Thursday, July 02, 2009

Quick Blurb about Inerrancy

I just wanted to write a quick blurb about some of my thoughts on inerrancy. I mentioned three areas of Scripture that I don't believe are genuine. I don't know, however, if any of them for sure are not authentic, so this is just my opinion. Just beware the mindset that sets up the KJV as the gold standard and compares all other translations as incorrectly "subtracting" verses or differing in interpretation.

The first of these is the Comma Johanneum in 1 John 5:7, which if memory serves me I read that Erasmus only included this in his work because there was one Greek manuscript that included it, but the origin of that Greek manuscript was dubious (there are several Latin manuscripts which include it but of course they are older, and the lack of Greek witnesses seems to indicate that the Comma is not original). The doctrine of the Comma is explicitly Trinitarian, so I endorse it without reservation and have no desire to oppose it based on its Trinitarianism. I only reserve skepticism about it because I've referenced it before in defense of the Trinity without knowing the problems behind its origin.

The second is the pericope of the woman caught in adultery. It is troubling to me because though I like the story a lot, it seems rather strange that the guilty male party of adultery is never mentioned or brought to Jesus (so I am left wondering, how did the Jews KNOW unless they were possibly in on it maybe?). Other problems include having a Lukan syntax so I have read instead of really fitting in syntactically with John. Another problem, worse in my opinion, is the fact that the passage has moved around from different places in manuscripts. So it could be a later addition to Scripture.

The third is the Longer Ending of Mark in Mark 16:9-20. There are three different endings for Mark. One is the normal (perhaps original ending) at 16:8. There is a Shorter Ending which I am not real familiar with which includes one additional verse. The Longer Ending adds twelve different verses (the 16:9-20 in the KJV, for example). I remember a seminary student telling me who was studying Greek who told me that the Greek vocabulary and syntax is completely different in the last twelve verses as opposed to the rest of Chapter 16. If that's true, then that is troubling (but could be just a later addition of actual Scripture by an amanuensis who had different style of writing Greek, perhaps).

My problem with the Longer Ending of Mark is a possible Bible contradiction. Mark 16:12-13 says, "12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them." The commentaries I remember reading all suggest a link to Luke 24:13-34, either in suggestion or outright. The only problem is, this cannot truly be a reference to Luke 24, that I can see. Luke 24:33-36 mentions nothing about unbelief or rejection of the message of the two witnesses by the others, and simply says, "33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, 34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread. 36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you." It is true however, that verse 11 says, "And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not." but this concerns an angelic appearance and not one of Christ (verse 6 begins in the KJV with "He is not here" implying his personal absence at that particular instant but more importantly that the Resurrection had indeed occurred). This does not mean that the last twelve verses of Mark 16:9-20 are not genuine, but it does cause me to seriously doubt that the episode I referenced has anything to do with the episode in Luke which seems to bear a similarity to it. If it truly is referencing Luke, then it seems to me to be difficult to harmonize. But it could be referencing history lost now to us but known to the apostles at the time (seems unlikely?).

Well, guess this wasn't a short blurb. But anyway, I have been thinking about this for several days, and unless I've missed something somewhere, I think it's legitimate to mention. It certainly seems interesting.