lördag 25 februari 2012

Bible-believing Christians

My impression is that bible-believing Christians take a pick-and-mix approach to their interpretation. “In the spirit” is an excuse for bending things any way anyone fancies and forgetting about the bits that do not fit in with some other model. Which they are bound to do because some things in the OT do not make sense without interpretation, and if there is no accepted authority and agreed body of interpretation then there is no alternative but to make things up as they go along.

Most of the OT was written down relatively late, probably after the return from the Babylonian captivity, being a codification of an oral tradition which itself was not completely set in written form until the Talmudic period. Worse still, the Hebrew texts have been heavily edited and important sections excised, including the whole of the Apocrypha, and because of the way Hebrew is written without vowels, there is a profusion of ambiguities which means that the text cannot be interpreted if taken as a free-standing entity. So logically, Bible-believing Christians should follow the Talmudic interpretation of the OT except in so far as it diverges from contemporary ie early Christian teaching. Which is an inconsistent and ultimately untenable intellectual position as one could never reconstruct such a thing.

This explains why bible-believers, both Protestants and Jews, have fragmented into so many different groups, as is bound to happen in the absence of any authority whose interpretation is accepted as the last word in the matter. Jesus foresaw this when he spoke the words in Matthew 16:18, and it was for the same reason that the church was wary of allowing the text of the bible to be translated into the vernacular, though a Catholic translation was published as early as 1582 (NT) and 1610 (OT). This was made from the Latin Vulgate; there has always been a difficulty about establishing what ancient texts could be regarded as authoritative. The oldest extant Hebrew texts at that time were the Masoretic version, a sixth century re-working, with the 200BC Septuagint being a more accurate Greek version of the text currently circulating.

I am also always puzzled about how bible-believing Christians explain away John 6.

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