Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Answers to "10 Unsolved Mysteries of the Bible"

Here is the video:

10 Unsolved Mysteries of the Bible
Alltime10s | 17.IX.2016

Come on, don't snicker! Show some respect to a video which has 4 873 982 views!

This time, I do the answers on this post first, then link to it under the video in a short comment, seeing if it will provoke debate./HGL

  • 10) There is an intriguing theory among some Bible scholars that the garden of Eden could have existed in real life ...

    That is like saying "there is an intriguing theory among some Bible scholars that Jesus really rose from the dead" ...

    No, not an unsolved mystery.

    It is perhaps an unsolved mystery where it was, and whether Earthly Paradise survived the Flood in any fashion. Probably it did by being taken up into space. Elflands like Avalon are also kind of an at least second rate option.

  • 9) "have since then inexplicably disappeared from the pages of the Bible and history"

    No, Tobit might well have been from after deportation and Iraqi Christians to this day would normally descend in part, but not in their entirety, from the Ten Tribes and in other part from Assyrians.

  • 8) Behemoth : a certain type of dino, namely sauropod, has sufficient similarities to both elephants and hippos to cause those other historical identifications.

    Unicorns (a mythological creature) : the horns of a young or small species Ceratopsian are mainly one horn on the nose.

  • 7) When will the Apocalypse happen?

    Probably refers not to all of the text of the Apocalypse, some has been ongoing for 2000 years, but probably refers to the "scary stuff".

    Probably at a time when many think it won't happen, because prophecy doesn't happen - or so they think.

    Probably also a time when there is a unique chance of someone getting a name:

    • so that parents then do NOT know it adds up to 666
    • so that when he grows up and comes to power, many DO know (or only by wilful choice refuse to know) it so adds up.

    Now, we certainly live in a time when many think Christianity is bogus and we also live in a time when people are still alive who were born before ASCII, and whose names now that ASCII exists do add up to 666.

    So, "in our time" is at least a fairly fair guess.

    "For example, in the year 1000, Christian armies waged wars against various Pagan countries, killing thousands in order to forcibly convert people to Christianity before the day of Judgement"

    Let's have a look at English wikipedia on 1000, Christendom, for potential or even actual wars:

    In continental Europe, the Holy Roman Empire established itself as the most powerful state. Otto III made a pilgrimage from Rome to Aachen and Gniezno (Gnesen), stopping at Regensburg, Meissen, Magdeburg, and Gniezno. The Congress of Gniezno (with Bolesław I Chrobry) was part of his pilgrimage. In Rome, he built the basilica of San Bartolomeo all'Isola, to host the relics of St. Bartholomew.

    In France, Robert II, the son of Hugh Capet, was the first of the Capetian kings.

    The Byzantine Empire under the Macedonian dynasty was engaged in a long and hard war with the First Bulgarian Empire. In the year 1000, the Byzantine generals Theodorokanos and Nikephoros Xiphias captured the former Bulgarian capitals of Pliska and Great Preslav, along with Little Preslav, extending Byzantine control over the northeastern portion of the Bulgarian state (Mysia and Scythia Minor). At the same time, Byzantium was instrumental in the Christianization of the Kievan Rus' and of other medieval Slavic states.

    In Great Britain, a unified Kingdom of England had developed out of the various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. In Scandinavia, Christianization was in its early stages, with the Althingi of the Icelandic Commonwealth embracing Christianity in the year 1000.

    On September 9, King Olaf Tryggvason was defeated by an alliance of his enemies in the Battle of Svolder. Sweyn I established Danish control over part of Norway. Oslo, Norway, was founded (the exact year is debatable, but the 1,000 year anniversary was held in the year 2000).


    Hungary was established in 1000 as a Christian state. In the next centuries, the Kingdom of Hungary became the pre-eminent cultural power in the Central European region. On December 25, Stephen I was crowned as the first King of Hungary in Esztergom.

    Sancho III of Navarre became King of Aragon and Navarre. The Reconquista was gaining some ground, but the southern Iberian peninsula would still be dominated by Islam for centuries to come; Córdoba at this time was the world's largest city with 450,000 inhabitants.

    Holy Roman Empire? No war.

    France? No War.

    Byzantine Empire? War against Bulgaria - more precisely First Bulgarian Empire - which had a Christian Church since more than a Century.

    England? No war against Pagans that year.

    Hungary? There may have been internal battles about accepting Christianity or not, as was the case with King Olaf Tryggvason. It's unclear whether the victorious Sweyn was simply a Pagan or preferred missionaries from somewhere else than where Adam of Bremen was later describing him as Pagan. Olaf was however clearly a Christian, and he and his were the side that got butchered.

    Reconquista? Yes, war, and against Pagans, if you count Muslims and Idolaters together as Pagans. But this was not to forcibly convert Muslims, it was to free Christians from Muslim domination.

    So, no, the description is simply false. You may have confused with First Crusade, but they started later than 1000.

  • 6) When was Jesus born?

    It hasn't occurred that "secular" as in non-Christian sources (the only ones in conflict with Gospels) for the time back then are so scarce that one cannot confidently claim that the census was over a decade after Herod died?

    For 1000 the source material is richer than for 1000 years earlier, and even for AD 1000 we cannot be sure whether Sweyn was a Pagan or whether he just preferred English Catholic priests over North German Catholic priests. His father had been baptised, but he could have rebelled to get support from Pagan reactionaries - or Adam of Bremen could have described him as Pagan because he thought a real Christian in Denmark would get North German Catholic priests (this is back when England and North Germany were still Catholic, btw).

    Or, as has also been suggested, the census to all the world would have been one of loyalty, not of monetary possessions, and therefore distinct from the one occurring (according to a modern reading of Pagan sources from probably a century later, unless Velleius Paterculus uniquely mentions it just decades after it happened) "a decade later".

    "This date was popularized as 'Christmas' over 300 years after his death..."

    Christians in Egypt had been celebrating it earlier. And as the Holy Family had been in Egypt, some of them would have been in a position to know.

    "... potentially to tie in with Winter Solstice festivities."

    There weren't any exactly such. Saturnalia were before December 25, Sol Invictus was promoted by an Emperor well after Christians were around (and so it could have been to compete against Christmas), and we cannot know it was popular - or not popular - with total certainty. On balance, probably not, or only fleetingly so.

  • 5) "At least 17 books have mysteriously disappeared from our modern Bibles, and no one knows what happened to them"

    We do. Ten were never core Bible books among all Christians (Ascension of Isaiah, IV Maccabees, Ethiopian Henoch, II, III and IV Baruch ...) and seven were taken out at Reformation or later by Protestants, as they are equally missing from the Jewish Bible or OT.

    As to the books mentioned in I Chronicles 29:29 ...

    Now the acts of king David first and last are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer:

    I would say, these books are not so much missing as "wiki-ised" - contributions of Samuel, Nathan and Gad being conflated into one text, both in Kings and in Chronicles.

    Or Chronicles states its sources here, the contribution of sources in Kings could have been different, except probably including all the text of Samuel (II Kings is also called II Samuel).

  • 4) Was Jesus Married?

    Ordinary sense of the word : no. His bride is the Church.

    However, he died without fathering children, and when that happens, in Israel, "His brother" was supposed to take over His widow and first son would be his. If He did not have a wife, I find it possible a fiancée or some woman close to Him in friendship could have been designated as "His widow".

    "which forensic analysis concluded did indeed date back to Biblical times"

    I looked up wiki:

    Gospel of Jesus' Wife

    The Gospel of Jesus' Wife is a papyrus fragment with Coptic text that includes the words, "Jesus said to them, 'my wife...'". The text received widespread attention when first publicized in 2012 for the implication that some early Christians believed that Jesus was married.

    The fragment was first presented by Harvard Divinity School Professor Karen L. King,[1][2][3] who suggested that the papyrus contained a fourth-century Coptic translation of a gospel likely composed in Greek in the late second century.[4] Following an investigative Atlantic article by Ariel Sabar published online in June 2016,[5] King conceded that the evidence now "presses in the direction of forgery."[6]

    Radiocarbon dating determined that the papyrus is medieval, and further analysis of the language led most scholars to conclude it was copied from the Gospel of Thomas.[7] The fragment's provenance and similarity to another fragment from the same anonymous owner widely believed to be fake further supported a consensus among scholars that the text is a modern forgery written on a scrap of medieval papyrus.[7]

    Since this last information is most important, look up note seven:

    Joel Baden and Candida Moss (December 2014). "The Curious Case of Jesus's Wife". The Atlantic.

    Actually, it seems that a dialect of Coptic (Lycopolitan, to those which this means anything to) had been written on another manuscript involving Gospel of St John. The manuscript was dated to when no more manuscripts of Lycopolitan are from and also, the manuscript featured an impossible coincidence with but very possible dependence on an edition from 1924.

    And this other manuscript came from the same collection ... which had not been made by a professional in the first place. It is in the article referred to as the Laukamp cache.

    Hence, the papyri could clearly be old and yet the text young.

  • 3) Jesus's missing years?

    No, it is not a mystery, He was doing carpentry.

    And He was doing it in Nazareth in Galilaea. Perhaps He visited some relative doing fishing, since He had no trouble being a partner (somewhat) in the fishing business of His disciples.

    It's not even said He helped to empty the nets, so it's possible He was only carpenter and the fishermen among His disciples wanted Him to leave the fishing to them.

    Visiting Japan based on "documents lost in WW-II" sounds like we could be dealing with lost attempts of Hirohito to discredit Christianity. Visiting Britain is somewhat less unlikely, if Joseph of Arimathea had a possession there and if he had been one of the men admiring Him in the temple. Also, His deposing the Grail there sounds more like post-Resurrection than years 12 to 30.

  • 2) Lost City of Ophir

    Yes, the exact location could be a mystery, however, I might want to ask Damien Mackey on this one ...

  • 1) Where is the Ark of the Covenant?

    I don't really know. That could be a real mystery.

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