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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. fess-it

    Let's assume that half the New Testament is forged. Two questions come to mind: Is the forgery a statement of truth or a statement of falsehoods? and Is the half that's not forged relevant to my eternal (assuming it exist) soul? For example, if John 3:16 is false (For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.) then the rest of the whole Bible (New and Old Testament) doesn't matter to me much. Therefore, if belief in Jesus saves one from some sort of horrible end and it is true, then the only other relavent issue is how one should live to please God. If new testiment statements about faith–saving, grace–keeping and neighbor–loving is just fantasy, they how one "believeth in him" in John 3:16 is just a mystery. Therefore, assuming that half the New Testament is forged, it is clear to me that it's safer to, at least, believe the parts that show how to save my own soul (forged or not!)

    May 31, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  2. txwtch67

    Even in Catholic school we were taught that there were mistakes in the Bible, that it was the meaning that was important. South Texas Catholic school if you believe that....Not Christian anymore, but that teaching led me to learn about all religions and not be one of the "hive".

    On a sarcastic note, I don't know of anybody that reads the letters to Timothy and not figure out that Paul was gay...but that is frowned upon in the bible, isint it? isn't it?

    May 31, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  3. Paul

    If Mr. Smith tells his secretary to write a letter thanking Ms. Jones for her prompt attention to his order for widgets, is the secretary forging when she uses her own words and phraseology? Of course not. Is the letter his or the secretary's? 'Forgery' is an intentionally loaded word designed only to get attention.

    May 31, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
  4. TPartier

    My Beliefs are more founded in truth than yours = my ancestors had more vivid imaginations than yours!

    May 31, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  5. WorldIsRound

    All religious books that we see today have been corrupted. Quran was corrupted.

    Members of Islam love to falsely claim that the inspired word of the true God (YHWH) of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, and Jacob, creator of all there is, has been corrupted and that the Quran has not, but this is a LIE.

    From earliest of times many versions were in circulation that did NOT agree with each other. Caliph Uthman wanted to eliminate this situation, but the way he did ensured the permanent corruption of the Quran by eliminating all checks and balances. He made an “official” version, and burned all others to prevent cross checking for errors and corruption; whereas, with the inspired word of the true God (YHWH) of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, and Jacob, creator of all there is, the Bible, there are over 30,000 ancient Manuscripts, Codex’s, fragments, and scrolls that permit checking for errors and corruption’s and which make possible the correction of any corruption.

    May 31, 2011 at 7:51 am |
    • Muneef

      You got it wrong all the way;

      Uthman is perhaps best known for forming the committee which produced multiple copies of the text of the Qur'an as it exists today. The reason was that various Muslim centres, like Kufa and Damascus, had begun to develop their own traditions for reciting the Qur'an and writing it down with stylistic differences.

      This copy of the Qur'an is believed to be one of the oldest, compiled during Caliph Uthman's reign.
      During the time of Uthman, by which time Islam had spread far and wide, differences in reading the Quran in different dialects of Arabic language became obvious. A group of companions, headed by Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, who was then stationed in Iraq, came to Uthman and urged him to "save the Muslim ummah before they differ about the Quran". Uthman obtained the complete manuscript of the Qur'an from Hafsah, one of the wives of the Islamic prophet Muhammad who had been entrusted to keep the manuscript ever since the Qur'an was comprehensively compiled by the first Caliph, Abu Bakr. Uthman then again summoned the leading compiling authority, Zayd ibn Thabit, and some other companions to make copies of the manuscript. Zayd was put in charge of the task. The style of Arabic dialect used was that of the Quraysh tribe of which the Prophet Muhammad belonged. Hence this style was emphasized over all others.
      Zayd and his assistants produced several copies of the manuscript of the Qur'an. One of each was sent to every Muslim province with the order that all other Quranic materials, whether fragmentary or complete copies, be destroyed. As such, when the standard copies were made widely available to the Muslim community everywhere, then all other material was burnt voluntarily by the Muslim community themselves. This was important in order to eliminate variations or differences in the dialect from the standard text of the Qur'an. The Caliph Uthman kept a copy for himself and returned the original manuscript to Hafsah.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uthman_ibn_Affan

      May 31, 2011 at 8:20 am |
    • WorldIsRound

      That is what I am saying, the version of Quran, that you believe in, is proof read, filtered and selected by Uthman. So it is Uthman's version of Quran.

      May 31, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Muneef

      Some older religions did not take that brave step forward and now they have how many holy books was it 76 or 67? I think Reality has them all counted...

      May 31, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • WorldIsRound

      The "brave step" in case of Quran, put a permanent question on its authenticity itself and no way to verify what it was that Uthman eliminated as he burnt all other versions of Quran.

      May 31, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • Muneef

      [54:17] We made the Quran easy to learn. Does any of you wish to learn?
      http://www.submission.org/suras/sura54.html

      May 31, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • WorldIsRound

      Why should anyone believe that it is God's word, when we clearly know that Uthman may have corrupted it. We need to believe in not only that it is God's word but also have to believe that Uthman did not corrupt it. That is assuming that Muhammad himself did not put his own words into it.

      May 31, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • crystal

      well YWHW is the jewish "god"

      May 31, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Muneef

      World
      I hope you know and realize that the "Usman bin Afan" that we are talking about is not connected to Ottoman empire?!
      This man we are talking about was the first ever and the only financier to Islam to stand on it's feet from the date it came to light at the time of the Prophet...he hasno interest to change or hide verses....he was murdered by rebels holding and reading the Quran....Now would one die reading a book that is of his fakes??!
      Am sure you were just beating the bush and have no slight knowledge of what you are talking about....!

      May 31, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Muneef

      World
      You said maybe Muhammed s.a.w. Had put his words into Quran....if any as this had taken place we would not be having what we call "Haddith"....
      What God said is in the Quran.. And what his Prophet said is in the "Haddith"...

      May 31, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Muneef

      Clear.

      "Indeed, whenever in these days we hear of a new 'religion' having been born into the world, we may determine, à priori, that it is more Jewish than its predecessors."

                  -  Sir Richard F. Burton, The Jew, p. 97 f/n.  Amen!  
      http://www.jrbooksonline.com/jgei.htm

      May 31, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Muneef

      Crystal.
      Say what ? So now God has a religion to follow!! Oh I see you must be one of those trinity since Jesus was born from a Jewish family..... Better go back to sleep that was a nightmare dear...

      May 31, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Muneef

      Crystal Clear.

      May 31, 2011 at 11:01 am |
  6. AlienShark

    No matter what your political or religious affiliation, scholars of religion and history admit that The Qur'an is word for word intact from the time Muhammad walked the earth. The exact words in Arabic on the shelves today are the exact words they were 1400 years ago. Discover Jesus in The Qur'an.

    May 31, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • I_get _it

      At least we can trace the source of this particular work of supernatural delusion.

      May 31, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • I_get _it

      p.s. The legends about Jesus were 600 years old by the time Mohammad wrote about them - no proof of accuracy here.

      May 31, 2011 at 12:25 am |
    • Muneef

      Does that mean any legacy that exceeds 600 years becomes a myth? All the history that bypassed us became a myth that cannot be proven by books?

      May 31, 2011 at 7:29 am |
  7. Zach

    The problem is that many people accept the Bible blindly. To have someone question it and automatically assume they are questioning your faith is a big logical disconnect. A Christian can question the Bible. A Christian who blindly believes the Bible is not a real Christian. God did not give us free will to blindly follow. Following without question is what the disciples of Satan did in Heaven, and they fell from grace as a result. To reflexively condemn something is not Christian at all. For all we know, the entirety of the Bible could be false, but that does not mean that Christianity would be no less true a religion. Disproving a miracle does not disprove God. I'm also agnostic.

    May 31, 2011 at 12:08 am |
  8. tj

    The Jews are always hacking away at Jesus. But they are foolish enough to worship a rock. Go figure?

    May 30, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • Zeb

      Anyone with a delusion will simply add to it or twist it around to fit any occasion. Kind of like a good suit and tie.

      May 30, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @tj

      You Said: "The (jews) are (always) 'hacking' away at Jesus."

      Say what...?

      Peace...

      May 30, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • Chickencalada

      Yeah, it's crazy to worship a rock.

      It is far more rational to worship a man born of a virgin who can turn water into wine and who, though dead, will one day be resurrected.

      Yeah, you're right. Worshiping rocks? Now that's just crazy.

      May 31, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Muneef

      They might just say that the rocks means to them as mediator to them with God as pagans said when told to worship God alone....no rocks no fires no cross no image no tree no animal nothing of what they used to do....only God the creator...
      -----–
      36:5] This revelation is from the Almighty, Most Merciful.

      [36:6] To warn people whose parents were never warned, and therefore, they are unaware.

      [36:7] It has been predetermined that most of them do not believe.

      [36:8] For we place around their necks shackles, up to their chins. Consequently, they become locked in their disbelief.

      [36:9] And we place a barrier in front of them, and a barrier behind them, and thus, we veil them; they cannot see.

      [36:10] It is the same whether you warn them or not, they cannot believe.*

      [36:11] You will be heeded only by those who uphold this message, and reverence the Most Gracious – even when alone in their privacy. Give them good news of forgiveness and a generous recompense.

      [36:12] We will certainly revive the dead, and we have recorded everything they have done in this life, as well as the consequences that continue after their death. Everything we have counted in a profound record.
      -----

      May 31, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Muneef

      ---–
      [36:45] Yet, when they are told, "Learn from your past, to work righteousness for your future, that you may attain mercy,"

      [36:46] No matter what kind of proof is given to them from their Lord, they consistently disregard it.
      -----
      [36:69] What we taught him (the messenger) was not poetry, nor is he (a poet). This is but a formidable proof, and a profound Quran.

      [36:70] To preach to those who are alive, and to expose the disbelievers.
      -----
      [36:74] They set up beside GOD other gods, perhaps they can be of help to them!

      [36:75] On the contrary, they cannot help them; they end up serving them as devoted soldiers.

      [36:76] Therefore, do not be saddened by their utterances. We are fully aware of everything they conceal and everything they declare.

      [36:77] Does the human being not see that we created him from a tiny drop, then he turns into an ardent enemy?

      [36:78] He raises a question to us – while forgetting his initial creation – "Who can resurrect the bones after they had rotted?"

      [36:79] Say, "The One who initiated them in the first place will resurrect them. He is fully aware of every creation."

      [36:80] He is the One who creates for you, from the green trees, fuel which you burn for light.

      [36:81] Is not the One who created the heavens and the earth able to recreate the same? Yes indeed; He is the Creator, the Omniscient.

      [36:82] All He needs to do to carry out any command is to say to it, "Be," and it is.

      [36:83] Therefore, glory be to the One in whose hand is the sovereignty over all things, and to Him you will be returned.*

      May 31, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  9. Barb

    Why is it always the Catholic Christian faith that is scandalized and critized in the news and media. Have you ever noticed any other religions being bashed and scrutinized. NO, thats because the Catholic faith is the true faith and the devil works to destroy it. All the other "religions" are not torn apart day after day because it helps the devil lead people away from God.

    May 30, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • frank

      Seems like a reasonable point of view to me....

      May 30, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • Muneef

      Weakness is another possibility....

      [43:62] Let not the devil repel you; he is your most ardent enemy.

      [43:63] When Jesus went with the proofs, he said, "I bring to you wisdom, and to clarify some of the matters in which you dispute. You shall reverence GOD and obey me.

      [43:64] "GOD is my Lord and your Lord, you shall worship Him alone. This is the right path."
      ----–
      Deterioration of Religion

      [57:27] Subsequent to them, we sent our messengers. We sent Jesus the son of Mary, and we gave him the Injeel (Gospel), and we placed in the hearts of his followers kindness and mercy. But they invented hermitism which we never decreed for them. All we asked them to do was to uphold the commandments approved by GOD. But they did not uphold the message as they should have. Consequently, we gave those who believed among them their recompense, while many of them were wicked.

      May 30, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Muneef

      Images of Jesus,Mary and the Cross?
      ------------
      Are Christians of today idol worshipers?
      http://www.answering-christianity.com/worship.htm

      Bible Verses about
      Idol Worship
      Romans 1:25 ESV 
      Because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
      http://www.openbible.info/topics/idol_worship
      ----
      An idol is a material object, representing a deity, to which religious worship is directed.
      http://idolatry-and-christianity.co.tv/
      ----–
      In reality, in terms of what the Bible teaches, the Tau or "cross" has nothing to do with Jesus or Christianity.
      http://www.biblestudy.org/question/is-it-wrong-to-wear-or-display-a-cross.html
      ---–
      http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Idolatry

      May 30, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
  10. Muneef

    [55:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

    [55:1] The Most Gracious.

    [55:2] Teacher of the Quran.

    [55:3] Creator of the human beings.

    [55:4] He taught them how to distinguish.

    [55:5] The sun and the moon are perfectly calculated.

    [55:6] The stars and the trees prostrate.

    [55:7] He constructed the sky and established the law.

    [55:8] You shall not transgress the law.

    [55:9] You shall establish justice; do not violate the law.

    [55:10] He created the earth for all creatures.

    [55:11] In it there are fruits, and date palms with their h-anging fruit.

    [55:12] Also grains and the sp-ice-s.

    [55:13] (O humans and jinns,) which of your Lord's marvels can you deny?

    [55:14] He created the human from aged clay, like the potter's clay.

    [55:15] And created the jinns from bla-zing fire.

    [55:16] (O humans and jinns,) which of your Lord's marvels can you deny?

    http://www.submission.org/suras/sura55.html

    May 30, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  11. manyopinions

    Like most critical scholarship of the Bible, it is largely based upon assumptions, not facts. All of these accusations are simply accusations rather than irrefutable proof of the claims.

    Oh and heliocracy, those who don't believe in God or creation believe in a lot of stuff that is mere assumption as well. Those who criticize religion are often nothing more than the pot calling the kettle black. The problem is that they think they have more answers than those who believe. The reality is, they believe in all kinds of assumptions they assume are facts. Big difference, and important to know the difference between irrefutable fact and assumption. When the difference is understand then it's realized that no matter one believes or doesn't believe is based largely on faith...period.

    May 30, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  12. heliocracy

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

    Hilarious. Religion reveals over and over again the willingness of people to believe even outrageous things. Like God created the universe, but his chief concern is that a few billion violent, dirty animals on a speck of cosmic dust give him his proper praise.

    May 30, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  13. Peter L. Griffiths

    Berenice wrote the New Testament. She was a great granddaughter of Herod the Great. The massacre of the Innocents included her own relatives. Her motive was to put an end to animal sacrifice at the Jewish Passover. She was born in AD28 the only year mentioned in the New Testament, see Luke chapter 3. She obtained most of her facts but emphatically not the dates from her distant cousin Josephus.

    May 30, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  14. Brad

    I get tired of these so called "bible scholars" claiming the bible isn't the bible. Every week it seems like someone has some new argument that seeks to rob the bible of it's message to humanity. I used to get angry, but now I'm sad to see people rejecting the love of God in Jesus Christ thus choosing the Wrath of God. But, you can say what you will about the Word of God, it has been, it is, and will always be The Word of God. "For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 1Peter 1:21 "ALL SCRIPTURE IS BREATHED OUT BY GOD AND PROFITABLE FOR TEACHING, FOR REPROOF, FOR CORRECTION, AND TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, THAT THE MAN OF GOD MAY BE COMPETENT, EQUIPPED FOR EVERY GOOD WORK." 2Timothy 3:16

    May 30, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  15. Monty Pitts

    I've always been aware that scribes wrote most of the Bible. It is rightly called "the inspired word of God", not the "literal, actual words of God". It was written as it was dictated from memory. Sometimes the memories were slightly faulty, sometimes the scribes may have misunderstood the speakers words. Nonetheless, it remains the "inspired word of God" and is the guiding light for all of humanity. Thanks be to God for these precious words.

    May 30, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  16. Muneef

    I became devoted to the Magian religion so much so that I attained the position of custodian of  the fire which we worshipped. My duty was to see that the flames of the fire remained burning and  that it did not go out for a single hour, day or night. 

    http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Articles/companion/salman_al_farsi.htm

    Most religions use fire in some way; the ancient Jews had an ever-burning fire on their own altar, and Christians always have candles on their altars at their services, as well as candles burning before their icons. Zoroastrianism has made fire its central symbol, the ultimate icon of a God who is also Light, Warmth, and Energy.
    http://www.pyracantha.com/Z/atarsh.html

    Though the Pharisees were rivals of the Sadducees, they managed to set aside their differences on one occasion—the trial of Christ. It was at this point that the Sadducees and Pharisees united to put Christ to death (Mark 14:53; 15:1; John 11:48-50
    http://www.gotquestions.org/Sadducees-Pharisees.html

    May 29, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • Brad

      Not to sound harsh Muneef, but understand this, Christians have no reverence or worship for fire. We worship the true and living God who created the fire you seem to have some sort of "affection" for. Anything else is simply an idol. I beg you Muneef, be reconciled to Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins that He came to die for, was buried, and now is resurrected that you may not perish in the 'fire" you think you love.

      May 30, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Muneef

      Brad.
      Sorry I just quoted those lines from some source but as for me I am a Muslim and do not worship any fire.

      May 31, 2011 at 7:05 am |
  17. Muneef

    Pharisees were worshiping the fire or considering the fire Holy just as Jews were keeping some sort of a Holy Fire that they keep alive continuously for many years with out allowing it to fade out....

    May 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Brad

      From a logical basis, how can you read a bible and come up with "fire" being the object of worship? thats absolutely crazy!!!!!

      May 30, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Zeb

      @Brad – What?
      How about "pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night" as Moses and his band of pillagers went thru the wilderness?
      Or the burning bush? Or being able to protect the three from the super-hot furnace? Didn't you read the OT at all? Geez.
      It's pretty bad when an atheist has to spell out parts of your own psychotic religion to you. Take a pill or something.

      May 30, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • Muneef

      36:5] This revelation is from the Almighty, Most Merciful.

      [36:6] To warn people whose parents were never warned, and therefore, they are unaware.

      [36:7] It has been predetermined that most of them do not believe.

      [36:8] For we place around their necks shackles, up to their chins. Consequently, they become locked in their disbelief.

      [36:9] And we place a barrier in front of them, and a barrier behind them, and thus, we veil them; they cannot see.

      [36:10] It is the same whether you warn them or not, they cannot believe.*

      [36:11] You will be heeded only by those who uphold this message, and reverence the Most Gracious – even when alone in their privacy. Give them good news of forgiveness and a generous recompense.

      [36:12] We will certainly revive the dead, and we have recorded everything they have done in this life, as well as the consequences that continue after their death. Everything we have counted in a profound record.
      -----

      May 31, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
  18. raisin mountaineer

    geez, 30 years ago I was taught in "Introduction to the New Testament" that much of the New Testament that was attributed to particular writers was actually a compilation, or a synopsis of collected teachings or stories, etc. etc. etc.

    Is this really news? Forgery isn't quite the word. But oh well. Let the guy have his fifteen minutes. Those who are not well-educated on the history of the bible will either smirk ("see, I told you it wasn't true") or scream ("oh my God, they're attacking the literal truth of the Word again!")

    For most Christians, who realize that it is the meanings of the stories that matter, this changes nothing... The good samaritan holds no less truth if someone not named Matthew, Mark or Luke wrote it down.

    May 29, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  19. Muneef

    The Books of Believers "The Torah and The Quran"

    [28:48] Now that the truth has come to them from us, they said, "If only we could be given what was given to Moses!" Did they not disbelieve in what was given to Moses in the past? They said, "Both (scriptures) are works of magic that copied one another." They also said, "We are disbelievers in both of them."

    [28:49] Say, "Then produce a scripture from GOD with better guidance than the two, so I can follow it, if you are truthful."

    [28:50] If they fail to respond to you, then know that they follow only their own opinions. Who is farther astray than those who follow their own opinions, without guidance from GOD? GOD does not guide such wicked people.

    [28:51] We have delivered the message to them, that they may take heed.

    [28:52] Those whom we blessed with the previous scriptures will believe in this.

    [28:53] When it is recited to them, they will say, "We believe in it. This is the truth from our Lord. Even before we heard of it, we were submitters."

    [28:54] To these we grant twice the reward, because they steadfastly persevere. They counter evil works with good works, and from our provisions to them, they give.

    [28:55] When they come across vain talk, they disregard it and say, "We are responsible for our deeds, and you are responsible for your deeds. Peace be upon you. We do not wish to behave like the ignorant ones."

    [28:56] You cannot guide the ones you love. GOD is the only One who guides in accordance with His will, and in accordance with His knowledge of those who deserve the guidance.

    May 29, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  20. jefe

    @Wzrd1 – Philippians 3:4-5 quotes Paul as saying, "If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circ-umcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

    So Paul states himself that he is a Pharisee.

    May 29, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • Zeb

      And that explains why the Catholic Church is a cesspool of pharisee psychosis, I guess. I can't say I'm surprised, really.
      They wash the outside of the cup, inside is filth unimaginable, loving tradition and ceremony and long speeches and MONEY.

      May 30, 2011 at 10:24 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.