Tell me the pros and cons about these thoughts of mine. Let me know if They are wrong. Expound on it please! I don't want to tell anything if it is wrong.

The bible was composed for governments. It was never intended to be a people's book. The council of Niccea composed this book as more of a constitution. A book to put fear into any nation who opposed them (like the Hebrews). Now you could only pray to God using the Christian method and our savior from our country. Only in the name of Jesus would God hear you from now on.

Thanks for any input.

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Dang. I'm Poe'd once again! :p
Okay, if it's such an oversimplification, then let's try this:
Name one piece of scripture (or rather: would-be scripture) that was rejected at the Council of Nicea.

Did you miss the part where I agree that there was no "this scripture is in/that scripture is out" at the Council of Nicaea? But if you're asking me to name one that, thanks to the Council, lost any notable hope of winning the race:

Gospel of Thomas.

- The Council of Nicaea was a major, MAJOR turning point in which early Christian sects would be recognizes as orthodox and which would be recognized as heretical.

- Gnosticism = not exactly the guests of honor = heretical.

- By extension, any of their favored writings which did not happen to coincide with that of the new Orthodox, are also heretical.

Want a second one?

- As you keep bringing up, one of the main agenda items was to specifically declare Arius, his sect, and his teachings to be heretical.

- It is reasonable to assume that if he and his in fact had been the winners of this popularity contest their list of approved scripture looked different than that of the orthodox. As almost all original writings of the period have been long lost to history, until someone stumbles upon some copies in a cave like they did with the Gnostic texts in 1945, we may never know exactly what his bible would have looked like.

Again Matt, it sounds like you and I are in a glass-half-empty/glass-half-full debate here. You're saying Constantine and the Council of Nicaea had no direct hand in shaping biblical canon, which is true. I'm saying they did have a great deal of indirect influence, which is also true.
Arian was working from the same texts as the others, as I keep repeating (for good reason). The fact of the matter is that at least 4/5 of the New Testament canon had been agreed upon by the year 200. The other 1/5th (the less important books) was decided over centuries, and continued until the 15th Century. Nothing we know about the Arians suggests that they believed anything different from other Christian branches, except one tiny theological detail with regards to Jesus' divinity.
And considering how devestating the vote was against Arian (258-2), how can this be a major turning point for Christian doctrine? It was a declaration of what was inevitable. And it was an irrelevant theological detail.

As for Gnosticism, it wasn't even discussed. So how could Nicea (and by extension) Constantine possibly be relevant to whether or not Gnostic texts made it into the Bible? Here's a shocker for you: Constantine actually leaned closer to Gnosticism than to other branches.
Arian was working from the same texts as the others,

Prove it. Granted: neither can I prove that every competing sect worked from the exact same approved list, but given the evidence, I (and the authors I've read thus far) find that highly unlikely:

- We know that many, probably most, gospels and texts have been destroyed.

- Some of the books of the bible are epistles (sermons) and letters. It is reasonable to assume that competing sects had written their own epistles and gotten their hands on their own prized letters.

- Those books that have survived are copies of copies of copies which have almost certainly been altered as each copy is made. It is reasonable to assume that had Arius emerged as the approved version of Christianity, his alterations would have been different.

- Because Arius was voted least popular by those who were invited/showed up, does not mean he had any less valid claim to the 'truth' than anyone else. While Theists would love to believe that Constantine and the Council of Nicaea had nothing but the best interest of the people and search for truth, completely independent of any personal, social, or political agenda, Secular scholars know better: Since when is a Theist leader or politician completely free of bias from personal, social, or political agendas? 300 years after Jesus supposedly died, working with multiple conflicting texts, none of which were eye-witness accounts, if there was any truth to be found it is forever lost to history.

As for Gnosticism, it wasn't even discussed. So how could Nicea (and by extension) Constantine possibly be relevant to whether or not Gnostic texts made it into the Bible?

By not even bothering to discuss it.

Thanks to the findings at Nag Hammadi, we see a plethora of gospels and epistles that have no more or less claim to the 'real' Jesus than the canon ones; they're just the ones who lost the popularity contest.

Also thanks to the Nag Hammadi library, we must consider (if we are to be scientific and unbiased): What other gospels and epistles were circulating that we don't know about?
Er, sorry, but Christians wrote long, loooong books and texts refuting each and every one of Arius' claims in details. Now, I don't care whether they were right or wrong, but what is certain is this: if Arius was operating from another text, Christians would have written long and detailed critiques of why it was a work of the devil and was an argument against him.
This is exactly the reason why we now so much about early heretical Christian sects: other Christian texts really took their time to refute them, and left us with very detailed lists of what they believed.
So sorry, but that piece of "maybe he was using something which was later burned and never talked about again" is pseudo-history.

And as for Constantine, again: how could deciding on the details of Jesus' divinity (whether or not Jesus' divinity was in some ways derivative from the Father or whether it was wholly independent) possibly have been of use to Constantine. It was a minor theological difference.

Sorry, but you're clutching at straws now.
"yup. I like the theory. People have claimed to debunk it but I've seen little to refute it...and the proof seems to ring true when you think about the sun and stars being what and where they are."

What's not to like?

Little to refute it? Do you mean you have actually seen SOMETHING? If so what,and why do you reject it? Or perhaps that you haven't actually been bothered to look?

A little time n Google will reveal some interesting alternative views posited by your actual scholars.

They include: There is no evidence of a Jewish presence in ancient Egypt within the time frame you claim. BUT,there IS evidence of settlement in Cannaan by Jews long before and throughout that period. There is also evidence that is likely that Egypt was never a slave society. The enslavement and escape of the Jews(the Exodusis almost certainly myth.

Currently ,increasing numbers of scholars are arguing that the Torah was not written down until about 800 BCE,in Babylon.That the most direct influences came from Zoroastrianism.
The Bible was composed for the same reasons as the Koran, or the Vedas, or the Egyptian Book of the Dead and so on. The passing on of traditions through writing is more reliable than the passing down of traditions orally. The Bible wasn't put together in one go, it took several thousand years to compose and we are still tinkering and messing with it today. The Council of Niccea as many have done throughout history used a 'sacred' document and a religion to their own ends.

Anyways it was fun reading through people's ideas. This is one of those realms where one can get away with to some extent formulating their own ideas without a ton of supporting evidences because really even the 'expert' historians in this area don't have a ton of evidence to back up their claims either.
The gospels were written as early Christian propganda to rationalize how Jesus could be the Messiah when he died because the Messiah was not expected to die. Mark's gospel is the earliest canon gospel and was written to convince the Gentiles that Christianity was not a threat to society. Matthew's gospel was written for a Jewish audience as basically an apologetic work to try to prove Jesus was the messiah. Matthew and Luke are believed by scholars to be a rewrite of Mark and are also both believed to be based on the earlier Q gospel, believed by scholars to have been written long before Mark. The Q gospel is believed to have been a lost gospel that the early followers of Jesus believed in which was merely a collection of sayings of Jesus and contained no mythological narrative. Matthew and Luke took their original sayings which they didn't get from Mark from Q and the Synoptic gospels developed a later mythology built around the Q sayings. John's gospel is the latest of the canon gospels and believed to be the least historically accurate by most scholars. John's gospel is often dubbed the "spiritual gospel" and it was written during a time when Christians were being isolated by the Jewish communities and John's gospel is mostly a response to the Jews excommunicating Christians from the synagogue.

The NT was canonized by the early church as a response to combat Marcion's hearsay. Marcion believed in two gods, that the god of the OT was an evil false god and the god of the NT was the true god. He was a big Paul fanboy and believed Paul was the only apostle who got the teachings of Jesus right, so Marcion made his the very first biblical canon, which consisted only of some of the epistles of Paul and Luke's gospel, which Marcion believed was the only accurate gospel because Luke's author was believed to be a companion of Paul. The proto-orthodox church saw Marcion as a threat to their beliefs and so that began the battle to create a biblical canon to combat Marcion's hearsay which eventually lead to our current modern day canon. A good book that deals with the basics of NT scholarship is Bart D Ehrman's Jesus Interrupted. For a book that deals with the entire history of Judaism and Christianity, I recommend the book The Bible-A Biography by the historian Karen Armstrong.
Oh, I absolutely agree. I don't think I said anywhere that there weren't disputes about what consituted the Biblical canon after Nicea; I'm usually quite careful to say that the "majority of the canon was more or less agreed upon". It's not a secret that there were still discussions about the occasional book or epistle. And we also know for a fact that protestants in the 16th century added 'introductions' to various texts of the Bible: one of the subjects of the Council of Trente, in fact.

The main misconception I've been tackling in this thread is the same one you tackle: that this theological dispute was anything other than theological. It was not a government conspiracy and it was not composed with a whole lot of politics in mind, let alone those of a specific Emperor.
When we're talking about events like the Council of Trente or Nicea, the subjects were usually irrelevant (to the rest of us, at least) details about theology, like settling the exact nature of Jesus' divinity. Not how to better control the population or settling matters like Jesus' divinity and the validity of, say, the Synoptic Gospels.

Thanks for the voice of reason :)
Dannyiseme says: The very question, "How was the Bible composed?" is faulty because...

That's great, but it wasn't the question. The question/headline of the thread is "Why was the bible composed in the first place?"
And yet the critique remains the same. The Bible wasn't composed as a monolithic block. Books of the Bible were composed over a period of centuries.

How does this address Why those books were composed?

Q: Why did Shakespeare write Hamlet?

A: Hamlet written around 1599-1601.

See? Nonsensical answer. Your critique of "how" is not the same as a critique of "why."

Just sayin', as you criticized the OP header as faulty for asking "How" when in fact that's not what the OP header asked.
Ok, let me rephrase the analogy:

Q: "Why were all of Shakespeare's plays written?"

A: "Shakespeare's plays were written during Shakespeare's lifetime.

Q: "Why were the Arthurian legends written?"

A: "The Arthurian legends were written over several centuries, with lots of people writing their own versions."

Q: "Why do people post to Atheist Nexus?"

A: "Atheist Nexus was started a couple of years ago. People post via the Internet."

Do you see how answering the "When" or "How" is not the same as answering the "Why?"

I ask again; is English your second language? If so, my apologies for holding you to that standard. English is indeed one of the most difficult languages to learn, even for native-speakers.




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