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Are there historical errors in the Bible?

-The Gospels tell the story of a herd of possessed pigs in the town of Gedara, who run off a cliff and into the sea. Gedara is thirty miles from any sea.

-The Gospel of Mark gets the geography of Israel totally wrong. It mentions travelling from from Tyre by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilea, which would be like travelling from New York to Washington by way of Los Angeles. He mentions a town called Dalmanutha which does not exist.

-When was Jesus born? According to Luke, it was during the reign of the Roman governor Quirinius, during a census ordered by Augustus throughout the whole world.According to both Luke and Matthew it was also during the reign of king Herod "the Great."The problem is that Herod died in 4 B.C.E., and this was fully ten years before Quirinius’ census. Furthermore, during Herod’s reign, no Roman census could have been held in his territory, which included both Judaea and Galilee, the locations of both Bethlehem and Nazareth. Herod would have collected his own taxes, and given tribute to the Romans. Lastly, the existence of a census throughout the whole empire is contrary to the practice of the Romans, who collected taxes province by province, often subcontracting the process to "publicans."

-Though Luke 1:5 dates the birth of Jesus in the "days of Herod, King of Judea," who died in 4 B.C., he wants the journey from Galilee to Bethlehem to have occurred in response to a census called when "Quirinius was governor of Syria." As historians know, "the one and only census conducted while Quirinius was legate in Syria affected only Judaea, not Galilee, and took place in A.D. 6-7, a good ten years after the death of Herod the Great." In his anxiety to relate the Galilean upbringing with the supposed Bethlehem birth, Luke confused his facts. Indeed, Luke’s anxiety has involved him in some real absurdities, like the needless ninety mile journey of a woman in her last days of pregnancy – for it was the Davidic Joseph who supposedly had to be registered in the ancestral village, not the Levitical Mary. Worse yet, Luke has been forced to contrive a universal dislocation for a simple tax registration: who could imagine the efficient Romans requiring millions in the empire to journey scores of hundreds of miles to the villages of millennium-old ancestors merely to sign a tax from! Needless to say, no such event ever happened in the history of the Roman empire, but Micah 5:2 must be fulfilled.

-In the nineteenth century an eminent scholar, Rabbi Wise, searched the records of Pilate’s court, still extant, for evidence of this trial. He found nothing.

-There are many similarities between stories about Jesus and contemporary myths of Pagan godmen such as Mithras, Apollo, Attis, Horus and Osiris-Dionysus, leading to conjectures that the Pagan myths were adopted by some authors of early accounts of Jesus to form a syncretism with Christianity. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus cache version)

-Crucifixion was a slow death. It usually lasted several days. Death followed from exhaustion, inability to respire property as a result of being in an upright position or attacks by wild animals. Why did Jesus, who was a fit and healthy man used to walking the countryside for long distances, die so quickly in only a matter of a few hours?

-Vinegar is often considered to have a stimulating effect, rather similar to smelling salts. Why, in Jesus’s case, did it suddenly lead to his death? (John 19:29)

-The three Synoptic Gospels have Jesus being arrested and condemned by the Sanhedrin on the night of the Passover. This could not be real history because the Sanhedrin, by Judaic law, were forbidden to meet over Passover. The Gospels state that the arrest and trial occurred at night, but the Sanhedrin “were forbidden to meet at night, in private houses, or anywhere outside of the precincts of the temple

-Another historical impossibility in the crucifixion story is the removal of the body of Jesus from the cross. According to Roman law at the time, a crucified man/woman was denied burial. The person was left to the elements, birds, and animals, which completed the humiliation of this form of execution.

Yes, a few. But more often there are completely fabricated pseudohistorical accounts, like most of the history of the Jewish people.

  1. Eric
    April 15th, 2011 at 00:44 | #1

    Yes, a few. But more often there are completely fabricated pseudohistorical accounts, like most of the history of the Jewish people.
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  2. Captain Obvious
    April 15th, 2011 at 01:31 | #2

    For it to have "errors" it would have to be non-fiction.
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  3. zoozoo
    April 15th, 2011 at 02:10 | #3

    Correction!……Are there any historical facts in the Bible?
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  4. Legal Alien
    April 15th, 2011 at 02:55 | #4

    No believer will believe you. No unbeliever needs convincing.
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  5. Hobbie Horse
    April 15th, 2011 at 03:10 | #5

    When ‘christians’ see questions like this, the immediately start lying for ‘jesus’.
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  6. Andyman
    April 15th, 2011 at 03:36 | #6

    I think you elaborated enough to answer your own question…
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  7. sonofEatonWrite
    April 15th, 2011 at 03:57 | #7

    you’ve only just barely scratched the surface of the amount of historical absurdities in the new testament alone. To me the most obvious Christian lie is "the Jews killed Jesus." So the Jews decided to go to the leader of the empire that was oppressing them and demand that they execute a descendant of David during the Pentecost? What a load of babble worthy of Glen Beck.
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  8. Loveness
    April 15th, 2011 at 04:24 | #8

    Yes I believe in the Holy Word and also believe some of the people that created the Bible stated some false testimonies in some of those scriptures such as saying the Earth is flat.Also most of those dates are four years late.Not all of that is correct from misinterpretations.
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  9. Barthayn
  10. Emmess
    April 15th, 2011 at 04:46 | #10

    There is new information about crucifixion. It was believed that death could result from collapsed lungs but current research shows that the lungs would not collapse if the arms are outstretched, only if they were raised above the head. Death was commonly caused by the shock of nails being driven into the wrists (not hands where they would tear out) and the flogging that was usually administered before the attachment to the device. In order to alleviate cramping (I guess the Romans had a bit of pity), they would break the legs of the convict. Also, it was rare that nails were used because they took more time than rope to get the job done.

    If you cross refer the dates in the various gospels you will see that Mathew, Mark and Luke are at variance with John by 24 hours. The first three relate that the last supper was a Passover seder (they only have one in Israel, not two). John says it was the day before the seder. Again, considering Jewish laws regarding holidays, it’s very unlikely that the deed would be done on the Passover. And we haven’t even discussed Jesus’ genealogy that varies from gospel to gospel and contains deliberate errors in order to link him to King David.
    References :
    The Naked Archaeologist

  11. servant
    April 15th, 2011 at 04:53 | #11

    1. No, there are no errors. 2. the geography of many cities are different in Bible times than now. 3. no one can prove when the census started or how long it took. 4. why wouldn’t they travel to PAY taxes even though she was pregnant? the pharisees traveled over 80 miles just to bring a complaint to Jesus about hand washing before they eat bread! tradition got them introuble. 5.so we r supposed to take the word of rabbi wise over the thousands of ppl present at the time? don’t think so, logic deems otherwise. 6. u answered this one yourself, there are big differences between Jesus & myths. just that, the others are myth. 7. ur right on one point. crucifixion usually is a slow death, but what you conveniently forget is the fact that Jesus Christ was beaten so badly that His skin was hanging off His body & a crown of thorns stuck in His head, not exactly the picture of perfect health you claim. 8. He didn’t take the vinegar & it didn’t kill Him. 9. Jesus was arrested by Romans. 10. so it’s not possible that Joseph of aremethia & Nicodemus who was a very influential pharisee could have talked someone into letting them have the body of Christ? plz. you have a lot of what appears to "intellectual thought" appearance has deceived you.
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  12. seeker of Holy God
    April 15th, 2011 at 05:02 | #12

    no there are not errors in the bible

    no the story did not take place in the city of Gedara
    you have not read the text

    Mar 5:1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
    Mar 5:2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
    not a city but the country of the Gadarenes

    Gadara was located east of The Jordan River on a mountain about 6 miles / 10 kilometers south-east of The Sea Of Galilee. The people of Gadara were known as Gadarenes, although the general area was also known as the "country of the Gerasenes" after the city of Gerasa which was about 45 miles / 73 kilometers farther south. They were still mostly Gentiles in the time of Christ, as indicated by their keeping of pigs

    you have not looked at a map lately

    Mar 7:31 And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.

    there is no problem with this route of travel

    Quirinius was found to rule earlier then the census in 6 to 7 AD

    4) pilates records are not available to be seached they have not be found

    5) no there are not similar stories of the myths you mention
    that is a false assumption and internet rumor

    6) jesus died because his back was scourged open to the bone and he bleed to death
    you will not live several days with blood pouring from your back and the wounds in his head and the nails in his feet and hands

    jesus never took of it
    they offered it to him and he rejected it

    8) they were forbidden but did it any way because of their hatred for jesus
    not every one of the Sanhedrin were at the meeting
    just enough to convict jesus

    pilate was appeasing the jews they burried the dead before the sabbath
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  13. Sushi platter
    April 15th, 2011 at 05:07 | #13

    1: Matthew 8:28 "And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes…" Notice it doesn’t say "city of the Gergesenes" but "country". The location of the city being referred to (in verses 33 and 34) relative to the sea cannot be determined, neither is there any record of time elapsed or distance traveled by any party concerned in the narrative. Not enough information is available to create a contradiction of any sort.

    2: This is why I don’t use the NIV translation… Mark 7:31
    (NLT) "Jesus left Tyre and went to Sidon, then back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns."

    This is ridiculous, I don’t know what site you’re parroting these off of but it’s not looking too credible so far. Try reading the Bible for yourself rather then relying on other peoples lies to take cheap shots at Christians, you just make yourself look like a fool.
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  14. Fire
    April 15th, 2011 at 05:47 | #14

    The bible is what is known as "Faction" a fictional story set in a factual time and place! Therefore the time and place are correct and many of the real characters of the time but the fairy stories woven into it are all just fiction!
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  15. diego
    April 15th, 2011 at 05:58 | #15

    you are talking about new testament.

    old testament is full of such history anachronisms and errors
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