Episode 014

The Pharisees, the scribes, and the Sadducees—all names you’re probably familiar with, but who the Sheol were they really? Tune in to this week’s episode of The Human Bible and find out!

We also delve into several of the biggest biblical contradictions and the repercussions they have on some of the Bible’s other big claims.

A close look is taken at John 18:10:

“Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.”

Why did Peter have a sword, and why didn’t anyone care that he’d just cut someone’s ear off?

Finally, we find out whether or not some descriptors commonly applied to God—like perfect, omniscient, and omnipresent—are actually given in the Bible.

The Bible, love it or hate it, is a book filled with puzzles and mysteries. It will be a hard task to one Ravell as many of them as possible. We want to understand the Bible is a human book, not a book inspired by a God. I’m Robert M. Price and this is the human. 

I am your host, Robert M. Price, and this is the Human Bible, the human Bible is a radio show and podcast of the Center for Inquiry, a think tank advancing science reason, freedom of Inquiry and humanist values and public affairs. And at the grass roots. 

And now, once again, let’s start the show by getting up to speed. 

Of course, this is where we get into stuff that it is very easy for me to take for granted, and I am brought to realize I shouldn’t do that. 

So I go over some things that are kind of basic building blocks for understanding this or that part of the Bible. And today, here’s another one. You’d think everybody would know this because they hear it very often. But I know that’s not true because it was many years after I started studying the Gospels that I learned what I’m about to tell you now. And it has to do with who the heck were the Pharisees, the scribes and the sad Jessy’s. One hears all sorts of things, and there’s a good reason for the confusion. But let me tell you what, I have come up with a good bit of it based on what W.D. Davies, who is a great Christian scholar of Judaism, and Jacob News near the great authority on ancient Judaism and William Manson, and a fascinating little book called The Servant Messiah. Now, who were the sad Jesses? They apparently took their name to be a version of Zadak kite’s that they were a priestly line descended from Zadik or Tzadok, if you prefer, who was a friend of King David in the Bible. And he comes out of somewhere and becomes the head of the the priestly hierarchy. It’s not absolutely clear what that has to do with the ancient aronne. I’d order of prophets, priests, that is. But they at least claimed, we think that they were descendants of Zadok. And so sad Jessie would mean Zadik right now. Vais That may be true. They may have taken it that way, but it looks like it originally meant something much more mundane, namely that it’s just another version of the name in Greek, Syndey Coy, from which we get Syndic and Syndicate. I mean, not necessarily to Kosheh no stre syndicate. Right. But that’s the it’s just that they kind of narrowed the use of the word for that. But remember, they’re publishing syndicates, et cetera. Syndicate really only means a council. And so if you were a sad just see you were a syndic or a councilman, B. S y ndic not cynic. And that’s an ancient group too, but nothing to do with these guys. Now, this implies that the the Sinda or Sad Jessy’s were not primarily a religious sect. Now I know they’re referred to as such by Josephus. And again, there’s something to that. But let me try to sort out the particulars. These guys were aristocrats and most of the Sanhedrin, the autonomous governing, governing body of the Jews and the time of the New Testament. That is, they didn’t have independence. But Romans allowed them to have their own counsel. That took charge of most things. They apparently had to get permission of the Roman procurator to execute, for instance. But they called most of the shots. Most of the people were on it. Most of the members of this council of the Sanhedrin were sad Jesses. We get the impression that is because they were among the wealthy aristocracy. They were the big wigs. And so it’s not too surprising that they were a member. They were members of this ruling group. Now, did they have religious distinctives? 

Well, in some older books, one reads that the sad Jessy’s were heavily Hellenized Jews that believed in a lot less than other Jews did under the influence of Greek. 

That is Hellenistic philosophy, because in the New Testament, it says that they didn’t believe in a resurrection of the dead at the end of the age and they didn’t believe in spirits or angels. But that same and in fact, they’re sometimes called Epicureans by the rabbis in the missioner, which implies that they were minimalists and belief. The the Epicureans believed that there were gods, but that they really paid no heed to the squalid affairs of mortals like you and me. And if you turn on them, it is pretty squalid and so that the gods had little to do with human life. And the Epicureans believe there was no life after death, no judgment to fear, etc.. And the rabbis describe the sad Jessy’s as Epicureans, and a lot of people took that seriously. I mean, it is an ancient source it’s described. Them, that wasn’t a stupid thing to do, but closer inspection implies that may have been a kind of a caricature and that really the sad Jessy’s were just traditionalists. And again, that fits with them being the the rich elders, the guardians of the society, etc., because there are these these other clues, like the fact that they believed only in the Pentateuch. That is the Torah proper. The first five books, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus Numbers, Deuteronomy and Visus. Why in the Gospels this when the sad Jesses come to challenge Jesus and say, Master, I’m at this resurrection you people believe in. 

And then they pose this stumper question like suppose this woman was married to a guy died and before he could give her any offspring. And they practice though brother marriage rules. She marries the next of kin male and. And so she marries a guy’s brother. 

But what you know, he croaks, too. And then she goes to the next one of their seven brothers and all and they all die. And she’s left with no kids from any of them. Suppose they all make this resurrection. What is she going to be married to? All seven of them. 

And then Jesus does some fancy footwork quickly and says, well, don’t worry that all marriages are often in heaven. Well, it’s pretty good. But why does C minus Jesus give the scriptural argument he does to them? He says, well, what do you mean no resurrection, Dad? Didn’t you ever read in the passage about the burning bush? The voice says, I am the God of Abraham. The God advised sic in the God of Jacob is not the God of the dead. 

He is the God of the living. Oh, what. What is the logic there? Well, if he has said I was there, God, that might mean they were dead. But if he says he is the God, doesn’t that mean they’re still alive? Well, wait a second. That could mean they’re in heaven now. That doesn’t prove a resurrection. But why do we have to resort to such an extreme expedient? Well. Because, I mean, why didn’t you refer to Daniel or Isaiah where there are clear statements about the end time resurrection? Well, that’s because that didn’t cut any mustard with these guys. But the Pentateuch did it to them, Isaiah and Daniel. And it’s nothing that’s not really scripture. It’s sort of apocrypha. So they were they did have religious beliefs. That’s true. But they seemed simply to have been traditionalists, because what this means is they didn’t go along with new fangled developments that had happened very recently, relatively, namely adding more books onto the Bible. They were sticking with the old days when the only Bible was the Pentateuch, the first five books. So there were and time modernists. They also rejected the doctrine of the resurrection and angels and all that, because that too was a later development. And they said, I don’t know where you get that. I don’t believe that. Only they did know where others were getting it. That brings us to the Pharisees. 

The Pharisees says Manson points out that’s not T.W. Manson or that other famous biblical interpreter, Charlie Manson, who, of course, did a lot of work on the book Revelation, but rather William Manson. 

And he says he thinks Pharisees is another version of the name Parsees or Persians. In fact, as you probably know in India, where a whole lot of Zoroastrians fled from Persia when the Muslims were persecuting them, they drove out a bunch of the Zoroastrians who went to India, where they were known by where they came from. They were called the piracy’s and still are today. Plenty of Zoroastrians around locally and that so in the same way, a V outside of Persia, you refer to them by their origin and call them passes. And now why the heck would these guys, these Jews, be called Parsees? Well, because Jews, Jewish leaders, priests and so on had been taken off to Babylon during the Babylonian exile of which so much is made in the Old Testament. And while there are these priests and thinkers encountered the Zoroastrian religion, once the Persians took over the Babylonian empire and the Persians sent Ozora and various others back to Judea to rebuild the temple and all this. Right. And they brought with them a lot of ideas from Zoroastrianism, which they kind of liked. I mean, the later rabbis even said that Zoroaster is an okay guy. He’s really the same man that the book of Jeremiah. Calls Baruch. Yeah, he was. He was a sort of a sneaky way of saying he was really a Jew. Just like Phyla Juday is the Alexandrian Jewish philosopher. In the first century S.E, he believed that Plato had derived his whole philosophy by an allegorical reading of of the Pentateuch not likely button. But you see, the same thing was going on. You light something from beyond the Jewish sphere and de legitimate borrowing it. You said, well, we’re not really borrowing it. It real. Really from from our guys. And so what did they borrow. Well a lot of stuff. They came back believing in a future virgin born savior called the Benefactor or the Sayo Cheyennes in in the Persian language at the time. They would raise the dead at the end of the age and judge the wicked. He would be a descendant of the prophet Zoroaster. Let’s see, he they believed in an evil and tie God. Satan had not previously been an evil being in Hebrew forn, but now he was kind of merged with Oskar Amon, who was the anti God evil figure in Zoroastrianism in this came in pretty handy to explain where the evil came from in the world. The whole idea of the resurrection of the dead seems to have come from Zoroastrianism, the Egyptians at a kind of resurrection. But it wasn’t an earthly one. It was just in the in the afterworld and an angel ology, as it’s called. There are messengers of God who pop up occasionally in the Old Testament. But the idea that their legions of angels and seven archangels and so on, this seems to come right out of Zoroastrianism. And this notion of apocalyptic history, that is that that there is this age and the age to come and this one’s under the bondage of Satan, but then God is going to defeat him. And and it’s all prescribed in advance. God has his plan of the ages that comes from Zoroastrianism. So these guys came back with Brimm full of Zoroastrian Persian ideas, and apparently it was the Sassy’s and said, wait a second, where are you getting this? 

You guys are not really Jews anymore. You’re Parsi’s. 

And that brought about the nickname Pharisees, which simply meant Parsees. Now, of course, they weren’t about to change their tune, but they didn’t like that and that meaning of the name. And so they made it their own and redefined and said, oh, no, no. And call us Pharisees if you want. But that really means the Puritans, the separated ones. Perou shame. Well, a redefinition that happens all the time in the Bible that you, Teiko, a word where you don’t like the original meaning or a name you don’t like the original derivation of and come up with something else that sounds more orthodox. So there’s a quick thumbnail sketch of this Sanja season. The Pharisees now, who are the scribes? 

Well, of course, the scribe literally just means a guy writes officially a copyist of of important documents. The Egyptians had a lot of scribes and so forth, and they were often wise men who collected proverbs both in and out of Israel and the scribes in the New Testament, setting their their couple of theories about who they were. And both might be true because, as I say, you know, it’s a kind of a generic term. When Jesus is debating with scribes, who are they supposed to be? Well, some scholars like William are now and Richard Horsely and Martin Smith have taken them simply to be local, Galili and notary’s or even schoolmasters. The more traditional view, which I kinda stick with, I think in the context of the gospels, that makes more sense, that it refers to a group usually allied with the Pharisee sect. And that’s what they were. They were kind of like Hasidic Jews today. Not all Jews are as strict or hold the same beliefs as the hayseeds, though they respect the hayseeds. That’s kind of the way the Pharisees were. They were the biggest of the minority groups. Most Jews were simply Jews, but there were a lot of more specific groups. The sadnesses were not a popular group. The Pharisees were and the scribes would have been the ones that called the tune their special Bible scholars who knew the Bible well because they were the ones copying it. You know, you have an old scroll where out you need a new and well, the copyists would obviously know the text better than any one else. People didn’t have their own copies of the Bible in those days. And so they apparently. Interpret the scripture like, should we like? This is a terrible example. I love it. Folks love this Woody Allen book. It’s in Alan has this thing, The Hasidic Tales. And he says that the Jews in East European shtetl are all processing toward the synagogue to commemorate the high holy day that commemorates God’s reneging on all of his promises to Israel. I think that really should be such a holiday. Maybe on April Fools, I don’t know. And a woman in the crowd calls out to the rabbi at the head of the procession. 

Rabbi, why are we not supposed to eat pork? And the rabbi says we’re not. 

And the commentator says, well, some think that the Torah originally meant simply to warn you not to eat pork in certain restaurants. 

Well, that’s the idea that she figures this guy’s going to know because he’s an expert in scripture. And so you’d go to the scribes, say, well, yeah, all right. They were the the human Bibles and the Bible geeks of their day. And eventually, all these secondary laws, the oral Torah of Judaism, was propagated by these scribes. I’d say, Rabbi, where which just means my teacher, by the way, would says don’t work on the Sabbath. But I was thinking of building a deck on my house and nobody’s paying me to do it, though. 

Does that count as work? And they would make these decisions. A rabbi says we’re not to take the name of God in vain. What what exactly would that mean? I want to be sure I don’t do it. I mean, is it like in Monty Python’s Life of Brian? But all I said was this halibuts is good enough for Jehovah gets in trouble. 

Should he? Well, it’s the kind of thing the scribes dealt with. So, yeah. I think that’s usually in the. 

Another reason I think they say that it wasn’t them, it was just local notary’s and all that is that there weren’t any Pharisees and scribes in Galilee in the time Jesus is supposed to have live. They only hightailed it there after 70 CE when the temple was destroyed. And so I think it’s a gross anachronism. And if you reinterpret who they were, you can still hang on to the stories as possibly accurate. I think that’s probably what motivates them. But I tend to go along with the more traditional view on that one. So I guess that’s good enough. I’m you know, I keep going. I’ll just confuse you. But that’s basically who these scribes, the Pharisees in these Angus’s were. 

Maybe next time we’ll look at the scenes and the zealots and it should be fun. Yeah. Yeah. Let’s do that. You remind me if I don’t remember. 

We’ve got some questions to deal with on apologetics. Is never having to say you’re sorry, with my perpetual apologies to Eric Siegel. Here is the question. And I’d love more questions of you. You know, ordinarily, I just come up with something myself. I’m pretty familiar with apologetics, but I love questions. And here’s one from Nolan from Georgia. 

Hi, Dr. Price. I hear about a lot of biblical contradictions, but many of them seem pretty forced or easily explained away by biblical literally, or they don’t really challenge the central tenets of Christianity. So my question is, what do you think are the strongest, most inescapable and most damaging one or two little contradictions that would lead us to think that the Bible is of human origin? And what are the common responses now? 

That’s that is a really interesting distinction you draw. I think most of the contradictions of the Bible do nothing to impeach the major doctrines of the Christian faith. But but it’s relevant to bring them up, as Robert Ingersoll’s said, because people have made into a major doctrine the idea that the Bible cannot contradict itself since it’s the word of God. And if it does contradict itself, it isn’t the word of God. And so faithful Christians can never admit to themselves that it does contradict itself. All right. That is a major issue, though, and it has nothing to do with the Trinity or the deity of Christ and all that. You’ve got a real good point there. But are there contradictions that cannot fairly be escaped? Well, yeah. In fact, that you’ve asked for two or three. Let me briefly give you a few more than that, just to give you some tip of the iceberg of the dimensions of the problem here, though, I think once you shuck that superstitious belief about the Bible, the contradictions are actually a little tumblers to spin to one lock. A better understanding of the Bible. Well, here’s one good example. What was the order of creation in Chapter one? You know, God created the heavens on the earth and separates the light from the darkness, the sea from the dry land. He gets around to the animals and there all these different animal species. And at the end of the thing, he creates human beings, apparently a group of the male land female together. But then you turn to chapter two and now we have a whole different story. God has a garden there. So there’s plants. But then he makes the first human, the odd domme. I don’t even think it’s supposed to be a proper name. He makes this guy just attend the gardener. It’s just like in the Babylonian version where he makes humans to be his custodial staff. And so then he notices that there’s not much to do there and that the the human the the man could use some company. So he decides to create other animate beings. And he makes all the animals species. He figures maybe these will keep him company, you know, kind of like Tarzan before Jane gets there. But none of them are any good forum, presumably because most of them can’t talk. You know, we get the serpent later. Houston says it’s the wisest of all of a makan dog, but they’re just not fit for him. He’s too smart. So then he makes a woman out of the side of the man. And you can see the problem already. Totally different order. The male human, all the animal species and the female human in that order. It doesn’t say he brought some of those animals he had previously created to him. No, he makes them from the from the dust of the ground. That’s insoluble. And it is really sad, though. Also sort of amusing to see people try to get around that. And usually they do say, well, he just brought some of the ones he had made. 

But I’m afraid it just doesn’t say that that’s what they might like it to say. How long did the flood. And by the way, what does that tell us? That contradiction wasn’t just a stupid writer who wrote both. No, no. It shows us their two different creation stories. Whoever wrote either one of them had never heard of the other one. If you want to solve the problem, that’s the way to solve it. It’s no less a contradiction, but it’s not a contradiction. And then an embarrassing sense. Right. Which would whereas it would be if somebody was just so stupid like me, they couldn’t remember what they said five minutes before. Similarly, how long did the flood last? In Genesis seven 24, we hear that it lasted at 150 days, but in Genesis eight, six to twelve. What do you know? It lasted only 61 days. And there are other contradictions here and there in the flood story. Well, same thing. There were two different flood stories and the editor just decided to splice them together. Now, why do you bother doing that? He didn’t with the creation stories. Well, you see, the problem was each of the flood stories ends with a promise of God’s figure to flood the world again. So you couldn’t have story a floods. The world promises the survivors no more blood and then start up again. With one where he floods the earth, right then just make God look like he was crossing his fingers behind his back. But that’s the writer was faithful enough to the material to leave the details in. And good luck. And scholars have been pretty lucky and figured it out. The result of a stupid writer? No, not at all. It’s the result of preserving two different versions by splicing them together. Here’s another one. When did people start calling God? 

Yea. They are Jehovah, whichever you prefer. Two versions of the same name. Two different transliterations. Well what do you know. According to one passage very explicitly Genesis for 26 e Mosch, who was way back there before the flood, began to call on the name of Yerby. 

But according to Exodus six, two and three, it comes as a revelation to Moses. 

So your ancestors always knew me as a Adul Shaddai, God Almighty. But from now on, I want to be known as Yahoo! Well, which is it? It’s again, it’s because there are three different sources being stitched together. They didn’t want to leave anything out. 

Oh, here’s another goody. Who killed Goliath of Gath, the great giant. 

Well, in in first Samuel 17. Of course, it was good old David. The slingshot and all that. Most people know that so well. They just ignore it when in second, Samuel, 21, 19, a whole different guy off some a guy named Al Hanemann. And it’s certainly the same guy, Goliath of Gath, who was a giant who had giant armor. And it describes it both times. 

What the heck happened? Well, different sources, some and somebody took this El Heyman’s story and said, boy, that’s a pretty good feat. Let’s beef up David’s resumé by adding it, but didn’t want to leave the other one out. Jump over to the New Testament. Where did Jesus parents live and where was he born? Well, Matthew and Luke both know that Jesus was known as Jesus from Nazareth, but they know that as the Messiah, he must have been born in Bethlehem. So each comes up with a way to connect the dots. Note nobody is trying to deceive anybody, but the story is don’t match. Not at all. According to Matthew, Jesus parents lived in in Bethlehem, where Jesus is born in their home. And then they hear about Herod the Great wanted to kill him. So they take it on the lam to Egypt and then come back to Bethlehem. But an angel says, look, Herod son, aka Elias, is on the throne. You better lay low again. Why don’t you move up country to Galilee? They’ll never find you. They’re OK. They do. But in Luke, Mary and Joseph live in Galilee, in Nazareth. And they only happened to go up to two to Bethlehem. Well, it’s south, but it’s up then. Higher country. They went up to it. And for this taxation’s census and Jesus happens to be born there and then they come back home to Nazareth. You can’t have it both ways. So there is a heck of a contradiction. People have tried to splice those together, but you just can’t get all the puzzle pieces in. How about when Jesus was baptized and the voice from heaven speaks in Mark? It speaks to him. You are my beloved son. Mark 111 but loops in Matthew. The voice speaks to the crowd. This is my beloved son. I once asked a seminary president what he thought of that, and he said, Well, I guess we’ll find out in heaven. Oh, Allah. That’s a good answer. Boy, did Jesus teach that the Kingdom of God was going to come with signs to be observed, as in Luke 1723 21, the kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will men say low. 

Here it is. There it is. No, no. The Kingdom of God is within you. Well, then why the heck is he saying and Mark 13 that there are going to be the signs and he tells them all he says. Now this going to happen and then this is going to happen. But it won’t be happening yet, though. First, this has to happen and that has to happen. And when you see that it is happening, you’ll know it’s right at the door. Well, which is it? Did he change his mind? Again, we just have different guesses as to what Jesus had said. Let’s jump over to Peter. Jesus is arrested. He’s brought to the house of the high priest for a trial or hearing or something. 

And Peter has the guts to follow him that far when everybody else runs away. And he’s in the courtyard waiting to see what’s going to happen and people start recognizing. 

Hey, weren’t you with that guy they arrested and his answers, mate? I never saw this guy before. And somebody isn’t. No, it was you. I’m sure I saw you then. Oh, no, lady. You got the wrong man, etc.. Said doing somebody else. Yeah. Yeah. I can tell you’re a Galili. And from your accent. You were with him. No. Look, I swear I never saw that guy before. And then the rooster crows. Well, the problem is that I don’t know why this difference. But in each of the four gospels, it tells you who Peter was interrogated by, who he was answering when he denied Jesus. And it’s different people. You can’t harmonize them unless you do what Harrill Lynn Zeldin and his book Battle for the Bible and say that, well, you see, Peter actually denied Jesus oh, let’s say six times. Others have said eight. Yeah. And each gospel writer just chose his favorite three. 

Now if that’s true, then you’re admitting the Bible is wrong anyhow, right? Because Jesus says it before the rooster crows. You will have denied me three times. Doesn’t say at least three, I tell you. It’s just so pathetic. Well, I think one of the biggies, though, is the empty tomb. Did the women who visited the tomb see Jesus? Well, according to Mark, they saw a young man in White who might be intended as an angel, are often described that way in early Christian literature. And he tells them to go tell Peter and the others that Jesus will meet them in Galilee. But that’s all they see. And they don’t even obey the the order in Luke. They see two men in the tomb. Still doesn’t say they’re angels. And this time they good. They do. Go tell the disciples, though, when to listen to him. But in Matthew, they see the angel. They call him that explicitly. They see him swoop down out of heaven and shoulder the tombstone aside and sit on it. And then he gives them the order and they go back and tell them. And then on their way, they see Jesus, who pretty much just reiterates what the angels said. According to John, they see two angels in the tomb. And then there and the other women having seen nothing of left. 

But Mary Magdalene sees the two angels and turns around, sees who she thinks is the gardener. But it turns out to be Jesus. I would suggest to you that is a pretty serious contradiction. If you knew that Jesus said appeared to these women who would ever tell the story and just forget that feature, wouldn’t you think that was the whole punch line? 

So I don’t know how anybody can try to harmonize this stuff with a straight face. I just don’t see how you can do it. It just seems. Just it just this an index of the desperation people feel, so now, does that negate the Trinity or something? No, of course not. And you’re wise to ask that, but it certainly does destroy any doctrine of biblical inerrancy. So any apologist artists say he’s sorry about that. 

Now that we’re doing some questions, let’s take a few more. 

Here are two questions about the same verse in the Bible. John writes, My question involves John 18 10. I firmly believe that the gospels were made up out of whole cloth. But why would the evangelists have Peter carry a sword? Of course, this is the arrest and gift. So. 

Was it common for people, even ex fishermen, to carry around swords in those days? Are there other instances of people in the New Testament, aside from Roman Centurions going about with swords? Well, I don’t think there are. But it in in Luke, where chapter 22 at the Last Supper, Jesus says to them, Remember when I sent you out preaching and did it go OK? Did you find you lacked anything? And they said, Oh, no, Lord. 

He says, well, it’s gonna be different from now on. In fact, if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one, which apparently means you’re going to need to protect yourself from robbers on the road, just like in the Good Samaritan parable. This guy’s minding his own business, going between Jericho and Jerusalem, and he gets mugged and beaten to death, half to death and tossed in the ditch. Yeah, Travellers’ did carry weapons to protect themselves. So it’s not that odd. In fact, the exceptional thing that is assumed in this story is that you traveled unmolested for all that time, but now it’s not gonna be so easy anymore. So, yeah. Now he goes right on to add a contradictory theme. He says, well, I’m telling you this, to buy a sort of you don’t have one to fulfill the prophecy. Isaiah, 53. He was numbered among the transgressors. And that’s looking forward to the arrest scene where, as they say in superstar. Hang on, Lord, we’re going to fight for you to try to prevent his arrest. So if Jesus doesn’t want them to prevent his arrest, he just figures now this has got to happen because it’s prophesied. That’s a Lukan theme. And he’s probably added that to an earlier version, which simply meant you better protect yourselves from now on. That kind of implies he did not teach an absolute pacifism. Right. But yeah, so so that I think that is only implication. But it seems like the odd thing is that they didn’t have to carry them before. Not that they will now. So I think it’s just protection and thus loads of people did. 

Okay. Michael from France writes, I have a question about arrest, though. Jesus. It is said then Zhanna Dean, 10, and the King James version, Zen Simon beat, though having his sword do it, then smote Zae Briese servant, then cut off his radio. The Sevan’s name was Malachy’s. Why is beat them not immediately arrested for cutting off CEO of Malachy’s is the guy that fired though Jesus. So is it that the high priest just doesn’t really care if his servant has such a misfortune? Pretty good question. 

That is, of course, the earlier gospels don’t say who it was. That’s a tendency of legend building to start identifying people left nameless in earlier versions. 

But somebody had the sword and whacked this guy. Of course, he wasn’t trying to cut his ear off. That’d be kind of pointless, right? He’s trying to split the guy’s skull and mrs. So, yeah, this is a pitched battle beginning, which Jesus then stops in the Gospels. Right. He doesn’t want this to happen. 

But still it’s started. You’re right. How does Pete get off scot free? 

Well, this is a sign of this either being completely fictitious as some think, or being a heavily rewritten version of an original in which Jesus was something of a zealot revolutionist. And that’s why he was being arrested. And naturally, he traveled with an armed bodyguard who did fight. And they they have a melee there. And it says they fled the scene as if they did expect danger. Who knows what else was going on here. And so I guess you could say, though, that in any event, the fact that he flees might be to prevent being arrested or to prevent reprisals. But it doesn’t really it isn’t put quite that way. So this may be a vestige of one loose end left there that hynd. That, as s G.F. Brandons says in his book, Jesus and the Zealots, that perhaps there was a military element not only to this, but to the cleansing of the temple incident as well, which in any case led to the arrest. Right. Well, another Chris writes, What is actually demanded by the first commandment. I am your God. You shall have no other gods beside me. It seems to suggest the existence of other gods than Yahoo! How might liberal Protestants or Catholics square this idea with the existence of the Almighty God? Well, the fact that you’ve qualified it as you have makes it pretty easy to answer. At least scholars in these traditions tend to be willing to admit that, yes, monotheism was a very, very gradual development in Jewish thought that originally they were polytheists, worshiped many gods, and that this whether it’s from the time of Moses or much more likely not, that that setting is fictitious. This is an attempt to change that to what scholars call Manala Tree monotheism, one God ism. You believe there’s just one God but Manale the tree means the worship or lay trio of Momus one God. And this notion is and you see this throughout the Bible, like Elijah is, is trying to defeat the encroaching worship of Bayo Mal Kav in Israel. And so they have this miracle contest and all that. And this is to prove that yaama is the God of Israel. He doesn’t challenge that there is such a thing as BEO. No, it’s just that the Israelites have no business worshiping him. Well, and how is it phrased in the Ten Commandments. I am ya. May your God who brought you up out of is out of Egypt. Out of the house of bondage. You will have no other gods but me. In other words, you owe nothing to the gods of the nations. I am the one who saved you. You owe me. So I am to be your God. It doesn’t say there aren’t any gods but me, right? That would have been pretty easy to say. And at a later time in the second Isaiah. It does say that I am God. And there is none beside me. That’s monotheism. But this is Monogatari. 

And as I say, many Catholics are willing to say, look, you’ve got to admit the Bible says what it says. But there is this gradual progress toward monotheism. What the heck? It’s progressive revelation. That’s because Roman Catholics and liberal Protestants aren’t hung up on this inerrancy thing. 

They’re quite willing to say the Bible has fiction and legend in it and so forth. You can’t just swear by everything it says, as fundamentalist Protestants do. 

Well, now talk about things that are in the Bible. Not everything people think is in the Bible is. So let’s get and do. Is that in the Bible? 

And usually, course, you know, I am I aim here is to say you wouldn’t guess it, but here’s some weird thing in the Bible. Here’s a different slant on it. And Joel from Maryland writes, I was listening to another podcast where someone commented. What’s that? Listening to another podcast that should listen to know of their bad. No, just kidding. I was listening to another podcast where someone commented that the descriptors commonly applied to God perfect Nishant omnipresent are not actually given in the Bible. Is that true? Are there any other facts about God that have no basis in scripture? Whoo! I love that one. That’s good. Well, perfect. Yeah. That is stated though never defined when in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus raises the standard pretty high and he says You shall be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect. Yikes. I had a very similar thing is back in Leviticus. You shall be holy for I am wholly untainted by ritual transgression etc but perfect. Yikes. Some people try to weasel out of and say wow telos the end of a goal perfection. It could just mean complete. You shall be well rounded by God. Come on. I mean it’s cheek by jowl with a statement. The measure of righteousness exceeds that of a scribes and the Pharisees. No way will you enter the kingdom. That kind of seems to me to be perfectionism, right? Like in first John, whoever is borne of God doesn’t sin because he can’t sin. That’s perfectionism. Right. But so I would say. Yeah. Though it doesn’t define it as Aristotle would have an acquired usted. You got some to build on there. And I’d kind of say that with some of these others. Paul Telic says it, his great little book, Biblical Religion and the Search for Ultimate Reality. He says the Bible does not deal in philosophy. He says it doesn’t speak in terms of ontology or metaphysics, but it does say things that raise questions left to us to answer philosophically. 

Now that, I think is exactly the way to take some stuff in the Bible, it doesn’t really teach these things in the sense that it doesn’t explain them. 

But it does say certain things that eventually led Jewish and Christian philosophers to come up with these these attributes that God is Nishant. That is, he knows everything. The Buddhists wrestled with this. Does the Buddha know everything as it’s always going to come up? Is the omnipresent. That is. He is everywhere. Is see omnipotent. All powerful. Which raises the great Sunday school stumper. Can he create a rock too heavy for him to pick up? Can he create a river too wide, formed a cross and so on? I think Conte would have liked that. But does the Bible actually say these things? Here’s a couple of passages that plant those seeds in people’s mind. Solomon is dedicating the temple and the house of God, supposedly in First Kings 827. He says, Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you. How much less this house which I have built. Well, that’s interesting. He speaks of the concentric heavens above the earth in ancient cosmology. Those can’t contain you. The wide sky. The headline of the stars. They’re too small for you. It’s ridiculous to think you could literally inhabit a temple. That’s getting there right now. This is a later imposition on the story. Of course, the idea of a temple was that God did live there. And a later writer, The Duder and a mystic historian, has decided to have Solomon sort of say, well, just kidding. Not really. But you see, somebody else is moving toward the idea of a more abstract God, though it doesn’t exactly say right. Omnipresence, all that. That’s a pretty fair inference, but that is what it is. It’s an inference, not an explicit teaching. When Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemani is hoping to avoid being crucified, he’s his father. All things are possible for you. Take this cup from me. All things are possible is not a pretty fair statement of omnipotence. Well, it might be. But again, that would really be an inferential unpacking of the term, that would be an extrapolation, not an unfair one. 

But this statement is so terse and brief. I don’t think it’s quite fair to say, you see, Jesus is teaching omnipotence. 

It could just mean God certainly isn’t in a corner. God can manipulate things any way he wants. And of the opposite of omnipotence is an impotence. Right. In this case, we’re just wondering how far they would push the power of God. But you can see this being a fair inference from this. 

Now, the best example of where people may have gotten the idea of these attributes would be Psalm 139. Oh, Lord VAO has searched me and known me. Thou noticed when I sit down and when I rise up that discern ist my thoughts from afar. Thou searches stop my path and my lying down and aren’t acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue. Oh Lord thou noticed that altogether. Thou must be sent may behind and before and last. Thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful. For me it is high. I cannot attain it with or shall I go from by spirit or whither shall I flee from my presence if I ascend to heaven. Thou art there. If I make my bed and shake old another world thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning. That is of Qahar, the dawn goddess, and dwell of the utter most parts of the sea even there. By hand shall lead me in my right hand. Shall hold me if I say let. Only darkness cover me. And the light about me being night. Even the darkness is not dark to thee. The night is bright as the day for darkness is as light with the loudest form. My inward parts found its knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise thee for thou art fearful and wonderful wonderful of I works thou noticed me right. Well my frame was not hidden from the when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth thy eyes beheld. My unformed substance in thy book were written every one of them. The days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me of I thought so God, how vast is the sum of them? If I were to count them, they are more than the sand. When I awake I am still with thee. 

Now you can see getting Nishan sight of that. I don’t think it actually completely says it. I mean God is aware of. Of all sorts of stuff. Nothing escapes his notice. But does he actually know the future, et cetera, et cetera. Again, not much of a leap, right? I’m not trying to deny that it’s in there, but nobody has explained it right. This isn’t a drawn out in the way theologians draw it out. Does design doesn’t he know the future? He knows all the Psalms days what’s going to happen to him before it even happens? That’s not necessarily for knowledge. That means that perhaps no more than that God is scripted everybody’s life and they’re going to do what he says they’re going to do, which, of course, brings up another question about omniscience being all knowing in the Bible if God can predict the future through the prophets, doesn’t they know the future are not necessarily there? I think the point really is that God is so powerful, whether literally all powerful or not, that no one can stop him from doing what he wants to do. If he says I’m going to sic the Assyrian empire on Israel, you’re not going to stop him, right? I think that’s the point there. He doesn’t need to be literally or technically omnipotent. Like the Bible doesn’t necessarily say, as Calvinists would, that he is the cause of every effect. It’s it gets really messy, right. Calvinism say, well, he is on one level, but not on another and so forth. But my whole point is that kind of thing is not spelled out here. Is God present everywhere? Will it comes pretty darn close to saying that. So, yeah, these are the so-called attributes of God are, I think, anticipated in the Bible, though they if they don’t spell it out, I guess I’ve said that a million times and I need garrulous here. So, yeah, I’d just like to. Let me just say one other thing about this is the Trinity. Even implied in the Bible. Often theologians, historians of Doctorow’s say, well, of course, it’s not taught in the Bible or they wouldn’t have had such trouble hammer and the thing out over a couple of centuries. But is it imply there? I don’t even think that’s the case. I think that, though, a possible inference that’s on a much higher level of extrapolation and abstraction here. Yeah, it is extrapolation, an abstraction, but it’s a lot closer to a text. We don’t know if the original writers would have understood or proven those inferences, but they’re certainly fair ones. So is it in the Bible? Well, yes and no. Sorry about that. But yeah, it’s it’s rooted in the Bible, that’s for sure. 

Well, I hate to say it, but that’s it for another episode of the Human Bible. Thanks for being with us. See you next time. Which I know will be soon. 

Thanks for joining me on this episode of the Human Bible to send us questions or comments on the show, which we really hope you do. You can e-mail questions at the human Bible, dot net or feed back at the human bible dot net. We’re also on Twitter at Human Bible, on Facebook at slash the Human Bible. And you can even leave a voicemail on our human bible hotline by calling seven one six seven one. I. B, Ellie. You can get all that information and more on our Web site. The human bible dot net views expressed on the human Bible aren’t necessarily the views of the Center for Inquiry, nor its affiliated organizations. The Human Bible is produced by Adam Isaac in Amherst, New York, and features contributions from Debbie Goddard. I’m your host, Robert M. Price.