Bible

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 In Progress 

see Sources of all Bibles for the underlying Spiritual principles, this is a history of the development of Western Revelation.

The Bible is a term which means different collections of books to different Faiths. This Volume of Sacred Law is only one of many revealed texts humans have written down and found Spirituality,a greater purpose than merely animal existence. In all known cases, these revealed texts are written down by human beings, in the language, style and with the customs of their time. While there are great disagreements about the contents, interpretation and worth of these sacred texts, God also authored the Book Of Nature, which is available to all, no matter what their language or beliefs, through the observation of our Senses and the contemplation of wonders around us.

Most versions of "the Bible" include the Hebrew Torah, the five books of Moses. Some expand to include the Tanakh aka Torah, Nevi'im and Ketuvim, the Big 5, plus the Wisdom Literature (Psalms, etc) and the Histories or Prophets (Kings, Chronicles, Amos, etc). Some also include the Christian Bible, the Four Gospels and various apocrypha.

The Hebrew Bible was selected from mythology and folklore, combined with songs /psalms and advice, and went through multiple versions and revisions from the Babylonian Captivity to the aftermath of the Roman expulsion. The stories selected reflect the geological and geographical concerns of a small country with limited water and fertile land surrounded by powerful neighbors. So while the Norse developed a Warrior mythology, the Judeans developed a Trickster religion instead. All tribal religions tend to be regional (Ba'al lives on THIS mountain, YHVH's house is on THIS mountain), so separation from the tribal land and holy places disconnects a people from their God when they need HIM most. The Babylonian Captivity challenged the identity of the Jewish People, and the creation of the Bible was the answer to that challenge. As the Intelligentsia and Royal families struggled after the March of Tears into captivity to regroup, they selected the Passover story of Moses' people escaping a similar bondage in mythological times as the hopeful narrative around which the early Bible formed.

This is why the Egyptian Gods are not named in Exodus 7, 22 etc, while the Babylonian/Sumerian/Akkadian Gods Marduk (מְרֹדַךְ Merodach) (Isaiah 39:1-7) , Baal בַּעַל ( Kings 18:21-40)) and Astarte / Ishtar (עשתרת (Ashtoret) (The Ferile Woman/ Harlot/ Lusty) ( 1Kings 11:5), (and sometimes the separate Goddess Asherah)(Mother Goddess, maternal, not lusty) ( Jer 7:18 ) are named. Baal is also the name of a neighboring Canaanite God, as it means Lord, generally. But the Egyptian period had become myth by the time the Rabbis began writing the Torah down in Babylon, and the Hebrew names of Ra, Hathor, Isis, Set and Osiris were never preserved.


Egyptian Pharaoh Ptolemy Philadelphus, the second of this Greek/Egyptian dynasty, gathered 70 Judean Rabbis to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek (not Egyptian) so he could read it. The results by 132 BCE was the Septuagint aka LXX(or The 70), aka the "Greek Old Testament" ("Η μετάφραση των Εβδομήκοντα'") one of 8 Greek versions of the Old Testament created in those times, including Origen's Hexapla, and translations by Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion. Saint Augustine of Hippo referred to it by the Latin term Septuaginta, abbreviating "versio septuaginta interpretum" aka "translation of the seventy interpreters" to The Seventy. Some tales say there were 72, rather than 70 Rabbis involved in the translation team, six scholars from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. Rabbi Philo of Alexandria and the Historian of the Jews, Josephus are likely the source for Saint Augustine's information.


The Septuagint contains several Books not found in the original Hebrew Bible, either because they were excluded or written too late. The Books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach, Baruch, Letter of Jeremiah , Maccabees,1 Esdras, Odes, Enoch and Jubilees have no Hebrew equivalents. The Books of Daniel and Esther are significantly different, and longer. The Four Books of Maccabees, from which we get the story of Chanukah, appears here in Greek and we have no earlier Hebrew translations. As this is the only Book of the Bible to mention "Hanging Alive" or Crucifixion, we do not a Hebrew term for this Roman torture. It does not occur in the Criminal Law sections of either the Jerusalem or Babylonian Talmuds (Called Stripes, for lashing with a whip) , but might help clear up the Crucifixion confusion of Alexander Jannaeus and the Sadducean priests hanging alive 800 of the Pharisees in that story.

St. Jerome next tackled the translation into Latin for Pope Damasus I in 382. He produced the Latin Vulgate by comparing the Vetus Latina, or "Old Latin Bible", Greek Septuagint and the Hexapla to the contemporary Hebrew versions of the times, and also made his own judgement on which Books to include or exclude. It was adopted by the Roman Catholic Church only in the 16th century. Roger Bacon first coined the term in the 13th century.

Separately, the Masorete Rabbis (Tradition transmitters) were refining both the Hebrew language and the Old Testament or the Miqra. While parts of the Torah are truly ancient (such as Myriam's Victory song over the Egyptians), the Oral Torah slowly became the Written Torah over centuries, probably written down from 900 BCE, 800 BCE, 600 BCE and 500 BCE, taking it's more or less current configuration by @ 450 BCE. In the "J" or Yahwist source documents from the Southern Kingdom of Judea, God is called YHVH, and the language dates from 850 BCE to 725 BCE. The "E" or Elohist source follow @ 850 in the Northern Kingdom, using the plural name Elohim for the same God. The "D" or Deuteronomist source is complied when the Northern and Southern versions of the Bible are compared during the building of the 2nd Temple after the Babylonian Exile. The "Deuter, or 2nd book, is discovered during the reign of Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:14) hidden in the ruins of the foundation, where is was hidden when the survivors from the defeated Kingdom of Israel after Nebuchadnezzar II conquered and deported the Ten Lost Tribes. This compilation is then sent to the remaining scholars in Babylon, who produce the "P" or Priestly source documents before 587 BCE. Between the 5th and 10th centuries CE, a thousand years later, the Masoretes developed not only a definitive order and selection of Biblical texts, but introduced the vowel system of dots and dashes under letters to aid in oral reading from the Torah. In Galilee, Jerusalem, as well as in Iraq (Babylon), the Rabbis argued, compromised, and eventually produced two competing but similar systems, one from the ben Asher family and another from the ben Naphtali Masoretes. (If you don't know, "ben" means "Son of" and is a common way to denote family traditions or attitudes).

John Wycliffe translated and published an English version of the Bible during the years 1382 to 1395. He took his material from Nicholas of Hereford, John Purvey and John Trevisa and inspired The Lollard movement for Church Reform. It was popular, (both the Church Reform movement and his translation of the Bible) and over 200 editions (all slightly different) survive. (listen to a bit here - http://librivox.org/author/9947).

Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation by insisting the Bible must be in languages the people could read themselves, not just Latin, Greek or Hebrew, for scholars. In this he was emulating Judaism, where every (male) member of the Community had to learn to read and study scripture, even at the cost of time away from the fields. This "educational investment" paid off as each member of the Tribe developed to their abilities' limitations, new skills were learned, and new vocations created to take the place of herding and farming.

While Desiderius Erasmus translated the Greek New Testament, aka the Textus Receptus, as an Augustinian Monk. But the effect on Europe was to encourage the questioning of Church doctrine in the light of the actual words in scripture.

William Tyndale followed in Luther's footsteps in England to produce the Tyndale Bible, and had to flee the country. His language was that of early Modern English, post Geoffrey Chaucer, but similar to William Shakespeare, predating the spelling changes and pronunciation of A Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson in 1755.It set the stage for the King James Bible. Decades later, his book "The Obedience of a Christian Man" gave King Henry VIII the idea of breaking with the Pope and creating the Anglican Church, Catholicism with the King as it's ruler instead of a Priest. This brought about at least some of the changes Tyndale had worked so had for and died for at the stake in Germany. Tyndale, neither amused nor afraid, opposed Henry's marriage to Ann Boleyn, making an enemy of the Chancellor, Sir Thomas More, with his An Answer unto Sir Thomas More's Dialogue.

The Great Bible of Henry VIII, 1539, the Geneva Bible of 1560, the Bishops' Bible of 1568, the Douay-Rheims Bible of 1582–1609, all contributed to Tyndale's version as it evolved, leading to the King James Version of 1611. King James the First aka King James VI of Scotland authorized it in 1604, in part to create a measure of control over the "Phanatique" Christian sects which were springing up, like the Puritans, Anabaptists and the witch scares. 54 scholars were originally approved for the work, but only 47 participated, all but one Churchmen.


As a side note, it was not till Peter the Venerable aka Peter of Montboissier aka Abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Cluny (@ 1092 – 1156 CE), Herman the German, Robert of Kitchem, Peter of Salerno and Mohammad the Saracen translated the Koran (Qur'an) into Latin as "Lex Mahumet pseudoprophete" between 1138-1142, in the middle of the Crusades. Europeans finally had some clue to their enemy's philosophy. There was some tension between him and St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who championed the Knights Templar and a violent campaign.

Translation, and the evolution of language, also affects the form Spirituality can take. The Hebrew phrases expressing similar sentiments; Ath, Malkuth, ve-Geborah, ve-Gedulah, le-Olam Unto Thee who is the beginning and the End of All, Rule over the Material World with Justice and Mercy forever. "Hallowed be thy name" comes from the Kaddish, "Lead us not into sin" is in the Morning Prayers and the Watchword of the Jewish Faith, the Shema (The Name) had an influence, as "Hear (or Call out) O' Israel (the People), Our Lord is ONE with the Universe, and HIS NAME is ONE, Forever" aka "Our God in heaven, hallow thy name, and establish thy kingdom forever, and rule over us for ever and ever. Amen." see 1 Chronicles 29:10-18, Shema aka the Qabalah ol Malkuth Shamayim or the Whisper of Earth to the Heavens; The Shema may have been a counter or emulation of the Persian, Mazdean Sun Worship ceremony of reciting the Ashem Vohu to Mithras at the birth and sacrifice of the Sun every day;

The Lord's Prayer aka Our Father aka the Pater Noster appears in two forms, Matthew 6:9–13 and Luke 11:2–4, New Testament

from John Wycliffe, 1384 Oure fadir pat art in heuenes, halwid be pi name, pi reume or kingdom come to be. Be pi wille don in herpe as it is dounin heuene. Yeue to us today oure eche dayes bred, and foryeue to oure dettis pat is oure synnys as we foryeue to oure dettouris pat is to men pat han synned in us. And lede us not into temptacion but delyuere us from eurl.



King James Version (aka KJV) , 1604 - 1611


the Lord's prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, taken from the King James Bible

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


The Book of Common Prayer aka "The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church according to the use of the Church of England together with the Psalter or Psalms of David pointed as they are to be sung or said in churches and the form and manner of making, ordaining, and consecrating of bishops, priests, and deacons" in 1662 was adopted by the British the Anglicans, including many aspects of the Church Service and prayers, rather than just Bible stories;

Rudolf Steiner did an interesting study of this prayer in 1907, see http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/LorPry_index.html, note the excellent diagraming of the entire prayer on to the Platonic Solids, something every Entered Apprentice Freemason should recognize.



Resources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulgate; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torah; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masoretes; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wycliffe%27s_Bible; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textus_Receptus; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tyndale; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_James_Version; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_hypothesis; on the authorship of the Bible - http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/cv/phai/index.htm; listen to the Latin Vulgate here - http://librivox.org/author/4121 ; listen to it in Hebrew here - http://librivox.org/author/4231 ; listen to the King James Bible - http://librivox.org/author/950 ; listen to a section of Wycliffe's Bible here -http://librivox.org/author/9947; listen to the unorthodox Psalms and Odes of Solomon here - http://librivox.org/psalms-and-odes-of-solomon/; The World of Biblical Israel lecture series by Professor Cynthia R. Chapman ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marduk; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baal; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astarte; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asherah; in America - http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21590475-furiousand-politicaldebate-about-origins-mankind-all-about-adam ; on Baal worship - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/15/cult-complex-israel-temple-baal_n_5985316.html?utm_hp_ref=science; http://telburna.wordpress.com/; http://www.salon.com/2014/03/23/did_jesus_think_he_was_god_new_insights_on_jesus_own_self_image/ ; http://time.com/35532/the-big-flood-on-the-big-screen/ ;

Baruch Spinoza; Thomas Hobbes; Johann Gottfried Eichhorn; Wilhelm de Wette ; Friedrich Bleek; Hermann Hupfeld; Julius Wellhausen; Karl Heinrich Graf; Albrecht Alt ; Martin Noth; William F. Albright, anthropologist; Roger Norman Whybray; H. H. Schmid; Rolf Rendtorff ; Erhard Blum ; John Van Seters; Thomas L. Thompson; William H. Propp; Antony F. Campbell ; Mark A. O’Brien; Richard Elliott Friedman; John van Seter; Jean Astruc; Umberto Cassuto; Professor Bart D. Ehrman ; Professor Amy-Jill Levine ; Prof. Eric H. Cline; Griesbach hypothesis “that Matthew was the first Gospel, Luke followed Matthew but added material from his own sources, and Mark epitomized the two” , see http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i8265.html ; http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i8265.html ; http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10185.html ; http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i10276.pdf ; http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i8761.html ; check out D. F. Strauss’s Life of Jesus, Wilhelm Wrede’s Messianic Secret in the Gospels (1901), Albert Schweitzer’s Quest of the Historical Jesus: From Reimarus to Wrede, in German 1906; English 1910, Walter Grundmann on the Nazi Aryan Jesus; Ernst Käsemann , author of “The Problem with the Historical Jesus” (1953) ; http://www.jstor.org/stable/42956632?seq=4#page_scan_tab_contents