In Can Science Explain the Bible, we told about some scientific explanations for Biblical stories that may or may not be true. Now two Italian journalists say the Bible is filled with mistakes. They claim Eve didn’t eat an apple and Jesus didn’t die at the age of 33 and wasn’t born in the first year AD. The Jews didn’t escape by walking across the floor of the Red Sea, there were eleven or twelve commandments, manna didn’t fall down from heaven, and Jonah’s whale didn’t exist. The three Wise Men weren’t really wise, and there weren’t three of them. Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, and the apostle Paul didn’t fall off a horse on his way to Damascus. And this is being reported by journalists from the Pope’s official newspaper!

Roberto Beretta and Elisabetta Broli of the newspaper Avvenire, the official newspaper of the Pope’s Biblical Committee, have published a book called “The Eleven Commandments,” in which they’ve collected examples of false Bible interpretations. Their research is based archeological evidence and new readings of ancient manuscripts.

They say Eve couldn’t have eaten an apple, because there were no apple trees in the place where the Garden of Eden was. An unknown Biblical writer translated “malus-malum” (“evil” or “fruit”) as an apple. Jews believe that Eve picked a fig or a nut, while Orthodox Christians believe the apple was really an orange. Muslims believe Eve offered Adam a glass of wine (much more tempting than an apple).

The Ark that Noah built wasn’t actually a boat, but more like a submarine. The rain didn’t last for 40 days, it lasted for a year and ten days. Also, Noah took only seven pairs of “clean” animals and one pair of “unclean” animals, not two of everything.

Jews didn’t escape across the floor of the Red Sea, they went to a place called Bitter Lakes or the Reed Sea, which wasn?t deep, so they could cross it at low tide. Egyptian soldiers were stopped by the rising tide. The Reed Sea sounds like a marshy place, so Egyptian chariots might have gotten bogged down in the mud, while the Jews escaped on foot. John Wyclif correctly translated the area as the Reed Sea in the 13th century, but it was confused with the Red Sea 300 years later.

Twelve commandments were given and it wasn’t Moses who received them. Biblical scholars say the commandments appeared gradually, one after another, and weren’t put into their final form until the end of the 7th century BC. The last 7 commandments were already in force in Egypt long before the time of Moses. Jews still learn twelve commandments.

Manna was a resinous substance that can still be found on bushes in the Sinai area. The walls of Jericho didn’t tumble down because the town did not exist at that time. A whale didn’t swallow Jonah?the Bible says a common man, who plunges into thought and turns to God, can become a prophet and overcome any obstacles?even being swallowed by a whale.

Joseph, the father of Jesus, wasn’t a carpenter who married Mary in old age. He was a successful builder who got married when he was 18-25 years old. There were no Wise Men, no Bethlehem star, no stable birth.

Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, because shepherds aren’t in the fields in the winter. He wasn’t born at night, and he was born either in the fifth or the seventh year AD. The mistake was first made by a monk named Dionisio el Exiguo, who created the calendar we still use. There’s some evidence that Jesus was crucified on April 7th, in the year 30, so he would have been 36 or 37 years at that time.

Now, is all this true or not? And does that matter? In faith–in true faith–it does not matter at all. Blessings of the season.

Want to know the history behind myths and legends? William Henry is the author to read.

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