HISTORY OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY PART THREE THE CANONICAL GOSPELS TRANSLATION FACTS & ISSUES 30 C.E. TO 310 C.E. LECTURE ONE DEDICATION This class is dedicated to my 8th grade teacher: Maureen Gallagher (a.k.a. Sister Marca) who inspired me to seek out answers to difficult questions even though it would take 50 years. FROM JESUS REMEMBERED - 1 Biblical Scholar James Dunn: A faith which regards all critical scrutiny of its historical roots as inimical to faith can never hold up its head or lift up its voice in any public forum. ADVISORY ON LECTURES - 1 There is a certain tension between faith and the quest for the Historical Jesus. Much of this tension comes from the interpretation and translation of the four Canonical Gospels. The purpose of this course is to present information on the sources of the Gospels and the facts and issues surrounding their presentation in a readable English. ADVISORY ON LECTURES - 2 Much of the information discussed is not a final solution or the only way to view these facts and issues. Once again, they are an example of one alternative viewpoint that many Biblical Scholars accept and a number of others reject. Here we are trying to explain the many difficulties that are encountered whenever dealing with ancient manuscripts. ADVISORY ON LECTURES - 3 All must bear in mind that they were written long ago during times that have been lost to us for almost two millennia. Our goal is to attempt to understand what these ancient writers were trying to say from that distant past to our current times. WHAT IS A GOSPEL? FROM JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR THE APOSTLES: Always hoped that I'd be an apostle Knew that I would make it if I tried Then when we retire we can write the gospels So they'll still talk about us when we've died DEFINITION OF A GOSPEL - 1 Any ancient writing can be said to be a Gospel that: 1. Describes the actions of Jesus. 2. Contains the words or sayings of Jesus. 3. Has the teachings of Jesus. 4. Has as a main theme the life of Jesus. DEFINITION OF A GOSPEL - 2 Literally the word “GOSPEL” comes from the Greek word ‘EUANGELION’ which means “GOOD NEWS” or “GLAD TIDINGS”. In Old English the word was “GODSPELL” which is God’s Spell, i.e. Good News. DEFINITION OF A CANONICAL GOSPEL - 0 The word CANON comes from the Greek word ”KANON” which literally meant “a rod or bar used as a measuring standard”. In theological usage it meant a “rule of standard or norm”. When applied to books it denoted an “Authoritative Collection”. DEFINITION OF A CANONICAL GOSPEL - 1 A Gospel is called canonical if it was accepted into the New Testament and, therefore, became part of the Christian Bible. Today there are four Canonical Gospels: Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John. In the past some Christian sects had other Canonical Gospels. DEFINITION OF A CANONICAL GOSPEL - 2 To become a Canonical Gospel the writing must fulfill all of the following criteria: 1. Be authored by or have as its primary source an Apostle or close Disciple of an Apostle. 2. Contain eye-witness accounts of Jesus life. DEFINITION OF A CANONICAL GOSPEL - 3 3. Written close to the time of Jesus ministry. By modern chronology, before the year 100 A.D. 4. Intended to provide a history of Jesus life, works, sayings, and teachings. DEFINITION OF A CANONICAL GOSPEL - 4 5. Dogmatically acceptable to the Orthodox Christian Church of 350 A.D. 6. In 185 A.D the Church Father Irenaeus of Lyons declared the following criterium: “there are four Pillars of the Church: it is not possible that there can be either more or fewer than four”. DEFINITION OF A CANONICAL GOSPEL - 5 By the year 250 A.D. the four current Canonical Gospels were accepted as being the only “true, reliable” Gospels. When the New Testament came into final form around 350 A.D., these four Gospels were the only ones allowed into the “CANON” of the Orthodox Church. THE COUNCIL OF LAODICEA IN 360 C.E. CANON LX: And these are the books of the New Testament: Four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; The Acts of the Apostles; Seven Catholic Epistles, to wit, one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude; Fourteen Epistles of Paul, one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, one to the Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, one to the Hebrews, two to Timothy, one to Titus, and one to Philemon. DEFINITION OF A NON-CANONICAL GOSPEL - 1 A Gospel is called Non-Canonical if was NOT accepted into the New Testament by the Orthodox Christian Church. Therefore, it did not become part of any of the current “mainstream” Christian Bibles. DEFINITION OF A NON-CANONICAL GOSPEL - 2 Many Non-Canonical Gospels were: 1. Written after 100 A.D. 2. Not eye-witness accounts of the life or sayings of Jesus. 3. Not authored or sourced from an Apostle or one of his/her disciples. 4. Contained unacceptable doctrine or dogma. LIST OF NON-CANONICAL GOSPELS - 1 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. GOSPEL OF THE NAZAREANS GOSPEL OF THE EBIONITES GOSPEL OF PETER GOSPEL OF MARY GOSPEL OF PHILIP GOSPEL OF TRUTH GOSPEL OF THE SAVIOR GOSPEL OF JUDAS LIST OF NON-CANONICAL GOSPELS - 2 9. GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE HEBREWS 10. GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE EGYPTIANS 11. COPTIC GOSPEL OF THOMAS 12. EGERTON 2: THE UNKNOWN GOSPEL 13. INFANCY GOSPEL OF THOMAS 14. PROTO-GOSPEL OF JAMES 15. SECRET GOSPEL OF MARK FACTS ABOUT THE CANONICAL GOSPELS WHO WROTE THE GOSPELS - 1 No one knows who actually wrote any of the Gospels. Not one was signed by an individual nor any author mentioned within the text. All the names that are used today were added to manuscripts sometime in the mid to late 100’S. Because it is convenient, scholars continue to use the existing names. WHO WROTE THE GOSPELS - 2 It is doubtful that any of the original Apostles were literate, especially in Greek (KOINE) in which all the oldest manuscripts are written. It is possible that some of the Apostles dictated to individuals who wrote down what they said over time. Then later editors used this material to put together the various Gospels. WHO WROTE THE GOSPELS - 3 Attributing writings to important figures of the past in order to give them more authority was a common practice during this timeframe. The terms for this are “pseudonymous writings” or “pseudopigrapha” which means “false writing” or “something written under a false name”. WHO WROTE THE GOSPELS - 4 All the Gospels, Canonical and Non-canonical, can be argued as being written by someone other than the name associated with the Gospel. WHEN WRITTEN - 1 No one knows when the original Gospel manuscripts were written down. For dating purposes, scholars look at: 1. The individual words used by the authors. 2. How the words were used singly and in context. 3. Sentence structure. WHEN WRITTEN - 2 Word placement. 5. Writing style. 6. Spelling of certain words. 7. Description of events. 8. Customs mentioned. 9. Physical locations and names. 10. Description of physical structures (tile roof vs. thatched) 11. Names of participants. 4. WHEN WRITTEN - 3 Think of reading an article written in 1865, 1925, 1975, and 2010. Even if the article was on the same subject, many of the aforementioned points would lead you to deduce the actual timeframe that the article was probably written. GOSPEL FACTS FOR MARK - 1 1. WHO: UNKNOWN 2. ATTRIBUTED: JOHN-MARK, DISCIPLE OF PETER 3. WHEN: BETWEEN 65 C.E. TO 70 C.E. 4. WHERE: CITY OF ROME 5. AUDIENCE: ROMAN CHRISTIANS 6. WHY: TO PROVIDE MORE INFORMATION ON JESUS TO THE PERSECUTED ROMAN CHRISTIANS GOSPEL FACTS FOR MATTHEW - 1 1. WHO: UNKNOWN 2. ATTRIBUTED: MATTHEW, ONE OF THE 12 APOSTLES 3. WHEN: BETWEEN 75 C.E. TO 80 C.E. 4. WHERE: NEAR PALESTINE, POSSIBLY ANTIOCH OR DAMASCUS 5. AUDIENCE: JEWISH CHRISTIANS 6. WHY: TO SHOW THE JEWISH FOLLOWERS THAT JESUS WAS THE MESSIAH AND FULFILLS SCRIPTURES. GOSPEL FACTS FOR LUKE - 1 1. 2. 3. 4. WHO: UNKNOWN ATTRIBUTED: LUKE, DISCIPLE OF PAUL WHEN: BETWEEN 80 C.E. TO 85 C.E. WHERE: IN THE REGIONS AROUND ACHAIA (NORTHERN GREECE) 5. AUDIENCE: THEOPHILUS - A WELL TO DO GENTILE CHRISTIAN 6. WHY: TO WRITE A DEFINITIVE WORK ON THE LIFE AND PASSION OF JESUS GOSPEL FACTS FOR JOHN - 1 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. WHO: UNKNOWN ATTRIBUTED: JOHN, APOSTLE OF JESUS WHEN: BETWEEN 90 C.E. TO 100 C.E. WHERE: CITY OF EPHESUS AUDIENCE: GENTILE/JEWISH CHRISTIANS IN ASIA MINOR 6. WHY: TO CONVINCE THE READERS THAT JESUS WAS THE CHRIST WHERE CRITERIA - 1 The following criteria is a selection of various ways to determine where a document or manuscript may have originated: 1. Vocabulary. 2. Sentence structure. 3. Type of stories. 4. Multiple languages in the manuscript. GOSPEL SOURCES - 1 1. Mark: Oral traditions primarily 2. Matthew: i) Oral traditions (called M) ii) The Q Gospel iii) Mark’s Gospel (90%) 3. Luke: i) Oral traditions (called L) ii) The Q Gospel iii) Mark’s Gospel (50%) GOSPEL SOURCES - 2 The Q Gospel: There are a significant number of sayings that both Matthew and Luke have in common but are not in Mark. In fact some of the verses are virtually the same word for word. This list of verses are referred to as the Gospel of Q from “QUELLE” which is the “SOURCE” in German. GOSPEL SOURCES - 3 There are three major features of Q’S primary structure: 1. There are around 200 verses that Matthew and Luke have in common that are not in Mark. 2. Matthew groups the Q sayings in several composite discourses. 3. Luke scatters them about his writings. It appears that Luke’s sequence retained a closer resemblance to the original Q. GOSPEL SOURCES - 4 The Q Gospel: The Gospel was first proposed in the late 1800’s and caused much controversy. The last real argument against its existence was that there was/is no writings which have just a list of sayings by Jesus. None had ever been discovered so there was no proof that such a document could have possibly existed. This all changed in 1945 with the discovery of the Coptic Gospel of Thomas and its 144 sayings of Jesus. GOSPEL SOURCES - 5 4. JOHN: Disputed. Most scholars agree that whomever one thinks the author of John is will determine what they feel the sources are. Many feel that its primary source was an eyewitness such as the Apostle John even though there is nothing in the Gospel that actually says this. Other scholars contend that the eyewitness was another disciple who passed on the information. GOSPEL SOURCES - 6 4.(cont.) A majority of scholars do agree that the other Gospels were either not a source or a very minor one as there are significant differences between these Gospels. The eyewitness source did not have to actually write the original Gospel and probably did not. The source provided the information which later scribes wrote down. GOSPEL MANUSCRIPTS FACTS & ISSUES GOSPEL MANUSCRIPTS FACTS - 1 1. All the Gospels are written on what we generally referred to as manuscripts of papyrus. These are the source material for the bibles that we read. 2. Almost all old Gospel manuscripts are written in Koine, a version of ancient Greek. Later (by hundreds of years) manuscripts were written in Latin, Syriac, Aramaic, and Coptic. GOSPEL MANUSCRIPTS FACTS - 2 3. All the original Gospels were first written down in their fullest forms any where from 35 years to 150 years after Jesus of Nazareth’s ministry. 4. There are pieces of manuscripts going back to about 110 A.D. (fragment from the Gospel of Mark). GOSPEL MANUSCRIPTS FACTS - 3 4. For the Canonical Gospels, there are over 5686 different Greek manuscripts (19,000 in different ancient languages) that can be used as a source for any Gospel Bible translation. 5. There are over 250,000 minor to major differences among all these manuscripts. 6. No one manuscript is the “PERFECT” or “TRUE” version of any Gospel. GOSPEL MANUSCRIPTS FACTS - 4 7. The ages of all Gospel manuscripts reach from a few hundred years old back to the 2nd century A.D., almost 2000 years ago. 8. All Gospel manuscripts are copies of copies of copies of copies, etc. of the original manuscripts. 9. The originals have all vanished due to the aging process. 10. All manuscripts prior to the 1400’s were copied by hand. GOSPEL MANUSCRIPTS FACTS - 5 11. In the earliest years, those copiers were often amateurs, some barely literate. After several centuries, copying became the province of “PROFESSIONALS”, mostly monks in monasteries. 12. Some manuscripts may have been copied by individuals who could not even read Koine. GOSPEL MANUSCRIPTS FACTS - 6 13. The older that a manuscript is the greater reliability that it may reflect what may have been originally written down by the Evangelists. 14. The goal of Gospel scholarship is to “WORK” one’s way back to the earliest copy and determine what may have been added, modified, or deleted by later Editors over the centuries. GOSPEL MANUSCRIPTS FACTS - 7 For the NON-CANONICAL Gospels, there are only one to maybe three manuscripts available as sources for translation. THOMAS – One full, 3 fragments PETER – One partial version, 2 fragments MARY – One partial, 2 fragments JUDAS – Only one partial (nearly complete) version GOSPEL MANUSCRIPTS FACTS - 8 All the points covered previously apply as well to the NON-CANONICAL Gospels with these additions: 1. In many cases, only partial copies exist. 2. Some are written in Coptic which would have been translated from Koine. 3. Very little outside commentary has survived the centuries. A GOSPEL MANUSCRIPT - 1 GREEK GOSPEL MANUSCRIPT - 1 GREEK GOSPEL MANUSCRIPT - 2 1. No punctuations, no commas, no periods, no semi-colons, no quotation marks. Referred to as “scriptio continua”. 2. Sentences are run together one word after the other. 3. No standardized breaks between words. 4. No standardized spellings. 5. No capitalization standards. GREEK GOSPEL MANUSCRIPT - 3 In plain terms, the texts are little more than indecipherable squiggles on a page. A person must understand that those squiggles are ancient (Koine). To be understood they need to be read within the context of the language usage of the time that they were written. GREEK GOSPEL MANUSCRIPT - 4 And all Bibles, no matter what version or title or source or Christian denomination, come from these Greek manuscripts which were copied over the centuries by ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS. Q&A LECTURE TWO TRANSLATION THE PAST TO THE PRESENT IMPORTANT QUOTE ANY TRANSLATION IS AN INTERPRETATION. BIBLICAL SCHOLAR MARVIN MEYER. FROM JESUS REMEMBERED - 2 Biblical Scholar James Dunn: Language which speaks to the imagination and spirit can rarely be translated into factual description without substantive loss. TRANLATION CHAIN - 1 The Gospel that any modern person reads today in English has the following TRANSLATION CHAIN from the original source to the written page in any version of any Bible: 1. The original source: Jesus of Nazareth. 2. Jesus most likely spoke and taught in Aramaic. TRANLATION CHAIN - 2 3. His followers passed on this information for the most part in Aramaic. It is possible that some of his disciples spoke a dialect of Koine which was the “LINGUA FRANCA” of the Eastern Roman Empire. 4. It is very unlikely that any of the original Apostles were literate. John & Peter were described as illiterate in Acts4:13. TRANLATION CHAIN - 3 5. It is possible that some early writings about Jesus (sayings, actions, stories) could have been written down in Aramaic (or Koine) by the followers of the early Disciples. These writings could have been “SOURCE MATERIAL” for the later Evangelists. 6. This “SOURCE MATERIAL” was probably scattered across many cities. TRANLATION CHAIN - 4 7. The literacy rate in 100 A.D. was maybe 5% who could read and write. 8. The original manuscripts were most likely written by amateur scribes (I have speculated that some of them could well have been pagans.). 9. Their source material was most likely oral, some written, and some imagination and speculation. TRANLATION CHAIN - 5 10. It is very likely that much of this was written down in Koine by later scribes. 11. What is read in a current Bible today is a translation of that Koine into English. 12. Each translation whether done recently or centuries ago is unique to the people or individual who did the translation. TRANSLATION CHAIN - 6 Note the path from Jesus of Nazareth to the present: Aramaic from Jesus Aramaic (oral and/or written) Koine (oral & written) Koine (copied over and over) English (written) English to Modern English (paraphrased) TRANLATION ADVISORY - 1 When a Gospel is translated by an individual(s), the translation is constricted by the following: 1. The language being translated from (generally Koine). 2. The language being translated into (English). 3. The timeframe of the translation. 4. The expertise and training of the translator(s). 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. TRANLATION ADVISORY - 2 Subjectivity of the translator(s). The doctoral beliefs, dogma, or motives of the translator(s) (or the sponsors of the translation process – whose money is used). The source manuscripts. The ultimate purpose or agenda of the translation (for whom is it done). The modern cultural background of the translators. TRANLATION ADVISORY - 3 10. The limitations of the language into which the translation is done. 11. How the translators understand the ancient culture, their concepts, and their ways of thinking as well as the political and social systems that existed at the time the Gospels were written vs. the time they represent. TRANLATION ADVISORY - 4 12. The translator must be cognizant of how to respond to the following statement: “The Gospels were not portrayals of Jesus as he was, but of Jesus as his disciples saw him.” TRANLATION ADVISORY - 5 From James Dunn, a Biblical Scholar: “There are such things as bad and even (Dare I say it?) wrong translations…. Consequently, there is no such thing as a single correct translation of a foreign language text, far less a perfect translation.” TRANSLATION EXAMPLE # 1 - 1 From the Billy Graham Crusade 1971 Edition of the Living Bible JOHN13:23: “Since I was sitting next to Jesus at the table, being his closet friend,” Please compare to the 21 other Bible translations on the handout and to your own copy. TRANSLATION EXAMPLE # 1 – 2 While examining the handout and your bible, keep in mind all the previous points that go into translating that single verse. For example: Just consider how the word ‘sitting’ vs. ‘reclining’ will present a different image in one’s mind when interpreting what is being described. TRANSLATION EXAMPLE # 1 - 3 1. Not one of the translations are 100% the same for all verses. 2. Most are very similar but the wording and order tend to be unique. 3. The BG verse uses the word “I” instead of “the Disciple Jesus loved”. 4. In most Bibles from 1971 “other disciple” would have been “the beloved disciple”. TRANSLATION EXAMPLE # 1 - 4 This is an example of the translator using his belief that the author of the Gospel of John is: 1. The beloved disciple 2. The Apostle John, the son of Zebedee. Consequently, he changes from a third person orientation to a first person presentation and paraphrases into colloquial English. TRANSLATION EXAMPLE # 1 - 5 Such a “MINOR” change is a major revision to what was actually written in the original Greek. No where is the beloved disciple actually named in the Gospel nor does the Gospel anywhere state who really wrote the Gospel. The translator imposed his beliefs on the translation. TRANSLATION EXAMPLE # 1 - 6 This change is important because it is saying that an Apostle wrote the Gospel and was an eyewitness, thus supporting the veracity of the stories contained in the document. If the Apostle John is the author, it is proof that the Gospel is “real”. Unfortunately, there is no basis for such a change other than the translator’s personal belief. TRANSLATION EXAMPLE # 2 - 1 Please look at the handout for Mark1:8. “I baptize you with(in) water, but he will baptize you with(in) the Holy Spirit.” The Greek word “en” can be translated as any of the following words: “in, on, at, by, with”. The translator must decide by context or placement of other words around it which word to use. TRANSLATION EXAMPLE # 2 - 2 A translation of “in water” implies baptism by immersion, the Anabaptist tradition. And most denominations that use immersion do so only for adults or individuals who have reached the “age of reason”. TRANSLATION EXAMPLE # 2 - 3 A translation which has “with water” is used to support Baptism by sprinkling water on the head and by extension for some denominations “Infant Baptism”. For some this word translation can be a very controversial point. There is no “correct” or “perfect” translation of this word that would resolve this point. TRANSLATION EXAMPLE # 3 - 1 Please look at the handout for Matthew19:9. “…except for sexual immorality…” The key word is the Greek word “porneia”. That phrase is translated in four different ways by the various Bible versions. This is important because it deals with the exceptions that allow divorce. TRANSLATION EXAMPLE # 3 - 2 As one reads from the many versions, the translators do not agree how to translate that one word, thus creating an issue for arguing over what is permissible and what is not permissible to obtain a divorce. TRANSLATION EXAMPLE # 4 - 1 Please look at the handout for Mark6:3 “…he is just a carpenter…” The key word is the Greek word “tekton”. That term can be translated literally: “ craftsman who worked with his hands”. That can include a carpenter but also a stone mason or just a day laborer. TRANSLATION EXAMPLE # 4 - 2 Out of 21 different bibles, only one used the word builder” rather than “carpenter”. Was that incorrect? Or do modern day translators use the word “carpenter” because that has been used for over a thousand years and is what everyone is familiar with? The answer is that the translator has to decide how to translate this word. TRANSLATION EXAMPLE # 4 - 3 Within the context of the entire verse, there is no referent or linguistic support to push the translation toward one specific meaning or another. None are more correct than any other. Jesus occupation (and that of Joseph) is really non-specific. FROM ARAMAIC TO GREEK OR FROM GREEK TO ARAMAIC DIALOGUE OF NICODEMAS - 1 The issues of translation can go back to the early manuscripts themselves between the languages that today must be the source for modern translations of the bible. Lets consider the DIALOGUE of Nicodemas in John3:3 – 4. The center piece of the dialogue is the confusion by Nicodemas about the words “TO BE BORN AGAIN”. He took it literally (back to the womb) while Jesus of Nazareth meant it spiritually. DIALOGUE OF NICODEMAS - 2 The play on these words can only happen in the Greek (Koine) where there is only one way to say “to be born again”. Whereas, in Aramaic, there are two separate words for expressing the concept of “TO BE BORN AGAIN”, depending on what the speaker is trying to say. DIALOGUE OF NICODEMAS - 3 Both Jesus and Nicodemas are native members of the 1st Century Jewish community. Consequently, it is reasonable to suppose that they were both Aramaic speakers and that the conversation between them would have been in Aramaic, not Koine. DIALOGUE OF NICODEMAS - 4 This fact begs the question whether the conversation ever took place as it is written. The manuscript was written in Greek but the original conversation was most likely in Aramaic. Did the Evangelist, who was probably a Greek speaking individual, create this part of the conversation?? Perhaps modified another conversation from the source that he was copying?? DIALOGUE OF NICODEMAS - 5 Among some scholars this has become a debate. To prove that this dialogue could have happened, it was shown from an 8th Century manuscript of the Gospel of John that was written in Aramaic that it was possible to express these concepts in Aramaic. DIALOGUE OF NICODEMAS - 6 The detractors, then, suggested that the 8th Century manuscript was a copy of a Greek manuscript and that the original copyist (from Koine to Aramaic) created the verbiage necessary to get the concept across in Aramaic so that Nicodemas could be confused. Q&A LECTURE THREE TRANSLATION ISSUE MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - 1 Another issue that must be addressed by translators is what “original” manuscript(s) should be used as the source material for the translation. The overriding issue is the fact that some manuscripts do not have the same wording or verses as other manuscripts. Consider the following examples from all of the Canonical Gospels. MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 1 - 1 1. JOHN8 – The woman caught in adultery. This story is NOT in the oldest and best manuscripts that exist today. It is also found in different locations in John and Luke depending on the source manuscript. Many scholars feel that it was added during later centuries by editors and copiers for some unknown reason. MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 2 - 1 2. Mark 16:9-20 has been called a later addition to the Gospel of Mark by most New Testament scholars in the past century. The main reason for doubting the authenticity of the ending is that it does not appear in some of the oldest existing manuscripts, and it is reported to be absent from many others in ancient times by early writers of the Church. Moreover, the ending has some stylistic features which also suggest that it came from another hand. BIBLERESEARCH.COM MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 3 - 1 3. LUKE9:55-56 Older manuscripts generally say: “But Jesus turned and rebuked them and they went on to another village.” Later manuscripts have the following added: “And Jesus said: You don’t realize what your hearts are like. For the Son of Man has not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” No one is sure of its origins. MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 4 -1 4. MATTHEW 17:21 “BUT THIS KIND (DEMON) DOES NOT GO OUT EXCEPT BY FASTING AND PRAYER.” The verse is not included in many of the newer Bible translations because the older manuscripts do not have this verse. It was added to later manuscripts by copiers who took it from Mark (or so it assumed that this is the source). MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 5 - 1 5. MATTHEW 23:14 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you devour widows' houses and for a pretense you make long prayers; for this [reason] you will receive the greater condemnation.” The verse is not included in many of the newer Bible translations but it is in the older, “more conservative” translations. MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 5 - 2 5. (cont.) MATTHEW 23:14 It is considered “quite anti-Jewish” and the verse has been used historically to rally anti-Semitic rhetoric. Its omission is supported by the fact that it is not in older manuscripts. Some scholars claim it was added to manuscripts by copyists after the 4th and 5th centuries. MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 6 - 1 6. Please refer to the handout for MARK1:41. Which is correct, the word pity or anger? The various manuscripts have either of these two different Greek words “splagchnizomai” (pity) or “orgizō” (anger). The reason for these differences may have to do with a copyist changing Jesus anger to be compassion because of the image that they wish to portray. MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 6 - 2 6. (cont.) The large majority of Bibles will have the word pity or compassion but that is a CHOICE by the translator(s) because many manuscripts have the word anger or indignant. Is the translation influenced by the desire to show Jesus of Nazareth as only a caring healer? MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 7 - 1 7. Please refer to the handout for Matthew24:36. Here the phrase “nor the son” is included in 10 out of 21 versions of the Bible. Many manuscripts do include those words while a majority do not. If the son is co-equal or the same substance of the Father, how could he not know the day or the hour of the “second coming”. (Lost Christianities – Arianism). Is it possible that these words were intentionally deleted from some manuscripts? MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 7 - 2 7. (cont.) These words were used by the supporters of Arianism is justify their belief that the Son was subservient to the Father. When translating for a Bible version today which should be used? That is a decision that the translator must make, either by choosing to use a certain manuscript or just modifying the one that is being used. MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 8 - 1 8. Please refer to the handout for Mark14:24. Although it is possible that the word "new" was accidently omitted due to a mistake of the eye (the Greek words for "the," "new," and "covenant" all end in the same two letters), it is much more likely that it was added here by copyists from the parallel accounts in Luke 22:20 and I Corinthians 11:25. (From website on textual variants.) MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 9 - 1 9. Please look at the handout for Matthew19:9. “…and he who marries her when she is divorced commits adultery.” To add to the divorce debate exceptions is the above phrase which is not in about half of the various Bible versions. It is not in many older manuscripts and is left out for that reason. MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 9 - 2 9. However, it places a restriction on men that has been already placed on women. In recent years, it has been suggested by some scholars (and theologians) that the rule should be gender neutral. Other scholars claim that it should only be included if one believes it was actually said by Jesus. MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 10 - 1 10. Please look at the handout for Matthew19:29. “…brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields...” The words “or wife” are missing from many manuscripts. This particular phrase has been used as one source for the justification of celibacy by some Christians denominations. MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 10 - 2 Without these words, it could be argued that Jesus specifically did not want a man to abandon a wife as the sole exception, thus encouraging married men to follow him with their wives. Keeping or not keeping these words could become a decision influenced by doctrinal beliefs. MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 11 - 1 10. Please refer to the handout for Matthew18:11- “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” For some versions of the bible, this verse is not even in the accepted translation. There are a number of old manuscripts that do not have this verse. Many Biblical scholars feel that a copyist at some point in time borrowed from Luke19:10, modified it slightly and added it into Matthew. MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 11 - 2 10. (cont.) Then, what criteria is used to determine by a translator whether a given verse should stay in or not??? The person(s) doing the particular version of the Bible are the ones making that decision based on his/her/their protocols and rules. MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 11 - 3 10. (cont.) From the Chief Editor of NIV: “In 1609, when the KJV was created, scholars only had less than ten Greek manuscripts, none from before 1000 A.D. When putting together the NIV, the editors had thousands of manuscripts…some as old as 350 A.D. The manuscript evidence to support the NIV makes this translation considerably more accurate than the KJV.” MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES - # 11 - 4 10. (cont.) From the Chief Editor of NIV: “The creators of the NIV did not take away from the word. It was an early copyist of the New Testament in Greek who added to the word. You should trust your NIV and distrust your KJV in general, although there are occasional exceptions to this rule.” SUMMARY OF MANUSCRIPT DIFFERENCES These eleven examples are just a few of the many differences among the manuscripts from which a translator will have to choose. There is no “CORRECT” answer. There are traditions, dogmas, doctrines, and other motives to include, exclude, or even modify the contents of manuscripts for inclusion or exclusion from any Bible. Q&A SUMMARY OF THE FOUR GOSPELS AND THEIR FACTS & ISSUES THE TRADITION - 1 A QUOTE FROM BIBICAL SCHOLAR JAMES DUNN: Few scholars today will say that the written sources, e.g. the Gospels, will take the reader back directly to the Jesus who worked and taught in Galilee at least three or four decades earlier. The question is whether this earlier tradition fully or partially bridges the period between Jesus and our present sources. THE TRADITION - 2 Much of our understanding of Jesus today comes from the traditions that are contained in the written sources which in turn are derived from earlier oral and written traditions. The purpose of this course was to show the difficulties that even presenting these written sources entail. THE TRADITION - 3 Too much is assumed to be “TRUE” from a tradition rather than a literal fact. Anyone presenting a Gospel to be read by the “GENERAL PUBLIC” today should understand that there is no single answer or interpretation, “NO ABSOLUTE TRUTH”. THE TRADITION - 4 As I pointed out in the course “LOST CHRISTIANITIES”, one person’s divinely inspired written sources are another person’s heresies. AND VICE VERSA. Who can say which is “RIGHT” and which is “WRONG”? This is where we must be very careful about tradition (and opinion). THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS In November, 2015, Part Four of the History of Christianity series will continue with a class on this Noncanonical Gospel that is claimed to have been written or dictated by the Apostle Judas.