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The problem with snake-handling: it's not in the Bible
Renew America ^ | 1June2012 | Bryan Fischer

Posted on 06/01/2012 1:01:23 PM PDT by ReformationFan

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1 posted on 06/01/2012 1:01:30 PM PDT by ReformationFan
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To: ReformationFan
Clint Eastwood explained the theological implications of snake handling in good/bad/ugly, i.e.:

"God hates idiots too..."


2 posted on 06/01/2012 1:08:45 PM PDT by varmintman
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To: ReformationFan

Even if it is scripture, snakes can’t read.


3 posted on 06/01/2012 1:11:32 PM PDT by Terry Mross ("It happened. And we let it happen." Peter Griffin - FAMILY GUY)
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To: ReformationFan

I have faith that God won’t let a snake bite me if I don’t pick it up.

So far he hasn’t let me down.


4 posted on 06/01/2012 1:12:09 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: ReformationFan

If you are so bored that you need to play with death, find something else to do.


5 posted on 06/01/2012 1:13:15 PM PDT by Berlin_Freeper
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To: ReformationFan

Except of course you are in correct

Since Mark 16:9-20 is part of the Gospel of Mark in the Vulgate, and the passage has been routinely read in the churches since ancient times (as demonstrated by its use by Ambrose, Augustine, Peter Chrysologus, Severus of Antioch, Leo, etc.), the Council’s decree affirms the canonical status of the passage. This passage was also used by Protestants during the Protestant Reformation; Martin Luther used Mark 16:16 as the basis for a doctrine in his Shorter Catechism. Mark 16:9-20 was included in the Rheims New Testament, and in the King James Bible and other influential translations. In most modern-day translations based primarily on the Alexandrian Text, it is included but is accompanied by brackets or by special notes, or both.


6 posted on 06/01/2012 1:13:29 PM PDT by Nifster
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To: ReformationFan

oh and by the way, most reformation fans do not like textual critics


7 posted on 06/01/2012 1:15:19 PM PDT by Nifster
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To: ReformationFan

The problem with snake-handling is that you get bitten and you die


8 posted on 06/01/2012 1:20:01 PM PDT by MindBender26 (America can survive 4 years of Romney. She cannot survive another 4 years of an unfettered Obama!)
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To: Nifster
Titus Flavius Clemens (c.150 – c. 215), known as Clement of Alexandria, was a Christian theologian who taught at the Catechetical School of Alexandria. A convert to Christianity, he was an educated man who was familiar with classical Greek philosophy and literature. As his three major works demonstrate, Clement was influenced by Hellenistic philosophy to a greater extent than any other Christian thinker of his time, and in particular by Plato and the Stoics.[1] His secret works, which exist only in fragments, attest that he was also familiar with pre-Christian Jewish esotericism and Gnosticism. Among his pupils were Origen and Alexander of Jerusalem.

Source

I believe Clement of Alexandria was around long before Martin Luther, Rheims New Testament, or the King James Bible by about 1,400 years.

9 posted on 06/01/2012 1:21:14 PM PDT by Hodar (Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.- A. Schopenhauer)
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To: ReformationFan
This thesis rests on a number of unexamined assumptions.

Is the Bible what academic palaeographers say it is?

Or is the Bible what believers have historically read as the Word in their worship?

Mark 16:9-20 may fail by some of the standards of the academy - but this pericope passes with flying colors by the standards of the Church.

And it is the importance of scripture in the Church that generated the interest in creating the academic endeavor of textual analysis in the first place - it seems as if the discipline has forgotten its roots.

10 posted on 06/01/2012 1:24:05 PM PDT by wideawake
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To: ReformationFan

I bet they are not drinking any deadly poisons.


11 posted on 06/01/2012 1:29:13 PM PDT by Kenny500c
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To: ReformationFan

It’s in my bible. I checked. Still, pretty dumb idea. See Matthew 4:5-7.


12 posted on 06/01/2012 1:30:14 PM PDT by Jagermonster (TANSTAAFL)
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To: ReformationFan
If the verse is in the Majority Greek texts, it’s canon. Besides, the Bible has to be taken in its entirety—if Mark 16:9-onwards has to be omitted, then so does Deuteronomy 6:16, the injunction against tempting the LORD that Jesus quoted in Matthew 4:7 and Luke 4:12, as well as the account of Paul being bitten on the hand by the viper in Malta and surviving (Acts 28:3-6).
13 posted on 06/01/2012 1:33:50 PM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: ReformationFan

I wonder if it was an addition by some group trying to sell it to some group who had snakes as part of their established rituals?


14 posted on 06/01/2012 1:35:32 PM PDT by mnehring
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To: ReformationFan
The reason for the abrupt end of Mark's original account is likely that the final leaf was somehow lost before it began to be copied.

A horrible statement that casts doubt on the power of God to preserve his word.

The truth is that Mark's gospel does not end abruptly but in verse 20. The vast majority of ancient manuscripts include all the verses.

The key to understanding the snake verse is in the context and the last words of the book. The words were addressed to the apostles (v 14) and not us today. The last words of the book says that the believers were confirming the word with signs following, one of them being living through deadly snake bites. God never asked men to believe new revelation without miraculous confirmation. The word is confirmed now so miracles have ceased (I Corinthians 13).

15 posted on 06/01/2012 1:35:56 PM PDT by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Hodar; Nifster
Clement of Alexandria is a red herring in this discussion.

The article says that his works "show no knowledge" of this particular pericope.

That is a meaningless point.

If Clement had written an exhaustive commentary on Mark that discussed all the verses except for these, then it would be a meaningful discussion.

But Clement wrote only a few hundred pages that survive, and they are works of exhortation - not textual commentaries.

He quotes less than 5% of the Bible - does that mean he had no knowledge of 95% of the Bible?

This is the definition of a weak argument.

16 posted on 06/01/2012 1:36:39 PM PDT by wideawake
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To: ReformationFan

No, the “long ending” to Mark is part of Holy Scripture, as it occurs in the Scriptures as received and used by the Holy Orthodox Church since ancient times (what Western scholars call the “Byzantine Majority Text”).

The problem with snake handling is that doing it intentionally on the basis of Mark 16:18 is an example of what Anglicans back when they were identifiably Christian used to call “expounding one part of Scripture in a manner repugnant to another”, as it violates the point made by Our Lord in his reply to the Devil’s temptation to engage in a similarly risky behavior (leaping from the top of the Temple in Jerusalem) on the basis of a Scriptural promise of safety. As we all know, Our Lord demurred and told the Evil One, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

On the other hand, St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain had asps wander in and out of his cell, and was quite friendly with them. So much so that when some pilgrims coming to visit him killed an asp on their way up the mountain to his cell, he came and berated them (having seen the snake’s demise by a gift of second sight), “What have you done? What have you done? You killed my friend!”


17 posted on 06/01/2012 1:38:06 PM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: wideawake

The problem we have is that we have a First Hand observer, who dealt directly with the Son of God; and wrote his books - then we have 2,000 years in which scholars have had time to “pad” the Word of God with the Word of Man.

Me, I’m a big fan of the Dead Sea Scrolls - because they have slipped through time (written between 150 BC to 70 AD) largely untouched by the corruptions of man. It is in Man’s nature to exaggerate - even truths from God. The closest thing we can get to the origional message, is the origional manuscript - and barring that, perhaps a manuscript that hasn’t been touched for nearly 2,000 years.


18 posted on 06/01/2012 1:39:03 PM PDT by Hodar (Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.- A. Schopenhauer)
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To: ReformationFan

When Islam is pushed to it’s irrational extremes (a short trip usually) you end up with exploding Jihadis and such. However, when you push Christianity to it’s irrational extremes, you end up with snake handlers and televanglist...and no one gets killed.


19 posted on 06/01/2012 1:39:45 PM PDT by tbpiper
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To: ReformationFan

I always figured the problem with snake-handling was that it pissed off the snake. A lot.


20 posted on 06/01/2012 1:45:27 PM PDT by PLMerite (Shut the Beyotch Down! Burn, baby, burn!)
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To: Nifster
most reformation fans do not like textual critics

Most see textual (or lower) criticism as a valid, necessary science. Higher criticism is the one that most find problematic.

21 posted on 06/01/2012 1:46:08 PM PDT by Gil4 (Sometimes it's not low self-esteem - it's just accurate self-assessment.)
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To: ReformationFan

Matthew Henry’s notes on verses 17 and 18...

3. What power they should be endowed with, for the confirmation of the doctrine they were to preach (Mark 16:17); These signs shall follow them that believe. Not that all who believe, shall be able to produce these signs, but some, even as many as were employed in propagating the faith, and bringing others to it; for signs are intended for them that believe not; see 1 Cor. 14:22. It added much to the glory and evidence of the gospel, that the preachers not only wrought miracles themselves, but conferred upon others a power to work miracles, which power followed some of them that believed, wherever they went to preach. They shall do wonders in Christ’s name, the same name into which they were baptized, in the virtue of power derived from him, and fetched in by prayer. Some particular signs are mentioned; (1.) They shall cast out devils; this power was more common among Christians than any other, and lasted longer, as appears by the testimonies of Justin Martyr, Origen, Irenaeus, Tertullian Minutius Felix, and others, cited by Grotius on this place. (2.) They shall speak with new tongues, which they had never learned, or been acquainted with; and this was both a miracle (a miracle upon the mind), for the confirming of the truth of the gospel, and a means of spreading the gospel among those nations that had not heard it. It saved the preachers a vast labour in learning the languages; and, no doubt, they who by miracle were made masters of languages, were complete masters of them and of all their native elegancies, which were proper both to instruct and affect, which would very much recommend them and their preaching. (3.) They shall take up serpents. This was fulfilled in Paul, who was not hurt by the viper that fastened on his hand, which was acknowledged a great miracle by the barbarous people, Acts 28:5, 6. They shall be kept unhurt by that generation of vipers among whom they live, and by the malice of the old serpent. (4.) If they be compelled by their persecutors to drink any deadly poisonous thing, it shall not hurt them: of which very thing some instances are found in ecclesiastical history. (5.) They shall not only be preserved from hurt themselves, but they shall be enabled to do good to others; They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover, as multitudes had done by their master’s healing touch. Many of the elders of the church had this power, as appears by Jas. 5:14; where, as an instituted sign of this miraculous healing, they are said to anoint the sick with oil in the name of the Lord. With what assurance of success might they go about executing their commission, when they had such credentials as these to produce!


22 posted on 06/01/2012 1:46:32 PM PDT by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves.)
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To: ReformationFan
"According to eminent New Testament scholar Bruce Metzger, Mark 16:9-20 is missing from the two earliest and most authoritative manuscripts of the Greek New Testament"

It's not that simple. We have copies of documents written by the early Church fathers which pre-date these earliest manuscripts and they quote Mark 16:9-20. Whether this passage was part of the original manuscript is unclear at this point in time. It's really impossible to tell with the evidence we have.

23 posted on 06/01/2012 1:47:07 PM PDT by circlecity
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To: ReformationFan

I’m sure there is an ancient Chinese proverb some FReeper can quote about snake handling.


24 posted on 06/01/2012 1:47:39 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: Borax Queen; Darksheare
Mr. Shark, do you take the Snake to have and to hold...

After a wild wedding um, er....party night (just what DID we do?), now this.......

:-)

25 posted on 06/01/2012 1:48:14 PM PDT by Lakeshark (NbIttoalbl,cRwIdtaa)
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To: Berlin_Freeper

You clearly hate Jesus.


26 posted on 06/01/2012 1:49:14 PM PDT by DariusBane (People are like sheep and have two speeds: grazing and stampede)
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To: Jack Hydrazine

Confucius say “Man who play with rattlesnake get bit and die”.


27 posted on 06/01/2012 1:54:19 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: F15Eagle; .45 Long Colt; Buddygirl; Former Fetus; Bockscar; Graybeard58; JLLH; Outlaw Woman; ...

Baptist ping


28 posted on 06/01/2012 1:55:55 PM PDT by WKB (There are too many coincidences in this world...... for this world to be a coincidence.)
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To: Hodar
The problem we have is that we have a First Hand observer

In Mark, yes. In Clement, no.

I’m a big fan of the Dead Sea Scrolls - because they have slipped through time (written between 150 BC to 70 AD) largely untouched by the corruptions of man.

This is an unrealistic idealization.

First, the Dead Sea Scrolls may be old to us, but the DSS texts of the Hebrew scriptures were copies of texts that were already a thousand years old when the DSS scribes copied them.

The DSS contains multiple copies of some texts, and they do not match.

Moreover, the DSS were produced by a zealous, and frankly strange, little community - they copied and recopied texts that they believed supported their favorite interpretations and views and did not have copies of much of the Bible, probably because most of the Bible did not reinforce their favorite interpretations.

The DSS are a prime example of "the corruptions of man" - in the sense that the DSS are highly edited and biased collections of texts.

The closest thing we can get to the origional message, is the origional manuscript

The autographs are gone forever. So we are left with a choice of which community has most believably preserved the message, and in a choice between the mainstream of Christianity and Judaism versus a tiny, extinct sect of conspiracists, the correct decision seems clear.

perhaps a manuscript that hasn’t been touched for nearly 2,000 years

That's a facile assumption. Inaccurate texts that people do not trust get left alone and forgotten - and then sometimes get found many years later.

Texts that people trust get used and used and used until they wear out - and then they are copied, to make a new book that the users of the old book will trust.

The age of a manuscript is important, but not prescriptive.

29 posted on 06/01/2012 1:56:14 PM PDT by wideawake
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
The word is confirmed now so miracles have ceased (I Corinthians 13).

I don't believe that. Not that the Word was not confirmed, but that miracles have ceased.
To assert that they have is to assert that God's character has changed: God has been, and always be miraculous in nature. (Miracles being defined as God's direct interaction with the universe, esp in a physical way.)
There are many passages where God is directly portrayed as a lover and Israel/the-Church as his beloved; now factor in the distinctly male urge to impress his girl and rereading some of those passages and it seems obvious to me that God's saying "now watch this!"

In short, God still works in the Earth and in the lives of men, directly and indirectly.

30 posted on 06/01/2012 2:00:07 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: ReformationFan
You decide some things shouldn't be in the Bible, the snake handlers decide they should be in the Bible and should be taken to mean they're correct in handling snakes and drinking poison.

Every individual is their own final authority according to Luther and every Protestant since Luther believes the same thing. In reality, people who interpret the Scriptures for themselves without regard for what The Church has taught for over two thousand years are worshiping their own, Most High and Holy Self. Whatever the Self wants, Self will find a way to justify or rationalize from Scripture. Whether than means means dropping entire books out of the Old Testament or even calling Jesus Christ Himself a liar doesn't matter to the Self just like what God commanded didn't matter to Eve.

Like all the Banana Creme Brained folks who have their pet conspiracy theory and interpret Scripture in a way that supports their theory, the snake handling folks will tell you their being in the minority is a sign that they're right. Handling snakes, believing that a great Evacuation will spare Christians what Christ Himself said Christians must bear, or slaughtering infants in the womb and calling it contraception, all amount to imitating Eve rather than imitating Christ. Unlike Eve, though, these days folks don't worry about doing their own thing since they're assured that their sins have all been forgiven in advance. That means they don't even have to care what's in the Bible once they've said the magic words.

31 posted on 06/01/2012 2:06:25 PM PDT by Rashputin (Only Newt can defeat both the Fascist democrats and the Vichy GOP)
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To: DuncanWaring
Confucius say “Man who play with rattlesnake get bit and die”.

I actually grew up where there was a church on the outskirts of town that would feature snake handling every now and then and found out some about it.

It became popular during the times of the travelling "tent revivals" as a hook to get people to the show. It still exists today in a very few places.

Usually the snake handling preacher is actually well schooled on the "handling" part and is knowledgeable on how to hold a snake and not get bit. Also, it was common practice for the handler to keep the snake "on ice" in a cooler until time for the show to slow it down considerably. They weren't just "trusting to providence", they were actually pretty good at what they did.

I noticed in the recent article about the guy who died - he actually sat the snake down and was bit on the leg. He may have thought that it was still "chilled" but that was a mistake.
32 posted on 06/01/2012 2:11:25 PM PDT by DJlaysitup
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To: ReformationFan; All
Actually, Mark 16:9-20 is in the Bible, but doesn't contextually say what the snake-handlers think it does.
33 posted on 06/01/2012 2:11:34 PM PDT by Yashcheritsiy (not voting for the lesser of two evils)
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To: ReformationFan

I used to handle a snake but she divorced me.


34 posted on 06/01/2012 2:14:19 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: DJlaysitup

P.S. - one of the standard tricks would be to take a lively snake out and demonstrate it (carefully holding it behind the head)...then replace it in the box and do some praying to “drive out the evil spirits” from the snake - then bring out an “iced snake” that was all docile and say as how he had tamed the snake of it’s evil ways.


35 posted on 06/01/2012 2:18:12 PM PDT by DJlaysitup
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To: Jagermonster

You never see the Apostles (the leaders of the first church) telling people to handle snakes or drink deadly poisons. They were with Jesus for 3.5 years, they understood him.


36 posted on 06/01/2012 2:19:06 PM PDT by Tea Party Terrorist (they all stink)
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To: Hodar

So what????


37 posted on 06/01/2012 2:20:39 PM PDT by Nifster
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To: ReformationFan

OK. I retrieved my Greek word study Bible and looked up the verse regarding handling serpents. The word handling only IMPLIES lifting up figuratively speaking, but literally speaking to do so mentally, spritually, or in the mind.

Here’s the amazing part. The word serpent in the Greek used in the same verse only IMPLIES a snake figuratively speaking. The literal meaning is “an artificial person, especially Satan (i.e. serpent).

Furthermore the PREVIOUS verse deals directly with casting out of demons. Since the translators had to basically guess at breaking the scriptures down into verses, I’ll put my money on taking up serpents as being related to exorcising demons and dealing with them directly.

Hmmmm...puts a whole, new light on that verse, huh?

(my dad had a PhD in Theology...so I’m also stealing his thoughts on the matter/verse.)


38 posted on 06/01/2012 2:23:29 PM PDT by sevinufnine (Sevin - "If we do not fight when we know we can win, we'll have to fight when we know we will lose")
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To: wideawake
The texts are of great religious and historical significance, as they include the earliest known surviving copies of Biblical and extra-biblical documents and preserve evidence of great diversity in late Second Temple Judaism. They are written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, mostly on parchment, but with some written on papyrus.[1] These manuscripts generally date between 150 BCE and 70 CE,[2] although carbon dating indicates this range extends to the third century BCE (see Carbon dating the Dead Sea Scrolls). Bronze coins found on the site form a series beginning with Hyrcanus 1 (135-104 BCE) and continue without a gap until the first Jewish revolt.[3] The scrolls are traditionally identified with the ancient Jewish sect called the Essenes, though some recent interpretations have challenged this association and argue that the scrolls were penned by priests in Jerusalem, Zadokites, or other unknown Jewish groups.[4][5]

One of the greatest "re-enforcers" of accuracy of the Old Testament, is the number of copies, independantly kept by various groups, through the centuries has worked to keep them in alignment. If we have 'x' groups that say one thing, and a single manuscript that differs substancially - we can extrapolate that the numerous copies of independant collections must be the accurate copy.

However, in the New Testament we are not so fortunate. The Bible, as we have it now, is a collection of books that were separate - with some books discarded and others accepted. The Council of Nicea essentially "cherry-picked" what books were included and which were rejected. Every council makes concessions to appease various political factions - it's the nature of man.

Perhaps the DSS are copies made by a fanatical group - but if nothing else, they give a view point that deserves some attention and comparison against the various versions of the Bible in vogue today. I believe there are over 42 different "versions" of the Bible around, each differing in some way or another from their contemporaries.

39 posted on 06/01/2012 2:24:50 PM PDT by Hodar (Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.- A. Schopenhauer)
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To: wideawake
Moreover, the DSS were produced by a zealous, and frankly strange, little community - they copied and recopied texts that they believed supported their favorite interpretations and views and did not have copies of much of the Bible, probably because most of the Bible did not reinforce their favorite interpretations.

Actually, we don't really know this to be the case.

I tend to think Sukenik's original assessment - that the scroll caves were by and large genizat, resting places for old, corrupted, or incorrectly transcribed manuscripts (and the latter two are two different things, btw) - is probably the correct one. But such an interpretation isn't as sexy as ones which allow scholars to spend the next fifty years publishing papers back and forth about what the supposed millennial apocalyptic community that lived at Qumran supposedly thought, said, and did.

40 posted on 06/01/2012 2:25:14 PM PDT by Yashcheritsiy (not voting for the lesser of two evils)
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To: ReformationFan
Argue with the Sola Scriptura folks! You'll sooner win an argument with a Scientologist.
41 posted on 06/01/2012 2:26:30 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: sevinufnine

Thank you for that post!

That was an interesting assessment, and I concur 100% that our scriptures are at the “mercy” of the intreptation of the script. Each person, throughout history, does the best he can with the language - and we all know that langauge does change through time. Thus, what was once an obvious implication can be easily understood to be a commandment.

But, I thought the analysis of “Serpent” and “Satan” a very curious analogy - good food for thought.


42 posted on 06/01/2012 2:28:46 PM PDT by Hodar (Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.- A. Schopenhauer)
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To: Revolting cat!
You'll sooner win an argument with a Scientologist.

Now, that's just the Thetans talking ... ;-)

43 posted on 06/01/2012 2:30:40 PM PDT by Hodar (Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.- A. Schopenhauer)
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To: Hodar

you are welcome. I was blessed with a dad who read Greek/Hebrew and “dabbled” (his words) in Aramaic. I was curious about many things and he was always happy to help me understand and learn the true meaning of the scripture best it can be understood.

He told me once that trying to translate the scripture was difficult not only because of language barrier, but cultural barriers. Imagine today we tell someone about to go on the stage and perform to “go break a leg”. That means do well. In 1000 years imagine someone reading that and trying to translate? Holy cow, huh?


44 posted on 06/01/2012 2:32:59 PM PDT by sevinufnine (Sevin - "If we do not fight when we know we can win, we'll have to fight when we know we will lose")
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To: Nifster
So what????

Generally speaking, the person who has the closest proximity to the original message, has a clearer impression of what the original message was. Language changes over time (try reading the original Shakespeare, for example), thus a person writing within 50 years of the death of Christ, may have a clearer understanding of what Mark was trying to say, than someone who reads copies of copies of copies of multiple translations over 1,400 years later.

I'm simply suggesting that the author of this article may have a valid point. The boasts found in the later parts of this Chapter of Mark are pretty profound, aren't they? If they were present in the original manuscript, wouldn't they have been worthy of some discussion?

45 posted on 06/01/2012 2:36:57 PM PDT by Hodar (Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.- A. Schopenhauer)
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To: ReformationFan

Numbers 21:8-9 ESV / 11
And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

Acts 28:3-5 ESV /
When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.

Mark 16:18 ESV /
They will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Luke 10:19 ESV
Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.

Exodus 7:8-13 ESV
Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Prove yourselves by working a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. ...

Personally, I think it was metaphorical, but hey, I could be wrong. Ouch!


46 posted on 06/01/2012 2:37:23 PM PDT by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: ReformationFan

First off, the only good rattlesnake is a dead rattlesnake, and having had many encounters with them, I have always tried to abide by that rule. Second, I’ve always thought the passage in Mark was inspired by Paul’s experience, and other than that I’ve ignored it as having no relevance in my Christian walk. Truthfully, Paul’s experience is enlightening enough without having some silly religious practice spring up from it. He treated his snake bite incident as though it wasn’t worth a second thought. We should content ourselves with his sentiment.


47 posted on 06/01/2012 2:38:22 PM PDT by pallis
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To: sevinufnine
Here’s the amazing part. The word serpent in the Greek used in the same verse only IMPLIES a snake figuratively speaking. The literal meaning is “an artificial person, especially Satan (i.e. serpent).

Well, no, this isn't right. Ophis is clearly speaking about "serpents" in the usual sense of the word. That is the literal, denotative meaning of this word. It can have connotative and figurative senses in which it is referring to a person or being that is being denigrated as a "snake" (e.g. satan is called this in Rev. 12:9,14,15; 20:2) and Jesus used it figuratively to denote enemies of the Gospel (Matt. 10:16; 23:33). However, the intended meaning is always that of a serpent, a snake, and was so since Homer began using the term in Greek in the 8th century BC.

Mark 16:9-20 is part of the Bible, and is indisputably so to anyone who approaches the text reasonably (which, incidentally, does not always describe textual critics of the Metzgerian mold).

Mark 16:18 is NOT, however, teaching that Christians would handle snakes. Let's look at the context. The handling of snakes (and the drinking of poison) is listed right along with the casting out of devils and the speaking in tongues. As I Corinthians makes clear, tongues and other sign gifts were given to the early churches specifically for the purpose of serving as a sign to unbelieving Jews and as a means of revealing truth to the very early churches who did not have access at that time to all of the New Testament. They were not for use as a "magic trick" in the churches. Further, once the NT was fully revealed and began to be propagated, tongues and other sign gifts would cease. If the Jews wanted to believe, then they could access the completed revelation of Scripture; and if Christians wanted to know how to live and believe, they had access to the completed revelation of Scripture.

Handling serpents and drinking poison were not active things Christians did, but were things done to them (i.e. somebody trying to poison you, also, see Paul's experience with the snake that bit him in Malta, and the effect it had on the Maltans who saw it, thus serving as a "sign," so to speak, Acts 28:3-6). As such, when the reason for the other sign gifts passed away, so did these.

48 posted on 06/01/2012 2:39:35 PM PDT by Yashcheritsiy (not voting for the lesser of two evils)
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To: ReformationFan

If God sends you to do something and a poisonpus snake gets involved with you in the process, you will be protected in that you are under His authority. He enables what he commands.

Paul found a poisonous snake on his arm while he was placing firewood he had gathered into the fire, after they were shipwrecked on an island. It did not harm him.


49 posted on 06/01/2012 2:50:09 PM PDT by RoadTest (There is one god, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.)
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To: Hodar; wideawake
One of the greatest "re-enforcers" of accuracy of the Old Testament, is the number of copies, independantly kept by various groups, through the centuries has worked to keep them in alignment. If we have 'x' groups that say one thing, and a single manuscript that differs substancially - we can extrapolate that the numerous copies of independant collections must be the accurate copy.

However, in the New Testament we are not so fortunate. The Bible, as we have it now, is a collection of books that were separate - with some books discarded and others accepted. The Council of Nicea essentially "cherry-picked" what books were included and which were rejected. Every council makes concessions to appease various political factions - it's the nature of man.


It would be a good thing if you knew enough to know that what you wrote above is almost entirely at odds with reality (such as your erroneous views of the Council of Nicea and the canon. It didn't have anything to do with establishing the canon). The Council of Nicea met in 325 AD. The canon was pretty much in its current form as long ago as 170 AD. The Apostolic Fathers (70-150AD) quoted from every book in the New Testament with the possible exception of Philemon and III John. Together with them, the Ante-Nicene Fathers (150-300 AD) quoted so extensively from the New Testament that it could essentially be reconstituted from their quotes.

Start with The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, And Restoration (1964). 2005 4th edition, by Bruce Metzger, with Bart D. Ehrman, (ISBN 0-19-516122-X), and go on from there to The Early Versions of the New Testament: Their Origin, Transmission, and Limitations (1977) and The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance (1987).
50 posted on 06/01/2012 3:03:27 PM PDT by aruanan
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