Lies in the bible?

According to a story in today’s Huffington Post, several of the books of the bible are known to have been written by people who were not who they claimed to be. The story is here:

I don’t know how to make a link; sorry.

I don’t remember ever opening a GD thread because I am simply not skilled in debate. I thought this forum was the most likely but I’m unable to take and/or defend a position.

I am very interested in what our more skilled debaters think of this story how they think it might effect the believers amongst us, if it effects them at all.

I hope it might generate some discussion.

Type and highlight with your mouse the words you want to appear on screen. Then click on the “insert link” icon (it’s the icon looking like a globle under the “smiley” icon, along with the fonts, sizes, etc… A pop-up windows will appear (might be blocked by pop-up blockers, so you have to allow pop up windows for this site) where you cut/past the url.

Didn’t checked your link yet.

Wiki’s take on Pseudepigrapha.

You do know that Huffpost isn’t a serious and reliable news site, don’t you?

From the link:

This is a very strange statement coming from someone who wrote a book called, Forged: Writing in the Name of God – Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. No scholar today believes that the books were written by an author whose name is on that book. The names were slapped on by someone else, years or hundreds of years later. If that’s the best this writer can do, I don’t think much of the rest of his claims.

Link to “Who wrote the Bible?”

Did any of the Gospels have any internal authorship claims? I don’t recall the writers ever directly identifying themselves.

Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, one of the most likely suspects, starts out "“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.”

As already noted, this is not news. There are a few extremely conservative biblical literalists, (and, really, not many of them), who might believe that every book in the New Testament was written by the named author, but everyone else knows that some names were assigned by later collectors and some works were published attempting to invoke the authority of an earlier writer.
In the Hebrew bible, the mutiple authors of “Isaiah” have been understood for so long that the book is routinely divided into sections labeled “Isaiah,” “Deutero-Isaiah,” and “Trito-Isiah” in discussions.

There are differences of opinion regarding the specific authorship of various books, but it has not affected general Jewish or Christian understanding of the overall work.

Several works (e.g., The Epistle of James, the Revelation of John, etc.), provide a claim of authorship at the beginning. None of the Gospels, (Strassia’s specific question), do.

Skeptic that I am, I feel obligated to point out that without independent corroboration, just writing “I am James and here is my story” doesn’t prove that James wrote it. For all we know, a John wrote “The Gospel of James” and a James wrote “The Gospel of John.”

This story is the first time I’ve encountered claims like this. I’ll have to add it to the ever-growing list of things I didn’t know.

If it’s old new that everyone knew about except me, then close the thread. No sense in beating a dead horse.

I agree with Czarcasm that Ephesians, which Paul probably did not write, has an opening that claims Paul as the author. I am not making any claims as to the accuracy of the headings; I just noted that Strassia’s question was not directly answered by Czarcasm’s post.

You don’t need to be a serious skeptic to challenge the authorship of most works in the Bible; most religious scholars take the same tack.

I’ll leave it open in case someone actually wants to defend the claims of authorship for specific works. There will probably be a few more informative posts on the topic, as well.

You don’t hang around GD much, do you? :smiley:
Seriously, ignorance fought. I’ll second the recommendation for “Who Wrote the Bible,” though IIRC that is mostly concerned with OT authorship.
I started becoming an atheist a bit over 40 years ago when I started reading the introduction to the Bible in the English Book Room of my high school, and discovered the multiple authorship of Genesis. Though this is common knowledge (and has been for centuries) it is not something that gets talked about much in the general press. I grew up Jewish in New York, not exactly the Bible Belt, so I can imagine how unpopular this information is in other places.

At the risk of sounding dismissive, I think the answer to this is “not at all.”

The information in your OP may or may not spark an interesting debate among Bible scholars (of which I am not one) regarding the origin of the scriptures…

But believers will believe and non-believers will not believe, and I seriously doubt this changes anything.

Ehrman is actually making two claims here:

(1) That at least some of the books of the New Testament were written by someone other than the person they are attributed to. This is, as others have noted, not a new idea, and one that most mainstream scholars would readily agree with, though they wouldn’t necessarily agree with, or claim to know for sure about, all the details (such as exactly which of “Paul’s letters” were actually written by Paul himself). Still, as far as I know, there’s no conclusive proof that, for example, Peter could not possibly have written the book of 2 Peter, so there’s enough wiggle room that conservatives who really want to believe in the traditional authorship could continue to do so.

(2) That the people who did write these books deliberately passed them off as the works of someone else. I don’t know how much evidence there is for this—maybe Ehrman goes into this in his book that he’s apparently plugging with this article. But it’s not the only possible logical consequence of #1.

I think you’re taking a too “black & white” view of believers. Religious faith is not an on/off state, but manifests itself by degrees and is mutable. I went from Christian to soft-atheist by discovering scholarly writing (of which I include the already-recommended Who Wrote the Bible series) about the historicity of the Bible. The conversion wasn’t an overnight process, but one that happened when I first discovered that December 25th in all likelihood isn’t Jesus’ birthday, and continued over the span of about five years.

What Ehrman says true and not news. Many of the books of the New Testament are pseudoepigraphical. Only seven of paul’s thirteen letters are accepted by current, mainstream scholarship as authentic and basically none of the apostolics.

How this effects believers depends on the individual bliever, but by and large it has had no effect at all. Most of them aren’t even aware of the conclusions of critical scholarship, and if they do hear about it, they hand wave it away. It takes a little bit of effort to really comprehend the reasons for those conclusions, and some of it relies on training some fairly esoteric areas, such as being able to distinguish different literary writing styles in Greek, recognize specific rhetorical techniques and identify geographical and dating contexts from indirect references and allusions. Like with evolution, it takes a long time to explain and understand, and very little effort for believers to ignore.

2 Peter is actually probably the most easily identifiable as a pseudopgraph and one that gets the most agreement as to being pseudoepigraphical. It shows awareness of, and is literarily dependent on a number of prior writings that substantially post date the alleged life of Peter, it’s highly Hellenistic in language and rhetoric, it makes reference to things that didn’t occur until the 2nd Century (gnostics, concern among believers as to the delayed parousia). It also isn’t mentioned or known about 2nd by century patristics who would not have ignored it had they known about it.

To stay with the same example, 2 Peter explicitly and repeatedly claims to have been written by Peter, even though it can be clearly demonstrated not to have been.

I sometimes think that I’ve lived a long time without having learned one damn thing. I don’t have enough time left to fight my ignorance.

I have a confession to make: I’m not actually the anthropomorphic personification of Time. It’s just the convention, in the context I’m writing, to do so under an assumed name that isn’t really my own. I hope none of you were deceived by this, and that you don’t hold my lie against me.