I wanted to respond to Marion Blais's Aug. 3 letter "Study required to appreciate Bible." I couldn't agree more.
But which Bible should be studied?
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Should we be studying the Catholic Bible, the various contemporary Protestant Bibles, or even older non-canonized scriptures like the Gospel of Thomas or the Nag-Hammadi Library?
There are many contradictory accounts within and between these various scriptures. The scholarly field of textual criticism has shown that the history of the Bible is filled with people making edits to make it more in line with their theology.
Professor Bart Erhman's book "Misquoting Jesus" provides many examples of this phenomenon.
It's even been discovered that the Bible has been subtly edited for political purposes within the last 40 years. For example, many religious "pro-lifers" cite the current phrasing of Exodus 21:22-25 as evidence that the Bible says a fetus is equal to a human being. However, this is not only in conflict with Jewish law but also with how those passages were written in most Bibles in the early 1970s before the "pro-life" movement had much political power. If you find a Bible from before the edits took place around 1977, you can see the passages clearly rank a fetus as less than human.
So yes, study the Bible. But do so objectively, as opposed to simply parroting whatever shallow interpretation you were told in church as "the truth." and you might learn some very interesting things. Matthew Lowry