Says Who? … Baffling Anonymous Bible (2)

Anonymous WriterFor God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

~ Anonymous

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A bit more:

As with the other three gospels, the author of the fourth never identifies himself. But the fourth gospel comes the closest, giving oblique inferential hints about the author that have led some to think perhaps John was meant. Others, Lazarus. Yet at bottom, the author was anything but forthcoming. The other three gospels gave no suggestion as to their authorship at all. But the following excerpt summarizes the situation facing this beloved verse:

The gospel identifies its author as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Although the text does not name this disciple, by the beginning of the 2nd century, a tradition had begun to form which identified him with John the Apostle, one of the Twelve (Jesus’ innermost circle). Although some notable New Testament scholars affirm traditional Johannine scholarship, the majority do not believe that John or one of the Apostles wrote it, and trace it instead to a “Johannine community” which traced its traditions to John; the gospel itself shows signs of having been composed in three “layers”, reaching its final form about 90–100 AD. 

Many sources available on this, but this excerpt available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_john#Authorship

Consider, everything we know of Jesus comes from four anonymous texts, all written after the lifetimes of the original followers of Jesus. Think about it.

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More information available at Wikipedia, and at references such as:

Borg, Marcus J. Evolution of the Word: The New Testament in the Order the Books Were Written. HarperOne , 2012.

Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them). HarperOne, 2010.

Comments

  1. When god is the author, you don’t need know the names of the typist

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    • LOL, and so say the Muslims and Mormons as well. 🙂

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      • You know what would happen is people would want to know the nature of the author if he was known so you make them anons and say it is god.

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      • Absolutely. And therein lies yet another issue. Even if we had a *name* for many of these books, which we do not, that would not begin to establish credibility. A name would give the starting point, not the ending point, to establish whether the writer actually had a Divine Uplink to god and was writing an authorized message.

        We wander around, stated blithely that the Bible = The Word of God, and in truth we really have no idea of how large a claim that is or how difficult that claim actually is to support.

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  2. I did think about it. There is a lot of information around these days: news articles, blog articles, encyclopedia articles, etc. I, usually, look at what is being said. Source verification is needed only to make sure the facts are correct.

    I, personally, don’t think that the value of the Bible is in reporting facts. Old newspapers do that. Bible seems to describe “spiritual truths”. The story of Jesus has a multitude of real historic analogies. Whenever people teach “Love your neighbor” doctrine and promote non-violent social changes, they often die a violent death. Take, for example, Gandhi or MLK. If you think about it this way, the story of Jesus seems to be a truthful story.

    Check out this article.
    http://reformjudaismmag.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=3178

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    • There is a difficulty to saying that the Bible may not be factual, but it is true. I can say the same of Yeats or Shakespeare. The believer is not generally content to say that they are true in the same way as other literary works. Nor even the same way as other religious texts like the Koran or the Book of Mormon.

      To claim that the Bible is different from such sources, in true-ness and in authority, means that there must be a basis for such assertions. Historically, that basis has been that the texts were received by prophets that were validated by their prophetic deeds. And that is precisely what we do not have with anonymous Bible texts..

      But to those who relax the claims and say that the Bible is no more or less true than other non-factual but “true” works, I have no argument. Where there is an assertion of uniqueness, I have to ask, how so, and how do you know?

      I’m familiar with Wolpe. He takes a tack similar to Enns and others on the Christian side. All well and good I think, until a person suggests that the Jewish and Christian texts are merely human in origin, with no divine input. Then the popcorn starts flying all over again. They have difficulty explaining what they themselves actually mean, and that’s why gents like Wolpe don’t hold up well against Harris in debate. Anyway, my 2 cents.

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  3. Many years ago I ran into a definition of Myth that I thought was great. A myth is a story that is false on the outside but true on the inside. That definitely holds for the Jewish myths even with the later add ons. The problem that I see that you are trying to show is that this particular compilation of stories known as The Bible has become a god in it’s own right. People will ask you “Do you believe in the Bible?” or tell you that such and such has to be done a certain way because that’s what the Bible says. It is this hyperidolatry that needs to be broken for the human race to be free. Those whose income is inextricably tied to that idolatry will do everything in their power to stop that from happening. Worse, their main tools are the poor sheep they pastor who they will tell that you represent Satan on Earth trying to steal their souls and destroy the Kingdom of God. They will keep their hands clean while the mob rips you apart. Perhaps not physically, but in any way they can get away with. Scary.

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    • There is definitely truth in what you say. I like the definition of myth as well. But I will say that our pastor has been a good guy, genuinely. A lot of friends have been kind. Some, not so much.

      But yes, the church is now a self-defending organism that will react with whatever necessary to protect its existence. Its a sort of information war.

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Michael Seidel, writer

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