The Bible Questions its Own Veracity

So I came across this passage in Jeremiah, one of the major prophets. God says:

How can you say, “We are wise,
for we have the law of the LORD,”
when actually the lying pen of the scribes
has handled it falsely?

Isn’t this the uber contradiction that put every passage supposedly written by Moses into question. And doesn’t it suggest that there is no guarantee that the bible is the word of God ?

The passage is the standard complaint regarding lawyers that we still see, today.

Paraphrased: How can you say “We are wise, having the Law of the Lord” when the lawyers constantly twist the law to their own purposes.

I make no argument that the bible must be true, but this passage completely fails to assert the contrary. (Remeber, the tradition that would have been extant at the time of Jeremiah would have been that the Law was written entirely by Moses, not by some later authors; the word scribes refers to those who interpreted the laws in the enforcement of contracts.)

You are ignoring the fact that the deteriorating old testament works had to be constantly transcribed by the scribes and this aspect of their role in Israelite society involved the quoted “pens” or rather “lying pens”.

The need for transcription may be a fact, but it’s your own interpretation that this is what “lying pens” refers to. It might mean “These documents have been transcribed incorrectly”, but that’s not the only plausible meaning.

You are right: I am ignoring it. That is because 1) the final redaction of the Law (despite the attribution to Moses) was only a few years old at the time of Jeremiah, meaning that there would not have been lots of tattered old scrolls for lots of unscrupulous copyists to transcribe and 2) I have never found any commentators that gave the passage that particular reading. There was a brief attempt by a few scholars to claim that this passage indicated that Jeremiah condemned the Deuteronomist’s redaction of the Law, but that theory has been long rejected.

At any rate, you have created a contradiction. If the book condemns itself as having been corrupted, then we cannot accept its word that it is corrupted. However, if we accept that the book has been corrupted, we must acknowledge that this passage might be a portion that has been corrupted, meaning that the passage carries no weight. :wink:

The Bible says “The Bible is all lies!”.

Sounds even better in the original Cretan. :smiley:

Titus 1:12:

Or, the question of biblical infallibility has been answered.

Interesting how the King James Version has scribed it differently

The King James Version uses different phrasing – naturally, since it is a different translation – but I don’t see how it is substantially different. Nor do I see how it necessitates your particular interpretation of this passage, Dutchman.

The factual accuracy of every statement in the bible was answered, (and not in the affirmative), a very long time ago. In fact, biblical inerrancy is a minority position among Christians, (although it seems to have more adherents in the U.S., (and possibly Canada?), than in the rest of the world).

With regard to facts, and for a majority of Christians and Jews yes, but questions of biblical law including the passages relating to homosexuality are still debated around here. It is significant to me that when dealing with the condemnation of homosexuality that Israelite homophobic scribes may well have altered the original texts.Pure conjecture on my part, I agree, but worthy of mention.

The question of altering texts must have been well known by the 1st century. John had this to say upon the completion of his book “Revelations”

Why is pure conjecture on your part worthy of mention? What’s your grounds, apart from “I wish the Bible didn’t say this, so I’m going to assume it is a redaction”?

Is there anywhere in the Biblical texts themselves where a claim of inerrancy is actually made?

How can anyone know what Moses wrote when Historians can find no historical proof of him except in the Torah. I knew a Jewish doctor who said he thought they meant a man by the name of Meses. If Moses was raised by a Pharoh’s daughter it would have been written down by the Egyptians as they wrote most things down about the Pharohs or their household?


No not really. There are a few passages that those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible always point to.

Of course none of these passages are talking about the Bible. When the opportunity arises I point out to Christians that nothing in the Bible declares there would ever be one final be all end all book of inspired instructions from God. Latter days Saints agree with me:)

Even a cursory study of how we got the Bible reveals it was a group of men who decided which of the many writings being circulated would be canonized They made their choices in part based on the doctrine they wanted to support and whether a particular writing agreed with them.

There simply isn’t any legitimate reason other than tradition to grant the Bible any more authority than any other book.

I’ve felt inspired when reading the Bible. I’ve also felt inspired when reading the Book of Mormon, Baha’i writings, Buddhist text, great novels, listening to music, standing on a mountaintop, looking at the northern lights. or witnessing an act of love and compassion. Whatever inspiration is, my experience is it springs from within, and external stimulus, including so called holy writings, are secondary.

Aside from that text Biblical scholars such as Bart Ehrman provide lots of examples of how scribes changed the text as it passed through time and several hands.

Misquoting Jesus is a very good layman’s book on the subject. The evidence is pretty strong.

Interesting. As you say, they don’t exactly strike me as rock-solid claims of inerrancy for the biblical texts themselves.

Yes, but that got lost in the Great Egyptian Hard Drive Crash of 948 B.C.

There is ample internal evidence in the Torah that it was writen by multiple persons at different times and redacted/edited by otrher persons at later times. Therefore, any appeal to Moses as the single author can be ignored regardless of wild speculation regarding what the Egyptians may or may not have ever written.
The Egyptians are known to have suppressed references in their history to defeats in battle. If some large group of slaves had wandered away from their tasks, led by some charismatic character, and particularly if an Egyptian army had disappeared into the desert chasing them, there is no reason to believe that the Egyptians would have included those events in their history. On the other hand, if the events never occurred, there would have been nothing to write. So the absence of an Egyptian record means exactly nothing, either way.

AKA: The “SHIT!” heard 'round the world.