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Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed The Bible and Why (Plus)

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Home » Books » Religion » Bible » Criticism, Interpretation » General

Misquoting Jesus

The Story Behind Who Changed The Bible and Why (Plus)

By Bart D. Ehrman

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Format: Paperback, 266 pages
Other Information: black & white illustrations
Published In: United States, 06 February 2007
For almost 1,500 years, the New Testament manuscripts were copied by hand and mistakes and intentional changes abound in the competing manuscript versions. Religious and biblical scholar Bart Ehrman makes the provocative case that many of our widely held beliefs concerning the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, and the divine origins of the Bible itself are the results of both intentional and accidental alterations by scribes.

In this compelling and fascinating book, Ehrman shows where and why changes were made in our earliest surviving manuscripts, explaining for the first time how the many variations of our cherished biblical stories came to be, and why only certain versions of the stories qualify for publication in the Bibles we read today. Ehrman frames his account with personal reflections on how his study of the Greek manuscripts made him abandon his once ultra conservative views of the Bible.

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"The Bible"-its use in the singular can gloss over the fact that we do not have access to the original text, but only to manuscripts of a relatively late provenance produced at different times and places and containing among them thousands of variant wordings. An accomplished scholar of early Christianity, Ehrman (religious studies, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) ventures out of the ivory tower in this accessible lay introduction to New Testament textual criticism. He sketches the development of New Testament literature, the gradual accumulation of errors therein through the accidental or intentional revisions of copyists, and attempts (beginning with Erasmus in the 16th century) to reconstruct the original text. Since mainstream study editions of the Bible have long drawn attention to the existence of alternate readings, the reasonably well-informed reader will not find much revolutionary analysis here. But Ehrman convincingly argues that even some generally received passages are late additions, which is particularly interesting in the case of those verses with import for doctrinal issues such as women's ordination or the Atonement. Recommended for all public libraries.-Charles Seymour, Mabee Learning Resources Ctr., Wayland Baptist Univ., Plainview, TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"Misquoting Jesus is a godsend." -- Philadelphia Inquirer "One of the unlikeliest bestsellers of the year." -- Washington Post "Misquoting Jesus is a godsend."--Philadelphia Inquirer "Whichever side you sit on regarding Biblical inerrancy, this is a rewarding read."--Dallas Morning News "Offers a fascinating look into the field of textual criticism and evidence that Scriptures have been altered."--Charleston Post & Courier "One of the unlikeliest bestsellers of the year."--Washington Post Offers a fascinating look into the field of textual criticism and evidence that Scriptures have been altered. --Charleston Post & Courier" Whichever side you sit on regarding Biblical inerrancy, this is a rewarding read. --Dallas Morning News" One of the unlikeliest bestsellers of the year. --Washington Post" Misquoting Jesus is a godsend. --Philadelphia Inquirer" -Offers a fascinating look into the field of textual criticism and evidence that Scriptures have been altered.---Charleston Post & Courier -Whichever side you sit on regarding Biblical inerrancy, this is a rewarding read.---Dallas Morning News -One of the unlikeliest bestsellers of the year.---Washington Post -Misquoting Jesus is a godsend.---Philadelphia Inquirer

In the absence of any original manuscripts of the books of the New Testament, how can we be sure that we're getting the intended words and meaning? Ehrman, professor of religion at UNC-Chapel Hill, has devoted his life to the study of such questions and here offers an engaging and fascinating look at the way scholars try to answer them. Part memoir, part history and part critical study, he traces the development of the academic discipline called textual criticism, which uses external and internal evidence to evaluate and compare ancient manuscripts in order to find the best readings. Ehrman points out that scribes altered almost all of the manuscripts we now have. In the early days of the Christian movement, scribal error often arose simply from unintentional omissions of words or lines. As Christianity evolved into an official religion under Constantine, however, scribes often added material to existing manuscripts or altered them to provide scriptural support for Christian doctrine or to enforce specific views about women, Jews or pagans. Ehrman's absorbing story, fresh and lively prose and seasoned insights into the challenges of recreating the texts of the New Testament ensure that readers might never read the Gospels or Paul's letters the same way again. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

EAN: 9780060859510
ISBN: 0060859512
Publisher: HarperOne
Dimensions: 20.32 x 13.46 x 2.29 centimetres (0.20 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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This book is another mark of Ehrman falling into the genre of popular writing. If you are interested in his more scholarly dealing with textual criticism I suggest some of his older books such as The Orthodox Corruption of the Scripture. He is far more conservative and scholarly accountable in these books – such as the admission that the New Testament tradition is the most vastly preserved of all works of antiquity or being far more conservative in his explanation of textual variants. However, for the pop audience he leaves a lot of open-ended points. For example, the 300,000 textual variants is left open ended allowing with many false implications to be assumed without mentioning that the majority of these are merely spelling errors, variants in the spelling of names, etc.

He gives a great introduction to the study of textual critical issues which I am sure anyone interested in the topic would find quite useful. However, I cannot agree with his open ended conclusions as well as the conclusion that the New Testament cannot be inspired in light of textual variants.

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