I don't know whether the author of the Scroll Eaters blog has the intent to deceive, but that's exactly what he's doing nonetheless.
I can believe that the general narrative dates back to before 6th century BC, most likely in an oral form.
Yes indeed, the Bible is like a library of literary works compiled over many centuries. Impressive stuff. Though as for as the Book of Job goes, it's actually quite short and can be read in 20-30 minutes: http://ebible.org/kjv/Job.htm. I don't think that had to be written in multiple installments(any decent writer could have hashed that out in an afternoon or two), but who knows, ultimately.
Like I said earlier in this post, it's likely that the Book of Job is an adaptation of some sort of an oral telling, but how much in common it has to the presumed oral telling is anyone's guess at this point.
__________________ And from the ashes he rose, like a black cloud. The Sin of one became the Sin of many.
Last edited by ArtificialGlory on Jul 18th, 2017 at 03:46 PM
The gospel manuscripts do not identify the authors. The names Matthew,Mark,Luke, and John were added later by the church to make them appear to be more credible. That is why they are prefaced with "The Gospel According to." Many bibles even include this information in annotations preceding each gospel. How can you claim The Bible is inerrant and not know this?
I found an interesting article regarding the accuracy of oral telling in traditional Jewish communities. Think I might give a few excerpts for consideration in subsequent posts. In the meantime, here is the URL for locating it:
Hmm. For some reason, I'm finding typing a lot more challenging this present hour than it was earlier today. Case in point, what wound up being shared above was a blue hyperlink. Let's try this again. HERE is the URL for the article linked above:
The article I gave URL and link to above answers 4 important points of "form criticism".
(That's apparently the formal name for the complaint "Hey, this stuff wasn't written down till later!" within academic circles.)
Below is the excerpt that answers the first issue.
Was There No Writing in the Christian Communities Prior to the Gospels?
As we’ve said, form criticism has tended to embrace the view that, in all likelihood, neither Jesus nor anyone in his inner circle was literate. They thus assumed that writing played no regulative role in the oral transmission of early material about Jesus, which made it easier for this material to be significantly and quickly altered as it was passed along. However, while no one disputes that first century Jewish culture was an orally dominated culture, there is increasing evidence that reading and writing was not as rare in the ancient world in general, and in ancient Palestine in particular, as was once generally thought.
For example, whereas some scholars have argued that only the wealthy in the ancient world could have received the education needed to become literate, we’ve now discovered clear evidence of writing among military personal, builders and even slaves! (1) So too, whereas it was commonly assumed in the past that writing materials were very rare and expensive in the ancient world, we now have evidence that certain kinds of writing materials were actually rather inexpensive and were utilized by significant segments of the middle and lower classes. (2) We’ve also discovered texts that were intended to inform the general public (for example, publicly posted notices), which of course presupposes some degree of literacy among the general populace. (3)
If the ancient world was in general more literate than previously thought, we have reason to believe ancient Jews would have been much more so. After all, as New Testament scholar John Meier notes,
“The very identity and continued existence of the people of Israel were tied to a corpus of written and regularly read works in a way that simply was not true of other peoples in the Mediterranean world of the first century. . . To be able to read and explain the Scriptures was a revered goal for religiously minded Jews. Hence literacy held a special importance for the Jewish community.” (4)
Thus, as Birger Gerhardsson argues, “the milieu in which Jesus and the original disciples ministered, and the milieu in which remembrances of Jesus’ life and teaching were passed on, was one that revered the written word and thus valued literacy.” (5)
In light of this, we have no reason to question the Gospels’ portrayal of Jesus as not only being able to read (e.g. Lk 4:16-30) but as impressing crowds with his learning (e.g. Jn 7:15). Nor do we have any reason to suppose that all of Jesus’ disciples were illiterate. At the very least, Matthew’s occupation as a tax collector would have required some level of literacy. It’s perhaps significant in this regard that an early second century church father named Papias — a man who seems to have been a direct disciple of the Apostle John — mentions that Matthew was the designated note-taker among the earliest disciples.
We thus conclude that, while the recollection of Jesus’ words and deeds would have been passed on primarily by word of mouth in the early church, it seems more likely than not that, to some extent at least, they also would have been recorded in writing. These written materials likely would have provided a check on how much the oral traditions about Jesus could have been altered over the first several decades of the new found Christian communities.
It talks about Jesus's time which is 1st century AD. A lot could have changed during the time between the writing of the OT and 1st century AD.
Now about literacy. Thing is, there's a difference between basic literacy sufficient enough to read a public notice board and the high degree of literacy needed to write eloquently(e.g.: writing the Bible). Of course, the public boards could have just been there for the benefit of the town crier. As for some slaves being literate: well, that depends on who the person was before becoming a slave and what their job was as a slave; it's not inconceivable that a house slave might have been at least somewhat literate.
__________________ And from the ashes he rose, like a black cloud. The Sin of one became the Sin of many.
First, with the mention of "the town crier", you make the point that only a handful of people need to be literate in a community in order for information to be effectively transmitted to the whole group.
You also make the point, via mention of slave exploitation, that not everyone who transmits information need be an original generator. They need only do their job with care, regardless of their motivation.
You are correct in saying the linked article deals largely with the first century Church and Jesus and that a lot could have changed since Old Testament times.
However, you overlook that nearly half the point of that article was to show that things DON'T change for the Jews as much as could be expected for other groups, owing partly to the near-reverence they had for this type of material.
The author actually takes pains to illustrate that many of the details of the story of Jesus and the early church reflect commands given centuries earlier, dating at least back to the time of Moses:
This new research sheds important light on our understanding of the oral Jesus-tradition. If the oral period of the early church functioned similarly to the way we now know oral communities tend to operate, we should expect that those individuals who were closest to Jesus during his ministry would have played a significant role in the transmission of oral material about Jesus. Yes, the traditional material was certainly shaped by the needs of the early faith communities, for, as we have seen, oral tradents always shape their performances according to the particular situation of their audience. But what this new discovery of the crucial role played by individual tradents entails is that we can no longer conceive of the traditional material about Jesus being transmitted in the early church apart from the strong influence of original eyewitnesses. And this renders it impossible to conceive of the oral traditions in the early church veering too far from the historical events observed by eyewitnesses.
The point is strongly reinforced when we recall that early Christianity was a thoroughly Jewish movement, for the Jewish tradition had always put a strong emphasis on the role of eyewitnesses. Only by appealing to credible eyewitnesses could one certify a claim as factual (e.g., Jer 32:10, 12; Ruth 4:9-11; Isaiah 8:2). So too, bearing false witness was considered a major crime. Indeed, it was outlawed in the ten commandments (Exodus 20:16). The law of multiple witnesses also reflects the life-or-death importance of this commandment in ancient Judaism. (Deut 17:6-7; Num 35:30).
This emphasis on the importance of eyewitnesses was quite explicitly carried over into the early church. The mosaic] law regarding multiple witnesses was appealed to within the Jesus community (Mk 14:56, 59; Jn 5:31-32; Heb 10:28) and was made the basis of church discipline (Mt 18: 16; II Cor 13:1; I Tim 5:19). More broadly, the themes of bearing witness, giving a true testimony and making a true confession are everywhere present in the tradition of the early church (e.g., Mt 10:17; Mk 6:11; 13:9-13; Lk 1:1-2; 9:5; 21:12; 22:71; John 1:7-8, 15, 19, 32, 34. (18) As Robert Stein observes, the sheer pervasiveness of these themes in the early church testifies to “the high regard in which eyewitness testimony was held.” (19) It also explains the earlier noted high regard given to certain individuals in the early church (e.g. Peter, James, John) for their role as witnesses, teachers and preservers of the Jesus tradition, (e.g., Acts 1:15, 21-2; 2:14, 42; 3:1-11; 4:13, 19; 5:1-10, 15, 29; 8:14; 12:2; I Cor 15:1-8; Gal 2:9; Eph 2:20). All of this is what we should expect, given that the early church was a thoroughly Jewish, orally dominated culture.
1. JesusLovesU quotes them the way asthmatics wheeze.
2. Named for/attributed to and actually written by are two different descriptors. The gospels were circulated in various forms and collected by early church leaders, then narrowed down to a few 'acceptable' gospels before being compiled into what is known as the New Testament. They were not written exclusively for the purpose of becoming the new Bible. We do not know the extent to which they were the victim of mistranslation, conservative editing, or falsely attributed to the authors in question.
3. These works aren't even from the same generation as Christ. Have you ever heard of the telephone game?
1. It was Adam_PoE that mentioned the Gospels. I think they were a non-sequitur from him at that point (compared to how the rest of the discussion, concerning Job and Pythagoras, had been developing), but I suppose it's possible Adam thought himself responding to J.L.Y.
2. Regarding your statement here:
"Named for/attributed to and actually written by are two different descriptors. The gospels were circulated in various forms and collected by early church leaders, then narrowed down to a few 'acceptable' gospels before being compiled into what is known as the New Testament. They were not written exclusively for the purpose of becoming the new Bible. We do not know the extent to which they were the victim of mistranslation, conservative editing, or falsely attributed to the authors in question."
Difficult to call most of this wrong in the conventional sense, I suppose ...
1 Corinthians 13:8-10 is often cited as a strong suggestion that these writings WERE produced with the intention of one day being a complete guide ...
The considerations of your last sentence are a bit more of a challenge.
3. I've heard of the telephone game. However, the article I linked to earlier has a number of very strong counters to this reasoning. Four of them.
And they come with a good deal of elaboration.
Besides those, it's important to note, that, unlike the telephone game, there isn't strong incentive to sabotage the message for amusement, the message isn't being privately whispered in a stressful or coercive environment by young kids or young students, and the group as a whole generally functions as a corrector against inaccuracy.
I found what Wikipedia had to say on the matter rather interesting, too, particularly the following snippet:
Oral traditions face the challenge of accurate transmission and verifiability of the accurate version, particularly when the culture lacks written language or has limited access to writing tools. Oral cultures have employed various strategies that achieve this without writing. For example, a heavily rhythmic speech filled with mnemonic devices enhances memory and recall. A few useful mnemonic devices include alliteration, repetition, assonance, and proverbial sayings.