Criticii postmoderni ai Bibliei şi arheologia recentă

Inca un articol mai vechi (2011) dar foarte important de la http://www.semneletimpului.ro:

Din zorii cercetării arheologice a Orientului Antic Apropiat, în 1799, nicio altă disciplină nu a oferit atât de multe informaţii şi evaluări despre oamenii, locurile şi evenimentele Bibliei. Orizontul arheologiei cuprinde globul pământesc şi caută să înţeleagă culturile şi diversele moduri de viaţă specifice antichităţii printr-un studiu al rămăşiţelor materiale ale trecutului, având impact asupra înţelegerii noastre cu privire la origini şi, în cele din urmă, cu privire la ce am devenit în prezent.

Foto: genesis.allenaustin.netAcest pod dintre cine am fost şi ce am devenit continuă să îi fascineze pe gânditorii din întreaga lume cu întrebări profunde: Cine sunt eu? De unde am venit? De ce mă aflu aici? Astăzi, după decesul modernismului, postmodernismul a devenit temelia majoră de reliefare a noilor viziuni asupra lumii. Cu toate că prin propria premisă filosofică sfidează definiţia, Os Guiness a oferit următorul rezumat: „Acolo unde modernismul a fost un manifest al încrederii în sine a omului şi al laudei de sine a acestuia, postmodernismul este o mărturisire a modestiei, dacă nu chiar a deznădejdii. Nu există adevăr, ci doar adevăruri. Nu există o cauză supremă, ci doar cauze. Nu există o civilizaţie privilegiată (sau cultură, credinţă, standard, model); există doar o diversitate de culturi, credinţe, standarde şi modele. Nu există o dreptate universală; sunt doar interese şi competiţia dintre grupurile de interese.”
În cele din urmă, scrie teologul Alister McGrath, de la Oxford, „această decepţie provocată de modernismul Iluminismului” a condus la o filosofie conform căreia „adevărul este că nu există niciun adevăr.” Această premisă majoră a condus la o reinterpretare radicală a Bibliei, sfârşind într-un nou nivel de critică a istoriei biblice.
Niels-Peter Lemche, de la Universitatea din Copenhaga, scrie că „suvenirele istorice [autentice] ale istoriei timpurii a Israelului nu sunt de găsit în naraţiunile istorice ale Vechiului Testament” şi, prin urmare, „nu putem salva istoria biblică a Israelului timpuriu”. Într-o altă colecţie de eseuri, publicată recent şi intitulată Poate fi scrisă o „Istorie a Israelului”?, Hans M. Barstad concluzionează: „Dacă adevărul istoric (verificabil) ar fi singura noastră preocupare, istoria Israelului nu numai că ar fi foarte scurtă (redactată pe zece pagini sau ceva în genul ăsta), ci ar fi, în acelaşi timp, total plictisitoare.”
Cineva ar putea închide aceste discuţii în turnul de fildeş al erudiţiei şi să se întrebe care a fost impactul lor direct asupra gândirii populare. Dar, aceste reinterpretări au primit titluri majore în presa destinată publicului larg. Un articol din U.S. News and World Report este intitulat „Bătălia pentru istorie”. Potrivit unei cărţi foarte populare, găsită în toate librăriile importante – Biblia dezgropată, de Israel Finkelstein şi Neil Asher Silberman – noua viziune cu privire la Israelul antic ne spune că „saga istorică înregistrată în Biblie, de la întâlnirea lui Avraam cu Dumnezeu… până la ridicarea şi prăbuşirea regatelor lui Israel şi Iuda, nu a fost o revelaţie miraculoasă, ci produsul genial al imaginaţiei umane.” Mulţi dintre cei care citesc aceste explicaţii sunt provocaţi cu întrebări majore care lovesc chiar în centrul dezbaterilor din jurul veridicităţii Bibliei. Sau, aşa cum întreabă titlul unui bestseller recent: Este Biblia adevărată? Pentru postmodernist, aceste întrebări devin din ce în ce mai relevante, iar pentru creştinism sunt esenţiale durabilităţii sale într-o lume care se schimbă foarte rapid.
William G. Dever, unul dintre arheologii de frunte ai Americii pe domeniul Orientului Apropiat, răspunde acestor atacuri într-o carte recentă, intitulată What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It? „Ironia este că cele mai mortale atacuri asupra Bibliei şi asupra caracterului ei veridic, atât în privinţa sensului istoric, cât şi a celui teologic, au venit în ultimul timp nu din partea duşmanilor săi tradiţionali – atei, sceptici sau chiar acei „comunişti necredincioşi”, temuţi de cei ce cred în Biblie, până de curând – ci chiar din partea prietenilor bine intenţionaţi ai Bibliei.”
Arheologia este una dintre disciplinele majore care ne permit să ne apărăm împotriva revizionismului postmodern, pe măsură ce sute de arheologi lucrează an de an să descopere trecutul. Descoperirile recente, din ultimii 15 ani, au oferit răspunsuri convingătoare bazate pe dovezi reale împotriva criticismului postmodern. În acest scurt eseu, vom arunca o privire asupra câtorva dintre acestea.

Oameni: David şi Goliat

Foto: korkedbats.comPovestea lui David şi a lui Goliat a captat imaginaţia studenţilor Bibliei de-a lungul timpului. Este povestea credinţei unui puşti lipsit de apărare care a stat în faţa unui campion filistean blindat în armură. Este povestea unei armate israelite care a tremurat de frică în Valea Terebinţilor, în timp ce filistenii o batjocoreau pe ea şi pe Dumnezeul ei. Cinci pietre împotriva scuturilor de fier, a coifurilor şi săbiilor. Dar care este istoria din spatele poveştii? Au existat cu adevărat un Goliat şi un David?
În 1992, Philip Davies, profesor de studii biblice la Universitatea din Sheffield, scria făcând apel la sprijinul arheologiei: „«Imperiul» biblic al lui David şi Solomon nu are nici cel mai mic ecou în înregistrările arheologice de până acum.” El a concluzionat că David şi Solomon nu sunt mai reali din punct de vedere istoric decât Regele Arthur al Mesei Rotunde. Dar argumentul său este unul fundamentat pe tăcere. În viziunea lui Davies şi a altor cercetători postmoderni, personajele şi istoriile Bibliei trebuie să aibă un echivalent istoric (arheologic). „Până când acest lucru nu se confirmă, nu poate exista o bază reală pentru a susţine că «Israelul» biblic ar avea vreo legătură anume cu istoria.” Biblia este vinovată până la proba contrară. Însă, astfel de argumente fundamentate pe tăcere sunt periculoase în orice disciplină. În arheologie, cu sute de arheologi lucrând, în prezent, în Orientul Mijlociu, pot avea un efect devastator.
În 1993, arheologii de la Tel Dan, din nordul Israelului, au făcut o descoperire remarcabilă. Dincolo de poarta cetăţii a fost descoperită o piatră de bazalt refolosită pentru un zid. După ce voluntarul a întors piatra, a observat o inscripţie pe ea. Arheologul şi un lingvist au publicat, ulterior, textul care menţiona o victorie a regelui aramean Ben-Hadad care se lăuda că a înfrânt „casa lui David” şi „casa lui Israel”. Inscripţia a fost datată pe baza tipului de scriere în jurul anului 850 î.Ch. Importanţa inscripţiei este dată de faptul că aminteşte, pentru prima dată, numele David. Este folosit aici în contextul unei referiri la „casa lui David”, numele dinastic din Iuda, folosit de asemenea şi în Biblie (1 Împăraţi 12:26; 14:8; 2 Împăraţi 17:21). Ideea este că nu are niciun sens să denumeşti o dinastie după cineva care nu există.
În vara trecută, a fost făcută o descoperire arheologică emoţionantă, care aruncă o lumină nouă asupra poveştii lui David şi Goliat. Potrivit Bibliei, Goliat venea din Gat (1 Samuel 17:4), una dintre cele cinci cetăţi ale filistenilor. Săpăturile moderne de la Gat (Tel es-Safi), conduse de Aren Maier de la Universitatea Bar-Ilan din Tel Aviv, au scos la lumina zilei, în sezonul de săpături 2005, o bucată de ceramică spartă, cu o inscripţie. Conform unei declaraţii a dr. Maier, din prezentarea făcută la American Schools of Oriental Research, în Philadelphia, în noiembrie 2005, scrisorile sunt redactate în scrierea proto-canaanită (cu litere semitice). Literele scrise fără vocale sunt: ALWT şi WLT. Oricum, în timp ce scrierea este semitică, limba în care e redactat textul este indo-europeană. Astfel, numele pot fi reconstituite sub forma „Wylattes” sau „Alyattes”. În urechea unui israelit ar putea suna astfel: Wylattes/WLT/Goliat. Faptul că numele sunt scrise în indo-europeană într-un text semitic este semnificativ. Indo-europeana indică spre o origine egeeană (greacă), acelaşi loc pe care Biblia îl prezintă ca loc de origine al filistenilor (Geneza 10:14; Ieremia 47:4; Amos 9:7). Redactarea sa într-o scriere semitică indică o adaptare a limbii, în forma scrisă, la contextul canaanit local în care s-au stabilit filistenii.
Unde a fost descoperită această inscripţie? Pe măsură ce arheologii dezvelesc cetăţile antice strat cu strat, ei pot să dateze artifactele din interiorul straturilor respective. Această inscripţie a fost găsită în stratul corespunzător distrugerii teribile a oraşului, pe care arheologii au identificat-o cu campania militară a lui Hazael din Siria (2 Împăraţi 12:17). Inscripţia este, prin urmare, sigilată într-un context stratigrafic şi poate fi datată între secolele al X-lea şi al IX-lea î.Ch., între anii 950 î.Ch. şi, cel târziu, 880 î.Ch. Contextul este important pentru că stabileşte că numele Goliat era cunoscut în cetatea Gat a filistenilor, la aproximativ 70 de ani după ce evenimentul care i-a avut ca protagonişti pe David şi Goliat a fost înregistrat în 1 Samuel 17. Dr. Maier, un foarte respectat arheolog, care este în prezent directorul Institutului de Arheologie al Universităţii Bar-Ilan, concluzionează că, în timp ce inscripţia nu îl numeşte, probabil, în mod direct, pe biblicul Goliat, indică totuşi către „un nume sau două nume asemănătoare numelui Goliat”. Aceasta confirmă că aceste nume erau folosite în Gat-ul filistenilor la un anumit timp după ce Biblia înregistrează conflictul dintre David şi Goliat.

Locuri/cetăţi: Haţor, Ghezer şi Monarhia Unită

Potrivit cu 1 Împăraţi 9:15, 16, Solomon a refortificat cetăţile Haţor, Meghido, Ghezer şi Ierusalim. Care este dovada arheologică a acestei refortificări? În anii 1950, când arheologii lucrau la Haţor, au descoperit o poartă monumentală care data din vremea lui Solomon. Yigael Yaden, arheolog al Universităţii Ebraice, a prezis că vor fi descoperite porţi similare la celelalte situri menţionate în textul biblic. Ipoteza lui s-a dovedit corectă. Spre sfârşitul anilor 1960, săpăturile de la Ghezer au descoperit o poartă cu aceeaşi arhitectură, care a fost datată de arheologi în secolul al X-lea, în timpul lui Solomon. Textele descoperite la cele două situri confirmă identificarea lor cu Haţor şi Ghezer. Însă, cercetătorii postmoderni au început să pună sub semnul întrebării această conexiune cu activităţile lui Solomon, afirmând că porţile ar trebui să fie datate mai târziu în istorie.
În 1990, am avut privilegiul să particip la săpăturile reluate de la Ghezer. Pe durata sezonului respectiv, lucrând cu profesorul William G. Dever de la Universitatea din Arizona, am descoperit dovada necesară pentru a plasa în mod ferm poarta în secolul al X-lea. Recent, în ultimele trei veri (2004-2006), Universitatea Adventistă Southern a fost implicată în noile săpături de la Haţor, cel mai mare sit vetero-testamental din Israel.  Aceste două situri au produs dovezi impresionante cu privire la perioada lui Solomon. Porţile acestor cetăţi şi zonele din jurul lor au adus la lumină ceramică şlefuită şi roşie din secolul al X-lea. Arhitectura ambelor porţi era alcătuită din pietre fin cioplite care trezeau amintirea descrierii biblice a muncitorilor fenicieni foarte talentaţi, angajaţi de Solomon să termine treaba. Astăzi, arheologii continuă să dezgroape dovezi care confirmă descrierile biblice din secolul al X-lea.

State/culturi: Canaan şi Filistia

Foto: katapi.org.ukNiels-Peter Lemche a afirmat curajos că nici Canaanul, nici canaaniţii nu aveau o identitate clară în al doilea mileniu î.Ch. În cartea sa The Canaanites and Their Land, scrie: „În mod sigur, locuitorii presupusului teritoriu canaanit din Asia vestică nu aveau o idee clară despre dimensiunea concretă a acestui Canaan, nici nu ştiau exact unde este situat Canaanul.” În esenţă, „canaaniţii Orientului Antic Apropiat nu ştiau că ei înşişi sunt canaaniţi.” Concluziile lui Lemche au fost puse la îndoială, dar el şi-a menţinut interpretarea proprie a surselor istorice, pe care le numeşte „imprecise” şi „ambigue”.
Această istorie revizionistă a Canaanului şi a canaaniţilor pur şi simplu nu poate să fie susţinută de dovezile arheologice aflate la îndemână. Termenul Canaan apare pentru prima dată în textele Orientului Antic Apropiat şi, pe baza acestei dovezi, regiunea a fost definită de cei mai mulţi dintre cercetători. Textele de la anticul oraş Ebla, localizat în Siria (cca. 2400 î.Ch.), menţionează pentru prima dată Canaanul, înţeles ca referindu-se la un teritoriu sau o regiune. Arhivele cu textele scrise în cuneiformele antice, de la Alalak şi Mari, indică de asemenea că oamenii din această regiune erau cunoscuţi drept canaaniţi, fiind făcute distincţii clare între ei şi alte grupuri. Scrisorile de la Amarna, descoperite în Egipt, oferă cea mai utilă documentare privind organizarea politică a Canaanului în jurul anilor 1400 î.Ch. Aici, expresii precum „toţi cei din Canaan”, „cetăţile Canaanului”, „teritoriile Canaanului” şi „pământul Canaanului” exprimă o entitate teritorială şi geografică cu anumite graniţe precizate, ce formează provincia egipteană din vestul Asiei.
Egiptenii se referă la Canaan şi canaaniţi de 15 ori în înregistrările campaniilor militare din regiune. Locuitorii nu numai că sunt descrişi în aceste înregistrări, ci sunt şi portretizaţi în reliefurile de pe zidurile templelor din Egipt. Reproducerea temeinică din aceste reliefuri indică faptul că teritoriul Canaanului era plin cu cetăţi şi locuitori care se întindeau de la Gaza, în sud, până la regiunile sudice ale Libanului modern. Cu siguranţă, din textele descoperite de arheologi mai sunt multe lucruri care pot face lumină privind acest teritoriu antic, menţionat în Scriptură.
Biblia îi descrie pe filisteni ca grup originar din Caftor sau Creta (Geneza 10:14; Ieremia 47:4; Amos 9:7). În 1992, Thomas L. Thompson a scris că „înţelegerea «filistenilor» ca reprezentând o populaţie străină intrusă în Palestina trebuie să fie respinsă.” El a pretins că dovezile arheologice sunt „superficiale” şi a susţinut că „ceramica «filistenilor» nu reflectă pur şi simplu poporul filistean. Nici nu există vreo justificare pentru a-i considera pe aceşti olari drept imigranţi sau descendenţi ai imigranţilor… ci, mai degrabă, ceramica reflectă o sinteză de tradiţii ceramice aparţinând mai multor populaţii.” Din păcate, nu există nicio perfecţionare a acestei ipoteze din respect pentru ceramică şi alte culturi materiale, lăsându-l pe arheolog să se întrebe ce anume o fi vrut să spună Thompson. Adevărul este că arheologia a explicat într-o manieră vie chestiunea filistenilor biblici, în ultimii 20 de ani.
Pe baza textelor egiptene şi a ceramicii (pictată cu aceleaşi motive ca vasele de olărit miceniene şi altele specifice zonei egeene), filistenii au fost văzuţi în mod tradiţional nu ca un grup indigen, ci în calitate fie de invadatori cuceritori, fie de grup migrator din lumea egeeană. Reliefurile egiptene ale lui Ramses al III-lea, de la Medinet Habu, înfăţişează aceste „popoare ale mării” sosind pe corăbii şi călătorind în care. Papirusul Harris I susţine că zicătoarea egipteană „filistenii au fost făcuţi pulbere” se referea la eşecul lor în faţa puterii militare a Egiptului.

 

Înregistrările arheologice pot fi citate în sprijinul acestei reconstrucţii. Siturile devastate din întreaga parte de sud a Palestinei, în timpul Bronzului Târziu şi a tranziţiei spre Fierul Timpuriu, au fost puse în seama acestor grupuri disperate ale „popoarelor mării”, provenite din lumea egeeană (greacă). Atelierele de olărit din oraşele filistene precum Aşchelon, Aşdod, Tel Miqne-Ecron şi Tel Qasile au oferit noi vase remarcabile, cu influenţe egeene, în perioada care a urmat acestor distrugeri, iar analiza neutronilor activi a confirmat că această ceramică a fost produsă pe plan local, mai degrabă decât de a fi importată. Noi tipuri de arhitectură, indicând influenţe egeene, includ (1) camere cu vatră la Ecron şi Qasile, cu forme paralele în Pilos, Micene şi Tirins, în Grecia; şi (2) caracteristici ale clădirilor megaron egeene care sunt evidente la Ecron. Mai mult, influenţe cultice sunt atribuite statuetei „Aşdoda” cu elemente similare celor din Micene. Săpăturile arheologice la aceste situri şi la altele arată că cultura filisteană a fost complexă şi avansată în comparaţie cu aceea a israeliţilor contemporani. Nu este nicio mirare că Samson a fost ispitit să coboare printre filisteni (Judecători 14:1).

Concluzie

Arheologia reprezintă una dintre puţinele discipline care are de-a face în mod exclusiv cu – artifacte, clădiri, oraşe şi teritorii – acele date tangibile, tridimensionale care, deşi acoperite de nisipurile timpului, aduc cu ele mărturii despre oamenii, locurile şi evenimentele trecutului. Pe măsură ce aceste monumente continuă să fie descoperite an după an, lumea biblică iese la lumină tot mai mult, oferindu-ne licăriri ale întinderii sale variate şi bogate.
Există o nevoie tot mai mare de cercetare arheologică atentă în Orientul Mijlociu. Cercetătorii biblici şi istoricii, confruntaţi acum cu provocările postmodernismului, se orientează tot mai mult spre domeniul arheologiei ca sursă primară de informaţie despre istoria biblică. Deşi disciplina se află încă în faza sa embrionară, arheologia începe să completeze detaliile marii istorii biblice de la începuturile sale timpurii. În cadrul acestei misiuni, pretenţiile revizioniste ale cercetării postmoderne continuă să fie provocate de arhivele de piatră din Orientul Mijlociu.

(Traducere: Florin Bică)

Coming Fall 2012 – a movie on the life of St. Augustine (trailer)

This looks like a good movie to see, based on Augustine’s own writings. (via http://www.reformation21.com) See more at http://www.ignatius.com/promotions/restless-heart-film/ or follow on Facebook here.

Published on Jun 13, 2012 by 

430 AD. The Roman Empire is beginning to crumble. The Vandals and other marauding tribes spill through the gaps in Roman defenses. And one of the greatest saints of the Christian church stands between his flock and the barbarian invaders. As he attempts to negotiate between the proud Roman authorities and the implacable Vandal king, Bishop Augustine recalls his own life before Christianity…

In this stirring and epic new film on the life of St. Augustine of Hippo, follow the great saint as he rises from his reckless days as a youth to his accomplishments as a renowned but dissolute orator. Though worldly success and riches come his way, including a position in the imperial court of Milan, satisfaction and peace elude him. It takes a confrontation with the Christian bishop Ambrose and the countless prayers offered by his patient mother, Monica, to break through his intellectual pride.

Starring Alessandro Preziosi, Monica Guerritore, Johannes Bandrup, and Franco Nero.

Coming Fall 2012. Find out more at http://www.RestlessHeartFilm.com or click on the Like button on Facebook to follow the news on the release of the film.

In awe of God’s creation – Blue-Flame Plasma on the Face of the Sun

Published on Jun 11, 2012 by  Photo source www.spacerip.com

From NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio. This video takes images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory and applies additional processing to enhance the structures that are visible. The result is a beautiful, new way of looking at the sun. The original frames are in the 171 Angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet. This wavelength shows plasma in the solar atmosphere, called the corona, that is around 600,000 Kelvin. The loops represent plasma held in place by magnetic fields. They are concentrated in „active regions” where the magnetic fields are the strongest. These active regions usually appear in visible light as sunspots. The events in this video represent 24 hours of activity on September 25, 2011.

More videos and photos here –

IN AWE of GOD’S CREATION Page

Outline of the Synoptic Gospels

Matthew: Jesus as King

IA. The King Arrives (1:1-2:23)

  • 1B. Genealogy and Birth (1:1-25)
  • 2B. Worship, Opposition, Rescue, and Return to Nazareth (2:1-23)

IIA. The King Preaches the Gospel of His Kingdom (3:1-7:29)

  • 1B. Narrative: Preparation for Ministry in the Kingdom (3:1-4:25)
  • 2B. Discourse: Righteousness in the Kingdom (5:1-7:29)

IIIA. The King Extends His Kingdom (8:1-11:1)

  • 1B. Narrative: A Demonstration of the Power of the King and His Kingdom (8:1-10:4)
  • 2B. Discourse: Go Preach the Gospel of the Kingdom (10:5-11:1)

IVA. The King Experiences Opposition to Himself and His Kingdom (11:2-13:53)

  • 1B. Narrative: Doubt, Sabbath, Unpardonable Sin (11:2-12:50)
  • 2B. Discourse: The Parables of the Kingdom (13:1-53)

VA. The King Experiences Increasing Opposition and Polarity (13:54-19:2)

  • 1B. Narrative: Miracles, Traditions, and Transformation (13:54-17:27)
  • 2B. Discourse: Qualities of Kingdom Disciples (18:1-19:2)

VIA. The King and His Kingdom Are Officially Rejected (19:3-25:46)

  • 1B. Narrative: True Discipleship, Controversies, Warnings and Woes (19:3-23:39)
  • 2B. Discourse: Great Tribulation, Christ’s Return, Certain Judgment (24:1-25:46)

VIIA. The King’s Initial Vindication and Commission (26:1-28:20)

  • 1B. The King’s Passion (26:1-27:66)
  • 2B. The King’s Resurrection (Vindication) and Commission (28:1-20)

Mark: Jesus as Suffering Servant

IA. Beginning of The Servant’s Ministry (1:1-13)

  • 1B. Introduction (1:1)
  • 2B. The Preparation of John the Baptist (1:2-8)
  • 3B. The Baptism of Jesus (1:9-11)
  • 4B. The Temptation of Jesus (1:12-13)

IIA. The Servant’s Ministry in Galilee (1:14-6:6a)

  • 1B. Cycle One: Early Galilean—Saving Sinners and the Sabbath Controversy (1:14-3:6)
  • 2B. Cycle Two: Later Galilean—Withdrawal, Beelzebub, and Rejection (3:7-6:6a)

IIIA. The Servant’s Withdrawals from Galilee (6:6b-8:21)

  • 1B. The Catalyst: John Beheaded (6:6b-29)
  • 2B. Withdrawals and Miracles: Deserted Place, Tyre, Decapolis, Sea of Gal. (6:30-8:21)

IVA. The Servant’s Suffering: Passion Prediction #1—Caesarea Philippi (8:22-38)

VA. The Servant’s Journey to Jerusalem (9:1-10:52)

  • 1B. Lessons in Galilee: Passion Predication #2 (9:1-50)
  • 2B. Lessons in Perea and Judea: Passion Prediction #3 (10:1-52)

VIA. The Servant’s Ministry in Jerusalem (11:1-13:37)

  • 1B. Presentation of the Suffering Servant (11:1-11)
  • 2B. The Servants Judgment of the Nation in Symbols (11:12-26)
  • 3B. The Servant’s Confrontations with the Religious Leaders (11:27-12:44)
  • 4B. The Servant’s Judgment of the Nation in Prophecy (13:1-37)

VIIA. Culmination of the Servant’s Ministry (14:1-16:8)

  • 1B. Preparations for Death (14:1-52)
  • 2B. The Death of the Servant (14:53-15:47)
  • 3B. The Resurrection of the Servant (16:1-8)

Luke: Jesus as The Son True Man

IA. Prologue (1:1-4)

IIA. The Infancy and Growth of the Son of Man (1:5-2:52)

  • 1B. Two Pregnancies Predicted (1:5-56)
  • 2B. Two Sons Born (1:57-2:52)

IIIA. The Preparation for the Son of Man for Public Ministry (3:1-4:13)

IVA. The Son of Man’s Galilean Ministry (4:14-9:50)

VA. The Son of Man’s Journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:27)

  • 1B. Instruction in Discipleship in Light of Jesus’ Ministry (9:51-11:13)
  • 2B. Confrontation with the Pharisees; 1st Cycle (11:14-54)
  • 3B. Instruction in Discipleship in Light of religious Leaders’ Rejection (12:1-13:35)
  • 4B. Confrontation with Pharisees: 2nd Cycle (14:1-24)
  • 5B. Instruction in Discipleship in Light of Jesus’ Impending Death (14:25-19:27)

VIA. The Son of Man’s Jerusalem Ministry (19:28-21:38)

  • 1B. Triumphal Entry (19:28-44)
  • 2B. Opposition in the Temple (19:45-21:38)

VIIA. The Death and Resurrection of the Son of Man (22:1-24:53)

  • 1B. Preparation for Death (22:1-53)
  • 2B. Death (22:54-23:56)
  • 3B. Resurrection (24:1-53)
 via http://www.bible.org

T4G – Inerrancy: Did God Really Say…? Mark Dever, John Piper, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Dr Simon Gathercole (Cambridge, England), Peter Williams (Warden at Tyndale House)

An essential, highly interesting affirmation by the panel of the belief on biblical inerrancy from the Together for the Gospel Conference 2012, led by Mark Dever, Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C. Besides the great panel discussion, there are also a few book recommendations (linked to Amazon, just click on title or photo) and lots of links to search peripheral issues as they relate to the inerrancy debate. This page will be added to the (permanent) apologetics page.

photo from T4G website – http://t4g.org/resources/photos/

  1. We affirm that the sole (final) authority for the Church is the Bible, verbally inspired, inerrant, infallible and totally sufficient and trustworthy. We deny that the Bible is a mere witness to the divine revelation or that any portion of Scripture is marked by error or by effects of human sinfulness. 
  2. We affirm that the authority and the sufficiently of Scripture extends to the entire Bible and that therefore the Bible is our final authority for all doctrine and practice. We deny that any portion of the Bible should be used in an effort to deny the truthfulness or trustworthiness of any other portion. We further deny any effort to identify a canon within the canon or for example to set the words of Jesus against the words of Paul. 
  3. We affirm that truth ever remains a central issue for the Church and that the Church must resist the allure of pragmatism and post modern conceptions of truths as substitutes for obedience to the comprehensive truth claims of Scripture. We deny that truth is merely a product of social construction or that the truth of the Gospel can be expressed or grounded in anything less than total confidence in the veracity of the Bible, the historicity of the biblical events and the ability of language to convey understandable truth in sentence form. We further deny that the church can establish its ministry on a foundation of pragmatism, current marketing techniques or contemporary cultural fashions.

Is inerrancy something new? Short answer „NO!”

Minute 4 – Dever addresses the charge that „inerrancy” is a „new thing” or just a „reformation doctrine?”.

  • John Piper responds:.In 1971 Fuller Theological Seminary  took the Word out.  I read what was happening in Germany. It blew me away. I did not see it coming. So it may have been there, but the teachers that I loved and had influenced me most didn’t talk that way and didn’t give me indication that it would be going that way. I was never able to make any sense out of the distinctions between infallible and inerrant. 
  • Dr Simon Gathercole – teaches New Testament at Cambridge, in England. One of the clearest figures to express a doctrine of inerrancy was St. Augustine and it came up for him in conversation with the Manichaeans where he made it very clear that there were no contradictions in Scripture , that if you do find what looks like a mistake in Scripture, it is either a result of a problem with the translation, a problem in the text, a particular manuscript or scribal error or that you have misunderstood it. So Augustine is an example of someone who was very clear on inerrancy.
  • Ligon Duncan – there is a consistent witness across Christian history to the Bible’s sole, final authority and its inspiration and inerrancy.
  • Peter Williams – (undergraduate studies at Cambridge) „I believe it is fully authoritative, inerrant, inspired by God’ I think I’d want to add more words, I want to say: It’s basically clear, it’s sufficient, it’s historical. People can take a word like „inerrant” and leech it (by saying) – „I agree with the notion that Scripture is entirely true, but then they try and weaken it in other ways and I think that’s happening particularly because a lot of people, at least in this country are signing an inerrancy statement for their paycheck (which sometimes happens; they redefine inerrancy). There are many reasons to believe in inerrancy, but I think when you believe in verbal inspiration (i.e.) that God gave words and you believe in God’s trustworthiness, that He has a true character and you want to have a relationship with God, then it is inescapable logically to come to a view of Scriptural inerrancy. If you believe that God has given words, I don’t see how you can break that and say, „Well, He gives words and they are sometimes full of errors”, without actually questioning God’s trustworthiness Himself.

The 3 roots/trajectories on how inerrancy is denied

  • Al Mohler (11 min mark) Why wouldn’t anyone believe in this? (This question) leads to a principle of interpreting church history, which often surprises people when you first hear it, and that is that „heresy precedes orthodoxy„. That doesn’t mean that the false precedes the true. It does mean that the codification, or confession of the faith is often in the face of, is a response to heresy or that which is sub biblical or sub orthodox. So, in 325  AD you have a statement made by the Council of Nicaea, that wasn’t necessary until Arius denied that the father and the Son are of the same substance. And when it comes to inerrancy, the first thing is that this is God’s word, God is totally true, so all the attributes of Scripture seem to come, and yet Augustine has to respond to the Manichaeans and we have to respond to contemporary denials of the total truthfulness of Scripture. I think there are 3 roots, or 3 trajectories in which that comes:
  1. The first is ideological and this is basically the external critique of biblical inerrancy. It comes from new atheists, of course if you don’t believe in God, you don’t believe there could possibly be a word of God; if you don’t believe in supernatural revelation as a possibility, or even recently, if you don’t believe in words as units of meaning; that are capable of conveying truth, there are various rules of philosophy and literary interpretation that have lost all confidence in words. They have to use words to explain how little confidence they have in them any longer; it’s part of the whole conundrum, but nevertheless, it is an ideological assault and so a good bit of what you will read simply says: „Inerrancy is an impossibility” and it will move on. But, it is not the major issue of our concern, there are two other trajectories.
  2. Another trajectory is apologetic. This is where you have evangelicals who say: This is an embarrassment. To claim inerrancy is to over claim the text, it is an impediment to our intellectual credibility and so you have people who would pose to be within the evangelical movement who will say, as Kenton Sparks in a recent book said, „This is the intellectual doom,” to paraphrase him, because it makes us continually defend the truthfulness of every passage in a text and that is leading modern people to have huge intellectual obstacles to receiving the main message in the text, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So you have various forms of this kind of apologetic argument; it’s the same argument as people who come along and say you can’t talk about the Bible’s teaching on sexuality; that’s presenting too much of an obstacle for contemporary people to come to Christ. Ot, you can’t deny the theory of evolution, it’s metanarrative because that creates too much of an impediment for people to come to Christ. And so, you have websites today and people arguing that inerrancy is just an obstacle, it’s a theological construct that’s doing more damage than good.
  3. The third trajectory, or the third root you can look at this is moral, in which case you have people say that if we’re committed to total truthfulness of Scripture, then we’re committed to text which reveal God as acting in immoral ways; God’s people sanctioning immoral acts, and what you have is people who will say, „Look, we have the capacity as human beings to judge God, and thus we’re gonna go to the conquest of Canaan or we’re gonna go to the way God deals with any individual in either Testament of the canon and say that that’s immoral. If you’re gonna try and impose a human standard of morality, like the late atheist, Christopher Hitchens, if you read the Bible honestly you’re gonna find texts that are gonna cause you all kinds of  difficulty and by the way, one of the things Christopher Hitchens did very well for us was to say, „He can understand theists who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture and he can understand atheists who don’t believe it’s possible, what he didn’t understand were people who tried to pose in the middle.
  • Dr Simon Gathercole – The central plank for me in the doctrine of inerrancy, and that is that it was Jesus’ view of Scripture and I think the 2 other points that were mentioned are really significant. The sort of dogmatic logic of what Scripture says, God says and therefore because of the character of God, Scripture is without error. Also, it’s the continuous testimony of the Church. I would recommend everyone read John Woodbridge’s book  Biblical Authority: A Critique of the Rogers/McKim Proposal even though the debate is now different, but there’s a lot to learn there. But, if you just look at the way Jesus treats Scripture, what He says about Scripture, „Your word is truth”, „Scripture cannot be broken”, the way He refers to Adam, the way He refers to Elijah and Elisha, all the figures of the Old Testament, the way He responds to Satan: „It’s written, and every word is proceeding from the mouth of God.” That has to be the real cornerstone for our doctrine of inerrancy and it means that it’s an imperative of discipleship for us, that it’s a matter of following Jesus. (Also recommends Christ and the Bible” by John Wenham)
  • Peter Williams – If heresy precedes orthodoxy then I think that apologetics precedes heresy, as in most heresy begins as apologetics movement. And, I say that as someone who is involved in apologetics and likes it. Liberal theology is an attempt to rescue Christianity from deep embarrassment and that’s how a lot of these things begin and  those of us that are involved in apologetics need to be quite careful about that, because it can lead to error. The way people get seduced sometime into abandoning Scriptural authority is when they become persuaded that, that thing which adheres most to their dreams and their aspirations and start to believe „that more people will come to Christ if I just water this down somewhat”. Sometime people become persuaded in theological education that they are being more faithful to the text if they read it in a way that is contrary to another text. When people are being brought up in a Chirstian context, to value the authority of the Bible, it appeals and they become persuaded that the most honest reading of the text is to read it so it contradicts to another one.
  • Al Mohler –   Liberal theology is a succession of rescue attempts for the reputation of Christianity and to just give an example of what Peter is talking about: You have Rudolph Bultmann, who in one of his books says people who use electric lights don’t believe in a supernatural universe. So, in other words, if you’re gonna reach modern people we’re gonna have to bring christianity into intellectual credibility with the modern world. A lot of the things you see being claimed right now are as old as the heretics that the church fathers faced and certainly in terms of protestant liberalism and what the church has faced in over 100 years.
  • Ligon Duncan –  Another example in modern liberalism is Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher. Schleiermacher  was offended by the doctrine of the penal substitutionary atonement of Christ and the uniqueness of Christ. And he looked out at Germany and he said: German intellectuals are rejecting Christianity in droves, they’re impacted by the enlightenment and the message of Christianity must change if we are going to be able to capture this generation for christianity. It wasn’t as if he was sitting around inventing to destroy christianity, but in fact he did that with apologetic missionary motives in reaching his culture and so liberalism’s fundamental premise is that the message must change if christianity is going to survive and effectively engage the culture.
  • Peter Williams -It’s going right back to Marcion in the second century. Marcion is deeply embarrassed by the Old Testament, by the Jewishness of Jesus. He, as an apologist thinks that he can commend christianity far better by ditching those things. So, that’s why becoming an apologist, led straight to the heresy.
  • John Piper (minute 20 mark) Mark Dever asks why JP concluded that inerrancy was true: There are layers to that like- My momma told me it was true. That’s one layer. „..remember those from whom you’ve learned the faith” (2 Timothy 3:14), that’s an argument in the Bible. Second layer would be: God made me see it. That’s the deepest layer and I do believe I couldn’t believe the Bible is untrue, if I tried because I am just taken by Him, for it. I believe that’s the deepest reason. You can’t persuade anybody with that and so, up above those layers are the layers of experience, of encounter with the text and I think that at one level the Bible, as C.S.Lewis said: „You believe in it as you believe in the sun, not only because you see it, but you see everything else by it”. I asked my professor in Germany one time, „Why do you believe the Bible? And he said: Because it makes sense out of the world for me. Year after year, after year you live in the book and you deal with the world and it brings coherence to evil and good and sorrow and loss. And there’s one other level I would mention: Liar, lunatic, Lord argument in the Gospels works for me in Paul: Liar, lunatic or faithful apostle because I think I know Paul better than I know anybody in the Bible. Luke wrote most quantitatively, but he’s writing narrative. But with Paul, if you read these 13 letters hundreds of times, you know this man. Either he’s stupid, I mean insane, or liar, or a very wise, deep, credible, thoughtful person. So, when I put Paul against any liberal scholar in any German university  that I ever met, they don’t even come close. So, I have never, frankly, been tested very much by the devil or whoever to say, „This wise, liberal, offering his arguments…” I read Paul and I say, „I don’t think so”. This man is extraordinary, he’s smart, he’s rational. He’s been in the 3rd, 7th heaven and he is careful about what he is saying. So, that whole argument „Liar, lunatic, Lord – works for me with Jesus and it works powerfully for me for Paul and moreover once you’ve got Paul speaking, self authenticating, irresistible, world view shaping truth, then as you move out from Jesus and Paul, the others just start to shine with confirming evidences. Just a few ayers, there are others. Dever prompts John to give one more. JP: Why are you married after 43 years? How do you endure losses? really, where does your strength come from? You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Free from pornography and free from divorce, free from depressions that just undo you. How do you find your way into marriage over and over and out of depression and away form the internet? How does that happen? It happens by the power of this incredible book. Dever: For people who haven’t had time to accumulate all those layers, anything you would tell them to read? Piper: Back when the inerrancy council was red hot „Scripture and truth” edited by Grudem and
  • Mark Dever recommends J. I. Packer’s „Fundamentalism and the Word of God”.
  • Al Mohler – The problem is how few of our confessional statements are clear on this in the first place. So one of our evangelical liabilities is that too much has been assumed under an article of Scripture without specifying language, with inerrancy being one of those necessary  attributes of Scripture confirmed. You do find people today, some lamentably who are trying to claim that  you can still use the word, while basically eviscerating it, emptying it of meaning. So you have historical denials, in particular, you have someone who says that a text… and „The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy” makes it very clear, our affirmations and denials are actually patterned after the International Council of Biblical Inerrancy, which was itself patterned after previous statements in which there were not only affirmations, but clear denials. So, when you look to that statement, you’ll see that there’s the version of what inerrancy means and that means „This is not true”. So, you have clear denials. One of the affirmations is: Scripture has different forms of literature, but the denial is that you can legitimately dehistoricize an historical text. So, in other words, everything in Scripture reveals, including every historical claim is true. You find some people saying: „Well, you can affirm the truthfulness of the text without the historicity of the text. You can’t do that. You have people who are now using genre criticism, various forms to say: This is a type of literature. My favorite of these lamentable arguments is the one that says: This is the kind of text to which the issue of inerrancy does not apply. In other words: I don’t like it. But, what they mean is: I am not making a truth claim. If I am not making a truth claim… that’s ridiculous, but you find these kinds of nuances going on. You also find very clear, points of friction. So, let’s give an example of points of friction: Do we have to believe in the historicity of the first eleven chapters of the book of Genesis? What Pete said about apologetics, that puts us over, against a dominant, intellectual system that establishes what is called credibility in the secular academy. Those evangelicals who feel intellectually accountable to that, are trying to say, „There has to be some other way then,  of dealing with Genesis 1 through 11 and that’s where you have now the ultimate friction point, with coming, for instance, the historical Adam and an historical fall and now you’re finding people who are trying to say, „Okay, there is no historical claim in Genesis 1 through 3, but I still believe in an historical Adam because I am just going to pull him out of the air and pop him down and say, „I still believe in an historical Adam (but) I am not going to root it in the historical nature of the text, but I need him because Paul believed in him. And then, you have people who have websites today, someone like Peter Enns, who used to teach at an institution which required inerrancy, but no longer teaches there, who says, „Clearly, Paul did believe in inerrancy, but, Paul was wrong”. And so, now you not only have the denial of inerrancy of the historicity of Genesis 1 through 3, you have Paul now, in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 being said, „Well now, inerrancy for him means ‘he was speaking truthfully, as inspired by God, but limited to the world view that was accessible and available to him at the time’. That is not what Jesus believed about Scripture. That is not what the church must believe about Scripture. I never came close to not believing in the inerrancy of Scripture. I came close to believing that there could be other legitimate ways of describing the total authority and truthfulness of the text and especially in context of fierce denominational controversy, I thought there must be room for finding it somewhere else and some people even mentioned here were correctives. For example J.I. Packer’s Fundamentals of God, was the bomb that landed in the playground. That little experiment just doesn’t happen; you take that out, it simply won’t work. At about the time that you (Mark Dever) and I really became friends, we were looking at how you came from an evangelical background where those issues have been discussed for 20 years before they did explode in the Southern Baptist Convention. My denomination had to learn this lesson a little bit late and at great cost.
  • Mark Dever– leaving the denominational stuff aside, you (Mohler) as a Christian, you found an intuitive, like John is talking about, an intuitive faith in Scripture.
  • Al Mohler– Well, it was intuitive, but I also had intellectual guardrails. My earliest, explicit theological formation was when apologetics hit me as a crisis as a teenager and I was led directly into the influence of Francis Schaeffer. And the book that most influenced me as a  teenager in high school, holding on to the faith as against a very secular environment was his book based on  lectures at Wheaton „He is there and He is not silent”, and I would point to that as the 5 or 10 books that most shaped my thinking, because Schaeffer’s logic in his lectures is really clear: „If there is a God, who doesn’t exist, we’re doomed. If there’s a God who does exist, but doesn’t speak, we’re just as doomed. If there is a God who does exist and He does speak, then salvation is in the speech. And so that was one of the guard rails in my life and being raised in a Gospel church that preached the word of God and just assumed that when you say „It’s the word of God”, it means all this.
  • Ligon Duncan – I didn’t have faith challenges as a teenager that Al did, but I was reading a lot of that apologetic literature and this was being talked about by evangelicals and the Ligonier statement on Scripture had come out in 1973, the ICBI Chicago Statement came out in 1978. Those are my teenage years. This is a conversation in the conservative corner of evangelicalism, in which I was reared. I had a good pastor that was happy to have me ask him questions about this when I was troubled with something I could ask him, he was on the board at Westminster Theological Seminary. When I went to Edinburgh (Scotland for PhD) I already had a solid education in the doctrine of Scripture at Covenant Seminary. But when I went to Edinburgh , James Barr’s book „Fundamentalism”  had just come out and I read it. I have more writings in the margins of the text in this book. I was arguing with him relentlessly in this book.
  • Mark Dever – This was an attack on J.I. Packer’s book and other kinds of statements of faith and Scripture.
  • Ligon Duncan – At that point I thought this would be some kind of hot topic. I had read some Barr in seminary, mostly semantics of biblical language and other things like that, in which, hopefully he is going after some bad stuff, but, I decided that when that book came out that I needed to read everything that Barr had ever written because of the potential influence on scholars. I was doing patristics at Edinburgh and so this wasn’t something that was part of my reading for work, it was just something I needed to do on the side and so I did. It was the most soul killing 6 months that I have ever spent. It was very disturbing. And several things helped me: One is a professor who had already thought through all of these issues. I went to another professor, and as we sat down he said, „You need to know, I have walked through all of these issues long ago and I’m happy to walk with you through them now. That was an enormous intellectual and theological resource to me. But then, it was the reality of Christ and the Gospel and the lives of believers that didn’t even know that they were ministering to me because that person could not be the way he or she is if there wasn’t a Holy Spirit indwelling Christ in us. I was also reading Ned Stonehouse’s biography of J Gresham Machen, who went through the same thing when he went to Marburg to study and he came into contact with Hermann and the german liberals of those days, and his correspondence with his mother was very significant in keeping him with just losing his mind.
  • Al Mohler – One other thing that was very informative to me was listening to people preach and seeing the distinction in the midst of a huge controversy with some people saying, „I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture and other people saying, „I believe almost the same thing, I just think the words aren’t necessary, etc., etc.” When one got up and said, „This is the word of God”, read the text and preached the text and the other read the text and said, „Let’s find what’s good in here”. And they didn’t necessarily put it that way, but you could tell that is what they were doing homiletically. Here is an accountability to every word of the text. The text speaks because when the text speaks, God speaks. And on the other hand, people saying, „You know, there’s good stuff here, let’s go find it”.
  • Peter Williams – I went through a time of significant doubt when I was around 21 , 22. Mark (Dever) was in town at the time, in Cambridge, a great help and the Lord brought me through those, having to work through a lot of that. I certainly looked at liberalism and secular approaches to the Bible, from the inside, within my heart and really, there is nothing there, there’s nothing that has the explanatory power, the comprehensive work that the Gospel, the work in your life and even, also, I think on a historical  level there are some amazing things about the Bible. If I can just mention one: Historical level: Go back 400 years to someone like James Ussher (or 350) calculating the dates of Kings of ancient Israel, or Kings of Assyria. That was before archaeology had begun, before the language of the Assyrians had even been deciphered (that’s been in the last 200 years) and he gets the dates of Tiglas Pileser within one year of what now people believe it to be, based on the Bible and he’s not got Hebrew manuscripts any earlier than 11th century AD. and he’s getting reliable information from 1800 years earlier. You can document that. It’s not widely appreciated, but he gets the year 728 and we think it’s 727. It’s pretty remarkable, that sort of level of agreement. It is one of the most amazing stories to me, of historical accurate information being transmitted.
  • John Piper – ends with prayer that faith would increase in this generation.

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