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Re: Theos-World Re: The Christian Bible and theosophical views...

Mar 21, 2006 06:41 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins


Dear Cass,

It seems to me that many ancient philosophical works have been translated from the original and remain consistent with the message of the original work.

One of the problems is the influence of Theological thinking on the translations. The other problem is the flexibility and cultural remoteness of the Greek and Hebrew languages to English. For instance, the Torah is full of intentional word plays which are completely lost in English translations. In the Greek text, there are alternate meanings of words which are completely ignored because they are theologically inconvenient.
it was like there were 2 different families of manuscripts. now 80 - 90% of manuscripts found are similar to those Erasmus used, and they are called Byzantine, after the area in Greece. The ones that are different generally come from around Egypt, so they are called Alexandrine, after the city of Alexandria.


Actually the Byzantine and the Alexandrian mss are in most cases in Greek. Though some of the Alexandrian gnostic texts are in Coptic translation.
The question is, which are right?

I guess that depends upon the school of Christianity you belong. For the Christianity that won, it is the canonical texts that are right. For all of the other schools, loosely called gnostic, all of the texts are right in one way or the other.

So the Greeks had access to the originals while they lasted. The alexandrines didn't.

The Alexandrians were also Greek speaking. They also had very old texts, but they were destroyed by the group that won--i.e. the Roman/Byzantine church. Don't forget that the Gospel of Thomas is as old, or possibly even older than the Gospel of Mark. The Gospel of Thomas is Alexandrian.

Also the Byzantine manuscripts are in the vast majority.

That is because the Byzantine/Roman fathers destroyed the other mss.

Also Greek is the Greeks native language, it wasn't the Egyptians native language.
The Cateletical (Christian) school in Alexandria was run by Greek speaking Egyptians. Tradition has it that Apostle Mark established Christianity in Alexandria. In Egypt, at that time, people spoke a number of languages: Coptic, Greek and Latin.
Also the alexandrine manuscripts tend to disagree with each other as well. In fact the 2 best ones disagree with each other over 3000 times in the gospels. That's not encouraging.

The Synoptic Gospels also disagree with each other. The Synoptic Gospels also disagree with the Gospel of John. All of those disagree with the Gospel of Thomas, which may be the oldest of them all.
Also the church was strongest in the Greek area.

Well, actually it was all under Rome at the time.

Egypt had problems with a bunch of people called Gnostics who disagreed with Christianity.

Nonsense. The gnostics considered themselves Christians.
It is possible that those in the Alexandine manuscripts were not accidental mistakes at all, but Gnostics changing things they disagreed with.

Or it may be possible that Alexandria was the true birth place of Christianity.

Something to ponder on.

Best
Jerry




Cass Silva wrote:

Why so many bibles? Taken off the web
It seems to me that many ancient philosophical works have been translated from the original and remain consistent with the message of the original work. Why , then, the supposed revelationary book of all books, cannot be agreed upon?
Cass

But archaeologists started digging up heaps of old manuscripts, much older than the ones Erasmus used. Much, much older. Now most of the them were similar to the ones Erasmus used - no problem there. But some of them weren't. The differences weren't huge, but they were bigger than the usual spelling mistakes and so on. it was like there were 2 different families of manuscripts. now 80 - 90% of manuscripts found are similar to those Erasmus used, and they are called Byzantine, after the area in Greece. The ones that are different generally come from around Egypt, so they are called Alexandrine, after the city of Alexandria.

The question is, which are right?

The alexandrine are older. Egypt has a dry climate which is wonderful for preserving old documents. Now some people say "the older the better, so the alexandrine must be right". But others say "hang on its not that simple."

The original letters were mostly to the Corinthians, Ephesians, Colosians, all cities in Greece or round there. The only 2 that weren't were Mark and Romans, which went to Rome. There is no letter to the Egyptians or Alexandrines in the Bible. So the Greeks had access to the originals while they lasted. The alexandrines didn't.

Also the Byzantine manuscripts are in the vast majority. Now if you had two manuscripts to choose from, wouldn't you copy the best one?

Also Greek is the Greeks native language, it wasn't the Egyptians native language. You are more likely to make a mistake copying something that is not in your native language.

Also the alexandrine manuscripts tend to disagree with each other as well. In fact the 2 best ones disagree with each other over 3000 times in the gospels. That's not encouraging.

Also the church was strongest in the Greek area. That's where Paul went on his journeys, it was in Antioch that Christ followers were first called Christians. Egypt had problems with a bunch of people called Gnostics who disagreed with Christianity. They were a pretty diverse group, but basically they thought the world was evil, so any god who created it must be evil. They thought that dying was good because it meant you escaped. Since death came through the serpent in the garden of Eden, they thought the serpent was the hero. Now Gnostics were a problem for the church all over, but most of what we know about them comes from a library of Gnostic materials discovered in a place called "Nag Hammandi" , in surprise surprise, Egypt. It is possible that those in the Alexandine manuscripts were not accidental mistakes at all, but Gnostics changing things they disagreed with.

So which is right?
Did the Byzantines try to "smooth out" the original alexandrine manuscripts, or did some Gnostics or proto-Gnostics corrupt the original Byzantine manuscripts?
Is the fact that the alexandrine manuscripts are older simply an accident of geography?
Is the fact that Byzantine manuscripts are the vast majority also an accident of geography?

The people who think the alexandrine manuscripts are best have produced a Greek text also known as the critical text. Those who think the byzantine are better have produced a greek text known as the majority text. On your handout you can see which manuscripts different versions of the bible use.

But does it really matter?
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (AV/MKJV/KJ21)
Glory in the highest to God, and upon earth peace, among men - good will. (YLT)

Glory to God in the highest, On earth peace, good will toward men (WEB)
Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased (NASB)

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests (NIV)
Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased. (ASV)
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased! (RSV)

Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him (Message)
Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God. (CEV)

Vincent <vblaz2004@sbcglobal.net> wrote: M Sufilight-

First you say:

"We, the non-dogmatic theosophists do not keep Bibles."

This strikes me as a misrepresentation. I'm attending a class at the Theosophical Society of Wheaton at this moment which expressly uses biblical quotations in it's written class materials. Many theosophists do indeed keep Bibles. And they are not dogmatic about it either.

Secondly you say:

"We cull the good we find in each system of thought and in life."

Yet your second statement contradicts your first. Apparently you do not cull the good that you find in the Bible, if in fact you do not keep Bibles. Rather, you label those who keep Bibles as dogmatic.

Vince

--- In theos-talk@yahoogroups.com, "M. Sufilight" theosophy@...> wrote:

Hallo all,

My views are:

A few words on the Christian Bible.
http://www.theosophy.com/theos-talk/200212/tt00297.html (The link
was written to a fellow named Wry in 2002)

We, the non-dogmatic theosophists do not keep Bibles.
We cull the good we find in each system of thought and in life.

- - - - - - -
A theosophical exchange in a corridor at the local TS

WISE MEMBERSHIPS
As an example, there is the one in which two mothers talk about
their sons.

One says, "And how is your boy getting on as a guru?"
"Just fine," replies the second. "He has so many pupils that he
can afford to get rid of some of the old ones."

"That's great," says the first. "My son is getting on so well that
he can afford NOT to take on everyone who applies to him!"

Just a few views...


from
M. Sufilight with some Middle Eastern rugrats with Soul
Force...and x-filebags...
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