Sunday, June 12, 2011

(47) Scripture

Awhile back I was e-talking with a friend about Scripture. Over
the millennia there have been all forms of human-generated
Scripture, eventually transformed by some as writ by God's own
hand. Hence we have "Holy Writ," if you will.

As for myself, even when a youngster, I had questions about
Biblical Scripture. I still remember people pointing fingers,
threatening, quoting Scripture in the most extreme ways. So--
since I had begun to read pretty good, I decided to pull out a
family Bible and started checking it out for myself.

Right off I began to see disparities, mistakes in the telling,
and this shook me at my young age. Later, after years of not
only self-study, but also professional study, I'm no longer
surprised or shook. The Bible is a library of books about a
myriad of topics, ranging from an usually heroic (if not precisely
a historically correct) account of Ancient Israel and its People.
Moving from the Old to the New Testament, one can detect
the effort of the various authors to carry forth a continuity of
those earlier writings that proclaimed the coming of a Messiah.

Hence writers in the New Testament proclaimed Jesus the
Messiah, the Son of God. And the Gospel writers also catered
to the particular faith group to which the belonged. Also, the
Gospels were written 70-to-90 years after the death of Jesus.
Just check any Bible and look at the special notes, and this
chronology is mentioned.

So it's difficult to think of these Gospel writers as those original
disciples, some likely near illiterate fishermen who spoke
colloquial Aramaic rather than the Greek which was the
original language employed when it came to these writings.
Studying further, I found out that biblical scholars believe that
the Gospel writers initially may have formed their stories around
an earlier account called the "Q" document, though no such
document has ever been discovered. However, surely there
must have been an oral tradition of sorts,

I discovered, too, that there probably was more than one author
of some of these Gospels. Computer technology has played a
part when it comes to this assumption. Goodness! Even recently
I came across a noted scholar talking about the "Deutero Paul."
That surprised me, especially since St. Paul's writing preceded
the Gospels.

Nonetheless, I do realize that there's some "historicity" in these
scriptural accounts. It's just not History as we have come to
understand such today, which is documented and presumed
factual. What scholars have been discovering is that these
Gospels were narratives, stories smack full of not only events
but symbolism. And they definitely tell one of the Greatest
Stories of all time!

Now does all this make the Scriptures untenable? For some,
maybe. For others, not at all. They are a record presented by
ancient voices, oft in a style familiar to the archaic societies in
which they lived. What has become important for me, as I have
continued to be fascinated by Scripture, is to study deeper into
these archaic societies to which the Gospel writers were addressing.

If we can better understand the thought patterns, the nuances of
these archaic societies, then Scripture might fall into place far
better when it comes to our understanding of such.