The Bible: Why does it endure?

Dandelion Salad

Day of Discovery

The evangelist portrait from the Gospel of Luke

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Take a closer look at the fascinating process of biblical research that helps reveal the foundations and credibility of the timeless wisdom of the Bible. Dr. Daniel Wallace, biblical scholar and researcher, uncovers results that point to the Bible as the inspired Word of God. Gain a deeper understanding of what is revealed in the ancient manuscripts, what Jesus’ life and words say about the Bible, and what history reveals about the accuracy of the biblical text.

Part I – What the Manuscripts Reveal


Part II – The Bible Jesus Knew


Part III – What History Reveals

from the archives:

What Jesus Said About Who He Is, Life and Following Him

Art Katz: The Hebraic Roots Of The Faith

The Jewish Foundation of Christianity

19 thoughts on “The Bible: Why does it endure?

  1. Pingback: What Jesus Said About The Bible: Is It Just Another Book? | Dandelion Salad

  2. Pingback: Hope for the Gentiles: The Gospel of Mark | Dandelion Salad

  3. From Facebook, comment #4:

    “First all excuse me, I’m not a Theologian, I’m professor of English lit, so this purely from the perspective of the bible as a “text” and not some kind of supernatural celestial message, even though that is a good narrative approach and the one thats been adopted by countless many “believers”. Why I think it has lasted? Well, as a text, it has some exceedingly good plot developments, it contains many elements of dramaturgy to keep the reader engaged; sex, murder, genocide, good fortune for the protagonists and deep impending doom for the antagonists, full of magic and unnatural acts, drinking, debauchery and so on. It operates on both historical and biographical accounts written in the 3rd person and it was we assume written collectively throughout time from around 300 BCE. It kind of signifies a dawning of not only literacy, but also using literacy to collectively unify human consciousness on some kind of level albeit that it’s been done with a story and not scientific reasoning. This in it’s self makes it absolutely remarkable whether you believe in a big guy in the sky with a beard and heaven and all that.

    The new testament bible is relatively new, as an ‘ancient’ text. The first work of Western literature is the Iliad written and recorded around 8 centuries BCE. The some of text in the Old testament is of course connected to the 5 books of the Torah (which is the basis of Judaism).

    It is a very distinctive “change” in narrative style, device and content, which would lead one to believe that, it was written from completely different sources, maybe influenced by the “original” older testaments. The polemics in the christ story are radically different from anything before it. Although, not necessarily better as a text, because the OT has lots more going on in it, in terms of drama and conflict, especially the parts of natural disaster and climate change and mans reluctance to accept that, the element of human struggle is more heightened too…plus God talks in the OT, he doesn’t do much talking in the NT, it’s all kind of done through using the central character (his son) as a medium, who goes around performing few magic tricks and seems to be very good at calming folk down, getting them on a level to love and have some kind of respect for each other. Sure, he gets a bit pissed off and angry now and then, especially at the central focus of the community to value money more than human life and protests a lot against not just Roman Imperialism in Palestine, but works hard to kind of organise Jews to somekind of peaceful rebellion. This agitation is his ultimate downfall, when he martyrs himself and low and behold, not only does this persuade many Jews to give up the 5 books of the Torah and kind of forget the last 300-400 years and start a new direction as Christians, it also persuades the very people who persecuted him, to give up their own spirtual philosophy and live in abject guilt and remorse for 200 years after, believing if they swear some kind of confession to their wrongs and pledge alligience this in some way alliviates them completely just and noble…though probably completely missing the point of what he was really about.

    I would argue there is a very strong connection between the essence of Socialism and the life of fact it totally and utterly blatant…and he is perhaps the first real revolutionary in literary terms, in his plea not for so much the complete and utter abandonment of the “sacred” texts before him, but for a new model of life for human beings as a collective force, to be kind and tolerant.

    And as John Wayne says at the end of the “movie” Surely this can’t be the son of God?”…he is probably 100% correct because that is completely in the minds of the imaginater…and like all texts everyone will have a completely different window on how the view it.

    And how any book can create so much debate, controversy and total abuse, misunderstanding, even war, bloodshed and anger (which was not one would hope contrary to it’s original intention) is yet again another factor of it’s success. It’s a great book, one of my favorites, but my only wish is that people would move on and discover equally and even better new texts that have been written since.”

    • Professor ( facebook comment #4) , well said ! A short book that you might find interesting to read during the holiday break is Harold Bloom’s ”Jesus and Yaweh”” . I was impressed by this Shakespeare scholar Atheist take on the personification of both characters in the Bible . Bloom also remarked in his book ”The Western Canon ” , that The 4 most important books in the Bible are Genesis , Exodus , Job , and the Gospel of Mark . He even goes so far to compare Mark’s narrative style and mesage to Hamlet ! how is that for far out ? Hamlet avenging the ghost of his father thru violence , and Jesus avenging the ghost of his father in heaven thru non violence.

  4. One human desire I consider dangerous. It’s our unslakable desire for wonderment. Aliens, Disney, magic shows, Discovery Channel, organised religion. They all fill this slot. There isn’t enough “wow” in humdrum life to entertain our smart brains so we seek it out.

    I think Thomas Aquinas proved that God exists. The only question is, what is God? It’s passe to think it’s a Charlton Heston look-alike sitting above the clouds (if I may be fatuous for a Sistine second). But it’s also the supreme height of our arrogance to belief it’s any entity that came here and had a few books written on our measly behalf. How much attention did you pay to the mosquito that blew past your window while cruising to the bakery?

    God might be a sliver of silicon on the outer rim of a nebula for all we know. We can infer nothing. We simply don’t know. Wait for the afterlife that Mother Shipton spoke of in her final verse (she got everything else right so far).

    In nineteen hundred and twenty-six
    build houses light of straw and sticks.
    For then shall mighty wars be planned
    and fire and swords shall sweep the


    [edited for length.]

    • Thanks for your comment. I edited the very long poem and put a link if anyone is interested in reading it in full.

      Did you watch the videos? Your comment doesn’t seem to be on the Bible.

    • Hid — i think we ”seek out” ( to use your term ) , because as C.S.Lewis said ”where there is a hunger for something divine , logically it makes more sense that the divine exists”. I have often said that man is a religious animal . of course this can work for good or evil . but the Bible is on such a high level of masterpiece work that it demands our attention . as much as i love Aquinas , i dont know if he proved the ex hypothesi ( the existence of God ) , but his reasoning in the Summa is pretty solid .
      his argument from the angle of teleology and contingency is hard to beat.

  5. From Facebook, comment #3:

    “Well, I made it as far as the circular argument about 1/3rd the way through Part II, i.e., citing New Testament text to validate the inspiration of the Old. Somebody mentioned Bart D. Ehrman the other day. One of his books, “Misquoting Jesus”, is worth a read – people who want to look for an original text had best learn about 5 languages, learn philology, and be prepared to talk about things like “under-determination” – let alone pedestrian concepts like “ambiguity” and “vagueness.” More directly to express my being befuddled with Dandelion Salad’s need/purpose to post these “reports” is this question: Why do people of faith feel bother to give evidence? Faith is belief DESPITE the facts, regardless of the facts, in defiance of one’s best reason. Is the project to uncover the “original” text (as if that will have any more un-equivocal meaning than, say, our own Constitution – the original of which we do possess) actually a symptom of doubt?”

    • Facebook #3– in some cases it is a symbol of doubt . as a Christian myself ( i was the one who mentioned Ehrman )…i am very leery of christian apologetics. of course this is the Kierkegaard in me that prefers objective uncertainty and by virtue of absurd approach . yes , to be sure a faith proposition . However , i think it is a fair question that you asked on why is this book the Bible relevant to this progressive blog . I dont think it is relevant as far as proving texts. that is a waste of time . but i do think that it is relevant for today . why do i say this ?

      I say this because those of us who are progressives must plumb all options and concepts from all points of history and philosophy to see what it takes to PROGRESS from where we are now to where we think we should be . for as Marcus Areluis said ”that which does not advance goes into retrograde”. He said that in the Theocratic age of Literature …as one who believed in Hesiod’s Theogony. And in that age of Lit we see Ulysius being the only one who survived the battle of Troy . Homer said that he was ” the wisest of ALL Greeks ”. why ? because he feared the gods. in other words, he had something bigger than himself as his true north . This dethrones the self and its dangerous solipsism.

      So , the operative question is –does masterpiece works like the Greek tragedys , Homer , the Bible , the Upanishads ..etc. of the Theocratic age of literature have any relevance to helping inspire men and women in the post modern age to progress? i think it does . Does not the book of Job give us insight into the questions of Theodicy in regards to the present genocide of Congo, and how to handle it ? is not Jesus running the money changers out of the temple relate to Occupy wall street ? sure. Then we have bioethics , questions of what it means to be human , etc etc. yes , I think that digging into the nuances of the Bible is paramount to 21st century progress. it has been hijacked and used as tool of repression long enough by the fundamentalists and ignored by the politically correct correct crowd . Time for a serious inquiry not into is textually provability , but into deep relevance of our dark and problematic world today .

    • As far as why do I post anything religious on Dandelion Salad, I feel that those on the left need to know that there are others on the left that are true believers in Jesus. Many people like to think that all Christians are rightwing, and well, that is just not true. Also, I post almost all of the Day of Discover video series because they are well made and well researched.

  6. The bible endures, but the message Jesus preached has been obfuscated by the “selection process” used by the early church fathers for the various epistles, letters, and gospels they had to choose from as well as rewrites by later copyists….
    I’ve read the book more than once cover to cover, as well as other non-canonical writings like Thomas’ Gospel, or the Josephus’ historical accounts of Judea and Israel. What I find interesting is that the civil strife that is well documented in the historical record at the time of Jesus’ ministry, is not mentioned in the book except in passing. In catechism class (-Lutheran) my pastor taught us a bit about the various factions that existed in the day. That made Robert Eisenman’s book “James the brother of Jesus” so compelling…
    “Who and whatever James was, so was Jesus.” is the last sentence on page 963. It is clear to me that SOMETHING was left out when the various gospel authors wrote…
    That James’ assembly, church, whatever you want to call it (-it’s described in chapter 2 and 4 in Acts…) was involved deeply in the Jewish Revolt, against the Romans and their Herodian puppets.
    More to the point, the peace and love Jesus is portrayed preaching may in fact be quite bogus. Remember, Crucifixion was a punishment for revolutionaries like Spartacus.

    • David –thank you for the intelligent reply . one did not have to be violent to be crucified by the romans . thieves were crucified as an example not to mess with rome . any kind of insurrection as you know your roman history can get one put on a cross. they would have killed Gandhi and Buddha .

      another salient point –Bart Erhman’s latest work called ”Forged” even admits that though a great deal of the N.T. was forged , he, like the rest of the consensus goes with 7 of Paul’s letters to be the real deal . An interesting book to read is Helmut Koestler’s ”Ancient Christian Gospels”. not easy going . but he cross references about 150 gosples and shows that the ( 3rd questers) Jesus seminar is putting the emphasis on the by product of christ life and not the claims of his death and resurrection . a good read.

      in regards to the gospel of thomas — i love it ! it was not canonized for 2 reasons –1. no passion ( cross and rez) . the thomas community had split off and caused disunity . that is why at the end of John there is a subtle plea to the thomas community to rejoin the Church Universal. the Johananine community that wrote John’s gospel at the end of the first century was working hard on this unity . this is found in the writings of Polycarp in the didache , who was a disciple of John . also , Tertullian and Clement stressed the more of a unitive approach stressing the martydom of Peter and Paul in Rome TOGETHER.

      Josephus –problematic . there is interpolation in his writings about christ. i dont trust him . i do however trust Tacitus when he in the early second century wrote about what he saw when he was around 17 between the christians and Nero , and stating ”followers of Christus who was crucified under Pontius Pilate”. also his writings on Germania are superb . the greatest of all Roman historians .

    • David , i wrote some stuff for you above this.
      here is where i stand on the canonization at the council of Nicea .

      lets face it –the Church Fathers were all intellectuals . they had to just put so much in . the non canonicals are inspiring ( gospel of mary , peter , thomas , phillip , etc..) but they dont reach the literary heights of the big 4. the gospel of Mark alone is considered one of the great literary masterpieces in the Theocratic age ( along with Job , Genesis , and Exodus ) by Shakespeare scholar Harold Bloom . I agree with him . it is written in the Greek tripartide Aristotlean tragedy form –conflict , denoument , and final outcome …then it is flipped over and inverted to end not in tragedy but in good news. the church fathers could not resist putting that one in ! the other 3 expounded on mark and followed.

      also , lately i have wondered why in the hell a personal letter of Paul’s ..”Philemon” was put in . i understand why the book of Romans had to be put in . but –Philemon ? i think it is because it was his last letter and it shows him as a template for the believers of tenderness and a tone that differs from the rest of his letters. in other words –this is Paul going from enemy of christ , to zealot for christ , to a tender tone of loving maturity .

      all for now .

  7. From person Number 2 on a Facebook comment:

    “it persist for it has some historical value, after all it is in part a “rip-off” of the sumerians texts and the dead sea scrolls.
    And many other ancient myths. Sun god worship and so on.

    And it persists for it have been forced upon people – who continue to force it upon their children who are indoctrinated from day one.

    What happens in a childs first 6 years sets the president for their entire life. And thus the circle is complete and ready to repeat.

    Much Love ♥”

    • Try watching the videos first before commenting with your opinion. Thank you and much love to you, too.

      Update: thanks for watching the videos. This series as are all from Day of Discovery are very well researched.

    • Actually that is not true. it is not inspired by the sun worship cults or any other ancient myths in Mesopotamia culture of the iron age. that is based on an unprovable faulty logic called the “copycat theory”. it does not hold water. I wrote an article on this subject exposing the copycat thesis for what it is. the new testament account stories alone of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection have nothing in paganism that compare to it. let us not forget that in Egyptian mythology Isis was raised from the dead but remained the king of the underworld remaining underground. the claims of the Christians in the Bible was that “we do not believe such fables, but are eye witnesses of HIS Majesty” ( 2 Peter 3:16). they actually claimed that Jesus was raised above ground. that does not prove it to be true, but it does prove it to be utterly unique…and not borrowed from ancient myths. as far as the dead sea scrolls; there is no evidence to suggest that the “teacher of righteousness” was Jesus, and that “the wicked priest” was Caiaphas. interesting though it may be, it is mere speculation, not fact.

      many children have been raised without any knowledge of the Bible , weather in the far East or in the western structure of Atheism, and have still come to believe in God and Christ after personal inquiry when picking up the text and reading for themselves. I know many personally, and have studied over the years testimonies of many. also, my own son was raised not around the Bible at all, because as a Christian myself I did not want him to be inoculated with enough to turn him off. when he was a teenager he experienced Christ on his own, never having even read the Bible. Now he reads it for inspiration. I happen to agree with Frank Zappa who said “to force a child to go to church is like putting a loaded gun in their hands”. the fact is is that many were never forced and have been totally changed for better when reading the Bible as adults.

      number 2 Facebook comment — it is obvious that you are reaching for straws instead of taking the time to do real scholastic research on this literary masterpiece. and you even overgeneralize about the abuse of this collection of this 66 books called the Bible. this is prejudicial and shows an unintelligent bias on your part.

    • Dear facebook comment — it is still enduring NOW when no one is forcing anyone to read it . you know why ? because of the pain of torture that a selfish life without God produces. This causes thirsty souls to reach out to it fro solace by their own free will .

      instead of smart alek comments about such a sacred text , you may consider reaching out and breathing it in yourself . It does wonders for the soul . especially the beautiful words of Jesus that expose the false beauty of this sick world .

  8. The Bible endures because as Shakespeare said ”Truth is truth , to end of reckoning ”. and also , because narrow minded fools with hard hearts and minds shut down refuse to read it because of contempt prior to investigation .

    but when they stumble on it , they get ambushed by its power and truth , and hence converted. all it took was one parable from Jesus to slice me in half and convert me . the Spirit chose to breathe on that parable . and when the hound of heaven comes after you ..look out .

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