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Specific collections of biblical writings. Increasingly, the biblical works have been subjected to literary and historical criticism in an effort to interpret the biblical texts, independent of churches and dogmatic influences. In the middle of the second century , Marcion of Sinope proposed rejecting the entire Jewish Bible. He considered the God portrayed therein to be a lesser deity , a demiurge and that the law of Moses was contrived.


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Jews discount the New Testament [12] and Old Testament deuterocanonicals , Jews and most Christians discredit the legitimacy of New Testament apocrypha , and a view sometimes referred to as Jesusism does not affirm the scriptural authority of any biblical text other than the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels. Elizabeth Anderson , a professor of philosophy and women's studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor , states that "the Bible contains both good and evil teachings", and it is "morally inconsistent". Anderson criticizes commands God gave to men in the Old Testament, such as: kill adulterers, homosexuals, and "people who work on the Sabbath" Leviticus ; Leviticus ; Exodus , respectively ; to commit ethnic cleansing Exodus , Leviticus ; commit genocide Numbers , Numbers —35, Deuteronomy —35, and Joshua 1—12 ; and other mass killings.

Anderson criticizes what she terms morally repugnant lessons of the New Testament. She claims that "Jesus tells us his mission is to make family members hate one another, so that they shall love him more than their kin" Matt , that "Disciples must hate their parents, siblings, wives, and children Luke ", and that Peter and Paul elevate men over their wives "who must obey their husbands as gods" 1 Corinthians , , Eph.

Simon Blackburn states that the "Bible can be read as giving us a carte blanche for harsh attitudes to children, the mentally handicapped, animals, the environment, the divorced, unbelievers, people with various sexual habits, and elderly women". Blackburn criticizes what he terms morally suspect themes of the New Testament. Blackburn provides examples of Old Testament moral criticisms, such as the phrase in Exodus , "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

He states that the Old Testament God apparently has "no problems with a slave-owning society", considers birth control a crime punishable by death, and "is keen on child abuse". The historicity of the Bible is the question of the Bible's "acceptability as a history".

Many fields of study span the Bible and history; such fields range from archeology and astronomy to linguistics and comparative literature. Scholars also examine the historical context of Bible passages, the importance ascribed to events by the authors , and the contrast between the descriptions of these events and other historical evidence. Archaeological discoveries since the 19th century are open to interpretation, but broadly speaking they lend support to few of the Old Testament 's narratives as history and offer evidence to challenge others. Biblical minimalism is a label applied to a loosely knit group of scholars who hold that the Bible's version of history is not supported by any archaeological evidence so far unearthed, thus the Bible cannot be trusted as a history source.

Tobin argue that pseudepigrapha within the New Testament invalidates it as a reliable source of information. Pervo details the non-historical sources of the Book of Acts.

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There are many places in the Bible in which inconsistencies—such as different numbers and names for the same feature, and different sequences for the same events—have been alleged and presented by critics as difficulties. However, authors such as Raymond Brown have presented arguments that the Gospels actually contradict each other in various important respects and on various important details.

Overview: Acts Ch. 13-28

Davies and E. Sanders state that: "on many points, especially about Jesus' early life, the evangelists were ignorant … they simply did not know, and, guided by rumour, hope or supposition, did the best they could". For example, many versions of the Bible specifically point out that the most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses did not include Mark , i.

This is known as the "Markan Appendix". The validity of the Gospels is challenged by writers such as Kersey Graves who claimed that mythic stories, that have parallels in the life of Jesus, support the conclusion that the gospel writers incorporated them into the story of Jesus [44] and Gerald Massey , [45] who specifically claimed that the life story of the Egyptian god Horus was copied by Christian Gnostics.

The comparative mythology of Jesus Christ examines the parallels that have been proposed for the Biblical portrayal of Jesus in comparison to other religious or mythical domains. Some critics have alleged that Christianity is not founded on a historical figure, but rather on a mythical creation. One of these views proposes that Jesus was the Jewish manifestation of a pan-Hellenic cult, known as Osiris-Dionysus.

Christ myth theory proponents [48] claim that the age, authorship, and authenticity of the Gospels can not be verified, thus the Gospels can not bear witness to the historicity of Jesus. Critics of the Gospels such as Richard Dawkins and Thomas Henry Huxley note that they were written long after the death of Jesus and that we have no real knowledge of the date of composition of the Gospels. Translation of scripture into the vernacular such as English and hundreds of other languages , though a common phenomenon, is also a subject of debate and criticism.

Because many of the words in the original language have ambiguous or difficult to translate meanings, debates over correct interpretation occur. Both ancient and modern translators are divided over this and many other such ambiguities. Those who view the Masoretic Text, which forms the basis of most English translations of the Old Testament , as being more accurate than the Septuagint, and trust its usual translation, may see this as an inconsistency, whereas those who take the Septuagint to be accurate may not.

More recently, several discoveries of ancient manuscripts such as the Dead Sea scrolls , and Codex Sinaiticus , have led to modern translations like the New International Version differing somewhat from the older ones such as the 17th century King James Version , removing verses not present in the earliest manuscripts see List of omitted Bible verses , some of which are acknowledged as interpolations , such as the Comma Johanneum , others having several highly variant versions in very important places, such as the resurrection scene in Mark A common point of criticism against the Bible is the Genesis creation narrative.

According to young Earth creationism , which takes a literal view of the book of Genesis, the universe and all forms of life on Earth were created directly by God sometime between 5, and 10, years ago.

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This assertion is contradicted by radiocarbon dating of fossils, as well as modern understanding of genetics , evolution , and cosmology. If all humans were descended from two individuals that lived less than 10, years ago, it would require an impossibly high rate of mutation to reach humanity's current level of genetic diversity. The argument that the literal story of Genesis can qualify as science collapses on three major grounds: the creationists' need to invoke miracles in order to compress the events of the earth's history into the biblical span of a few thousand years; their unwillingness to abandon claims clearly disproved, including the assertion that all fossils are products of Noah's flood; and their reliance upon distortion, misquote, half-quote, and citation out of context to characterize the ideas of their opponents.

Groups such as the BioLogos Foundation and Reasons to Believe have sought to reconcile these scientific challenges with the Christian faith. According to one of the world's leading biblical archaeologists, William G.

Evangelii Nuntiandi (December 8, ) | Paul VI

Dever ,. Archaeology certainly doesn't prove literal readings of the Bible It calls them into question, and that's what bothers some people. Most people really think that archaeology is out there to prove the Bible. No archaeologist thinks so. And for a long time it was thought to work. William Albright , the great father of our discipline, often spoke of the "archeological revolution. The truth of the matter today is that archeology raises more questions about the historicity of the Hebrew Bible and even the New Testament than it provides answers, and that's very disturbing to some people.

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Archaeology as it is practiced today must be able to challenge, as well as confirm, the Bible stories. Some things described there really did happen, but others did not. The biblical narratives about Abraham , Moses , Joshua and Solomon probably reflect some historical memories of people and places, but the 'larger than life' portraits of the Bible are unrealistic and contradicted by the archaeological evidence I am not reading the Bible as Scripture… I am in fact not even a theist. My view all along—and especially in the recent books—is first that the biblical narratives are indeed 'stories,' often fictional and almost always propagandistic, but that here and there they contain some valid historical information According to Dever, the scholarly consensus is that the figure of Moses is legendary , and not historical.


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This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, YHWH, had a female consort and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai.

Israel Finkelstein told the Jerusalem Post that Jewish archaeologists have found no historical or archaeological evidence to back the biblical narrative of the Exodus , the Jews' wandering in Sinai or Joshua's conquest of Canaan. On the alleged Temple of Solomon , Finkelstein said that there is no archaeological evidence to prove it really existed. Really, it's a myth [ I should tell them the truth. If the people are upset, that is not my problem. Biblical archaeology has helped us understand a lot about the world of the Bible and clarified a considerable amount of what we find in the Bible.

But the archaeological record has not been friendly for one vital issue, Israel's origins: the period of slavery in Egypt, the mass departure of Israelite slaves from Egypt, and the violent conquest of the land of Canaan by the Israelites. The strong consensus is that there is at best sparse indirect evidence for these biblical episodes, and for the conquest there is considerable evidence against it.

So although much of the archaeological evidence demonstrates that the Hebrew Bible cannot in most cases be taken literally, many of the people, places and things probably did exist at some time or another.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about criticisms of the Bible as a source of reliable information or ethical guidance. For the academic treatment of the Bible as a historical document, see Biblical criticism. Canons and books. Tanakh Torah Nevi'im Ketuvim. Christian biblical canons. Deuterocanon Antilegomena. Authorship and development.