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The New Testament

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Zengirl
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The New Testament

Post by Zengirl » April 22nd, 2014, 12:47 pm

The cannon of the New Testament was decided by a council of rich, powerful and scholarly men some time in the 4th century AD. They met to settle the problem of what material should be included, and what should not. At this time there were many different accounts, letters, and Gospels, all with differing versions of early Christian events. It's very political, and all about what best agreed with these men's views at the time. This is established by research, history and archaeology. How can anyone think that the New Testament is an eye-witness account of the times of Jesus, or that it is the word of God, when it is plainly the work of thousands of scribes translating various versions in different centuries - and all voted upon by a council of rich, biased men?
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Re: The New Testament

Post by Ruskin » April 22nd, 2014, 1:37 pm

The gospels they choose were all written in the 1st century rather than hundreds of years later and they excluded anything that had anything to do with dualism or salvation through secret knowledge. Take a look at some of the stories they decided to leave out.

"16 Again on another day the Lord Jesus was with some boys by a river and they drew water out of the river by little channels, and made little fish pools. 17 But the Lord Jesus had made twelve sparrows, and placed them about his pool on each side, three on a side. 18 But it was the Sabbath day, and the son of Hanani a Jew came by, and saw them making these things, and said, Do ye thus make figures of clay on the Sabbath? And he ran to them, and broke down their fish pools. 19 But when the Lord Jesus clapped his hands over the sparrows which he had made, they fled away chirping. 20 At length the son of Hanani coming to the fish-pool of Jesus to destroy it, the water vanished away, and the Lord Jesus said to him, 21 In like manner as this water has vanished, so shall thy life vanish; and presently the boy died.

22 Another time, when the Lord Jesus was coming home in the evening with Joseph, he met a boy, who ran so hard against him, that he threw him down; 23 To whom the Lord Jesus said, As thou hast thrown me down, so shalt thou fall, nor ever rise. 24 And that moment the boy fell down and died."

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Re: The New Testament

Post by Geordie Ross » April 22nd, 2014, 1:56 pm

Zengirl wrote:The cannon of the New Testament was decided by a council of rich, powerful and scholarly men some time in the 4th century AD. They met to settle the problem of what material should be included, and what should not. At this time there were many different accounts, letters, and Gospels, all with differing versions of early Christian events. It's very political, and all about what best agreed with these men's views at the time. This is established by research, history and archaeology. How can anyone think that the New Testament is an eye-witness account of the times of Jesus, or that it is the word of God, when it is plainly the work of thousands of scribes translating various versions in different centuries - and all voted upon by a council of rich, biased men?
I'm rather disappointed that they removed the story of Jesus and the dragons.
And, lo, suddenly there came forth from the cave many dragons; and when the children saw them, they cried out in great terror. Then Jesus went down from the bosom of His mother, and stood on His feet before the dragons; and they adored Jesus, and thereafter retired
There's a few brilliant "deleted scenes" that didn't make it in.

cracked.com/article_18948_5-real-delete ... e-ass.html
The good life is one inspired by love, and guided by knowledge. - Bertrand Russell

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Re: The New Testament

Post by Ruskin » April 22nd, 2014, 2:06 pm

If that's what they left out then what they left in must be pure gold.

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Re: The New Testament

Post by Fafner88 » April 22nd, 2014, 2:08 pm

Zengirl wrote:The cannon of the New Testament was decided by a council of rich, powerful and scholarly men some time in the 4th century AD.
Not true, the cannon wasn't 'dictated', it was already accepted more or less in its modern form by the majority of the christian community some centuries before the canonization.
Zengirl wrote:At this time there were many different accounts, letters, and Gospels, all with differing versions of early Christian events. It's very political, and all about what best agreed with these men's views at the time.
The new testament includes some of the earliest christian writings that existed, the majority of which were written in the first century, and the rest not latter then the 2nd. "The different versions of Christianity" that they excluded were quite esoteric sects within early christianity such as the Gnostics, that hed frankly quite crazy ideas which has little to do with the original teachings of Jesus (like that the world was created by an evil god, while Jesus was representing another 'good' god) so it's quite understandable why they excluded these views, and I'm not sure it had that much to do with politics and more with theology.
How can anyone think that the New Testament is an eye-witness account of the times of Jesus
The gospels were written in the first century and many biblical scholars believe that they contain some reliable historical information about the historical Jesus. Nobody has ever claimed that the gospels were written by eyewitnesses btw.
or that it is the word of God, when it is plainly the work of thousands of scribes translating various versions in different centuries - and all voted upon by a council of rich, biased men?
What translations? The new testament was written in Greek and we have many good copies of the original from which more or less all the complete text can be reconstructed.

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Re: The New Testament

Post by Geordie Ross » April 22nd, 2014, 2:32 pm

Ruskin wrote:If that's what they left out then what they left in must be pure gold.
What gave them the right to pick and choose the 'word of god'? They were after all fallible humans, and politicians and rulers
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Re: The New Testament

Post by Zengirl » April 22nd, 2014, 2:40 pm

Fafner88 - I'm sorry to say that you have your information slightly wrong.

About 200 years after Jesus was alive, there weren't just four Gospels and the other books that make up the New Testament, but dozens of Gospels and Letters, all with different interpretations of events, and all jockeying for position and influence.

Most people at that time (200 AD) would not have read the Bible (because they couldn't read). Instead they would have listened to it read out by scholars. Individual leaders in certain cities had the power to be the main teacher of the Bible, and these individual people chose which parts of the Bible they recognised as true and which they didn't. It was all down to personal taste. It is in this way that the Bible as we know it today came into being. Gradually, a consensus evolved about what was scripture, but behind the scenes various Bishops were working hard to suppress or discredit any bits they didn't like and saw as heresy (for example the Gospel of Mary Magdalene). The information that was left out was not crazy cults and sects, but Gospels that those powerful, rich decision-makers didn't like (eg women holding positions of power equal to men in church, even though Jesus himself had women as Gospels, priests, and teachers, etc).

In 312 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and suddenly now it was the religion of the most powerful man on earth. He commissioned fifty Bibles to be written, which put pressure on the decision makers to confirm what was allowed in and what was not going to be included. At this same time, a new technological development helped settle the New Testament cannon and that was the transition of writing on papyrus to animal skin, which made it possible to produce big books. They were finally able to get it all together and locked in to one book.

P.S. Millions of people think the NT is an eye-witness account and represents accurate historical events and CANNOT be questioned in any way. In America alone, it's possibly 30% - 40% of the electorate. It's truly terrifying!
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Re: The New Testament

Post by Fafner88 » April 22nd, 2014, 4:00 pm

Zengirl wrote:About 200 years after Jesus was alive, there weren't just four Gospels and the other books that make up the New Testament, but dozens of Gospels and Letters, all with different interpretations of events, and all jockeying for position and influence.
I know that, but it's irrelevant, because the four canonical gospels in the NT are the earliest known gospels, all written in the 1st century, while the other gospels that were excluded were written latter, and sometimes much latter, and were already recognized at the time as being inauthentic and unreliable by the early christian community (like all the forged latter of Paul, which some of them still made into the NT).
Gradually, a consensus evolved about what was scripture, but behind the scenes various Bishops were working hard to suppress or discredit any bits they didn't like and saw as heresy (for example the Gospel of Mary Magdalene).
The so called "Gospel of Mary Magdalene" is a 5th century text, why should they've canonized a contemporary book as a scripture? The early christians were very concerned with questions of authenticity, they wanted to include only the books that originated from the the circle of the disciples of Jesus and Paul, and so the many books that they've excluded were know to be written much latter as forgeries or expressing views that weren't related to the earliest church in Jerusalem, again nothing to do with politics or the rich.

It's true that many alternative brands of christianity were eventually declared 'heretical', but the point being that the new testament books were written in the time when christians were persecuted by the authorities, before christianity became the official religion of the roman empire, and so the bulk of the new testament was accepted as scripture long before the theological debates about official dogmas and what should be included in the NT.
The information that was left out was not crazy cults and sects, but Gospels that those powerful, rich decision-makers didn't like (eg women holding positions of power equal to men in church, even though Jesus himself had women as Gospels, priests, and teachers, etc).
This is your personal interpretation as a non-christian (I suppose), you shouldn't present your personal value judgment as historical facts, because christians would say just the opposite, that the early church fathers were inspired by God and did the right thing to preserve and protect the original teachings of Jesus from heretics.
In 312 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and suddenly now it was the religion of the most powerful man on earth. He commissioned fifty Bibles to be written, which put pressure on the decision makers to confirm what was allowed in and what was not going to be included.
Again, this is not historically true. You shouldn't learn history from the Da Vinci Code, the bible was canonized much latter then the times of Constantine.
At this same time, a new technological development helped settle the New Testament cannon and that was the transference of writing on papyrus to animal skin, which made it possible to produce big books. They were finally able to get it all together and locked in to one book Transition from Papyrus to animal skin.
Where's the evidence for that?

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Re: The New Testament

Post by Zengirl » April 22nd, 2014, 5:07 pm

I'm afraid you are entrenched and it's difficult (probably impossible) to have a debate (and not at all pleasant). I will only answer one line (because I can't be bothered picking out all your statements and answering them - I just don't have the energy or will).

This is the one line I will quickly respond to (simply because it's quick (and I want to go to bed) and it's so clangingly incorrect).

You wrote: "The so called "Gospel of Mary Magdalene" is a 5th century text."

Sorry, but nope. The Gospel is a fifth century copy of a second century text. Go check this most obvious and basic fact. Then go check the rest of your responses against reality. :roll: :roll: :roll:
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Re: The New Testament

Post by Fafner88 » April 22nd, 2014, 5:12 pm

Zengirl wrote:Sorry, but nope. The Gospel is a fifth century copy of a second century text. Go check this most obvious and basic fact. Then go check the rest of your responses against reality. :roll: :roll: :roll:
Yes, you are right, indeed it's dated to the second century, my bad.

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Re: The New Testament

Post by Geordie Ross » April 22nd, 2014, 5:23 pm

I find it hilarious when an atheist shows more biblical knowledge than a Christian. Bravo Zengirl! For both the education you provide, and the entertainment.
The good life is one inspired by love, and guided by knowledge. - Bertrand Russell

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Re: The New Testament

Post by Fafner88 » April 22nd, 2014, 5:27 pm

Geordie Ross wrote:I find it hilarious when an atheist shows more biblical knowledge than a Christian. Bravo Zengirl! For both the education you provide, and the entertainment.
I'm not a Christian.

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Re: The New Testament

Post by Ruskin » April 22nd, 2014, 5:30 pm

Zengirl wrote:
Sorry, but nope. The Gospel is a fifth century copy of a second century text. Go check this most obvious and basic fact. Then go check the rest of your responses against reality. :roll: :roll: :roll:
Sure the oldest surviving gospels we have date from around the early 2nd century but they will have in circulation for a number of decades before that point and before then there would have been an oral tradition the gospels were based upon. The three Synoptic gospels are closely related to each other in terms of their depiction of events and the oldest is probably Mark was is thought to have been written between 66-70 CE. The Gnostic gospels were written a few decades after John with the possible exception of the gospel of Thomas which is simply a collection of wisdom teachings and parables from Jesus that bear some relation to the Synoptic gospels.

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Re: The New Testament

Post by Geordie Ross » April 22nd, 2014, 5:48 pm

Ruskin wrote:
Zengirl wrote:
Sorry, but nope. The Gospel is a fifth century copy of a second century text. Go check this most obvious and basic fact. Then go check the rest of your responses against reality. :roll: :roll: :roll:
Sure the oldest surviving gospels we have date from around the early 2nd century but they will have in circulation for a number of decades before that point and before then there would have been an oral tradition the gospels were based upon. The three Synoptic gospels are closely related to each other in terms of their depiction of events and the oldest is probably Mark was is thought to have been written between 66-70 CE. The Gnostic gospels were written a few decades after John with the possible exception of the gospel of Thomas which is simply a collection of wisdom teachings and parables from Jesus that bear some relation to the Synoptic gospels.
All of this confusion could have been avoided if Jesus wrote first hand accounts of the NT. It surprises me that an omniscient, omnipotent deity would overlook such a massive detail.
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Re: The New Testament

Post by Ruskin » April 22nd, 2014, 5:59 pm

Geordie Ross wrote:
All of this confusion could have been avoided if Jesus wrote first hand accounts of the NT.
We have first hand accounts of the Book of Mormon but you apparently haven't convinced by it. Jesus was a wander oral preacher as was the tradition of the time not a scribe. So what you have their in the gospels is the authentic oral history, right there before your very eyes.

It surprises me that an omniscient, omnipotent deity would overlook such a massive detail.
But the oral tradition is recorded right there in the Bible look along with the accounts of the empty tomb, black and white ink on the page!

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