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Half of New Testament forged, Bible scholar says
May 13th, 2011
11:47 AM ET

Half of New Testament forged, Bible scholar says

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - A frail man sits in chains inside a dank, cold prison cell. He has escaped death before but now realizes that his execution is drawing near.

“I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come,” the man –the Apostle Paul - says in the Bible's 2 Timothy. “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”

The passage is one of the most dramatic scenes in the New Testament. Paul, the most prolific New Testament author, is saying goodbye from a Roman prison cell before being beheaded. His goodbye veers from loneliness to defiance and, finally, to joy.

There’s one just one problem - Paul didn’t write those words. In fact, virtually half the New Testament was written by impostors taking on the names of apostles like Paul. At least according to Bart D. Ehrman, a renowned biblical scholar, who makes the charges in his new book “Forged.

“There were a lot of people in the ancient world who thought that lying could serve a greater good,” says Ehrman, an expert on ancient biblical manuscripts.In “Forged,” Ehrman claims that:

* At least 11 of the 27 New Testament books are forgeries.

* The New Testament books attributed to Jesus’ disciples could not have been written by them because they were illiterate.

* Many of the New Testament’s forgeries were manufactured by early Christian leaders trying to settle theological feuds.

Were Jesus’ disciples ‘illiterate peasants?'

Ehrman’s book, like many of his previous ones, is already generating backlash. Ben Witherington, a New Testament scholar, has written a lengthy online critique of “Forged.”

Witherington calls Ehrman’s book “Gullible Travels, for it reveals over and over again the willingness of people to believe even outrageous things.”

All of the New Testament books, with the exception of 2 Peter, can be traced back to a very small group of literate Christians, some of whom were eyewitnesses to the lives of Jesus and Paul, Witherington says.

“Forged” also underestimates the considerable role scribes played in transcribing documents during the earliest days of Christianity, Witherington  says.

Even if Paul didn’t write the second book of Timothy, he would have dictated it to a scribe for posterity, he says.

“When you have a trusted colleague or co-worker who knows the mind of Paul, there was no problem in antiquity with that trusted co-worker hearing Paul’s last testimony in prison,” he says. “This is not forgery. This is the last will and testament of someone who is dying.”

Ehrman doesn’t confine his critique to Paul’s letters. He challenges the authenticity of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John. He says that none were written by Jesus' disciplies, citing two reasons.

He says none of the earliest gospels revealed the names of its authors, and that their current names were later added by scribes.

Ehrman also says that two of Jesus’ original disciples, John and Peter, could not have written the books attributed to them in the New Testament because they were illiterate.

“According to Acts 4:13, both Peter and his companion John, also a fisherman, were agrammatoi, a Greek word that literally means ‘unlettered,’ that is, ‘illiterate,’ ’’ he writes.

Will the real Paul stand up?

Ehrman reserves most of his scrutiny for the writings of Paul, which make up the bulk of the New Testament. He says that only about half of the New Testament letters attributed to Paul - 7 of 13 - were actually written by him.

Paul's remaining books are forgeries, Ehrman says. His proof: inconsistencies in the language, choice of words and blatant contradiction in doctrine.

For example, Ehrman says the book of Ephesians doesn’t conform to Paul’s distinctive Greek writing style. He says Paul wrote in short, pointed sentences while Ephesians is full of long Greek sentences (the opening sentence of thanksgiving in Ephesians unfurls a sentence that winds through 12 verses, he says).

“There’s nothing wrong with extremely long sentences in Greek; it just isn’t the way Paul wrote. It’s like Mark Twain and William Faulkner; they both wrote correctly, but you would never mistake the one for the other,” Ehrman writes.

The scholar also points to a famous passage in 1 Corinthians in which Paul is recorded as saying that women should be “silent” in churches and that “if they wish to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home.”

Only three chapters earlier, in the same book, Paul is urging women who pray and prophesy in church to cover their heads with veils, Ehrman says: “If they were allowed to speak in chapter 11, how could they be told not to speak in chapter 14?”

Why people forged

Forgers often did their work because they were trying to settle early church disputes, Ehrman says. The early church was embroiled in conflict - people argued over the treatment of women,  leadership and relations between masters and slaves, he says.

“There was competition among different groups of Christians about what to believe and each of these groups wanted to  have authority to back up their views,” he says. “If you were a nobody, you wouldn’t sign your own name to your treatise. You would sign Peter or John.”

So people claiming to be Peter and John - and all sorts of people who claimed to know Jesus - went into publishing overdrive. Ehrman estimates that there were about 100 forgeries created in the name of Jesus’ inner-circle during the first four centuries of the church.

Witherington concedes that fabrications and forgeries floated around the earliest Christian communities.

But he doesn’t accept the notion that Peter, for example, could not have been literate because he was a fisherman.

“Fisherman had to do business. Guess what? That involves writing, contracts and signed documents,” he said in an interview.

Witherington says people will gravitate toward Ehrman’s work because the media loves sensationalism.

“We live in a Jesus-haunted culture that’s biblically illiterate,” he says. “Almost anything can pass for historical information… A book liked ‘Forged’ can unsettle people who have no third or fourth opinions to draw upon.”

Ehrman, of course, has another point of view.

“Forged” will help people accept something that it took him a long time to accept, says the author, a former fundamentalist who is now an agnostic.

The New Testament wasn’t written by the finger of God, he says - it has human fingerprints all over its pages.

“I’m not saying people should throw it out or it’s not theologically fruitful,” Ehrman says. “I’m saying that by realizing it contains so many forgeries, it shows that it’s a very human book, down to the fact that some authors lied about who they were.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Culture wars • Faith

soundoff (2,204 Responses)
  1. Sara

    The problem with this is, that while yes he points out controversies is that the Bible was edited over time, Redactors would try and mesh two teachings together not knowing they were from different people because they thought they were similar. So it is not a forgery just bad editing. We also don't know exactly what Paul was "writing" to. As with the Pauline letters many people take them out of context because they don't know the historical context in the first place.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  2. trevor

    If you want the truth look at what you know. Ask yourself. Why do so many people defend the bible to the death. Because your parents said to? Think for yourself for once and quit buying into what we KNOW was largely and likely completely made by men. The lessons may be great but that doesn't make the source holy. Ignorance will get you nowhere in your journey for faith.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Bretfox

      To Trevor,

      You are right but I dare you to check out the following site because it will explain everything like it did for me. It explains what happened to the original inspired Word and how translations have screwed us up. It is controversial but most revelatons are. http://www.godsplanforall.com. They have a free online version of their book. Great study.

      May 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Sally

      Bretfox- that website teaches that many of the things in the Bible are false, and that *they* know the true meaning of it all, but you should still believe...

      If some of it is false then it is all called into question. Christianity is a hoax. I am not saying there is no creator or no God, but Christianity in itself is a false teaching. How arrogant for man to believe they can know the mind of God. Live a good life and hope for the best.

      May 24, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  3. Muslim Tea Party

    Hmmm...

    Doesn't feel so good when people doubt the validity of your holy book, right? I think the Muslims and Christians have a whole lot more in common then most people think. It's about time we renounce the pro-liberal, pro-zionist agenda that aims to split our two great traditions.

    http://www.muslimteaparty.com

    May 18, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  4. Dr. Michael Hensley

    This is another example of greed and pride in the USA. A man will say and do anything to gain FAME, especially when trying to deride the Bible. There is over 5000 manuscripts written about the New Testament. This is not a scholar, but is a fraud.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  5. ADam

    Thanks for the laugh. Wittinger or whatever, a fisherman had to be literate because of contracts. He must be a Christian fundamentalist idiot. CONTRACTS? This is not Mrs. Paul's fishsticks. 2000 years ago, you had a boat, caught fish, and sold it in the markets. Apparently Wittinger has never seen the markets in Israel. No contracts required, then or now. What a moron. Oops, that's terrible but true. Great article. The Old Testament is tough but true. The New Testament. Not so much. Difficult to be truthful while the Israelis are being genocided by the Romans. Kind of distracts you. In fact, the Israelis became the Palestinians by force from the Romans.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Sally

      The Old testament is true? So the only reason that any problems exist for humanity today is because a rib-woman ate a piece of forbidden produce offered by a talking reptile? So, a man managed to fit hundreds of millions of pairs of animals on a boat that measured about 70 feet long? The only reason that people speak different languages is because they built a giant tower that fell down and made them all start babbling (not because they developed literacy in totally different parts of the world?) I'm thinking the Old testament is the greatest collection of fables since Aesop.

      May 24, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  6. JamesJust

    He is right in one regard "most" of the New Testament are letters and the words of man but to dismiss the letters of John and Peter simply because they were likely illiterate? Come on, they can't sit down with a scribe and dictate the letter? That's a reach.

    The Gospel of Matthew is simply the earliest Gospel, even early Church authorities said the Gospel of Matthew was written in "their native language" or Hebrew. Matthew was a tax collector and was most certainly literate. So it makes sense for him to write the first Gospel. The reason the early "Roman" Church fathers dictated that Mark was earliest Gospel was a result of antisemitism in the early church. If Matthew was the first Gospel then the entirety of the Christian faith would require a hard core Jewish foundation such as following the Torah as Christ did.

    There is also a Gnostic element that was penciled into some of the Gospels and Epistles. The Divine scripture of the New Testament are the Gospels and the Revelation of John, the rest should be taken for what they are, simple letters to Churches but the Gentile warping of Jesus' message will NEVER allow people to use commonsense with the New Testament and all it does is continue to drive Jews away from their Messiah.

    http://www.yahwehyeshua.com

    May 18, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  7. mojo jojo

    Only half??

    May 18, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  8. CR

    I have heard just about every disparaging remark about the bible that there is. My response to those who would try to relegate it to the comic book pile is this: What do you really know about the bible? How much of your knowledge is first hand? How many times have you read it from cover to cover? Have you ever studied the Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew languages? How much have you studied archeology? If you have not done these things then you are not speaking out of knowledge. My experience has been that many people chose not to believe the bible first then find the reasons later. If you are going to be a credible critic of the bible then you should look at everything critically the pro and the con not only that which fits your agenda. Try this one on for size. Paul at one point was losing his eyesight. Could he have dictated letters to another person. Wouldn't that account for a different writing style. Even if you don't buy into that it still raises a question.

    May 18, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • BR

      @CR – Wow...some universal truth if ancient languages and archaeology are prerequesites to understand it.

      Paul never met Jesus and there are no texts that can be directly attributed to the apostles...dictations to scribes or original hand...none. The first texts to appear are minimum 30 years after the crucifixion...for the day that's a full generation. That's a long time for stories to be pumped up, exaggerated, honestly misremembered or invented from the ground up. Add to that, 2000 years of translations, copies, inadvertent and purposeful tampering and what we are left with is as Ehrman says. Unreliable, significantly falsified and wholly unsupportable myth.

      May 18, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Bretfox

      I am a believer in the original inspired Word of God. Unfortunately, around 400 AD Jerome translated the original Greek gospels into Latin which became known as the Latin Vulgate. The Bible was not available to the public until the printing press was invented in the 1400’s. If you wanted to know what the Bible said back then you had to consult with a Catholic priest who would explain it to you.

      Most modern translations are based on the Latin Vulgate and translations are not inspired.

      Translations are flawed. Only the original inspired Word is trustworthy. During the last century ancient manuscripts have been discovered that are believed to be copies of the original inspired Greek. They are known as the Sinaiticus, Vaticanus and Alexandrinus. The Sinaiticus is available online. Google it. Only time will tell if they are authentic.

      I also believe that every word in the original gospels was truly stated. However, not every word is a statement of truth.

      2000 years ago there was no paper, no printing presses, no Bic pens, no ipads, no books, no tv, no radio, etc. Everything written had to be done by scribes. The scribes had to use lamb skins or papyrus for their media. The scribes were held in high esteem and only the privileged could afford to have a personal scribe. The apostles, like 95% of the population, did not have a formal education. If they wanted their words to be recorded in writing they had to have a scribe. That was the case for the vast majority of all people back then.

      CR, you will never win when dealing with a self-righteous person. That person has elevated themself to the supreme position of authority.

      May 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • RTGolden

      Have you studied the Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew? As a linguist, I can assure you have not yourself studied these texts. To know why there are a few facts you must have. The Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew languages in which were written the ancient scrolls simply do not exist. Aramaic has been a dead language for well over a thousand years, Ancient Hebrew was essentially a dead language for a thousand years, before being revived as best as possible. Greek, I'm not familiar with, but I'm fairly certain Ancient Greek is vastly different from modern Greek.
      The point is, there is no way to translate the Aramaic and Hebrew texts, and to some extent the Greek, with any degree of certainty. Translating from one modern language to another modern language itself is an ambiguous exercise, how much more so translations between ancient and modern languages? Even more questionable are translations based on translations commissioned by an early church hierarchy with an obvious political agenda.

      May 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Sally

      CR- it is clear you do not know much about athiests and agnostics. The FACT is that most were born and raised in the church and have studied the Bible extensively, and DID believe at one point because they were told to by those who raised them. I myself am more familiar with the Bible, its teachings and history than most Christians I know. In fact, studies have been done that show that most athiests do know the Bible better than most christians.

      I hate, hate hate it when people assume that I do not believe because I don't know what I am talking about. Yes, I have read the Bible. Yes, I have studied the Bible as history. Yes, I pay attention every time something is revealed by archaologists that may contain something spoken of in the Bible. I've read the Bible cover to cover, back to front, pieces in and out of context, participated in study groups at my old churches, been to every different denomination church in existence, and guess what? I believe Christianity is the greatest fraud ever perpetuated on this planet.

      May 24, 2011 at 10:16 am |
  9. Celtic

    I have always believed myself to be christian and will always feel that way, but I do feel that the bible is a wonderful book with a lot of information about how we should try and live our lives. But I also believe that many of the tales were written by people who lived during the time and maybe saw and event and try to relay it to paper. Maybe they couldnt wright, and tell their children the story, who then tell their children who then decided to write it down. Like many of us have seen in our lives today, details get changed and a simple event that was wonderful on its own, becomes a much larger and dramatized version after a few tellings. I dont believe the bible is wrong, but I do believe that we can not take everything as 100% fact. I would never read one book on an topic that was written ages ago in multiple languages, spread out over many years, and then translated by people hundreds of years later after the church had their chance to hold on to it and translate it on their own. And the reason no one was ever abel to prove anything about tales in the Bible before, is because for years if you said anything against the bible or church....you were killed. That leaves a mark on people. By the time it was ok to question the writings, they had been common practice for so long why would someone question them.

    May 18, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • AB

      These are interesting comments. Questions: How do you decide what is "fable" and what is truth/reality? How do you know this for certain 2000 years later, or 3500 years after the pentateuch has been written? Kingslaveofallah claims that the Bible does not claim that Jesus is God; IF he has read it, he has missed a lot!!! The CNN report sounds as if this book is a rehash of age-old objections to the Bible's authenticity. Most writers against Christianity appear to have either a moral or anger problem with it's authority. This author, claiming to have been a "fundamentalist" [accepting the Bible as it claims to be] and now rejecting that, obviously has an axe to grind. He is either angry at God, morally rebellious, or has an intellect greater than God, therefore greater insight into the past!

      May 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Bretfox

      The truth is there. One must seek it with all their heart and they will find it.

      May 18, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Bretfox

      I am a believer in the original inspired Word of God. Unfortunately, around 400 AD Jerome translated the original Greek gospels into Latin which became known as the Latin Vulgate. The Bible was not available to the public until the printing press was invented in the 1400’s. If you wanted to know what the Bible said back then you had to consult with a Catholic priest who would explain it to you.

      Most modern translations are based on the Latin Vulgate and translations are not inspired.

      Translations are flawed. Only the original inspired Word is trustworthy. During the last century ancient manuscripts have been discovered that are believed to be copies of the original inspired Greek. They are known as the Sinaiticus, Vaticanus and Alexandrinus. The Sinaiticus is available online. Google it. Only time will tell if these manuscripts are authentic.

      I also believe that every word in the original gospels was truly stated. However, not every word is a statement of truth.

      2000 years ago there was no paper, no printing presses, no Bic pens, no ipads, no books, no tv, no radio, etc. Everything written had to be done by scribes. The scribes had to use lamb skins or papyrus for their media. The scribes were held in high esteem and only the privileged could afford to have a personal scribe. The apostles, like 95% of the population, did not have a formal education. There was no Department of Education. If they wanted their words to be recorded in writing they had to have a scribe. That was the case for the vast majority of all people back then.

      May 18, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  10. envscience

    we live on giant land mass we call earth that circles around an even larger mass of fire and gas in the middle of a mind boggling huge expanse of space that seems to have no end. and your trying to tell me that the stories in the bible are too far fetched. HAHAHAHA WE DONT HAVE A F'N CLUE HOW CRAZY LIFE IS. NOT NOW, NOT IN 1000 YEARS WILL WE UNDERSTAND LIFE. So I simply believe in what affects me spiritually and I love like there is no tomorrow. stop wasting your time trying to figure everything out.

    May 18, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • rob

      Ok, but while you're not trying to figure things out and advising others to follow your lead, stop using that computer (and driving that car, using that cell phone, taking advantage of medical technology, etc). Because those things were invented by people who were curious about how things worked, and DID try to figure things out.

      May 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Bretfox

      To Rob,

      I am using a computer that was created by humans. Humans, contrary to what most self-righteous folks believe, were created by God. So please refrain from such silly talk. Self-righteousness will not save us nor earn us any brownie points :).

      May 18, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  11. GEORGE GIBSON

    it is sad when just because you can't , feel, touch, tast, or smell it you don't believe in it. how many time in your life has something happened to your that you can not explain. and if you did no one would believe you . there will come a day when you wished that you did believe in that book. but when that day comes you wont have a chance to say i'm sorry , i believe.thank you lord.

    May 18, 2011 at 9:10 am |
  12. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Well, based on what some people say, all this will be moot by 5PM on Saturday.

    May 18, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  13. James

    Poe's Law seems to be true looking at some of these posts, Google it...

    May 18, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  14. Marc

    Witherington calls Ehrman’s book “Gullible Travels, for it reveals over and over again the willingness of people to believe even outrageous things.”

    Wouldn't Ehrman's argument above also be just as applicable to those that believe everything in the Bible? You have to admit, there are some pretty outrageous things going on in the pages of the 'gospel'.

    May 18, 2011 at 8:09 am |
  15. Dave

    A book riddled with contradictions and provable falsehoods from cover to cover also contains sections that were forged? Say it ain't so!

    May 18, 2011 at 6:16 am |
  16. oh please

    Doesn't matter
    Religious people are blind and deaf and mute

    Thats why they need God to speak for them, listen for them, and see for them. And since there IS NO GOD, They're Just Useless people Taking Up Space.

    May 18, 2011 at 4:00 am |
    • Scott

      So what you're advocating is eradication of Christians (and other religious peoples) because they are "taking up space"? What shallow thinking. What if Christians decided to kill you and your family because you didn't follow their rules? That may have happened in the past, but it doesn't happen today (i.e. you are free not to believe). Get a grip.

      May 25, 2011 at 5:41 am |
  17. Kingslaveofallah

    He said right...Bible can never be God Book....

    Its interesting to NOTE THAT BIBLE IT SELF NEVER SAYS JESUS IS GOD,BUT ALL CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT.....

    use mind kids,grow up!

    answeringchristian.wordpress.com

    exposes the truth about bible ..!

    May 18, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • Anti-jihad

      Funny. An Islamist imploring people to use their minds. Might I suggest this trend take hold in Mecca as well?

      May 18, 2011 at 7:46 am |
    • M

      Go back to school and learn how to write, knucklehead. Have a BLT on me while you're at it.

      May 18, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • swr112261

      Dude, your a friggin Muslim and you're cracking on the Bible?

      May 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Jesus is not God. That is His Father. Jesus is The Son of God. Saying so to the Pharisees is what got him crucified, despite being his own idea.

      May 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  18. James

    "The scholar also points to a famous passage in 1 Corinthians in which Paul is recorded as saying that women should be “silent” in churches and that “if they wish to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home.”

    "Only three chapters earlier, in the same book, Paul is urging women who pray and prophesy in church to cover their heads with veils, Ehrman says: “If they were allowed to speak in chapter 11, how could they be told not to speak in chapter 14?”

    This a very weak argument and he obviously didn't pay attention during the reading of it. Paul did not say that women should remain silent. He said that according to the "LAW" women should remain silent. Paul was referring to is the Law of Moses. Paul was speaking to a jewish audience who would have been familiar with the law. He wasn't saying for women to be quiet

    May 18, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • Tam

      In addition, women in that day were only educated if they lived and worked in a brothel so they could talk intelligently to the men. Due to their lack of knowledge they were asked to refrain from making comments since they were usually quite inappropriate, not of their own fault but due like I said to their low status and low education. If this author also brought in context before making the conclusions he is making he'd have a different conclusion. Obviously he has "bible grudge".

      May 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  19. Hamm1

    With the recent coming of Jesus and Mary Magdalene in Australia, there is no more need for the bible. Jesus and Mary can tel you the complete facts and not the biblical fairy btales that have spread over hundreds of years.

    May 18, 2011 at 1:06 am |
  20. Gabriel

    Oh wow....So Paul wrote in "short pointed sentences" huh? So If I write an urgent letter to someone about a certain matter and make it short, direct, and to the point, I am always expected to write this way for the rest of my life?.....Logic would therefore contradict me writing something else entirely and making it long, poetic, philosophical, and spiritual? This guy must be a genius! for decades The Bible has been carefully scrutinized and not one of them has been able to find a valid argument to discredit it. Much smarter people than Mr. Ehrmann have failed.....good luck

    May 18, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Mark

      The Bible speaks of a talking snake, and donkey. It contradicts itself in multiple places. It speaks of witches, demons, angles, and fairies. Talks about the four corners of the earth as though it was flat. Describes Yahweh as the volcano god in Palsm. In other words, it's a book full of fictional accounts, or in other words, a collection of myths.

      Some of the contradicts found in the bible are detailed on youTube by holysincure. You can find her videos by search for her user name, or by searching for "Honest Search for the Truth".

      May 18, 2011 at 3:59 am |
    • Aaron

      It wasn't a snake, it was a serpent. Yes, a donkey spoke to warn Balaam he was going to die if he continued to walk, he was cursing Isreal, g-d gave him one last chance to undo what he had done. Mercy perhaps?

      Earth is like a sphere, it has four nautical points, North, South, East, West. Somebody derived that as being flat?

      Psalm describes an event that happened or a comparison of G-d's great wrath, G-d is not a volcano. Yes it talks about angels, demons - fairies? It's not Lord of the Rings, a fable created by an Inkler (e.g. J. R. R. Tolkien – C.S. Lewis).

      May 18, 2011 at 6:26 am |
    • Swiss Chard

      Actually, the writings of the Bible have been questioned by scholars throughout the ages. Many of the stories in the Bible are adaptations of pagen myths. Go and read the epic story of Gilgamesh. It is the oldest written story of a man-god that emerged out of the earliest civilization–in Mesopotamia. Within this epic, there is a story of 'The Great Flood,' which predates the Bible and the story of Noah's Ark in the Book of Genesis by nearly a thousand years. That's only one example of many. I am a Christian, but I'm neither ignorant nor foolish enough to take everything written in the Bible at face value.

      May 18, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • Renteria

      Well said. Let them contradict if it makes them feel better for the life they have chosen. People who don't really know the scriptures tend to take them out of context and try to make spurious points from them-to their own destruction-as Paul, or whatever his real name may be(??)-truthfully asserted.

      May 18, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • BR

      @Renteria – Provide some context for the slaughter of the Mideanites...every human and oxygen breathing animal who were not on the ark...contradictory accounts of creation, resurrection etc.

      May 18, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Bretfox

      Gabriel, I am in agreement with you.

      I am a believer in the original inspired Word of God. Unfortunately, around 400 AD Jerome translated the original Greek gospels into Latin which became known as the Latin Vulgate. The Bible was not available to the public until the printing press was invented in the 1400’s. If you wanted to know what the Bible said back then you had to consult with a Catholic priest who would explain it to you.

      Most modern translations are based on the Latin Vulgate and translations are not inspired.

      Translations are flawed. Only the original inspired Word is trustworthy. During the last century ancient manuscripts have been discovered that are believed to be copies of the original inspired Greek. They are known as the Sinaiticus, Vaticanus and Alexandrinus. The Sinaiticus is available online. Only time will tell if they are authentic.

      I also believe that every word in the original gospels was truly stated. However, not every word is a statement of truth.

      2000 years ago there was no paper, no printing presses, no Bic pens, no ipads, no books, no tv, no radio, etc. Everything written had to be done by scribes. The scribes had to use lamb skins or papyrus for their media. The scribes were held in high esteem and only the privileged could afford to have a personal scribe. The apostles, like 95% of the population, did not have a formal education. There was no Department of Education. If they wanted their words to be recorded in writing they had to have a scribe. That was the case for the vast majority of all people back then.

      These loonies who make the statement that the apostles were illiterate really expose their own ignorance. They might want to take a mental journey back 2000 years and put themselves in the setting in which the apostles were living. Of course, you and I both know that they will never attempt to learn the truth. They are only concerned with defending their own self-righteous opinion.

      May 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Ogre

      It is quite unfortunate that an all-knowing and all-powerful "God" couldn't do a better job with this book.

      May 18, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Ogre- you are implying that God wrote it..he did not.

      May 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.