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Uh-Oh, here comes a God vs Science thread
james_lohr
Member #1,947
February 2002

My claim is that the Bible is the Word of God, and if you dispute that, don't bother calling yourself a Christian

Which interpretation of the bible? Clearly the English version is not, since it is a man's translation and interpretation of the Hebrew version. Do you mean the original Hebrew texts prior to any translation? Sorry, but these no longer exist.

The bible is mostly certainly not God's Word. The best we can hope is that it is in some way derived from him, and that some of the original wisdom and truth still remains.

Certainly there are some ideas and concepts that are well preserved; those that do not easily crumble after a few translations. These are the things you should take from the bible, and these are the things that should form the basis of an argument for its truth. If your belief in the bible is based upon the particulars of weakly correlating prophesies, then I strongly suggest that you reassess your Christianity (and preferably your education in general).

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I can claim it's false however, and then go look under your kitchen sink and see that there are none there. So by the same token you can claim the Bible wasn't written by God, go to the Bible, and prove me wrong then.

If you go look under the kitchen sink and find a piece of paper saying "leprechauns used to live here", do you then believe in leprechauns? Please, don't embarrass yourself.

NiteHackr
Member #2,229
April 2002

The bible hasn't "crumbled after a few translations" due to the reverence to preserving the original meaning that is given by the people translating it. And if you're in doubt, and you're serious about bible study, as I am, you should have a concordance as well. I own the King James version most people know about, I also own a more modern NIV (New International Version) which is written in more modern English with emphasis on what the original authors meant to say, which is a better way to approach it given the idioms in different languages.

But even then, with a concordance you can look up a verse, the word used in that verse, and what the original word was in that verse in Hebrew (old testament) or Greek (new testament) and then look up the original meaning of that word, there is a Hebrew and Greek dictionary contained in my concordance. I have Strong's Exhaustive Concordance myself. SO you see, your assumptions about the bible are all wrong. If you're serious about studying it, you CAN find out what the original text said and what the original meaning of the Greek or Hebrew words are, it's not difficult.

---
“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.” ― Albert Einstein

Karadoc ~~
Member #2,749
September 2002
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I read a book once in which described a village of small people who lived in houses built into the sides of hills. These people lived pretty quiet and peaceful lifestyles mostly, but in this story a special man and his friends showed up at the door of one of the little people and they persuaded the (reluctant) little person to go on a big adventure. They ended up seeing trolls and orcs and all manner of other things, and they even witnessed the slaying of a dragon. Anyway, I later found out that this book was actually written by the little person himself! So although I thought it was just a fictional tale at first, now I know that the existence of this book, "There and back again", really does prove the existence of the hobbit named Bilbo, and Gandalf the wizard, and all their friends. Because the words of this book are the words of Bilbo himself. No one else could possibly come up with stories like that without having seen their adventure first hand. It's quite amazing really.

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RickyLee
Member #11,573
December 2009

Now how much land would it take up if everyone who ever lived was resurrected, if say they were all standing up?

I actually don't believe in god but one would think that your resurrection wouldn't be your physical body but more of your "soul", whatever you want to think that would be. I would also imagine that even if your "soul" took up space you'd be able to live in the Y axis also :P

Talking about this seems so pointless though. It seems to be the cruelest joke in existence. The farther you reach the more questions you have. I don't believe in a god, but I also don't care to know how we really came about, personally. The one constant that seems to exist is that everything was meant to "die" at some point.

I think it's great there are scientist trying to solve this puzzle though. I also think it's fine that people believe in god. I do believe there is one right answer but I don't believe we should rub the either groups nose into it if/when that answer is found.

Neil Roy said:

The bible hasn't "crumbled after a few translations" due to the reverence to preserving the original meaning that is given by the people translating it.

But who is translating it and would they have anything to gain if it's translated in such a fashion?

Neil Black
Member #7,867
October 2006
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You want more proof of the truth of the Bible? Ever heard of B.C. and A.D.? - Before Christ, and Anno Domini (year of our Lord).

I... I don't even know how to respond to that. Evert gave a great answer but... all I can do is boggle at the failure of rationality in this argument.

Do you mean the original Hebrew texts prior to any translation? Sorry, but these no longer exist.

We do have the Dead Sea Scrolls, though. They date from a few hundred years before Jesus (not sure of the exact date), and among other things they show that our current Old Testament texts are amazingly close to the texts they had over two thousand years ago. Only a few minor errors, nothing that effects any major doctrine.

Although personally, I'm having fun reading through all the non-canonical books from that period. :)

RickyLee said:

But who is translating it and would they have anything to gain if it's translated in such a fashion?

An issue that has come up in the past. My New Testament professor talked about certain passages in the King James Version, for example, that the translators made more sexist than the original language to support their own interpretations (although that professor [b]does[/b] seem to have a feminist streak in him which may bring his own bias into the picture).

This is why looking to the original language, or if you can't read the original language, looking to a number of different translations, can be very helpful.

RickyLee
Member #11,573
December 2009

This is why looking to the original language, or if you can't read the original language, looking to a number of different translations, can be very helpful.

I guess the idea was that even the "originals" were most likely to be translated to fit someone's agenda. It's not as if humans formed this idea after the book was written. For all we know (and I suspect) the original copy itself is nothing but propaganda.

Edgar Reynaldo
Major Reynaldo
May 2007
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SiegeLord's quote said:

The piercing of the hands and feet is referenced by Christians as being a prophecy about Jesus’ crucifixion, where his hands and feet were pierced by nails. However, contrasting the two verses in the JPS and KJV give radically different results – the former states that the Psalmist’s hands and feet are mauled by dogs or lions. The latter states that the assembly of the wicked has pierced the Psalmist’s hands and feet. This is a translation issue, specifically over the word ari, or lion.

In Hebrew, the verse reads karah ari yad regal. Literally, mauled lion hands feet.

The Companion Bible (which is the King James version plus notes on the text) goes into the Hebrew as well :

Psalm 22:16 said:

For dogs have compassed me :
The assembly of the wicked have inclosed me :
They pierced my hands and my feet.

Text notes for verse 16 said:

dogs. Fig. Hypocatastasis. Ap. 6. "Enemies" being implied (not expressed).
assembly = congregation : in civic aspect.
wicked = breakers up. Heb. ra'a'. Ap. 44. viii.
They pierced, &c. = "As a lion [they break up] my hands and my feet". The Heb. text reads ka'ari = as a lion (the "k" = as). The A.V. and R.V., with Sept., Syr., and Vulg., take the "k" as part of the verb k'aru, and alter the vowel points, making it read "they pierced". It is better to translate the Heb. text literally, and supply the Ellipsis of the verb from Isa. 38.13 "they break up". The meaning is exactly the same, and agrees with John 19.37.

So a better translation would have been :
For enemies have compassed me : The congregation of the breakers up have inclosed me : As a lion they break up my hands and my feet.
Note it should be 'as a lion' not 'a lion'.

Being nailed to a cross would most likely 'break up' your hands and your feet, as that is what would be supporting you.

There's also this :

Psalm 22:18 said:

They part my garments among them, And cast lots upon my vesture.

which was fulfilled by Matthew 27:35.

And this :

Psalm 22:8 said:

"He trusted on the LORD that He would deliver him : Let Him deliver him, seeing He delighted in him."

fulfilled later by :

Matthew 27:41-43 said:

41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking Him, with the scribes and elders, said,
42 "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.
43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him: for He said, 'I am the Son of God.'"

Which interpretation of the bible? Clearly the English version is not, since it is a man's translation and interpretation of the Hebrew version. Do you mean the original Hebrew texts prior to any translation? Sorry, but these no longer exist.

The bible is mostly certainly not God's Word. The best we can hope is that it is in some way derived from him, and that some of the original wisdom and truth still remains.

So according to you if you translate a text, then the original author no longer wrote it? This is blatantly false.

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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SiegeLord
Member #7,827
October 2006
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Hah. That video makes me want to actually read it :P. If nothing else, it'll arm me for these debates:

<SiegeLord> Well, I read the bible and it wasn't anything special.
<Christian> You clearly didn't open your mind, and you did not read it carefully enough.
<SiegeLord> >_<

... or not.

Anyway, about Psalm 22, the "predictions" in it are too general for my liking. I still think that it's purely coincidental that they came true (even if they did).

Seriously, people misquote real people from even a few years ago. How can you possibly believe passages in the Bible that claim prophecy fulfillment based on quote matching, when we screw up quotes today?

"For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow."-Ecclesiastes 1:18
[SiegeLord's Abode][Codes]:[DAllegro5]:[RustAllegro]

Edgar Reynaldo
Major Reynaldo
May 2007
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SiegeLord said:

How can you possibly believe passages in the Bible that claim prophecy fulfillment based on quote matching, when we screw up quotes today?

Doesn't that make it more likely that the quotes are genuine then? Or did Jesus decide to just get up on the cross and quote the Old Testament because that's what was written there? ::) Yeah yeah, blah blah, it's a conspiracy of the church to attract more followers on the basis that "Hey if you join our church you can be persecuted too!" Whatever.

SiegeLord
Member #7,827
October 2006
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Doesn't that make it more likely that the quotes are genuine then? Or did Jesus decide to just get up on the cross and quote the Old Testament because that's what was written there? ::) Yeah yeah, blah blah, it's a conspiracy of the church to attract more followers on the basis that "Hey if you join our church you can be persecuted too!" Whatever.

No, I'm saying that Jesus was extremely likely to have been misquoted.

"For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow."-Ecclesiastes 1:18
[SiegeLord's Abode][Codes]:[DAllegro5]:[RustAllegro]

Edgar Reynaldo
Major Reynaldo
May 2007
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SiegeLord
Member #7,827
October 2006
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It happens all the time, today.

"For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow."-Ecclesiastes 1:18
[SiegeLord's Abode][Codes]:[DAllegro5]:[RustAllegro]

Neil Black
Member #7,867
October 2006
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Accidentally misquoted using the words from the Old Testament. Nice theory.

Or "accidentally" misquoted to fit the words in the Old Testament.

One of the main problems I see among Christians defending the Bible, is that we tend to assume that the writers of the Bible were being honest when they were writing it. And that's just not something we should assume without reason.

I'm not saying you don't have any reasons to assume that, but they haven't been expressed in this thread. So a lot of people think you're just assuming the writers are honest because it's your holy book, not for any rational reason.

Edgar Reynaldo
Major Reynaldo
May 2007
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If you don't work from the assumption that what you are reading is true, then there's no point reading it unless you are looking for a good work of fiction - ie. if you work from the assumption that it is false, then why read it? To this date, none of what I have read from the Bible has been proven false, so I will continue with the assumption that it is true.

Yes, I noted the 'Biblical inconsistencies' site, and I can debunk at least several of their assertions of a contradiction by myself. A true Christian scholar can probably debunk the rest of them as well.

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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SiegeLord said:

Hah. That video makes me want to actually read it :P. If nothing else, it'll arm me for these debates...

Same here. It would be nice to actually read it just so that I could squash that "counter-argument" when used against me in debates. It's not that I'm unfamiliar with the Bible. I've read enough of it (and had much more preached to me) to recognize what appears to be contradictions and fallacies. Honestly, when I have attempted to actually read the Bible, I gave up rather quickly. It's a very dry read. On its own I think it's rather arbitrary too. Perhaps the authors assumed some kind of prior knowledge (or faith)? I honestly don't understand how anybody can get through it. So while I would like to have read it (numerous times) so that I could bring that knowledge to these debates, I don't see it happening any time soon. I can't even find time to read books that I want to read, like Algoirthms In C, or Dreaming In Code. I just don't read [books] a lot. :-/

SiegeLord said:

Anyway, about Psalm 22, the "predictions" in it are too general for my liking. I still think that it's purely coincidental that they came true (even if they did).

There's always the self-fulfilling prophecy argument.

Oh, what's that, something was written down thousands of years before humans allegedly acted it out? That's not proof of anything. It's entirely reasonable to assume that the people from the story were aware of the prophecy recorded thousands of years before and played out their parts. It's also reasonable to assume that accounts of the events were misreported and/or doctored; originally or during their many translations. Once again, using the Bible as proof of its own accuracy is silly and ridiculous.

23yrold3yrold
Member #1,134
March 2001
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/looks at thread count

Wow. Really?

By the way, on Bible honesty ... if I were some of those writers and I thought I could lie and get away with it ... well, those chapters wouldn't be nearly as unflattering as they are of certain writers. ;D I mean, why lie and not ... you know ... lie?

bamccaig said:

Oh, what's that, something was written down thousands of years before humans allegedly acted it out? That's not proof of anything. It's entirely reasonable to assume that the people from the story were aware of the prophecy recorded thousands of years before and played out their parts.

"Their parts" usually involved gruesome deaths, ridiculously hard work with no promise of reward, something nuts like rallying a nation, etc. It's not like it was just "hey, this sounds cool, I'll be this guy".

Quote:

It's also reasonable to assume that accounts of the events were misreported and/or doctored; originally or during their many translations. Once again, using the Bible as proof of its own accuracy is silly and ridiculous.

Keep in mind the only real accounts at the time (depending on what events you're talking about) were largely known only to scholars and historians. And the relatively large numbers of documents that have survived the years show little to no change (I find myself repeating for the umpteenth time). And again, if they're going to doctor accounts, you'd think they'd make themselves look better ...

--
Software Development == Church Development
Step 1. Build it.
Step 2. Pray.

Neil Black
Member #7,867
October 2006
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If you don't work from the assumption that what you are reading is true, then there's no point reading it unless you are looking for a good work of fiction - ie. if you work from the assumption that it is false, then why read it?

My point was that you shouldn't assume it is true just because. It shouldn't be "I haven't seen any evidence to disprove this, therefore it is true," it should be "this document is interesting, I wonder if I can verify it with other sources?"

@23yrold3yrold:

Yeah, there are some good arguments for honesty, and I think that's one of them. I do believe the writers were honest. I'm just saying we shouldn't [i]assume[/i] as much.

EDIT:

bamccaig said:

It's also reasonable to assume that accounts of the events were misreported and/or doctored; originally or during their many translations.

You talk about the many translations as if we don't have very early copies to compare our modern translations to.

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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"Their parts" usually involved gruesome deaths, ridiculously hard work with no promise of reward, something nuts like rallying a nation, etc. It's not like it was just "hey, this sounds cool, I'll be this guy".

It's ridiculous to think people "played out the part," but it's not so far-fetched that the story of Jesus could be fabricated (either intentionally, to help recruit believers, or accidentally) to fit the prophesies.

But I think the most important thing is that the prophesies are so vague, that 1500 years later it's easy to select a few of them and apply them to Jesus.

I can say a lot of crap right now, and given enough time, all of it will stick to something.

To this date, none of what I have read from the Bible has been proven false, so I will continue with the assumption that it is true.

It's statements like that (the assumption of truth), that give you no credibility. But I wonder, how does somebody prove something that allegedly happened 2000+ years ago to be false?

Serious question. What would be an example of something (i.e. a Biblical belief of yours) that could be proven to be false?

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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By the way, on Bible honesty ... if I were some of those writers and I thought I could lie and get away with it ... well, those chapters wouldn't be nearly as unflattering as they are of certain writers. ;D I mean, why lie and not ... you know ... lie?

You seem to be making a particular assumption of the author's intentions, and of their motives for writing what they did. Whoever wrote the texts presumably wanted what they wrote to be accepted as "gospel", which apparently they were for many hundreds of years. They quite literally couldn't just write anything they wanted to. At least, I'd like to think that you aren't that gullible. ;) In any case, what they wrote worked as far as I'm concerned. Approximately two thousand years later in the era of science and knowledge there are still millions of dedicated believers. Think of the money the church has made all of these years. If you assume that the entire God/Jesus/Bible thing is all a lie then it was a very successful business venture over the past thousands of years. Think of the people that made their living on it. :o

And again, if they're going to doctor accounts, you'd think they'd make themselves look better ...

Why should "they" make themselves look better (whoever "they" is)? You have absolutely no problem with "them", evidently, which probably means that it was a success as is.

My point was that you shouldn't assume it is true just because. It shouldn't be "I haven't seen any evidence to disprove this, therefore it is true," it should be "this document is interesting, I wonder if I can verify it with other sources?"

Well put. :)

You talk about the many translations as if we don't have very early copies to compare our modern translations to.

What's the earliest version that you have? ;) Do you have any hand written Bibles in your possession, for example? To my knowledge, the originals of both "testaments" are lost. Without those there is no way of assessing the quality of the existing copies, regardless of whether or not the originals were truthful or completely bullshit.

Compare it to the "telephone game" often played by children whereby the children all sit in a circle and whisper a secret from ear to ear from some arbitrary starting point to the end. As information passes from one mind to another it changes, either deliberately or incidentally. Without some impartial moderator knowing the original message there is no way to verify the accuracy of the information. Usually the outcome is erroneous (with children, it's often blatantly erroneous for obvious reasons, but I think that even with adults you'd find some changes, especially when the participants are motivated to do so).

Of course, that's all relatively insignificant when there's no reason to trust even the original copies.

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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bamccaig said:

Compare it to the "telephone game" often played by children whereby the children all sit in a circle and whisper a secret from ear to ear from some arbitrary starting point to the end.

That's a bad comparison because you are dealing with written text that was copied. You can go back and cross reference everything.

There's no good reason to believe the Bible has significantly changed from when it was first written.

Edgar Reynaldo
Major Reynaldo
May 2007
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bamccaig said:

It's entirely reasonable to assume that the people from the story were aware of the prophecy recorded thousands of years before and played out their parts.

So Jesus just hopped up onto the cross as part of a theatrical event? They nailed Him to it because they read it in Psalm 22? The soldiers gambled for his clothes because it was part of a script? The chief priests decided to quote Psalm 22 because they were just playing out a part? This is a reasonable expectation how?

Self fulfilling prophecy? You mean where if you say something reasonable, eventually it will come true? It's pretty amazing that three separate predictions all came true at the same time, but go ahead and dismiss it as coincidence.

bamccaig said:

Once again, using the Bible as proof of its own accuracy is silly and ridiculous.

Once again, you're hypocrites. "Duh. Prove God without using the Bible." Duh. Prove evolution without science.

None of you will ever have proof of God's existence short of Him revealing Himself to you directly, but why should he do that? He already sent His Son, and his Word, and He sent His servants to teach His Word, what more do you need?

I Corinthians 15:50 said:

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Flesh cannot enter Heaven, simple as that. So looking for scientific proof of God is pointless and you'll never have it.

My point was that you shouldn't assume it is true just because. It shouldn't be "I haven't seen any evidence to disprove this, therefore it is true," it should be "this document is interesting, I wonder if I can verify it with other sources?"

The Bible verifies itself internally, it ties itself together, and as a whole makes sense. That's hard to do for a writing written by many authors over many centuries and translated into many different languages.

It's statements like that (the assumption of truth), that give you no credibility.

The only source of credibility I have to rely on is the Bible, and inspiration from the Holy Spirit. There are no other works that I know that correlate the Bible, and if they did they would probably be part of it anyway. I don't personally know of any archeolgical evidence but that doesn't mean it isn't there waiting to be discovered. The fact that biblical writings have survived with very little change over several centuries and that many people still believe in them gives testament to the power of the Bible itself.

Matthew Leverton said:

Serious question. What would be an example of something (i.e. a Biblical belief of yours) that could be proven to be false?

Probably not much, but can you prove any of it to be false?

bamccaig said:

Whoever wrote the texts presumably wanted what they wrote to be accepted as "gospel", which apparently they were for many hundreds of years.

This however, is not an easy thing to do, especially when you are going against the major 'religions' of the time. Christians were jailed, exiled, executed, and Jesus was crucified! Do you honestly think that this kind of treatment would be appealing to people? They wrote it that way just to gain followers, really?

The cynicism, doubt, and paranoid conspiracy meter on this thread is way off the charts. :-/

Neil Black
Member #7,867
October 2006
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bamccaig said:

To my knowledge, the originals of both "testaments" are lost. Without those there is no way of assessing the quality of the existing copies, regardless of whether or not the originals were truthful or completely .

I know that the Dead Sea Scrolls provide a huge amount of evidence that the Old Testament was practically the same a few centuries before Jesus was born as what we have today. For the New Testament I don't know, off the top of my head, what the earliest copies we have our. But I know a New Testament scholar I can ask, and I have his class on Tuesday.

And no, it's not really like a game of telephone. Mostly because we have these earlier copies to check again. If you want to use the telephone analogy, then you'd have to modify the game.

First, each person would tell two other people (to simulate the stories spreading around other regions), and second, at any point you'd be able to go and ask the second, third, or fourth person in the chain (it would vary depending on which document) what the message they heard was. Oh, and you'd be able to look at the stories along the expanding chains, and compare them to each other to see where they differ and thus deduce where errors might have crept in.

EDIT:

So Jesus just hopped up onto the cross as part of a theatrical event? They nailed Him to it because they read it in Psalm 22? The soldiers gambled for his clothes because it was part of a script? The chief priests decided to quote Psalm 22 because they were just playing out a part? This is a reasonable expectation how?

Or the writers might have lied about how the specific events played out. Maybe the priests never really quoted Psalm 22. Or the soldiers didn't actually gamble for his clothes. To say that the prophecy was fulfilled, you need to have good arguments for why you think these things actually happened the way they were written down.

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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That's a bad comparison because you are dealing with written text that was copied. You can go back and cross reference everything.

It's not a perfect comparison, but from my own personal experience copying text by hand (i.e., in school) it is not a perfect process. Depending on context you might even attempt to improve upon what you were copying if you thought you had encountered an error, etc. It's not a perfect process. That said, if we could go back and cross reference everything then it would certainly be easier to trust the translations (well, once you had learned ancient Hebrew and ancient Greek). Honestly I think even if we did have the original texts there would still be debate among literary professionals about the translations because I don't think Hebrew and Greek can be 1:1 translated to English with absolute accuracy.

There's no good reason to believe the Bible has significantly changed from when it was first written.

There's no good reason to believe it hasn't either.

Neil Black
Member #7,867
October 2006
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bamccaig said:

That said, if we could go back and cross reference everything then it would certainly be easier to trust the translations (well, once you had learned ancient Hebrew and ancient Greek).

Which is one of the things that scholars in the field have done (and continue to do). I'm hoping to learn ancient Greek myself over the next couple of semesters. Mostly because it's amazingly convenient in terms of fulfilling credit hours (it will cover three different requirements for me), but also because I can actually look at the early documents and read them myself.

Or did you think that the earliest document scholars use was the King James Version?

EDIT:

Also, you talk of "many translations" as if our modern Bibles are translated from the KJV or something. No. When making a new translation, scholars will use the earliest manuscripts we have to help verify staying true to the original text.



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