean they suffer."

Are you saying that it was a stupid decision for Adam & Eve to seek knowledge?

CoteDAzur Fri 04-Jan-13 22:57:40

" I equally don't think that the Creation stories in Genesis are "wrong", any more than one would define the story of the boy who cried wolf as "wrong" "

Are you saying the Bible (or Genesis in particular) is fiction?

weegiemum Fri 04-Jan-13 21:20:54

I recently got my theology degree (dh and I did it together after we were (him) doctor and (me) teacher).

Nothing like 3 years at an evangelical bible college to turn you into a raving liberal!!

Ask away!!

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