Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Forged: Writing in the Name of God--The Truth About the Bible's Authors

Admittedly, this blog is often not kind to religious fundamentalists of any stripe, but American Christofascists get particular attention.  Why?  Because modern scientific knowledge increasingly shows that some of the claims/myths set forth in the Bible simply are not true.  The human genome project which has shown that the Adam and Eve of the Bible never existed as historical individuals is but one glaring example.  But adding to the batshitery and hypocrisy is the fact that much of the Bible was written by unknown authors or even outright forgers.  A new book by Biblical scholar Bart D. Ehrman, the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the Bible and the life of Jesus.  Here are details from his new book "Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are":
Bart D. Ehrman, the New York Times bestselling author of Jesus, Interrupted and Gods Problem reveals which books in the Bibles New Testament were not passed down by Jesus's disciples, but were instead forged by other hands and why this centuries-hidden scandal is far more significant than many scholars are willing to admit. A controversial work of historical reporting in the tradition of Elaine Pagels, Marcus Borg, and John Dominic Crossan, Ehrmans Forged delivers a stunning explication of one of the most substantial yet least discussed problems confronting the world of biblical scholarship. 

The Untold Story of Forgery in the Bible:  In Forged, leading Bible authority Bart D. Ehrman exposes one of the most unsettling ironies of the early Christian tradition: the use of deception to establish the truth. With the scholarly expertise and provocative claims for which he's known, Ehrman reveals which texts were forged in the name of Jesus's disciples and considers how the deceptions of an unnamed few have prevailed for centuries. The untold story of widespread forgery in the ancient world sheds new light on how documents of scandalous origin became part of the Bible we have today.
Straight blogger, Bob Felton, has some very apt remarks on the truth about the Bible and the utter dishonesty of "conservative Christians" who maintain - either through ignorance and stupidity or in the quest to shake down the gullible or money - rant that the Bible is inerrant.  Here are some money quotes:

When Bart Ehrman’s Forged was published a few years ago, he characterized it as a popular work and promised that a textbook-level treatment of Biblical forgeries would be published soon afterward. That book is now to hand: massiv

It is bad enough that scholars don’t actually know who wrote most of the Bible’s ‘inerrant’ texts, or anything about the authors. Worse, scholars do know that a great many of those texts are forgeries, texts written by somebody who wasn’t Paul but claiming to be Paul, for example, with the purpose of influencing early Christian beliefs, doctrine, behavior. They probably weren’t written at midnight by some drunk who just wanted to see what he could get away with — but, then, you can’t be sure. Nobody knows who was the author of a majority of the Biblical texts, and scholars have known since the revival of historical criticism in the 1850s, following the suppression of Spinoza in the 1670s, that many of the texts are forgeries.

The Bible is not the progressive revelation of the Invisible Wizard’s plan, et cetera, et cetera; it is a collection of texts by different men who practiced related but different religions, and its hundreds of well-documented contradictions are there because they believed different things and sometimes made-up stuff for propaganda purposes.

On what grounds, then, do Holy Men claim that the Bible in inerrant? There are no grounds. It is done solely because the preposterous claim of inerrancy provides them a platform upon which to build their authority, and once they acknowledge the Bible is highly, endlessly, hopelessly errant — this is before we get to the hundreds of years of deliberate revisions by anonymities, scribal errors, and mistranslations — their schtick falls apart and they look like nothing so much as gaudy flim-flam men.

A brutal assessment?  Yes.  Is it on point and accurate?  Again the answer is yes.  Personally, I do believe in the existence of a higher being/creator.  Likewise, I believe in the Gospel message and the teachings attributed to Christ.  The rest of the Bible?  It is most likely mythology written by the ignorant and uneducated and by those with a personal agenda to further (likely involving power, money and control of others).  The true history of Christianity and the Catholic Church is very ugly stuff.  So many deaths and so much suffering so that the few could bask in power and wealth.  It's the antithesis of what Christ - if he truly existed - was all about.


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