Please take a moment to read and respond to this post! I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and feel as though people on ATS will, actually,
I'd like to use the bible as a lens to understand history, tho I'm not particularly religious. Why? its, for lack of a better term, pretty meaty!
The history of the bible, as a text, is immensely more illuminating from a cultural standpoint than the words written themselves, which have been
translated far from their original meaning.
Keep in mind translation, even by our modern communications standards, endangers and distorts context, fundamentally disturbing the message of the
original (especially when dealing with highly contextual romantic languages like latin/English/italian/etc). Now, try to imagine the accuracy of
translation in the world circa 100bc, around when the septuagint brought the canonized herbrew texts (what comprises the Christian old testament) into
Greek, for mass consumption by the literate classes. Multiply this process, and its inherent flaws, times 10 (which is a conservative accounting
for the amount of major translations) and you'll have a decent impression of how disconnected our bible is from the time and teachings referred to as
those of Jesus Christ.
The king james revision in 1765 (est) contained 24,000 edits alone, from typos the the removal of entire margin/footnote sections included in the
septuagint. In fact, the most massive of institutional bible revisions were commisioned in response to Church paranoia over margin notes found in
Why be paranoid? Because christians, with the emergence of education and literacy, began to understand Latin, study the text/accompanying notes, and
found within them ideas considered very dangerous by those leading the political structure/hierarchy of the Catholic church. Modern anthropological
study of tattered, antiquated texts have allowed many of these notes to be understood today.
Why is this important to our discussion here? Because these notes explained, both from a literary and historic perspective, many of the myths
contained within the bible. In reading them, we observe the logical progression of cultural ideas and belief: from Sumeria and Babylon to Egypt, to
Judaic societies onto Greek, Muslim, and the Christian idealogy we associate with the church today. In reflecting on the Crusades, the inquisitions
(and other forms of historic anti-antisemitism), colonization, imperialism and all the way to today, we might understand why those controlling the
church might find such elements of the bible threatening.
The church, especially in medieval/renaissance times, is a political organization, with sovereign control much like nations in our time. They
benefited, rather directly, from the pillaging in the crusades and xenophobia of the inquisitions, in material and cultural capital (nothing keeps
people paying taxes like crippling fear of jews/muslims/insert whomever else here). Without doubt, such benefits would be quickly lost if those
enabling them (the followers), began to realize their preachers were perverting and deliberately covering up essential details of their faith's
universal text. So the church revises the whole thing, removes insightful notes and decries any prior translation as unacceptable heresy.
[edit on 19-4-2008 by chaeone86]