Is the Holy Bible a forged manuscript?

(image) London: A US scholar has claimed that the Bible may have been forged as several New Testament books were actually written by people who lied about their identity, pretending to be the apostles Peter, Paul or James.

Bart D Ehrman, the best selling author of `Misquoting Jesus` and `Jesus, Interrupted`, has said that many religious scholars were well aware of the "lies" of the Bible, a Britain`s daily reported.

While some were happy to acknowledge them others refer to them as "pseudepigrapha" meaning a falsely attributed work, he wrote in `The Huffington Post`.

Even in his new book , `Why the Bible`s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are`, Prof Ehrman claims `The Second Epistle of Peter` was forged.

"…scholars everywhere – except for our friends among the fundamentalists – will tell you that there is no way on God`s green earth that Peter wrote the book. Someone else wrote it claiming to be Peter," he wrote.

He has also claimed that scholars who say it was acceptable in the ancient world for someone to write a book in the name of someone else, are wrong.

"If you look at what ancient people actually said about the practice, you`ll see that they invariably called it lying and condemned it as a deceitful practice, even in Christian circles," Prof Ehrman wrote.

According to Prof Ehrman, many scholars think six of the 13 letters allegedly written by Paul were actually authored by somebody else claiming to be Paul. "In the ancient world, books like that were labelled as pseudoi — lies."

He has also claimed that the author of the book of 1 Timothy claimed to be Paul but in actual fact was someone living after Paul had died. The author then used the apostle`s name to address a problem he saw in church, the scholar said.

"Women were speaking out, exercising authority and teaching men. That had to stop.

"The author told women to be silent and submissive, and reminded his readers about what happened the first time a woman was allowed to exercise authority over a man, in that little incident in the garden of Eden.

"No, the author argued, if women wanted to be saved, they were to have babies," he wrote.

Paul is known as one of history`s great misogynists, largely based on this passage from the Bible. But Prof Ehrman argues this label is not necessarily justified as he was not the one to write it.

"It appears that some of the New Testament writers, such as the authors of 2 Peter, 1 Timothy and Ephesians, felt they were perfectly justified to lie in order to tell the truth. But we today can at least evaluate their claims and realise just how human, and fallible, they were," he wrote.