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How the Christian Bible was put together...

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  • How the Christian Bible was put together...

    Shalom Sandy,

    This post is on the subject of how the Christians got the NT and their translation of the Tanakh. You raised some questions on what standard they used to define words in a dictionary and so on. I can’t find now in my files a documentation of how some words were given a meaning that later became a definition. So that also poses some problems if we were to truthfully translate anything into our modern language. The advantage of the Hebrew Scriptures over the Greek text of the NT is that the Hebrew Scriptures hardly needed any translation from paleo-Hebrew to modern Hebrew. The process of making copies of the Hebrew Scripture was also different. All letters were counted to insure copy accuracy and so on. Not so the Greek NT which was edited as needed to favor the faith. We discussed earlier the difficulty of remembering with accuracy something that was said over 30 years ago. Can you imagine how much more error can anyone insert into any account if one depends on second and third sources of information? You can rest assured that most of the statements written in the NT would be thrown out of any court of law anywhere in the world. They are hearsay statements. Most writers of the NT were not at the scene. Most of the NT was put together by Greeks and a Roman citizen who were not eyewitnesses of the life and deeds of whoever was Jesus Christ. If his life were of any importance to anyone and especially to the Jews I am sure that some more intelligent way of documenting what took place would have been devised especially one without any discrepancy. It doesn’t take much common sense to realize that the NT is full of glitches. At c200 CE the early church fathers report that Peter and Paul were building the Church in Rome when Mark was busy writing his “gospel.” How did they know? Peter was the “apostle to the Jews” and 120 years later they say that Peter was in Rome helping Paul in the building of the church for the Roman Christians and that they both died in Rome. Peter was crucified upside down, too. BTW, Mark was finished writing around the year 400.

    These are several reports on the composition of the Christian Bible taken from the early church fathers’ writings at the turn of the first century and until c. 400 CE. I'm posting them here because I think that they will add to your knowledge. The full text can be seen at:

    LETTER 27
    In this letter Jerome defends himself against the charge of having altered the text of Scripture, and shows that he has merely brought the Latin Version of the NT into agreement with the Greek original. Written at Rome 384 CE.

    1. After I had written my former letter, containing a few remarks on some Hebrew words, a report suddenly reached me that certain contemptible creatures were deliberately assailing me with the charge that I had endeavored to correct passages in the gospels, against the authority of the ancients and the opinion of the whole world. Now, though I might--as far as strict right goes--treat these persons with contempt (it is idle to play the lyre for an ass), yet, lest they should follow their usual habit and reproach me with uperciliousness, let them take my answer as follows: I am not so dull-wilted nor so coarsely ignorant (qualities which they take for holiness, calling themselves the disciples of fishermen as if men were made holy by knowing nothing)--I am not, I repeat, so ignorant as to suppose that any of the Lord's words is either in need of correction or is not divinely inspired; but the Latin manuscripts of the Scriptures are proved to be faulty by the variations which all of them exhibit, and my object has been to restore them to the form of the Greek original, from which my detractors do not deny that they have been translated.

    LETTER 28.
    ...Let me tell you, then, that for some time past I have been comparing Aquila's version of the Old Testament with the scrolls of the Hebrew, to see if from hatred to Christ the synagogue has changed the text and--to speak frankly to a friend--I have found several variations which confirm our faith. After having exactly revised the prophets, Solomon, the psalter, and the books of Kings, I am now engaged on Exodus (called by the Jews, from its opening words, Eleh shemoth), and when I have finished this I shall go on to Leviticus.

    Fragments Of Papias From The Exposition Of The Oracles Of The Lord.
    ...Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him.
    ...[This is what is related by Papias regarding Mark; but with regard to Matthew he has made the following statements]: Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could. [The same person uses proofs from the First Epistle of John, and from the Epistle of Peter in like manner. And he also gives another story of a woman who was accused of many sins before the Lord, which is to be found in the Gospel according to the Hebrews]

    ... Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.

    Catechetical Lectures
    On The Ten Points Of Doctrine.
    33 ...Learn also diligently, and from the Church, what are the books of the Old Testament, and what those of the New. And, pray, read none of the apocryphal writings: for why dose thou, who knowest not those which are acknowledged among all, trouble thyself in vain about those which are disputed? Read the Divine Scriptures, the twenty-two books of the Old Testament, these that have been translated by the Seventy-two Interpreters.

    36. Then of the New Testament there are the four Gospels only, for the rest have false titles and are mischievous. The Manichaeans also wrote a Gospel according to Thomas, which being tinctured with the fragrance of the evangelic title corrupts the souls of the simple sort. Receive also the Acts of the Twelve Apostles; and in addition to these the seven Catholic Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude; and as a seal upon them all, and the last work of the disciples, the fourteen Epistles of Paul. But let all the rest be put aside in a secondary rank. And whatever books are not read in Churches, these read not even by thyself, as thou hast heard me say thus much of these subjects.

    BOOK X

    41. We must not indeed pass over the fact hat in many manuscripts, both Latin and Greek, nothing is said of the angel's coming or the Bloody Sweat. But while we suspend judgment, whether this is an omission, where it is wanting, or an interpolation, where it is found (for the discordance of the copies leaves the question uncertain), let not the heretics encourage themselves that herein lies a confirmation of His weakness, that He needed the help and comfort of an angel. Let them remember the Creator of the angels needs not the support of His creatures. Moreover His comforting must be explained in the same way as His sorrow. He was sorrowful for us, that is, on our account; He must also have been comforted for us, that is, on our account. If He sorrowed concerning us, He was comforted concerning us. The object of His comfort is the saint as that of His sadness. Nor let any one dare to impute the Sweat to a weakness, for it is contrary to nature to sweat blood. It was no infirmity, for His power reversed the law of nature. The bloody sweat does not for one moment support the heresy of weakness, while it establishes against the heresy which invents an apparent body, the reality all His body. Since, then, His fear was concerning us, and His prayer on our behalf, we are forced to the conclusion that all this happened on our account, for whom He feared, and for whom He prayed.
    "...and the truth will set you free."--Jesus Christ

  • #2
    more of the same...

    Church History
    BOOK I
    CHAPTER VII: The Alleged Discrepancy in the Gospels in regard to the Genealogy of Christ.

    1. Matthew and Luke in their gospels have given us the genealogy of Christ differently, and many suppose that they are at variance with one another. Since as a consequence every believer, in ignorance of the truth, has been zealous to invent some explanation which shall harmonize the two passages, permit us to subjoin the account of the matter which has come down to us, and which is given by Africanus, who was mentioned by us just above, in his epistle to Aristides, where he discusses the harmony of the gospel genealogies. After refuting the opinions of others as forced and deceptive, he gives the account which he had received from tradition in these words...

    CHAPTER XXIV: The Order of the Gospels.
    This extract from Clement I have inserted here for the sake of the history and for the benefit of my readers. Let us now point out the undisputed writings of this apostle. And in the first place his Gospel, which is known to all the churches under heaven, must be acknowledged as genuine...
    Nevertheless, of all the disciples of the Lord, only Matthew and John have left us written memorials, and they, tradition says, were led to write only under the pressure of necessity.

    BOOK V
    CHAPTER VIII: The Statements of Irenaeus in regard to the Divine Scriptures.
    1. Since, in the beginning of this work, we promised to give, when needful, the words of the ancient presbyters and writers of the Church, in which they have declared those traditions which came down to them concerning the canonical books, and since Irenaeus was one of them, we will now give his words and, first, what he says of the sacred Gospels:
    2. "Matthew published his Gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul were preaching and founding the church in Rome.
    3. After their departure Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also transmitted to us in writing those things which Peter had preached; and Luke, the attendant of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel which Paul had declared. (Paul was not an eyewitness so if Luke's gospel was concocted by Paul then it is obvious that Matthew and Mark must have copied from Luke. Paul's influence in the writing of the gospels is enormous to ignore.)
    4. Afterwards John, the disciple of the Lord, who also reclined on his bosom, published his Gospel, while staying at Ephesus in Asia."

    LETTER 71. (403 CE)
    To Me Venerable Lord Jerome, My Esteemed And Holy Brother And Fellow-Presbyter, Augustin Sends Greeting In The Lord.

    ...Thereupon arose such a tumult in the congregation, especially among the Greeks, correcting what had been read, and denouncing the translation as false, that the bishop was compelled to ask the testimony of the Jewish residents (it was in the town of Oea). These, whether from ignorance or from spite, answered that the words in the Hebrew MSS. were correctly rendered in the Greek version, and in the Latin one taken from it. What further need I say? The man was compelled to correct your version in that passage as if it had been falsely translated, as he desired not to be left without a congregation, -- a calamity which he narrowly escaped.

    -- 19. In another letter you ask why a former translation which I made of some of the canonical books was carefully marked with asterisks and obelisks, whereas I afterwards published a translation without these. You must pardon my saying that you seem to me not to understand the matter: for the former translation is from the Septuagint; and wherever obelisks are placed, they are designed to indicate that the Seventy have said more than is found in the Hebrew. But the asterisks indicate what has been added by Origen from the version of Theodotion. In that version I was translating from the Greek: but in the later version, translating from the Hebrew itself, I have expressed what I understood it to mean, being careful to preserve rather the exact sense than the order of the words. I am surprised that you do not read the books of the Seventy translators in the genuine form in which they were originally given to the world, but as they have been corrected, or rather corrupted, by Origen, with his obelisks and asterisks; and that you refuse to follow the translation, however feeble, which has been given by a Christian man, especially seeing that Origen borrowed the things which he has added from the edition of a man who, after the passion of Christ, was a Jew and a blasphemer. Do you wish to be a true admirer and partisan of the Seventy translators? Then do not read what you find under the asterisks; rather erase them from the volumes, that you may approve yourself indeed a follower of the ancients. If, however, you do this, you will be compelled to find fault with all the libraries of the Churches; for you will scarcely find more than one Ms. here and there which has not these interpolations.

    Moreover, it is manifest that the translation which bears the name of the Septuagint differs in some particulars from the text which is found in the Hebrew by those who know that tongue, and by the several scholars who have given us renderings of the same Hebrew books. And if an explanation is asked for this discrepancy, or for the circumstance that the weighty authority of the Septuagint translation diverges in many passages from the rendering of the truth which is discovered in the Hebrew codices. I am of opinion that no more probable account of the matter will suggest itself, than the supposition that the Seventy composed their version under the influence of the very Spirit by whose inspiration the things which they were engaged in translating had been originally spoken.


    2. For before the Romans possessed their kingdom, while as yet the Macedonians held Asia, Ptolemy the son of Lagus, being anxious to adorn the library which he had founded in Alexandria, with a collection of the writings of all men, which were [works] of merit, made request to the people of Jerusalem, that they should have their Scriptures translated into the Greek language. And they -- for at that time they were still subject to the Macedonians -- sent to Ptolemy seventy of their elders, who were thoroughly skilled in the Scriptures and in both the languages, to carry out what he had desired. But he, wishing to test them individually, and fearing lest they might perchance, by taking counsel together, conceal the truth in the Scriptures, by their interpretation, separated them from each other, and commanded them all to write the same translation. He did this with respect to all the books. But when they came together in the same place before Ptolemy, and each of them compared his own interpretation with that of every other, God was indeed glorified, and the Scriptures were acknowledged as truly divine. For all of them read out the common translation [which they had prepared] in the very same words and the very same names, from beginning to end, so that even the Gentiles present perceived that the Scriptures had been interpreted by the inspiration of God.

    And there was nothing astonishing in God having done this, -- He who, when, during the captivity of the people under Nebuchadnezzar, the Scriptures had been corrupted, and when, after seventy years, the Jews had returned to their own land, then, in the times of Artaxerxes king of the Persians, inspired Esdras the priest, of the tribe of Levi, to recast all the words of the former prophets, and to re-establish with the people the Mosaic legislation.

    3. Since, therefore, the Scriptures have been interpreted with such fidelity, and by the grace of God, and since from these God has prepared and formed again our faith towards His Son, and has preserved to us the unadulterated Scriptures in Egypt, where the house of Jacob flourished, fleeing from the famine in Canaan; where also our Lord was preserved when He fled from the persecution set on foot by Herod; and [since] this interpretation of these Scriptures was made prior to our Lord's descent [to earth], and came into being before the Christians appeared -- for our Lord was born about the forty-first year of the reign of Augustus; but Ptolemy was much earlier, under whom the Scriptures were interpreted; -- [since these things are so, I say,] truly these men are proved to be impudent and presumptuous, who would now show a desire to make different translations, when we refute them out of these Scriptures, and shut them up to a belief in the advent of the Son of God. But our faith is stedfast, unfeigned, and the only true one, having clear proof from these Scriptures, which were interpreted in the way I have related; and the preaching of the Church is without interpolation. For the apostles, since they are of more ancient date than all these [heretics], agree with this aforesaid translation; and the translation harmonizes with the tradition of the apostles. For Peter, and John, and Matthew, and Paul, and the rest successively, as well as their followers, did set forth all prophetical [announce-merits], just as the interpretation of the elders contains them.
    "...and the truth will set you free."--Jesus Christ


    • #3
      More of the same...

      LETTER XXVIII. (A.D. 394 OR 395.)

      ...But I beseech you not to devote your labour to the work of translating into Latin the sacred canonical books (The Tanakh), unless you follow the method in which you have translated Job, viz. with the addition of notes, to let it be seen plainly what differences there are between this version of yours and that of the LXX., whose authority is worthy of highest esteem. For my own part, I cannot sufficiently express my wonder that anything should at this date be found in the Hebrew Mss. which escaped so many translators perfectly acquainted with the language. I say nothing of the LXX, regarding whose harmony in mind and spirit, surpassing that which is found in even one man, I dare not in any way pronounce a decided opinion, except that in my judgment, beyond question, very high authority must in this work of translation be conceded to them. I am more perplexed by those translators who, though enjoying the advantage of labouring after the LXX had completed their work, and although well acquainted, as it is reported, with the force of Hebrew words and phrases, and with Hebrew syntax, have not only failed to agree among themselves, but have left many things which, even after so long a time, still remain to be discovered and brought to light. Now these things were either obscure or plain: if they were obscure, it is believed that you are as likely to have been mistaken as the others; if they were plain, it is not believed that they [the LXX] could possibly have been mistaken. Having stated the grounds of my perplexity, I appeal to your kindness to give me an answer regarding this matter.


      Addressed to Pammachius and Marcella from Bethlehem, A.D. 402.

      ..."I shall follow the rules of translation laid down by my predecessors, and particularly those acted on by the writer whom I have just mentioned. He has rendered into Latin more than seventy of Origen's homiletical treatises, and a few also of his commentaries on the Apostle; AND IN THESE, WHEREVER THE GREEK TEXT PRESENTS A STUMBLING BLOCK, HE HAS SMOOTHED IT DOWN IN HIS VERSION AND HAS SO EMENDED THE LANGUAGE USED THAT A LATIN WRITER CAN FIND NO WORD THAT IS AT VARIANCE WITH OUR FAITH. In his steps, therefore, I propose to walk, if not displaying the same vigorous eloquence, at least observing the same rules."

      ...Am I likely to have said anything derogatory to the seventy translators (LXX), whose work I carefully purged from corruption and gave to Latin readers many years ago...?

      PARAGRAPH 25
      ...The work is certainly hazardous and it is exposed to the attacks of my calumniators, who maintain that it is through contempt of the Seventy (LXX) that I have set to work to forge a new version to take the place of the old.
      ...I do not know whose false imagination led him (SAINT IRENAEUS OF LYONS) to invent the story of the seventy cells at Alexandria, in which, though separated from each other, the translators were said to have written the same words. Aristeas, the champion of that same Ptolemy, and Josephus, long after, relate nothing of the kind; their account is that the Seventy assembled in one basilica consulted together, and did not prophesy. For it is one thing to be a prophet, another to be a translator.
      "...and the truth will set you free."--Jesus Christ


      • #4
        The bottom line!

        The cononized NT was given to us by none other than the Catholic church.
        May YHWH have mercy on us all!


        • #5

          Here is some information about the Tanakh.

          The Massoretic Text contains a handful of carefully preserved variant readings, the Ketib and Qere. The Ketib ("written") are the readings of the text; the Qere are marginal readings which the reader is instructed to substitute for the text. Such noted variants are, however, relatively rare, and many of the Qere readings correct places where the text is so bad that it could hardly stand in any case. Thus the Ketib/Qere variants add very little to our knowledge of the ancient text, and the accidental variants of Massoretic copyists add even less.

          Our earliest substantial MT manuscripts date from about the tenth century. (Note, prior to Qumran/DSS, many N.T. manuscripts are 1000 years older than the oldest MS of the Tanakh. OS) Prior to this, we have only a handful of Hebrew manuscripts. The best-known of these are the Qumran manuscripts (the "Dead Sea Scrolls"), though there are others such as the relics from the Cairo Genizah. With only a handful of exceptions, such as the Qumran Isaiah scroll, these manuscripts are damaged and difficult to read, and the portions of the OT they contain are limited. In addition, many have texts very similar to the MT -- but a handful do not. Perhaps the most important of all are the Qumran scrolls of Samuel, 4QSama and 4QSamb, as they represent a tradition clearly independent from the MT, and apparently better (as the manuscripts lack many of the defects which afflict MT Samuel).

          Also in Hebrew, but with differences in dialect, is the Samaritan Pentateuch. The production of a sect considered schismatic by the Jews, the text (which survives mostly in recent manuscripts, and in rather smaller numbers than Hebrew bibles, as the Samaritan sect is nearly extinct) shows definite signs of editing -- but also seems to be based on a Hebrew text which predates the Massoretic recension. This makes it potentially valuable for criticism of the Pentateuch (the Samaritans did not revere the other portions of the Hebrew Bible) -- as long as we remain aware that it has been edited to conform to Samaritan biases. (We should also allow the possibility that the MT has been edited to conform to Jewish biases.)

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          L425 Biblical Textual Criticism: The Old Testament

          ASSIGNMENT: Read Wurthwein in its entirety.

          The Old Testament was written in Hebrew (and some small portion in Aramaic).
          As it was copied and recopied over the decades and centuries it was inevitable that differences between the various copies would arise. The goal of textual criticism is to remove these errors and restore the original reading. The following examples will demonstrate the kinds of errors that have arisen. In all of the following examples the student will need to have their Hebrew Bible with them in order to look at the textual notes at the bottom of the page on which the passage is found.

          1. Errors of sight

          a. confusion of similar letters; Is 28:20; Is 9:8; Is 30:33; Isa 42:25; Is 5:29; 2 Kings 20:4; Is 33:1.

          b. transposition of letters; Is 9:18; Is 32:19.

          c. haplography (leaving out a letter or word); Is 5:8; Is 8:11; Is 26:3f;

          Is 38:11.

          d. dittography (repeating a letter or word); Is 30:30; Is 38:20.

          e. Omission by homoioteleuton (leaving off words which have similar endings);

          Is 4:5f; Is 16:8f.

          f. errors of joining and dividing words; Amos 6:12; Is 2:20.

          Besides these errors of sight there are also intentional errors. These deliberate alterations were made for grammatical as well as theological reasons. Some of the most famous of these deliberate alterations are the "Tiqqune Sopherim", the alterations of the scribes. These changes were made for purely theological reasons, and some of them are:
          Gen 18:22, Num 11:15, 12:12, I Sam 3:13, 2 Sam 16:12, 20:1, I Kings 12:16, 2 Chr 10:16, Jer 2:11, Ezek 8:17, Hos 4:7, Hab 1:12, Zech 2:12, Mal 1:13, Ps 106:20, Job 7:20, 32:3, and Lam 3:20.
          So what steps are necessary in order to reconstruct the original reading?

          1. The Hebrew (Masoretic) Text must be read.

          2. The versions must be consulted.

          3. The evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls must be examined, and given preference unless the reading is simply impossible.

          4. The manuscripts must be weighed, not counted.
          If the versions must be consulted in a study of the Old Testament text, then we must know what these versions are:

          1. The Samaritan Pentateuch. This is a version of the Old Testament
          Pentateuch which must be used cautiously. It tends to be periphrastic and thus is not necessarily a help in determining the original text.

          2. The Septuagint. This is a translation of the Old Testament in Greek and is worthy of special consideration. It represents a text type which is centuries older than the Masoretic text. Yet at certain places it also tends to be expansionistic. That is, it tends to add to the text portions which it hopes will be explanatory (as it does in Esther and Daniel, as well as in Jeremiah).

          3. The Aramaic Targums. This version of the Old Testament is interesting to consult, but not a reliable guide to the original text, as it is simply an expansionistic paraphrase of the Hebrew text.

          4. The Syriac Version. Very similar to the Aramaic targum.

          5. The Old Latin. This version is good and very helpful in reconstructing the text.

          6. The Vulgate. Jerome's translation of the Old Testament; it is also very useful in reconstructing the text as it existed in the 4th century A.D.

          7. The Dead Sea Scrolls. Though these texts are clearly not translations of the Old Testament (as they are also in Hebrew and Aramaic), these texts represent a type 1000 years older than the Masoretic text.

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          Old Testament Origins
          by M. Rev. Abba James

          Before writing was invented, the ancient Near Eastern people passed their wisdom, religion, and history from generation to generation through oral tradition. Likewise, before the Hebrews had an alphabet and a system of writing they preserved through oral tradition what would later become their scripture. In the 10th century B.C., they borrowed their writing from the Phoenicians. Sometime later they began to write down their traditions.

          There is textual evidence suggesting that the duplicate or multiple versions of certain biblical stories emerged from related traditions. It was common for one oral tradition to become diversified. There are three versions of Sennacherib،¯s siege of Jerusalem. There are three versions of Nebuchadnezzar،¯s capture of Jerusalem. There are two versions of Jehoiachin،¯s release during the exile. There are two versions of the creation, which differ in style and the order of creation. In one version God created the animals before man, but in the other he created them after man. In one version the creator is called "Elohim" but in the other he is called "Yahweh Elohim."

          The story of the flood is a collation of two traditions. There are two versions of instructions from God to Noah. One appears in chapter 6 of Genesis and the other in chapter 7. In the first version only one pair of each species is taken into the ark, while in the second version one pair from each unclean species and seven pairs from each clean species. Scholars have identified four basic literary strands in the Pentateuch, each representing a different tradition. There is strand J (Jehovist), strand E (Elohist), and strand D (Deuteronomist). These three strands were dovetailed into a single work and combined with strand P (Priestly Code), the original strand of Leviticus. The Essenes believed that Leviticus, and most of the Priestly tradition, was of Demonic origin as this is where animal sacrifice is defined.

          Whenever a manuscript of an Old Testament book wore out, scribes made a new one. During the process of copying they made intentional and unintentional changes. The original Hebrew text of the Old Testament was non-pointed (no vowels). During the post-exilic era when the Hebrew text was translated into Aramaic each translator had to assume the vowels before he translated the text. His assumptions depended upon his understanding of the text. The differing assumptions and choices of those translators created textual variants in the Aramaic texts. When Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, wanted the Pentateuch to be translated into Greek, at about 250 B.C., Demetrius (the librarian at the library of Alexandria) informed him that the Hebrew manuscripts in Egypt had been transcribed carelessly. In a letter to Ptolemy he wrote, "... they have been transcribed more carelessly than they should have been, because they have not been under the royal care up to now. At this time, it is necessary that you should have accurate copies of them." Here we have unbiased testimony that in ancient times copying produced errors.

          Nullus Frigidus Auxilium Gratia


          • #6
            Previous Post (Continued)

            During the exile and before the Hellenistic era many Jews adopted Aramaic (the official language of Babylon) in their dealings with non-Jews (initially in Babylon and later in their homeland, Palestine). Hebrew became uncommon, so it became necessary to translate the scriptures into the common language of the Jews, Aramaic. In the beginning the Aramaic translations were sporadic and undirected. Translating was left up to individuals of distant communities and lacked authorized supervision. Consequently, it often assumed the form of paraphrasing. The inaccuracies of the early translations and the addition of vowels to the early consonantal text produced several versions of the Old Testament. Later, during the Hellenistic era, most Jews spoke Greek. At that time it became necessary to translate the Old Testament into Greek. According to Professor Talmon, a renowned expert of the Old Testament, these versions contain a "bewildering plethora of variations."

            Even under optimum conditions translations produce inaccuracies because there is no exact correspondence between languages in syntax and vocabulary. Also, most words have more than one meaning, which the translator often tries to ascertain from the context. Translating requires personal judgment, which is often biased, especially when a translator uses his or her religious beliefs to interpret obscure passages or words. The translator of the book of Sirach wrote, "... despite our diligent labor in translating, we may seem to have rendered some phrases imperfectly. For what was originally expressed in Hebrew does not have exactly the same sense when translated into another language. Not only this book, but even the Law itself, the Prophecies and the rest of the books differ not little when read in the original." Here, again, we have unbiased testimony that the ancient translations (Aramaic and Greek) that we have today "differ not little" from the original Hebrew text that existed in the time of the translator of Sirach.

            At about 250 B.C., Eleazar, the high priest of Jerusalem, sent to Ptolemy Philadelphus in Alexandria the Hebrew manuscripts of the Pentateuch to be translated into Greek (the Septuagint). He did not send the manuscripts of the Prophets (the Nevi،¯im) or the Writings (the Kethuvim). At that time the Prophets and the Writings were NOT part of the Jewish Bible. There are no records indicating when and from which manuscripts the Prophets and the Writings were translated into Greek. They were probably translated from the Hebrew manuscripts of Egypt. Those manuscripts were probably based on traditions that differed from the Palestinian Hebrew text. According to Professor William Albright, considerable copying was done in Egypt in the post-exilic times. Consequently, the Hebrew manuscripts that were copied in Egypt contain Egyptian words. Consequently, the Prophets and the Writings of the Septuagint differ considerably from their counterparts of the Hebrew Masoretic text.

            From about the 6th century to about the 10th century AD scholars at the Talmudic academies in Babylonia and Palestine combined their efforts to reproduce, as far as possible, the original text of the Hebrew Old Testament. They gathered manuscripts and whatever oral traditions were available to them. They searched through them to pick out and put together the authentic words of the Old Testament. Their monumental work is called the Masoretic text. In the middle of the twentieth century biblical archaeologists discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls, which differ from the Masoretic text. Modern scholars listed in the apparatus of the Biblia Hebraica (Masoretic text) the Dead Sea Scrolls variants.

            There are about 6,000 differences between the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Masoretic text (both written in Hebrew). The Septuagint contains about 2,000 variants from the Masoretic text. The textual anomalies of the Septuagint versus the Masoretic text are significant. William F. Albright wrote, "Since the serious study of the innumerable fragments from the Cave IV at Qumran began in 1953, the existence of widely divergent recensions of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament has become certain. I discussed the evidence with Frank M. Cross Jr. ... It is now demonstrated that the recensional differences between the Hebrew and the Greek texts go back in principle to different Hebrew recensions antedating the Hellenistic period." James A. Sanders (another distinguished scholar), speaking in a symposium at the Smithsonian Institute, said, "I have dreamt of a Bible with translations of both versions [Hebrew and Greek] into English. I wonder if lay folk would accept a Bible where there are doublets of this sort. ... I think it is time for us to stop fooling the people, making them think that there is just one Bible. ... Must we continue to pretend that only our group is right denominationally and others are not right, and it is just too bad about others?"

            The English translations of the Old Testament in many instances are the result of guesswork. In many instances the Hebrew text of the Old Testament provides a frame of words upon which the English translators have built complete sentences. In other instances the translators do not faithfully represent the Hebrew text. Furthermore, the existing Hebrew text is not the original one. No existing manuscript of the Old Testament was written by the author or by a contemporary of his, or even by a scribe who lived immediately after him. The earliest surviving manuscripts of the Old Testament were written hundreds of years after the date of the original writings.
            Nullus Frigidus Auxilium Gratia


            • #7
              OK, Old Shep,

              I am a bit more philosophical about the OT. Regardless of when it was written it is very coherent. The LXX is proof that the OT existed at least before the NT was published. It is consistent in the sense that YHWH is shown to be full of mercy even to the ignorant sinner. The NT is absolutely categorical. There is no mercy to the sinner, regardless. The image portrayed in the NT of our Creator is that of a sadistic one who demands a human sacrifice to make reconciliation possible. When I read the OT I come to the conclusion that I don’t need Jesus Christ. I want to please my Creator in everything that I do. The way of salvation in the OT is very simple…

              Micah 6:6 * With what shall I come before Yahweh and bow down before the exalted Elohim? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
              7 Will Yahweh be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
              8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does Yahweh require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your Elohim.
              9 Listen! Yahweh is calling to the city-- and to fear your name is wisdom-- "Heed the rod and the One who appointed it.

              So if the Hebrew Scriptures are a fraud, I have no other recourse. The NT is definitely a fraud!
              "...and the truth will set you free."--Jesus Christ


              • #8
                So what do we learn from the posts on this thread, as well as other similar threads. They show us how unreliable the Bible really is.

                Knowing these things, how can one have faith in them?

                I used to think that it was only the NT that was riddled with holes, but then somewhere along the line a couple of years ago I began to realize more and more that the OT did not totally cut the mustard either.

                So where does that leave those of us who began in blind faith of the Bible but now can see?


                • #9

                  "I am a bit more philosophical about the OT. Regardless of when it was written it is very coherent."

                  I posted several contradictions from the O.T. on the other thread you never responded . Your usual tactic, attack the N.T. but run like **** when confronted. You are always boasting about how no Christian can stand up to you. It is the other way around, you can't stand up to any Christian, especially this one. You haven't responded to 60-70% of my posts. Because you can't, you are a liar and you know it. And the fact that every night you can look beside you and see a Christian proves that all you screeching and babbling is nothing but dog puke.

                  "The LXX is proof that the OT existed at least before the NT was published. ."

                  So what? Age alone does not make it superior. And you ignored the fact that there are differences between the LXX and the MT.

                  "It is consistent in thesense that YHWH is shown to be full of mercy even to the ignorant sinner. The NT is absolutely categorical. ."

                  Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

                  Exodus 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

                  Numbers 14:18 The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

                  Deuteronomy 5:9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,

                  "There is no mercy to the sinner, regardless. The image portrayed in the NT of our Creator is that of a sadistic one who demands a human sacrifice to make reconciliation possible. ."

                  Luke 1:58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.

                  Romans 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
                  Romans 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

                  Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

                  Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

                  James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

                  1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

                  "The way of salvation in the OT is very simple….Micah 6:6-9. . ."

                  Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

                  John 5:34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.

                  John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

                  Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

                  Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

                  Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

                  Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

                  Nullus Frigidus Auxilium Gratia


                  • #10

                    "So what do we learn from the posts on this thread, as well as other similar threads. They show us how unreliable the Bible really is."

                    Not me! But then I don't pick through the Bible taking words and phrases out-of-context, twisting meanings, deliberately trying make errors where there are none.

                    "Knowing these things, how can one have faith in them?"

                    Why have faith in anything, if your philosophy is you live, you die, and that's it?

                    "I used to think that it was only the NT that was riddled with holes, but then somewhere along the line a couple of years ago I began to realize more and more that the OT did not totally cut the mustard either.

                    So where does that leave those of us who began in blind faith of the Bible but now can see?

                    I don't know, the only answer I can give you is like the blind man told the Pharisees, "Whether he (Jesus) is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" (John 9:25) I have seen a broken arm healed instantly, a terminal cancer patient who the doctors had given up on healed. You can concoct all the so-called errors and contradictions you want to, and call it "seeing" but they have already been answered somewhere. I know what I have seen.
                    Nullus Frigidus Auxilium Gratia


                    • #11
                      I respond to you, Old Shep!...

                      I don't answer some of your replies because I don't find anything that awfully wrong with the Tanakh. I am aware of most of the errors that you point out, and also about the statements that you are making in reference to Yahweh's strict requirements to abide by his commandments or pay the consequences. I see nothing wrong with that. As far as salvation is concerned I will address that in a forthcoming post.

                      I hope that you don’t expect me to believe your explanation about Jesus Christ dishonoring his parents at age 12. Your explanation is good for Christian consumption, not for an intelligent person’s consideration. So let me say something about some of your replies.
                      Paul did brag about his killing escapades to King Agrippa."

                      Another lie. Lou isn't there a commandment somewhere prohibiting lying and bearing false witness? He was defending himself against capital charges. He only arrested Christians, both men and women. Everything he did involving Christians was on the orders of Racist, humanity hating Jewish priests.
                      OK, Old Shep, what you are saying in essence is that Adolf Eichmann is declaring as a witness in his own defense at a Nazi court that he went about killing Jews… WEll, that's what I hear from you, but in the case of Paul, Christianity was not invented yet. So Paul was not after any Christian but rebel Jews. Please bear with me and I’ll be nice to you. Even if you are wrong, I am not calling you a dog puker liar. I am not a Christian.

                      You refuse to say that it was Paul who ASKED the Priests’ endorsement to haze Jews to death. Although I believe that the whole story about Paul persecuting anyone was especially made up to please the followers of the newly invented religion. It is humanly impossible to be the cause of so much death and destruction among the Jews who where followers of the Way of Yahweh (take this and give me back the “Notzirin”) and act as if nothing ever happened. Paul said to be the top Pharisee of his day and it was he the one going over to the Saducee party who were always at odds with the Pharisees to get the documentation needed to round up Jews and have them put to death. Paul was not following any orders “of Racist, humanity hating Jewish priests.” He volunteered to go after the followers of the Way of Yahweh all by himself, but he needed the letter of endorsement from the High Priest to make his work easier. Check the documents. Paul is calling the priesthood as his personal witness. Let’s be honest here for a moment, ok Old Shep? Pay close attention to the I, I, I, I…

                      Acts 22:4-5 (NIV) I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.

                      Paul was not asked by anyone to testify any of that. He just bragged about it to a Heathen ruler. Why didn’t the Council or the priesthood hold Paul responsible for quitting the job of persecuting these Jews without notice? Maybe because Paul acted on his own free will. Paul doesn’t seem to have been on any payroll persecuting his fellow Jews. Or maybe he was persecuting the followers of the Way of Yahweh as a personal vendetta against the righteous Jews who were probably more righteous than himself and therefore he had to get rid of them. Or maybe he was so loyal to Rome and wanted to take credit for cutting down any resistance to the occupying authorities that “not in vain carry a sword.” The fact that the persecuted Jews were followers of the crucified wanabee messiah Jesus Christ was a good reason to cut them down, too. Remember that Paul cast the decisive vote to put Deacon Steven to death by stoning. You are trying very poorly to be an advocate of the devil. Luke didn’t report that Paul cast the vote to have Mr. and Mrs. Steven stoned to death. You must know that in the Christian religion it is a requirement that the Deacon be a married man. So it is obvious that Mrs. Steven was a bona fide widow that Paul left behind in his rampage against the Jews. I noticed that you wanted to say that Paul had both, man and wife put to death at the same time. Well, the record doesn’t hold that view.

                      As a Pharisee Paul was really an oddball one because the Pharisees sided with the wannabe messiah Jesus Christ on several occasions. That is in spite of the hatred that Paul spread toward the Pharisees in his letters, the Pharisees were not that bad. They were fair-minded individuals, especially those in charge. The NT writers couldn’t stop reporting that in the gospels. However, from Jesus Christ and down to Old Shep Christianity never stopped to attack the Jews and the Pharisees in general as being “Racists, humanity hating Jews.”

                      In spite of the vicious attacks that Jesus Christ was assessing on the Pharisees there is another side to the coin that doesn’t fit. Once, at age 12 Jesus Christ sneaked out of sight of his parents for 5 days to sit at a Pharisee HaTorah class. Anything that Jesus Christ learned from HaTorah he owes it to the Pharisees. He had no other teacher. Later in life he seems to turn against them too according to the NT writers. The same thing holds true for Paul. Everything that Paul knew about HaTorah he owed it to Gamaliel the top HaTorah Pharisee teacher of his day.

                      Jesus Christ gets a firm hold of an old cliché used by John the Baptist to call the Pharisees, “You snakes, you brood of vipers,” and so on. In spite of it the Pharisees still invite Jesus Christ to their homes and to their parties. They even defended him from the Saducees (i.e. Herodians), but Jesus Christ is giving them a bad rap anyway.

                      Luke 7:36 (NIV) Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table.

                      Luke 11:37 (NIV) When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table.

                      Luke 14:1 (NIV) One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee…

                      Luke 13:31 (NIV) At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, "Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod
                      (i.e. the Saducees’ protector) wants to kill you."

                      I am sure that there would be more stuff written in favor of the Pharisees if it weren’t for the fact that Paul spoke so much evil of them and of the Jews. So when the gospels were written many years later they were forced to attack the Pharisees, too. Some of the good words about the Pharisees that escaped the censorship pressure are these,

                      Matthew 5:20 (NIV) For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven

                      Mark 12:28 (NIV) One of the teachers of the law
                      (i.e. a Pharisee –Matthew 22:34-40) came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
                      29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: `Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
                      30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'
                      31 The second is this: `Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
                      32 "Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.
                      33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

                      Matt 15:12 (NIV) Then the disciples came to him and asked, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?"
                      13 He replied, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.
                      14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

                      I get the impression that this Jesus Christ and Paul are full of sh*t. I checked the knowledge of the Pharisees and I believe that it is perfect. Check Matthew 12:28-33 for yourself. I also checked the Pharisees “Statement of Faith” and it is also perfect. I also studied their behavior and they are fair-minded people not like the Saducees (i.e. Herodians). Paul says that he was raised under Gamaliel, but Gamaliel was not a cut- throat inclined man, but he was a very gentleman. Gamaliel was a teacher of peaceful coexistence. So Paul’s blood thirsty character persecuting his fellow Jews must have been due to his Herodian or rather Roman zeal. He declared to be a proud Roman citizen and was granted full Roman privileges more than once.
                      "...and the truth will set you free."--Jesus Christ


                      • #12

                        John 3:1-2 (NIV) Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we (i.e. the Pharisees’ statement of faith) know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."

                        John 7:48 (NIV) "Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him?
                        49 No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law--there is a curse on them."
                        50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked,
                        51 "Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?"

                        Acts 5:34 (NIV) But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while.
                        35 Then he addressed them: "Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men.
                        36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing.
                        37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered.
                        38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.

                        Acts 22:3 (NIV) "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia (i.e. today Turkey), but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.

                        Philippians 3:5-6 (NIV) circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.

                        If Paul were really brought up under Gamaliel, he must have been present when all this was going on. But Paul is totally ignorant about it. He didn’t really follow his teacher’s advice, either. He should have let the followers of Jesus Christ fade away the way they did. There was no need to persecute anyone. It is funny that Paul was not after the leaders (i.e. the Eleven or Twelve), but he was persecuting somebody else the little people. So I question Paul’s honesty about whether he was persecuting anyone. Instead of going to a foreign country to persecute righteous Jews so far away he should stayed home and get the Eleven or Twelve in jail and put them to death. Paul may have been faultless in many things, but as a strategist he was a flop! Now that I mention flop, look at Jesus Christ flip-flopping. First he is telling everybody, ”you must obey the Pharisees and do everything they tell you” but then he turns around and tells everybody not to listen to the Pharisees but to leave them alone because they are blind guiding the blind.

                        Matthew 23:2-3 (NIV) "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you…

                        Matthew 15:12 (NIV) Then the disciples came to him and asked, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?"
                        13 He replied, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.
                        14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

                        Do we listen and obey everything the Pharisees tell us or should we leave them alone because they are blind guides? Although in all fairness I believe that the NT writers were lacking coherence in writing about their newly founded religion. I find it very weird to say the least that an allegedly infallible writ be so dysfunctional.

                        The only reason in the world why any Herodian or Saducee (i.e. not a Pharisee) would get rid of any Jew was not because of the Jew’s righteousness, but because he/she opposed the Roman occupation of the Land of Israel. Jesus Christ was arrested for allegedly conspiring against the Roman Empire. In fact Jesus Christ himself asked his disciples to sell their coats and to buy weapons. In essence Jesus Christ led an armed band of ear-cutters to Getsemany where he sweated blood thinking about what was coming to him. There was a skirmish at the garden and a Herodian guard lost his right ear inside his helmet. Good thing that he didn’t react like a soldier would, otherwise Jesus Christ would have to perform not only an ear restoration, but also a resurrection miracle on his disciple. The rebellion was unsuccessful. At the end Jesus Christ became too wishy-washy about it. At the cross Jesus Christ gave up the whole idea saying that it was finished. At least he tried to do the best he could, although setting up poor Judas to betray him is a despicable act anywhere in the world. This fact alone is enough to repudiate Christianity. Anyway, it was thanks to a couple of Pharisees that Jesus Christ got a decent burial.

                        John 19:38 (NIV) Later, Joseph of Arimathea (i.e. a Pharisee peer of Nicodemus) asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away.
                        39 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.
                        40 Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.

                        These 2 guys used 75 pounds of embalming stuff, but according to Luke and Mark “the women” saw the way the 2 guys stuffed the body of Jesus Christ with 75 pounds of spices and so on, and they went home to prepare more(?) spices and perfumes for the burial but rested on the Shabbat before going to the tomb. But wait, there is some more a whole bunch of Marias who saw the way the 2 guys stuffed the body of Jesus Christ with 75 pounds of spices and so on waited AFTER the Shabbat and THEN went out to buy more(?) spices for the burial. Oy vey… a threesome glitch!

                        Luke 23:55- (NIV) The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

                        Mark 15:47-16:1 (NIV) Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid. 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.

                        Actually, I am presenting here enough evidence to crucify Jesus Christ and Paul all over again. If I am wrong, please correct me, but give me a break and do it gently, ok Old Shep?
                        "...and the truth will set you free."--Jesus Christ


                        • #13
                          Where is Old Shep?

                          I am still waiting for a reaction from Old Shep...
                          "...and the truth will set you free."--Jesus Christ


                          • #14
                            Keep on waiting! I am still wating for you to respond to most of my previous posts.

                            This, as every other, forum you use as your private soap box to spew out your paranoia and hate of Christianity and the N.T.. I have responded to virtually everything you have posted, pointing out you lies, and twisting of scripture and every other resource you quote. Your answer is to run like a coward and start a new thread on another topic and ignore everything that proves you to be the liar you are.

                            You want a response you piece of lying dog crap, then go back and repond to me. You love boasting how no Christian can stand up to you, that's a lie. You can't stand up to this Christian! The only reponse you are capable of is starting an new thread.
                            Nullus Frigidus Auxilium Gratia


                            • #15
                              I did...!

                              I did. I'm taking one point at the time. As soon as we get over this one, we can move on to the next one. You are entitled to a rebuttal on this last one... BTW, Old Shep, you are not like all the Christians, you can stand up to me...
                              "...and the truth will set you free."--Jesus Christ