Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Master of Religion Program
Rev. Nick Federspiel
Where did our Bible come from and which is the most accurate version of scripture and who speaks for Bible based doctrine? Lesson 2 digs right into the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments, to me also known as the ten basic commitments as recorded in variant text in Exodus and Deuteronomy. Lesson 3 discusses the textual edits made by many to resolve the emerging church's diversity in "scripture" and doctrine not to mention politics. Lesson 4 discusses the missing books which raises the question of how really objective was the canon process.
Collectively, is this inerrancy at its worst or inspired God breathed text at its best? Of all the lessons these initial few are perhaps the most disorienting to a new (and perhaps previously protected) student to the Bible's heritage and Christian history. Today scholars write book after book discussing just what language the Books of the Bible were written in: Akkadian, Old Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek – which was first, which is the oldest, which is the most accurate? Does anybody have a clue what is what? Then many compound the issue and degenerate into condemning the Bible as a whole!
One truly has to wonder. In researching issues the course brings to the surface, I went down the following thread, web site by web site including a few books altogether summarized tosses 2 Timothy 3:16 right out the window – for that matter taking 1 Timothy 3:16 with it. Nineteenth century Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918) in Sources of the Pentateuch claims Moses had nothing to do with the first four books (viswjk.com). That lead to the suggestion that the four Gospels were written from a master version called the "Q." Exodus 34, the second set of tablets, was written by "J" c 848-722 B.C.E. (re: relgioustolerances.org.) Deuteronomy 5 was written by "D" c 622 BCE." The Eastern Church considers Exodus 20:2 a preamble, and on and on it goes.
The Cave 4 Qs Gospel fragments, 25% in Aramaic we are told, date 1st century A.D. The Qs brings to the surface the whole concept of Biblical Criticism which starts with Moses authorship of the Pentateuch being "improbable" (jewishvertuallibrary.org).
Given the volumes of data from Biblical Archeology and the remarkable correspondence of the Qs with today's best translations a lot of Bible critics bite the dust. It turns out all the reported text based bickering and confusion following the emergence of Christianity, under persecution during its initial centuries, created an extraordinarily homogenous message book. Those today that persist with atheistic views based upon "differences" in this verse and that wastes our time and do the service of Satan by turning many away many thus confused from the word of God. Many once curious about this new religion were simply mislead and misinformed by "experts."
The rubric theory says one of the 'two tablets' was the law and the other the obligations. That same logic is extend to propose that Exodus is the law and Deuteronomy includes an extension and explanation of the moral obligations introduced in Exodus in regards to the Ten Commandments – which I tend to agree with. Why? Well, there is a lot more depth in Deuteronomy about laws, promises, instructions, duty, demands and teaching. Thus, to me, Deuteronomy is a forty year project review in preparation for the departure of Moses and the assumption of command of Joshua. It states what it means; and one to one correspondence with Exodus would be, simply, redundant.
Unless a student has his faithful feet firmly planted on Holy foundations one might sway and slip and slide off the path as one wades through volumes of diverse opinions as to the purpose, cause and effect of Biblical history which is wrought with champions, martyrs, scribes, councils, Popes, Kings, priests, lay witnesses and persecutors; all with scribal pen in the ink well. I am not a literalist when it comes to Bible interpretation so all this is academically very interesting, but the derivative attacks I concluded long ago were about as valuable as a stock broker's options and his worthless derivatives are today. They both lead to bankruptcy, one moral and the other ethical and financial.
I consider scripture to be God breathed, as if it were not in no way would the net result of 3000 years of editing from 600 B.C.E. to 2009 ever have produced a reasonably coherent document with a central theme of moral obligation and commitment, monotheism based upon the obvious, a Creator God, and the sacrifices representing Salvation sought by one Jesus Christ and bound it with one covering that within for all of us who read - be it as it may be an anthology of thought – ONE BOOK - with ten easy to understand rules.
Rev. Nick Federspiel
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