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****UPDATE **** UPDATE*****UPDATE****
I have now proof read this review and also added some new information following the interesting account of Tomb 15 in the Valley of the Kings
Anyway I hope you enjoy this somewhat positivist account of The Bible and see what I am trying to say.......
IMPORTANT START NOTE
To those who know me and my style - you will know to read everything before you decide your opinion - for those who are new to my reviews - I hold no prejudices / no ulterior motive and you will not achieve anything if you read the first sentence or skip through quickly. As this is an important subject, and certainly an expansive one, I do not hope to cover all points, but throughout please bear this in mind: I know my theology I know my archaeology I know my psychology / sociology and even anthropology I do not pretend to understand religious devotion, but I will make a distinction between faith and trust - now please read on and I hope this interests you, intrigues you and possibly illuminates you. All uses of the term "Biblical" merely relates to the time of the Bible and nothing more.
Where to begin - let us make the obvious points first 1) Christianity is a massive world religion taking many forms 2) The Bible has only been taken over on the top bestseller spot by Harry Potter (I'm not joking - by the way I know my literary circles too) 3) Its teachings underpin Christian / most Western civilisation and international laws 4) Everyone knows what the Bible is, even non Christians 5) It is in two codexes The Old and New Testament 6) The Old Testament is the word of God 7) The New Testament is the Word of God as written by Man
Now some may dispute the semantics of these last two statements, but whether you believe the Bible, wrongly, to be wholly the Word of God or the distinction above does not effect the rest of this review...
So, where to start
I shall assume that we know certain key stories of the Bible, as I cannot possibly note them all here. If you are unsure go to your nearest church and borrow one or ask Gideon.
Unfortunately, no one can start there - if we could then we would all definitely know how the Universe was created.
No, we shall start at the oldest biblical artefact that we have:
1) In 23rd Century BC there was created what is today called the "Temptation Seal" from Mesopotamia and this depicts what appears to be a man and a woman sitting facing each other with a tree between them and behind the woman is a snake, both figures are fully clothed.
Many equate this with the story of Adam and Eve
2) Around the 21-22nd Century BC a giant Ziggurat (very primitive Pyramid and temple) was built in the City of Ur, again in Mesopotamia and that building was called "Bab-ili" which means "Gate of the God"
Many equate this structure with the story of the Tower of Babel
3) The Creation Epic made in the 7th century BC from Assyria. This is a very early written account of the Creation of the Universe; it parallels the Genesis story however it does include one very important difference: "The primeval Gods Apsu and Tiamut procreated the other Gods. In due course, this was regretted and a brood of Soldier Gods was created to destroy the Lesser Gods. The Gods chose Marduk and this God destroyed the lesser Gods."
At this point, it would be useful to note that the Gospel According to Judas also talks of the Lesser Gods (who created the Earth) and the Higher Gods (who are still attempting to reign in the problems caused by the creation of the Earth).
But I am getting ahead of myself......
There are, of course thousands of archaeological artefacts which picture, narrate and depict the themes displayed in the bible and this is still the Old Testament.
Essentially what it appears is that The Bible is merely a collection of pre-existing myths, histories and ideas from ancient times. For the accuracy of the Old Testament it is impossible to determine and perhaps fruitless to speculate. I at least hope to show briefly above that the Genesis stories are not the creation of the Hebrew race, but have been taken to include them for reasons, which we shall get on to soon.
So please bear with me for now.
Old Testaments notes
4) The only evidence for a King David of Israel is a single stone bearing the name of "David - The Great King" There is no more than this other than the Word of the Old Testament, this, archaeologically speaking, levels King David at the same position as Britain's King Arthur (although his name has completely separate connections with two areas of Britain (Glastonbury and Winchester)
5) King Solomon's temples and palaces have never been found and this perplexes (nay it downright annoys historians and archaeologists) because for so great a ruler as the Bible states there is no evidence of his existence in building or even baked clay texts. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The New Testament
But this is the crux of the story..... What of Jesus Christ - the man What of Jesus Christ - the legacy What of Jesus Christ - the spirit
Once there was a man who was born in poor accommodation and was met into the world by poor animal herders and some Kings of distant lands. He was given gifts at birth and grew to be twelve years old. Little is known of his years between 12 and 30 years old, but when he was 30 he became a great man and did Work of God he raised the dead - he walked on water - he turned water into wine - He died, travelled into the Afterlife and returned after 3 days. At this point, I would talk about him dying between two men who stole the sun and the moon from the sky and how he was forsaken by the spirit of God at the last. However, the story of Horus is a long and confusing one for those who do not know all its twists and turns.
Jesus Christ's story on the other hand is well known and as you may have noticed - is exactly the same. So who was this Horus - well he comes from the same place as Osiris and Isis and Ra - he is Egyptian and his story dates back almost as far as the dating of the first story of the Old Testament.
There are many more parallels with the story of Horus and the story of Jesus, and purely from the above I hope we can see that there is a danger that I am about to call The Bible a cheap schoolboy's plagiarisation.
However - this story has more mileage because I mentioned earlier the Gospel According to Judas - this was discovered in the 1940s and only recovered for restoration in 2002. (Certain people wanted more money that people wanted to pay) The Judas Gospel is what is known as a Gnostic text.
So a quick note is needed (a very basic definition) AGNOSTIC - Nothing can be known GNOSTIC - Only what is personally experienced can be known
All Gnostic texts were all discredited by the early church in 400AD: Gospel according to St. Peter Gospel According to Mary Gospel According to Judas (discovered 1949 dating from 150-200AD) Gospel According to Thomas (The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered 1947 dating from 150-200AD)
All these texts have been noted in writings of the Early Church dating from 180AD and so must have existed from at least this time also.
It should be pointed out that no actual documents of the gospels in the Bible physically exist dating before 170AD.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It is all too easy to say that the Bible is not contemporary if the earliest Gospel only dates from 170AD, that is 140years after the death of Christ. That is like me writing about 20 years of the Great Reform Act or how great Queen Victoria now she is married. Anyway - the Gnostic texts were discredited for a single reason - they told people to think for themselves and believe what they saw and not what the church told them......
But I should explain - this is not an intended to be a rant about how the church was evil and sought to crush and oppress its followers. However, we need to understand the time and the place to appreciate what was needed to be done:
Israel / Rome / North Africa and The Turks all were looking to capitalise on a failing Roman Empire. Roma had given strong leadership, authority and prosperity during its Empire. The church had been vilified in the early years. Gnostic texts were expanding on the early church ideas of reincarnation, salvation through knowledge and the idea of the spirit of Jesus Christ.
One question every Bible reader needs to ask themselves is why did the early Christian Church change its theology from a church that believed in reincarnation, knowledge and the Jesus spirit to one that believed in Heaven after one life / The Bible as authority and the emergence of Jesus Christ as an actual person.........
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jesus throughout (I could as far as to say the World) was nothing more than a spirit of goodness and truth. The Christian Church between 250 and 400AD began to change. The Bible was written creating a single definite person of Jesus Christ and all works were of a person. People could identify with a person and having a person die after standing up against the authorities was a good idea. To encourage obedience and consistency through the Church texts were written in Latin and Gnostic texts (written in local dialect) were forbidden. Death came after one life and if you messed it up you went to Hell.
Perhaps that is too strong, but where did the libraries of Greece go / what happened to the libraries in Constantinople. Why did Egypt burn. There is no denying (and certainly, the Vatican make no secret of it.) In the days of the Early Christian church many books were lost and many of these libraries were destroyed by over-zealous missionary and soldiers charged with destroying pagan literature. But it was not pagan literature - it was the church's own literature. That is why the earliest copy of the complete Old or New Testament only dates from 400AD and is called the Codex Sinaiticus (although this is incomplete). The church have no earlier texts because they were burnt as pagan texts.
In short (and that is exactly what this review has been) The Bible is not a Work of God - it is a work of man It does indeed contain religious instruction and does indeed contain the word of a Jesus spirit, but it should be noted that this Jesus is and never was a man - Jesus was only a myth which has been with man since he could think. The church have created a user-friendly religion by connecting myth with a man and that is why The Bible is important, but is nothing more that a variation on a theme. Read The Bible if you desire and by all means pray to your God - it cannot be argued yet that the God is not real or the Jesus spirit does not exist, but just tread very carefully in the valley of the shadow of death if you deign to consider your Jesus is a man and any of the stories are literal truth. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other points to consider
If St. Peter holds the keys to the gates of Heaven - why is his gospel not in The Bible? If Holder of Heavenly Keys were a government post - I think we would all question the appointment of man to this post whose own opinions about the job are not considered good enough.
Why is the Gospel according to Judas describing Judas as the only disciple Jesus approved of and why does Judas declared Jesus to be Son of the Higher Gods?
Why does the Book of Revelation of St John tell of Jesus being crucified in Nazareth when it was said of in all gospels as Jerusalem?
Why in all the Books of Paul which sets out the tenets of Christian belief does it make no mention of the Man Jesus? I have never spoken to any religious person or official without Jesus being mentioned within one or two sentences and yet Paul can speak the entire religion without mentioning the man.
Also, there is a translation error in All Bibles and I mean all Bibles. It is not even the Hebrew texts we should go back to, but to the Aramaic and the early Gnostics.
The Virgin Mary is not a "virgin", but a "young" Mary Moses did not part the Red Sea, but led the Jews safe passage across as if the sea had parted for a time.
Paul says he "sees Jesus" while this is true the actual term for "see" is from the Letters of Paul (housed in the Vatican / The Iraqi Museum, (I don't actually know if there are any in Israel) merely seeing as in a vision and not seeing as in 'with eyes'. This is important with regard to the idea of the Jesus spirit.
Jesus was not a man and was merely created from a multitude of perfectly valid myths pre-existing since time immemorial
The Bible is the Work of Man and there are many contradictions
The story of Horus parallels Jesus very closely.
Gnostic texts were destroyed by the Early Church to ensure consistency of the religion and had the side effect of causing widespread obedience which in time escalated into complete control (although I do not intend that the latter was intended at the time of the Early Church)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So what, after all this of this Tomb 15 I mentioned at the beginning....
If you go to the Valley of the Kings you will know of the tomb of Tutankhamen and you know of the tomb of Rameses II, you may wonder why Tutankhamen’s tomb seems to face towards another tomb. You may ask about Tomb 15 and be told it was created in a hurry and was badly damaged and appears to house a female royal person. If you look at the actual sarcophagi you may even ask why the face on Tutankhamen’s second coffin bears no resemblance to the other two and is this really a different person.......
And so you should.... but what has this to do with The Bible?
I will not step over the great works on this subject in recent years, but I will provide a taster of the evidence noted and the points raised.
There was a period in Egyptian history where the pharaoh Amonhotep discarded the belief in many Gods and dedicated himself to a single God and moved the pharaoh’s palace. During the end of his reign famine set in and following a huge and I mean huge volcano in the Mediterranean there set in a famine and plagues and a great darkness as ash covered the sky. The belief in the single redeemer God crumbled and the pharaoh was killed and treated as an outcast. So much so that Tomb 15 is a prison for the pharaoh’s soul and not a venerated tomb which allowed his body to pass into the afterlife. Tutankhamen died so young that preparations were not made - so the coffins for his brother were used for his sarcophagi.
Anyway in short - The Bible parallels a period in Egyptian history of praising a single God and also parallels a period in Jewish history where Jews were in Egypt and undoubtedly the two ideas conjoined much as the UK has embraced Hindi cultured today and then the Jews left to tell their stories.....
So in asking who created the Bible is like asking which came first the Jewish chicken or the Egyptian egg.
Carry on with your religion, the above cannot change your faith, but the point of all this is to say - You have to trust what you know and not have faith without reason and in the face of evidence. I guess I am kind of Gnostic like that.
I am happy give explanation and certainly enjoy any discussion you may wish to start.
A somewhat alternative approach to a "review" I feel.
Expired-Account 09.08.2007 17:06
I chose to comment but not rate, as this is just my opinion, I felt it was a very interesting critique but not a reveiw. Some benefits of the bible could be explored in order to make it less one sided. Also gnosis is from the greek for knowledge, a prefix of 'a' means negative, so agnostic would be unknown whereas gnosis would be known. the gnostic texts were outlawed as the church could not accept something post scriptum to the bilbe as it would mean they had been wrong in declaring it the word of god. Finally if the old testament is the word of god and the new testament is the word as written by man, who wrote the old testament?!!