Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Wikipedia Editor's view of the Bible

At the Secular Web Kiosk, a Wikipedia editor named Michael Young compares his experiences with editing the world's largest online reference to what must have occurred during the editing of the Bible:
With modern technology you can follow every step of the editing process. A feature of Wikipedia is that there is a document history tab at the top of every page where you can see the time and nature of every edit, and compare differences between different versions, and see evidence of all the things I talk about in this article in action. You can easily compare an article with what it said three weeks ago, and see what is changed. Unfortunately such things are not available for the Bible, but careful detective work can show where and how the edits have happened, and thus explain some of the Bible's more mysterious passages.

Young speculates on the contradictions in Genesis and other places on the grounds that "it is easier to add than take away." Advocates of a certain viewpoint add their bit, and the editor can't remove one or the other without feeling heat. In Wikipedia this comes out as "On one hand...on the other hand..." type of edits, but that's too anemic for the Word of God. So the biblical editor shrugs his shoulders and throws both viewpoints in.

Young makes one or two technical errors, but overall the article is enlightening.

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