On La Shawn Barber's blog, there's quite a discussion going about how one lives as an atheist or agnostic. It has gotten a little OT, so I decided to post here on a side discussion, the issue of whether the Bible is myth or fact, authentic or a bunch of fables.
I'm not an expert on this subject, but there is no shortage of those who are. I'll just hit the high spots here, and if readers want to comment, you're very welcome.
Basically, as independent research has shown, the Bible was written by about 40 different authors, and was written over a period of about 1400 to 1800 years. Many of these authors claimed to have had an encounter with a deity, whom they identified as God.
The content of the Old Testament (as Christians call it--pretty much the same as the Torah as the Jews know it) includes, among other things, verifiable history and prophecy. Some of the history has an intriguing story; it was doubted for centuries, then found only post-WWII to be accurate).
All the prophecy which foretold events which should have occurred by now has proven to be accurate; the events foretold actually happened, and happened as they were predicted.
The authenticity of the various books (that the claimed writers actually wrote them) has been shown by many evidences over the years.
Early manuscripts of the Old Testament/Torah do not exist from before about the time of Christ because as they were copied the old and worn copies were carefully destroyed. However, the copying process was so elaborately careful that we can trust the copies. Besides, we have enough copies from different transcription trails that all agree, that we can say for sure, on hard evidence, that what we have is very much what was originally written.
Early copies of the New Testament do exist (although not the originals). The letters to individuals and to churches which are a part of the accepted books of the Bible were much-copied and widely-distributed, so we have many different copies, and again, they agree.
In fact, we have many times as many manuscripts of Bible books as we have of the Greek classics, and the Bible copies are earlier.
I'm going to stop with this. I highly recommend Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell as one of many books which does a very full, scholarly, and fully documented discussion of this topic. It's listed on Amazon, and if you search on this title, you'll find some books by other authors on the same subject.