There is certainly no other book in existence that creates as controversy as the Bible. It typically pits those who believe its works against those we don’t and also pits biblical scholars against one another. This leads to the biggest controversy of all – and that is whether or not the Bible can be considered as an authentic historical document. Sadly, in some cases, it is not so much that people are claiming to debate God’s words on principle; they are actually fighting out of self-interest, their careers, and money.
According to specific archaeological findings and a few references contained in the Hebrew Bible, there are some biblical scholars that God actually had a wife named Asherah. They believe that the ancient Israelites paid worship to both of them. A historian named Raphael Patai was the first to propose this God wife theory in 1967.
Then in 2012, a researcher named Francesca Stavrakopoulou reintroduced this theory, claiming there is evidence from several ancient texts. Stavrakopoulou says that Asherah’s statue had been worshiped within Yahweh’s temple located in Jerusalem. The Book of Kings even discusses women at this temples making ritual garments in the name of Asherah.
Others aren’t quite as convinced. Andy Rau from the BibleGateway Blog states that there is no biblical evidence at all that God had this wife. To say otherwise, he feels, is to start a conspiracy theory.
The Location Of The Trial Of Jesus
Even though it is one of the most vital scenes that is depicted in the Bible, archaeologists simply cannot agree on the location of Jesus’s trial. When the Tower of David Museum was undergoing expansion in Jerusalem at the turn of the last century, several archaeologists thought that they discovered the foundation walls and sewage system from the palace of Herod the Great. Thus, there are many who believe that the trial of Jesus had been held there prior to his crucifixion. During those times, Herod was serving as the King of Judea and was appointed by Rome. The apparent remains of his ancient palace were discovered underneath an abandoned prison adjacent to this modern museum.
Although this debate is far from settled, the prison is still open to the public. “There is, of course, no inscription stating [the trial] happened [at the prison site where Herod’s palace was unearthed], but everything—archaeological, historical and gospel accounts—all falls into place and makes sense,” an archaeology professor named Shimon Gibson has stated on record.
New Testament Forgeries And Lies
A book entitled, Forged, was written by a biblical scholar named Bart Ehrman, and was published in the year 2011 to waves of controversy. Ehrman claimed that around 50% of the New Testament had been forged by those having a religious agenda and couldn’t make a mark for themselves under their own names. “There was competition among different groups of Christians about what to believe and each of these groups wanted to have authority to back up their views,” he claimed during an interview on CNN. “If you were a nobody, you wouldn’t sign your own name to your treatise. You would sign Peter or John.”
Needless to say, opponents to Ehrman’s book were not shy in attacking his conclusions. One of those opponents named Ben Witherington, has referred to Ehrman’s writings as “Gullible Travels,” pointing out that people tend to believe almost anything, regardless of how ridiculous.
Witherington points out that, besides 2 Peter, every single book within the New Testament had been written members of an exclusive group of educated Christians, all of whom were great writers and a few of whom saw the events contained in the New Testament. They had very close connections to both Jesus and Paul.
The Bible’s View Of Homosexuality
In the year 2012, a group that remained anonymous published a Queen James Bible (QJB), where they edited 8 verses from the current King James Version (KJV) in a feeble attempt to make it virtually impossible to view and interpret the Holy Bible in a homophobic manner. Steve Golden, who represents Answers in Genesis feels that these cowardly unknown editors of this QJB “have only made a mockery of a beloved Bible translation.”
Generally speaking, Golden debates that pro-gay movements are misinterpreting the Hebrew word for “ritually unclean” as it pertains to pagan idolatry only in cases where it’s used to condemn “something that is morally (ethically) repugnant in God’s sight, such as homosexuality ([as in] Proverbs 6:16).”
In the ongoing religious debate regarding abortion, the arguments often refer to the intended meaning of Exodus 21:22–25. The Douay-Rheims version of the Bible states: “If men quarrel, and one strike a woman with child, and she miscarry indeed, but live herself: he shall be answerable for so much damage as the woman’s husband shall require, and as arbiters shall award. But if her death ensue thereupon, he shall render life for life. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”
Pro-choice advocates claim that “miscarry” means that this unborn child does not enjoy the same status as this adult woman. Should the baby die from a miscarriage, then the responsible man is fined, as in a misdemeanor. But should the woman die from being struck, the man committed a capital offense that is only punishable by his death.
Pro-life advocates disagree with the meaning of the word “miscarry” in this biblical version. Even so, they claim that the death of the baby was accidental, unlike abortion where a life is taken intentionally. They also point out that an accidental death in this instance is still bad, otherwise the man would not receive a fine. Additionally, the death penalty is not applied for accidental deaths in the Bible as depicted in Exodus 21:13–14 and 20–21, Numbers 35:10–34, and Deuteronomy 19:1–13.
Joshua’s Conquest Of Jericho
There is an oasis located in the desert near the West Bank, Jericho is thought to be the very earliest city that was inhabited continuously. At different times, there has been at least 23 different civilizations who claimed Jericho as their home. As stated within the Book of Joshua within the Bible, Joshua took the ancient Israelites to Jericho, which was considered to be the heart of the Promised Land. But when they arrived there, Joshua was forced to conquer the Canaanites in a very bloody battle.
Thus far, archaeological finding are not supporting this biblical story of Joshua conquering Jericho. It appears as though no one lived in Jericho during the time of Joshua, and that no walls even existed at the time.
It does seem that the Israelites most likely moved into these sparsely populated hills gradually as told within the Book of Judges. For many believers, this is actually a relief, because they have difficulty with the notion that a merciful God condoned such a bloody slaughter of lives.