By Jim Blanston This very interesting piece of scholarship reflects the work and opinions of Jim Blanston (written in 1983). We include it on our website because we believe it contains valuable information to help combat the argument that "reincarnation isn’t possible because it isn’t in the Bible."
In Chapter 14 of Children's Past Lives I give a brief history of the early Christian church to show that reincarnation was once a widespread belief among early Christians, and that it was expunged from the Church canons as the result of theological politics and worldly power struggles. An excerpt from Chapter 14 is here: Dogma Bites Man. Jim Blanston’s writing reinforces the idea that the sources of Christian ideas are many, often anonymous and questionable, and therefore leave much room for personal interpretation.
If you are a Christian and understand this history, it will be much easier for you to make up your own mind on whether reincarnation is real or not without jeopardizing the core beliefs of your faith.
A note from Jim Blanston, the author: "This document is NOT copyrighted. In the interest of liberating others from the tyranny of deception, I am placing this document in the public domain. Please feel free to distribute it as you see fit."
Introduction I decided to write this work after seeing the effects of Christian bigotry, in the past, present, and, undoubtedly, in the future. Please note that this is not intended to be an indictment of Jesus Christ; I really don’t know that much about him. And, as you will see from the evidence presented, neither does anyone else: the Bible, according to most modern, respected biblical scholars, is one of the most tampered scriptures on Earth, with dubious authorship and beginnings.
Nor does this work seek to lump all Christians under the same rock; there are a wide variety of Christian sects, ranging from the ultra-liberal and open-minded Unitarians and Episcopalians to the ultra conservative fundamentalist sects, and all the way over to the lunatic fringe, the white supremacist "Aryan" churches.
This work does, however, censure and condemn those on the so-called religious "right", who perpetuate the mindset of utter bigotry. A "bigot", according to the dictionary, means "one BLINDLY intolerant of the views of others, esp. in the matters of RELIGION, politics, and race." The right-wing religious sects all base their beliefs on the Bible, and its infallibility. I was not content to naively assume that the Bible was infallible; I sought out information on the sources of the Bible, and this work will share what I have found.
The Biblical Canon Even educated Christians themselves do not claim that the Bible was written by God, or divinely transmitted to man. They say that the Bible was written by men, but inspired by God. This is why the Bible is considered (by biblical scholars and Christians theologians) to be so open to interpretation. But it must be pointed out that just because something is "inspired" does not mean that it is the Absolute Truth. For example, a man may be inspired by his paramour to write a poem about her, but that does not mean that his words are true, nor does it mean that his lover even approves of what he has composed.
The Christians attribute the authorship of the books of the Bible to "traditional" authors. This in interesting, because most of the books of the Bible are truly anonymous. There are very few "signature" verses ("this books was written by..."). In later chapters of this work, I give a listing of modern scholars’ educated opinions as to the true authorship of the books of the Bible. These are not blind speculations, but their best scientific opinions resulting from carefully weighing the available evidence. In many cases, I have listed the evidence the scholars used, giving a type of archeological "detective" story. It is intriguing that so many Christians tend to quote scholarly assumptions on the questionable sources of other scriptures, but minimize (or ignore altogether) the opinions of Biblical scholars on their own scripture.
There is a problem in logic which arises when one considers the doctrine that only one scripture is the only valid lawbook. Any argument to support this must come, therefore... from that same lawbook. This is the logical fallacy known as the "circular argument", which is committed when one presents evidence from that which one is trying to prove. In the same way, if you ask a fundamentalist Christian to prove the validity of the Bible, he will usually start quoting verses from the Bible! Here is a mundane example of this fallacy: A thief was dividing up some ill-gotten booty, some jewels, with his two partners in crime. But he kept most of the jewels for himself. "Why is your share of the jewels larger than our share?", asked one of his partners. "Because I am the leader", he replied. "Why are you the leader?", his partner queried. To which he responded, "Because I have more jewels."
As I have previously mentioned, there is great doubt as to the authorship of the different books of the Bible. The compilation in later chapters of this work came from various reputable sources, respected encyclopedias such as Encyclopedia Brittanica, Collier’s Encyclopedia, and Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia. And these encyclopedias gathered their information from academically acclaimed biblical scholars. These scholars carefully considered the different evidences concerning the authorship of the books, and made their very best professional, erudite opinions. Fundamentalist Christians tend to completely belittle these arguments, yet they are unable to produce enough evidence (or, in many cases, any evidence) to sway the findings of the scholars. Faith is one thing... but blind faith is another.
And as the later chapters relate, most of the books of the Bible are anonymous. This in itself is very significant. How can a book be considered inspired by God when the author is completely unknown? If you don’t know who the author is, how do you know he was divinely inspired?
There is also the question of the character of the author. This question is raised in not only the anonymous books, but also in the books where nothing is known of the author except his name. Was the author a saint or a schemer? We don’t know. Yet we are expected to cast our own beliefs aside and put our souls in the hands of this book.
One of the tests on whether or not a hypothesis is valid is by looking at who is presenting the hypothesis. After all, you would not seek financial advice from a pauper. Yet we are expected to take the spiritual advice of a completely unknown person?
And then there is the disturbing fact that many of the books of the Bible show evidence of tampering. There were modifications and additions. It is fairly certain, then, that there were deletions as well. The question arises, "Who did this?" And more importantly, "Why?" What were their motives? There must have been something in the original that disturbed someone enough to make him want to change it. What was it? These are deeply troubling questions.
There is also the matter of the Biblical canon itself. After all, ancient Israel and the early church knew of many more religious books than the ones that now constitute the Bible. For example, there were 50 gospels in circulation at the time, yet only four made it into the New Testament. Who decided which of the books would become part of the Christian scriptures, and again, "Why?" Who decided, "This book belongs... this book doesn’t..."? What were their reasons? What were their motives?
The fact is, there are no clear records available which document the church’s process of determining which books were acceptable and which books were unacceptable. The general consensus of opinion among scholars is that the decision was based on whether or not the book agreed with the prevailing theological thought at the time. In other words, the only books accepted were the ones that maintained the "status quo".
This means that the fundamentalists’ religion is not based on the Bible, as they claim so fervently... it means the Bible was based on the prevailing religion! This, in itself, is another example of the "circular argument" as related earlier.
It is also interesting that, even though the Biblical canon was purposely chosen to include only books that met the "status quo", there is so much inconsistency and contradictions in the Bible. And it is even more interesting that so many fundamentalists proclaim that there are no contradictions in the Bible! If that were true, then why are there so many different sects of Christianity?
For example, Christianity is basically divided into three main sects: the Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, and the Protestants. And the Protestant branch alone is divided into many different sects: the Adventists, the Amish, the Anglican Church, the Apostolic Faith, the Assemblies of God, the Baptists, the Brethren, the Christian Church, the Church of Christ, the Church of God, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons), the Church of the Nazarene, the Congregational Christian Churches, the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Congregational Church, the Friends (Quakers), the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Lutherans, the Mennonites, the Methodists, the Pentacostal Churches, the Presbyterians, the Salvation Army, the Unitarians, the United Church of Christ, and at least 66 other sects!
And that does not count the different sub-sects of these sects! For example, the Baptists are further divided into: the American Baptist Convention, the Southern Baptist Convention, the American Baptist Association, the Baptist General Conference, the Bethel Baptist Assembly, the Christian Unity Baptist Association, the Conservative Baptist Association of America, the Baptist Church of Christ, the Free Will Baptists... and at least 19 other sub-sects. And there are no "minor differences" between these sub-sects. For example, the Southern Baptist Association was formed in 1845 in large part because of disagreements with other Baptists concerning slavery.
The other Protestant sects are also broken up into various sub-sects. For example, the Methodists have 23, the Mennonites 15; the Presbyterians 9; the Mormons 3; etc.
And yet (especially for the more right-wing sects), these numerous sects and sub-sects claim to possess the truth of the Bible in its purest form... and each one are able to quote verses from the Bible to prove it! So much for the "harmony" of the Bible.
Authorship Of The Bible This is a list of the authorship of the Bible, according to most modern biblical scholars. This information can be found by looking in any encyclopedia. The scholars base their conclusions by carefully weighing the evidence... there is a reason why they feel the way they do. Although many fundamentalist Christians try to minimize or even ignore these scholarly conclusions, the fact remains that they are completely unable to counter these arguments by any evidence whatsoever. Although they are quick to accept archeological data that verifies a piece of biblical history, and they are quick to accept scholars’ conclusions on the questionable nature of the scriptures of other religions, they completely downplay a critical, unbiased study of their own supposedly "infallible" scripture, the Bible. Which is ironic, since their entire claim to spiritual superiority rests on their premise that the Bible is perfect and flawless.
In the following analyses, it is important to watch for the references to "editing", "rewriting", and "additions" to the books of the Bible. These changes to the Bible might make one wonder: "Why did someone find it necessary to change this scripture? What was their motive? What was the original scripture lacking? Or what did it say that someone felt it was necessary to change? And who did the changing?"
After reading this section, the obvious question that comes to mind is, "How can someone base their life, and condemn other religions, on such a scripture?"
The Old Testament It doesn’t take a scholar to realize that autobiography is very rarely found in it. It is mostly written in the third person ("he said" or "she said", rather than "I said"). Scholars say that the vast majority of the Old Testament consists of stories that were handed down via the unreliable method of oral transmission before they were finally written down. There was a long journey from the creation of these stories until the time they were compiled... and this journey involved storytellers and editors.
It is also important to note that almost none of the books in the Old Testament have "signature verses". Christians and Jews maintain different "traditional" authors, although they have little or no evidence to support these claims. There is also a common misunderstanding among many Christians that the books are by individuals, rather than about individuals. For example, many Christians believe a man named Job wrote the book in the Old Testament, "The Book of Job". But here, as elsewhere, "of" means "about", not "by". This is quite clear in the very first verse of that book: "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job..." (Job 1:1)
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: These first five books of the Bible are known as the "Pentateuch", and tradition ascribes these books to have been written by Moses. This is highly unlikely, since these books tell of the death of Moses (Deuteronomy 34:5)! In reality, these books are actually anonymous and composite works. In these books are two and different accounts of Creation, of the "flood", and of the plagues of Egypt. Scholars have overwhelming evidence that Genesis was compiled from several different sources. They also feel that Exodus and Leviticus were written by members of the priesthood in the 5th or 6th century BC.
Joshua: Scholars maintain that this book is drawn from a number of different sources. The oldest passages of the book date from the 10th century BC, but were rewritten around the 7th century BC by members of the Deuteronomic school. Around the 5th century BC, persons motivated by priestly matters added to or rewrote altogether the entire second half of the book.
Judges: The traditional author of this book was Samuel. However, scholars believe that it was written after the death of Samuel; chapters 2-16 are believed to be written by members of the Deuteronomic school, and chapters 17-21 are considered to be an addition by priests in the 5th century BC.
Ruth: Nothing is known about the author, or when it was written. Scholars point out that certain references in the book show that it was written sometime in the "post-exilic" period, probably sometime between the 4th and 2nd centuries BC.
Samuel (1 and 2): Scholars concur that these books are clearly composite works. Some scholars maintain that the books were composed from an "Early Source", which dates around the time of the reign of Solomon (961-922 BC), and the "Late Source", which dates from around the 7th century BC. Other scholars believe that there were three sources, known as "J", "L", and "E". In both theories, it is interesting to note that the Early Source (or J and L) favors the establishment of the monarchy as divinely willed. Yet the Late Source (or E), clearly disapproves of the concept of a monarchy, saying it rejects the role of God as the true king! This is an example of one of the many contradictions of the Bible (even though so many fundamentalists claim the Bible to be "harmonious").
There are other inconsistencies as well. For example, in 1 Samuel 17, David is credited with killing the giant Goliath. But in 2 Samuel 21:19, Elhanan, son of Jaareoregim, is credited with the act. Another point to mention is that if you look in the popular King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, and turn to 2 Samuel 21:19, you will see "the brother of" (Goliath) in italics. This italic print means that it was an embellishment of the editor of the KJV, in an attempt to cover up this inconsistency (by making it appear that Elhanan killed the brother of Goliath, as opposed to Goliath himself). But if you look in a reputable version of the Bible, such as the New English Bible, you will see the original rendition: that Elhanan killed Goliath... an obvious contradiction.
Kings (1 and 2): The traditional author is ascribed to be Jeremiah. However, modern scholars have determined that it was actually composed by at least two anonymous authors. The earlier author wrote his portion sometime before the death of Josiah, the king of Judah, in 610 BC. The second portion is thought to have been written around 60 years later. They reason this by noticing that the last historical event mentioned occurred around that time, and no mention at all was made of the fall of Babylon in 539 BC, a significant historical event that certainly would have been worthy of mention. Both authors, however, certainly seemed to have been motivated by a nationalistic fervor in the cause of Israel.
Chronicles (1 and 2), Ezra, Nehemiah: Almost all scholars agree that that these four books were written by an the same author(s). Internal evidence suggests that he (or they) was a member of a priestly tribe, probably a Levite. Nothing is known about the author, neither his name, nor his character. Like most books of the Bible, the author was anonymous.
In Chronicles 1 and 2, the author refers to other books, but scholars are uncertain as to which are genuine references, and which are embellishments of the author. Most scholars agree that these books contain many later additions, and that the entire work took from 332 to 167 BC to complete.
It is also obvious that the author used specific references from the books of Samuel and Kings (which scholars say is less inaccurate), significantly modified to suit the author’s point of view. The writer attempted to find answers to such troubling questions as "Why do good people sometimes suffer? And why do the unjust sometimes flourish?" In attempting to answer these questions, it is notable that the author rejected source material which did not further his aim.
Also, although fundamentalists consider the entire Bible harmonious, there are many inconsistencies with the book of Chronicles and the book of Kings.
Esther: This book not even mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Because the mood of this book is vindictive, with nationalistic overtones, and completely secular in nature, early Jewish scholars were reluctant to include it into the Bible. But, bowing down to popular demand, it was eventually included, but not until AD 90. It is interesting to note that the Greek version of this book contains over 100 additional verses that were not in the original Hebrew version.
Job: Modern scholars say that not only was this book written anonymously, the author used, as his sources, an Israelite or Edomite folktale.
Psalms: The is one of the few sections of the entire Bible which contains signature lines. 74 or the psalms are attributed to David, and 32 to other authors... but all of the remainder are of unknown authorship. Christians and Jews have always attributed the authorship of this entire book (or at least the editorship) to David, but in reality, this book is a collection of psalms that took almost 800 years to compile.
Proverbs: Traditionalists attribute this book to Solomon, but scholars point out that it was probably written around 600 years later (by an unknown person), because it is clear that the author(s) were heavily influenced by Greek philosophical systems of thought, such as Epicureanism and Stoicism.
Song of Solomon: You would think that this book would be written by Solomon, but scholars believe that it was composed 400-600 years later, and that it was obviously influenced by cultic and pagan rituals.
Isaiah: Traditionally ascribed to Isaiah, but scholars maintain that the first 36 chapters were of his teachings, and the rest were the teachings of his disciples.
Jeremiah: One of the very few books of the Old Testament that contains first-person references (although this is only a part of the book). Other sections are third-person accounts, probably from the students of Jeremiah. The rest clearly shows the influence of the Deuteronomic school. The entire book shows evidence of tampering, in the form of editing.
Lamentations: Traditionalists say that the author was Jeremiah, but educated scholars say that it was composed by different anonymous authors. Chapter 5 is clearly a later, edited addition of the book. Actually, the ascription of the book to Jeremiah is the result of a misunderstanding of 2 Chronicles 35:25, which says that the lamentation of Jeremiah for the king Josiah "are written in the lamentations". But the book of Lamentations never even mentions Josiah.
Ezekiel: This is one of the very few books where the majority of the book was probably written by its namesake. But the last nine chapters are believed by scholars to have been a later edition by the disciples of Ezekiel.
Daniel: This book is traditionally ascribed to Daniel (who lived in the 6th century BC). In this book, he tells of his kidnapping by Babylonians from Jerusalem. But since there is absolutely no historical record of a Babylonian attack on Jerusalem until about 400 years later, the actual date is estimated to have been in the 2nd century BC, by an anonymous author.
Although the traditionalists tend to categorize this book with the other so-called "prophetical" books, it is important to note that this book is not even mentioned in the directory of famous Hebrew writings, the "Wisdom of Sirach" (200 BC).
Also, although the traditionalists ascribe this book to one author, a significant portion (2:4 through 7:28) is written in another language, Aramaic (the remainder of the book being in Hebrew). Furthermore, historians note numerous historical inaccuracies mentioned in this book (when compared against other historical records of that time, as well as other books of the Old Testament).
Hosea: Again, traditionally ascribed to Hosea. But scholars believe that portions (1:10-11 and the latter half of the second chapter) are later additions. In is interesting to note that these two additional sections are verses which describe the "specialness" of the Jewish people.
Joel: Absolutely nothing is known about the author, except his name (Joel).
Amos: Traditionally ascribed to Amos, but scholars believe that this was written after his death. They also point out that the end of this book (9:8-15) differs so dramatically from the rest of the book that it must have been an even later addition, which deals with the people of Israel, the favorites of Jehovah, being spared the divine wrath.
Obadiah: The traditionalists say this book was written by Obadiah. But biblical scholars question the unity of the book, and maintain that more than one author wrote it (one of which may have been Obadiah). Aside from that, absolutely nothing is known about this Hebrew prophet. Regarding the question of unity of this book, it is interesting to note that this entire book is only 21 verses in length!
Jonah: Tradition holds that this book was written by the prophet Jonah, who, according to Judeo/Christian mythology, lived in the 8th century BC and was swallowed by a giant fish. But scholars point to evidence that this work was written anonymously about 300 years later, in the post-exilic period. Among their evidence, they point to 1) the later form of Hebrew used by the author(s), and 2) the familiarity of the author(s) with other postexilic works.
The traditionalists say this, and so many other books of the Bible, are autobiographical works. But even a casual glance at these books show they were written by another (unknown) person. Using this book as an example, let us examine chapter 1, verse 17: "Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights." This is clearly a third-person account. A first-person account would read, "Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow me up. And I was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights."
What evidence do the fundamentalists produce in supporting their claim that Jonah is the author? Absolutely none. There is nothing in the book that even suggests a signature verse.
And remember, I am just using this book as an example. The exact same case could be made against the vast majority of the so-called "autobiographical" books.
Micah: Again, the traditionalists say that this book was written by Micah. But, again, scholars say that it is a composite work. Chapters 1-3 seem to have actually have been written by him, except for the 12th and 13th verses of the second chapter, which appears to have been a later addition. These last two verses speak of the restoration of the tribes of Israel, probably to bolster the Zionist effort. Scholars maintain that the contents of chapters 4 through 7 reflect circumstances that occurred long after Micah’s life. Therefore, Micah could not have been the author of these chapters.
Nahum: Traditionalists believe this book was written by Nahum. Scholars have found no evidence to disagree with this. Of course, the traditionalists have no evidence that it was written by Nahum... this is a type of philosophic fallacy wherein a conclusion is "proven" true on the basis that it has not been proven false.
Habakkuk: Scholars believe that the first two chapters were actually written by Habakkuk, although absolutely nothing is known about this person. But the rest of the book is considered to be a later addition by an anonymous author. The scholars strong, irrefutable evidence: there was no reference to that part of the book in the Habakkuk Commentary of the Dead Sea scrolls.
Zephaniah: Tradition attributes it to the prophet Zephaniah, but scholars say that chapters 2 and 3 were added later. And the end of the third chapter was an even later addition. Again, this later addition speaks of the Jews regaining their homeland.
Haggai: Although traditionalists believe that this was written by the prophet Haggai, scholar doubt this, pointing to the impersonal third-person references to him as "the prophet".
Zechariah: Tradition holds that this was written by Zechariah himself. This may be the case, in the first eight chapters. But scholars point to the last six chapters, which differ significantly from the first eight, in language, style, theology, and other matters. This dramatic difference leads the scholars to believe that this section was composed over a century later than the first part of the book.
Malachi: Early Jewish commentators believed that this book was written by Ezra, but scholars believe that is was written later.
The New Testament Before discussing the authorship of the New Testament, it is important to remember that much of the justification of the New Testament is due to the supposed fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. But, as is clearly shown above, the authorship and the authenticity of the Old Testament is highly doubtful. You cannot build a sturdy house on a flimsy foundation. Similarly, you cannot have a sound argument when your premise for your argument is a weak, shaky presumption.
The philosophic "center" of the New Testament is the first four books (Matthew, Mark, Luke,and John), which are known as the "Gospels". The rest of the New Testament is, for all practical purposes, an elaboration on these four books. Many Christians believe that these four Gospels were written by the direct disciples of Christ, but, as you will see, this is hardly the case. So even the beloved Gospels are not free from the nagging doubt of dubious authorship. Christians cite the similarity of the Gospels as "proof" of their authenticity. But the similarities between these four books is due to the existence of a alleged collection of the sayings of Jesus called "Q". The compiler of Q is unknown. Christians place enormous faith that this unknown person(s) did not 1) fabricate his own sayings to suit his own agenda, and 2) use saying from questionable sources.
Also, as I noted earlier, there were over 50 different Gospels in circulation at the time the New Testament was compiled. Since the persons choosing the canon used only books that were, more or less, harmonious, it is reasonable to conclude that the results would be... harmonious books!
For example, one book that did not make it into the New Testament was the "Gospel of Peter", because the book does not consider the Crucifixion as an act of atonement. Similarly, the "Acts of John" was not included because of its subversion of traditional Christian teachings (such as, denying the reality of Christ’s physical body). It may be argued that these (and many other books) were not included because of "questionable authorship", but the authorship of these books is no less questionable than other books that have been included.
Another significant, disquieting fact concerning the New Testament is the widely used literary tradition at that time of pseudonymously ascribing new works to a venerated personage of the past in order to give the new concoction credibility! This has, indeed, serious implications for the entire New Testament.
Matthew: Traditionalists believe that this is the earliest of the four Gospels, and was written by St. Matthew, one of the 12 apostles. However, most modern scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark was earlier, and that the author of the Gospel of Matthew drew upon the Gospel of Mark for material. This is significant, because the Gospel of Mark is indeed of highly questionable authorship (see below). They base these beliefs on internal and external evidence. And this evidence also casts strong doubts that St. Matthew wrote this book. They have narrowed down the date of the writing of this book between 70 and 80 AD.
Mark: Traditionalists believe that St. Mark wrote this book. And many Christians believe that St. Mark was one of the 12 apostles, but that is not the case. The very earliest evidence concerning the authorship of this Gospel comes from the 3rd century, from a church historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, who in turn quotes a writer who lived a hundred years earlier, whose name was Papias... who in turn quotes a still earlier person called only "the elder". This quote refers to the author, Mark, being an interpreter of Peter, whose name was John Mark, a cousin of Barnabas. But there are reasons to doubt this. Because most early Christians linked this Gospel to Mark, the "elder" did his best to at least try to link the author with a man named "Mark" (Peter’s interpreter). The conclusion by most scholars that the author was an otherwise unknown man (named Mark), who drew on a large number of traditions to compose this work.
It is also interesting to note that many Greek manuscripts end with the eighth verse of the 15th chapter. Yet the Bible today ends with verse 20! Most scholars believe that the final 12 verses were added by a 2nd century monk or scribe to make a more satisfying ending.
Luke: Attributed to St. Luke, although very little is know about St. Luke, except that he may have been a traveling companion of St. Paul. And, like Paul, there is no record or mention of St. Luke even meeting Christ. Therefore, even if this gospel was written by St. Luke, it would clearly be at best a second-hand account of the biography of the savior of the Christians, and was written 40 or 50 years after Christ’s death. Modern scholars agree that the Gospel of Luke is clearly based on the earliest Gospel (Mark), and that the author used two major interpolations (Luke 6:20-8:3, and 9:51-18:14) from the collection of supposed sayings of Jesus, "Q", and from a large body of oral traditions (commonly referred to as "L").
John: The authorship of this book has created heated controversy since the 1800s. Although traditionalists have always believed that the author of this book was St. John the Evangelist, in actuality there are four candidates for authorship: 1) it was written by a person known as "the elder", as mentioned in the Epistles of John; 2) it was written by a student of St. John the Evangelist; 3) it was written by Lazarus of Bethany; or 4) it was written by an anonymous person in Alexandria a hundred years after Christ’s death.
Also, scholars generally agree that the entire 21st chapter is a later addition. This chapter deals with Christ’s resurrection.
Acts of the Apostles: Traditionally believed that the author was St. Luke, but, since there is no reference to this within the book itself, there are many doubts to this. Many scholars contend that it was written by someone who had acquired the diary of a traveling companion of St. Paul.
Scholars point out that it was written around AD 62-90, and was written in Greek, instead of Hebrew.
Romans; Corinthians (1 and 2); Galatians: Attributed to Paul.
Ephesians: Traditionally attributed to Paul, but it is doubted by many modern scholars, because of the extreme differences of tone, vocabulary, and writing style as compared to authentic letters of Paul.
Phillippians: Attributed to Paul.
Colossians: Although traditionally ascribed to Paul, many scholars have strong doubts about this, because of the differences of vocabulary used (as compared to genuine Pauline writings).
1 Thessalonians: Attributed to Paul.
2 Thessalonians: Attributed to Paul, although, based on internal and external evidence, many scholars tend to doubt this.
Timothy (1 and 2); Titus: Traditionally attributed to Paul, but most scholars believe otherwise due to the fact that the style and vocabulary differ in significant ways from authentic works by Paul. Also, historical events as reflected in these works do not fit into any known situation of Paul’s life. The scholars believe that these books are by an unknown author(s), who used the name of Paul to give it an air of authority.
Philomon: Traditionally ascribed to Paul.
Hebrews: Practically all modern scholars doubt this was written by Paul (as the traditionalists claim). Actually, even the early Christian Church itself had strong doubts about Paul’s authorship of this book! Scholars point out that the vocabulary, grammar, and style are dramatically different from known works by Paul. But the most damning evidence is that the author(s) of this book quote from the Greek versions of the Old Testament (instead of the Hebrew originals, as Paul would have done)! Therefore, it is clear that this book was not written by Paul, or any other apostle. This is significant, for in this book contains the cornerstones of the fundamentalists’ beliefs: 1) that Jesus died for everyone’s sins (chapter nine and ten); and 2) that the doctrine of faith alone is sufficient for salvation (chapters 11 and 12)
James: This book is traditionally ascribed to St. James, the apostle. Most scholars doubt this, because of the expertise of the author in the Greek language. Therefore, they feel that it was written by an unknown Greek Christian. And even many Christians themselves have their doubts about this work.
Even Martin Luther, the founder of one of the three main branches of Christianity (Protestantism), called it "an epistle of straw". One reason why he may have said this was because of a verse in James (2:20): "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" The Protestants believe that faith alone is sufficient for salvation. The Catholics believe that it is important to do good works as well. This one point was a major factor in causing Protestantism to break away from Catholicism. And this one verse devastates the fundamentalists’ argument. This is completely contradictory to Paul’s exhortations of "justification by faith" in Romans and Hebrews. So much for the "harmony of the Bible", as the fundamentalists claim (as proof of the Bible’s validity).
Peter 1: Although attributed to Peter, it is widely doubted by most scholars, on the basis of the fact that the author of this book cites Greek translations of the Old Testament, instead of the Hebrew originals. This questionable book contains the fundamentalists’ slogan, "born again" (1 Peter 1:23)
Peter 2: This book has even more doubtful authorship that Peter 1, so much so that it was delayed entrance into the New Testament’s canon. It is generally believed that it was written by an unknown scribe around 150 AD.
Epistles of John: Traditionally ascribed to St. John the Evangelist, but many scholars disagree. Many scholars feel that it was written by one of the four "Johns" as listed above under the "Gospel of John", but they can’t agree on which one.
Revelations: Again, attributed to St. John the Evangelist, but scholars again disagree. But there are so many linguistic differences between this book and the Gospel of John that it is clear that they were written by different people.
This book is the cornerstone of the fundamentalists, the evangelicals, and the millenarianists. It records a purported "vision", and Christians are fond of tying its enigmatic allegory to current events, to show that the end of the world is near. And they are generally successful, since this book is so obscure that one may elicit practically any interpretation from it. In fact, ever since it was written (around AD 100), people of every generation have been able to link it to their own period of time.
The numerous references to "a thousand years" in chapter 20 has led many to consider that doomsday will occur at the end of a millenium. The "Judgement Day" hysteria that occurred as the year 1000 approached is a historical fact. Similarly, social psychologists predict that, as we approach the year 2000, the same hysteria will occur.
Many scholars believe that Revelations is actually a collection of separate works by various unknown authors. One reason they believe this is because the book is a strange collection of Greek and Hebrew idioms. And some believe that it was never intended to be viewed as a "prophecy", but as an allegory showing the crisis of faith at that period of time (of the Roman persecutions).
It is interesting to note that Jesus himself never authored any book of the New Testament, not even a paragraph. In fact, most of the New Testament was written by Paul. This has led many to consider that Paul is the architect of modern Christianity, not Christ. A more accurate name for Christians, then, is "Paulists", not "Christians".
Many Christians believe that Paul was one of the 12 apostles of Christ, but this is not the case... the 12 were Andrew, John, Bartholomew, Judas, Jude, the two Jameses, Matthew, Peter, Phillip, Simon, and Thomas. After Judas committed suicide, Matthias replaced him. By the way, this is one way of testing the fundamentalist’s knowledge of his own religion. Many believe that St. Mark (the alleged author of the Gospel of Mark), and St. Luke (the supposed author of the Gospel of Luke), and St. Paul (the author of many New Testament books), were members of the 12 apostles, Jesus’ direct disciples. But they are not on the list.
As for Paul, who plays such an important part of Christian theology, it is important to note that he never met Christ. In fact, he was active in the persecutions of early Christians, claiming it to be an unlawful Jewish cult. Acts 8:1 depicts Paul as agreeing with the stoning of the first Christian martyr, St. Stephen: "And Saul (Paul’s pre-Christian name) was consenting unto his [Stephen’s] death." Paul was converted to Christianity later, and became a zealous missionary (perhaps motivated by extreme guilt for his atrocities).