An Interesting Biblical Tool

I was taking a “final exam” for a Bible degree course. There were things I needed to find, and answer. Trudging through a few hundred (or thousand) pages of Biblical text can be, er, time consuming; if you don’t know just which book some particular “bit” came from. So I was doing some “web searches” on bits of text. To get clues as to: in “which book” to go “Data Diving”?

Along the way, I ran into this rather useful Biblical Tool. An online Bible, in a few dozen languages, with interlinear and concordance and even parallel Bibles. The Parallel Bible being more useful in English as we have so many translations of it and English has changed so much over the years. Other more stable languages with one historic text have less need for, or availability of, Parallel Bibles. Still, for folks with multiple language skills, it can be fun to compare and contrast some of the many ways the Bible has been translated. Both in English and in other languages.

The “main site” is here:

http://bible.cc

Being “the suspicious sort” (all ex-sysadmins are suspicious of everything. “I’m not paranoid, they are out to get me. I’m the sysadmin!” is the basic reality of that role) I saw “.cc” and was a bit worried. OK, what flaky country is THAT from? (Odd countries often being havens for less than “safe” sites…) Turns out it’s more a marketing / social thing than “some odd country haven”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.cc

First off, it’s associated with Australia. So generally a good sign. Second, it’s a commercial operation connected with some larger and reputable companies. Also a good sign.

.cc is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Cocos (Keeling) Islands, an Australian territory. It is administered by VeriSign through a subsidiary company eNIC, which promotes it for international registration as “the next .com”; .cc was originally assigned in October 1997 to eNIC Corporation of Seattle WA by the IANA. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, an unrecognised country by the UN, that officially belongs to the republic of Cyprus, also uses the .cc domain, along with .nc.tr.

With the help of SamsDirect Internet, eNIC managed and marketed the top level domain with great success to become the “second largest TLD registry in the United States second only to Verisign” according to Brian Cartmell, founder and CEO of eNIC who testified before the United States Senate in regard to The Governance of the Domain Name System by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers on February 4, 2001. Much of the success of the domain sales came as a direct result of Sams entering into a deal with the largest radio broadcaster in the United States, Clear Channel (CC) Communications, to advertise and promote the domain on several hundred radio stations over a three month period.

Registration is made directly at second-level.

The .cc domain is preferred by many cycling clubs as well as churches and Christian organizations as “CC” also happens to be an abbreviation for “Christian Church” or “Catholic Church.” Some open-source/open-hardware projects, e.g. the Arduino project, use a .cc for their home pages, as “CC” is the abbreviation for “Creative Commons”, whose licenses are used in the projects. Canadian Club whiskey have also used .cc domains for marketing purposes.

So an “eclectic” mix of users, but generally a benign bunch. OK, I’m good with that. Christian Churches using something they like is a nice context. So, back at the site…

Across the top of the page is a banner of very small flags. Click on one, you get the Bible in that language. (Though some of the other “option” tabs go away as there may be less ‘backing material’, like Parallel Bibles, in any given language). For example, here’s the Bible in Spanish in two forms:

Spanish: Sagradas Escrituras (1569)

http://se.bibliaparalela.com/matthew/1.htm

La Biblia de las Américas (1997)

http://lbla.bibliaparalela.com/matthew/1.htm

The astute SysAdmin will have noticed that the TLD Top Level Domain has shifted to .com and a very different site. Yet the frames for the page stay largely the same. One suspects a “distributed cooperative effort” is involved.

So why bother? Well, lots of reasons. But partly it is just a good source for social insight. Here we can compare directly what folks were reading in 1569 to 1997. How much has it “changed” in 400 years? Does it matter? Is the “message” the same? How different is “Old Spanish” from “New Spanish”? Does one get the same “musty formal” feeling as with King James vs The New Living Translation?

Next up, there is a small ‘drop down’ menu on the right for “Choose a Translation”. Many of “the usual” English translations are listed. Over on the left side is a set of three drop down menus for Book, Chapter, and Verse. Nice. In the middle is a search box, then four odd “colored round things”. Hover the mouse of them and you find out they are search by topic, a library search, search of Strong’s Greek and Hebrew, and a multilingual search.

At one time I’d spent a fair price to get just a 4 version Parallel Bible. I’ve occasionally wanted an interlinear, but could not justify the cost (or the shelf space) for something where I can barely pick out a few Greek words and no Hebrew. (The notion being that I’d slowly pick up bits, maybe, and could at least see that “the same word” in English was or was not a different Hebrew or Greek term in the original. Sometimes a couple of original language words map to only one English word, so some “digging” can turn up a tiny bit that was ‘lost in translation’.

In my experience, almost always of no importance; and largely related to nit-picks like the use of the “Dual” number in Greek that does not exist in English. We say “they” not “They-exactly-2-number-marker”. Usually the context makes it clear there are only 2 talking. Often a decent translator will ‘fill in’ when it is ambiguous without the marker. (So if text had Jesus talking to Matthew AND others in a group, and then said “Then they-2 left together”, the translator might write “Then they both left together” showing that Jesus and Matthew were the “they” and not the whole group.) Yes, I once spent a few months reading various interlinears and translators notes to find out that the bulk of “discrepancies” were directly tied to trivial grammar differences between the languages.

But still, it is nice to be able to check for yourself. So now I don’t need to find $50 to $100 for more books (rather large and heavy ones at that, not printed on the tissue paper thin stock of small Bibles… and having much more text than a single reading, being in 2 or 3 languages and with added space and pronunciation guides and translation notes and… ) It is very nice to have it available.

OK, right under that is a large area where I’m presently getting a “file not found” error message. I can’t quite read the name of the file not found, but it doesn’t seem to interfere with the parts I care about. Trying to read the top 1/2 of the characters I think it says something like referencebible.org/mainmenu17.htm

Below that, the main style resumes again, and on each side there are “chapter” and “book” buttons with arrows, to step forward or backwards by book or chapter.

Then a line of three letter abbreviations. Each one a particular translation or version of the Bible. (We have a lot of them in English) For example, the KJV King James Version and the ASV American Standard Version:

http://kingjbible.com/zephaniah/2.htm

http://asvbible.com/zephaniah/2.htm

Again the observant SysAdmin will note the changing URLs. Either a distributed effort, or someone has bought a lot of domain names…

Then there are a bunch of tabs. Most often 9 in the English versions, sometimes less in other languages. Parallel gives a parallel bible of several versions. Lessons, Topics, TSK “Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge” looks to make connections to other books and translations, comments, an Interlinear with Greek / Hebrew, then a Hebrew tab that looks to do more detailed meaning of the Hebrew, not just place the words on the page.

http://interlinearbible.org/zephaniah/2-1.htm

http://biblos.com/zephaniah/2-1.htm

The Lexicon tab goes more into the particular words and meanings and connections via Stong’s along with the word origins. Then that Multi tab is a fun one. It gives the same text in a few dozen languages all on the same page. Lots of fun for us folks who like to look at the structure of other languages ;-)

http://mlbible.com/zephaniah/2-1.htm

But in many ways, it is that Parallel tab that I like the most. On one page, a dozen and a half of the most common Bibles.

http://bible.cc/deuteronomy/16-1.htm

Far more “parallel” a parallel Bible than I could ever own in physical form. (It would be huge…) So if you wonder if the New International Version has messed up some favored passage from the KJV, or if that ASV you used as a kid is much different from the NIV, well, it’s a quick look. You can also compare the very old versions with the very modern ones. Grieve for what has been lost of the poetry and majesty of older English (and enjoy actually knowing what it said by reading the modern one ;-)

Built in Concordance and links to other verses on the right with cross references.

Nice. Just very nice.

Will I use it much? I don’t know. I’ve mostly “finished that fixation” a couple of years back. Found my answers to a “good enough” degree, and moved on. The ‘answers’ I found were that the translators did far far better than I ever could, documented where they had concerns, and most of those were rather trivial things, like translating “neutral” gender into he / she since English lacks the 3rd gender, or the Dual number. Hardly earthshaking to have “They-neuter went” vs “They-male went” vs “They went”. Or sometimes “They, John and Mary went” filling in proper names to show why one gender would not work, or “They, John and Matthew went” to make it clear both were male. Such was the stuff and minutia that preoccupied the translators. Still, it is nice to see just how many “versions” say almost exactly the same thing, over many hundreds of years. (And a bit of an annoyance at how some of the modern “Free Translations” have, IMHO, taken a bit too much license… )

I’ve mostly also answered the question from my “many language quest”. The answer to “What language is most suited to clean ‘tidy mind’ thinking?” is “the one which you learned from birth”. Every language has weird quirks and rough spots. A native speaker bridges them effortlessly with circumlocutions. A non-native struggles. Is there some advantage to one over the others? Yes, likely so, but only if you were born into it. Hungarian has a verb case for “asymptotic”. Approaching but never quite touching the house. Perhaps that is why so many name physicists were Hungarian. (Finnish is a related language with similar properties – and nearly impossible to learn properly for an English speaker past childhood, IMHO ;-) Japanese has structures built into it for all sorts of apologetics and honorifics and ‘saying no while not saying no’ and statements of relative status and so much more “baggage” to the English speaker; while the Japanese feel lost in terms of status awareness in English and feel English a bit brusque.

So it mostly depends on what you know most intimately. An experience English speaker knows “asymptotic” and how to say “Humble apologies from this wretched one oh Majesty, lunch is here, should it be acceptable.” More words, but still a decent “suck up”. French has 7 past tenses (so you can very precisely order the past) but not so many future tenses. Russian makes do with only one past tense. So “Hitler invaded Russia” in French can clearly mark that as well in the past and more passive, where in Russian one would say “Hitler invaded Russia a long time ago” or “Hitler invaded Russia this morning” (more or less) to make it clear how the timing runs. In the end, it is still which one you know best that will work best for ‘a tidy mind’ thinking.

What does that have to do with a Bible site? Simple. It lets folks see the same thing for themselves. To see how various languages are not all that different in final effect. To see how the ancient Hebrew carries the same notion as Modern English, or even not so modern English. Yet also to see some of the “lumps”. Where things are lost that ought not be lost. Where “free translations” lose some poetry, or some punch. And where Old English is just too obtuse to mean anything today.

For me, it’s just an interesting place to “kick around” for folks interested in languages, history, social structure and change, and even just the occasional bits of very old wisdom still found in some of those pages. Along with the sporadic answer to questions like “What makes Maccabees a non-book for some, and included for others?” Yes, I’d wandered through the Apocrypha in a couple of versions too. FWIW, some of the books some churches ‘left out’ are just not very important. Maccabees, for example, being largely just some history of those Kings. In? Out? Not much difference, really.

With this site, it’s like having a much larger Bible library to “kick around in” if the muse strikes me again. Or if some new question comes along to be a “dig here!” du jour. (Like that time I wanted to find out exactly what Ezekiel said and did it really sound like Space Aliens or more like God and Angels? Was it more, or less so, in older versions or in the original language?

For now, I’m probably pretty much done with such things. But you never know. Sometimes questions come up from the oddest places at the most unexpected times. This will let me scratch those particular itches a whole lot faster.

So I hope you enjoy that resource.

(For those of you not interested in the Bible, or about to post anti-religious complaints, please don’t. This is a place to be positive toward fellow travelers in life and accepting that each of us has our own way. I don’t care if you ‘believe’ or not. There is still a lot of good wisdom, interesting stories, and very old history in the collection of books that make up the Bible. Accept it for what it is to you, and let others do the same. Any complaints or insults to the beliefs of others will be snipped. It’s just not polite. I value polite… )

FWIW, in looking up some of the things I needed to find, I wandered some bits of the Bible I’d not read before. The amount of history in it is fascinating in its own right. So many kings, with so much ambition, do so much war making just to gain personal power and wealth. (Yes, I was reading Kings). Helps, in a way, to see how our present world is not so much different. With so many “Kings” of today, just as then, trying to take what they can by subjugating others. With so many “just plain folks” caught in the middle between Evil and Worse. Some things never change…

And I think that is a large part of what I find fascinating in the Bible.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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50 Responses to An Interesting Biblical Tool

  1. omanuel says:

    Thanks, E. M Smith, for information on cc and the need to protect primary information from those seeking to subjugate mankind. That is precisely the reason for the present demise of US society and government, as explained here: http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-3100

    Driven by a fear and loathing of the destructive nature of humans, leaders united to form the United Nations on 24 Oct 1945, to subjugate and deceive humans to prevent them from destroying life on earth with the forbidden knowledge of the power that vaporized Hiroshima – “neutron repulsion” [1]: http://tinyurl.com/a2ocxtq

    With deep regrets,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

    [1] Oliver K. Manuel, “Neutron repulsion,” The Apeiron Journal 19, 123-150 (2012)
    http://redshift.vif.com/JournalFiles/V19NO2pdf/V19N2MAN.pdf

  2. Julian Jones says:

    Though we have stopped stoning adulterers around these parts (for the time being at least) it seems there is implicit as well as explicit wisdom in the Bible (and Koran) – the story of Joseph interpreting the Pharoah’s dream – the seven fatted calves & lean, perhaps a rough approximation of the solar signal in rainfall periodicity, wet & dry phases perhaps.
    I spent an amazing (mindboggling) day with a leading man in LENR related water energy – he divulged that all his designs are based on the ‘secret numbers in the Bible’ – he even determined if he would meet me by these …

  3. jeremyp99 says:

    King James man myself, no contest. Nor am I a practising Christian (default maybe). The language of the King James version is magnificent. Whatever the most recent one is, it reflects all that is weak-kneed about modern Western society these days.

    Gimme that old time religion…

  4. Gail Combs says:

    I agree with Jeremy. You do not have to be a Christian to appreciate a book (King James version) that has shaped so much history. Translating it into modern drivel is akin to translating Shakespeare or Chaucer. (Writing middle English was all the rage at my high school thanks to Chaucer and J R R Tolkien)

    As far as I am concerned it is all part of the ‘Dumbing Down’ trend in US schools. Latin used to be required in high school for those headed to university, then you were hard put to even find a high school that taught Latin or even German because it was ‘Too Hard’
    A Brief History of Education in America is an eye opener.

  5. mkelly says:

    Let there be light!

    Let there be strings!

    I like the first one better.

  6. jeremyp99 says:

    Major dumbing down in the UK, tho’ kudos to the Education Minister, Michael Gove, who has taken the bull (in the form of the National Union of Teachers [hard left]) with the intention of actually teaching kids in the formal sense of the word. Happily we don’t seem yet to be going down the horrendous “Common Core” road. Me? I’d teach everyone how to spell, how English grammar works, Latin as the grounds for that, and Classical History so that we know where we come from. Lose your roots and that’s it.

    There’s an interesting debate going on re USA education here….

    http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com

  7. diogenes says:

    I guess you are aware of James Murray the lexicographer. He used to read Bibles in as many languages as he could and was able to construct banners to welcome visiting dignitaries from just about any country, using phrases from the Bible in their native tongue. And of course, in the bad old 19thc., many 3rd world languageses were first written down as a by-product of the need to produce Bibles.

  8. Tim Clark says:

    OK,
    I’m ready for some philosophy on this beautiful Friday.
    A bit of ethereal truth I’ve been pondering recently.

    From the link below, we all have a “god center” in the brain.
    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/god-brain-tumor-surgery-points-brains-religious-center/story?id=9796634

    Slightly different take:
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,507605,00.html
    “Reading a statement that you have been asked to compare your own personal beliefs with certainly will activate your own belief system,” Grafman pointed out. He and his colleagues observed brain regions relating to disgust or conflict lighting up in response.

    Then you have the Bible (forgot to include translation)
    Luke 24:45-49
    Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
    Acts 2:1-5
    When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.

    Notwithstanding the allegory, the ponder is, in the studies, some folks responded with joy, etc. while others with disgust or conflict.

    Reconcile that data…………Why do some have disgust and others not?

  9. Tim Clark says:

    Opps: My post must have been too long or I forget to add:

    ……….in this context:

    Galatians 5:22-23
    New International Version (NIV)
    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

  10. P.G.Sharrow says:

    Tim Clark says:
    5 April 2013 at 4:09 pm “Notwithstanding the allegory, the ponder is, in the studies, some folks responded with joy, etc. while others with disgust or conflict.”

    While dealing in the field of psychic or spirit I also find that there are those that feel that this is heaven or others that this is hell. It seems to cloud their view of world events and others behavior. People that feel this is heaven are a blessing to be around. Those that feel that this is hell are a real pain to deal with. pg

    @EMSmith; Last night I checked up on the Carbon Church site to see if you had continued. Seems you must have “heard” my concerns ;-) I look forward to your thoughts. pg

  11. jeremyp99 says:

    On the “God centre”. All very well, the scientists may have found where it is and what it does. But they haven’t found WHY it is there, have they?

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    @jeremyp99:

    I noticed you just gave the main site link, so was going to pick up “the” topic link (as, a year or two from now, the main top link may be discussing very different things…) and found as I scrolled back through the articles that there was quite a list of interesting ones… No wonder you gave just the top site link!

    http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/imitating-the-ussr-in-striving-to-discover-how-the-child-can-become-what-he-not-yet-is/

    http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/viewing-education-as-the-prime-lever-for-international-social-change-community-organizing-everywhere/

    http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/does-community-of-learners-sound-warm-fuzzy-and-harmless-its-not/

    http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/targeting-how-students-see-the-world-so-they-will-feel-an-irresistiable-compulsion-for-change/

    http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/can-an-education-degree-authorize-bait-and-switch-political-insurrections-with-no-recourse/

    http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/students-must-see-themselves-as-active-participants-in-social-change-and-designers-of-social-futures/

    http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/what-happens-when-the-hidden-goal-of-education-is-interrupting-pre-existing-social-stratifications/

    http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/specifying-new-education-economic-and-social-models-as-the-final-act-of-the-civil-rights-movement/

    http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/well-no-wonder-no-one-listens-to-common-core-complaints-if-it-is-tied-to-federal-revenue-sharing/

    (Particularly interesting to me since, after years of spousal complaints she is leaving the teaching field rather than be forced to teach things that are mandated yet evil / wrong / socialist-left.)

    Then an interesting story about using RICO on one of them…

    http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/misportraying-the-conspiracy-covers-up-the-broader-plans-of-political-and-economic-transformation/

    @diogenes:

    Had not heard the name. Will need to look him up.

    @Tim Clark:

    Well…. maybe it depends on WHAT the individual really holds as their belief system….

    (So a truly moral person might end up satisfied, while a truly evil one might ‘see the light’ a bit and feel down as they scurry back to darkness…)

  13. Zeke says:

    “For me, it’s just an interesting place to “kick around” for folks interested in languages, history, social structure and change, and even just the occasional bits of very old wisdom still found in some of those pages.” ~EM Smith

    This is an extraordinarily important analysis and discussion of languages, and emphasizes the power of individuals to work with original texts. It is not unlike the value in science of publishing the data and making it available along with a paper.

    We are all well aware of the many clever Western scholars and philologists who are more than willing to interpret the ancient texts for every one else. Yet, this is very much like the scientists and experts who arrive at a consensus and select and adjust the data in order to confirm the popular theory. There is no problem with these books and people who read wish to voluntarily seek them out and read them; however, just as in science, there must be standards for preserving the original data. And as in science, direct experience of the texts is also a greater value than the interpretations by academics and experts. (If we wish for an illustration of the dangers of a priesthood which hides the original texts and proclaims the meanings of them for everyone else to follow, we need look no further than the Papal Bull which prohibited the translation of the scriptures from Latin into any common tongue in c. 1292. Many abuses such as indulgences and relic reverence followed.)

    But there is a safe guard in preserving faithfully the texts in many translations, and in directly experiencing them yourself; and for extra credit in understanding any religion, it is necessary to actually practice it. That is the same as the value of experimentation in science.

  14. P.G.Sharrow says:

    The “God Center” actually exists. If you really “listen” you can hear it speak. But many don’t like what they hear or ignore it totally as inconvenient truth. It is your connection to “That which is” or “The Great Spirit” or God. The Greek ideal of some omnipotent dude on a clouded mountain is just dumb. Time to get rid of this person and grasp the connection of psychics and physics. pg

  15. Zeke says:

    Remember that these scientific principles also apply to the legends and myths and sacred texts around the world: the greatest care must be taken in gathering, preserving, and in archiving them for others to read directly.

    The most enduring scholarly works on sacred texts are those which preserve them faithfully without obscuring them through modern expectations. For example, EW West, the self-taught orientalist, found and published excellent translations of ancient Zoroastrian documents. Again, this is the equivalent of preserving the data in science.

    We also highly value the work of early settlers, such as for example Frank Hamilton Cushing, who recorded North and Meso American myths as they heard them from Indians. Adrienne Mayors wrote that this simple ability by amateurs (often Christians themselves) to ask questions of the natives, and to record what they heard, was somehow lost during the 19th century, when professional anthropologists and academics took over the study of paleontology/geology/anthropology in the United States. It is due to these amateurs that we have many of the oral legends preserved in writing. The accurate preservation and direct experience of myths and legends is a higher value than accepting the conclusions of clever philologists and scientists.

    This will become important, as there are movements which claim to use science to authoritatively interpret “correctly” the meaning of all of these ancient legends and wisdom writings. It is a fatal conceit as positivism, and it is also not a very scientific approach.

  16. Gail Combs says:

    jeremyp99 says:
    5 April 2013 at 3:27 pm

    There’s an interesting debate going on re USA education here….

    http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com
    Thanks Jeremy, I am aware of Robbin through WUWT and generally agree with him. Unfortunately it is tough to keep up with all the battlefronts. Food, Energy, Education…

  17. Gail Combs says:

    P.G.Sharrow says:
    5 April 2013 at 6:38 pm

    The “God Center” actually exists. If you really “listen” you can hear it speak….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    And those without are probably our sociopaths, the people with out ‘conscience’

  18. P.G.Sharrow says:

    Gail Combs says:” it is tough to keep up”

    Specially if you are running a farm as well!
    I”m glad to hear what you have to say. Sometimes it is good to just watch the grass and lambs grow. pg

  19. Tom Bakewell says:

    Sir, I suspect you might be aware of Bart D. Ehrman. If not I believe you would enjoy reading some of his books or listening to his courses from “The Great Courses”. The beginning of “Misquoting Jesus” has quite a bit to offer on the very early history of Christianity and multiple translations ‘difficulties’.

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    So… NI Week? National Instruments week? It’s i August…

    http://www.ni.com/niweek/

    @Tom Bakewell:

    Name is sort of familiar… As are the titles…

    Has a web site: http://www.bartdehrman.com/

    Looks interesting… ( As I can feel hours lining up to run away from ‘doing work’ ;-)

    @P.G:

    Or the kale and the bunnies ;-)

    BTW, I fully agree with the notion that “God is in all of us”… and maybe even pushes our buttons in one particular ‘nexus’ of the brain…

    @Zeke:

    Once spent many months finding the oldest Greek and Latin texts available (on line or in the Bible Store we had then). Eventually found out two important things:

    1) There’s a couple of hundred year “gap” from the start of things to when “This is important, we need to preserve it” happened for the New Testament; and the Old Testament went through some “times of troubles”. So both have some “issues” with early provenance.

    2) After about 200 AD to 300 AD, nothing changes much. (Modulo some guys in Rome tossing out books that other folks kept…).

    Later, got copies of the Dead Sea Scrolls (available in books) and the Gnostic Bible. Found out that even the Time Of Troubles didn’t do too much to stop Jews from keeping that Old Testament pretty darned consistent for a few thousand years.

    Frankly, it looks like keeping our understanding of what the words mean has been as much trouble as actual text preservation. Languages drift over time. Sometimes in large ways, some times in small subtle important ones.

    IMHO, the only person who can ‘correctly interpret’ a myth or legend is a living practitioner of the culture. The older the better… Everyone else is guessing and making stuff up.

  21. Zeke says:

    “Frankly, it looks like keeping our understanding of what the words mean has been as much trouble as actual text preservation.” ~ChiefIO

    This is why the “clever philologists” are actually extremely important contributors, even if they like to think that comparing etymological roots, or using the history of languages, is the only valid approach to knowing a text. Most often, this methodology is used to dice up a text and insert supposed “priestly revisions” from later dates. But the nitpicking about words can still bring benefit and some historical context. And some of comparative mythologists rifle through the ancient legends in order to find visual themes; they have successfully shown there are incredible agreements around the world at the substructure of many myths; however, this too has severe limitations.

    The limitation of these approaches is that they do not acknowledge the esoteric or spiritual content. Western scholars work entirely under a linguistic paradigm and do not acknowledge the spiritual meaning at all. We can use an analogy: man has a physical body, but it is animated by a spiritual force. In the same way, a text has an exterior and historical meaning, but it can convey and esoteric meaning. Totally lost on scholars, but we accept that about them, bless their scholarly hearts.

    “Languages drift over time.” – And this amplifies importance of preserving the work of various translators of the past. These were often wonderful amateurs outside of academia. Once again we see the necessity of keeping the various translations alive, and available. People should be able to experience these myths first hand, and to check what the scholars say about them. This is the data. There are authorities who would like to claim to sum up give the meaning of texts, and then in turn to claim that all religions say the same thing. But the original data must be preserved and not hidden by the one-world religion movement.

  22. Zeke says:

    In short, the original myths and sacred texts must be preserved as data, and not hidden or homogenized by the one world religion movement;

    The data is best experienced first hand by individuals, not interpreted solely by weasely Western scholars;

    Many religions, esp. the Bible, are meant for practice and long commitment, which will or will not give results, esp. over a lifetime – this is the same as the value of experimentation and observation in science. It is meant to be done, not heard; though both are complimentary. Scientists should be able to respect this part of traditional religions well and not interfere with the importance of the practice of faith, any more than a person of faith would tell a scientist not to experiment with the force of electricity or of a magnetic field.

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    @Zeke:

    Well put. I like my data raw, unsauced, and unsalted. ;-)

  24. Sera says:

    I find it interesting that there are bits of the bible that many people have not read before. Think about that for a second. How many books have you read only pieces of? And why didn’t you read the whole book? I think that part of the problem is the way the book is studied and interpreted. If you read the bible from start to finish, it leaves you with an impression that might be different than just picking out a verse here and there trying to place meaning to it.

    I can’t think of any other book that is treated this way.

  25. P.G.Sharrow says:

    I am always surprised how little of a churches Dogma is based on it’s founding “Book”. They have to pick and choose the “passages” needed to justify their view point. Kind of like lawyers choosing their own facts to make their argument. pg

  26. punmaster says:

    Lawyers choosing their own facts? I am shocked, shocked, I tell you! Why, next thing you know there will be government agencies, perhaps even the President doing that!

    @jeremyp99:
    While I find much of the King James Version to be stirring, I also find it cumbersome, and occasionally hard to follow. I don’t see the difference in ” he sayeth unto me”
    or ” saidst he unto me ” and ” he said to me, ” or just ” he said. ” One or two of the ” he sayeth unto him ‘ has required re-reading several times to make sure who was talking to whom. Mind you, I am a lover of words, their sounds and their meanings, and I prefer clarity and the straightforward to the grandiose. If Longfellow can say ” Into each life some rain must fall, Some days must be dark and dreary. ” and mean life isn’t a bed of roses in fourteen words, why can’t God?

    What do you mean, “How you do go on!” ;)

  27. pboucher1 says:

    @punmaster:

    “While I find much of the King James Version to be stirring, I also find it cumbersome, and occasionally hard to follow.”

    Perhaps you already understand there are more substantive differences between the King James Version and almost all newer translations. But if you do not..

    There are at least 2 main issues from 1 main cause: underlying Greek text differences.

    Issue 1. The newer Bibles have removed several portions or entire verses from the Bible.

    Issue 2. The newer Bibles have different words. Ex: Mark 1:2-3 quotes 2 prophets: Mal3:1 and Isa40:3. However, many (if not all) modern Bibles follow the underlying Greek text preferred by modern textual critics which uses the word “Isaiah” (falsely attributing the references to 1 prophet instead of multiple).

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/109647989/The-Nestle-Aland-27-Textual-Apparatus-in-Mark-1-835

    The “traditional text” (more or less the “Textus Receptus”) which underlies the KJV also quotes both books but correctly does not claim both quotes are from Isaiah (instead using just the word “prophets”).

    This is just 1 of many glaring differences between Bible versions which are more than just stylistic in nature. For the serious student of the Bible, this can be a never-ending study. However, the basic fundamental foundation for many KJV people like myself is the belief that God not only gave a perfect pure word, but that the all powerful God of the universe was able and willing to preserve it and that many would “corrupt the word of God”

    The Trinitarian Bible Society has a link describing this passage and many others.

    http://www.tbsbibles.org/articles/what-todays-christian-needs-to-know-about-the-greek-new-testament

    Many corrupt.

    (2Co 2:17) For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

    Did God really say that?

    (Gen 3:1) Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

  28. E.M.Smith says:

    @Sera:

    The Bible is more a “library” than a book. (That is why we speak of “The books of the Bible.’) Many folks buy a small library, then do not read all the books. (Or, like an encyclopedia, do not read it start to end.)

    I tried to read it, start to end, once; and ran right into the “Begats”. A list of ancestry that is very tedious to a 10 year old… ( I later picked up the reading past that point, and even later, went back and finished the Begats… but the precedent had been set, and ‘book / verse skipping’ happened from that point on as some parts were less interesting than others…)

    IMHO, a lot of the ‘skipping around problem’ is due to The Begats, based on discussion with others who set out to read front to end, and had the same result ;-)

    @P.G.:

    Well, that was the reason for the Protestant revolt, was it not?… There is an interesting disconnect between some sects as Dogma from one is shown to have “no scriptural basis” for adoption in the other. Two Papal Decrees per Mary (1850ish? for one) are not followed by Anglican / Episcopalian churches (despite agreeing on many others) while being central to the mythology of Mary to the Catholics. (Please note: I’m using “mythology” in the formal anthropology sense of a cultural important story; not in the pejorative sense of ‘fiction’…) So even the various Churches recognize that they (or more often, their ‘competition’ ;-) don’t have much “Scriptural foundation” for some of their positions…

    (IIRC, it was the “Mary born without sin” immaculate birth bits. That is not the Immaculate Conception of Jesus, but that Mary herself was born free of ‘original sin’. Pope said it, but you won’t find it in the Bible, per the Episcopalians.)

    @Punmaster:

    The use of pronouns in the KJV often reflects the original text, but without the cultural and linguistic clues of the original language as to who is whom. ( Or, in modern English “who is who” as an example of loss of such a marker…)

    One of my favorite examples of difference of translation that matters, but is not a real change of intent, is a probable mistranslation of “Rope”. The verse about rich men, heaven, and camels…

    http://bible.cc/matthew/19-24.htm

    And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

    You find it essentially the same in ALL the translations on the link. Yet…

    Read the Peshitta
    http://www.aramaicpeshitta.com/AramaicNTtools/Lamsa/1_Matthew/Matthew19.htm
    (though the site looks to block cut / past and not worth the bother to break that ‘prevent’)

    and it says “easier for a rope to go through”

    I have a printed copy of the Peshitta. It is interesting that the original has been in the same language since the birth of Christianity and unchanged. Aramaic, the language most likely spoken by Jesus himself. The author points out that “camel” and “rope” differ by one little diacritic dot, and that the dots often were problematic in copy work. (Various things, like bugs, sometimes adding their own spots, other spots being prone to wearing off, or just not being seen by some translators / copy clerks; and sometimes just not being known to a translator that a little ‘dot’ could mean so much. The preface to the Peshitta has a few other examples, but nothing nearly so big. After doing a lot more “compares”, it is more like all the others than not. (With the dozen or so exemplars in the liner / lead in text being most of what exists…)

    Even with that, the difficulty of getting either a camel, or a rope, though the eye of a needle is about the same, so the meaning didn’t change….

    But for me, the analogy makes a lot more sense, and flows more smoothly, with a comparison of rope and ‘eye of needle’ vs camels…

    Yet pretty much everyone now translates it as “camel”. Oh well…

    http://www.peshitta.org/initial/peshitta.html

    The Peshitta is the official Bible of the Church of the East. The name Peshitta in Aramaic means “Straight”, in other words, the original and pure New Testament. The Peshitta is the only authentic and pure text which contains the books in the New Testament that were written in Aramaic, the Language of Mshikha (the Messiah) and His Disciples.

    In reference to the originality of the Peshitta, the words of His Holiness Mar Eshai Shimun, Catholicos Patriarch of the Church of the East, are summarized as follows:

    “With reference to….the originality of the Peshitta text, as the Patriarch and Head of the Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church of the East, we wish to state, that the Church of the East received the scriptures from the hands of the blessed Apostles themselves in the Aramaic original, the language spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and that the Peshitta is the text of the Church of the East which has come down from the Biblical times without any change or revision.”

    A sample image. Can YOU see all the little ‘dots’ over letters? Really?

    I’m sure it is a little easier in the original… but clearly it is easy to ‘miss a dot’.

    We have this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Bible-Ancient-Translation-Peshitta/dp/0060649232/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365264590&sr=8-1&keywords=peshitta+bible

    it looks like it is in Spanish as well:

    http://www.amazon.com/Peshitta-Spanish-Edition-Espanol-Editorial/dp/9704100000/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1365264590&sr=8-2&keywords=peshitta+bible

    Well, things have moved on. When we got ours (Lamsa) it was the only one available. Now they even have it in Hebrew and with a few other versions.

    http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&keywords=peshitta%20bible&page=1&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Apeshitta%20bible

    At any rate, it is ‘yet another copy’ and IMHO likely to be the most faithful to the original (though not much different at all; other than one Camel and a rope…) Mostly just a testimonial to how well the early copy work was done. ( IIRC, they use the early Hebrew for the Old Testament and the Aramaic is only the New Testament. Leaving each in their original language. Talk about your “preserve the data” ethic ;-)

    @Pboucher1:

    It’s a little worse than that…

    The Catholics largely depend on old Latin copies. Vulgate (available on line for download – I’ve done it…) that comes in a few versions (various ages of manuscripts found at different times, so some velum older than others…) Other folks go back to the Septuagint in Greek.

    There’s some folks assert the Vulgate came directly from the original Hebrew. The Septuagint was in some cases used to recover the earlier Hebrew after the Jews got scattered and lost much of their stuff…

    Now, even more and older copies of both the Vulgate and the Septuagint have been found in various archives (some of them Coptic church archives in Egypt where the Septuagint was first written).

    The basic problem is that early materials didn’t hold up well, so frequent copy was needed, and so errors in transmission ‘add up’ over the years. Mix in some “errors of translation” between languages, and those accumulate too with more ‘language changes’.

    Part of why I like the Peshitta as a cross check. Fewer copy losses (dry climate, great care, language of the locals so folks very familiar with it) and fewer translation losses.

    http://www.latinvulgate.com/

    has a parallel for Vulgate, KJV, and Douay-Rheims (another very interesting early translation)

    We’ve now got copies of early Latin and Greek texts from about 200-300 years AD where before it was closer to 600 AD (so a few copies later in the chain). While the KJV has some very good parts in it, and is mostly “done well”, it has some clear “issues” too. Partly when compared directly to the early texts (and various copy / translation errors show up) and partly when compared even to the original (later) Latin and Greek texts used in the original translations (i.e. the translators sometimes, um, took a small liberty or two…)

    In the end, IMHO, none of it really matters much (unless one is an obsessive compulsive monk worrying some detail…) as the general meaning holds true to the words. But sometimes a cherished bit of image or a favored attribution takes a ‘ding’. (Like camels vs ropes – still the “biggest” difference I’ve seen.)

    When you think about it, nearly 2000 years of copy work, using quill pens and skins, often by tallow candles, through all sorts of wars, plagues, famines, Muslim invasions, you name it. With skins and ink constantly rotting away. With only a few percent of the population even able to read or write at all. Through all that, the “errors” are measured largely in a few passages that have what are really not very important “issues” that don’t change the basic meaning. (One prophet or two? Well, what was said might matter a bit more than attribution… ) Yet even there, we now have many more copies of ever earlier source works, and can now spot more easily just where any given error showed up. And fix it.

  29. Steve C says:

    For the sake of exciting the country suffix followers out there, I’ll mention that my paid-for email account is at hush.ai … ;-)

    For the beauty of its translation, the KJV is the one I keep referring back to every time (while conceding the point about which him is who in some passages). There was a programme on TV a while back which showed the influence the KJV has had on the English language – I’ll try and find the title.

    At a school of my acquaintance, the classes studied the development of ‘religious English’, which included learning different versions of the Lord’s Prayer. I’m not sure what WordPress will do with some of the characters here, so if you can’t tell the eths (the bent-back lower case d with its stem crossed) from the thorns (the vertical line with the left half of a circle halfway down) I’ll put a translation below. OK, with that warning, here’s the Lord’s Prayer in mediaeval English:

    Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum;
    Si þin nama gehalgod
    to becume þin rice
    gewurþe ðin willa
    on eorðan swa swa on heofonum.
    urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg
    and forgyf us ure gyltas
    swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum
    and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge
    ac alys us of yfele soþlice

    Literal translation:
    Father our thou that art in heavens
    be thy name hallowed
    come thy kingdom
    be-done thy will
    on earth as in heavens
    our daily bread give us today
    and forgive us our sins
    as we forgive those-who-have-sinned-against-us
    and not lead thou us into temptation
    but deliver us from evil truly.

    Okay, WordPress …

  30. Steve C says:

    Looks good! WordPress, I took thy name in vain. And it’s the right half of a circle.

  31. Zeke says:

    The New KJV retains a lot of the same beauty and majesty of the older version without the obscurity of old English terms, but is not available on the link above. The Amplified Bible can be a remarkable tool. I thought EM raised a stunning question here:

    “I’ve mostly also answered the question from my “many language quest”. The answer to “What language is most suited to clean ‘tidy mind’ thinking?” is “the one which you learned from birth””

    Maybe Aramaic is best, or Greek, or Ye Olde Englishe. However, language is not the whole point; it is only meant to be the vessel. Of course we are a very verbal, detail and fact-oriented people; and that is wonderful. Yet there is another language that still belongs to all of us, and that is visual representation; after all, we all dream, and we all watch fiction or read fairy tales when we are young. And the pleasure of these is that you are speaking in an allegory. You will notice that many times, a parable is used to communicate in the Scripture. For example, Yeshua told the parable of the son who just takes his inheritance before his father is even dead, and then disappears a few days later. Walks out the door. But he is free to do so, and he is also free to come back. So there are times when what is being communicated is spiritual, and so the language used to communciate it is in imagery. The language of the letters explains things in more didactic terms. Either way, how do you describe an angel? Or heaven? So the challenge is not in which language – as EM says, your native language is best. The challenge is communicating invisible things to sense-oriented minds.

  32. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh, and I ought to add, that the Masoretic Jewish re-write of the Old Testament happened about 700-1000 AD (I ought to look that up…) to correct some errors that had accumulated over the years in various copies and to unify the different texts. It’s somewhat different from the (much older) Septuagint in many places. Some Bibles use one, some the other, some a bit of both; and some use other (such as Latin) earlier translations of various origins… (Then there is the Babylonian Jewish version… but most Bibles are not based on it…)

    So depending on just which group of old Jewish scholars you think did the best job of it, you can get variations in the Old Testament…. So those of 300 AD Geek Egypt? Or the guys 400 to 600 years later?
    http://www.bibliahebraica.com/the_texts/masoretic_text.htm

    has it as 7th to 10th centuries, so 6xx-9xx AD.

    As an example of the kind of “issue”, a lot of it is stuff like:

    The assumed emendations are of four general types:

    Removal of unseemly expressions used in reference to God; e.g., the substitution of (“to bless”) for (“to curse”) in certain passages.

    Safeguarding of the Tetragrammaton; e.g. substitution of “Elohim” for “YHVH” in some passages.

    Removal of application of the names of false gods to YHVH; e.g. the change of the name “Ishbaal” to “Ishbosheth.”

    Safeguarding the unity of divine worship at Jerusalem.

    So that whole Jehovah’s Witnesses thing of putting Jehovah (YHVH) back in where the KJV and similar often have “The Lord” or similar.

    Doesn’t really make much actual difference… And I’m reminded of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour joke about how in The South, they can make it sound like they are complementing you while calling you an idiot via “blessing”… As in: “John is trying to get a job again, bless his little heart”. (Meaning , that idiot could not get a job if he paid the employer to hire him, he is such an idiot.) So “bless” vs “curse”? Works in the south ;-)

    Yes, I’d spent months, once upon a time, going through all this, and reaching a whole lot of that kind of “doesn’t really change much of substance” conclusion. Yes, the odd passage or two can have substantial differences, but not the work as a whole, nor even most of the ‘somewhat different’ passages. There have also been many folks, far more skilled in the particular languages that I could ever be (many ‘native speakers’) with all the cultural references internalized devoting their entire professional life to ‘getting it right’, so I could have little “value added”.

  33. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M. You know buddy, these books were changed many times. As for the New Testament, we should also read, the recently discovered and translated, “The Nag Hammadi Library”.
    Not forgetting erasing, wholly removing from our psyche, the WRONG IDEA OF AN IMAGINARY OPPOSITION, DICHOTOMY, BETWEEN MATTER AND SPIRIT.
    We MUST remove also, from our psychic construct, the WRONG IDEA OF AGNOSTICISM “gnosis” it is not only a possibility but a DUTY, a homework we MUST do in this life.

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    @Adolfo:

    I actually have a paper copy of the Nag Hammadi LIbrary on the “Religion” shelf of my small library. Got it years ago.

    BTW, I’d rather not be called “buddy”. It can be taken two exactly opposite ways as “friend” (My buddy Adolfo) or as “Hey Buddy! Get your ass off my lawn!” semi-pejorative… And the printed form usually doesn’t make clear which one you are intending…

    As for the books “changing many times”:

    Yes, they have, but mostly in ways that are entirely insignificant and the direct result of minor transcription or translation errors. THE biggest change is not change IN a book, but which books are included in the Bible / Library – so the Nicean “edit” with tossing books they didn’t like and especially the Gnostic texts was the largest watershed. (I’ve covered that before on the Koran page – their rejection of the Western Bible most likely stems from Mohammed having used an Eastern more Gnostic text.)

    So, for example, the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary (where there is even evidence from other quite early sources) were “left out” by the Church Of Rome.

    http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl_thomas.htm

    Greek Fragments from the Gospel of Thomas

    At the very beginning of the twentieth century three separate fragments from Greek versions of the Gospel of Thomas were discovered during archeological excavations of an ancient library in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt. (Fragments of the Gospel of Mary were also found at Oxyrhynchus.) The three papyrus fragments of Thomas – known as the Oxyrhynchus fragments – date to between 130 – 250 CE.

    Translations of the sayings found in these Greek fragments of Thomas are presented here, followed by versions of the same sayings as they appear in the Coptic manuscript found at Nag Hammadi (we have used the Lambdin translation of GTh).

    So there’s fair evidence that the Gnostics have valid foundational texts from, in some cases, earlier than the Vulgate and the Septuagint.

    But for texts that ARE in the current Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hamadi Library; the most striking thing about them, for me, was just how much they were the same.

    As a “preserve ALL the data” type; I’ve advocated for looking at ALL the texts. The Catholic Vulgate, the Hebrew, the Coptic, the Syriac, the Nag Hamadi, the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Masoretic, the Septuagint, the Apocrypha, the Ethiopian (that have a slightly different Bible / Library…), the…

    To the extent I’ve compared things, they are far more alike than different. (Modulo the Koranic versions of the Bible stories, that are more like simplified half remembered oral tradition liner notes about the story…) The major differences being that some books are in, and some out, in the various Bibles. Personally, I’d just put them all in…

    An online version:

    http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/nag_hammadi/contents.htm

  35. Zeke says:

    There are many many “gospels.” You can go take your pick. You can even write a book and say, behold the Gospel of Me Myself and I. In my country, men have founded churches of their own and added books of their own. It does not even have to be ancient!

    But the four harmonize with the Old Testament and with one another.

    This does not harmonize:
    “Damn the flesh that depends on the soul. Damn the soul that depends on the flesh”
    or
    “Simon Peter said to them, “Make Mary leave us, for females don’t deserve life.” Jesus said, “Look, I will guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the domain of Heaven.”

    And that is why obviously to include it would be totally incoherent.

  36. Zeke says:

    Makes herself male. You have got to be kidding me.

  37. punmaster says:

    @pboucher1
    I appreciate your comment. I was aware of some of the differences. Your links are quite helpful.

    @E.M.Smith
    Thank you for the Peshitta link. I look forward to studying this. This sort of thing is why I come back.

  38. Zeke says:

    “This is a place to be positive toward fellow travelers in life and accepting that each of us has our own way.” ~ChiefIO

    I think I just violated the terms. I did not handle that well, for various reasons. I am sorry.

  39. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Zeke: The real story, as told by “The Nag Hammadi Library”, is that Peter and some of his comrades, could not bear Mary Magdalene having been left by Jesus as his representative…
    ..After Mary finishes recounting her vision to the disciples, Andrew and then Peter challenge her on two grounds. First of all, Andrew says, these teachings are strange,. Secondly, Peter questions, would the Savior really have told such things to a woman and kept them from the male disciples….The confrontation of Mary with Peter, a scenario also found in the “Gospel of Thomas, Pistis Sophia”, and “The Gospel of the Egyptians”…..Peter and Andrew respresent orthodox positions that deny the validity of esoteric revelation and reject the authority of women to teach
    “Peter answered and spoke concerning these same things: Did He really speak with a woman without our knowledge (and) not openly?
    BTW, for those of you who ignore it, when in the last 20th century, in Spain, during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco (which had up to 11 Ministers-Secretaries-who belonged to the “Opus Dei” of “Saint” Maria Escrivá de Balaguer- founder of that order-) women were considered “soul-less” and if a man wanted to divorce, he just needed to denounce her wife to the police for being adulteress; no proof was needed as, according to the teachings of such a “saint” (who btw had bought his nobility title of “De Balaguer”). Women were considered, as I said, of not possessing a soul “like dogs”.

  40. adolfogiurfa says:

    And we are not talking here of something of the remote or lost past: The consequences of Peter´s position, and afterwards of his newly concocted “church” corporation, where Gnosticism (the possibility of “gnosis” -knowledge by man-) was proclaimed as a heresy, are what we NOW know as “consensual science” or “official science”, up to the extreme of making us believe in such official “Saints” as “Saint Newton” or lastly “Saint Einstein”, Saints which have been “produced” in the same way as show business “stars” are produced, and making them proclaim half truths or complete falsehoods, with the sole purpose of keeping humanity “hypnotized” and kept as convenient slaves.

  41. Zeke says:

    Still it is logical to point out that Jesus saying he would “turn women into men” so they could live is not coherent with anything else in the entire Scriptures.

    It is however reflective of the ancient pagan world, and of the Romans and Greeks, who were not conjugial and regarded women as possessions.

  42. R. de Haan says:

    I prefer the Bible in the form of a book. You can’t burn digital bibles (no intend to insult anybody, just talking about a real emergency when a little warmth is badly needed and prayers didn’t help…

  43. E.M.Smith says:

    @Zeke:

    You will note in the first translation in the link that that particular saying is probably added later, so a bit suspect. (The ‘turn into a male’ line). There are similar “issues” with the “accepted canon”…

    Or one could take it as a metaphorical as opposed to literal meaning. For a woman to behave more like a man, and adopt more male values. (There were some women in the early church history who ran around dressed in more ‘male’ manner and preaching – acting independent like men… eventually many were attacked by the more male-dominant church sects… The world there and then was not ready for ‘equality of the sexes’… which is thought to be part of why the Catholic church attacked the Gnostics so much.)

    Then consider the context of an, essentially, primitive era Arab-like culture. A culture where men were everything and women were treated as less than cattle. That’s a large load of chauvinism and bigotry to turn around. So a wise teacher will not take it head on, but “Join with the opposing force and turn it. -E.M.Smith” So first agree with the ‘men are special’, then turn it to ‘but women can become special if they follow the path’… Personally, I see it as a bit of “moral Aikido”… inside the cultural context of the day.

    So no, one need not be ‘kidding’ at all.

    Furthermore:

    I’m not one of those folks who takes the whole Bible as being some kind of Divine Perfection. It’s a set of books, written by men (and perhaps a woman or two, such as the Gospel of Mary), that largely records their experience (for the New Testament), history (Old Testament too), and wisdom (lots in the Old Testament).

    That means I see it more as a record. As ULC founder Hensley put it “a lumberyard” from which various sects collect the materials to build their particular beliefs and church.

    Think that involved “picking and choosing” and “that would be wrong”? (To quote Ron White ;-) Well, how about that whole Leviticus thing? How many Christians follow Leviticus to the letter and keep Kosher? (As just one example… or circumcision as another…)

    So since there is always picking and choosing and it was all written and recorded by fallible human beings; I’d rather have a larger lumberyard and hardware store to shop in…

    BTW, I’m rather fond of “Damn the flesh that depends…” as it, to me, says that the soul does not depend on the flesh, and that having failures of the flesh need not hobble the soul. A rather useful thought…

    Per “violating the terms”…. What’s that line about foregivness toward others? ;-) Something about tossing rocks, or was it glass houses? ;-)

    @Adolfo:

    Well put. It was the conflict between the early Jesus lead Christians with their acceptance of women and men as of equal merit, with the dominant culture (both there, and in Rome) that lead to much of the “schism” between the Gnosics (who were around first, and were closer to Jesus in time, space, and beliefs) and the later and more “hierarchical power” oriented male dominated Roman Empire Church. It was then 1000+ years before the Protestants wrested back control of “their church” from the power structure and started a slow march back toward the Gnostic understanding that “Anyone Can Know”. That it is within each of us.

    And a hearty “YES!” to the understanding that the same “Authority Driven Truth” vs “Personal Knowing” is at the heart of the conflict between “Consensus Science” and the “Way Of The Skeptic”… That same Catholic vs Gnostic divide, but in a broader field than religion…

    Or, to be blunt: Pope? POPE?! We don’t need no stiiinking Pope! (Which was, in essence, what the Gnostics said to Rome… and got crushed for it…. and what Skeptics said to the IPCC and the jury is still out – but how many rocks and arrows were tossed / are tossed at skeptics?… “Authority” really hates to hear, as P.G. puts it “We don’t need them.” )

    So, quite frankly, a large part of why I like the Gnostic Texts, is simply because it is a way of saying “Um, I can pick out my own lumber, thank you. Perhaps you can go ‘help’ someone else… no, no ‘tithe’ from me, thanks…” I don’t need someone else chewing my food for me, nor doing my thinking for me, and certainly don’t need them making it mandatory…

    @R. de Haan:

    But but… The Li-ion battery can burn VERY hot and nicely! (CDs burn too, but not as well as paper… still, in an emergency, Government Regulations have far more embodied energy in them, though they are damned hard to get lit and burn with a putrid festering smoke… but the good thing is that they never run out – there is an infinite supply… )

    (Said in jest… but thinking about it… I wonder if there are any agencies that ‘must supply’ documents or rules upon request? Might be a decent source of fuel… “Please send the regulations on importing alien species.” ;-)

  44. Zeke says:

    Let’s say our goal is to find out what Yeshua taught about women.

    Whenever asked about divorce, Yeshua referred to the passage in Genesis which describes the creation of the woman. She is created along with man; she is distinct and different from him; and she is co-creator and co-equal in his life, mission and pursuits. She is an equal and an exact complement, with whom perfect conjunction is possible. The two he said, “shall become one.”

    There was no blessing or powers given to Adam in the garden. That was given to both together.

  45. Zeke says:

    Of course, this was as foreign-sounding then as it is now. It went right over their heads. They asked, “Then why did Moses tell us to give her certificate of divorce?” So he said “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses permitted you to divorce your wives. But from the Beginning it was not so.”

  46. P.G.Sharrow says:

    The Evolution of the Soul can only take place in the Embrace of the Body.
    You have the ability to consciously evolve your soul. Without the body a soul can not change.
    Psychics and Physics begin at the same point. Understand this and you will see the face of God. pg

  47. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G. The difference it´s only a matter of frequency and density of vibrations; the higher closer to us is the Sun and much higher the center of our galaxy.

  48. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Zeke: Forget dichotomies AT ALL!, there is none!, there is a “continuum” from the coarsest to the finest. Read chapter ninth of:
    http://www.giurfa.com/fragmentsof.pdf

  49. Zeke says:

    Adolfo says: Read chapter ninth of…

    Thank you Adolfo, I bought a Gurdjieff/Ouspensky book in a second hand store just recently and thought of you because you introduced me to him. I find matches between Gurdjieff’s teachings and brain science and enjoy his philosophical insights.

  50. P.G.Sharrow says:

    @Adolfo; The sun is big, dumb, and in great chaos, so not part of “the light” but very energetic. We draw our energies from that great furnace but we can add Intelligence to that energy. pg

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