My responses in red.
The Old Testament is largely made up of re-written Egyptian myths and fables (names were changed to protect the innocent.) Only 8 books in the The New Testament have known authors. All the disciples spoke Aramaic and the scriptures were written in Greek. 2000 years ago the literacy rate in the Roman Empire was about 10%. The disciples were illiterate day laborers with the exception of Matthew who moonlighted as a tax collector. (Info courtesy of Bart Ehrman, "Jesus Interrupted")
In short, who cares if the Bible gets rewritten yet again? It has been edited and stepped upon so many times it scarcely resembles the original tome anyway. The project will keep a large number of sanctimonious knuckleheads out of the public's hair for awhile. Maybe.
You assert a lot of things about the Bible of which I’ve never heard. If the Old Testament is largely made up of myths, they’re Jewish, not Egyptian. Jews wrote about Jews in Hebrew. Never heard this Egyptian myth theory.
I’ve heard conjecture about the authors of the New Testament, but they always struck me as fairly ridiculous. Paul usually started his letters with his name in the letter and he wrote about half the New Testament. I’ve never read any convincing argument that the names of the other books were not the authors of the books, just opinion and conjecture.
Yes, the disciples spoke Aramaic, but they also spoke Hebrew and Greek, and probably a few other languages too. When Pilate posted “This is Jesus, King of the Jews” on Jesus’s cross, he wrote it in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. It was a multi-lingual society, much like Europeans who frequently speak 5 or 6 languages.
I don’t know where you pulled the literacy figure, but I know male Jews were as near to 100% literate as possible. From a very young age, all male Jews were (and are) taught the Torah. They were (and are) expected to read, write, and understand Hebrew at a very young age. And I think it not unreasonable to think they learned to read and write Greek as well, since that was a dominant language of the time. Paul and Luke were both well-educated men. The preponderance of evidence points to the fact that all the disciples and apostles were at minimum, highly literate in Hebrew.
I don’t know where you get the idea that the Bible doesn’t resemble the original. It is the MOST documented book in regards to manuscript evidence than ANY other ancient book. The New Testament alone has well over 20,000 manuscripts written in many languages, most within 500 years of the originals, some within 100 years. I think the Homer’s Iliad is the nearest ancient competitor with 642 manuscripts written in one language about 500 years after the original.
I think you need to examine the evidence yourself instead of reading what other people say.
I cited Bart Ehrman as the source of the material I relayed. When I need to learn something I turn to those more educated than myself and I think a Princeton educated theologian fits the bill. Try his "Jesus Interrupted" or "Jesus Misquoted" or "The God Problem" and tell me what you think. If you have been getting your information from the pulpit then you have been getting 2000 years of Christian dogma shaped and molded to make war and control large masses of people. The preacher at your pulpit has a vested interest in you sitting in your pew. He needs you to put money in his tray so he doesn't have to get a real job.
Christianity was concocted by men to make war. If you try a horizontal reading of the Bible as Ehrman suggests you will see this. In Romans Paul praises the work of several women by name for their leadership roles in their respective churches. In 1st Corinthians he turns around and portrays women as dirt. Could this possible be the same author? Not likely.
You likely have a huge emotional attachment to Christianity and studying it from an historical perspective does not come easy for you. It's tough to admit that you have been given untruths your whole life.
I will definitely read Ehrman, but I doubt he makes any serious argument about the manuscript evidence of the Bible. No scholar can; it’s overwhelming. No other ancient book even begins to come close in either quantity or quality.
I think just about anyone would view your comment about pastors as insulting. No doubt there are charlatans, as in any job, but the vast majority is honest and hard working. No offense, but you don’t know the preacher at my pulpit; I do. I’ve had him to my home for dinner, and I know his mind and motivation. You do your opinion no favor by stocking it with ignorant attacks like that.
For a book concocted to make war, the Bible certainly does contain odd tenets, don’t you think? “Turn the other cheek”, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, “Deny yourself and take up your cross”, “As much as you can, live in peace with everyone” – Yep, nothing like those kind of rallying cries to put murderous fire into an army. Just a tad different from the Koran which encourages adherents to “kill the infidel” and rule the world. It is men who twist the Bible into war propaganda, but if all men were to follow the words and spirit of the Bible, war would cease.
I don’t know exactly to which portions of Romans and 1 Cor. you refer (I’ll look it up later), but I can categorically say this: at no time did Paul portray women as dirt except in your own mind. I suppose Ehrman thinks the fact that Paul was writing to two different audiences with two very different sets of problems and the different purpose behind each letter makes no difference whatsoever in content? I’ll find out when I read him.
The Bible has several versions, but none are accepted by the vast majority of Christians that differ markedly in substance. Of course, certain groups will re-write the Bible, but that is not the Bible. The Bible is the book supported by ancient manuscript evidence. THAT is the book of centuries, the unchanging Word of God.
This is how you perform a horizontal reading of the Bible:
Romans 16:1 “I commend you our sister Phoebe, a servant in the church of Cenchrea. I ask that you receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you for she has been a great help to many people including me.” NIV. This is Paul speaking.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35: “As in all the congregations of the saints women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something they should ask their own husbands at home for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in church.” NIV.
These words are attributed by unknown persons to Paul but they are not his words. These are not my opinions. I could not possibly know. As I said, I defer to persons who spend their entire adult lives poring over this book, the Bible. But I do know this: Theologians who revere your God every bit as much as you do not believe that Paul wrote the passage from Corinthians and they don’t believe any of it to be “God’s word.”
Does this sound like the same author to you? Is this the “unchanging word of God” you spoke of. Or, is it possible that these words were written by separate men each with their own agenda? You be the judge. And you also get back to me and tell me if dirt is still too strong a word to describe the Corinthians passage. "Disgraceful for a woman to speak in church." DIRT!
These contradictions in the New Testament occur over and over, dozens of times. Differences in writing style, lexicon, using words that were not in common use when the disciples roamed the Holy Lands. Again and again.
Try your own horizontal reading of the Christmas story in Mark and Luke. The rules: You can’t “explain away” anything, and you can’t meld the two stories into one. They are decidedly different versions of the same event, and neither “author” was present at the event. The “unchanging word of God?” I don’t think so, but you be your own judge. Good luck.
PS: I sincerely apologize if I lumped your pastor into the same bin with the bouffant hair-do, money grubbing crowd.
So...in one place, Paul writes an introduction for Phoebe and asks the church to help her in any way she needs because she is of great service to the church and Paul in particular. In another place, he writes about the conduct of women in general in an actual church service. And you're under the impression this constitutes some sort of contradiction.
I'd like you to explain to me how it is contradictory for Phoebe to remain silent in church, seek knowledge from her husband (if she had one), and be a great servant to the church and Paul, because I see none. If this is an example of Ehrman's thinking, I expect his books to be a disappointment, Princeton education or not.
And certainly, Paul does not "portray women as dirt" in either passage, except in your mind. Jews of that time operated under a strongly patriarchal social structure, and patriarchal does not mean "women are dirt". It is simply a description of roles; men lead, women and children follow. The man who leads well, loves and cherishes his family, listens to their concerns, and works together with them to solve problems. The man who leads badly tyrannizes his family and denigrates his wife, or simply follows his wife.
But God says it is always the man who must lead. It was when Adam abdicated his leadership and followed Eve that disaster occurred. Male leadership does not diminish or lessen the role of women. It is simply a matter of function. Make no mistake - in a family, SOMEONE will lead. God says it should be the husband. I simply try to conform my mind and actions in agreement with God.