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Question of the Week 3 - Isn't the Bible like other ancient books, filled with myth and superstition?

Breakpoint Parents Guide 1


The basis of the argument from BreakPoint here is: the Bible, unlike other ancient books, continues to pass with high marks when its historical accuracy is tested. The Bible has been cross-examined and found reliable.

Archeologists have found evidence in the Middle East of places mentioned in the Bible. The article above mentions Nazareth. If the Bible is a set of books written by a number of Jewish leaders and prophets then it would be likely that some of the places mentioned would correlate to actual places. I have read a debate as to whether Nazareth even existed at the time of Jesus. Jesus might have been associated with the Nazarenes, one of the many cults present at the time (the Essenes were another cult of the time; they were involved in the Dead Sea Scrolls written near the time of Jesus but discovered only within the last century), and any relationship between the Nazarenes and the city having a similar name is unclear.

The problem arises from separating the historical places, which could be found physically, from the historical events being described, which have no physical evidence.

For example, the story of Creation in the book of Genesis is important. Light is created by God several days before the Sun is created. Other cultures around the world also associate a great light with their stories of the creation of mankind. Whatever actual events were noted by our ancestors, they have been passed on to future generations in the context of myths.

The Deluge is an important story in the Bible, where Noah saves his family and several of every animal from the devastation. There are similar stories in other cultures around the world, implying there might have been such an historical event but that the Bible surrounded that event with its own myth.

In the last few decades, there are many scholars investigating the myths found in the Bible as well as in many other ancient writings. They are finding common themes that might identify the historical events that are the basis for those myths. It is not practical for this site to contain all that research material. Some is mentioned in other pages about mythology and the life of Jesus. However some of this research is available for purchase on a CD.

The finding of artifacts that relate to physical places mentioned in the Bible does not change the perception that the Bible stories have surrounded those physical places and events with myths. Much can be said about the history of the Bible (see my comments about the Bible) and much has been written by others. The Bible is not a ‘news’ archive. The Old Testament is a collection of stories about the history of the Jews while the New Testament is a collection of stories about Jesus and his followers. None of these stories are written from an impartial ‘news reporter’ viewpoint. All are written to present a certain view point. The Bible is not a record of all stories composed along the way. The early Church leaders decided which stories to keep and which to delete. That very action determined which stories (and their myths) remain and which were lost. Historians have recently found some of these previously unknown works (for example several other Gospels were found in Egypt in the late 20th century), shedding an interesting light on this editorial process.

The original link in case the article ever returns to Breakpoint:
(http://www.pfm.org/Content/ContentGroups/BreakPoint/Columns/Worldview_for_Parents/2003 11/Question_of_the_Week3.htm)




created - Dec. 2004
last change - 12/30/2004
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