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Ehrman makes the provocative case that many of our cherished biblical stories and widely held beliefs concerning the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, and the divine origins of the Bible itself stem from both intentional and accidental alterations by scribes -- alterations that dramatically affected all subsequent versions of the Bible. When world-class biblical scholar Bart Ehrman first began to study the texts of the Bible in their original languages he was startled to discover the multitude of mistakes and intentional alterations The introduction to this book is autobiographical; Ehrman explains how, after being raised Bart D.

Ehrman is one of the most renowned and controversial Bible scholars in the world today. He is the James A. He lives in Durham, North Carolina. I really like though, his last chapter, in which he makes that point that any reading of the Bible isn't going to reveal the truth therein. Rather, whenever we read anything we bring our own world view, experiences, hopes, desires, fears, etc. Our reading will always be influenced by these things. This is the same argument I am familiar with in the world of education generally and really rings true to me. The book is a relatively easy read.

It gives an insight about textual criticism, and the author shares his story and kind of walks you through the whole process through his perspective The book helped me really appreciate the tremendous efforts done throughout years to produce the New Testament as we have it now. The book draws attention to several variants at different points in the books of the New Testament, however, the variations although some were new to me, still the concept itself was no The book is a relatively easy read.

The book draws attention to several variants at different points in the books of the New Testament, however, the variations although some were new to me, still the concept itself was not. The author drives a strong argument, but I still believe that the information provided does not necessarily lead to his conclusion, every person could reach a different and less radical conclusion, it kind of depends on your perspective. Overall, I am rather satisfied with the book, and I think that it is a must read for Christians specially.

Ottimo lavoro. Lo darei da leggere a tutti quei credenti che brandiscono i sacri testi come spade con cui tagliare il nodo di questioni complesse come il fine vita, i transgender, la fecondazione artificiale e assistita, il ruolo della donna. This is a fantastic inquiry into the most influential written work in Western Civilization. In sleuth-like fashion, Ehrman demonstrates how scripture has been altered often by accident, sometimes willfully to explain the multiple versions of the Bible available today.

I wish Mr. Ehrman had done the same with the Old Testament, since that is my favorite part of the Bible! The coolest thing about this title is how the rationale for selecting the 'original' text is arrived at. Please do yourselve This is a fantastic inquiry into the most influential written work in Western Civilization.

Please do yourselves a favor and check out this book! Exceptionally well written and easy to follow even for those not well versed in the scriptures. Ehrman takes you through the timeline of the New Testament manuscript variants in a systematic manner. More broadly, this book encourages a critical eye with the study of any "preserved" ancient text. It is empowering to be given some tools and strategies to do so. After days of wading though the pompous tone of this book, chapter after chapter, leading into two nights of really deep sleep, i just gave up.

Maybe there is some titillating stuff there, but I have decided I no longer care. Since this is a rather long review I think I should summarize it in a few sentences. I think Ehrman has written a marvelous book and simply the fact that it is about Textual Criticism and still has become a bestseller must be to his credit. Particularly since it is so factual correct and describes the textual criticism so well. He shows beyond doubt that there is a huge challenge to restore the original text due to the textual variants one find.

However, he leaves the reader with the feeling of t Since this is a rather long review I think I should summarize it in a few sentences. However, he leaves the reader with the feeling of that the text of the NT is very unreliable and that the faith of Christianity relies on a very shaky foundation indeed. He doesn't say that in so many words, it is only implied.

Yet it is this side that I think make the book sensationalist at its best and consciously misleading at the worst. It would be one thing if Ehrman would argue this present his views. But not even Ehrman believes that the bible is so unreliable as, I think, it comes across in this book. He also agrees that we would probably be able to restore the original text with the help of the quotes by the Church fathers alone. That impression I do not get at all after having read this book. When reading this book I think I understand a little bit of what Richard Dawkins feel when he come across a promising or even brilliant biologist scholar, who turned ID which I think he talks about in The God Delusion.

Bart Ehrman vs Craig Evans Whole Debate on "Does the New Testament misquote Jesus?"

I'm not disputing the fact that there are textual variants and that there is need for hard work in order to get to the original text. I do have some questions about some of the methodological conclusions that Ehrman reaches though. Firstly, I think Ehrman makes a classical fallacy in that he in the beginning of the book puts forward a rather tentative suggestions or hypothesis that the earliest manuscripts are copied sloppy because they might have been copied by the leaders of the house churches, the persons who owned the house in which the early Christians first met.

He goes on to state that these probably were the few rich or well of Christians and that the rest of the community was most likely poor a most likely conclusion. Because they were not professional scribes they made many mistakes intentional and unintentional. This line of arguing is then taken as established theory later on in the book when Ehrman goes on to argue about textual variations and why some early manuscripts are not to be trusted. That to me is not a honest way to build up your argument. I'm not saying that Ehrman is necessarily wrong in his hypothesis, but it should not be used as established theory later in the book.

I do wonder though why the earlier manuscripts would have been copied by the leaders themselves. If they were well off and not too rarely were merchants for example, they would most likely have needed professional scribes in the businesses. Those professional scribes would most likely have gotten the job to copy the manuscripts as well. Then they would have wanted to be as careful in the copying of the "New Testament" as with the "Old Testament" - and the Jews had rigorous procedures when it came to copying the Torah for example.

A second methodological question to me is when Ehrman points out textual variants and argues for what would have been altered due to doctrinal issues so that the text should sound more orthodox. He is very correct and knowledgeable and writes very well about the different sects and the proto-orthodox among them. I am fascinated that a book about early Christian sets can sell so well and I really do hope that people have read it.

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However, I think Ehrman puts the cart before the horse in a way when discussing the pro to-orthodox changes of the text. His line of argument that the most doctrinal inconvenient reading should be preferred hold water, in my mind, only after the proto-orthodox have become the orthodox - that is after around possibly. But it seems to me that Ehrman assumes that it was the pro to-orthodox that necessarily were "the winners" writing the text also before the Council of Nicea and as such had control and made variants of the text. Put take Arianism as an example. My point is that it is difficult to know which variants were the doctrinally inconvenient ones before the creeds had been finalized.

We first of all need to know who really had the influence in the different geographical areas. We cannot assume that the proto-orthodox always were the ones doing the changes. Furthermore, in the end Ehrman concludes that it is wrong to argue that the variants don't change the doctrinal meaning of the texts, as he says some people state. I don't know if he has misunderstood that statement or if he is willfully very crafty in his phrasing here.

Because, as far as I heard the point is that the variants don't change any major doctrines. Yet, Ehrman seems careful in using the word "text" not "doctrines". The major doctrines of for example divinity of Christ are not based on one text alone and as such it is not clear what Ehrman would say about the statement of whether "no doctrine changes due to textual variation". Having said that, Ehrman's treatment of the NT kind of makes it look a little like a Swiss cheese. However, one thing that is really challenging, I think, is his challenge to read the NT for what it is, to read Luke for what he is, Matthew for what he is and so on.

Ehrman, naturally, emphasizes the huge differences between these authors and I kind of think he over states his case somewhat, but nonetheless, the question is still very relevant, what do we do with the different pictures of Jesus that the Gospels give us? Are they irreconcilable? One interesting thing is that there were attempts already in the 2nd century to harmonize the Gospels, the Diatessaron by Tatian. Yet, this version was rejected because the Church didn't to want to reject the four Gospels dispute of their differences. Because they were the most ancient sources they had to the life and sayings of Jesus.

That must mean that the Church actually cared about the reliability of their faith. My conclusion though is sadly that rarely, if ever, have I read such a tendentious and misleading book and that by a renown scholar at that. It is simply chocking what impression the reader get of the state of the greek text of the New Testament from this book - my conclusion, if I didn't know better and actually had studied textual criticism myself on an undergraduate level though it should be said , would be that the text looks like a Swiss cheese - which it doesn't!

That might be a problem for the doctrine of infallibility, but is it the impression Ehrman leaves the reader after half way through? I certainly donut think so? Shabby scholarship to say the least. Sensationalist at the best, consciously misleading at the worst. As such I find it really hard to rate this book because it gives so many facts and descriptions that are just wonderful that the lay reader and even non-Christian reader gets to learn about Christianity. I particularly like the fact that Ehrman has included the problem that arose by the radical shift in the view of women that came about with the early Christians.

But the problem lies not in what is written, but rather in what is not written. It is a little like how Solzhenitsyn describes what it was like reading Pravda during Stalinism in In the First Circle. The Pravda bragged about always telling the truth and, according to Solzhenitsyn, so it did. However, what wasn't clear was what it had left out and as such it gave the reader a completely faulty view of the state of Soviet and the West. My view is that Misquoting Jesus does the same mostly by making the reader draw wrong conclusions through the insinuations that are not actually stated in black and white in the text.

I am open to being wrong in my judgement though, but I would then like to be shown so. I was interested in reading this, to catch up on what I was taught in my liberal seminary forty years ago, as compared to what I've been learning in evangelical Sola Scriptura churches in the past twenty years. Although the book is full of interesting tidbits, and somewhat-convincing arguments about specific passages in the New Testament, two omissions were obvious, and their lack lowered my opinion of the book: 1 The author dwells endlessly on how impossible it is for us to regain the original I was interested in reading this, to catch up on what I was taught in my liberal seminary forty years ago, as compared to what I've been learning in evangelical Sola Scriptura churches in the past twenty years.

Although the book is full of interesting tidbits, and somewhat-convincing arguments about specific passages in the New Testament, two omissions were obvious, and their lack lowered my opinion of the book: 1 The author dwells endlessly on how impossible it is for us to regain the original text of the New Testament books, but then simply assumes it is therefore impossible for God to guide us into spiritual truth via what we do have.

That may indeed be what this author believes, but it would have been nice for him to at least attempt to prove that, rather than just assuming no one could see all the textual variants he points out and still believe Almighty God capable of revealing truth via them anyway.

That would have been interesting, but more important, it would have offered an opinion as to whether that process of selection was or was not guided by God. Having come from a Sola Scriptura tradition, the author sees vividly the problems with that approach, but doesn't appear to realize there are also problems with the alternative of considering the Bible as a flawed truth source among other truth sources such as tradition, experience and reason.

Having come from the other end of that argument, I long ago realized that having multiple truth sources makes it all too easy to just ride your favorite hobby horse, finding whatever evidence you need for whatever you want to believe in whichever of the various truth sources provides what you want. The end of that road is folks believe whatever they like, or nothing at all, and point to whatever supports their view, making them effectively useless as evidence for a faith beyond their own druthers. The book's topic was fascinating, but I can't rate this above 3 stars because of the poor quality of some of the citations.

Several I checked refer back to Ehrman's other books rather than to the original research sources, which makes it difficult to judge the original source quality without going on a wild goose chase. The writing is also very repetitive, and rambles a bit. It feels like there's only about half a book worth of material here, and it should have been combined with another topic t The book's topic was fascinating, but I can't rate this above 3 stars because of the poor quality of some of the citations.

It feels like there's only about half a book worth of material here, and it should have been combined with another topic to form a full book. That said, what's present is quite interesting. I especially liked learning about Marcion and the docetists. Marcion now considered a heretic found the angry wrathful smiting God of the Old Testament and the loving merciful God of the New Testament so fundamentally different that he believed they could not possibly be the same god and therefore there must be two gods, an angry creator and then a loving god who came later to save everyone who was willing to switch teams.

Very interesting stuff. I loved the introduction but it then gets very scholarly. I found myself drifting off a bit and confusing one situation with another. Hands down the best chapter is the one about women in the Bible!! This book really made me appreciate the value of having modern day revelation as well as having the Book of Mormon. The Bible has so many errors it's a miracle that we even have any semblance of what was originally written. Un libro que seas religioso o no cuando te lo termines no te va a dejar indiferente.

Fascinating exploration into how the words of the Bible have been altered intentionally and unintentionally over time and how the original words may never be truly known as a result. A great book if you are interested in history of the bible. A lousy book if you believe the bible is the word of God. Ehrman became a born-again fundamentalist Christian as a teenager, went to bible college, Wheaton and finally Princeton Seminary and changed to a liberal Christian then an agnostic as he realized that the Bible in fact was not the word of God but the word of man and had been changed over the centuries by the authors and scribes.

The book explores the possibility or rather impossib A great book if you are interested in history of the bible. The book explores the possibility or rather impossibility of finding the original Bible. What if humans said it? Scholars today cannot even agree on what the original words of the Bible actually were.

All we have is copies of copies of copies. The field of study in these old manuscripts is known as textual criticism. To even begin to be an expert in interpreting the Bible one would need to know Greek and other languages something few Bible readers can do. Christianity from its beginning was a bookish religion. The New Testament is largely made up of letters written by Paul another Christian leaders to Christian communities. Only 21 of these letters survive in the New Testament but is only a fraction of those written.

All other letters and gospels were excluded. These various letters were copied by scribes over and over again. And therein lies the problem. One problem was it an ancient Greek there were neither spaces between letters nor punctuation marks. Was it a lot of food or something supernatural? The scribes in Egypt were much better. The western Bible is mainly drawn from copies made in Europe which are less accurate to the originals.

Copies at times were made through dictations to a group of scribes as is shown by different copies where one Greek word is substituted for another that has a quite different meaning but sound like each other. Far and away the most changes all the results of mistakes. Accidental omissions, inadvertent additions, misspelled words etc.

The author points out that in one Codex from the fourth century there is a correction. Some centuries later a second scribe read this manuscript and change the unusual word manifests to the more common reading bears. Saying that Christ reveals all things by his word of power is quite different from saying that he keeps the universe together by his word! Did Paul write out his letters word for word or did he dictate the general points and have a scribe fill it in a common Practice of the time. One of the things that textual historians have noticed is that there are phrases in the gospels that differ from the rest.

They may be more poetic or use different words, etc. How did this come to be added? Most scholars think it was a well-known story about Jesus, was added in the margins of a manuscript and a later scribe made the marginal part of the text. But whoever wrote it was not John.

Similarly the last 12 versus of Mark in most English translations talk of casting demons out, speaking in tongues, taking snakes in hand, drinking poison without harm and the laying on of hands. Many words and phrases in the passage are not found elsewhere and scholars agree that it was added later. They think that it was added because without them Mark ends rather abruptly. In the s Erasmus of Rotterdam wrote translations of the bible relying heavily on one 12th century manuscript for the Gospels and another for the book of Acts and Epistles.

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Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

These were in Latin and he translated them back into Greek ending up with some words and phrases that appear nowhere in original Greek manuscripts. In John Mill cataloged 30, variations of the hundred Greek manuscripts of the New Testament that were available to him.

Today there are 5, Greek biblical manuscripts cataloged and scholars estimate there are between , and , variants. That is there a more variations among the manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament. Other manuscript errors are due to similar spellings of different words. The Greek word for evil and the word for sexual immorality are similar in spelling. In some manuscripts Paul warns against evil in general and in others against sexual vice in particular. The Greek words for Lord and time are similar and thus in different versions Paul exhorts his readers to serve the Lord and in others to serve the time.

Scribes tend to harmonize the gospels making sure that a story told in one is similar to the story told in another where older versions have them quite different. How to determine the original text? The oldest copy may be farther from the original version than a newer copy because it may have been copied from a more altered version. Since scribes would tend to change difficult complicated parts of the text to more understandable or harmonized versions. It is thought that the angry Jesus versions are closer to the original writings and were later changed.

Scholars believe these changes were made for political reasons centuries later. The New Testament was radically changed over the years at the hands of scribes were not only conserving scripture but also changing it. How do millions of people know what is in the New Testament? They know because scholars with unknown names identities, backgrounds, theologies and personal opinions have told them what is in the New Testament. But what if the translators translated the wrong text.

And what about the original authors.


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It is clear to most scholars that Mark was the first gospel written in that Matthew and Luke both use Mark as one of their sources. Authors have to get their stories from somewhere and Luke himself indicates that he had read and used earlier accounts in coming up with his own. But they say different things. Like the scribes the writers of the gospels changed scripture.

And one gospel Jesus is in agony and asks God if he has been forsaken and in another he is calm and asks God to forgive them for they know not what they do. In this respect if there may very well be that the original writers of the gospel change the scripture much more radically that any scribes that followed. This is no different than what any of us do in reading story. We only understand it through our knowledge and our experiences and our world view.

The scribes and the gospel writers, like us, were trying to understand what the original authors wrote while also trying to see how the words might have significance for them and how they might help them make sense of their own situation in their own lives. The subtitle of this book is slightly misleading, not in the sense that it's flatly untrue the New Testament was changed over time, but by the subtitle and the rise of drivel like The da Vinci Code, people are more likely to assume that these pages contain the inner workings of a vast and ancient conspiracy.

It doesn't take long——maybe a few pages——before you find out that Dr. Ehrman isn't a hyper skeptic who believes Jesus never existed, or a crackpot using every straw he can grasp at to discre The subtitle of this book is slightly misleading, not in the sense that it's flatly untrue the New Testament was changed over time, but by the subtitle and the rise of drivel like The da Vinci Code, people are more likely to assume that these pages contain the inner workings of a vast and ancient conspiracy.

Ehrman isn't a hyper skeptic who believes Jesus never existed, or a crackpot using every straw he can grasp at to discredit the New Testament. He's a scholar doing a scholar's work, and not much if any bias shows through here. This is a book not so much about the evolution of the biblical text as it is a layman's guide to how textual critics do their thing.

It's also a concise history of the versions of the gospels that have been passed down to us in English. The story itself is plenty interesting. Ehrman traces the story of Jesus from its spoken Aramaic roots to its dictation in Greek to its subsequent unprofessional copying to its more professional copying to its translation into Latin to its translation into English and following revisions.

Quite a tale. If there is one thing to walk away from this book with, it's something I imagine fundamentalists will find troubling. The gospels may have been the inspired words of God. Problem is, it doesn't matter. We don't have the gospels.

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We don't even have the copies of the gospels. We don't even have the copies of the copies of the copies of the gospels. Nor do we know for sure who wrote most of them, or when, or why they're all different from one another. They bear all the markings of tampering from simple spelling mistakes to entire chapters mysteriously appearing a thousand years later. The long and short of it is we have a hodgepodge of manuscripts from various countries and eras, none of them actual autographs, but all of them contradicting in some insignificant or significant ways.

This leaves us with the question, If we don't know for sure what the gospels say, how can we know what they mean. Ehrman's purpose here isn't to deal a death blow to anyone's faith, but rather to at least present one with the plain facts. And the plain facts are that the New Testament is crafted and transmitted by human hands, in a historical context, and mired in uncertainty. As for the writing itself, the book is generally done well but it suffers a bit from repetition. Instead of citing numerous examples of discrepancies, Dr. Ehrman uses three or four solid ones and spends a good deal of time on them.

He probably could have shaved thirty or so pages from the book without losing his message. The upside is he covers a lot of grounds, includes primary sources in the text, and brings the full weight of his expertise on the ancient era to the reader's benefit. You can also see the genuine passion he has for the subject. Strangely enough, his agnosticism doesn't seem to have dampened his spirit for the work, and that makes for a much more enjoyable reading experience.

The lack of stars is for nothing but the purest of contempt that I hold for how this book was written, crippling its credibility. Ehrman must by all means be a smart cat. Man probably knows ten different languages, and has picked apart thousands of versions of one of the most controversial works of all time not to mention the Bible is no short book. Th The lack of stars is for nothing but the purest of contempt that I hold for how this book was written, crippling its credibility.

This book could easily have been 80 pages of the pure guts of his years and years of heart-and-mind-felt research. It was almost patronizing to hear the way he wrote to his audience: Pg. As we have seen in this chapter, however, we don't actually have these authoritative texts. This is a textually oriented religion whose texts have been changed, surviving only in copies that vary from one another, sometimes in highly significant ways.

The task of the textual critic is to try to recover the oldest form of these texts. Yet he managed to find 5, ways to tell us those same conclusions over and over and over and over again And even worse, his regurgitations of the same damn sentences were never really dramatically or stylistically altered. His writing style was not very profound in the first place, and then we had it repeatedly spoon-fed to us in a mock-airplane manner from one of those little, tiny baby-food jars.

All of this said, had the meat of his research been comprised into a handy pamphlet, this would be an immensely important work. The man knows his ish, and I cannot possibly see how the usual suspects who write books in defense of Christianity could possibly expect to go toe-to-toe with him. Well, unless of course you were to stuff the same 3 sentences down his throat until he suffocated. More importantly, his intentions lend him to more neutrality.

He was interested only in discovering the truth. He was not interested in confirming his beliefs in order to settle that pesky, wandering skepticism that normal humans call the workings of a logical brain. Ehrman works with what we actually have in this world - what is physically obtainable Low rating for an insufferable read often times, but all of my deepest respect and love goes to Ehrman for his tedious and honorable work in this area. No pun intended, but he is a God in the world of legitimately intentioned research of the Christian bible. The author's journey in this book begins with the simple idea: to a Christian who believes that the Bible is the absolute and verbally-inspired word of God, how could one base their actions or build their life around it without understanding exactly what it says?

Surely this would necessitate understanding the original wording? This turns out to be much more complex than anticipated. A single text called the bible did not initially exist in early Christianity. The 27 books of different authorshi The author's journey in this book begins with the simple idea: to a Christian who believes that the Bible is the absolute and verbally-inspired word of God, how could one base their actions or build their life around it without understanding exactly what it says? The 27 books of different authorship which make up the New Testament were first named together in their present form some time in the second half of the 4th century; before this and even long after there were many other acts, epistles and gospels in circulation.

And even after this the question wasn't settled. We don't have the originals of all these books. We don't have a copy, or even a copy of a copy. The first ones we have are from hundreds of years later, and studies have shown tens of thousands of differences between them. Many are just spelling, or synonyms, many completely trivial, but some are fabrications or omissions with significant impact on theology.

Examples include the last 12 verses of Mark, which deal with the resurrection, being completely absent from the oldest manuscripts, and having an abrupt change in writing style. Other well-known sections are the same, including the story of the woman taken in adultery in John. There are wider divergences, such as the fact that Matthew and Luke never portray Jesus as angry, but and always rewrite their source Mark when he does do so.

A telling of the crucifixion in which Jesus is anguished, bordering on despair, changes to depict him as calm and imperturbable, even losing the famous "why hast thou forsaken me" line. Some of these differences can be traced by the geographic origin and era of their writing to the locations of theological struggles between different sects in early Christianity before the institutionalisation of an orthodoxy. Others involve scribes trying to "correct" readings they believe are wrong, harmonize differences, or are even assert strongly-held views such as the right place of women in society.

Others still are mere copying blunders - not uncommon in a largely illiterate society. This isn't a heavy work of textual criticism or even an attempt to solve these problems, but it's a brilliant introduction for a layperson to the issues and the scholarship surrounding them and solutions that have been attempted. Some of the "rules of thumb" discussed are fascinating and counter-intuitive, and Dr Ehrman's conclusion on the nature of text and interpretation is thought-provoking.

Bart Ehrman used to be an evangelical Christian. But what he learned along the way changed everything.

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Biblical texts are riddled with issues and controversies. At the time these texts were being written, very few people could actually read. Ehrman even quotes statistics that at the height of the classical period in Athens, a time a Bart Ehrman used to be an evangelical Christian. Not high. And even scribes didn't have to be functionally literate, they just had to be able to copy writing from one scroll to another. They didn't need to understand what they were writing. Now, imagine what kind of mess you'd make if you had to copy, say, Russian, Chinese, or Hebrew, all without understanding what you were copying.

There would be mistakes and variations between texts, wouldn't there? Just like there are in the copies of the books of the Bible. Ehrman says that today, scholars argue that there are between , to , errors, changes, and variations between manuscripts. On page 90, he says, "There are more variations among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament. At one point, he talks about the way scribes wrote. In some manuscripts, there are no spaces between words, no punctuation, and he gives us some example sentences that might cause problems today, such as: godisnowhere Is God now here, or is He nowhere?

See how this style of writing would cause problems? Misquoting Jesus can get a little dry at times, a little academic, but it's worth the read if you're interested in religion and history. If you want to believe the Bible is inerrant and unchanging, this is definitely not the book for you, but if you're curious as to how the Bible evolved from handwritten scrolls to the mass-produced texts of today although, be warned, this book has nothing to do on how or why the books that ended up in the Bible got there; that's a whole different book!

Epistemology is the theory of knowledge and how we come to know what we know as truth. According to Google; "84 percent of the world population has faith; a third are Christian. This is the task undertaken by New Testament scholar Bart D. The more I learn about religion and its deep history in human culture, the more I am fascinated by it. I am particularly intrigued by fundamentalists who believe that the statements in the Bible are literally true.

This is where my appreciation for this book enters into play. Ehrman introduces us to the field of textual criticism of the Bible, revealing to the reader how variations in the text can and did easily occur while being copied by barely literate scribes of the day, their own interpretations and beliefs heavily influencing transcriptions, especially from one language to another. In an early Christian era, the books that would later compose the New Testament were copied by hand, mostly by Christian amateurs.

Ehrman concludes that various early scribes altered the New Testament texts in order to de-emphasize the role of women in the early church, to unify and harmonize the different portrayals of Jesus in the four gospels, and to oppose certain heresies such as Adoptionism. Ehrman contends that certain widely held Christian beliefs, such as the divinity of Jesus, are associated not with the original words of scripture but with these later alterations. If you have questions about the authenticity of holy scripture, are intrigued by the history of what claims to guide our moral compass, or especially if you firmly believe in the literal text, you really should read this book to learn about the epistemology of those written words.

Tough read, despite what other's said. Don't even try to listen to this one on audibles. I had to buy the book and start over. If U want to ck his research, this book will take some time. This book is not just an argument against divine verbal inspiration of the scriptures, it's a complete review of available research on the compilation of scripture - addressing the problems of scribes and copyists and just human error that went into produ Whew! This book is not just an argument against divine verbal inspiration of the scriptures, it's a complete review of available research on the compilation of scripture - addressing the problems of scribes and copyists and just human error that went into producing these works.

Some of the academia is dedicated to discussing the reviewers themselves and how they affected these works, both inadvertantly and intentionally. The argument is not new. Most people already know that there are thousands of manuscripts with versions of the new testament, but Ehrman supplies us with facts and evidence intertwined in the stories of those individuals who had a direct affect on these works. Interesting, their perspectives, backgrounds and biases. The most interesting fact, to me, was how illiterate the Roman Empire was. Even the upperclasses could not read the scriptures.

We've all heard of the illiteracy of the time, but I didn't know it was this pervasive.

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Many of the scribes themselves were illiterate, by our standards but could sign their own name, which at that time, made them literate for the time. The majority of scribes could copy texts, but could not read them. Those that could read, were few, and they often did not hesitate to forge or invent an addition. I also did not know that Christianity itself was more prominant among the lower uneducated classes, which is ironic since it is the first religion of "books" whereby it's sustenance for belief came from the recorded and read aloud and mostly listened to word.

The notion that the Bible contains the inerrant word of God is a 20th century notion. Perhaps the ease with which we produce identical copies of books in our time has fed the mistaken belief that book-copying throughout history was or even could be without error. The earliest copiers of materials that became our Second New Testament were first copied by amateurs who were often barely literate themselves.

I got the image of someone in a church trying to restore a stained glass window without any The notion that the Bible contains the inerrant word of God is a 20th century notion. I got the image of someone in a church trying to restore a stained glass window without any training. The errors would be obvious.

Imagine being unable to really read yourself, but having to transcribe gospels or letters that have been copied a hundred times already. You certainly wouldn't be working with a perfect copy Or perhaps someone would be waiting to take it to a far-off church and you'd need to hurry to get it done. Later, scribes were part of never-ending church politics and made tiny adjustments to either correct for what they saw as bad theology, or to correct for what they thought were mistakes by previous scribes.

What would you do, as a professional, if you think someone before you made a mistake? You'd try to correct it! But wouldn't you sometimes probably 'correct' accuracies, out of error yourself? In retrospect, some of the alterations we are certain were made are really quite shocking. This is a peculiar book to recommend. Although Ehrman clearly knows what he's talking about, I think he inches along a bit too slowly and repeats himself a little too much. I began this book knowing I'd need to keep an open mind.

Bart D. Ehrman is the Religious Studies Chair at North Carolina, Chapel Hill and after reading the inner flap I knew this would trip the well-ingrained fundamental Southern Baptist teaching I received while growing up and in my 20s. The fact that I've grown and broadened made it possible for me to even take this book off the library shelf and consider it.