Get your King James Bible

Just for the fun of it, I’ve uploaded a copy of the King James Version of the Holy Bible to my Comcast web page, the one that you get for free with every Comcast Internet account. It’s for Robb Topolski and all the good people at the EFF.

PS: Actually should have been for the AP, according to Robb’s comments on the post and an e-mail from the EFF. So many details, so little time.

The World’s First Wikipedia Article

This is a cold analysis of the Bible:

“Those who call the King James Version of the Bible the unerring word of God,” writes reviewer Doug Brown, “have a slight problem. The New Testament of the KJV (as the King James Version is usually referred) was translated into English from a version of the Greek New Testament that had been collected from 12th-century copies by Erasmus. Where Erasmus couldn’t find Greek manuscripts, he translated to Greek from the Latin Vulgate (which itself had been translated from Greek back in the fourth century). Here the problem splits into two problems. First, Jesus spoke Aramaic — his actual words, never recorded, were only rendered in Greek in the original gospels. Thus, the KJV consists of Jesus’s words twice refracted through the prism of translation. Second, Erasmus’s Greek New Testament was based on handwritten copies of copies of copies of copies, etc., going back over a millennium, and today is considered one of the poorer Greek New Testaments.”

Consider this just one example of a “sacred text” treated almost as a farcical text in regard to its having a single, coherent, intentional, shaping, authorial, divine mind behind it. Is the Bible, in one counting, the 66 books of the Protestant Bible, the 73 books of the Roman Catholic Bible, or the 77 books of the Eastern Orthodox Bible?

After a litany of examples of intercopy disagreements, scribal clarifications, arbitrary decisions on what is canonical and what is apocryphal, and putative scribal addenda such as the controversial last twelve verses of Mark (16:9-20) with their references to snake handling and speaking in tongues, it is difficult to think of such texts as sacred as opposed to much-handled — compilations over time by committee. If you’d been told recently that the seventh and final volume of the Harry Potter series had gone through changes at the hands of 10 copyists and editors, not to mention been translated through several languages before reaching English, would you feel confident it was J.K. Rowling’s sacred conclusion to her tale? Writes Brown, “In many respects, the Bible was the world’s first Wikipedia article.”

Unfortunately for religious fundamentalists, it’s largely correct as well.

No free ride for reincarnators

China once again demonstrates vision that’s all too rare in the modern state by extending the reach of regulation into the supernatural:

China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.”

We’ll do better in the US, of course, by simply levying a huge tax on these irresponsible reincarnators. This must be the lobby that repealed the death tax.

Fixing gay babies in the womb

Southern Baptist Seminary president Albert Mohler has accomplished a great feat of trolling on his blog, exploring the question of detecting and correcting homosexuality in pre-born fetuses:

Tyler Gray addresses these issues in the current issue of Radar magazine. In “Is Your Baby Gay?,” Gray sets out a fascinating scenario. A woman is told that her unborn baby boy is gay. This woman and her husband consider themselves to be liberal and tolerant of homosexuality. But this is not about homosexuality now; it is about their baby boy. The woman is then told that a hormone patch on her abdomen will “reverse the sexual orientation inscribed in his chromosomes.” The Sunday Times [London] predicts that such a patch should be available for use on humans within the decade. Will she use it?

This question stands at the intersection of so many competing interests. Feminists and political liberals have argued for decades now that a woman should have an unrestricted right to an abortion, for any cause or for no stated cause at all. How can they now complain if women decide to abort fetuses identified as homosexual? This question involves both abortion and gay rights — the perfect moral storm of our times.

Homosexual activists have claimed that sexual orientation cannot be changed. What if a hormone patch during pregnancy will do the job?

He’s got both gay activists and hardcore fundamentalists upset at him and sparked an article in the Associated Press.

Our hat’s off to the preacher.