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Half of the New Testament is a forgery

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Nearly half of the New Testament is a forgery, according to a provocative new book which charges that the Apostle Paul authored only a fraction of letters attributed to him, and the Apostle Peter just wrote nothing. Written by Bart Ehrman, a former evangelical Christian and now agnostic professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, the book claims to unveil "one of the most unsettling ironies of the early Christian tradition:" the use of deception to promote the truth...

 

...read the full article at Discovery News

 

 

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Interesting story...

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We've debated 'authenticity' in the bible several times on various threads here before and this article fits in with my memory of some of what has been said before.

 

I am sure we will debate this point again but unfortuantely for detailed discussion the article doesn't make clear which 'version' of the bible was used as the basis of the comparisons, since there are significant differences between ancient and modern translations let alone the number of fragmentary and more or less complete early copies in various ancient languages

 

There seems to be a suggestion in the article that the promary source may have been Greek as it refers to Greek sentence structure, while the Catholic Herald is probably correct to cite 'oral tradition' as 'possibly' explaining some of the differences noted. Personally I would also have considered the possibility of someone using the services of a skilled scribe to do their writing for them as another possibility for differences in writing style even if not outright forgery.

 

Might be interesting to get feedback from someone who has actually read the book.

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Another reason for the differences is that it suited the patron of whichever revision was made. After all, the earliest Bible was no more than a censored and authorised collection of existing books which may or may not have had any degree of provenance.

 

One might ask why the original versions of the Bible weren't unified and written as a coherent whole. In my view, this was done to avoid debates such as we're having here. You see, if the texts are collected and bundled together, the tale is coloured by viewpoint and attempts to create the illusion of truthfulness. Since it was the Council of Nicaea in 325 that decided what was or wasn't heresy (give or take the odd debate) we can point to the attempted unification of christian belief in the reign of Constantine as the major impetus behind constructing the biblical 'integrity'.

 

However, as mentioned above, the water is muddy.

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We've debated 'authenticity' in the bible several times on various threads here before and this article fits in with my memory of some of what has been said before.

 

I am sure we will debate this point again but unfortuantely for detailed discussion the article doesn't make clear which 'version' of the bible was used as the basis of the comparisons, since there are significant differences between ancient and modern translations let alone the number of fragmentary and more or less complete early copies in various ancient languages

 

There seems to be a suggestion in the article that the promary source may have been Greek as it refers to Greek sentence structure, while the Catholic Herald is probably correct to cite 'oral tradition' as 'possibly' explaining some of the differences noted. Personally I would also have considered the possibility of someone using the services of a skilled scribe to do their writing for them as another possibility for differences in writing style even if not outright forgery.

 

Might be interesting to get feedback from someone who has actually read the book.

 

Good point about the possible switch from author to authorized scribe.

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Bart Ehrman has been a bomb-thrower of sorts lately & has a rep as an arrogant jerk. I think there's a lot wanting to sell a few books behind a lot of it. I guess that $125k salary plus the extra kick from an endowed chair leaves him wanting more. I always wanted to sit in on a class of his (I graduated from there way before his time but lived in CH for a few years) in spite of his attitude by all accounts he is a brilliant prof. His background if I remember correctly is theology not classics or history.

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