The Codex Sinaiticus (mid-fourth century): the earliest complete copy of the Bible.
In case you were eagerly awaiting this week's Q/A Round-up, I wanted to announce that we'll be holding off on posting anything related to it until next weekend. We had an absolutely fantastic biblical studies question posed ("How should we read and understand Numbers 31?"), but the nature of the question is actually rather complex, as you may note if you read the passage. We'd rather not answer rashly, as is the tendency of most apologists and interpreters of this passage, because we think a considered exploration of the passage will actually be very fruitful.
So, give us a little patience as we formulate a series of responses to this question, which will not only address Numbes 31 but also, to some degree, the very nature of interpreting the Bible, particularly its difficult passages. Until then, you might enjoy reading this post from the blog Glory to God for All Things. The post is titled "Is the Bible True?", and it deals with some issues related to the question posed above. Here's a taste:
The history of literalism is a checkered affair. Some of the early fathers leaned in a literalist direction for many parts of Scripture, though leaving room for other, more symbolic approaches, where appropriate. The great battles over the historical literalism of Scripture arose in the 18th and 18th centuries in Europe and America (battles over certain scientific matters versus literalism began even earlier).
Part of the tragedy in these battles was that the battlefield itself was a fairly newly-defined area and failed to take into account the full history of Biblical interpretation. For a young believer in the midst of America’s own intellectual religious wars in the late 20th century – my question was whether the choices presented were the only choices available.
I should preface my remaining remarks with the simple affirmation: I believe the Bible is true.