666 and Scribal Changes of the Text

I have received a number of queries about my post concerning the recently discovered papyrus P115 which indicates that the number of the Beast (the Antichrist) in Revelation 13 was 616 rather than 666.  Some of them I addressed in my post of yesterday.  But some readers have inquired about something slightly different: how do discoveries like this affect our translations of the New Testament?   Here is one of those questions and my respons.

 

QUESTION:

I thought the NIV Bible kept up-to-date ...

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More on 666: The Number of the Beast: A Blast from the Past

My post yesterday about manuscripts that give the number of the beast in Rev. 13 as 616 instead of 666 prompted a number of queries.  I’ll answer a couple of them directly in my next post; but some people emailed me asking me what the number is all about in the first place.   I discussed the issue a few years ago on the blog.  Here is what I said.

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This post will be the culmination of my thread that ...

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Paul on Trial for the Resurrection

In previous posts I have discussed the different Jewish sects that we know about from the first century, at the dawn of Christianity (Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Fourth Philosophy) in order to show that (a) there were different understandings of the afterlife among them, but (b) there was a belief in a future resurrection of the dead attested in at least two of the groups: the Pharisees and Essenes.   We don’t know what the eschatological views of the Fourth Philosophy were; ...

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Does the Book of Acts Underplay the Significance of Jesus’ Death?

One of the things that I have found most interesting about doing the blog over these, lo, past five and a half years is that when I decide to write a post on something, I often realize that I need to provide some background that involves something else that, on the surface, may seem unrelated, but that is crucial for understanding the point I want to make.  Which leads me to a different topic and then to another, and so ...

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Can (or Should) We Change the Canon of Scripture? A Blast from the Past

 

Digging around in posts from five years ago now, I came across this one –as interesting to me now as it was then!  Hope you think so too.  It’s a response to a penetrating question.

QUESTION:

Given the criteria used to determine what would go on to constitute the New Testament canon, how is it that Hebrews and the book of Revelation remain part of the canon? I understand that Christians came to believe that they were authored by the apostles ...

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My Work Habits the Letter allegedly by Jesus’ Own Brother: Mailbag 2/12/2017

I will be addressing two quite disparate questions in this week’s Readers’ Mailbag: one about my work habits and one about the New Testament epistle of James: how do we know that the author expected his readers to think (or know) that he was actually the brother of Jesus himself?  If you have questions you’d like me to address in a future Mailbag, send them along!

 

QUESTION:

I notice you seem to get quite a bit done in a day (more than ...

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Debate with a Mythicist! And the Book of Revelation. Readers’ Mailbag September 25, 2016

In this week’s Mailbag I’ll be addressing two questions, one about me personally – my preparations for the upcoming debate with Robert Price on the question of whether Jesus even existed as a human being – and the other about the book of Revelation.  If you have a question you would like me to address on the Mailbag, simply ask it in a comment on this post or any other.

 

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QUESTION

It seems the debate between yourself and Robert Price will be ...

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Does James Contradict Paul?

              I have a number of questions that I want to address in my Readers’ Mailbag, but one particularly important one requires a rather long response, and so I dedicate this entire week’s mailbag to answering it.  Here it is:

 

QUESTION:

Bart, what is your view with regard to Paul and James teaching on the doctrine of justification by faith – are they contradictory?

 

RESPONSE:

Ah, this is a perennial question among readers of the New Testament.  I deal with it at some length ...

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How Did Ancient Writers Use Secretaries? A Blast from the Past

Here is the second of a series of three blasts from the past — from four years ago when I was dealing with how secretaries were and, especially, were not used in the ancient world by authors when producing their work.  Did authors (such as John for the book of Revelation, or Peter for either 1 or 2 Peter) use a secretary to write their books for them?  To answer the question with something other than common sense (that is, ...

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Who Could Read and Write? A Blast from the Past.

It’s been fun for me to look over posts on the blog from years ago.  Here is one of relevance to some of my recent comments on the book of Revelation, for two reasons.

One involves literacy: who could read and write?  Could John the son of Zebedee?

The other involves “secredaries.”   Since my Revelation posts, a couple of people have asked me if it’s possible that the author used a “secretary” for the book (that is: since John the son of ...

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