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The four main parts or layers of the Christian Bible

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by Marcion, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. Marcion

    Marcion Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2012
    The Christian Bible is an anthology, a collection of sometimes very diverse scriptures from (four) different cultures.

    As a non-christian I do not feel bound by the dogma that the Christian Bible collection is the "Word of God", just like I don't consider the anthology of the Veda's or the Quoran the Word of God either (or indeed any other religious scriptures).

    It took me some time to learn how to best approach this biblical anthology.
    Over time I learnt or concluded that the Christian Bible consists of four main parts.

    * Jewish sciptures
    * Genuine teachings of Jesus
    (not to be confused with the many Christian pseudo-teachings of Jesus)
    * Christian teachings (earlier ones and later ones)
    * Marcionite gnostic teachings (large parts of the collection of the pseudo-letters of Paul)

    The earlier Christian teachings can be found in the gospel of Mark, the later ones can be found in added parts of the collection of pseudo-letters of Paul, Acts and other letters in the New Testament.

    These four main parts or layers are very different from each other and only became sort of a unity through heavy editing, blurring of contradictions, and adding texts made up especially to create artificial joints meant to convince the readers of unity where there was little before.

    They could not edit the Jewish Scriptures, but they did not hesitate to heavily edit the genuine teachings of Jesus, as well as the Marcionite gnostic teachings before these were allowed to become part of the Christian scriptures.
    Eventhough the Jewish scriptures could themselves not be edited, references made to parts of them in the Christian teachings influenced the interpretation of the relevant Jewish texts in the eyes of believing Christians.

    So whenever I read something from the Christian Bible (usually from the New Testament), I ask myself with which aim it was written, whether it involved editing (influencing) older texts, what the motives of the author were and to which of the four main parts or layers of the Christian Bible it belongs.

    So for me there really speaking are four "testaments", the 'Jewish Testament', the 'Jesus Testament', the 'Marcionite Testament' and the 'Christian Testament'. Although they are no longer all four neatly seperated as they once were. But through clever reconstruction work, the scholarly seperation of these four testaments has once again made their original teachings accessible to all.
    #1 Marcion, Nov 19, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
    • Useful Useful x 1
  2. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Dec 8, 2012
    Liberal Christian
    This needs a source to be more complete. Is this guesswork or something from a college or...from where? :)
  3. Fool

    Fool ALL in all
    Premium Member

    Jan 12, 2016
    Light Impressed with Love
    read any elaine pagels' stuff?
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. Marcion

    Marcion Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2012
    My main sources were the writings of Hermann Detering:
    Hermann Detering - Wikipedia, books
    Hermann Detering, The Dutch Radical Approach to the Pauline Epistles

    and other publications dealing with the Q-sayings collection including web-sites such as these:

    Behind the Pages of the New Testament

    But also other sources on the origin of the Pauline letters, the new testament gospels, Acts and other texts.

    Yes, many years before I came to grips with the New Testament though.
  5. Alone

    Alone Banned by request

    Dec 1, 2019
    I thought the scripture was written by the holy ghost?
  6. Muffled

    Muffled Jesus in me

    Nov 6, 2006
    I believe it all sounds like a waste of time. All scripture is inspired by God.
  7. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

    Feb 18, 2019
    The Jewish scriptures were redacted and amended many times.. most notably during the rule of King Omri.
  8. Rise

    Rise Active Member

    Nov 17, 2012
    The problem with all that is that it's pure speculation without any real evidence to back it up.
    It's speculation based on unproven assumptions.

    The problem with those kinds of speculations is that they've floated around for so long that people just start taking for granted that those speculations are true, and forget that the assumptions those speculations were founded on were never at any point actually proven to be true.

    For instance: The Q document is not a fact. There's no actual historical or documentary or textual evidence for it.
    In fact, the historical and textual evidence we do have would lead you to draw the opposite conclusions. For instance: all ancient historical records we have attest to Matthew being the first gospel written, and the four gospels being written independently by a single individual. And there are no variations in the textual history that would lead us to conclude that anything as sweeping as what you claim could have ever happened to the text. The kinds of variations we see in the text are generally consistent with what we'd expect from any ancient document being copied and widely spread in a decentralized way.

    So if you were to just look at the evidence we actually have, and draw conclusions from that, you wouldn't be able to conclude a Q document ever existed.

    You can only begin to entertain the idea of a Q document if you start from certain unproven assumptions, like:

    1. The assumption that the written narrative had to grow and expand with time with more added to it.
    2. That the supernatural aspects described in the NT can't be true. An a priori rejection of the possibility.

    From those two assumptions they then go on to make more assumptions:
    1. You assume that the Gospels were not written independently, but each one must have been based off the previous one before it.
    2. That the shortest gospel had to be the earliest. For no other reason than it is the shortest. Even though historical records contradict that conclusion and say Matthew was the first (which also makes logical sense because textually we can obviously see it was written to a Jewish audience - and the Jewish Christians were the first church, with unconverted Jews being the first mission field. It is perfectly understandable then why the Gospel most clearly written with the Jews in mind would have been the first one written).
    3. That because the supernatural events described in the NT can't be true, that the books with the more numerous mentions of such things, or more explicit mentions of such things, must have been written later.

    Without proving your starting assumptions, and with no evidence of a Q document ever existing, you have no basis for then believing the NT is a heavily edited mismash of different ideas.
    The hard evidence simply doesn't support that kind of conclusion.

    What masquerades as "evidence" is nothing more than people's speculation about what they think happened with the development of the NT text because they assume a priori that that kind of heavy alteration must have happened. It's circular reasoning. They assume it must have happened, and then they are just hunting for excuses in the text to justify their assumption being true - ignoring the fact that there are other valid and better ways of understanding what they see going on in the text. The reason they ignore other explanations for what they see is because they have assumed a priori that what they are looking for must have happened without first having real evidence that it did.
    #8 Rise, Aug 6, 2020 at 12:16 AM
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020 at 12:34 AM