The "Original Transcripts" originated between the fourth and tenth centuries AD - of these transcripts, some fifteen hundred of them, were copies of transcripts - and none of the transcript agreed with one another. More than eighty-thousand variations have been counted. There is not a single page of the "Original Transcripts" without contradictions. From copy to copy, the verses were understood differently by different authors, and their functions were transformed to suit the needs of the times in which they were translated.
The "Original Transcripts," The most prominent of them, the Codex Sinaiticus written in the fourth century AD, like the Codex Vaticanus was found in the Sinai Convent in 1844. It contains sixteen thousand corrections, which can be traced back to seven correctors. Many passages were altered three times and then replaced by a fourth "original text." Frederich Delitzsch, author of a Hebrew dictionary, and a first-rate scholar, established about three thousand copying mistakes in the "original text."
This business of the "original text" is a symptom of the sublime art of theological description. Most Christians associate the concept "original text" with the very first version, an indisputable document. "Priest Jean Schorer, for many years spiritual adviser to the Cathedral of Saint Pierre, Geneva, came to the conclusion that the theory of the total inspiration of the Bible and the idea that God was its author are untenable. In the series Die Religion des modernen Menschen, Dr. Robert Kehl gives a sketch of what really happened. I quote:
Most believers in the Bible have the naive credo that the Bible has always existed in the form in which they read it today. They believe that the Bible has always contained all the sections which are found in their personal copy of the Bible. They do not know and most of them do not want to know that for about 200 years the first Christians had no "scripture" apart from the Old Testament, and that even the Old Testament canon had not been definitely established in the days of the early Christians, that written versions of the New Testament came into being quite slowly, that for a long time no one dreamed of considering the New Testament writings as Holy Scripture, that with the passage of time the custom arose of reading these writings to the congregations, but that even then no one dreamed of treating them as Holy Scriptures with the same status as the Old Testament, that this idea first occurred to people when the different factions in Christianity were fighting each other and they felt the need to be able to back themselves up with something binding, that in this way people only began to regard these writings as Holy Scripture about 200 AD!
It all began with the councils, the assemblies of ecclesiastical senior pastors for dealing with important ecclesiastical affairs. A prerequisite for the appointment of an official of the Church is that he have "charisma," i.e., that he share the "divine gift of grace, "So, when councils with such illustrious members meet, the Holy Ghost is among them, omnipresent and active. The Assemblies of the first five Ecumenical (which means the whole Catholic Church) Councils of the early Christian world set the standards for the doctrine and organization of the new religion. The oldest dogmas, which are still valid today were proclaimed at Nicea (AD 325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), and again at Constantinople (553). It is worthwhile to pause for a minute and take a look at how the Councils came into being and what decisions were made by them, presumably for all eternity.
The First Ecumenical Council took place at Nicaea. The council was convened by the Emperor Constantine (who was not crowned until he was on his deathbed ), because he wanted to use the rapidly expanding Christian religion, with its great potentialities, to give strength to the Roman Empire. When Constantine selected and brought together the 318 bishops for the Council, it was pure power politics, religious concerns taking very much of a back seat. Even the charismatic bishops can have had no doubt about that, for not only did the Emperor preside over the council, he also expressly proclaimed that his will was ecclesiastical law. The senior pastors accepted him as "Universal Bishop," even though he was not crowned, and they let him take part in votes on Church dogmas as a secular prince. Ecclesiastical and earthly interests entered into an astonishing symbiosis even at that early stage!
Constantine was completely ignorant of Jesus' teaching. He was a follower of the solar cult of Mithras (ancient Iranian god of light), who was portrayed on coins as the "invincible sun " and worshipped until far into the Christian era. When Constantine gave his name to the old Greek commercial city of Byzantium and made Constantinople (330) the capital of the Roman Empire, he had a mighty column erected for the ceremonial opening of the metropolis with the Emperor and the invincible sun on it. Clouds of incense floated in the air, and candlelit processions made their way through the streets in his honor. Far from abolishing slavery, the Pontiff ordered that slaves caught pilfering food have molten lead poured down their throats, and he allowed parents to sell their children in time of need.
Until Nicea, the doctrine of Arius of Alexandria that God and Christ were not identical, but only similar, held good. Constantine forced the Council to proclaim that God the Father and Jesus were of the same essence. This absolutely vital amendment became Church dogma by imperial decree. That is how Jesus became identical with God. With this as a foundation, the bishops unanimously passed the "Nicene Creed." The non-Christian Constantine did the Church another enormous service. Until that time, the place where Jesus was buried had remained unknown. Then, in the year of grace 326 , the Roman Emperor, led by "divine inspiration, " discovered the grave of Jesus, who had just become con substantial with God. (In 330 Constantine had the Church of the Holy Sepulcher built. ) However, this wonderful discovery did not stop Constantine from murdering some of his close relatives during the same year: his son Crispus; his wife, Faustina, whom he had plunged into boiling water; and his father-in-law, Maximian, whom he imprisoned and forced to commit suicide. That is the image of the Emperor and Pontiff who stage-managed the Nicene Creed and who, when the council was over, told the Christian communities in a circular letter that the agreement of the 318 bishops was the "Decision of God." Incidentally, Constantine the Great was canonized by the Armenian, Greek, and Russian Churches.
The Second Ecumenical Council was at Constantinople. This council was convened by the Emperor Theodosius 1 (347-395), who was nicknamed "the Great" by the Church. This Roman Emperor was an oppressor of the poor, history tells us. He swamped the common people with intolerable burdens, which his tax collectors exacted with brutal tortures. With the full rigor of his imperial power, he forbade anyone to give refuge to these downtrodden creatures. If they did so, he had all the inhabitants of the offending village slaughtered. In the year 390 (almost ten years after the holy council) he had seven thousand rebellious citizens murdered in a blood bath in the center of the town of Thessalonika at the same time that the "Halleluya" ("Praise Jehovah") came into use in Christian churches. Theodosius proclaimed the Christian doctrine the state religion (hence "the Great") and made Ambrosius, Bishop of Milan, level all heathen sanctuaries to the ground. There, The dogma of the trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost was introduced into Church doctrine. This was done by the assembly of senior pastors known by theological experts as the Rump Council. Today the Church still feeds on the dogma of the Trinity that was added in this way.
The Third Ecumenical Council took place at Ephesus. This Council was convened by the East Roman Emperor Theodosius 11 (408-450) and the West Roman Emperor Valentianus III (425-455). These two emperors did not bother their heads about secular or ecclesiastical problems; they were playboys. So they seldom graced the council with their presence. Theodosius 11 was a weakling who devoted himself wholly to his hobbies and tyrannically levied taxes on his subjects to pay for his extravagant way of life. Theodosius was completely under the influence of his elder sister Pulcheria (399-453). For some time she acted as regent for her brother and boasted of being a virgin (which made her contemporaries laugh) on every suitable and unsuitable occasion. Her pious protestation sufficed to get her made a saint, though this did not stop her, after her brother's death, from having his rival Chrysophus murdered. As for his West Roman imperial colleague Valentianus, he was under the thumb of his mother, Galla Placidia, who ultimately was assassinated.
At Ephesus? The Council declared that Mary should be worshipped as the Mother of God. By its inclusion in the "Theodosian Codex," their decision became an imperial law. Thus, one thing followed another, and the Holy Ghost was ever present ...
The Fourth Ecumenical Council was at Chalcedon. The council was formally convened by the Byzantine Emperor Marcianus (396-457 ), but in reality it was run by the "virgin " Pulcheria, who had married Marcianus after the death of Theodosius. She knew far better than the bishops what she wanted. Theologian Eduard Schwartz came to the conclusion that Pulcheria convened the council against the will of the various Churches, and that she held the reins of the deliberations firmly in her hands.
What happened at Chalcedon? With Epistola Dogniatica (Dogmatic Letter) Pope Leo I initiated the dogmatic formula that Jesus had two natures. The council proclaimed the doctrine that divine and human nature are inseparably united in the person of Jesus. This double nature still persists today as the "Chalcedonian Creed." Last, but not least, the preservation of the unity of the doctrine was entrusted to the Pope, who could intervene whenever he saw fit. That is how the primacy of Rome originated. The foundations for future developments were made official. Today the men in the Vatican must still be grateful to the unholy Pulcheria for pushing through the Council of Chalcedon.
The Fifth Ecumenical Council took place at Constantinople. It was staged by the East Roman Emperor Justinian 1 (483-565). He was no mean despot, but he fell in with the whims of his wife, Theodora (497-548). Daughter of a circus attendant deserved well of her husband, she saved the throne during the rebellion of Nika (532 ), when there was an uprising against the tyrannical sovereign. After this service, she was able to give her fanatical will full rein in an attempt to wipe out the rest of pagans, a project which the senior pastors of the council warmly encouraged. The bishops of the fifth council had virtually no work to do. Anything that Justinian had in mind had been achieved long before by imperial decrees and laws; it is not without irony that this assembly is described in the theological literature as the "Council of Acclamation." Justinian summoned Pope Vigilius (537-555) "Unworthy representative of his office," who was later quoted by opponents of Papal infallibility to prove their case-to Constantinople. Vigilius and the bishops submitted themselves to the power-political interests of the Emperor, who found a place in the history books because of his pitiless laws against heretics. A "heretic" was anyone who denied the Christian dogmas, subject to savage punishments, and even death. An army of Roman officials tracked down dissenters, rounding them up in droves, forcing them to accept Christian baptism on Justinian's orders.
The Byzantine historian Procopius (490-555) author of a history of Justinian's wars against the Persians, Vandals, and Goths, and a book about Justinian's buildings (Hagia Sophia)! Also wrote a pamphlet against Justinian and Theodora. Procopius, he who knew his noble lord well, described Justinian as proud hypocritical, unrighteous, malicious, cruel, and bloodthirsty. Christian interpreters of history like to deviate from Procopius's description. For Justinian was canonized, like the Emperor Constantine, and Theodosius. What happened at the council? The Greek ecclesiastical writer Origen, a teacher in the Catechisms' school at Alexandria, was the most important theologian in Christian antiquity and the first advocate of a critical examination of the Bible. With the help of his training, he had to some extent made the scriptures intelligible and spiritualized them by allegorical interpretations. The council condemned his deviations and said his exegeses were unorthodox. What was to be orthodox in the future was exclusively detained by the leaders of the Church, inspired by the Holy Ghost? When this decision was taken by the council, persecution was not confined to Origen's numerous followers; but also to all the other dissenters. About this time the ring which bishops wore became a symbol of marriage to the Church. A union between man and Holy Ghost.