For probably thousands of years, wandering migrants and traders swapped stories. Each time these tales were woven, changes were made. Tales from many cultures intermingled into what was eventually written, edited, translated, censored, and made to be politically correct. I.e. It is all BS and there can be no such a thing as an original edition (text)
I did know know the meaning of "deutero," and find that quite interesting. However, The Hebrew Scriptures, like many other myths, was passed orally before the texts were committed to writing. By default, many of the texts are "deutero" due to this. It is widely accepted that The Hebrew Scriptures have five authors: Y/J, E, P, D and the Redactor (the editor who tried to align the works). The Jews also created other documents to explain the discrepancies, i.e. the Midrash explains the two accounts of creation by introducing Lilith as Adam's first wife. I also read (don't ask me where--it was long ago) that the ancient Jews did not see the mythic elements of The Pentateuch as actual history, i.e. Eden was symbolic. Linguists can easily tell which texts are written by the same person. Christians will use Josephus as a proof that Jesus existed because there are two references to him, but one mentions James, brother of the "so-called Christ," and the other uses language/style not used by Josephus and is a later insertion by a Christian editor.
I have wondered for a while if there were “original texts” at all. If the books were written just to appear to be copies of (non-existent) older manuscripts. Then the users of the texts could assert that the dogma was older than it really is. It is likely that most of the Old Testament wa forged by scribes of king Josiah to justify his conquest of the northern kingdom. The New Testament was composed by the Roman rulers to help subjugate the lower classes in one easily controlled brain washing system. Somewhat effective as they keep the sheep killing each other rather than the patricians.
Excellent presentation. I would caution, however, that deciding whether someone is being fraudelent or out as opposed to inadvertently or ignorantly passing along incorrect informaton is largely a matter of intent. In the biblical writings, I would suggest that much of the contents were intentionally designed to win followers and convince others to behave in certain ways, but much of it, even though false, was written with genuine conviction of its truthfulness. By the way, I love the picture of the really ripped Jesus in the intro to some of the presentations in this series. Not exactly the way he is generally represented. Gave me a good laugh.
The book "The Closing of the Western Mind" by Charles Freeman demonstrates how early Christians fought over seemingly minor items like the question of whether Jesus was human or a god. Those aspects went back and forth and when one version gained favor the adherers of the other group were fought and even killed. This went on and on so we basically have a clear history of one written by the victors.
One thing that most forget is that the letters were said to be (in the Catholic bible anyway) "according to" not "by". Very very few in this period were literate, including Jesus so history was passed down orally and later written down and censored. Then it was translated in many languages and copied by people, usually monks, who had their own ideas and sometimes changed what was written. The King James version was commissioned by King James I with a set of goals in mind, "James gave the translators instructions intended to ensure that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology of, and reflect the episcopal structure of, the Church of England" one of which was to raise the status of the king.
Yes, like most religions it is pure BS and I have to laugh when I hear the term, "Biblical scholars."
I had a good friend who was brought up in a Catholic seminary ([stonyhurst.ac.uk]. He noticed that those who agreed to study for their orders were the simple minded and seldom questioned things. He had questions and left.
As an Atheist ( and still am an Atheist) studying Theology and Comparative modern Religions I often posed many similar questions and simply got the same answers as; " It is NOT for you to question, it IS simply for you to believe and thus make those who follow your teachings to believe as well."
That, basically, is the Credo of Seminaries of Xtianity.
Bart Ehrman wrote:
“One of the most amazing and perplexing features of mainstream Christianity is that seminarians who learn the historical-critical method in their Bible classes appear to forget all about it when it comes time for them to be pastors. They are taught critical approaches to Scripture, they learn about the discrepancies and contradictions, they discover all sorts of historical errors and mistakes, they come to recognize that a good number of the books of the Bible are pseudonymous (for example, written in the name of an apostle by someone else), that in fact we don't have the original copies of any of the biblical books but only copies made centuries later, all of which have been altered. They learn all of this, and yet when they enter church ministry they appear to put it back on the shelf."