An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural
Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies
Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z
Bible The book upon which the Christian religion is based. It is divided into the Old and the New Testaments, the former dealing with events before the time of Christ and the latter——in the four Gospels—— with events of the life of Christ and the period following his death, plus events in the history of the many early Christian churches.
Early editions in English were many and varied. The Breeches Bible was so named because Genesis 3:7 refers to Adam and Eve preparing “breeches” from sewed-together “figge-tree leaves” upon discovering that they were naked. In the Vinegar Bible, the “Parable of the Vinegar” was given in Luke 20, rather than the “Parable of the Vineyard.” A 1632 edition had the seventh commandment as “Thou shalt commit adultery.” It earned the title of the “Wicked Bible.”
In the reign of Henry VIII (1491-1547) it was decreed that
. . . no woman (unless she be noble or gentle woman) no artificers [craftsmen], apprentices, journeymen, servingmen, under the degree of yeomen . . . husbandmen or labourers
could read any part of the Bible without danger of fines or imprisonment.
The 1611 King James Version of the book is now recognized as the authorized edition. Though in the almost four centuries since its first publication scholars have become aware of many serious discrepancies in that edition, it is still accepted as correct.
The Bible deals with many magical events, aside from the miracles (such as resurrection of dead persons or multiplying food and drink) ascribed to Christ. In the Old Testament are found a number of references to the punishment of sorcerers, and the process of trial by ordeal appears in Numbers 5:11-13. In Jonah 1:7, we find a reference to chance being used for divination:
Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
This process is justified and validated by another biblical passage, Proverbs 16:33, where we read:
The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
This conclusion apparently still stands, despite our present better understanding of the laws of chance and probability.
A witch is found in Exodus 22:18. Immediately following the official amounts established for a virgin bride-price and the money penalty to be paid by the seducer of a not-yet-betrothed virgin is found the rule that:
You shall not allow a witch to live.
The famous witch of Endor was said (1 Samuel 28) to exorcise spirits, and the High Priest of the Israelites carried with him two magical stones called Urim and Thummim that enabled him to prophesy.
In Genesis 20:3, 31:23, and 37:5; Job 33:15; Numbers 12:6; and 1 Kings 3:5, sorcery is referred to, and at least twenty methods of foretelling the future are described in the book.
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Copyright (C) 1995-2007 James Randi.
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