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Thread: Looking for responses to Bart Ehrman's work

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    tWebber
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    Looking for responses to Bart Ehrman's work

    Over the past year I have found that Bart Ehrman's debates and his lecture series "Historical Jesus" (https://www.thegreatcourses.com/cour...cal-jesus.html) to be absolutely fascinating and really resonated with me. Can anyone recommend notable threads on here / youtube videos / other resources which critique his work / conclusions? I'm looking for something taking as much of a secular perspective as possible since obviously what he says is trivial to defeat by presupposing that "the bible is accurate in all of its details" (or something along those lines).

    I'm listening to "Historical Jesus" a second time so I can put this thread on hold and come back with some of the main points I'm interested in hearing responses to once I've done that.

    Thanks

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by DivineOb View Post
    Over the past year I have found that Bart Ehrman's debates and his lecture series "Historical Jesus" (https://www.thegreatcourses.com/cour...cal-jesus.html) to be absolutely fascinating and really resonated with me. Can anyone recommend notable threads on here / youtube videos / other resources which critique his work / conclusions? I'm looking for something taking as much of a secular perspective as possible since obviously what he says is trivial to defeat by presupposing that "the bible is accurate in all of its details" (or something along those lines).

    I'm listening to "Historical Jesus" a second time so I can put this thread on hold and come back with some of the main points I'm interested in hearing responses to once I've done that.

    Thanks
    I can give you the following:

    Quotes by Bart Ehrman

    “What I think we can say with some confidence is that Jesus actually did die, he probably was buried, and that some of his disciples (all of them? some of them?) claimed to have seen him alive afterward. Among those who made this claim, interestingly enough, was Jesus’ own brother James, who came to believe in Jesus and soon thereafter became one of the principle leaders of the early Christian church.”

    Source: Bart Ehrman, Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, [Oxford University Press US, 1999], p.229

    “The Gospel of John … goes a long way toward identifying Jesus himself as divine (see e.g., John 8:58; 10:30; 20:28).”

    Source: Bart Ehrman, Whose Word Is It? [Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006], p. 161

    Book: The Text of the New Testament (authors Bart Ehrman and Bruce Metzger)

    Bruce M. Metzger is a world-renowned authority on the manuscripts and transmission of the Greek New Testament

    Testimony from Bruce Metzger in the book, “The Case for Christ”:

    "With the similarities in the way Greek letters are written and with the primitive conditions under which the scribes worked, it would seem inevitable that copying errors would creep into the text,' I said. "Quite so," Metzger conceded.

    "And in fact, aren't there literally tens of thousands of variations among the ancient manuscripts that we have?" "Quite so."

    "Doesn't that therefore mean we can't trust them?" I asked, sounding more accusatory than inquisitive. "NO SIR, IT DOES NOT," Metzger replied firmly. "First let me say this: Eyeglasses weren't invented until 1373 in Venice, and I'm sure that astigmatism existed among the ancient scribes. That was compounded by the fact that it was difficult under any circumstances to read faded manuscripts on which some of the ink had flaked away. And there were other hazards - inattentiveness on the part of scribes, for example . So yes, although for the most part scribes were scrupulously careful, errors did creep in.

    "But," he was quick to add, "there are factors counteracting that. For example, sometimes the scribe's memory would play tricks on him. Between the time it took for him to look at the text and then to write down the words, the order of words might get shifted. He may write down the right words but in the wrong sequence. THIS IS NOTHING TO BE ALARMED AT, BECAUSE GREEK, UNLIKE ENGLISH, IS AN INFLECTED LANGUAGE."
    "Meaning...," I prompted him.

    "MEANING IT MAKES A WHALE OF A DIFFERENCE IN ENGLISH IF YOU SAY, 'DOG BITES MAN' OR 'MAN BITES DOG' - SEQUENCE MATTERS IN ENGLISH. BUT IN GREEK IT DOESN'T. ONE WORD FUNCTIONS AS THE SUBJECT OF THE SENTENCE REGARDLESS OF WHERE IT STANDS IN THE SEQUENCE; CONSEQUENTLY, THE MEANING OF THE SENTENCE ISN'T DISTORTED IF THE WORDS ARE OUT OF WHAT WE CONSIDER TO BE THE RIGHT ORDER. So yes, some variations among manuscripts exist, but generally they're INCONSEQUENTIAL VARIATIONS like that. Differences in spelling would be another example."

    I keyed in on the most important issue. "How many doctrines of the church are in jeopardy because of variants?" "I DON'T KNOW OF ANY DOCTRINE THAT IS IN JEOPARDY," he responded confidently

    "So the variations, when they occur, tend to be minor rather than substantive?"

    "Yes, yes, that's correct, and scholars work very carefully to try to resolve them by getting back to the original meaning. The more significant variations do not overthrow any doctrine of the church. Any good Bible will have notes that will alert the reader to variant readings of any consequence. But, again, these are rare." (Strobel, pp. 82-85)

    Strobel concludes:

    As we stood, I thanked Dr. Metzger for his time and expertise. He smiled warmly and offered to walk me downstairs. I didn't want to consume any more of his Saturday afternoon, but my curiosity wouldn't let me leave Princeton without satisfying myself about one remaining issue.

    "All these decades of scholarship, of study, of writing textbooks, of delving into the minutiae of the New Testament text - WHAT HAS ALL THIS DONE TO YOUR PERSONAL FAITH?" I asked.

    "Oh," he said, sounding happy to discuss the topic, 'IT HAS INCREASED THE BASIS OF MY PERSONAL FAITH TO SEE THE FIRMNESS WITH WHICH THESE MATERIALS HAVE COME DOWN TO US, WITH A MULTIPLICITY OF COPIES, SOME OF WHICH ARE VERY, VERY ANCIENT."

    "So," I started to say, "scholarship has not diluted your faith-"

    He jumped in before I could finish my sentence. "On the contrary," he stressed, "it has built it. I've asked questions all my life, I've dug into text, I've studied this thoroughly, and TODAY I KNOW WITH CONFIDENCE THAT MY TRUST IN JESUS HAS BEEN WELL PLACED."

    He paused while his eyes surveyed my face. Then he added, for emphasis, "VERY WELL PLACED." (Strobel, p. 93)

    What do Metzger and Ehrman conclude together in that revised work? Melinda Penner of Stand to Reason writes,

    (Book: The Text of the New Testament (authors Bart Ehrman and Bruce Metzger)

    “Ehrman and Metzger state in that book that we can have a high degree of confidence that we can reconstruct the original text of the New Testament, the text that is in the Bibles we use, because of the abundance of textual evidence we have to compare. The variations are largely minor and don’t obscure our ability to construct an accurate text. The 4th edition of this work was published in 2005 – the same year Ehrman published Misquoting Jesus, which relies on the same body of information and offers no new or different evidence to state the opposite conclusion.”

    Here’s what Ehrman said in an interview found in the appendix of Misquoting Jesus (p. 252):

    “Bruce Metzger is one of the great scholars of modern times, and I dedicated the book to him because he was both my inspiration for going into textual criticism and the person who trained me in the field. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him. And even though we may disagree on important religious questions – he is a firmly committed Christian and I am not – we are in complete agreement on a number of very important historical and textual questions. If he and I were put in a room and asked to hammer out a consensus statement on what we think the original text of the New Testament probably looked like, there would be very few points of disagreement – maybe one or two dozen places out of many thousands. The position I argue for in ‘Misquoting Jesus’ does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.”

    Source: http://crossexamined.org

    Book Forged:

    http://www.risenjesus.com/review-of-...he-name-of-god

    http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blo...hink-they-are/

    http://ap.lanexdev.com/APContent.asp...3&article=4253

    http://www.toughquestionsanswered.or...e-in-mark-226/

    Mark 2:26, what started it all:


    Clip: My challenge to Christians who are intimidated by claims of errors in the Bible is to go do some research for yourself. There are answers to these challenges. Remember, virtually all the Bible difficulties that critics raise have been known for 2,000 years. None of them are new. Instead of throwing your faith away, do some digging. I only wish Ehrman had.

    Was the high priest Abiathar (Mark 2:26), or Ahimelech (1 Samuel 21:1; 22:20) when David went into the house of God and ate the consecrated bread? (category: misunderstood the Hebrew usage & misunderstood the historical context) Jesus states that the event happened in the days of Abiathar the high priestand yet we know from 1 Samuel that Abiathar was not actually the high priest at that time; it was his father, Ahimelech. If we were to introduce an anecdote by saying, When king David was a shepherdboy..., it would not be incorrect, even though David was not king at that time. In the same way, Abiathar was soon to be high priest and this is what he is most remembered for, hence he is designated by this title. Moreover, the event certainly did happen in the days of Abiathar, as he was alive and present during the incident. We know from 1 Samuel 22:20 that he narrowly escaped when his fathers whole family and their town was destroyed by Sauls men. Therefore, Jesus statement is quite acceptable. (Archer 1994:362)


    Book Misquoting Jesus:

    http://www.cbn.com/special/apologeti...rt_ehrman.aspx
    Clip:

    Finally (and most damaging), Ehrman’s list proves just the opposite of what he intends. For all his hand wringing that the original text is lost forever, his list itself demonstrates it’s possible to recognize the most important spurious renderings and eliminate them.

    Ehrman’s own works (Misquoting and also The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture) prove that the text-critical methods mentioned above—the very methods he uses to critique the New Testament—are adequate to restore the original reading. It is proof that the massive number of variants do not interfere with our ability to recapture the original, but instead the rich manuscript evidence we possess allows us to weed out the vast percentage of variants. Otherwise Ehrman would not be able to say with confidence his “Top Ten”—or any other verses—are not in the New Testament.

    This is a fact he acknowledges (again, ironically) in another work. Compare the pessimism of Misquoting Jesus with the optimism expressed in Metzger and Ehrman’s The Text of the New Testament: 35

    Besides textual evidence derived from New Testament Greek manuscripts and from early versions, the textual critic compares numerous scriptural quotations used in commentaries, sermons, and other treatises written by early church fathers. Indeed, so extensive are these citations that if all other sources for our knowledge of the text of the New Testament were destroyed, they would be sufficient alone for the reconstruction of practically the entire New Testament. [emphasis added]

    https://bible.org/article/gospel-according-bart

    Book Jesus Interrupted:

    http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/...alysis-of.html
    http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/...sis-of_08.html
    http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/...sis-of_13.html
    http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/...part-four.html
    http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/...sis-of_16.html

  3. Amen lee_merrill amen'd this post.
  4. #3
    tWebber
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    Thank you for this. I will admit taken in isolation the textual variants *might* not "prove" that the core tenets of Christianity were not retained (though I believe there *are* clear instances which are more significant). Let finish going through the lectures again and then post more specific questions.

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