The Bible: Authors and Fabricators

The Bible: Authors and Fabricators

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This week we discuss the Bible, more specifically who the authors of the bible were, who they were not, and why they wrote the sections they did. A lot of discussion has occurred as to who wrote what sections of the bible but generally speaking traditions attributes (or attaches) names to the works based on who it was widely believed wrote them. This is how the anonymously written gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (whom I accidentally call Paul at the beginning of the show) came to receive their names despite the fact that if any of them existed they were almost certainly not still alive when the books which bear their name were penned.

Indeed the Gospels were given names much later to cement an amount of gravitas to them when it came time to canonize scriptures. Sometimes the works in question were attributed to someone who wrote something else, such as the case with 2 Thessalonians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus. These are said to have been written by Paul, the author of seven authentic epistles (or letters) within the canon. They are known to be problematic for scholars since 2 Thessalonians too closely resembles 1 Thessalonians, an authentic Pauline work, to be a legitimate second letter; Ephesians and Colossians are too elegantly written and contain a different eschatology than Paul was preaching; and the simple fact that Marcionhad no knowledge in 130 CE of the epistles of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus when he created his very Paul heavy canon.

In fact seeing who knew about what works is a good way to date them. It is widely believed that the epistle of 1 Peter was not written by the historical Peter but rather after his death by one of his followers. Even more problematic is 2 Peter which was unknown to Polycarp and Irenaeus who were quite fond of 1 Peter. In fact Polycarp quotes no less than five times in his own Epistle to the Philippians, but never once quotes 2 Peter in any of his works. This means that 2 Peter may have been the last written document in the New Testament and might have an origin dating to the second half of the second century.

Why would someone write in someone else’s name? Well, if you were a nobody in the early church but you had an important point to make you could attach someone else’s name to your letter and then claim that you are in the right. This was not uncommon in the Greco-Roman world, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that it was not frowned upon if your ruse came out.

Sit back, enjoy the episode and remember to feel free to contact us if you have any questions, comments or outbursts please feel free to contact us at [email protected], like us on Facebook or call the ZPN hotline at (757) 337-2195. We may just address your questions or concerns on the air.

 

 

 

 

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About author

Jason Bayless

Jason Bayless is a life-long activist and is currently working at The Pachamama Alliance. When he is not working he spends, working with Center for Farmworker Families and spending his time recording shows, writing blogs, collecting 3D movies, and playing VR games.

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