Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Say Whattttt !!

Another lesson with the missionaries yesterday.   By now at home I have several bible translations in use, KJV, The Oxford Bible Commentary, and a Catholic Bible, along with a New International Version (which I haven't yet used in these studies).  Meanwhile Arthur has been pulling out book after book from his collection of books from over the years in both his ardentness and his disaffectedness along with a goodly number of LDS related magazines he collected.  Elder M. gifted me a new Big Letter version of the three books in one = Book of Mormon (BOM), Doctrines and Covenants (D & C), and  Pearl of Great Price (POGP), which elicted one of Arthur's joking comments to which the young missionary said simply 'it's so she can do her homework'.  He had asked me to review some verses as homework.  He also gifted us an hour long dvd, The Testaments.

Between all that material, and my own questing via internet gobbling up information that I can get to as fast as the hours permit, I've no shortage of reading material.  Hello life, some things are not getting done, and I'm not complaining, as this learning curve phase can't go on indefinitely, can it?

I'm intrigued because we read Matthew 26: 36-55, then John 18: 33-37 and then Matthew 27: 45-54 when Elder M. mentioned that it was curious that Matthen 27; 9 indicated 'Jeremy the prophet'.    And sure enough it does in the KJV.  No way...Jeremy?!    That wasn't a name commonly used in those biblical writings.  Jeremy?   I told him it had piqued my curiosity and I was going to chase it down.  Which is what I did today. And thus begins the old dialogue about bible translations, bible translators and agendas for books of the bible.   I made a mental note and told myself, I'm not going there, been there many times before and it becomes a circuitous chasing my tail to little or no avail (ah, a poetic rhyme).

It's been mentioned a few times in my learnings that the gospel of Matthew may have had a strong agenda to favor the Romans (might have been politically expedient at that time to do so) with a slant against the Jews of that time making the Jews out to be more villainous than was perhaps accurate.   I can somewhat be dismissive of the Jeremy the prophet as written in Matthew, but it is rather indicative of a square peg being fitted to a round hole.  Some bible translations reference it as Jeremias the prophet, or Jeremiah the prophet, however the reference to the Old Testament book that speaks of Jeremiah is not the book of Jeremiah but the book of Zechariah.

Nonetheless, I can live with this and sort of wonder why young Elder M. mentioned it.   Moving on.

Reading Matthew 27: 45-54, Jesus being crucified which is an oh so familiar story, having heard it, read it, seen it so many times over my life time....but what is this verse 51 - 53; the veil of the temple was rent in two, the earth quakes, the rocks rent, and the graves were opened and many bodies of the saints which slept arose and came out of the graves after his ressurection and went into the holy city and appeared to many.

What!   I don't recall any time that this portrayal of saints arising from the dead and heading out to the holy city was part of the crucifixion/resurrection story.  Not in Mark, not in Luke, not in John, only in Matthew.
Internet here I come once again.  And it is explained away in metaphor or symbology or used as argument for the erroneous manner in which the stories of the bible are built, or used as arguments for atheism as in there are so many errors in the bible as to defy reason, thus there cannot be a God.

You know, I'm not altogether sure what it means, why I haven't heard of it before now - the part about the holy people coming out of their graves - and how I will put it together, but there it is in all the translations, just somewhat different words that still indicate that some that were dead were made alive at the time that Jesus is being crucified.  The arguments flow back and forth as to whether it was at the time Jesus died or the time of Jesus resurrection, and did these arisen wander for three days --- that sort of back and forth discussion.   I can instantly see a correlation to the writer(s) of Matthew putting a spiritual end to the Jews with the renting of the veil, the renting of the rocks and the rising of the sainteds out of the grave, thus giving birth firmly to a new Christology as supplanting Judaism.  I believe the gospel of Matthew was the last of the gospels to be written after Mark, Luke and John, and written at a much later time post Jesus death.  Were these verses added in that they do not appear in the earlier 3 gospels, and if so why were they added, how did add to the account?

Something else to assimilate and if I've learned nothing else in my studies of bible, I've decidedly learned there is very little that is concrete in the structuring of the bible, yet much to be learned and gained.  Ahh, but that it were a linear narrative, wouldn't it be so much simpler?

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