Thursday, December 11, 2008

Faithless footnotes

Mood: A little confused, with a hint of irritation.

The Bible I primarily read is The Student Bible, an NIV version "with notes by Philip Yancey and Tim Stafford." Today's reading has me in the minor prophet Micah's little book. As I started reading chapter 4, the text sounded a little familiar to me. Sure enough, I ran into one of the mini-sidebars in the text added for explanation presumably by Misters Yancey and Stafford. The note reads:

4:3 Parallel with Isaiah

Micah 4:1-3, which describes the wonderful future in store for the world, has an almost exact parallel in Isaiah 2:2-4. Isaiah must have quoted Micah, or vice versa, or perhaps both quoted a third unknown prophet. Both prophets spoke in Jerusalem at about the same time.

My questions of the note-writers are: "How can you possibly have crawled the entire Bible, adding scholarly notes at a rate of approximately one note per every two chapters, and come to the conclusion that the only way Isaiah and Micah could have both managed to reveal the word of the Lord near-identically is if they were sharing source material? Did it never occur to you that God might say the exact same thing to more than one person?"

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