whats your take on the accuracy of the bible as a document?
the dead sea scrolls contained a copy of the book of Isiah which was 1100 years older than any copy in existence at the time. Estimated to be 200BC. The dead sea scrolls further highlight the accuracy of the old testament and the skill of the Jewish scholars in preserving texts.
I don't believe the stories you are referring to are in the dead sea scrolls. I think they're from one of those other gospel of thomas or something like that....
but how about you comment on the accuracy of the bible as an ancient text?
I think the gnostic gospels (Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Judas, etc.) are interesting. The story behind why they didn't make the "final cut" of the Bible is a great story in itself.
What I take from the Bible is that there probably was a Jesus-type character who was a "prophet" in the sense of being a philosopher and public speaker, since that was a common thing in Palestine at the time. The re-telling of some of the stories has lost some accuracy along the way, which is a pity because some of the intended lessons were lost. Case in point; the feeding of the 5000. It's told today as him performing a miracle by converting small amounts of fish and bread into large amounts. What really happened was people in those days carried food around with them because there wasn't exactly a grocery store or cafe on every corner. Some of his followers had run out of food, so he got everyone to put a bit of their food into a pile that could be evenly redistributed among the crowd. It was a lesson about collective effort to help everyone.
Did the crucifixion happen? Sounds about right since the Roman state felt a bit threatened by civil unrest he was stirring up with his newfangled ideas. The Romans wanted stability.
Did the resurrection happen? Obviously not, but if he somehow survived the crucifixion and was seen alive afterwards then that would explain how that little story got out to a small number of people. People being misdiagnosed as dead
is not unheard of. If an earthquake coincided with his apparent "death" then the superstitious nature in everyone would have pounced on that as a meaningful event.
As for the old testament, some interesting creation myths in there. I heard once that there is evidence of a big ancient flood in the Black Sea region
, so that would have fueled the Noah story.
So my personal take on the Bible a scripture in general is that there's probably a kernel of truth in a lot of it, but I don't accept supernatural explanations. I mean, what do you think is more likely? Mary was impregnated by an alien or was she fooling around with someone and decided to stick to her story? That said, there are some good lessons and messages in there. You can agree with the teachings of Ghandi without being Hindu, and you can agree with a lot of the teachings of Jesus without being a Christian.