The Holy Bible: Forgeries Upon an Original Fiction

The Holy Bible: Forgeries Upon an Original Fiction

The Fictionalization Of The Bible

Of course, it comes as no surprise today that the stories in the Bible aren’t true. What may come as a surprise, though, is the fact that over time, these original tales of fiction were modified in various ways by those who had an agenda for their “sacred scriptures.” 

Today, the English language boasts hundreds of versions of the Holy Bible—all in disharmony.

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While many versions of the Bible have retained the altered segments, at least the publishers of some versions are honest enough to indicate, often subtly and even cryptically, that certain passages have been interpolated—that is to say modified, forged, falsified.

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The longer ending to Mark is one of the most damaging and perhaps most deceptive and forceful collection of mendacities in the Bible.

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Shall Ye be Damned?

One of the most compelling examples of interpolation is in the Gospel of Mark. The New Oxford Annotated Bible (NOAB), which uses the NRS (New Revised Standard) Bible version as its text, provides this footnote to the end of Chapter 16: “16:9-20: Two attempts to provide a more satisfactory ending to the Gospel of Mark. The shorter ending. 

Although present in some manuscripts, this ending is clearly different from the rest of Mark in style and understanding of Jesus.” The annotation then mentions the existence of the longer ending, “possibly written in the early second century and appended to the Gospel later in the second century.” 

The NOAB contains another footnote regarding this scripture, which admits that “some of the most ancient authorities bring the book to a close at the end of verse 8. One authority concludes the book with the shorter ending; others include the shorter ending and then continue with verses 9-20…” 

In the NOAB, the phrase “ancient authorities” means that the earliest and most reliable physical scriptures that still exist today are altered versions of the original. 

The NOAB brackets the shorter ending, indicating its questionable authenticity: “[And all that had been commanded them they told briefly to those around Peter. 

And afterward, Jesus himself sent out through them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.]” Bible scholars largely agree that both the shorter and the longer endings are interpolations. 

The most reliable and oldest sources of Mark end at 16:8, and the reason should be clear why some shifty copyist of the second century added a fictional narrative after the original closing verse: “So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” 

This is the reason the NOAB theorizes that both the shorter and longer interpolations are attempts to devise a “more satisfactory ending.” This scene comes after some women have visited the tomb of Jesus, where they encounter a young man who claims that Jesus “has been raised” and tells them to report what they saw to Peter. Yet “they said nothing to anyone.” 

If the original Mark 16:8 claimed that they looked into the tomb but told nobody what they saw, then how could the author of the Book of Mark know that? 

And thus at least two redactors tried to fix this obvious work of fiction, one penning the longer ending and another writer in the second century inventing the shorter. 

The longer ending to Mark is one of the most damaging and perhaps most deceptive and forceful collections of mendacities in the Bible. 

Here is the text of Verses 16-20, the longer ending, as it appears in the King James Version (KJV), translated from its original Greek:

Now when Jesus rose early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 

And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. After that, he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. 

Afterward, he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he rose. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. 

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 

So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

In his 1930 book, Forgery in Christianity, Joseph Wheless has this to say about Mark 16:16 (He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.): “It should be a relief to many pious Hell-fearing Christians to know that their Christ did not utter these damning words, and that they may disbelieve with entire impunity; that they are priestly forgeries to frighten credulous persons into belief and submission to priestcraft.” Wheless was quite the optimist. 

I have never met a Christian who was aware that Mark 16:9 onward was long ago exposed as a complete forgery. Mark was the earliest of the four Gospels and yet the original version says nothing about a post-crucifixion appearance of Jesus! 

The original also contained no edicts damning you for not believing or not being baptized. That is not to say that the Jesus character would not damn you for other things, such as blasphemy against the Holy Ghost which puts you in “in danger of eternal damnation” (Mark 3:29). 

He also threatens that a pretense of long prayers will cause you to “receive greater damnation” (Mark 12:40). Then we have Jesus cautioning against calling someone a fool, an offense that might be met with “hell fire” (Matthew 5:22). 

One cannot know who added the fraudulent longer ending to Mark, but it was probably some unscrupulous individual who had compelling reasons to frighten people into joining the newly invented religion.

No Casting the First Stone

The NOAB sets off the verses of John 7:53-8:11 in double-brackets (thus indicating interpolation) and adds this footnote: “7.53-8.11: The woman caught in adultery. This episode is not found in the most authoritative manuscripts…” 

This is the story of men who bring an unfaithful woman to Jesus with plans to stone her to death for adultery (mandatory under Hebrew law). Jesus then utters the famous line, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Well, Jesus said no such thing. 

This passage does not exist in our earliest and most reliable copies of the scriptures. In addition, these verses also contain the only reference to Jesus ever writing anything, which he does in the dirt. Some Christians use this as proof that Jesus wasn’t illiterate. But this is an interpolation, so the proof goes poof.

No “Nor the Son” 

In Matthew 24:36, Jesus says this about the end of the world: “But about that day and hour no one knows, not the angels of heaven, [nor the Son,] but only the Father.” 

Although the words “nor the Son” are included in some early Greek manuscripts, the phrase does not appear in the KJV. The NOAB notes: “Other ancient authorities lack ‘nor the Son.’” I take this to mean that the translators of some Bible versions, KJV included, recognized the logical contradiction: Jesus is omniscient, so if God knows something, Jesus should, too. 

The KJV text says, “But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

No Resurrection

The entirety of John 21 is a later add-on. In Misquoting Jesus, Bible scholar Bart Ehrman notes that “the chapter seems to come to an end in 20:30-31 ... and the events of Chapter 21 seem to be a kind of afterthought…” The Encyclopedia Biblica states that John 21 is “beyond question a later appendix” and “does not come from the same author” as the rest of John. The NOAB agrees, even including “most scholars” in its conclusion. 

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The resurrection narrative is thus not present in the original gospel.
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It is another tale of a post-crucifixion appearance that claims to record a fictional “third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he rose from the dead” ( John 21:14).

No “Even the World Itself”

In his 1920 book A Commentary on the Holy Bible, John Dummelow notes that in John 21:24-25, the verses are “really doubtful” and “...may possibly have been added by the Ephesian elders, who first put the Gospel in circulation after the death of the Apostle, and who wished to testify to its genuineness and trustworthiness...to correct a popular belief that the beloved disciple would not die before our Lord’s Second Advent.” 

This corrupted Bible section contains the following fantastic handwaving tale: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” ( John 21:25). Not Carried up into Heaven Bible scholars agree that Luke 24:51 is a much later interpolation.

The fraudulent version reads, “While he was lessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven” (NRS). The NOAB admits “other ancient authorities lack ‘and was carried up into heaven.’” The original version of Luke 24 says, “While he was lessing them, he withdrew from them.” That’s it. 

No mythical and fictitious ascent to heaven. A quick note on heaven: If sin is an outcome of free will, and Christians claim that there is no sin in heaven, does that mean there is no free will in heaven? Are people just robots there?

No Shutting up of Women

The text of 1 Corinthians 14: 34-35 is easy to cite as one of the many examples of misogyny in the Bible, but these particular commands are likely to be forgeries as well. 

The NOAB footnote for these verses reads, “Since these statements silencing women in the assembly are found in two different places in the ancient manuscripts, between 14.33 and 14.36 and after 14.40, they may be a marginal gloss later interpolated into the text; similar wording occurs in 1 Tim 2.311-12.” Paul’s epistles as published in most Bible versions suffer from textual corruption. 

In A Short History of Christianity, published in 1902, John M. Robertson remarks that 1 Corinthians 11 and 15 “have every mark of interpolation.”

No Jesus in the Form of God

There is a hymn that was inserted into Philippians 2:6-11 declaring that Jesus, “being in the form of God,” acquired the figure of a servant and “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” This hymn, which contains several words found nowhere else in the New Testament, comes out of nowhere and breaks the flow of Paul’s letter. 

That’s because it was not written by Paul.

No Driving Us Out 

In 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15, Paul mentions the followers of Jesus being driven out from their homeland: “For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out” (NASB). 

Paul was dead a decade before this occurred, so he surely did not pen these words. Moreover, nowhere else does Paul blame the Jews for killing his imagined Christ. 

Yet another interpolation. Thus, we have the Holy Bible for what it is: a work of fiction in its original form, forged and re-forged at the whim of early Christians who added even more threats and magical events and wickedness. And do you know, there are actually people today who believe all the stories in the Bible to be true?

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By Michael Paulkovich

Michael B. Paulkovich is a columnist for American Atheist, an aerospace engineer and freelance writer who also contributes to Free Inquiry and Humanist Perspective. He is a contributing editor for The American Rationalist and the author of No Meek Messiah. His next book, Beyond the Crusades, was published in 2015 by American Atheist Press.

Graphics and copy-edited by Rick Wingrove (RWingrove@Atheists.org)

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