Bible Validity Question

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George789

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I am Catholic, but when I was in College I wasn’t practicing nor did I have a strong Catechism backroud. Some of the professors I had in stated that the Bible couldn’t be trusted. I trusted them at the time and thought there teaching was correct. I realized now that I have been lied to! (based on Faith and my conscience) They stated things such as: 1) the Bible was translated 21 times so there is a chance of errors 2) the Catholic Church was corrupt; (ie Pope Innocent III, had his own assasination squad) 3) monestaries where “money” corrupted. Is there a source of information that could refute these accusations by professors and give a creditable defense for the Historical value of the Bible???
 
This might be useful:

- Are they Reliable?The New Testament Documents, by F.F. Bruce

Bible translated 21 times: does this mean, for example, that the NT Greek autographs were copied into multiples of NT Greek manuscripts, which were then translated into 21 different languages? Or does it mean that the NT Greek manuscripts were translated, for example, into Latin, and then the Latin was translated into Spanish, and then the Spanish was translated into English until there were a total of 21 “generations” of translations?

If the first, then no problem-- all you do is compare the manuscripts and examine the discrepancies. If it’s the second, then just go back to the manuscripts. In any case, the process is similar to examining any historical document, which have many different editions and translations.

Corruption of the Catholic Church, Monestaries and financial corruption: how does this affect the validity of the Bible? Every organization in the history of this planet has had a measure of corruption. If corruption of an organization demolishes a historical document’s validity, then no historical document is trustworthy and we can’t know anything about history. Historians, including your professors, would be out of a job!
 
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George789:
I am Catholic, but when I was in College I wasn’t practicing nor did I have a strong Catechism backroud. Some of the professors I had in stated that the Bible couldn’t be trusted. I trusted them at the time and thought there teaching was correct. I realized now that I have been lied to! (based on Faith and my conscience) They stated things such as: 1) the Bible was translated 21 times so there is a chance of errors 2) the Catholic Church was corrupt; (ie Pope Innocent III, had his own assasination squad) 3) monestaries where “money” corrupted. Is there a source of information that could refute these accusations by professors and give a creditable defense for the Historical value of the Bible???
The problem isn’t in directing you to A source, it’s trying to narrow it down to a manageable amount!

I’d suggest starting off by getting a copy of Karl’s Catholicism and Fundamentalism: shop.catholic.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/online-store/scstore/p-E3IKK3.html?L+scstore+nyzp7611ff0d220d+1132187198. Yes, I know this is Karl’s website, but he isn’t paying me to hawk his book (but I’d be willing to accept a discount in exchange for doing so!😉 ).

The first point, “the Bible was translated 21 times so there is a chance of errors”, is rather silly. Who cares how many times it was translated when we have at our disposal so many copies of early source material which was NOT translated, but only copied (or at most, translated ONCE from Hebrew or Aramaic to Greek). Yes, it’s important to get the contemperaneous meanings of the greek right, and that improves all the time, but for the most part, we have a very, very accurate set of translations available; a whole spectrum from very literal but hard to understand, to paraphrases that are easier to understand but keep only the ideas of the text, not their literal translations.

For points 2 and 3, I’d suggest getting Patrick Madrid’s Pope Fiction as a good starting point.
shop.catholic.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/online-store/scstore/p-B0345.html?L+scstore+nyzp7611ff0d220d+1131599697

Yes, there were corrupt popes, but that doesn’t mean they ever taught or introduced doctrines which weren’t true.
 
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George789:
I am Catholic, but when I was in College I wasn’t practicing nor did I have a strong Catechism backroud. Some of the professors I had in stated that the Bible couldn’t be trusted. I trusted them at the time and thought there teaching was correct. I realized now that I have been lied to! (based on Faith and my conscience) They stated things such as: 1) the Bible was translated 21 times so there is a chance of errors 2) the Catholic Church was corrupt; (ie Pope Innocent III, had his own assasination squad) 3) monestaries where “money” corrupted. Is there a source of information that could refute these accusations by professors and give a creditable defense for the Historical value of the Bible???
I had a similar experience in college. I had a Biology Professor explain to the class it is a physical and biological impossibility for a Virgin Birth to occur. I wasn’t savvy enough at the time but if I was I would have told him he is exactly correct however, nothing is impossible for God. There is plenty of information available to refute these secular humanistic pseudo intellectuals but it won’t do any good.

Cardinal Newman wrote a tract entitled “Why Men of Learning Often Do Not Believe.” Here’s the link if your interested.

http://www.catholic.net/RCC/Periodicals/Dossier/jan98/truth.html

The end of the piece pretty well sums it up.

The primary sin of the intellectual is not the rejection of reason. The rejection of reason is normally the consequence of the rejection of grace, for once this is rejected then we must create fables to explain why reason and revelation, grace and nature, do not in fact fit together. They do not fit together because we make them so, but because they are so, apart from our maker
 
“In the old days”, Scripture was written on sheepskin. It was fairly durable, but after 2 or 3 decades of use, it would wear out, and have to be recopied. Potentially there is a chance for error in this recopying.

The oldest complete Hebrew bible is in St. Petersburg, Russia, and dates to about 1010 A.D. There is another bible in Ethopia that is about a century older, but it is in Abyssinian, and was based on a Greek translation.

Near the Dead Sea, near an ancient community known as Qumran, are hundreds of caves. In the 1950’s a nomadic shepherd discovered in these caves a series of ancient sheepskins that are today called the Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls are portions of the Old Testament. Some books are complete, others are only fragmentary. But what makes them especially significant is that they date to about the time of Our Lord.

For decades, only a select group of scholars were allowed access to the Dead Sea Scrolls. This applied not only to the original scrolls, but also to copies of any kind.

In 1991, a “bootleg” (but accurate) copy of the complete Dead Sea Scrolls was released. Instantly, Bible scholars everywhere had access to a 2,000-year-old Old Tesrtament.

Not surprisingly, there are some differences between The Leningrad Codex (as the Russian bible is called) and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Surprisingly, there are no significant variances. There may be a few words changed here or there, but not in such a way as to distort the meaning of any doctrine.

Prior to the 1990’s there may have been speculation about the reliability of bible translations, but toay there is no doubt.
 
Thanks for all the replies.

Vincent, What I meant by transalation errors was what you last stated.
The professor of the “Bible as literature” class, stated that the Bible was translated from Greek, to Latin, to German, to Spanish, to French, and then finally English (I don’t know what the other languages are or were). That was the professor’s reason for his statement that the Bible contained errors.

Before my re-conversion to the Catholic Faith, I was looking at another website (non-Catholic but Christian) it stated that all translations come from the original Greek documents and that they are more relibale than Greek philosophers works.

Is this true?

I know that these professors are in error. I just want a way to defend my faith when “pointy head” intellectuals try to trash my Faith and call me simple minded.
 
The Latin Vulgate is a literal translation of the oldest extant works at the time which form the Holy Bible. The Douay Rheims Bible is a direct translation from the Latin Vulgate. In my opinion it is the one in which the most trust should be placed.
 
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George789:
Thanks for all the replies.

Vincent, What I meant by transalation errors was what you last stated.
The professor of the “Bible as literature” class, stated that the Bible was translated from Greek, to Latin, to German, to Spanish, to French, and then finally English (I don’t know what the other languages are or were). That was the professor’s reason for his statement that the Bible contained errors.

Before my re-conversion to the Catholic Faith, I was looking at another website (non-Catholic but Christian) it stated that all translations come from the original Greek documents and that they are more relibale than Greek philosophers works.

Is this true?

I know that these professors are in error. I just want a way to defend my faith when “pointy head” intellectuals try to trash my Faith and call me simple minded.
There have been many translations. Not all have been accurately transcribed (ask Karl - he’ll point out that Luther himself removed the words “and works” from one passage to prove his justification point. So it goes). But there haven’t been such “circular” translations as you describe above.

That aside, there are many translations (and corrections to translations) that went back to the “original” Greek texts. The Internet is full of references to those documents.

More importantly, though, is the fact that the Catholic Church is a repository of Christ’s teachings, not all of which reside in the Bible. Remember, when the New Testament itself refers to “Scriptures,” it isn’t being self-referential because the NT did not exist at the time! (Picture Escher’s “Hand Drawing The Other Hand” or whatever it’s called for a visual representation of this).

So we read the Bible, but we also depend upon the magisterium of the Church to aid us in our journey to Heaven. Therefore, I don’t worry too much about whether every word in the Bible is exactly so. Trust in faith.
 
Paul W said:
“In the old days”, Scripture was written on sheepskin. It was fairly durable, but after 2 or 3 decades of use, it would wear out, and have to be recopied. Potentially there is a chance for error in this recopying.

This does not ring true. Sheep skin books are nearly indestructable. The local seminary has a book nearly 1000 years old written on sheep skin . It was used for several hundred years being passed on from man to man. When it is dispalyed today, we are free to handle it because it is so tough. Even the gold leaf glued on with egg white will not come off. If it gets dirty they clean in with an eraser. It was papyrus and other paper like substitutes that fell apart in a few decades. Sheep skin was too expensive to use commonly. The first step in making a bible out of Sheep skin was to kill a flock of sheep…very expensive!
 
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George789:
Vincent, What I meant by transalation errors was what you last stated.
The professor of the “Bible as literature” class, stated that the Bible was translated from Greek, to Latin, to German, to Spanish, to French, and then finally English (I don’t know what the other languages are or were). That was the professor’s reason for his statement that the Bible contained errors.
This is a simplified sketch off the top of my head, but many of our modern English versions are translated from some of the best available Greek and Hebrew manuscripts (e.g. NAB, NIV). So this class is Greek/Hebrew–>English.

Other versions are revisions of older English versions, which were based on Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. For example, Greek and Hebrew manuscripts were used for the KJV translation, which was then revised in several versions, including the RSV. This class is Greek/Hebrew–>archaic English–>modern English.

As I understand it, the Jerusalem Bible is somewhat different, as it was translated from Greek and Hebrew manuscripts into French, and then from French into English. A Spanish version of the Jerusalem Bible was translated from the French as well. The Douay-Rheims is in this particular class, as it is an English translation of the Latin Vulgate, which is translated from Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. This class is Greek/Hebrew–>Latin or French–>English.

I might be wrong, but I know of no translation that is so far removed that it looks like: Greek/Hebrew–>Latin–>German–>Spanish–>French–>English.

If your professor provided specific examples, then it would be helpful.
 
This is a terrifically interesting book, available from the Catholic Answers website (and elsewhere): Where We Got The Bible by Bishop Henry G. Graham.

One of the things I found interesting is he details how accurate the transcriptions were over the centuries. We can compare manuscripts from 200 years ago to manuscripts from the 2nd and 3rd century, and show amazing accuracy.

Overall, a fascinating book for many reasons. Especially useful if you want to be able to defend Catholicism’s Bible when discussing Sola Scriptura with a Protestant.
 
See these sites:

catholicapologetics.net/
justforcatholics.org/a101.htm
catscans.com/catholicsite/bible.htm
catholic-legate.com/articles/w-word3.htm

This is just a start and there are many more. Be leary of protestant sites as errors abound in them but some are rather good. You just never know till after much reaserch what is the truth.

Too bad many of our Catholic youth just have a big bullseye on their back for fundamentalists and and others. I had the same problem and fell for their lies too. We should get something going in our Church to stop this problem.

A prisoner of Christ
 
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George789:
Thanks for all the replies.

Vincent, What I meant by transalation errors was what you last stated.
The professor of the “Bible as literature” class, stated that the Bible was translated from Greek, to Latin, to German, to Spanish, to French, and then finally English (I don’t know what the other languages are or were). That was the professor’s reason for his statement that the Bible contained errors.

Before my re-conversion to the Catholic Faith, I was looking at another website (non-Catholic but Christian) it stated that all translations come from the original Greek documents and that they are more relibale than Greek philosophers works.

Is this true?
Your “professor”, as you suspected, is flat out wrong. The website you visited is pretty much correct (for good modern translations), except for some as stated that have been translated from the Latin Vulgate.

Here’s a great book on the web that will explain this pretty well:
scborromeo.org/truth/truth.htm

Go to the bottom of the page. Under figures, click on the one labeled “Sources For English Translations” (either the .pdf icon or the .gif icon). It’s the fifth figure. Easy to understand.
 
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