Connect with us
Advertisement

Final Word on the Canon

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER…

This week we address questions on the Bible as a text

IS IT TRUE THAT THE KING JAMES VERSION OF THE BIBLE IS THE OLDEST BIBLE? AND WHY IS IT CALLED KING JAMES FOR THAT MATTER?
No it is not true. The oldest Bible (that is, a complement  of  New and Old Testament books) is  the Codex Sinaiticus. Although it was discovered in 1844, by a German theologian known as Dr  Constantin von Tischendorf, at St. Catherine Monastery at Mount Sinai (hence the name Sinaiticus), it is dated to between 330 and 380 AD. The King James Version is simply one of the earliest translations of the Bible from  its Greek and Hebrew versions. The translation took place over 7 years from 1604 to 1611. The King James Version  wasn’t even the earliest translation of the complete Bible into English: that distinction belongs to William Tyndale, who completed his translation in 1523.

The King James Bible is so-called because it was authorised by King James I of England and Ireland who ruled  from 1603 to 1625.  It became the most popular Bible of the day because it was the first English Bible to have a royal seal of approval and was “appointed to be read in  churches”.
 

YOU MENTIONED THE CODEX SINAITICUS AS THE EARLIEST BIBLE. COULD YOU PLEASE SAY MORE ABOUT IT?
I actually received quite a number of questions on the Codex Sinaiticus.  The Codex Sinaiticus was discovered in 1844 but is believed to have been written in the 4th century AD. It originally comprised of  1460 pages but today it occurs only in portions, altogether constituting only half of the original. These separate portions are dispersed among four institutions only, namely St Catherine's Monastery in Israel, the British Library in England, Leipzig University Library in German, and the National Library of Russia in St Petersburg.

The British library houses the largest portion at 694  pages, which includes the entire New Testament corpus. The Codex Sinaiticus was written on parchment (animal skins) in Greek. It contained all the canonical books of the Bible (the familiar 66) plus some apocryphal books such as Tobit, Judith, Syrach, the Odes of  Solomon and Wisdom of  Maccabees in the Old Testament, and the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas in the New Testament.  The Codex Vaticanus was first displayed in the British Museum in 1933 as the oldest Bible in the world and triggered an avalanche of  visitors which is yet to be surpassed in the history  of the museum.
 
IN WHAT WAYS DOES THE CODEX SINAITICUS DIFFER FROM THE BIBLE OF OUR DAY?
There are marked differences other than the number and nature of the books it carries. I’ll cite these only with respect to the New Testament. The modern-day New Testament has 14,800 editorial alterations on the Codex Sinaiticus. The Codex Sinaiticus itself has been tampered with multiple times. Ultraviolet tests conducted on the Sinaiticus found that passages in it had been altered by at least 9 editors over a period of time. There are no resurrection appearances in the Sinaiticus.  The Gospel of Mark in the Sinaiticus ends at MARK 16:8. The Sinaiticus has no genealogy, virgin births, or King Herod’s mass murders of infants. The “raising of Lazarus”  incident is much more truthfully  related in the Sinaiticus: it has none of the supernatural trappings of  the modern-day New Testament.   

The Gospel of Luke is 10,000 words longer than our familiar gospel, meaning these were inserted into the gospel post-fourth century AD. However, we must not rush to the conclusion that just because the contents  of our modern-day Bible differ in some respects  from the Sinaiticus, it contains spurious information. Even the original gospel texts of the first century were not uniform through and through. They were  subjected to editing and redactions over time. The biblical texts were written by ordinary men like you and I and so it would be   a stretch to expect them to be entirely without flaw. Moreover, over the centuries, there have been new discoveries of texts about Jesus and these had to be taken into account too, not simply rubbished as “uninspired”. 

Note that even the Catholic papacy, the people who gave us the Bible, were not in one accord over the veracity of the Bible owing to the erratic way in which it evolved. In 1587, Pope Sixtus V (1585-90) commissioned the compilation of what he called “our own account”. He devoted 18 months of his early papal days to writing  a new Bible. Pope Clement XIII (1758-69) ordered the destruction of all volumes of a new Bible that had been published in 1759 because it was a comedy of errors. Pope Leo X (1513-1521) was so confused about the disparate accounts  of the Jesus saga that he called him a “fable”.

WAS THE BIBLE INDEED INSPIRED BY GOD?
Yes it  was. The “God” who inspired it were the Anunnaki, the Alien masqueraders.  The Anunnaki have inspired all religious canons of every major faith. The real God, the First Source  who created you and me at the level of the spirit-soul,  never inspired a single religion. Real religion is strictly between two beings – your higher self (the spirit-soul)  and the First Source.  Jesus encapsulated this point when he said, “ The Kingdom of Heaven is within you”.

WHO WROTE THE BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT?
It  cannot be said with absolute certainty as to exactly who wrote the books of the New Testament. Some books do not carry the names of their writers. The four gospels and the epistle to the Hebrews, for instance, do not specify who their writers were.  Even where the names are stated, there is still the lingering question as to whether it is the name of the person we have in mind or others simply wrote in his name. But there are some books where the odds that the named writer did actually write them are very high. There is little doubt,  for instance, that Luke and Acts were written by the Greek doctor Luke.

The apostle Paul almost certainly  wrote all the epistles that bear his name, although in some cases he used ghost writers. A persuasive argument can be made that the apostles John and Simon Peter wrote the gospels and epistles that carry their names. The apostle John also wrote Revelation. Two of Jesus’s brothers, James the Just and Jude, no doubt  wrote the two epistles respectively that carry their names.

Matthew, however, was not the writer: he was the sponsor. A member of Jesus’s 12–man party, Matthew, also known as Levi, was the fourth-born son of Annas, who interrogated Jesus prior to the crucifixion. He was high priest of the Jerusalem temple from ad 42-43. Mark is said to have been written by  the apostle Bartholomew, whose real name was John Marcus.    

WHY ARE THERE ONLY FOUR GOSPELS?
It was a deliberate decision by the Nicene Council of AD 325, which collated the Bible as it has been handed down to us. It was all based on sun symbolism. The Illuminati of the day, who included the so-called church fathers such as Origen and Eusebius,   desired that their elected make-believe “Sun-God” Jesus (their real Saviour Sun God was the Anunnaki god Utu-Shamash, also known as Apollo) reflect as close as possible the solar mythos. 

The orb of day we call the sun (or God’s Sun/Son) goes through four seasons in the course of a year. Its life, figuratively speaking, runs its course in one, four-season year. As such, the life history of Jesus, God’s Son/Sun, had to be told through no more than four gospels to accord with four seasons.  We see therefore that the choice of the number of the gospels was not objective: it was meant to sync with the real religion of occultists, that of astrotheology.   

THERE ARE SO  MANY VERSIONS OF THE BIBLE. WHICH ONE DO YOU USE AND WHICH YOU CAN THEREFORE RECOMMEND?
It is the Interlinear Bible. To me there could never be a better Bible. The Interlineal Bible shows scripture  in English and its original languages of Greek and Hebrew. You can order it from Amazon.com at $30 here:  HYPERLINK "http://www.amazon.com/The-Interlinear-Bible-Hebrew-Greek-English-English/dp/1565639774" http://www.amazon.com/The-Interlinear-Bible-Hebrew-Greek-English-English/dp/1565639774.  

ARE THERE ANY INSTANCES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT OF REFERENCES TO APOCRYPHAL SOURCES?
There is yes. This is particularly the case with the book of Jude. Jude references the book of Enoch in verses  1:6 when he says, “And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling, these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day” and in verses  14-15 when he says, “ Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: ‘See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones  to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.’”

The book of Enoch talks a great deal about the saga of the Anunnaki and if Jude quotes Enoch then it is reasonable to assume that the apostles were very much aware  of who the Old Testament gods really were. In Verse  9, Jude writes thus: “Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the Devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!” This is a direct quotation from another apocryphal book known as The Assumption of Moses. It is ironic that the clergy of our day treats apocryphal sources as taboo when the apostles themselves liberally quoted from them.

I’M GIVEN TO UNDERSTAND THAT UNTIL THE 16TH CENTURY THE CATHOLIC PAPACY FORBADE READING THE BIBLE IN PUBLIC. HOW TRUE IS THAT?
That was not exactly the case. The papacy forbade two things – the use of the Bible in any language other than Latin and the reading of the Bible by ordinary people (non-priests) in public without prior permission from the “authorities”.  The Latin Bible was called the Vulgate (first printed on the newly invented press in 1456). It was a translation from the original Hebrew and Greek by Jerome in the 4th century. The first translation of the complete Bible into a language other than Latin was done by Martin Luther, the spearhead of the Reformation,  in 1522. This was a German version. It was the German version of the Bible that popularised the German language.

OF THE FOUR GOSPELS, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU RECOMMEND AS FOREMOST IN ACCURACY?
It is the Gospel of Luke. Luke was a doctor (COLOSSIANS 4:14) and therefore his approach was scientific to a more or lesser degree. The gospel of John is elaborate but it’s  too emotional. Mark is too hurried, brief, and therefore insubstantial though it was the first gospel to be written (Luke and Matthew substantially drew from it). Matthew is kind of  fantastical as  virtually everything Jesus did and said is cross-referenced to what was said and written in the Old Testament at least 400 years back.

Luke, on the other hand, is very sober-minded. He relates his chronicles of Jesus in a historical context so that those who wished to check the facts could do so. In both the gospel and Acts, Luke mentions more than 14 prominent historical figures. A prominent archeologist carefully examined Luke’s references to 32 countries, 54 cities, and 9 islands without finding a single mistake!

IN ONE OF YOUR ARTICLES, YOU EXTOLLED THE ACCURACY OF THE EVANGELIST LUKE. BUT IF HE WAS THAT ACCURATE,  WHY DID HE COMMIT SUCH A SPECTACULAR BOOB IN LUKE 2:1-2?
In LUKE 2:1-2, Luke writes that every Jew living in any place had to return to  their place of origin for the census ordered by Augustus Caesar through Quirinius governor of Syria, who had jurisdiction over Palestine. Scholars  have scoffed at Luke for the implausibility of such a state of affairs.

They say he was, “fanciful … You will never do a census like that! It will upset the whole economical (merchant) system in the area by having the whole population move back to their place of origin just to be counted …  That’s  just plain fantasy … It must be only a story, without any historical truth behind it.” Well, these same scholars were stomped for words when an edict from C Vibius Maximus, the Roman procurator of Egypt, was discovered which was dated AD 104.

It read: “The enrollment (census) by household being at hand, it is necessary to notify all who for any cause soever are outside their nomes (administrative divisions of Egypt) to return to their domestic hearths, that they may also accomplish the customary dispensation of enrollment and continue steadfastly in the husbandry that belongs to them.” It turns out the practice of people trekking back to their birthplaces for a census was a common if not standard practice in antiquity. St. Luke was incredibly accurate as usual.

IN LUKE 3:1-2, LUKE MAKES MENTION OF ONE LYSANIAS WHO WAS TETRARCH OF ABILENE DURING THE 15TH YEAR OF TIBERIUS CAESAR. IN MY CLASS, HOWEVER, OUR LECTURER TAUGHT US THAT LUKE WAS WRONG AS LYSANIAS HAD BEEN DEAD 50 YEARS EARLIER.
Your lecturer ought to do more research. True, there was a Lysanias, ruler (not tetrarch) of  Abilene (also known as Chalcis)  who was executed at the orders of Mark Anthony, one of the three then joint rulers of the Roman Empire,  in 34 BC. However, there was another Lysanias who was tetrarch of Abilene, or Abila, a small realm on the slopes of Mount Hermon near Damascus during the reign of Tiberius (Roman Emperor from AD 14-37).

This fact is borne out by an inscription found on a temple of the time of Tiberius which read: “For the salvation of the August Lords (a joint title of  Tiberius, the son of Caesar Augustus, and his mother Livia, the widow of Augustus) and of all their household, Nymphaeus, freedman of Eagle Lysanias tetrarch established this street and other things.”  The 15th year of Tiberius was AD 29 and Livia died in AD 29. Thus Lysanias must have become tetrarch of Abilene long before AD 29. Luke once again is spot-on. I love Dr Luke!

NEXT WEEK: QUESTIONS ON THE JESUS OF THE STARS

Continue Reading

Columns

The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

Continue Reading

Columns

A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

Continue Reading

Columns

Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!