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Thursday, February 16, 2006 

The bible: my summary

jim jordan asked me to sum up the (Christian) bible in a paragraph. Great idea!

The bible is an important piece of literature, whose quotes are widely used in our culture. A compilation written by scores of authors, with differing viewpoints, beliefs, and agendas, it has some overarching themes, like rules for organization of social life, and justice. Many people find parts of it very beautiful, like the parables of Jesus. Many people attach special importance to it because they believe it to be inspired in some manner by their deity.

After I wrote the above, I checked out wikipedia's bible entry. I had understood that the bible wasn't a cut and dried document, but actually reading about the story is fascinating!

The Deuterocanonical books are "extra" OT books not found in the Hebrew Bible (and I read to my chagrin that the 'Hebrew Bible' contains the 'Torah' and is not a synonym for it, oops.)

The (New Testament) Apocrypha are "suppressed" books, from wikipedia: "Obedient Christians were warned away from these works now termed apocryphal, many of which were vigorously suppressed and survive only as fragments." The entries for Apocrypha & Deuterocanonical books contain links to each book in question, a veritable wealth of information.

The entry on the Biblical Canon touches on not only which books make up the Jewish and Christian bibles, but which version of each book is deemed proper.

It appears that it is true that the seemingly simple question "which bible?" can take a book's worth of information to fully answer.

You might also want to learn about the Gospel of Thomas in Jesus Without the Miracles.

And some groovy Ellen Pagel.

One quick correction. It is not correct that the Hebrew Bible contains the Torah (I an curious as to where you heard that), but rather the Torah contains the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the classic Jewish commentaries, and even science and philosophy according to some views.

I have a copy of the Tanakh which was used in a Bible as Literature course in college. What is this I have?

It says on the cover

The Holy Scriptures


Here is the link so you can see which one I have.

Jewish Freak, that's what wikipedia led me to believe, just as stardust posted.

After doing some "refreshing" of my memory and verifying some facts I found that the The Talmud expands on the Torah. Traditional Judaism has always held that the books of the Tanakh were transmitted in parallel with a living, oral tradition. Thus, the Torah - the "Law" or "Instruction" - is the written law, while the oral law deals with its application and elaborates on its meaning. The Talmud, ultimately, constitutes the authoritative redaction of this tradition. It is thus the major influence on Jewish belief and thought. Furthermore, although not a formal legal code, it is the basis for all later codes of Jewish law, and thus continues to exert a major influence on Halakha and Jewish religious practice.

The Jewish Bible -- The Tanakh contains the three sacred Jewish texts includes the three books I mentioned above

From what I gather the Talmud deals with Jewish laws.

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talmud

FTM & Stardust: My apologies. Because my own cultural bias I did not provide an adequate explanation of the word "Torah"
First of all the word "Torah" literally means that which is revealed, or that which is shown.
The word has two uses, equally valid. It can mean the Five Books Of Moses, or it can mean the entire corpus of religious Jewish literature, just as the word "Man" can mean either an individual man or the species of man. The common usage of the word "Torah" in Judaism is the latter. I hope this helps. Thank you for your interest.

I found the best place to find out what the bible, torah and karan really say is here http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/

Ever wonder why where ever religion rules so does violence, child abuse, rape and war? Check the link I posted.

hi 'say no to christ', the SAB & I are well acquainted! Thanks too for the links, ARB and Michael!

That's a good start. I would add:

Unfortunately, these same people forget about all the horrors in the bible, like the massive flood that killed everyone but one family and a pair of all animals (as if that's remotely possible) or the burning of everyone in two towns because one man couldn't magically see into the nonexistent souls of their townspeople.

Feel free to omit the parenthetical. :)

If you haven't read the apocrypha, then here are some of its highlights
-The Gospel of Thomas (No. 1 in terms of importance)
-The Secret Gospel of Mark (fills in some odd gaps in the Gospel of Mark, as well as possibly implying that Jesus was gay)
-The Gospel of Truth (an amazingly well written work - it stands up to shakespeare)
-Apocalypse of Peter (if you've ever seen the paintings of Heironymous Bosch, this is where he gets it from)
-Protevangelium of James (ever wondered where all that Catholic stuff about Mary comes from?)
-Infancy Gospel of Thomas (ever wondered what Jesus did when he was a boy?)
-Acts of Peter (where Peter being crucified upside down comes from)

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  • I'm the freethoughtmom from New England. Welcome!
  • The word rational means having the ability to reason. Reasoning takes time. Giving yourself the space to think is practically a luxury in our society.

    My father is a logical engineer, my mother a caring nurturer. My handwriting with my dominate hand resembles that of my father, the other, my mother. I feel lucky to have both sides to draw from.
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