rewriting the actual history
Redaction generally means a deliberate alteration of something from its original form.
It can be an actual re-wording of a passage, a changing of an actual word, or leaving something out of a passage or book that
would reflect a different meaning than what was originally written.
It's not unlike the practice in the Soviet Union of rewriting the actual history of the
communist revolution in Russia so that contemporary Soviet citizens never knew what actually happened at the turn of the century.
What we have as a Bible today, including all the highly accurate scholarly translations,
is what was approved by the religious authorities of the RC church after that form of Christianity survived to become "mainline"
Christianity in and after the Roman Empire. The RC church was that branch of Christianity that "won the competition" for predominance
among all forms of Christian beliefs.
That's why there are Christian writings, such as those of the Gnostics, that were never
part of the Bible as we know it today. The Gospel of Thomas is a good example.
Regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls, I suspect that there were many who naively expected that
those particular scrolls that might reflect Christian dogma, matching word-for-word and concept-for-concept with the Bible
as we know it today. Although some matching was encountered, an identical matching of scrolls to what is considered an inerrant
Bible was not encountered.
Concerning my own experience, I suppose one could use the word "deprogramming" in that
my initial bout with innerancy had more to do with how scripture was quoted to motivate or coerce me into socially acceptable
conformity within my church. I confess that as a child and up into my 40's, scriptural meaning as interpreted by my church
had an absoluteness about it that brooked little dissent.
For example, Joseph Campbell wrote a book entitled "The Power Of Myth." I was advised
not to read that book. Since I was in dissent, I swallowed my religious guilt and read it anyway.
When I read in there about myths which are older than Hebrew Scripture referring to floods,
arks, babies in baskets rescued from rivers by princesses, African stories about God asking man why fruit was eaten and the
man blaming the woman who blamed a snake ------- I realized that as a literalist with no appreciation for the blessings of
myth, I was on a dead-end path.
However, to reject the Bible and scripture because you've found them not to be innerant
- not to be the literal and absolute "Word of God" as preached from many Christian pulpits - is a mistake in my opinion.
Once I was able to remove the limitation of literal interpretation, the Bible came alive
to me - a living document that speaks out to me through the spirit.
Realize please that fundamentalist doctrines also severely limit perceptions of God, Christ
and scripture. To interact with those doctrines, you have to be willing to accept strict and dogmatic statements about who
God is, what God does, what God wills, and yes, what God has said - including for some a notion that all that God has said
is in the Bible and we need no more than that from God.
In life many find satisfaction and validation in merely being "religious" and nothing
more. They have values that are strong, attitudes that are wise, but seem to be somewhat limited in their desire for spiritual
communion with the divine.
For every fundamentalist who spends hours on his knees in prayer and study, you have large
numbers who practice religiousness only on Sundays or who content themselves with a battery of memorized biblical verses to
justify their self-limiting contentedness with being religious.
Fundamentalist Christian religion will forever remain a restricted and narrow pathway
to God, spending too much time marching forward on a narrow path and taking little time to notice the real world through which
that path moves. It will be a valid path - but not the only path. It will be one strong formula for religiousness but never
a recipe for personal and mystical communion with the divine.