The Bible historically

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Victor 10 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #1068

    I have realizd lately I am somewhat ignorant of the Bible’s historical proofs, as well as answering apparent contradictions in the Bible. Most I can easily disprove based on reason, but one seems to be sticking me pretty good: Luke says Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem durign the Census (supposedly 6 A.D.) and Matthew says it was durign the time of Herod (supposedly he died 4 B.C.)

    Some help with this specific question, as well as some scholars (preferably nuetral) who believe the Gospels to be authentic would be nice. I mean, I’m not TOTALLY ignorant, and can hold my own in a conversation about it, but I would like some more resources if possible.

    Thanks,

    Stephen

    #4683

    Victor
    Member

    There are tons of books on Bible history. You can spend a long time reading on just that topic. I’m deffinately no expert and like you, I still have lots to learn.

    This is actually my first time hearing this. Where did you get those dates from?

    ~Victor

    #4684

    Victor
    Member

    So far it seems like this wasn’t an apparent problem for the early church, this is something new. It’s almost like the early church never said “this is problem”. Why? Because it was always known that Christ was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth. There was no need to object. It’s only in modern times that this seems to be a problem because they have a vested interest to disprove the Bible. But I will continue to do research to find out why this is an apparent contradiction. Now you got me all curious. <img src=” title=”Very Happy” />

    ~Victor

    #4687

    Well, the problem is that if it is a contradiction (which it isn’t), the Bible is contradicting itself which kills the whole “inspired” thing. I know it is not a contradiction, and I am not even sure if thoise dates are right–but my athestic converser (not a word….) claims “Josephus” puts those dates on those events and hence the Bible contradicts itself.

    #4690

    Andres Ortiz
    Keymaster

    Those dates are most likely correct. But is the Bible a history or science book? No. Besides, most of the gospels were written 30-60 years (at the earliest) after Christ’s death and history wasn’t necessarily the best recorded.

    #4692

    [quote:vyvbr24j]Those dates are most likely correct. But is the Bible a history or science book? No. Besides, most of the gospels were written 30-60 years (at the earliest) after Christ’s death and history wasn’t necessarily the best recorded.[/quote:vyvbr24j]

    No offense, but that is not EXACTLY the kind of answer you want to give a guy looking for errors in the Bible…

    #4696

    Andres Ortiz
    Keymaster

    Well, I’m sorry, but I firmly believe in teaching someone the truth and then how to understand it.

    What kind of errors are you looking for? Do different versions of the same story make the overall message a farce? That’s the kind of question one should keep in mind when looking for errors to disprove the Bible.

    #4699

    Look, I don’t see how ANYONE can believe in the Bible if it blatantly contradicts itself. One person says they went to Bethlehem ten years later than someone else does.

    That seems bad to me.

    #4702

    Andres Ortiz
    Keymaster

    [quote:1ety3r96]Look, I don’t see how ANYONE can believe in the Bible if it blatantly contradicts itself. One person says they went to Bethlehem ten years later than someone else does.[/quote:1ety3r96]
    But my question is what difference does it make? Does it really invalidate the whole faith? Were the writers supposed to be professional historians or trying to communicate a message to a group of followers?

    #4704

    Professional historians? No, but they were supposed to be telling the truth, and if they contradict each other, they can hardly both be telling the truth.

    I did find some good info on the subject though. Apparently Census’ were held every eight years, Herod is now believed to have died more around 1 B.C. than 4 B.C., and also, no precise dating of the time period is really possible anyway because so many calendars were in use that to claim any one historian is an authority is very unreliable.

    #4720

    Andres Ortiz
    Keymaster

    Yeah and that’s why scholars say that Jesus died about 30 AD because the calendar was a little wacky back then.

    #4724

    A “little” wacky? There were like a million different calendars, lol!

    #4767

    Elkabong
    Member

    I happen to hold the guinness book of records citation for the number of major changes in one semester. Once, I was a journalism major. The professor of the intro writing class pulled a stunt in the final exam, having another professor and a graduate student act out a little, “unscheduled” skit in front of the room, then turned to us after we had witnessed a possible crime and said, “That’s your final exam task — you saw this altercation, now write it.”

    Groans were pretty much universal.

    The prof was also my advisor, and he told me later that he had substantial differences in each news story that the examinees turned in, and that NONE of us got the sequence 100% without error. All of us presumed an action that didn’t take place in the ‘skit.’

    Yet we were all witnesses.

    I have always been taught in the Protestant faith (and we live or die by the Bible, as you know) that supposed contradictions were just like the scam pulled by good old Charlie Fair in the Journalism department at VCU. Different perspectives, different positions, changes everything. Leave us not forget that the more likely explanation for discrepancies such as Acts of the Apostles variation within the same “book” over whether the guys with St. Paul heard something or saw something is scribal error.

    #4945

    Victor
    Member

    Elkabong, now assume you use the same group of students and imagine for a second that they were inspired by God. Would your conclusion change? Would they still have different versions of the same event? Does the fact that God is part of the equation allow for different versions?
    Although this is a problem for Christendom as a whole. I struggled more with this as a Protestant. As a Catholic I now have Holy Tradition to assist for some of these apparent contradictions. The Church just says “well it has always been known that verse means……..”. And they back it up by using early church writings.

    Let me know your thoughts.

    ~Victor

    #4948

    I have to say your analogy is very good, because in essence, to prove Christianity is at least viable, you have GOT to prove the Gospels as historically sound, not as inspired, per se.

    Once you prove them historically sound, you must deal with the question: WHO WAS THIS MAN? If you come to believe He is God, then you can see that He established a Church (we have not yet established anythign as inpsired). You then look to se what Church today would fit the description of His Church. Well, it has to be a Church that reaches BACK to His time, since He said it would never fail. It also, has to follow all His teachings and assume the structuce He said it would. The Catholic Church fits that bill. Then you see He promised the Church his guidance, and from THERE you can determine the infallibiltiy of the Gospels.

    And once you believe in the Catholic Church, you do not really need historical evidence anymore. That is what LEADS you to the Church.

    #5060

    Elkabong
    Member

    Victor, I’m uncertain how to answer that. I think my rock bottom belief is that ALL Christianity is founded on Tradition and Scripture, not just Catholicism. I think that this goes into the — am I correct here? Manichaeism? I think that’s correct — the fear of the physical, the view that material things are inherently evil and spiritual things good. You and I touched on this on another question, I believe.

    I think that the “scripture alone” believers have fallen into the same type of error. Since man is sinful, if he wrote the Bible, than, it would likely contain contradictions, mistakes, errors. If God wrote, it, it doesn’t.

    Again, this is an either/or that should be a both/and. God used fallible man to record the Infallible word. Just like God used mortal Mary to bring Immortal Word to us. I’m not confused by contradictions, and feel that the hypothetical (or real?) atheist debating validity of scripture based on his assumption that true scripture should contain no possibility for errors of transmission or translation of idiom is actually proving the case of the believer, but that’s the difficulty you face if you try to prove a negative.

    Plenty of others have pointed out other errors, from the silly to the sublime — hare chewing it’s cud (I forget where that is referenced, likely in the dietary instructions) which it doesn’t, Paul’s conversion and who heard what (that’s a good one — a contradiction in the same book!).

    It’s like this — I have plenty of arguments against Catholicism. I can debate you all day about Mary and prayer to saints and the eucharist, etc., but it doesn’t change the fact that I keep running into help and direction from Catholic sources that seem to be written just for me. That’s why I keep hanging around these sites — In the same way, if I want to find a reason not to believe the word of God, I can find it. But it doesn’t change the fact that I am in need of what I read there, and that it impacts my life greatly. I don’t have to believe that Jonah actually got swallowed by a great fish, or had a run in with a plant that gave mixed signals to get the point of the tale.

    Sorry if this is a bit disordered or poorly expressed, but I’m at work again, being a state employee let loose on the computer!

    #5062

    Victor
    Member

    [quote:14ybo8mc]I think my rock bottom belief is that ALL Christianity is founded on Tradition and Scripture, not just Catholicism.[/quote:14ybo8mc]

    Not sure if I quite understand this. But this is what I understood. If we as Catholics or you for that matter believe that truth is found in Tradition and Scripture, how can I or anybody know what it is unless it’s fully contained in one entity?
    Tradition and Scripture both flow from the Body. The Body being the Church. If there is no Body for us to go to, it is left to our own subjective faculties. Please correct me if I misunderstood you.

    [quote:14ybo8mc]I think that this goes into the — am I correct here? Manichaeism? I think that’s correct — the fear of the physical, the view that material things are inherently evil and spiritual things good. You and I touched on this on another question, I believe. [/quote:14ybo8mc]

    I was unsure if you personally held this. I think I was merely commenting on how I had this as a protestant. Do you see this as being true in your community?

    [quote:14ybo8mc]Again, this is an either/or that should be a both/and. God used fallible man to record the Infallible word. Just like God used mortal Mary to bring Immortal Word to us. I’m not confused by contradictions, and feel that the hypothetical (or real?) atheist debating validity of scripture based on his assumption that true scripture should contain no possibility for errors of transmission or translation of idiom is actually proving the case of the believer, but that’s the difficulty you face if you try to prove a negative.

    Plenty of others have pointed out other errors, from the silly to the sublime — hare chewing it’s cud (I forget where that is referenced, likely in the dietary instructions) which it doesn’t, Paul’s conversion and who heard what (that’s a good one — a contradiction in the same book!). [/quote:14ybo8mc]

    I hope you didn’t get the impression that I am trying to weaken your faith in the scriptures or anything like that? Not my intention at all. Although I may have not been as formed in my faith in relation to accepting biblical contradictions as you. I did struggle with Biblical contradictions.

    [quote:14ybo8mc]It’s like this — I have plenty of arguments against Catholicism. I can debate you all day about Mary and prayer to saints and the eucharist, etc., but it doesn’t change the fact that I keep running into help and direction from Catholic sources that seem to be written just for me. That’s why I keep hanging around these sites — In the same way, if I want to find a reason not to believe the word of God, I can find it. But it doesn’t change the fact that I am in need of what I read there, and that it impacts my life greatly. I don’t have to believe that Jonah actually got swallowed by a great fish, or had a run in with a plant that gave mixed signals to get the point of the tale.

    Sorry if this is a bit disordered or poorly expressed, but I’m at work again, being a state employee let loose on the computer![/quote:14ybo8mc]

    I understand. Kinda makes me think that perhaps it was never intended that defining truth be left to the flock.

    ~Victor

    #5082

    Elkabong
    Member

    I think I might be guilty of leading us off into a tangent that doesn’t quite fit with the original topic, but, hey, in for a penny, in for a pound!

    As a PresboCatholitalian, I have to answer Victor’s question as this — it IS just one entity. Just happens to be divided into different camps. I for one and doing my darnedest to stop the disavowing. I like to think that Jesus was talking about more than marriage when He said that we shouldn’t divorce. I think He might also have been referring to the Church. How can we be separate? No one thinks that Heaven will be divided on racial or nationalist lines — why church? I mean, as far as I know, there will be no Catholic or Protestant sections.

    If there are, of course, the Catholic will have better art work. :mrgreen:

    I think it all comes down to the subjective, unfortunately. I mean, there are plenty of Catholics practicing birth control, or campaining for female priests.

    Comment on this: There is no validity in defining someone except in relationship to the Catholic church, however. Protestantism was protesting something. Reformation theologians were trying to reform something. In a very real sense, I really am a Presbocathlopalian. THe Catholic roots of my protestant denomination are very real, very obvious, and should be expressed in terms of brotherhood and affection, even when there is disagreement.

    Although I don’t quite buy Marian devotion, or the literal presence of Christ in the Eucharist, it bothers me not at all to call Mary blessed, scriptural as it happens to be. I would never deny that Christ is in the Eucharist — in my ‘neighborhood’ of faith, Communion — in a real sense, even though I don’t happen to agree with transubstantiation.

    I think that my faith community, to answer Victor’s question re. the physical, has a split personality disorder. Physical is very important, yet we would probably opine against it. I personnally have no problem carrying a ‘prayer coin’ that a Catholic organization sent me in a solicitation, because it reminds me, when my fingers touch it in my pocket, to take a moment to pray, and thereby fill more moments with the touch of the Holy Spirit than I otherwise would have had. I have argued criticisms about “icon idols” with a homeschool mom vehemently. Worship requires all sorts of reminders, you know? It isn’t natural to us, because of our fallen natures.

    I’m at work, I hope you guys will forgive me for my scatter brained — and incomplete — reply. I’ll try to get on some night when I perhaps can have the focus to write a shorter reply!

    #5092

    Victor
    Member

    [quote:3oixudak]I think I might be guilty of leading us off into a tangent that doesn’t quite fit with the original topic, but, hey, in for a penny, in for a pound![/quote:3oixudak]

    It’s ok I contributed to it. Perhaps we should start another thread. Let’s see, what do we name it? How about: Doctrinal Diversity existing in Protestantism & Catholic[/url:3oixudak]

    We can continue there.

    ~Victor

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