18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Sound scary? Well, a clearer understanding will remove any fear that John was condemning Latter-day Saints and their additional revelations.
As usual, context matters. Moses made a similar comment in Deuteronomy. Proverbs mentions a similar concept. And John himself likely wrote his Gospel and epistles after writing Revelation.
No, the canon (New Testament) wasn’t closed with John’s words in Revelation 22.
This Christian scholar has valuable insight. I especially appreciated his discussion of the earliest documents. Like any book or scroll that is opened repeatedly, they wear down. They eventually are replaced by copies that are identical (or very, very, very close).
Broader history of the entire bible. This guy is always fun.
Or did human prophets and editors write and in some cases rewrite the Bible?
Latter-day Saints believe what is true: the latter. Scholars have manuscripts and can use historical methods to understand the development of and changes to the biblical scriptures.
Gotta give lots of credit to those over at LDS Perspective Podcasts. They’ve lined up many wonderful LDS scholars on this and other topics.
The first podcast below — with Ben Spackman — says the following:
“It would be more helpful to approach the Bible as if it were a library that contained books of many different genre instead of being all the
same type of writing. No Christian would presume to label all scripture as parable. Likewise all scripture should not be labeled as history. The Bible contains books of satire, law codes, poetry, parables, myth, conquest narratives, and prophetic revelation among other things.”
An analogy Julie likes to use is that to her, Mark is the stake president in California who lets a homeless family sleep in the cultural hall because he’s not much of a rule-follower kind of a guy; whereas Matthew and Luke work for CES in Salt Lake and wear a suit and would never dream of breaking a rule.
James L. Kugel is an orthodox Jew and biblical scholar who became somewhat legendary for revisiting ancient paradigms. When he taught at Harvard, one of Kugel’s students said the professor began a course by offering a disclaimer to the class: “If you come from a religious tradition upholding the literal truth of the Bible, you could find this course disturbing.”
Kugel tells the MIPodcast that isn’t exactly the case—there’s much more to the story. This episode is about religious faith and critical biblical scholarship.
How early Christians interpreted the Bible, with Peter Martens:
Martin Tanner discusses papyrus, the NT manuscripts, and the resurrection below: