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Section 2.. Reasons To Believe/The Bible/ Index To Apocrypha, Lost Books, Gnostic Gospels

 

003white Section 2 ...   Reasons To Believe           >       A Remarkable Book Called The Bible       >       Apocrypha, Lost Books etc

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The Apocrypha, The Septuagint

The So Called Lost Books of The Bible...

The Gnostic Gospels...

The DaVinci Code

The Apocrypha.

The Lost Books Of The Bible
Some people claim there are "lost books" that should have been included in the Bible. This view doesn't make sense, whether or not you think the Bible has supernatural origins.

The Canon of Scripture and The Apocrypha
The basis of Christianity is found in the authority of Scripture. If we can't identify the content and extent pf Scripture, then we can't properly distinguish any theological truth from error. There were literally dozens of spiritual books that were written in the same time period as the books of the Bible, and many people believe that, because they were unfairly prejudiced against the teachings in these books, church councils weeded those ones out, with the result that many books that should have been included in the Bible, were not. The question is then, how the Hebrew canon (The Old Testament) and the Christian canon (The New Testament) were formed. In other words, what the selection process was that gave us our current 66 books of the Bible, and why certain books (called the apocrypha) accepted into the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles, are not included in Protestant Bibles.

The apocryphal books were sometimes highly regarded or cited for their antiquity or for their historical, moral, or literary value, but there is a huge difference between "valuable" and "divinely inspired". Who decided which prophets/authors of the Bible were valid? Who decided which books were inspired, and which weren’t? What most people do not realize is that past councils were not the one who decided which books were inspired, and which were not. The books were inspired the moment pen hit parchment, and were widely recognized as such. Within a short time after the last book in the Old Testament was written, the entire Jewish nation was unanimous in accepting every one of its books as canonical, and in rejecting as false the claims of any other book to similar recognition. Similarly, not long after the last New Testament book was written, the professing Christian church, almost unanimously accepted those books which are in our present New Testament. Both situations show a distinct lack of an influential human leader or decision making council. That such unanimity should have been reached is little short of a miracle.


The Septuagint

The Septuagint
 is often called the LXX for the 72 Jewish scholars who were supposedly commissioned to carry out the task of translating the Hebrew Bible into Koine, or common Greek. The story is based on an ancient document called the Letter of Aristeas, which is riddled with improbabilities and historical errors. After taking all factors into consideration, it seems reasonably clear that the story of the seventy elders is a work of fiction. And if there never were 72 translators commissioned by king Ptolemy, then they did not individually, and miraculously, come up with the same wording, and there is absolutely no grounds on which to base the claim that the Septuagint is an inspired version.  It is far more likely that the first five books of Moses were translated into Greek by Hellenistic Jews living in Alexandria, Egypt, during the time of the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus. They were losing touch with Hebrew and needed the Law in a language they probably used on a daily basis... Greek. Other books were added later. This goes a long way in explaining why some of the Old Testament books show obvious signs of incompetent translation.... the translators often showing an "insufficient knowledge of Hebrew, or a failure to grasp the sense of the context". Besides which it is very clear that Jesus quoted the Hebrew Old Testament, not the Greek Septuagint.
 

The Council of Nicea

Constantine and The Bible
Did Constantine decide what books belonged in the Bible?"

What Really Happened At Nicea?
The Council of Nicea is often misrepresented by cults and other religious movements. The actual concern of the council was clearly and unambiguously the relationship between the Father and the Son. Is Christ a creature, or true God? The council said He was true God. However Christians do not believe in the deity of Christ today because they have been forced to do so by legislated theology from councils and popes or some concept of an infallible church. They do so because the Scriptures teach this truth. When orthodox believers affirm the validity of the creed hammered out at Nicea, they are simply affirming a concise, clear presentation of scriptural truth.

 

The Gnostic Gospels

Gnosticism and The Gnostic Jesus
Elaine Pagels's book The Gnostic Gospels, arguably did more than any other effort to ingratiate the Gnostics to modern Americans. She made them accessible and even likeable. Her scholarly expertise coupled with her ability to relate an ancient religion to contemporary concerns made for a compelling combination in the minds of many. Her central thesis was simple: Gnosticism should be considered at least as legitimate as orthodox Christianity because the "heresy" was simply a competing strain of early Christianity. Yet, we find that the Nag Hammadi texts present a Jesus at extreme odds with the one found in the Gospels.

The Gnostic Gospels: Are They Authentic?
Although much excitement has been generated by the Nag Hammadi discoveries, not a little misunderstanding has been mixed with the enthusiasm. (Includes The Gospel of Thomas.)

 “The Gospel of Judas” From Traitor to Hero?
Headlines around the world are announcing the publication of a "long lost" and "suppressed" ancient document, known as The Gospel of Judas. The announcement led to a frenzy of media coverage, ranging from responsible reports to outrageous sensationalism. According to some commentators, the publication of this new document will force a complete reformulation of Christianity and our understanding of both Judas and Jesus. In reality, nothing of the sort is in view. The document is highly interesting, however, offering an ancient and authoritative source into the thinking of heretical groups who offered alternative understandings of Christianity.

The Gospel of Thomas
The evidence for the authenticity of the Gospel of Thomas does not even compare with that for the New Testament. The New Testament dates from the first century; the Gospel of Thomas, the second. The New Testament is verified by many lines of evidence, including self-references, early canonical lists, thousands of citations by the early Fathers, and the well-established dates for the Synoptic Gospels.

 

The DaVinci Code

The DaVinci Code
Dan Brown opens his novel with the words “FACT” in bold, capital letters and this statement: “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate”. In terms of documents and rituals, and even artwork and architecture, The DaVinci Code contains few “facts” and what few it does contain require serious qualification. (Section)

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A Remarkable Book Called The Bible

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