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4. The Old Testament Context

In his place, he sends the Holy Spirit who will henceforth minister to believers on earth. The New Testament ends with the vision of the end of the world as told by John of Patmos. The first four books Matthew, Mark , Luke, and John are often believed to be eye-witness accounts of Jesus' ministry on earth but are not. The practice of writing under a famous person's name or, at least, attributing what one had written to someone better known, was well established at the time the gospels were written and it is probable that the authors chose the names of people who were already well respected in the Christian community to gain a wider acceptance of the material.

Because the gospels come before the Book of Acts and the Letters of Paul in the New Testament many people seem to believe that these works were written first and the events they relate happened earlier than the later books; actually, the reverse is true. The letters of Paul came first and the gospels were written later. Between CE the apostle Paul traveled throughout the Mediterranean on his evangelical missions preaching the new religion of the risen Christ.

The Bible itself in the Book of Acts and I Peter allude to the possibility, explored in depth in the late 19th and early 20th century, that Paul's version of Christianity was different from the message preached by Jesus of Nazareth. Paul formerly Saul of Tarsus was a Jewish pharisee of Tarsus in modern day Syria who claimed to have received a vision from God which convinced him of the reality of Jesus Christ as the risen son of the creator of the universe sent to earth to die for the sins of man. While many people have since considered this a miraculous occurrence which displays God's love for humanity through the sacrifice of his son, the concept of the dying and reviving god figure was well known in Paul's time and it is probable that beliefs such as the Cult of Isis informed the basis of Paul's religious views.

The understanding of the Bible between the time of Constantine 's elevation of Christianity to the religion of Rome 4th century CE and the next few hundred years was relatively unchanged but, in the 19th century CE, biblical interpretation underwent a radical reformation. The stories which the Bible relates were considered to be historically accurate and entirely unique until the mid 19th century CE when archaeologists discovered the civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt.

The Bible, in fact, was considered the oldest book in the world until much older literature was discovered which told the same stories, in an earlier form, than those found in the Bible. Scholars had long known that the Bible was a compilation which had been gathered from earlier works and authorized under the Bishops of Rome but no one seemed to be aware that those works were drawn from even earlier pieces. No one could read Egyptian hieroglyphics until Jean Jacques Champollion CE deciphered them and the literature of Sumer was completely unknown to the modern world.

In the midth century CE museums and publications sent archaeologists from the west to the region of Mesopotamia to find physical evidence which would substantiate biblical narratives. The 19th century CE was an interesting period for religion in the west, especially Christianity, in that people became more vocal in their criticism of the faith and new ideas and philosophies provided for acceptable alternatives to religious belief.

The Bible claimed that God had made man "a little lower than the angels" Psalm while Darwin was claiming humans evolved from lower species. Partly in response to such claims, museums and predominantly Christian societies in the west sent these teams of archaeologists to Mesopotamia to find hard evidence of the truth of the Bible. What they found instead was the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia and the rich literary heritage which had been buried under the sands for centuries.

Iconic stories such as the Fall of Man and the Great Flood, they found, were not unique to the Bible at all but had already been written down centuries before the Hebrew scribes revised them in their own work. The great law code of Moses, thought to be the first in history, was discovered to have had a predecessor in the Law Code of Ur-Nammu and the more famous Code of Hammurabi. Excavations in Egypt, meanwhile, found no evidence for the story of the enslavement of the Hebrews under the pharaoh of Egypt nor any for the other details found in the Book of Exodus.

Once ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics were able to be read, the myths of Egypt were found to have similarities to the Christian figure of the dying and reviving god and Mary, the mother of Jesus, to have taken on many of the attributes and epithets of the Egyptian goddess Isis. As stories of these discoveries became more widely known, belief in the Bible as the word of God began to change to an understanding of the work as inspired by God or as scripture written by inspired men.

Although many people throughout the world today continue to believe in the Bible as the authoritative word of God, this belief is not as widespread as it was prior to the 19th century CE. The interpretation of the Bible in the present day is largely a matter of individual understanding without the societal expectation which informed western society prior to the work of scholars, archaeologists, and historians in the 19th century CE.

These individuals changed the world by radically revising people's understanding of history and the Bible and opening up avenues of inquiry which greatly broadened human knowledge. The revised understanding of the Bible and its place in history upset many people at the time and continues to in the modern day but, to many others, the beauty of the Bible's language and the grand vision of redemption it presents is undiminished by the revisionist revelations of the 19th century CE.

The Bible continues to inspire and encourage people around the world, translated into every language, and remains the best-selling book of all time. Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication. We're a small non-profit organisation run by a handful of volunteers. Become a Member. Mark, J. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Mark, Joshua J.

The Holy Bible: Old Testament (Audiobook) - Part 1/6

Last modified September 02, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 02 Sep Written by Joshua J. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms.

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Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. We publish the digital edition of Timeless Travels , the unique magazine for lovers of history, culture, and travel. Mark published on 02 September Remove Ads Advertisement. About the Author Joshua J. Then he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace. While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler.

When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child's father and mother.

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Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. But he took her by the hand and said, "My child, get up!


Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened. Like other accounts of Jesus' healing people, this has a ring of authenticity. If it were fiction, there are portions of it that would have been written differently. For example, in a fictional account there wouldn't be an interruption with something else happening. If it were fiction, the people in mourning would not have laughed at Jesus' statement; get angry maybe, be hurt by it, but not laugh. And in writing fiction, would Jesus have ordered the parents to be quiet about it?

You would expect the healing to make a grand point. But real life isn't always smooth. There are interruptions. People do react oddly. And Jesus had his own reasons for not wanting the parents to broadcast this. The best test of the Gospels authenticity is to read it for yourself. Does it read like a report of real events, or like fiction?

If it is real, then God has revealed himself to us. Jesus came, lived, taught, inspired, and brought life to millions who read his words and life today. What Jesus stated in the gospels, many have found reliably true: "I have come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly. In the early years after Jesus' death and resurrection there was no apparent need for written biographies about Jesus. Those living in the Jerusalem region were witnesses of Jesus and well aware of his ministry.

However, when news of Jesus spread beyond Jerusalem, and the eyewitnesses were no longer readily accessible, there was a need for written accounts to educate others about Jesus' life and ministry. If you would like to know more about Jesus, this article will give you a good summary of his life: Beyond Blind Faith. The early church accepted the New Testament books almost as soon as they were written. The Gospel writers Matthew and John were some of Jesus' closest followers. Mark and Luke were companions of the apostles, having access to the apostles' account of Jesus' life.

The other New Testament writers had immediate access to Jesus as well: James and Jude were half-brothers of Jesus who initially did not believe in him. Peter was one of the 12 apostles. Paul started out as a violent opponent of Christianity and a member of the religious ruling class, but he became an ardent follower of Jesus, convinced that Jesus rose from the dead. The reports in the New Testament books lined up with what thousands of eyewitnesses had seen for themselves.

When other books were written hundreds of years later, it wasn't difficult for the church to spot them as forgeries.

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For example, the Gospel of Judas was written by the Gnostic sect, around A. The Gospel of Thomas, written around A.

Old Testament - Wikipedia

These and other Gnostic gospels conflicted with the known teachings of Jesus and the Old Testament, and often contained numerous historical and geographical errors. Soon after, Jerome and Augustine circulated this same list. These lists, however, were not necessary for the majority of Christians.