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the Canon of the Bible...how was it chosen...

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posted on Aug, 22 2004 @ 10:17 PM
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A word of Greek origin, originally meaning a rod for testing straightness, now used to denote the authoritative collection of the sacred books used by the true believers in Christ. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the canonical books are called standard works. The history of the process by which the books of the Bible were collected and recognized as a sacred authority is almost hidden in obscurity. There are several legends extant and these may have some truth in them, but certainly are not complete or totally accurate. Though many of the details have not been preserved, we know that the servants of the Lord have been commanded to keep records even from the earliest times, and that those records have been revered by the faithful and handed down from generation to generation.

Much of the information we now have on this subject has come to us through latter-day revelation. For example, we learn that Adam was an intelligent being who could read and write and had a pure and perfect language. Sacred records were kept by him and handed down to succeeding patriarchs, even to Enoch and Abraham, who also added their own writings to the collection (Moses 6: 3-6, 46; Abr. 1: 31). Likewise Moses kept a record in his day (Moses 1: 40-41). A collection of Old Testament documents and other writings was available in Jerusalem in 600 B.C., written upon plates of brass, and was obtained by Nephi from Laban (1 Ne. 4; 1 Ne. 5: 10-19).

The various Old Testament prophets wrote or dictated to scribes who wrote (such as Jeremiah to Baruch, cf. Jer. 36), and thus the sacred books were produced and collected.

In New Testament times the apostles and prophets kept records, giving an official testimony of the earthly ministry of the Savior and the progress and teachings of the Church. Many of the details, such as time and place involved in the production and the preservation of the records, are not available, but the general concept is clear that the servants of the Lord wrote what they knew to be true of Jesus. Thus came the Gospels. The epistles were primarily written to regulate affairs among the members of the Church.

With the multiplicity of true books, of both Old and New Testament origin, there was also a proliferation of false writings from apostates and from authors who for one reason or another wished to propagate some particular thesis. From time to time decisions needed to be made as to which books were authoritative and which were false. A council of Jewish scholars met for this purpose in Jamnia, or Javneh (near Joppa), in about A.D. 90, and some determinations were made as to what were the official and accepted books of the Jews religion. This probably was a defensive reaction to the rise of Christian writings, and perhaps also from the fact that the Christians freely used the Jewish scriptures (O.T.) as well as the writings of the apostles and the early Christian leaders. It appears that the rabbis wanted to make clear the distinction between the two.

Councils were held in early Christianity to determine which of the writings were authoritative and which were heretical. Some good judgment was used, and many spurious books were rejected, while our present New Testament was preserved. Times of persecution also precipitated decisions as to which books were true and which false. If a Christian is forced by the Roman government to burn his books, he most likely will surrender those that are nonauthoritative and conceal the more valuable documents. In order to do this, he must know which are which.

No doubt many writings, of both Old and New Testament times, have been lost, and perhaps even willfully destroyed (see Lost Books). When the Church was in apostasy, whether before or after the time of Christ, some valuable writings were misjudged to be in error (because the judges lacked the truth) and so were discarded. Likewise some books of lesser value may have bee judged to be good. In the main, however, sound guidelines were established that helped to preserve the authoritative books. Among these rules were the following

(1) Is it claimed that the document was written by a prophet or an apostle?

(2) Is the content of the writing consistent with known and accepted doctrines of the faith?

(3) Is the document already used and accepted in the Church?

By application of these tests the books now contained in the Bible have been preserved.

Although the decisions were made in the past as to which writings are authoritative, that does not mean that the canon of scripture is complete and that no more can be added. True prophets and apostles will continue to receive new revelation, and from time to time the legal authorities of the Church will see fit to formally add to the collection of scripture.

scriptures.lds.org...

[edit on 8/23/2004 by petey_pongo23]




posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 06:11 AM
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Very good books on the subject are:

* Lost Christianities: The Battle for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
by Bart D. Ehrman

www.amazon.com...=1093259392/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-6868788-7093751?v=glance&s=books

* Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make It into the New Testament
by Bart D. Ehrman

www.amazon.com...=1093259392/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/102-6868788-7093751?v=glance&s=books

// k

[edit on 23-8-2004 by kickass]



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 08:20 AM
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And this is why I think folks should not take the bible literally and look at the writings that were not included. Lots of interesting facts when this is done.



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 08:24 AM
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Hello there, Kickass:

I would second your two choices by Bart Ehrman: both books should be read together as a pair as they do a fairly decent job of laying out for the "non specialist" quite a good array of primary evidence about how certain books were chosen (for the OT it was the Rabinnic Council at Javneh in AD 90, when Judaeism ceased to exist as a sacrificial Torah abiding religion, following the 2nd "Herodian" Temple was Destroyed by Rome, and the Benei Zadok, i.e. Saduccees or Tszaddukim were killed off during the Jewish War against Rome in AD 66-70---and they had to replace their Temple with "Books" as they had done after the Babylonians had destroyed the first Temple in 587 BC).

The "version" of the Old Testament which was eventually voted as "authoritative" at Javneh/Jamnia (selected from at least 5 different versions including the Samaratin Pentateuch, the Vorlage to the Seputaginta, the Targums and many of the floating versions found among the Dead Sea Scrolls) was eventually the proto-Masoretic version which was from the Babylonian Jewish Community--not suriprising since R. Hillel II who headed up the Javneh Council was from Babylon and forced his own version of the text (including Esther, a Babylonian imported text) upon the emerging world Rabinninc community.

For the New Testament canon, the situation is far more complex, since no final decision was reached about a canon until more than 400 years afer the texts were first written---and there were at least 6 major (and raucous) Councils in different parts of the Greco-Roman World (s0me latin, some Coptic, some Greek, but all fighting each other tooth and nail) and each of which had their "own list" of sacred books, and often declared the other councils to be "anathema" ("zero", or accursed and therefore NOT valid).

Most "Christians" and "Rabinnic" Jews today do NOT know that the books they regard as "holy sacred scripture" were largely the result of a convoluted political voting process, where certain factions gained the upper hand and had their way with the final version of the "list".



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 08:49 AM
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I am a Christian. I realize that the King James Version (which is the version that I use) was translated by man without the inspiration of God. I also realize that for a great many years that there was but one Church with power over the Scriptures, and only the select could read it. If someone tried to make the Scriptures available to the public, they were killed. Why do so many Christians deny this? I find it odd that the majority lie within the Protestant division, which if I am not mistaken left (among other things) because of a belief that the Catholic Church did not have it all.

So many people walking around today quoting the KJV as "God's Word", and being so happy that they can quote Scripture. I have two quick facts for y'all: 1. The KJV (if that is what you are using) was translated by man and contains MANY errors. 2. Satan can quote the Bible when it so fits his purpose.

Now don't get me wrong, the Holy Bible is a great book, which I believe was inspired by God. But there is a big difference when you say that the KJV (or any other version of the Holy Bible for that matter) were inspired by God, because we know that the translations were done by scholars, and scholars make mistakes. This also has a flipside for the people that twist the words of the Bible around, good job for y'all, you have just managed to find a manmade error.

Futhermore, now getting to the topic, there are a lot of people out there that think that the KJV has it all. So that makes the Dead Sea Scrolls "of the Devil". Are the religious people of this world so sheltered that they do not know that there are books out there that didn't "make the cut" for our Holy Bible? Man has messed a lot of things up on this place we call Earth, just look at what we've done to religion...



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 02:23 PM
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Hey Petey Pongo:

Actually the King James Version for the Old Testament was just a loose translation into 17th century English of the Masoretic received text (based on a SINGLE late manuscript used in Leningrad around AD 800).

The editors of the KJV did not have access to the Dead Sea Scroll versions discovered in the Caves of Qumran between 1946 and 1956, and they did not take into consideration the Hebrew underlay (found among the DSS) to the Septuagint (the so-called LXX Vorlag) nor of all the thousands of variant readings of the Targums, the Samaritan Pentateuch (SamPent) nor of the Pe#ta which contradict the Masoretic Text.

So it can hardly be called a good translation based on what we would call modern available MSS evidence. Today we recognise five different families of MSS for the Torah and at least 4 for the rest of the Old Testament (the socalled Hebrew Bible) none of which match exactly: there is an approx. 20% difference between them

For the New Testament, the King James Version oanel in 1611 used the so-called Byzantine Text Family (as well as the early Papyri which we have today) which is a sloppy combination of various Western Text type families, Neutral and Alexandrian Texts----but with many loose paraphrases and some horrifying excisions.

Words, clauses, and even whole sentences were deliberately changed sometimes for purely doctrinal reasons (e.g. to soften the role of women in the early church) , omitted, and inserted with astonishing freedom, wherever it seemed that the meaning could be brought out with greater force and definiteness.

Another equally important characteristic of the KJV is a disposition to enrich the text at the cost of its purity by alterations or additions taken from traditional and other non-bibical sources.

But its most dangerous work is 'harmonistic' corruption, that is, the partial or total obliteration of differences in passages otherwise more or less resembling each other.

The editors of 1611 did not have access to Codex Vaticanus (although it had been known to exsit since 1471) or Codex Sinaiticus (discovered in the 1870s) or Ephraemi. It's translation into English was clearly based on the so-called Textus Receptus ("received Text") of Erasmus, which was a polyglot text of arbitrary pickings and choosings of several contradictory texts that he happened to have in front of him.

Either way, most Christians and Jews are blissfully unaware that the texts which they call "holy" or "sacred" are nothing more than a pile of contradictory manuscripts which official bodies (for their own political reasons) decided arbitrarily what would (and what would NOT) be "officially" included in any given sentence.



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 03:03 PM
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Originally posted by petey_pongo23
history of the process by which the books of the Bible were collected and recognized as a sacred authority is almost hidden in obscurity.


No it isn't. THere are many sources about the historical events surrounding this.



Much of the information we now have on this subject has come to us through latter-day revelation.


Perhaps you are talking about something else, but the bible, especially the new testament, isn't particularly based on revelation (except, er, reveleations)


For example, we learn that Adam was an intelligent being who could read and write and had a pure and perfect language. Sacred records were kept by him and handed down to succeeding patriarchs, even to Enoch and Abraham, who also added their own writings to the collection (Moses 6: 3-6, 46; Abr. 1: 31). Likewise Moses kept a record in his day (Moses 1: 40-41).



None of this has to do with revelation. How is it an example of that? The various Old Testament prophets wrote or dictated to scribes who wrote (such as Jeremiah to Baruch, cf. Jer. 36), and thus the sacred books were produced and collected.


In New Testament times the apostles and prophets kept records, giving an official testimony of the earthly ministry of the Savior and the progress and teachings of the Church. Many of the details, such as time and place involved in the production and the preservation of the records, are not available, but the general concept is clear that the servants of the Lord wrote what they knew to be true of Jesus. Thus came the Gospels.


The apostles wrote collections of letters and other writtings and these were circulated amoung early christian communities. Eventually the Church held a meeting to decide what to include in the cannon and what not to include. Thats how the gospels came about.


here are Robert Pearse's pages on early christian texts and history. It's very well organized and very informative.



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 04:27 PM
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The above portions that you quoted were not my wording. They were taking from something else. The information that I placed was written in I believe 1979 (or maybe 1981), so anything that has come to knowledge since that time is irrelevant to the wording which I posted.

Like the other two topics that I started on ATS recently, I felt that this topic could open up some good discussion. The questions and comments then would be incorrectly addressed to me, for they should be addressed to the topic itself. Perhaps I should have cleared this up beforehand, but I did not want to take away from the article by adding my own preface.



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 05:56 PM
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Originally posted by petey_pongo23
The above portions that you quoted were not my wording. They were taking from something else.


You should really give credit where credit is due then, rather than copy some one else's work and present it as your own. The information that I placed was written in I believe 1979 (or maybe 1981), so anything that has come to knowledge since that time is irrelevant to the wording which I posted.


I did not want to take away from the article by adding my own preface.


I suggest that you 'edit' the post to note the original source.



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 05:58 PM
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Link for citing...

Cheers to ATS policy (I move back into the dorms next week, I should have seen this coming)...however, I can explain why I did not use the link (which can also be found in a book). Once you click on the link you might realize why I chose not to include it. I did not want the source becoming the topic of discussion, so if we could all please stick to the message and not where it came from...

scriptures.lds.org...



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