You could classify objections to the claims of scriptures in three categories:
- External – historical or scientific inaccuracies
- Internal – too many textual variants or obvious interpolations and other later edits
- Internal – logical inconsistencies
In this last category falls the serious objection known as “Jesus’ failed prophecies,” which is discussed in one of the most challenging books on leaving faith that I have read, former Wycliffe missionary Kenneth Daniels’ Why I Believed.
There’s a ton out there, and Aaron, please feel free to add to this list. Here are my favorites so far:
- biblegateway.com – this site I use quite a lot because you can search a passage across many translations at ONCE, and view the differences (try Passage Lookup in the left nav) – includes translations into other languages
- blueletterbible.org – all in one study tool to find commentaries and word definitions, etc. Totally cross-linked and cross-referenced.
- netbible.org – this one is interesting bc it is the first ‘open source’ bible, meaning that there are no copyright restrictions like with ALL other English bible translations. Also, they offer copious interpreters notes to go along w/ each verse, including alternate readings and why they made certain interpretive decisions. You can mouse over footnotes to see them below. You can also buy this translation, with all the notes, as a regular Bible. However, I did not do that because it is not my favorite English translation – there are others (copyrighted ;) that I like more, as far as readability are concerned (probably roughly equal in translation quality).
History and Background
- ccel.org – Christian Classics Etherial Library has lots of good secondary docs, including stuff by the Church Fathers
This comes from an admittedly biased news source, but all the basic facts seem to check out. A Michigan man is suing two publishers of Bibles for violating his constitutional rights and contributing to his physical and emotional distress because they publish versions of the Bible which proclaim homosexual acts as sinful.
Should he be able to sue the publishers? If so, what does that say about religious freedom guaranteed under the Constitution or does his desire for freedom from persecution trump their rights of the publishers and editors, not to mention the readers, of the Bibles?
For those of you who are gamers and cat
lovers, you already know what a LOLcat is. Now, the Bible is being translated into LOLcat. Very nice. Here’s Job 1:6-12 from the LOLCcat Bible:
Teh ayngles wented to seez Ceiling Cat, and Saitin wented two. Ceiling Cat axt Saitin, "Wher wuz u?" Saitin saied "Oh, hai. I’z wuz in ur earth, wawking up and down uponz it." Teh Ceiling Cat sayd "Has u seen mai servnt Job? He can has cheezburger cuz he laiks me."
"No wai!" sed Saitin. "U just plyin favrits. If u take his cheezburgers, oar his bukkit, he no laiks u no moar."
Then teh Ceiling Cat sed "Okai, u can take his bukkit, but no hurtzing Job hissef." And then Saitin went awai.
Unfortunately as Christianity becomes politicized with the religious right and the religious left, issues are lumped on to one side, discouraging the other side from supporting that cause. Just as many on the religious left have ignored the evils of abortion, too many on the right shy away from issues of social justice.
In Part I, we examined the TSNT translation of NT passages that deal with homosexuality. We discussed why this supposedly "gay-friendly" translation doesn’t seem that friendly, and why it may be a translation based on a hermeneutic of common Greek usage, while not considering the theological culture and history of the writer (the Apostle Paul). Today, we look at the infamous passage in Romans 1 (previously discussed here).
I just reported on the Study New Testament for Lesbians, Gays, Bi, and Transgender, but this bible doesn't seem to destigmatize homosexuality in its translation of the NT – except that it doesn't use the term "homosexual." And I must say, its interpretation of the passages, supposedly using the most up to date understanding of ancient Greek, seems to interpret a lot more than it translates.
Books such as Daniel A. Helminiak‘s What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality have promoted a pro-gay interpretation of both the OT and NT passages that deal with homosexuality. In general, they take an approach that says (a) that only homosexual (temple) prostitution, and rape are condemned, but not homosexuality proper, (b) that homosexual orientation was not understood or addressed, and (c) that the gospels do not record Jesus ever condemning homosexuality. Of course, there are many credible responses to these claims.
However, one NT scholar, Ann Nyland, has taken this more liberal hermeneutic to heart, and has produced a "gay-friendly, woman-friendly" NT translation called The Source New Testament (TSNT). You can purchase it at the publisher (out of print until end of July) or purchase in PDF at gayandlesbianbible.com, and you can read an interview with Nyland at Better Bibles Blog, as well as an interview at gayandlesbianbible.com.
A project called The Books of the Bible Project is about to release a new layout for the bible that encourages reading of the books as literature. Endorsed by a few heavy hitters like Gordon Fee, this Bible makes some interesting and thoughtful changes to increase comprehension. But the most interesting and radical change made is that they are re-ordering the books of both testaments – wow!
…and it hasn’t even come out yet. In October, B&H Publishing will be releasing The Apologetics Study Bible.