A Modern Day Dilemna: 'Are the ancient documents in the Bible reliable?'
There is a whole section of the Christian community that just about 'worships' the Bible like an idol, insisting that each and every word as it now appears in English, was virtually 'G-d dictated'
They cannot believe that there are any errors in the Bible, despite very obvious errors like 1 Samuel 13:1
"Saul was one year old when he commenced to reign and reigned two years".
On the other hand, modern 'liberal' academics are just as fanatically evangelical in their rejection of the 'reliability' of the Biblical documents.
For the one, the Bible is sacrosanct, and for the other, it is basically a second rate piece of historical fiction.
There can be no denying that there are a great number of problems within the Bible, the most obvious being the chronologies contained within it. You can read something of this in the recent article entitled: Understanding the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1
In touting their agendas, both the Academic and the Bible worshiper will indulge in 'arrogant' arguments designed to deceive the naive, and feed the ignorance of the listener.
My personal opinion is that the Biblical documents are a true historical record of Israel's national and religious history. I do not for one moment believe that these records are contrived or second rate, and nor do I believe that they were recorded and passed on by ignorant people. It is the contrary which I believe to be true.
Whether we believe the Biblical record to be G-d inspired or not, that the record as we have received it contains human errors of fact, is beyond all reasonable doubt. And why should they not contain some errors? The writings were collected and collated hundreds of years after the events that they record. The books of Kings and Chronicles plainly state that they are a collation of other works.
As for chronological errors, some are merely and clearly, 'transcription errors', whilst others obviously result from mathematical miscalculations. I discussed this issue in: Biblical Infallibility and Bible Skepticism.
But beyond these, there is a greater problem in understanding Biblical chronology.
Because the academic world cannot understand Biblical chronology, particularly the synchronous chronology of the Divided Kingdom period, they assume that the fault lies with the record, when in fact, the true fault lies with their simple inability to understand that chronological record.
The 'King's Calendar' contention is that the Biblical chronological details are not recorded in any system currently used or recognised. It is a system that has a specific origin, and that it was a very deliberate intent on the part of the ancients, to 'change or conceal' the true chronological history of Israel, substituting it with an 'artificial calendar'.
This concept is clearly beyond the ability of the Bible worshipers to entertain because of its' heretical nature.
Academics on the other hand are not interested in anything that might give credence to anything that the Bible might say. Modern academics give much less credence to anything contained in the Bible than they do to other ancient documents.
If one believes that the Bible is G-d inspired, then it ought to be an obvious conclusion, that non-alignment between Biblical Chronological information and History, results from either failure to correctly apply that information, or because our current knowledge of history is Erroneous.
On the other hand, if one does not believe that the Bible is G-d inspired, but that it contains the history of a nation and its people, written and compiled by qualified authors, commentators and redactors, then we ought to be able to conclude that the chronological information contained within it ought to be as trustworthy as any other ancient record, and its failure to synchronise with known history, results from either Our failure to correctly apply that information, or because our current knowledge of History is erroneous.
Both premises require us to conclude, that the academics have failed in their work. Either they don't understand the data, and so should not be sprouting off as though they do, or the things they tell us about ancient history are wrong.
If on the other hand we do not wish to dispense with the academic understanding of history, that is to say, if generally speaking, we accept that the academics are reasonably 'spot on' in their reconstruction of history, then we must conclude, that their failure to synchronise the Biblical chronological information with that history, results from their failure to apply the Biblical data correctly.
With this in mind, let me state quite clearly, that it is not only hypocritical, but deceitful for Academics to 'quote and otherwise use' the Bible, to support any of their findings.
Let me just put this another way for you. Ask yourself; "Was the information that now appears as 'the Bible', meant to be factually representative?"
If your answer is 'No!', then the Bible was not meant to be factually representative, and so Academics demonstrate a highly unscientific approach to history, when they use Scripture to support various archaeological and Historical propositions.
On the other hand, if your answer is 'Yes!", and the Bible was meant to be factually representative, then we must conclude that it either is still correct, or that it is not still correct.
If it is still in fact correct, then Academics who propose schemes that differ from Biblical Chronological projections, are just plain wrong and we can conclude that current historical perception and research is not reliable since it clearly conflicts with Biblical Chronology.
In this case archaeologists and historians are highly suspect in their research methods.
If the material was meant to be correct and still is, then Chronological conflict arises between the Bible and history because the academics have failed to apply the Biblical Chronological information correctly, and we should be wary of listening to them.
If however, the information is no longer correct (for whatever reason), then modern Academics demonstrate a highly unscientific approach to history, when they quote Scripture to support various archaeological and Historical propositions. When they do this, they are quite clearly 'manipulating' the public.
No matter how you look at it, Modern Academics are playing a 'self interested and self promoting' game, when they try to beguile readers by quoting from the Bible to support their findings.
Of course there is another proposition, which is that the Biblical data has become so corrupt through the transcription and transmission process, that while originally correct, the data today is no longer correct. If this were the case, it would be pointless for academics to jump on their soapboxes and quote the scriptures as 'proof' of this or that assertion.
Ultimately, we have to face the fact, that modern academics are involved in a deliberately deceptive manipulation of Biblical Texts, in order to get the gullible and the ignorant to accept their findings. If the Bible is a piece of 'rubbish' then academics should stop trying to manipulate people's religious beliefs, by quoting from it.
We need to ask and answer the question,'Was the data meant to be correct, and is it still correct?' If we conclude that it is, 'despite all the indication to the contrary', then we must conclude that nobody understands the way in which the data is presented.
If this is our conclusion, then we must admit that the reason we don't understand it, derives from either our lack of knowledge concerning ancient Jewish Calendars and chronological recordings, or that the chronological information contained within the Historical Books has been presented in some 'unfamiliar' fashion.
Either way, Academics who use the Scriptures to 'prove' or back up their particular theories, are suspect to say the least, for logic dictates that you cannot use an 'unknown or not understood' system of mathematics, to prove anything.
If the academics have failed to understand ancient Jewish Calendars and Chronological recordings properly, then criticism of those records by Academics is unwarranted, and contradiction of them is unfounded. Criticism and use of such information is unscientific and demonstrates gross ignorance.
If on the other hand, the data has been presented in some unknown or unrecognised format, then Criticism and use of such information in its un-deciphered form is also unscientific and demonstrates gross ignorance.
However, if the Biblical data has been presented in an 'heretofore unknown' manner, which is to say, in some 'cypher', then it is logical to assume that what has been encrypted, ought to be able to be deciphered and understood, and any claim to have achieved such a 'deciphering or decoding', ought to be reviewed and subjected to scientific methods of testing.
It is the claim of the 'King's Calendar', that the Biblical Data as it appears, is not understood because it was recorded in a 'coded' form, and it has been our failure to understand this that has prevented us from discovering the truth.
We have been presumptuous in believing that the Biblical redactors were obliged to record data in a way that fits our own perceptions of what is 'Rational' and 'Logical'.
As Davies (1992, The Mind of G-d. New York. Simon and Schuster p.225) points out, our concept of rational explanation is subjective, and even in its most refined and formalised sense, in mathematics, there is paradox and uncertainty (probability).
'There will always be truth that lies beyond, that cannot be reached from a finite collection of axioms. The search for a closed logical scheme that provides a complete and self consistent explanation for everything is doomed to failure.'
The most fundamental operational procedure of the 'King's Calendar', has been to ignore both the 'logical and illogical', both the 'apparent and real', and to investigate the outcomes of a mathematical hypothesis.
It is from this perspective then, that the 'King's Calendar' can declare, 'We now have the keys to understanding Biblical Chronology!', and it is why the 'King's Calendar' can also say with confidence, that 'scientific testing of this mathematical hypothesis' can definitively prove or disprove its' validity.
When the academics finally do 'validate' the King's Calendar hypothesis, the next question will then be, how many more pet theories can be foisted on the ignorant and unsuspecting public?
If Bible history and chronology holds interest for you, then in Appendix 5 at Kingscalendar, you can see on a year-by-year basis what the history of Ancient Israel Looks like. You can even check the Scripture quotes in Appendix 13 which can be accessed via the Chapter Precis Page.
Biblical Infallibility and Bible Skepticism
Understanding the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1
Bible Contradictions and Learning to Crawl
Biblical Infallibility, Divine inspiration and Academic Deceit
Assyrian, Babylonian and Israelite History 8th Century by R.P. BenDedek
The 'King's Calendar' reconstruction of Biblical chronology for this time period, has as it's firm foundation, the established 'academic' fact that King Hezekiah of Judah had his 14th regnal year in 701 BCE. Working back through history, the 'King's Calendar' finds little fault with the Biblical chronological references, however, it becomes obvious that some of the king's have been misidentified. Part of academic confusion over this particular period of Israelite history, results directly from reliance upon the biblical narratives which clearly state that it was King Ahaz of Judah who appealed to Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria for assistance, during the Syro-Ephraimitic War against Rezin of Damascus, and Pekah of Israel.
R.P.BenDedek (pseudonym) is the Author of 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran' (http://www.kingscalendar.com ), and is a guest columnist and stand-in Editor at Magic City Morning Star News. He is also the Editor of the 'Writers Journal' at Kingscalendar.com. An Australian, he has been teaching Conversational English in China since 2003.
Writers Journal Kingscalendar
"The King's Calendar" is a chronological study of the historical books of the Bible (Kings and Chronicles), Josephus, Seder Olam Rabbah, and the (Essene) Damascus Document of The Dead Sea Scrolls.