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Who compiled the Bible?

Discussion in 'Christianity in General DIR' started by pebble107, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. pebble107

    pebble107 New Member

    Being raised in a christian home, I've always been rather troubled by this question for the simple fact that it wasn't addressed. Who were the people that actually chose the 66 books which we now possess? Were they under divine inspiration as well? :confused:
  2. stlekee

    stlekee Fool for Wisdom

    Moses has been traditionally sites as the author of much of the old testament, but bible scholars think it was wriiten by several Jewish scribes and priests over the years. There is a lot of research on this topic if yopu search around, try wikipedia.

    The new testament was compiled around the 3rd century ? after Jesus' death. It was a council that met and decided which books to include. By then christianity had changed from a religion OF Jesus to a religion ABOUT Jesus.
  3. Clear

    Clear Well-Known Member

    Hi Pebble107;

    I’m surprised you’ve not had more interest and speculations regarding your question. I say speculations because, especially regarding the Old Testament, since your question is not one most individuals have much information about (and even the simple discussions regarding transmission of sacred records is so clothed in mythical nonsense).

    I think your question was both profound and it’s consideration has many implications. I wondered what could be speculated with any accuracy about the specific “people” or “organizations” involved in the several millennia-long process of accumulating sacred records; the gathering of the vast sacred libraries; the collating of vast numbers of texts as vast records accumulated, and were processed through culling and editing so as to include some texts and to exclude others in the creation of both Bibles.

    As I thought about this, in the absence of specific date, I wanted to think about some basic-level, provisional model as to what might have happened during the creation of the old testament and felt that the type of discussions that the reformers had (when they considered the bible, the books that should be in it and how those considerations and beliefs of their’s could have changed and did change their translations of the Old and New Testaments. IF such considerations and changes affected the resulting OLD and NEW testaments in modern times, I have to believe that the same changes took place in text anciently as the many ancient religionists having differing views and how the various religionists and tradents and translators gathered texts and over time, produced and Old Testament.

    Anyway, I am in the process of writing such speculations down in a thread, the link is here : http://www.religiousforums.com/foru...-canon-speculative-principles-underlying.html

    I discussed the difficulties caused by poorly kept history in the ancient world and the concept that some books outside the current canon were viewed as authoritative (such as esdras was to columbus) and others that are inside the current canon were viewed as non-authoritative by influential religionists. For example: Hebrews, revelation, james, songs of solomong, etc. have all come under dispute. Ignatius complains that many of the text ending up in the modern New Testament were not accepted in his time.

    In my posts, I tried to make the distinction between the gathering of early texts versus the “canonization of” such texts and the problem with missing narratives in the Old Testament. I used moses first marriage, and Joseph’s silver cup as a tool of divination as examples of missing narratives. One must turn to other books to read about such narratives and to then make sense of the missing biblical text.

    I tried to develop the principle that, “popular doctrine of individuals and their community determined to some extent, the texts they viewed as authoritative". For example : B.F. Westcot, said “It cannot be too often repeated, that the history of the formation of the whole Canon involves little less than the history of the building of the Catholic Church.” I think this historical point is, in the main, correct and a good provisional model for the processes which created the modern western canon (as opposed to the eastern Christian Canon which has 81 books). While this may be true, I then used the reformers and their discussions and disputations over the canon as a model for ancient canonical disputations among the Jews as they formed the Old Testament over millennia of Old Testament production. For example, authorship was NOT a criteria for inclusion into either canon (since we cannot prove who wrote ANY of these books)

    I discussed how I think personal belief and personal bias changed both the text and how the text was translated by reformers. Presumably the same mechanism affected the Old Testament collators and translators as well. I used examples of both variety in Old Testament texts as s examples of this mechanism. I used examples of differences in specific translation between two major jewish community translations. I pointed out the Samaritan versions of the Old Testament are different, even in the 10 commandments so as to support their personal doctrinal disputes with the dominant Judaism of the time.

    I might remind you that such things are speculations. They are speculations which are supported by facts, but they are simply over generalized and provisional models for how and why some specific characteristics of our canon exist. The speculations cannot tell us what sacred texts SHOULD have been included in a somewhat arbitrary canon, nor can they tell us what those text might have looked like in their more “original” form. However, the posts do have some application, specifically to your question.

    It’ll take me a few days to either exhaust some of my thoughts or, (much more likely), run out of time and have to stop but you have made me think about these issues a lot lately. Good luck in coming to your own provisional understanding of these issues.

    Last edited: Oct 20, 2010
  4. Renji

    Renji Well-Known Member

    If I'm not mistaken, it was compiled with the help of St. Jerome.
  5. Greygon

    Greygon Monotheistic Trinitarian

    The Old Testament is derived from the collection of Hebrew texts. These are the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. The Torah is the collection of the Mosaic writings and comprise the first five books of the Christian bible (Genesis - Deuteronomy). The Prophets are the books that we would normally refer to as those like Samuel, Joshua, Malachi, etc). The Writings are those books like Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Daniel, Proverbs, etc).

    The New Testament is the collection of writings attributed to the disciples of Christ. These books are those that the early church attributed to the disciples and regularly used. There were two early tests for the inclusion of these writings as sacred:

    1. Was it written by a reliable eye witness or someone with immediate access to an eye witness?
    2. Was it useful? Did the text help people understand God?

    What we see over the years after the death of Christ was a set of writings beginning to emerge and be shared among the churches. Three men who were disciples of disciples of Christ (Clement, a disciple of Paul; Ignatius, a student of John; and Polycarp, another student of John) are attributed with some of the earliest listings of collections of New Testament sacred writings. Each of these men wrote letters of their own and in their writings cited the various texts they were exposed to. Clement cited 7 in his writings and his style suggests that the works he was citing would have been well known enough to be recognized by his readers. Ignatius cited between 7 and 16 texts. Polycarp cited 14 to 16 of the books.

    This development of the Canon continued over the following years. By 170 AD we have a document fragment referred to as the "Muratorian Fragment". This fragment lists Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Jude, 1 John, 2 John and Revelation as reliable texts. It also warned against texts that were in existence but were not considered reliable.

    By 185 AD, Irenaeus affirmed as many as 24 of the New Testament books. Hippolytus in 220 AD affirmed 24 of the books, and by 324 AD E
    usebius prepared a canonical list for Constantine that affirms the 27 books we know today. The question of canon was affirmed by various church councils in the period from 363 AD to 397 AD. The Council of Laodicea (363 AD) stated only the old testament and the 27 books of the new testament were to be read in the churches. The Council of Hippo in 393 AD recognized the 27 books and then the Council of Carthage in 397 AD affirmed the listing.

    One thing important to note, the church Councils did not sit with a large collection of texts and attempt to decide which books should be in and which should be out. Instead, the councils were simply affirming the practice of the canon that was already being observed in the churches. This wasn't like some state text book convention.

    Another thing that is important to note is that the transmission of the texts were not linear. Someone didn't make one copy and that is what got passed down. Instead, we see many references where multiple copies of the texts were being produced and circulated. The abundance of copies of the early texts is overwhelming from a historical perspective.

    A good source for information on this topic can be found at the pleaseconvinceme website. (Sorry, I cant post the url yet)
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2010
  6. jojo50

    jojo50 New Member

    yes they were,and humans DIDN'T choose anything,Jehovah did. and Jehovah God made sure they wrote what he wanted them to. many say it's man who wrote the books. implying that man made it up. yes they did write the books,but these men were choosen by Jehovah to write them...
    2Cor.3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God, (it’s God who makes sure his true teachings, are his, and not ours).

    and 1Thess.2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.(we know man wrote the bible, but the true words of the bible are from God).

    of course there are many words which satan made sure were added and taken away. still Jehovah made sure all he wanted us to know,was Not removed totally. like his name,which was removed and replaced with the word LORD,(capital letter). peace
  7. esmith

    esmith Well-Known Member

    Since this is a Christianity DIR I will use the Christian terminology. The Old Testament, is the Masoretic Text, an editon of the Hebrew that was standardized in the second half of the first millennium CE by rabbinic scholars. All Hebrew copies of the Old Testament (Tanakh) that were known until recently reflected the Masoretic Text. With a few exceptions (most notably biblical texts found in the Cairo Genizah), this remained the case until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls were over a thousand years older than the oldest manuscripts available up to that point. The text found in the Dead Sea Scrolls have shed light on some passages in the traditional form of the biblical text. This difference is reflected in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

    The Christian idea of having written authority for beliefs about God goes back to Jesus himself. Jesus had a set of sacred set of authorities, the Hebrew Bible. There was not a universally accepted canon of Jewish Scriptures in the days of Jesus, but he interpreted them for his teachings. Christianity was rooted in the life and teaching of Jesus, but Jesus left no writings. His apostles, then, were the link back to Jesus. These apostolic links were the existence of written documents allegedly produced by the apostles themselves. there are four kinds of writings: genuine, anonymous, homonymous, and pseudonymous books. All four books were in wide circulation in the early Christian era. All were claimed as having apostolic authority to settle disputes over what to believe and how to act. However, only 27 were canonized. During the first 400 years of Christianity, various Christians argued for different collection of books. It was not until 367 C.E. that anyone put forward 27 books as the New Testament. This list was first put forward by Athansius, the powerful bishop of Alexandria. However, different Christians in different parts of the Christian world sometimes accepted other books as canonical. Eventually, Athansius' view became the almost universally accepted view of Christendom. Irenaeus (c 180 C.E) argues that there had to be only 4 gospels. So what determined if a book could be "canonized"? Had to be ancient: nothing written long after the time of Jesus, had to be apostolic: written by an apostle or one of their companions, had to be orthodox: nothing that advocated a false view of the religion could be accepted, had to be widely recognized throughout the church. These debates lasted for centuries. Excluded were all the books that embraced alternative points of view, and those considered heretical and forged. Still many books that some modern scholars consider as forgers or pseudonymous were canonized; for example 2 Thessalonians, Colossians, and Ephesians are all pseudonymous. Also the three letters of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. The books of Hebrews is really a sermon, a word of exhortation, a sermon delivered by an early Christian preacher that expounded that Christianity was far superior to Judaism.

    So who wrote the Bible, the answer is many contributors some we know and others that will remain anonymous. Also we must remember that scribes copied the text and mistakes were made, some accidental others on purpose. Additionally passages were added well into the middle ages.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2011
  8. thedope

    thedope New Member

    The bible in all it's forms has been compiled over time by numerous authors and editors, rapt in various stages of self observation.
  9. MountainGuardian

    MountainGuardian New Member

    There are in fact a number of different, christian bibles, some leave out certain books and others include them, the Ethiopean bible includes the two books of Enoch where none of the others do.

    There are actually a great many works that have not made it into bibles but do still exist, many can be downloaded from the internet. There are also works in the dead sea scrolls that are not represented in modern day bibles.

    None of the bibles represent all biblical materials that exist.
  10. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

    Different lists were developed at different times by different people/councils and authorized by different church leaders. The 66-book "protestant" canon is a truncated version of the larger RCC canon. The Roman canon is different from the Orthodox canon, which is different from the Ethiopian canon, etc. etc. There are currently several collections of sacred texts, any of which may be referred to as "the Bible." Canonization was a process that took many years before it was "closed."
  11. esmith

    esmith Well-Known Member

    Actually, if you had read my previous post (#7) you will see that I mentioned that the New Revised Standard Version has changed the wording in their Bible to reflect the writings in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
  12. jojo50

    jojo50 New Member

    these men wrote the scrolls which in now in books called bibles. and every last one of these men,worship jehovah,the God of Israel.
    1.Moses---Exodus and Levi.---(the wilderness), Num.---(wilderness and Plains of Moab),Deut.---(Plains of Moab),Job---(wilderness)
    3.Samuel---Judges and Ruth---(Israel)
    4.Samuel,Nathan,Gad---1st and 2nd Samuel---(Israel)
    5.Jeremiah---1Kings and 2kings, Jeremiah---(Judah and Egypt)
    Lamentations---(near Jerusalem)
    6.Ezra---1st and 2nd Chronicles---(maybe Jerusalem, not sure),Ezra---(Jerusalem)
    8.Mordecai---Esther---(Shushan, Elam)
    9.David and others---(Psalms)---(unknown)
    11.Solomon---Eccle. And Song of Solomon---(Jerusalem)
    15.Hosea---Hosea---(Samaria “district”)
    24.Haggai---Haggai---(Jerusalem rebuilt)
    25.Zechariah---Zechariah---(Jerusalem rebuilt)
    26.Paul---Romans,1st and 2nd thess.---(Corinth),1Corithians---(Ephesus)
    2Corithians, 1Timothy,and Titus---(Macedonia),2Timothy---(Rome)
    Galatians---(Corinth or Syrian Antioch),Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians---(Rome),Philemon, Hebrew---(Rome)
    27.James,(Jesus brother)---James---(Jerusalem)
    28.Peter---1st Peter---(Babylon),2nd Peter---(Babylon, not sure)
    29.Malachi---Malachi---(Jerusalem rebuilt)
    30.Matthew---Matthew---(Palestine) 31.Mark---Mark---(Rome)
    33.Apostle John---John, 1st,2nd,and 3rd John---(Ephesus or near)
    Revelation---(Island of Patmos), where he was prisoned for being a follower of Jesus!

    and yes Jehovah himself,made sure they put down what he wanted them to..

    (1). 2Cor.3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; (it’s God who makes sure his true teachings, are his, and not ours).

    (2). 1Thess.2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.(we know man wrote the bible, but the true words of the bible are from God).
  13. CatholicCrusader

    CatholicCrusader New Member

    The Catholic Church.
  14. Mister Emu

    Mister Emu Emu Extraordinaire Staff Member Premium Member

    The Catholic Church(while Orthodox and Catholic were still united) compiled the NT, Jews compiled the OT.

    There are more than 66 books.
  15. CatholicCrusader

    CatholicCrusader New Member

    Correct. My post was a bit too pithy I suppose.

    Regarding the OT, here is an excellent article worth reading: Defending the Deuterocanonicals

    The New Testament was canonized in the late 4th century, and was ratified by Pope Damasus I.
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