More of the Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions (Part 6)

More of the Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions (Part 6) April 18, 2019

With Easter coming up, let’s stick with the theme from last time and explore interesting contradictions in the Passion narrative.

23. Women brought spices to the tomb (or not)

The importance of spices from a plot standpoint is that they’re the motivation for the women’s visit to the tomb on the Sunday after Jesus’s crucifixion. You need to get someone there to discover the empty tomb.

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” (Mark 16:1–3)

Several commenters (and the author of Mark himself) have noted another plot hole: why would the women bother to make the trip with no way to roll back the stone at the doorway? The previous verse makes clear that the women had watched the burial and knew about the stone.

But set that aside. The gospel of John tells a different story about who applied the spices. Rewind to Friday afternoon:

With Pilate’s permission, [Joseph of Arimathea] came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. (John 19:38–40)

Seventy-five pounds of spices? Have you ever carried a 75-pound backpack or lifted a 75-pound weight at the gym? That sounds like an impractical weight and a pointlessly extravagant gift, but let’s set that aside as well. Now the story has men applying the spices. In John’s story, the women (or woman) goes for no reason: “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb” (John 20:1). No reason, that is, except as a literary prop to discover the empty tomb.

As an aside, note that a body encased in an enormous mound of spice bound in place with linen strips (I’m envisioning the Michelin Man oozing aloe and smelling of myrrh) is not what the Shroud of Turin image shows, and John talks about strips of linen rather than the Shroud of Turin’s long sheet, so John’s story can’t coexist with such a relic.

Depending on the gospel you pick, women go to the tomb to apply spices Sunday morning (but didn’t actually use them) or men successfully apply the spices Friday afternoon.

24. Peter’s denials

This example is of less importance, but it’s well known and shows yet another set of contradictions. At the Last Supper, Jesus said that his disciples will scatter once he is taken away, but Peter protests that he won’t. Jesus tells Peter that he will disavow him three times before the rooster crows, and indeed that’s what happens.

But read the accounts, and the story differs in each of the gospels.

  • In Mark, Peter is accused of being one of Jesus’s followers by a slave girl, then the same girl again, and then a crowd of people (Mark 14:66–71).
  • In Matthew, it’s a slave girl, another slave girl, and then a crowd of people (Matthew 26:69–73).
  • In Luke, it’s a slave girl, a man, and then another man (Luke 22:54–60).
  • In John, it’s a girl at the door, several anonymous persons, and one of the high priest’s servants (John 18:15–17, 25–27)

We can try out a popular Christian tactic and try to resolve contradictory accounts by claiming that they’re both true. For example,

  • there were wise men (Matthew) and shepherds (Luke) at the birth of Jesus,
  • there was one angel (Matthew and Mark) and a second angel (Luke and John) at the empty tomb, and
  • Mary Magdalene (John) and other women (the other gospels) went to the tomb.

Allowing for synonymous descriptions (Mark’s slave girl could’ve been John’s girl at the door, for example) and squashing these confrontations together, we have Peter denying Jesus to a slave girl, another slave girl, a crowd, a man, another man, and perhaps more. That’s a lot more than Jesus’s promised three.

Only the atheist recognizes
the boundless narcissism
and self-deceit of the saved.
Only the atheist realizes
how morally objectionable it is
for survivors of a catastrophe [like a hurricane]
to believe themselves spared by a loving God,
while this same God drowned infants in their cribs.
Sam Harris

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  • On a side note, I’ve read time and again the following commentary on Peter’s denials: he lacked the guts to go follow Jesus to the very end, ok, but he still did a bit more than the other Disciples, who simply melted away…

    • RichardSRussell

      We see the same psychology at work today as well. “Michael Flynn? Barely knew the guy.” “Paul Manafort? Just kinda glimmered thru the campaign at the last moment.” “Jeff Sessions? I only met Mr. Magoo briefly before I appointed him as the nation’s top law-enforcement officer.”

      • Too bad we have video and audio records, today 😀

        • RichardSRussell

          What, you mean that fake news? Probably concocted in a back lot at Disney Studios. Sad.

        • al kimeea

          like the moon landings, thanks to Stanley

        • RichardSRussell

          The guy was a genius. Only 13 feature-length films, but every one a masterpiece, and he never repeated himself.

        • al kimeea

          Yeah, I enjoy his work too. A brilliant filmmaker gone too soon. I would have liked to have seen his ‘Napoleon’.

      • Rudy R

        Or loving Wikileaks in 2016 and then in 2019, knowing nothing about Wikileaks.

    • Damian Byrne

      On a side note, I’ve read time and again the following commentary on
      Peter’s denials: he lacked the guts to go follow Jesus to the very end,
      ok, but he still did a bit more than the other Disciples, who simply
      melted away…

      My response to Christians’ trust in Peter is to raise an eyebrow and point out that they’re not offering scientific evidence, but testimony (supposedly) from a Peter who, according to the Gospels, lied. Last I checked, people’s credibility goes down when they’re shown to be liars, not up.

      Besides, a few months ago, I did as the article suggests on another debate website, and tried to do a complete mashup of the gospel accounts with regards to Peter’s lies. I noted that at the precise moment of Peter’s supposed denials, he has no actual reason to do so. Long story short, I noted that even a mashup account has Peter being aware of Jesus’s miracle superpowers, such as healing severed ears, of Jesus boasting about being able to call upon divine aid. Peter has no reason to be afraid.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Peter has no reason to be afraid.

        Well, be afraid of *pain*, maybe…

      • I don’t know about that – if he had seen that Jesus had the power but didn’t use it to save Jesus, how could he be sure Jesus would use the power to save Peter? Plus being scared when put on the spot and feeling at risk seems pretty relatable to me. People don’t always respond rationally when they’re afraid.

        Not of course that I’m suggesting we’re dealing with guaranteed historical events here…

        • Damian Byrne

          if he had seen that Jesus had the power but didn’t use it to save Jesus,
          how could he be sure Jesus would use the power to save Peter?

          This puts paid to the concept of a Jesus and/or God who will look out for and save their followers. Why should I believe Christians today who say Jesus/God helped them with X when Peter, the first pope himself, must then not have believed it?

          Plus being scared when put on the spot and feeling at risk seems pretty relatable to me.

          At risk of what though? I noted in the mashup that at the time of his denials, the precise moment, Peter would have (according to the Gospels) heard his master prophesy about returning from death and saving everyone, healing a severed ear magically and boast about calling on divine aid. If even a Peter who has witnessed and heard all that still gets scared, still doubts…then why should we believe the stories, being millenia removed?

    • Greg G.

      Mark’s story is interesting at the end of chapter 14 on this. Jesus is being punched and slapped around while being ordered to “Prophesy!” Immediately after that, his prophecy that Peter would deny him is fulfilled. John’s version follows Mark closely but omits the order to prophesy, which missed the irony.

  • NS Alito

    Regarding the Shroud of Turin: In the 14th Century, there were at least 4 true shrouds of Christ. When the Church sent people to check out this particular relic back then, they determined that it wasn’t the real thing, but that it could be used as an object of veneration. Centuries later some Christians are still treating it as authentic, even after modern science has confirmed the cloth dates from the 14thC. (To my surprise, the bloodstains were discovered to be tempera paint, despite the easy availability of actual blood from people and animals.)

    • And both nails and wood of the Cross enough to build a large mansion at the very least.

      • Pofarmer

        It’s been said that there is enough wood from the True Cross to build an Ark.

    • Michael Neville

      The Church knew from the start that the Shroud of Turin was fake. The first document which mentions it is a letter from a bishop to the Inquisition saying the Shroud is a forgery and the authorities know who the forger is.

    • wtfwjtd

      Was this shroud discovered in the Protestant tomb of Jesus or the Catholic tomb of Jesus?

      That would help determine whether it was fake or not.

      • NS Alito

        Neither: The Gnostic one.

        • wtfwjtd

          Party Pooper!

        • NS Alito

          The Catholic People’s Front and the Popular Front of Protestants don’t hate each other as much as they hate the Front of the Gnostic People.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Actual blood would discolor with time?

      • NS Alito

        But I expect people in the 14thC would recognize a dried bloodstain.

  • Brian Davis

    That’s a lot more than Jesus’s promised three.

    Obviously the gospels are describing 4 different Peters each of whom denied Jesus 3 times. It remains to be seen how many Jesuses the gospels are describing.

    • Damian Byrne

      It remains to be seen how many Jesuses the gospels are describing

      This is why I don’t subscribe to the belief of a historical Jesus, even one stripped of super-powers. Which Jesus? It’s possible that the Jesus Christ Superstar Son of God is a composite of several different people. A wandering preacher who said some things that annoyed the religious orthodoxy of his day and got executed for it might have existed, hell probably did exist…but is this the same character or characters as the one who chased merchants out of the temple? Healed the sick? Gave a sermon on a mount?

      • Greg G.

        Goldilocks Jesus: Too small to be noticed by any literate person while he was alive but too big to be ignored 50 years later.

    • wtfwjtd

      Heck, I can’t even reconcile the Jesus of the gospels with the Jesus of Paul. Christians are forever talking about Jesus’s *second* coming, and yet we have Paul looking for him to show up for the *first* time. Something just isn’t quite right here…or, maybe it’s all just a story.

  • WCB

    Mark 16:14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for
    their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had
    seen him after he had risen.

    19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.

    But…

    Mark 16 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

    And….

    Mark 16;1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.

    But…

    Mark 16:9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping

    Sloppy tall tale writing!

    • It makes perfect sense, because verses 9 – 20 are almost certainly a later addition (their content sounds more like the other gospels than Mark – in fact, James Tabor HERE provides a colour-coded version suggesting there are parts from each of the three other gospels).

      • Greg G.

        Tabor has “he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.” in red, which he says is for Matthew. But Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene first alone in John and the casting out of the seven demons from Mary Magdalene comes from Luke 8:2.

        • richardrichard2013

          “why would the women bother to make the trip with no way to roll back the stone at the doorway?”

          this question got me thinking . why would the eleven stick around to hear the claim “he is risen” ?
          the last we heard from them is that they all fled. fled where? why did the first “good news” say that they fled and the women said nothing to anyone ? apologists tell us that mark KNEW the mind of the two mary’s who came to the tomb, how is it possible he does not have them go and report to the 11?

        • Greg G.

          why did the first “good news” say that they fled and the women said nothing to anyone ?

          Josephus tells us that the Jews had read a prophecy of a world ruler arising from Judea. They were seeing signs, like astronomical events such as Halley’s Comet, that told them their prophecy was about to come true. This lead them to provoke a war with the Romans. Josephus says that even to the end of the siege of Jerusalem, the people were being told to wait for God to come to their rescue, like it was going to happen at any time.

          I have been thinking for some time that Mark was not supposed to be a Christian document. It was supposed to be an ironic story about the war in Judea of why the Messiah never came to them. Possibly he had waited in Galilee and the disciples never came because the women didn’t tell because they were afraid. The pregnant pause at the end is intriguing.

          I would recommend O Brother, Where Art Thou? just for the Bluegrass and century-old Blues music, but the more you know about Homer’s epics, the more parallels you will see in the movie. It is the same with Mark, and Homer was the most popular literature 2000 years ago, so he expected his readers to see the parallels, I think.

          Mark uses many Latin-based words, which are never explained, and many Aramaic-based words, which he almost always explains. This tells us his intended audience was Roman.

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          Also taking into account the literacy in the Roman Empire was a lot lot lower than the literacy today. All education was private – there was no government run national education system where all children had to be taught to read and write. Most people couldn’t read or write in any language.

          There were of course different levels of literacy back then as there are today. Being literate enough to read and write signs and scrawled graffiti was one level, being literate enough to read and write dissertations, treaties, novels and tracts was a whole other level of literacy.

          I strongly suspect that whoever composed Mark was a member of a very small minority of those who are capable of such literacy. The author was a ‘man of letters’ and high up the social ladder in Roman society. Especially since it’s clear he’s read and had access to a copy of Josephus’ books – which were also written to a high audience.

        • Greg G.

          I have read that some places had libraries. (I think Dennis MacDonald wrote about this.) There is a list of the books of one library. Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad at the top of the list with the number of copies around 700 to 800 each, and the next was Euripides’ Bacchae with around 90 copies.

          I vaguely recall reading about Galen, the physician, who was discussing with a man whether a book was actually written by Galen.

          So there was probably highly literate people around and that may have been Mark’s intended audience.

          I saw R. G. Price (not to be confused with Robert M. Price) recently mentioned in the comments at vridar.org that he thought Mark was very-well read and a skilled writer. I have thought that as well.

          I strongly suspect that whoever composed Mark was a member of a very small minority of those who are capable of such literacy. The author was a ‘man of letters’ and high up the social ladder in Roman society. Especially since it’s clear he’s read and had access to a copy of Josephus’ books – which were also written to a high audience.

          Do you remember back in the 1970s how there were comical songs where an interviewer would ask questions and the response would be a line from a popular song that you would recognize? Copyright laws make that impossible today. But I think Mark was something like that and he expected his readers to recognize his sources like Jewish Wars and the Homeric epics.

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          I have read that some places had libraries. (I think Dennis MacDonald wrote about this.) There is a list of the books of one library. Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad at the top of the list with the number of copies around 700 to 800 each, and the next was Euripides’ Bacchae with around 90 copies.

          I vaguely recall reading about Galen, the physician, who was discussing with a man whether a book was actually written by Galen.

          So there was probably highly literate people around and that may have been Mark’s intended audience.

          I’ve read that literacy rates varied from place to place in the empire. Urban centers like Alexandria, Athens, and Rome had the highest levels of literacy while the rural regions had the lowerst. Up to 30% literacy in urban centers and as low as 5% literacy in the rural regions if I’m not mistaken.

          Do you remember back in the 1970s how there were comical songs where an
          interviewer would ask questions and the response would be a line from a
          popular song that you would recognize? Copyright laws make that
          impossible today. But I think Mark was something like that and he
          expected his readers to recognize his sources like Jewish Wars and the
          Homeric epics.

          Sure, although I don’t know how widely circulated Josephus’ books were and how long it took for a book to have thousands of copies (all hand written) and circulating throughout the libraries of the Empire. The books of Homer were already classics and centuries old and thus libraries can hold hundreds of copies. Same with the Bacchae – already popular works centuries old and thus have abundant copies in libraries.

          How popular were Josephus’ books? Who else outside of Christian writers quotes from them?

        • Greg G.

          I’ve read that literacy rates varied from place to place in the empire. Urban centers like Alexandria, Athens, and Rome had the highest levels of literacy while the rural regions had the lowerst. Up to 30% literacy in urban centers and as low as 5% literacy in the rural regions if I’m not mistaken.

          That sounds right to me. I think Bart Ehrman points out that somebody was said to be literate because he could sign his name.

          Sure, although I don’t know how widely circulated Josephus’ books were and how long it took for a book to have thousands of copies (all hand written) and circulating throughout the libraries of the Empire.

          Possibly one library in Rome with a few copies.

          How popular were Josephus’ books? Who else outside of Christian writers quotes from them?

          Suetonius, Vespasian 4.5
          There had spread over all the Orient an old and established belief, that it was fated for men coming from Judaea to rule the world. This prediction, referring to the emperor of Rome -as afterwards appeared from the event- the people of Judaea took to themselves.

          Tacitus, Histories 5.13
          The majority [of the Jews] were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from Judaea would go forth men destined to rule the world. This mysterious prophecy really referred to Vespasian and Titus, but the common people, true to the selfish ambitions of mankind, thought that this exalted destiny was reserved for them, and not even their calamities opened their eyes to the truth.

          The most likely source for them would be Jewish Wars 6.5.2-4, but especially below:

          Jewish Wars 6.5.4 §312-313
          But now, what did the most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, “about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth.” The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination.

          Jewish Wars 6.5.4
          Now this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian, who was appointed emperor in Judea.

          ***     This is thought to be the passage that Josephus called “an ambiguous oracle.”

          Testament of Judah 24:1–6
          And after these things shall a Star arise to you from Jacob in peace, and a Man shall rise from my seed, like the Sun of righteousness, walking with the sons of men in meekness and righteousness, and no sin shall be found in Him. And the heavens shall be opened above Him, to shed forth the blessing of the Spirit from the Holy Father; and He shall shed forth a spirit of grace upon you, and ye shall be unto Him sons in truth, and ye shall walk in His commandments, the first and the last. This is the Branch of God Most High, and this the Well-spring unto life for all flesh. Then shall the sceptre of my kingdom shine forth, and from your root shall arise a stem; and in it shall arise a rod of righteousness to the Gentiles, to judge and to save all that call upon the Lord.

          ETA missing HTML tag.

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          Possibly one library in Rome with a few copies.

          Hmmm. How strong is the possibility that the author of Mark composed his book there? All the literary sources he needed would be right there.

        • Greg G.

          I favor that theory.

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          In my opinion, it’s one that makes the most sense. It’s so mundane that you and I could do this before the Internet: craft a story in a library using history and classical books available there. It’s very similar to the theory that the Pentateuch was composed in the Alexandrian library in the early 3rd century BCE by Judean scholars using the literary sources that were available there.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s long been thought that the Gospel of Mark was composed in Rome, I thought.

        • Yes, “they told no one” rather conflicts with the author knowing.

          Unless … you don’t suppose that Mary was the author of Mark? /s

        • Greg G.

          Randel Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels? Millenium Press, 1997) and Bernard Muller ( http://historical-jesus.info/appf.html#lk ) both argue that Luke might have been a woman. They each give about a dozen reasons with only one overlap.

        • I’ve read Helms but not Muller. It’s interesting that there’s enough evidence for 2 authors to write about it.

        • richardrichard2013

          quote :
          In the text they never told anyone. But we have the text, which seems to imply they did tell someone eventually so that this could get written down.
          Mark is written in the 3rd person omniscient and implies no such thing. It does not claim to be based on any personal accounts, it’s just revealed, like OT scripture. There are several scenes in Mark for which there could have been no witnesses at all, including the temptations, the prayer at Gethsemane and the trial before the Sanhedrin. Mark even claims to know what people were thinking “in their hearts” in 2:6. Mark is not supposed to be read as a memoir but as revelation and he is revealing the tomb as a secret to his audience. It would make no sense to end his Gospel the way he did if he meant to imply the women later told anybody and the fact that all of the other gospels are forced to independently invent their own contradictory endings shows that there could not have been any strong oral tradition about even by the time Luke and John were being written around the turn of the 1st Century. As soon as they lose Mark as a guideline, they fly off in different directions, and ll of them drop any indication that the women were afraid to tell anybody.

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          Yup.

  • Damian Byrne

    “Several commenters (and the author of Mark himself) have noted another
    plot hole: why would the women bother to make the trip with no way to
    roll back the stone at the doorway? The previous verse makes clear that
    the women had watched the burial and knew about the stone.”

    There’s only three explanations for why the women said that line about how there was no-one to roll back the stone
    A) They purposely set out to go to a tomb they knew (at least, as far as they knew at the time) would be inaccessible. The conclusion drawn from this is that the women purposely set out to fail in their endeavours.

    B) It’s a very poorly written story, the line being a “Woe is me, who could help me” line said with a wink and a nod, to serve as an introduction of the men in white robes. The conclusion drawn from this…is that it’s a fictional story.

    C) The women went to the tomb, and said the line, in full knowledge that the stone was rolled back. The conclusion drawn from this is that obviously there is some sort of conspiracy.

  • Polytropos

    As far as I’m aware (though of course I’m not an expert in this subject), coating the deceased in spice rub was not even a normal part of 1st century Jewish burial customs. Family members would return to the tomb, but they did this a year after the burial to collect the bones, which would be stored in an ossuary. What the Gospel of John is describing looks a lot more like someone’s idea of the Egyptian mummification process.

    • aCultureWarrior

      The main reason a dead body was anointed with spices was to control the smell of decomposition. Jews did not practice embalming, and the funeral spices were a way to help minimize unpleasant odors. At the tomb of Lazarus, when Jesus asked for the stone to be rolled away from the mouth of the tomb, Martha objected: “By this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days” (John 11:39). The spices the women brought to Jesus’ tomb were intended to eliminate such an odor and honor the body of Christ.
      -What was the significance of anointing spices in the Bible?’gotquestions. o rg

  • epicurus

    Maybe the women figured those nice Roman guards at the tomb would roll away the stone for them. What’s that? there are no guards in Mark’s version? Ooops.

  • epicurus

    Bart Ehrman started a written 3 part written debate to fund raise for charity on his site with a British Anglican Priest who maintains there are no contradictions in the Bible. They are only considering the Gospels, so even though there are lots of contradictions in them, it will be quite limited. I just commented that the debate should be open to non subscribers to read in the hopes a few many donate. Fingers crossed.
    Here is the non paywall description of the debate:

    https://ehrmanblog.org/fund-raising-event-on-the-blog-contradictions-in-the-gospels/

  • Kodie

    I have a basic question about the bible. Like, say, the authors of the gospels, did they know what they were writing was going in a BIBLE? What was up to that point, in text or tradition? The more I read what these contradictions are, the more I think, were these gospels more like articles about what’s going on, or responses to a regional contest for the best story about Jesus? I just need to know how this all congealed into a religion or several. The books/stories/traditions of the OT are also part of this. How did this series become an anthology? How did anyone at any time decide to write these stories down and link them together? Thanks!

    • Greg G.

      First, there were traveling preachers writing letters to their congregations, possibly to answer questions or ask for financial support. They had no interest in a preacher from Galilee but they loved to talk about Jesus in terms of ancient scriptures. Then there were forgeries written in the name of the early preachers.

      Since they didn’t have a narrative about Jesus, the first gospel had to invent a story. Apparently, others read the previous gospels and thought they needed to be revised and replaced.

      There were many other stories written like fan fiction about Jesus as a child and about the disciples in the gospels.

      There were so many contradictory stories, the faithful had no idea what to have faith in. So they tried to choose the best of the best and eliminate the least believable. This process took a few centuries and came down to committees and partisan dealings.

      None of the original authors expected anything they wrote to be in an anthology.

      • Kodie

        I’m talking about the whole thing. I mean, if you start with Adam and Eve and creation, who wrote that, and I don’t mean a specific who – it’s obviously an origin myth of the region. Someone who wasn’t there wrote down the legend. There are a lot of stories in which god is a given character who talks to people or gives them missions and quests or challenges, or delegates some authority to them. Allegedly. In most, if not all, of them, no one else is there to write down what happened, and it doesn’t seem the protagonist or anyone else did. Some of it involves historical events? Sure, someone recorded that, but embeds chosen heroes into the schemes.

        I’m not going to say the bible is 100% bullshit – obviously, its human stories resonate with human readers, so it is packaged as the religious historical record of god in all these people’s lives, and readers believe these stories about events were… like, god dictated them for someone else to write down from time to time. ? Not sure how to put it. Christians seem convinced that the bible is so spot-on about “universal” or familiar human issues that it could not NOT have come from god, as though humans are too inferior to think or observe life and write anything that sounds like wisdom or the voice of the character “god”. I just don’t know how it all ended up in one book, as though the storytellers thought, “maybe my story will get picked to appear in the bible!

        • Greg G.

          The OT corresponds to older mythology from older cultures that got passed down. The Noah flood comes from the Gilgamesh legend, for example.

          The Kings and Chronicles books cite some of their sources like “The Annals of the Kings of Israel” or with “Judea” in place of “Israel”. But they do not agree so consistently so there seems to be political spin involved, which may mean it is less than complete bullshit.

          Humans like narrative. Even if it resonates, it does not mean it is not bullshit.

          That is where evidence comes in. Archaeology shows that there was no exodus so the conquest of the Canaanites and everything before that is bullshit. Archaeology shows that there were two cultures that were pretty much identical except that one ate pork and one did not, so the Hebrews were probably just a different religion than their neighbors.

        • I’d think that the story of the Bible is about the same as the story of any other holy book or collection of books from any other culture from that region and time. Is that your thinking as well?

        • Greg G.

          Yes. A whole lotta people trying to make sense of where the sun went at night and why thunderstorms seemed so angry.