Flood Story Comes Full Circle

By Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor

Noahs ark 5
Replica Of Noah’s Ark in Netherlands
http://www.miamisburg.org/stuff_noahs_ark.htm

In America, almost every child is taught the story of Noah who, in response to a message from on-high, crafted a wooded ark and gathered the planet’s fauna to save them from destruction for sins known and unknown. We don’t teach kids that most ancient civilizations recount the same story of the Great Flood that swamped the planet but with their own cultural take on the topic. Now a recent archeological find from Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) is creating a buzz that might change  that. Found on a cuneiform tablet, the story of the Mesopotamian Noah differs only slightly from the Hebrew version of the legend. The Christian Bible tells the tale of Noah who gathers his family to build an ark shaped much like our modern-day boats, with one long keel and sides tapering at each end. The Bible details the blueprint straight from that chief engineer in the sky:

God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.  This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high.Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around.Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.  (Genesis 5:32 NIV).

The ancient Mesopotamians have a different spin on the design though. According to a recently decoded 4000-year-old tablet, the design was circular and  not cigar-shaped. And instead of cypress, the ark  was made of woven rope with pitch applied to make it waterproof.  And the Mesopotamians weren’t as community minded as the Hebrews, either. Only one survivor makes it out of the flood alive, along with all the 2-by-2 livestock instead of the family affair populating Noah’s craft.

There are some other differences in the tales.  The Mesopotamian gods were angry at their human subjects because they made too much noise down here. The god of Israel was more concerned about all that violence in the Mid-East. Boy, was He prescient but His solution has met with mixed results.

The find is important because it points up the similarities in the ways ancient cultures viewed the world and coped with its unpredictable circumstances. Seeing themselves as pawns before angry gods and survivors of catastrophes beyond their control empowered these civilizations and brought disparate tribes together. Indeed, some scholars have opined that a function of ancient religion was to galvanize groups of humans with a common ancestry and belief system regardless of the effects of geography or political culture. The Flood Story seems have served that function many times over as it spread throughout the Fertile Crescent into Egypt and North Africa and beyond. You can read about flood stories around the world here. There are hundreds.

The find is a blow to Bible literalists however as it pokes a hole below the water line in Judeo-Christian exceptionalism. The Mesopotamian story predates the Biblical account by at least two millennium. Most Biblical scholars place the Great Flood at about the 9th Century BCE.

Regardless the archaeology confirms the power of myth in the ancient world and its lingering effects today.

Source: CNN

~Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor

78 thoughts on “Flood Story Comes Full Circle

  1. And the ‘Jewish’ Ark had an ‘Auto Ramp’… so Noah could park his Mercedes….. as long as we’re making modifications…..

  2. Some contractor/developer in Holland built it. A rabid bible thumper, he is going to leave his legacy, or a cruise line will buy it.

    The fact that the world has gone through floods and other cataclysmic events both localized and world wide, is a no brainer. Civilizations around the world both independent of each other and connected have similar stories.

    Read ‘Worlds in Collision’ by I. Velakovsky. (sp?). His work is sketchy vis a vis strict scholastic dictums but well founded. He postulates that the earth passed through the tale of a comet some time ago and the effects would account for stories handed down, including those in the bible, i.e. the flood.

    So, five or six thousand years ago, it’s all god because science as we now know it does not exist. The big question is why is it believed today with what we really know? That’s the spooky part.

  3. “Only one survivor makes it out of the flood alive” !!! Now we should believe this story cause it is definitely more miraculous than the better known version.

    With just one survivor, this mandates the post flood involvement of God in the repopulation of the earth.

    And while were looking for more believable myths, let me sell you some beachfront property in Arizona.

  4. Mark Esposito wrote: “The find is a blow to Bible literalists however as it pokes a hole below the water line in Judeo-Christian exceptionalism.”

    I don’t think you understand the Biblical literalist. All these discoveries confirm the Hebrew account rather than poke holes in it.

  5. The late Joseph Campbell wrote and spoke frequently about the many similarities between religious myths, including a “great flood.” Hey, if it wow’d them in Birmingham it’ll sell in Topeka.

  6. Lucifer will always try to counterfeit the Lord. If God builds an Ark, Lucifer throws out a story about a second to confuse. Jesus returns on a horse, Lucifer’s man Al Mahdi returns on one. It doesn’t surprise me that this is happening or being brought to light at the end of days. We are living in the days exactly as Noah had them, but one difference is there are far more Christians or believers now than there was in Noah’s days. Sadly, there isn’t as many as we would hope.

  7. The Christian Bible tells the tale of Noah …” – Mark E

    Actually it’s the Hebrew Tanakh (“Old Testament”) that has the old story.

    The Christian Bible is the “New Testament.”

    The Christian Bible does mention it, as you say, but in a futuristic or prophetic sense:

    But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

    (Mt. 24:37-39).

  8. Dredd,

    There the Talmud and Torah as well…..as the tanakh…. I love how Davd spins it to his non fundamental Christian values….just confirms….

  9. QC,

    Because until the 300s AD there was not really an official branding of Christianity….. Thank the revisionist for the confusion….

  10. Bill Cosby’s bit about Noah was on one of his first albums. I have all of those classic albums and the Noah bit was hilarious. Shouldn’t this post have been written on Sunday?

  11. Archie Bunker has an interesting scientific opinion on Noah’s Ark. He is quoted as saying:

    “You know the story about Noah’s Ark there, don’t you? You know how the animals come up the gangplank there and into the ark. They came in twos: the sames with the sames and the differents with the differents. The tiger come up with the tigeress, the lion, he came up with the lionette. The zebra, he come up with the zebraella and the elephant, he came up with the… Uh… What? Geez, I forget the term. You know, the point I’m trying to make is the elephant didn’t come walking up there with a Polack.”

  12. Randy Lee

    “Only one survivor makes it out of the flood alive” !!!

    ===================
    This cuneiform rap pin-pricks evolutionary tales too.

    You know how the selfish genes love sex, and selfishly require sex, even though genes are molecular machines, i.e. not alive and not biological (The Uncertain Gene).

    That one survivor morphed to become an asexual (better than bi or hetero) if you focus on minutia:

    All-female species reproduces via virgin birth, new study says.

    You could call it the surprise du jour: A popular food on Vietnamese menus has turned out to be a lizard previously unknown to science, scientists say.

    What’s more, the newfound Leiolepis ngovantrii is no run-of-the-mill reptile — the all-female species reproduces via cloning, without the need for male lizards.

    (The Virgin MOMCOM – 2, quoting Nat. Geo.). Her descendants (“Leiolepis Ngovantrii”) were recently discovered in Vietnam, a group that has no males. None. Zip. Nada.

    What was that about sex and genes and stuff on the cuneiform rap?

    Next week we study the Tower of Myopia, a parallel story to the Tower of Babylon except it was made by machines way before biological life evolved.

  13. nick spinelli

    Bill Cosby’s bit about Noah was on one of his first albums. I have all of those classic albums and the Noah bit was hilarious. Shouldn’t this post have been written on Sunday?
    ===============
    I love Saint Cosby too.

    One of his disciples, BD, wrote a hymn about the strange daze after the flood.

    And wrote it in cuneiform rap so it could be sung rock of ages style:

  14. JudeStringFellow wrote: “If God builds an Ark, Lucifer throws out a story about a second to confuse.”

    Maybe, or maybe it is just the way that gossip and storytelling deals with facts.

    Look at how many stories there are, within just a few decades, about the events of the World Trade Center being attacked. I can imagine thousands of years from now people arguing that it never really happened because look at how many different stories in different cultures there are that share similarities about the event.

  15. davidm2575

    Dredd wrote: “The Christian Bible is the “New Testament.” ”

    Incorrect. Christian Bibles include the Tanakh.
    =====================
    Utter fantasy.

    “Bible” (biblos) means “book.”

    Unless you think Christians are time travelers you are making looney statements, because the book of the Jewish People was written before Christians existed..

    This ain’t about Terminators and time travelers.

    The Tanakh was also canonized long before Christians first came into existence.

    The first Christian writings in the New Testament were officialized (canonized) circa 300 A.D.

    Just because you say something false does not make it true.

  16. Dredd, Christianity is an extension of Judaism. The founders of Christianity were Jews who believed that certain Jewish prophecies referred to Jesus of Nazareth. They did not abandon their Jewish roots in order to embrace Jesus as the Messiah.

    The writings that later Christian councils canonized as Scripture always included the Tanakh. Just look at the list of books included in their canon. The Christian Bible includes the Tanakh as well as the New Testament writings (which, by the way, also was written by Jews). A little bit of research on your part would reveal that everything I have said is the truth.

  17. “Most Biblical scholars place the Great Flood at about the 9th Century BCE.”

    REFERENCE NEEDED! No Biblical scholar would date the flood, which predates Moses and therefore King David, at the 9th century BC. The 9th century BC is AFTER King David, AFTER King Solomon, when Israel was split in two.

    I’m don’t take the Bible, or anything really, literally by any means. But you’re misquoting literal Bible scholars by a few centuries!

  18. davidm2575

    Dredd

    The writings that later Christian councils canonized as Scripture always included the Tanakh.

    Just look at the list of books included in their canon. The Christian Bible includes the Tanakh as well as the New Testament writings (which, by the way, also was written by Jews). A little bit of research on your part would reveal that everything I have said is the truth.
    =========================
    As Lewis Black points out, the Tanakh was not the Christian Bible (book of books) to canonize.

    That was done centuries before the word “Christian” was ever spoken or written.

    Generally, the three parts of the Tanakh (law, prophets, writings) were canonized at different times, but completed by the time of Ezra and Nehemiah circa 450 B.C.

    The formal canonization of the New Testament was in stages, and generally is said to have been formalized as late as “Second Council of Trullan of 692” (Wikipedia, “Development of the New Testament canon”).
    At any rate, none of the Tanakh was written by Jews (the tribe of Judah), because by law it was all done by the Levites, the tribal priests, the Levitical Priesthood:

    If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

    (Heb. 7:11-16). Jesus was a Jew (of the Tribe of Judah), and therefore not qualified for the Levitical Priesthood, thus that changed everything and seperated the old from the new.

    Neither was the Apostle Paul a Jew, who is said to have written most of the Christian Bible, the New Testament:

    Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

    (Phil. 3:2-11). Paul was not a Jew like Jesus was, he was a Benjamite, i.e., he was of the Tribe of Benjamin.

  19. Beware of dogs? Yeah, on the 8th Day God created Dog. That is the only testament which humans need to know.

  20. DogBiscuitGuy

    Beware of dogs? Yeah, on the 8th Day God created Dog. That is the only testament which humans need to know.
    ====================
    All Christians are cats. You can be a Muslin. K?

  21. Noname

    “Most Biblical scholars place the Great Flood at about the 9th Century BCE.”

    REFERENCE NEEDED! No Biblical scholar would date the flood, which predates Moses and therefore King David, at the 9th century BC. The 9th century BC is AFTER King David, AFTER King Solomon, when Israel was split in two.

    I’m don’t take the Bible, or anything really, literally by any means. But you’re misquoting literal Bible scholars by a few centuries!
    ========================
    True enough –according to the text.

    But remember that people do not remember floods very well, even great floods.

    For example, remember the great Mississippi flood of only a few years ago when the Army Corp. of Engineers blew up levees (which keep the Mississippi river within the Mississippi river banks) upstream?

    That bombing of the levees caused the way-above-flood-level Mississippi to flood farm lands in that area in order to save urban areas further downstream near New Orleans, etc.

    Not long after that, a year or two, the same Army Corps. of Engineers were bombing the bottom of the Mississippi because the water was too low for barge traffic.

    Imagine floods 3 or 4 thousand years ago.

    It takes great zeal to get it straight.

  22. pesank

    Here’s something else to chew on.

    Camel bones suggest error in Bible, archaeologists say

    ========================
    That was already gurgitated, here a few posts ago, on Feb. 1.

    So let’s not regurgitate it … umKay?

  23. pete

    how many trees had to die so some rich dutch boy could prove his gods dick is biggest.
    ==================
    I would refer you to the Epistle of Lewis Black just upthread.

    For a fee he well set your mind free.

  24. Anonymously Yours

    Dredd,

    There the Talmud and Torah as well…..as the tanakh…. I love how Davd spins it to his non fundamental Christian values….just confirms…
    ===============
    As with any set of written statutes, someone has to interpret them.

    The Talmud is case-law interpretation in substantial part, to those statutes.

    The Levitical Priesthood contained judges (e.g. justices) and scribes (e.g. Westlaw) to decide and record things, kinda like the case law in our country.

    It was, however, a church/state type of priesthood:

    If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose; And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and inquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment: And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee: According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.

    (Deut. 17:8-13).

  25. “Most Biblical scholars place the Great Flood at about the 9th Century BCE.”

    REFERENCE NEEDED!”

    ************************

    Reference: The date comes from the author of the CNN piece Yale Divinity School professor, Joel Baden. His exact quote was:

    We have known for well over a century that there are flood stories from the ancient Near East that long predate the biblical account (even the most conservative biblical scholars wouldn’t date any earlier than the ninth century B.C).

  26. Ok there was never a great flood that covered the earth…. look at the civilizations in other parts of the world, no evidence exists to support this mytilogical story. It has just too many flaws and impossibilities to be true.
    But hey if that’s your cup of tea, drink up….

  27. The date of the Noachin flood is difficult to establish exactly, but there are competent Christian observers who put it circa 3,000 B.C.:

    Early in the archaeological excavations of Mesopotamian river valley sites, deep flood-deposited layers were discovered near the foundations of the city. At first these were interpreted as evidence of Noah’s Flood. However, as excavations continued, it became clear that they were only severe local floods, not the cataclysm of Noah’s day.

    The Sumerian King List begins with Kish immediately after the Flood. Georges Roux says the kingdom of Kish began in approximately 2700 BC (Roux 1966: 120). H.W.F. Saggs points out that when the city of Kish was excavated, the earliest level was from the Jemdet Nasr period (Saggs 1962: 51, 60, ca. 2800-2400 BC).

    The epic hero Gilgamesh was king of Uruk at about 2700 BC and, as the legend goes, was actually able to speak with a survivor of the Flood. (This would be impossible with a much earlier 10,000 BC date for the Flood.) The experiences of Gilgamesh, coupled with the Sumerian King List (in which he is mentioned), suggest a Flood date close to 3000 BC.

    (A Universal Flood: ~3000 B.C.).

    If we listen to Lewis Black, who says there are Jews walking among us who know their book (Tanakh) and will offer their input, here is one Jewish source:

    Jewish History
    Great Flood Begins (2105 BCE)

    The rains began to fall on the 17th of Cheshvan of the year 1656 from creation (2105),

    (Chahad). So, their recorded history begins ~5774 B.C.E. … the Flood is 1656 years later (5774 – 1656 = 4118 years ago [2105 BCE]).

    Subtracting the complete years since the C.E. (4118 – 2013 = 2105 B.C.E).

    Their date of ~2105 B.C. date is closer to the Christian calculation above (~3000 BCE) than the Yale calculation of 900 B.C.E.

  28. A famous archaeologist found evidence of a great flood and puts the date at circa 5000 BC:

    The story of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood is one of the most famous from the Bible, and now an acclaimed underwater archaeologist thinks he has found proof that the biblical flood was actually based on real events.

    In an interview with Christiane Amanpour for ABC News, Robert Ballard, one of the world’s best-known underwater archaeologists, talked about his findings. His team is probing the depths of the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey in search of traces of an ancient civilization hidden underwater since the time of Noah.

    Ballard’s track record for finding the impossible is well known. In 1985, using a robotic submersible equipped with remote-controlled cameras, Ballard and his crew hunted down the world’s most famous shipwreck, the Titanic.

    According to a controversial theory proposed by two Columbia University scientists, there really was one in the Black Sea region. They believe that the now-salty Black Sea was once an isolated freshwater lake surrounded by farmland, until it was flooded by an enormous wall of water from the rising Mediterranean Sea. The force of the water was two hundred times that of Niagara Falls, sweeping away everything in its path.

    Fascinated by the idea, Ballard and his team decided to investigate.

    “We went in there to look for the flood,” he said. “Not just a slow moving, advancing rise of sea level, but a really big flood that then stayed… The land that went under stayed under.”

    Four hundred feet below the surface, they unearthed an ancient shoreline, proof to Ballard that a catastrophic event did happen in the Black Sea. By carbon dating shells found along the shoreline, Ballard said he believes they have established a timeline for that catastrophic event, which he estimates happened around 5,000 BC. Some experts believe this was around the time when Noah’s flood could have occurred.

    (ABC News). He used carbon dating to establish a date for the shoreline 400 feet under the current water level.

  29. Dredd wrote: “As Lewis Black points out, the Tanakh was not the Christian Bible (book of books) to canonize. That was done centuries before the word “Christian” was ever spoken or written.”

    This is getting quite ridiculous. You use the comments of a comedian / actor as an authority on religion?

    While the process of canonizing Scripture took place before Christians existed, that never stopped Christian religions from declaring what writings were authoritative as Scripture. It was done various times during the fourth century and all the way up to the 16th century at the council of Trent when the Roman Catholic Bible diverged from the Protestant Bible. The Mormons canonized Scripture in the 19th century.

    The Samaritans are the only major religious sect that I am aware of within the Judeo-Christian tradition that rejected the Tanakh as Scripture. Both Jews and Christians accept the Tanakh as Scripture. Just go to any library and look at a Christian Bible. The Tanakh is included there. If you go get a New Testament, that is not a complete Christian Bible. Even the uneducated know this. I can’t believe you continue to argue otherwise.

    Dredd wrote: “At any rate, none of the Tanakh was written by Jews (the tribe of Judah), because by law it was all done by the Levites, the tribal priests, the Levitical Priesthood.”

    Nonsense. King David, Solomon, and even Isaiah were not from Levi. They were from the tribe of Judah and they wrote great portions of the Tanakh.

    Dredd wrote: “Neither was the Apostle Paul a Jew, who is said to have written most of the Christian Bible, the New Testament…”

    The apostle Paul did not write most of the Christian Bible. Depending upon which Christian religious sect you are talking about, at a minimum the Christian Bible consists of 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament. Furthermore, the term “Jew” often has been applied to Benjamites. Calling Paul a Benjamite does not prove he was not a Jew anymore than calling him Paul would prove his name was not Saul.

    My language follows from the thinking given at the following site:
    http://www.jewfaq.org/whoisjew.htm

    ———- Start of Quote ————
    The word “Jew” (in Hebrew, “Yehudi”) is derived from the name Judah, which was the name of one of Jacob’s twelve sons. Judah was the ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel, which was named after him. Likewise, the word Judaism literally means “Judah-ism,” that is, the religion of the Yehudim. Other sources, however, say that the word “Yehudim” means “People of G-d,” because the first three letters of “Yehudah” are the same as the first three letters of G-d’s four-letter name.

    Originally, the term Yehudi referred specifically to members of the tribe of Judah, as distinguished from the other tribes of Israel. However, after the death of King Solomon, the nation of Israel was split into two kingdoms: the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel (I Kings 12; II Chronicles 10). After that time, the word Yehudi could properly be used to describe anyone from the kingdom of Judah, which included the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi, as well as scattered settlements from other tribes. The most obvious biblical example of this usage is in Esther 2:5, where Mordecai is referred to as both a Yehudi and a member of the tribe of Benjamin.

    In the 6th century B.C.E., the kingdom of Israel was conquered by Assyria and the ten tribes were exiled from the land (II Kings 17), leaving only the tribes in the kingdom of Judah remaining to carry on Abraham’s heritage. These people of the kingdom of Judah were generally known to themselves and to other nations as Yehudim (Jews), and that name continues to be used today.

    In common speech, the word “Jew” is used to refer to all of the physical and spiritual descendants of Jacob/Israel, as well as to the patriarchs Abraham and Isaac and their wives, and the word “Judaism” is used to refer to their beliefs. Technically, this usage is inaccurate, just as it is technically inaccurate to use the word “Indian” to refer to the original inhabitants of the Americas. However, this technically inaccurate usage is common both within the Jewish community and outside of it…
    ———- End of Quote ————

  30. mespo wrote: ““Most Biblical scholars place the Great Flood at about the 9th Century BCE.”

    Reference: Yale Divinity School professor, Joel Baden: “We have known for well over a century that there are flood stories from the ancient Near East that long predate the biblical account (even the most conservative biblical scholars wouldn’t date any earlier than the ninth century B.C).”

    I think you misinterpreted a poorly worded sentence. Surely Baden was speaking about a date for when the account was written rather than the date of the flood.

  31. My, my David,

    Imagine someone having a differing interpretation of words from your usage….. Mespos point seemed fairly clear…..

  32. Linus van Pelt wrote: “Mespos point seemed fairly clear…”

    I wrote the author of Mespo’s source, and he confirmed my suspicion that mespo misunderstood him. Following is Dr. Baden’s reply in totality:

    ===============
    No mainstream biblical scholar dates the biblical text that describes the flood – not the flood described in the text, but the composition of the words on the page – much earlier than the ninth century. And many would say that these chapters were written as late as the fifth century BCE or even later. Most biblical scholars don’t date the flood as an event at all, but think it entirely a myth.

    ____________
    Joel S. Baden
    Associate Professor of Old Testament
    Yale Divinity School
    ===============

  33. davidm2575

    Dredd wrote: “Neither was the Apostle Paul a Jew, who is said to have written most of the Christian Bible, the New Testament…”

    The apostle Paul did not write most of the Christian Bible.

    =====================
    There are 27 books in the New Testament, the Christian Bible, of which Paul wrote 14:

    “Paul was not only the greatest of the apostles in the extent of his labors and his sufferings, but he was the most voluminous of all the writers of the New Testament … Romans … First Corinthians … Second Corinthians … Galatians … Ephesians … Philippians … Colossians … First Thessalonians … Second Thessalonians … First Timothy … Second Timothy … Titus … Philemon … Hebrews …”

    (Epistles of Paul). That would be 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament, or ~52%.

    Over half.

    Last time I checked “over half” is qualified as most.

  34. davidm2575

    Dredd wrote: “As Lewis Black points out, the Tanakh was not the Christian Bible (book of books) to canonize. That was done centuries before the word “Christian” was ever spoken or written.”

    This is getting quite ridiculous. You use the comments of a comedian / actor as an authority on religion?

    While the process of canonizing Scripture took place before Christians existed, that never stopped Christian religions from declaring what writings were authoritative as Scripture.

    ================
    And therein lies the problem Lewis Black points out.

    The Hebrews via the Levitical Priests were the official interpreters of the Hebrew scriptures for century upon century prior to the Christian Era:

    If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose; And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and inquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment: And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee: According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.

    (Deut. 17:8-13). That the late bloomers, some Christians, took it upon themselves to presumptiously call centuries of work their own and anoint them as “Christian” writings and judgments (e.g. Talmud) is what is ridiculous.

    It would be just as ridiculous for the Levites to presumptuosly claim ownership of the New Testament and call it the new 27 Levitical books.

  35. Funny comments, straw men, and red herrings galore. Relying on an atheist to explain accurately what the bible’s position is on any given subject is like relying on someone who’s read Robin Hood to accurately detail the Middle Ages. So much of what is presented here as unquestioned fact and/or obvious inference is only the hand-me-down myth of the narrow and recklessly ignorant. As lawyers we’re supposed to make a little effort to educate ourselves before we speak. Why do people feel exempt from that obligation when it comes to assessing whether in a given situation they ought mock religion – and in particular, Christianity?

  36. davidm2575

    Dredd wrote: “At any rate, none of the Tanakh was written by Jews (the tribe of Judah), because by law it was all done by the Levites, the tribal priests, the Levitical Priesthood.”

    Nonsense …
    ======================
    Let’s look at what is meant by the Tanakh:

    The Tanakh … is the canon of the Hebrew Bible. It is also known as the Masoretic Text or Miqra.

    (Wikipedia, “Tanakh”, emphasis added). The “Masoretic text” is a nickname for the Tanakh, and as will be shown, the Masoretes were Levites, priests.

    Remember that Moses and his brother Aaron were Levites, then remember that the Torah scroll was handled by and handed down through the Levites, the Levitical Priesthood:

    We learn from a few verses that the Torah scrolls were mainly kept by the priests, who were entrusted with their preservation. Deuteronomy 31:9 relates: “Moses wrote down the Torah and gave it to the priests, sons of Levi, who carried the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, and to all the elders of Israel.” Although one view understands the word “Torah” in this verse in a minimalist manner, that is, as restricted to the Book of Deuteronomy, the verses in the end of the passage unquestionably refer to the Torah in its entirety: “When Moses had put down in writing the words of this Torah to the very end, Moses charged the Levites who carried the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, saying: Take this book of Torah and place it beside the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, and let it remain there as a witness against you” (vv. 24-26). 19 This teaches that Moses gave the scroll of the Torah to the priests for safekeeping. As Nahmanides observes: “from then on they would not touch it at all, to add [to it] or to detract [from it]” (Deut 31:9).

    The historical reality teaches that most of the late Second Temple period scribes whose lineage is known were priests, or even High Priests. The first of these known to us was the priest Ezra the Scribe, who was “a scribe expert in the Torah of Moses” (Ezra 7:6), and who is mentioned by Scripture a total of five times with the description: “Ezra the priest, the scribe.”

    The priestly reading of the Torah is known from the Temple rite: thus, for example, the reading by the High Priest on Yom Kippur (Mishnah Yoma 7:1), and his reading at the end of the Sabbatical year.

    The Book of Nehemiah describes three public readings of the Torah by Ezra the priest: the first time, Ezra is asked to bring “the scroll of the Torah of Moses,” possibly because the Torah scroll in the Temple was entrusted to his care. “Ezra the priest brought the Torah before the congregation […] he read from it […] the ears of all the people were given to the scroll of the Torah” (Neh. 8:2-3). The Levites join in this reading and explain the Torah to the people: “They read from the scroll of the Torah of God, translating it and giving the sense; so they understood the reading” (v. 8). The following day, “the heads of the clans of all the people and the priests and the Levites gathered to Ezra the scribe to study the words of the Torah” (v. 13), and the third time, “He read from the scroll of the Torah of God each day” on the Festival of Sukkot (v. 18). This reading was part of the priestly and levitical duty to teach the people, and as long as the priests led the people, they naturally were the ones who read the Torah.

    In conclusion, we brought support for our hypothesis that the priests who were the ones who preserved the sacred Biblical text and its exact language from the time that it was received should properly be regarded as the original Masoretes.

    (Masoretes, emphasis added). The Masoretic text was written by Levites charged with that duty, starting with Moses the Levite, and then with copying it as needed.

    That special group of Levites were eventually called Masoretes, hence the Masoretic text a.k.a. the Tanakh (the law, the prophets, and the writings).

    Will address “King David, Solomon, and even Isaiah” and your assertion that they wrote “great portions” of the Tanakh next.

  37. I am very impressed by the knowledge presented by the many commenters to this post. Is it not wonderful how religion brings out so much emotional interest ? I think I’ll again reread Hamlet.

  38. Dredd wrote: “There are 27 books in the New Testament, the Christian Bible, of which Paul wrote 14: “Paul was not only the greatest of the apostles in the extent of his labors and his sufferings, but he was the most voluminous of all the writers of the New Testament…”

    Why did you stop here? The very next sentence was: “His writings occupy nearly one-fourth of the whole book.”

    Instead of acknowledging the truth of your own source, you cherry-picked what you wanted, lifting his words out of context, and then you went on to contradict your own source.

    Dredd wrote: “That would be 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament, or ~52%. Over half. Last time I checked “over half” is qualified as most.”

    If you had read further in your link, you also would have learned that Paul is not generally considered the author of Hebrews. The number of Pauline letters is 13, not 14, and 13 out of 27 is less than half. What is more germane, however, is analyzing based upon word count. Whether using the Greek New Testament or an English version like the King James Version, a word count analysis indicates that the Pauline Epistles comprise just under one-fourth of the New Testament, just like your source had stated. You should have trusted your own source.

    Furthermore, as I said many times before, the Christian Bible is not the New Testament alone. The Christian Bible includes both the Tanakh and the New Testament writings. To claim that Paul wrote most of the “Christian Bible” is fallacious.

  39. David.

    I am curious how you would classify the Apocrypha as being part of the Christian Bible. I have found them to be an interesting read but they have generated much controversy over the centuries as to their suitability for inclusion into the Bibles of the time.

  40. What Tony Vieira said!

    They probably never read and/or studied the Bible; however, they feel free to ‘attempt’ to discuss it.

    Thank God for cliffnotes and the google search box (I am also enjoying how they are using secular texts/websites, non-Christian theologians, and/or misinterpreting Christian theologians’ theories or assertions, and stating them as fact or supporting evidence to back up their assertions)?

    Let’s discuss the Koran (or Qu’ran or however you spell it) next? I don’t know jack about Islam, but willing to discuss it (sarcasm).

  41. Dredd wrote: “That the late bloomers, some Christians, took it upon themselves to presumptiously call centuries of work their own and anoint them as “Christian” writings and judgments (e.g. Talmud) is what is ridiculous.”

    This is a gross distortion of truth. Christians never took it upon themselves to anoint the Hebrew writings as their own. They simply affirmed their faith in Abraham, Moses, David, and the rest of the Jewish prophets.

    In the beginning, Christians were for the most part Torah observant Jews. They worshiped Yahweh in the Temple and sacrificed animals in the Temple. You can read in the book of Acts how the brother of Jesus, James, who led the church in Jerusalem, called upon Paul to go into the Temple and practice Judaism in regards to the Nazarite vow in order to put to rest rumors among the Jews that Paul had abandoned Moses and the Torah completely.

    What led to the sharp separation of Christianity from Judaism was the inclusion of the rest of the nations in a covenant with Yahweh. Most of this was caused by Paul’s writings about the Jew and Gentile being one. Actions promoting this schism happened on both sides over a number of years, with Jews persecuting Christians, and with Christians separating from Judaism through establishing different fast days and a different primary day of worship.

  42. “Read ‘Worlds in Collision’ by I. Velakovsky. ” This is the same guy who said that Venus was a comet expelled from Jupiter, flew around the solar system a couple times, coming close enough to Earth to be responsible for several Biblical events (starting the flood, distributing manna in the Sinai, stopping the Earth rotating for a day, etc.), then settled down into a nearly perfectly circular orbit. Not exactly a science text.

  43. Darren Smith wrote: “I am curious how you would classify the Apocrypha as being part of the Christian Bible.”

    I’m not sure what you are asking me. It really isn’t open for personal interpretation. It is simply a matter of the judgment of religious institutions and history. The apocryphal books are part of the canon of the Eastern Orthodox churches, and most of them are part of the Roman Catholic Bible. Protestants for the most part consider them good books to read but not canonical. The Protestants only accepted what the Jewish Rabbi’s accepted as canonical. The Mormon Scriptures declare the apocryphal books to have both truth and falsehood.

  44. David.

    That is part of what I was curious about but I didn’t explain my question very well. The perspective I was interested in was how those who consider Apocrypha to be not canon view the books themselves, is it often one of indifference or something to be shunned? The church I belong to had not really expressed this to my rememberance.

  45. davidm2575

    Dredd wrote: “There are 27 books in the New Testament, the Christian Bible, of which Paul wrote 14: “Paul was not only the greatest of the apostles in the extent of his labors and his sufferings, but he was the most voluminous of all the writers of the New Testament…”

    Why did you stop here? The very next sentence was: “His writings occupy nearly one-fourth of the whole book.”

    Instead of acknowledging the truth of your own source, you cherry-picked what you wanted, lifting his words out of context, and then you went on to contradict your own source.

    Dredd wrote: “That would be 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament, or ~52%. Over half. Last time I checked “over half” is qualified as most.”

    If you had read further in your link, you also would have learned that Paul is not generally considered the author of Hebrews.
    ================
    More of those presumptuos Christians … why stop with taking over the Old Testament and decide who wrote what then the Jews be damned.

    And that Paul guy, writing 1/4 of the words, over half of the books. I’ll just say he didn’t write Hebrews and celebate.

    Whatever, its your fantasy. Your 1/4 and about half don’t match up even if you become a Paul wrote Hebrews denier.

    The 1/4 applies to one factor and the 14 or 13 of 27 applies to another because ~1/4 is not equal to ~1/2 …

    I say Paul wrote Hebrews, 1/4 of the words in the NT, and 14 of the 27 books.

    In any case he wrote more NT than any other writer, another way of saying the most.

  46. Tony Vieira

    Funny comments, straw men, and red herrings galore …
    ———————
    Chris

    Ok there was never a great flood that covered the earth …
    =================

    “God said to Noah …” – Mark E (quoting Gen. 5:32)

    If there is no God, then that is false.

    The argument about when God said that would be false too.

    So, arguing when something happened that did not happen is a waste of everything involved.

    Some people think God exists and that the verse is true and some do not think God exists, and that the verse is false.

    So, for those who think God does not exist, they may want to know what is wrong with people who “hear voices.”

    And for those who think that God does exist, they may want to know what is wrong with those who do not “hear voices.”

    Either way, discussing what the text says does not have to assume God exists or that God does not exist.

    It is a matter of reading comprehension, which both atheists and religionists can have and express coherently or incoherently.

    Most commentators in this thread brought up fair questions and made arguments from their perspective.

    Thanks to Mark E for bringing up subjects and questions that spark multi-faceted views from several perspectives.

  47. Darren Smith wrote: “The perspective I was interested in was how those who consider Apocrypha to be not canon view the books themselves, is it often one of indifference or something to be shunned?”

    Some groups are fundamentalist Bible thumpers who don’t read anything but the Bible. These groups are going to be ignorant of apocryphal books and basically shun them the way they would shun reading a textbook. However, other groups tend to be more intellectual and read these books and encourage the reading of them. Most Christian groups are aligned with the intellectual side.

    The Apocrypha generally refers to writings during the inter-testament period when there were no prophets, but there are other extra-canonical books from the New Testament period that also are very interesting to read. The oldest Christian Bibles included the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas. Another book known as the Didache also provides valuable information about early Christians. I have learned much from all these books.

  48. ” Most Christian groups are aligned with the intellectual side.”

    Still working on the comedy routine, are ya.
    —————————————————————————–

    ” The oldest Christian Bibles… I have learned much from all these books.”

    Tell us all again how you’re not religious. That’s one of your better jokes.

  49. davidm2575

    Dredd wrote: “That the late bloomers, some Christians, took it upon themselves to presumptuously call centuries of work their own and anoint them as “Christian” writings and judgments (e.g. Talmud) is what is ridiculous.”

    This is a gross distortion of truth. Christians never took it upon themselves to anoint the Hebrew writings as their own.

    =========================
    Oh?

    They named the Old Testament (The Masoretic Text, the Tanakh) with their name, “The Christian Bible.”

    The presumptuous Christians interpret it 400 different ways from those who wrote it, and who had it a thousand years before Christianity came into existence.

    Lewis Black has it spot on, it is comedic.

  50. Dredd wrote: “The presumptuous Christians interpret it 400 different ways from those who wrote it, and who had it a thousand years before Christianity came into existence.”

    The Jews have never been unified in their interpretation of Scripture. Even during the time of Christ, the branches of Judaism included the Pharisee, Sadducee, and the Essene sects along with other divisions. Even the Pharisees were divided into the House of Hillel and the House of Shammai. According to Jesus, they all failed to follow the Scriptures as originally written; hence was born his followers who embraced the writings of that religion as they originally were meant to be embraced. To denigrate them, the Jews called this sect of Judaism “Christians.” The name stuck.

  51. Geese David,

    When was the usage of the term Christ first used…. It was most certainly used in a negatory sense….. As Nero after burning Rome blamed the Christians….. So much history so many rarely understand the competing interest…..

  52. Darren,

    There’s another good read called “The Lost Books of the Bible and The Forgotten Books of Eden”…… It will give you a newer understanding as to what’s been hidden….. There are many more books out there but around the 3rd century…..the rising Catholics took to burning anything that disagreed with the notion of the Christian principles….. Some how or another I think they are still held some place in the archives of the Vatican ….. Just not available for public inspection…..

  53. AY wrote: “There are many more books out there but around the 3rd century…..the rising Catholics took to burning anything that disagreed with the notion of the Christian principles…”

    I am not aware of any significant burning of books in the 3rd century, but there were several in the 4th century. These were headed up not by any churches, but by Roman Emperors. This would be more analogous to President Obama calling for the burning of books rather than someone like the Pope.

    You might also consider that the Catholic Church did not formally exist until at least 1054 A.D. Prior to this time, the word “catholic” simply meant universal, and it did not refer to a particular religion of Christianity like Roman Catholicism. The term originated not with a Western Roman church, but with St. Ignatius of Antioch, an Eastern church. I realize that Catholics have put forward that they existed all the way to the time of Peter, but virtually every Christian religion makes this claim. From a historical perspective, there were many churches for the first thousand years following Christ’s crucifixion. No single church unified around a worldwide central government or leader figure like the Pope in Rome.

    Christians for the most part have been open to knowledge and the dialogue and discussion of various viewpoints, which is why they established institutions of higher learning and argued for a separation of church and state powers. The Christians who wrote about these matters pointed out how excommunications, executions, and burning of books followed when secular powers of government intruded into the realm of religion. The writings of John Foxe (Foxe’s Book of Martyrs) and Joseph Priestly (An history of the corruptions of Christianity) come to mind as examples of such Christian advocates.

  54. David,

    You plea sell that to the Catholic Church….. I’m not buying into it…..I know what I read and I’m sticking to it….

  55. davidm2575

    Dredd wrote: “The presumptuous Christians interpret it 400 different ways from those who wrote it, and who had it a thousand years before Christianity came into existence.”

    The Jews have never been unified in their interpretation of Scripture. Even during the time of Christ, the branches of Judaism included the Pharisee, Sadducee, and the Essene sects along with other divisions. Even the Pharisees were divided into the House of Hillel and the House of Shammai. According to Jesus, they all failed to follow the Scriptures as originally written; hence was born his followers who embraced the writings of that religion as they originally were meant to be embraced. To denigrate them, the Jews called this sect of Judaism “Christians.” The name stuck.
    ========================
    The name stuck but so did their inconsistency.

    There are some 450 Christian sects now, just in the U.S.eh?, interpreting the writings every which way, including mostly loosely.

    Both the Levitical Priesthood writings (Tanakh) as well as the Christian Bible writings (New Testament) exhibit stark departures from the textual content.

    Which, interestingly, supports Saint Lewis Black (the evangelist to HaHa) who pointed out that the Old law was mandated because they (all 12 tribes of Israel) were “four hairs short of being primates wanting to mate with camels” (paraphrased a tad).

    Which comports with the Tanakh writings I cited to up-thread to wit:

    Take this book of Torah and place it beside the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, and let it remain there as a witness against you” (vv. 24-26). 19 This teaches that Moses gave the scroll of the Torah to the priests for safekeeping … (Deut 31:9).

    The narrative in the writings thereafter tell us that they had screwed it up and gone into captivity by the Assyrians by circa 700 B.C., and that the remaining tribes went into captivity by Babylon following that.

    Because of continual promiscuous reading of the writings.

    In other words, one of the most moral things the writings call for is reading comprehension fit for an intellectually honest priesthood and laity, but which never developed.

    What up wid dat?

  56. AY wrote: “You plea sell that to the Catholic Church….. I’m not buying into it…..I know what I read and I’m sticking to it…”

    The Catholic Church won’t buy it. This is the point. Our Western culture, especially here in the United States, has been heavily influenced for hundreds of years by Roman Catholics and their historians.

    If you grew up in an Eastern culture and read the historians influenced by the Eastern Orthodox churches, your cultural perspective of the history of church would be different. If you have any interest in this subject at all, I would challenge you to take the time to visit a library and read a history book from an Eastern Orthodox historian. They apply the term “Catholic” to themselves without hesitation. They are the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. A member of an Eastern Orthodox church considers himself to be part of the most ancient of churches. They view Roman Catholicism in a similar way to how Roman Catholics view Protestants – as a relatively modern schism of groups of Christians breaking away from the true church.

    Consider the following timeline. It will not agree with what you have read and what your culture has taught you, but sometimes what our culture has taught us is not the truth. We should always be ready to question that knowledge which we take for granted.

    A Timeline of Church History
    http://www.antiochian.org/orthodox-church-history

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