The Bible as a historical document

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Me and a few others on a different thread were having a discussion on the Bible and other “holy books” as historical documents.While I would love to continue that fruitful and interesting discussion there,it has nothing to do with the holocaust so I will be continuing it here.

So my questions to you are
Is the bible very relible?
What is your proof/argument that it is or isnt relible?
Should it be considered a historical document?

My thoughts:
No it is not relible this is the same time period that roman mythology was around
and people made plenty of storys to help the weak sleep at night.
No it isnt even close to a historical document

Note: I will respect your beliefs as long as you respect my right to not believe a damn word of it.

 
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Is the bible very relible?
What is your proof/argument that it is or isnt relible?

Approx. 30% of the world think so. Depends what you believe in.

I don’t believe it is very reliable. One reason: The Virgin Mary conceived her son miraculously by the aid of a holy spirit. The original language of the Bible being Hebrew, the word ‘Almah’ got translated into Greek as ‘Virgin’. This is a false translation.

Should it be considered a historical document?

Yes and no.
That depends on your belief. It’s easier for atheists to smack the word ‘proof’ on the bible, but that isn’t how faith works right?

 
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I agree that Bibles are not a reliable source.
But this is not due to the time they were written, but because of the lack of actual knowledge of the authors, editors and copiers as well as their intentions as writers, editors and copiers(message above truth).
Despite that they are historical documents. Though they are certainly low Quality ones and near useless in themselves, they can be useful in understanding certain aspects of life and influences during the time they where written or edited.

 
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The bible is a historical document, exactly the same as The Canterbury Tales or the Illiad & Odyssey are historical documents. Individual or collections of stories about life in ancient times, or how people thought or believed in those countries at the time.

Like other such works, they are only useful as historical documents if paired with other works from the time, and analyses of how life was like back then. They build up a very incomplete picture of the history on their own, and, being stories, sometimes don’t bother sticking to ‘what actually happened’.

This is when you need to compare to other sources such as merchant records or imperial documents to see when these works have deviated from reality into storytelling mode, or when they are including other events to make their stories seem more believable.

 
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It’s much like a modern novel.

If someone 1000 years in the future reads something written today, and it’ll contain a lot of information about the world as it is to us. Locations, names, methods of transport, mindsets, clothing, how people interact, perhaps weaponry and weather.

Lots of it will be fictional and there’ll be the usual author’s embellishments and creative license, but from it the future person will be able to find out an awful lot about how people were ‘back then’.

 
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We have to really analyze what we mean when we ask if the Bible is historical. Many books within the bible are clearly written to be records of events that had happened long before. These original events’ details were passed on via spoken language only. At the same time, half of recorded human history has been in reference to Abrahamic texts. So to use these writings as an accurate depiction of historical events is false, but the social and psychological history contained within the texts is palpable. The way it’s been translated and reimagined over the years is part of its history as well.

On top of all that, I would even go so far as to argue that if something fantastical happened at a point in history, the bible isn’t too far off from what I’d expect people to interpret the experiences as. A person’s testimonial isn’t useful because it’s accurate, but because it contains the subjective truths of that individual. That doesn’t lend credence to fantastical things having happened, I just think the typical atheist criticism of the bible being inaccurate or unbelievable is unfair. There are far more consistent ways to debunk the claims of the bible besides picking on is tenuous origins. That in itself is building a house on a foot and a half of silt. “This inconsistent book isn’t consistent thus it’s inconsistent.” is hardly saying anything about the truthfulness of its texts. It’s just a misnomer to expect the Bible to contain scientific and epistemological consistent facts.

 
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I’m the only one who said the Bible was a historical document, therefore there was no need for you to make this thread.

 
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Originally posted by Kellathor:

I’m the only one who said the Bible was a historical document, therefore there was no need for you to make this thread.

I tend to agree w/ this sentiment.
OR…in other words: Oh goodie….another religious thread to go w/ the 100 others already on Kong.

But, what the hell.
We’ve thrashed about in and about trashed the gun thread for some time now,,,,
let’s stir the religious pot for awhile.
Shit, let’s get real “serious discussion” about it and take it verse-by-verse, chapter-by-chapter, book-by-book, Old first & New last. OMG….I feel a degree in divinity coming my way.
Alas…I’m only talking about being able to make candy, however.

But….but…butt,,,
I hope we don’t lose that women & urinals thread.
I need to know a hole lot more about that stuff.
Like, if they use a urinal and have those special throw-away Dixie Cup thingies…..fine.
But, where do they throw them?
Would that be the same place they throw the Sani-towel they finish the task with,,,,
after all, they can’t give “it” a shake like we men can.
Sure, the “baldies” don’t have too much to worry ’bout.
Maybe they can even take care of business w/ a simple “flick”.
But….still?
Bidet anyone?
The line forms over there.

 
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In order to have a degree in divinity, wouldn’t you need to have your own bible? As in dedicated to you, along with a high priest and lots of worshipers? You’re then qualified and practicing at being a god.

As to where pee-flavored stuff gets thrown when its done with, that’s why there are waste bins in the toilets. There’s usually one in every cubicle, and another by the door – that’s what they’re there for. Urine, blood, assorted other fluid leakage, it all goes in there.

 
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No thanks. We have enough trolls. Please peddle such wares somewhere else :)

 
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No, the Bible shouldn’t be a reliable source. it is made by humans, the only animal who can write their own language.
The Bible, although i didn’t read much of it, is full of opinions. Facts aren’t opinions, and sources are facts. Therefore, i think the Bible is not a reliable source.

 
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Yes, everything you read is written by humans so finding a ‘different’ source on that criteria might be a little tricky…

Apart from scientific / mathematical facts which are mostly irrelevant to history, virtually everything is opinion. Sources are opinions, unless you’re a Vulcan…

Hey, I think I see how this ‘logic’ fits together!

 
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I said that wrong. Religion is a true array of facts made to made up stories. So humans didn’t discover religion, they made it up. Sadly, it has gotten so popular that Christians, Jews, etc. seem to get butthurt about other peoples opinions about religion. Sources are facts because they weren’t made up, but discovered. It would make no sense if facts were opinions. What you are saying is that “Bill Gates is the owner of Microsoft” is an opinion. Please explain that.

 
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Originally posted by niceman555:

It would make no sense if facts were opinions. What you are saying is that “Bill Gates is the owner of Microsoft” is an opinion. Please explain that.

This kind of thinking: ’It’s an opinion, because the true owner of microsoft are the people who work there….’

 
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Bill Gates founded Microsoft and is Chairman, by straight up facts. HE owns it. the people who work there do not own it, because they needed a job is the only reason.

 
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Originally posted by niceman555:

Bill Gates founded Microsoft and is Chairman, by straight up facts. HE owns it. the people who work there do not own it, because they needed a job is the only reason.

YOUR naivete is only digging a deep-&-deeper hole for ya.

Mircosoft IS NOT owned by Bill Gates,,,
is ONLY partly, but largely, owned by him.
Micro is a corporation:
Microsoft is a publicly-traded corporation largely owned by its founder, entrepreneur Bill Gates. As a publicly-traded company, each stockholder is a partial owner of Microsoft. Of course, Bill Gates has retained most of Microsoft’s stock shares for himself.

As far as YOUR opinion on why the employees work there…especially the early-days ones:
The company’s 1986 initial public offering, and subsequent rise in its share price, created an estimated three billionaires and 12,000 millionaires from Microsoft employees.

As is often done in start-up companies (who usually aren’t rife w/ funds), the employees’ faith in the company’s concept and the value of their own contribution to it results in some of their pay being in the form of stock in the company. I would have luved to have been even a lowly peon from day-one there.

 
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Originally posted by niceman555:

I should really google before i post. Im sooooooo derpy

Ideally you should know what you are talking about before you post.

 
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It’s not a great source, but it’s a source.
Can it be considered on the level of scholarly? Probably not.
How reliable is it? Without sufficient fact checking or something—archeology—that can empirically support the document we can’t just agree that anything is a fact, but it can give us a glimpse into how some of the scholars of their time would think. After all, religion was the place of scholarly work, before the advent of the printing press, and before people had better access to education. Once we no longer had to believe in divine beings thanks to atheism, we were able to be far more skeptical of things we trusted and didn’t. We’re always trying to figure out: is this legitimate or not? Too much information by too many people. Which is the most empirically true? What is worth reading and what isn’t. We only have so much time, after all. Without observation, we can’t really know.
Before a religion was labeled pagan or mythology, it was legitimate, until a group labelled it as illegitimate.
Maybe all the religious texts will be placed in the place of illegitimate in the years to come, but something will always try to fill that void, unless we as a society decide we don’t really need these things to advance.

 
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Originally posted by Draconavin:

It’s not a great source, but it’s a source.
Can it be considered on the level of scholarly? Probably not.

SD doesn’t allow scholarly sources unless they’re open access. If not everyone can access them, they’re not a valid source.

After all, religion was the place of scholarly work, before the advent of the printing press, and before people had better access to education.

You’re assuming that because it was almost this way once, it should be this way now. I say almost, because we still have merchant records from biblical time periods, which disagree with some of the events of the bible, in that they don’t mention them at all. Even those who liked to mention the great events of the day, don’t mention some of the great biblical events. You’d have thought such groundshaking paradigm shifts would have been recorded by sources other than the bible.

So, its a historical document, in the same way as a Tom Clancy novel is a historical document. Some things fit to describe the people at the time, others – you will have a real hard time finding any reference to on the news archives. Doesn’t mean the news archives failed to take note of the events as the novel describes them, it just means the events as the novel describes them, did not actually happen.

 
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So, its a historical document, in the same way as a Tom Clancy novel is a historical document.

I tend to disagree with this. A historical document is based on factual events. So a Tom Clancy novel isn’t one. The Bible however is a historical document: it produces a picture of how society functioned in the past.

 
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A Tom Clancy novel still has a realistic society, so the readers can bond with it. As such, the world it portrays is familiar and comforting to them in most, albeit not all aspects. Same with the bible. There’s enough in it for those who lived at the time, to associate it with their own lives.

the rest is pure flight of fancy, to take the brain strange new places, and into a more exciting realm than ours.

 
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Originally posted by livingrival:

So, its a historical document, in the same way as a Tom Clancy novel is a historical document.

I tend to disagree with this. A historical document is based on factual events. So a Tom Clancy novel isn’t one. The Bible however is a historical document: it produces a picture of how society functioned in the past.

No a historical document does not need to be based on factual events. We can learn from a fictional source like a Harry Potter novel or a Bible through two ways.
1. We can look at the society before, after and during the time of writing and compare that to the content to get a better understanding how people of that society thought and acted or what thoughts and motivations drove the Author.
2. We can also compare descriptions of things and events in them to other more credible sources, to see if they can contribute anything to the validity of more credible sources(the validity of harry potter or a Bible is beyond salvageable, at best certain things in them can be validated).

The same Methods are actually used even on documents including actually credible non-fictional content (they are just more useful for the 2nd Method).