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Response to Misquoting Jesus IV

. . . in which I respond to chapter 3.

This response will be brief. This chapter is excellent. If you’re a Bible student of any variety, buy Misquoting Jesus and make sure to read chapter 3. While I have read many of the things presented here before in more technical works, this chapter is an exceptional job of popular writing by a scholar. You will enjoy the stories, and you will understand the transmission of the Biblical text much better. You could only get this kind of information elsewhere in fairly technical works.

The first and major part of the chapter deals with editions of the Greek New Testament and how scholarship moved from simply using whatever manuscripts were available to building a text based on the best manuscripts and creating references of the variants in various manuscripts. When I studied Textual Criticism at the undergraduate level, I was required to take several verses and work from available photocopies of manuscripts to create a critical text of that passage. That was a truly revealing experience for me. Ehrman will help you get some of that feel.

After that, he presents a section on the types of errors found in various manuscripts, starting with inadvertent copying errors and continuing with intentional changes. The examples are brilliantly selected and clearly presented.

Recall that one of the basic arguments that Ehrman has with some other textual scholars is that he tends to think that more errors are intentional than some do. This is a matter of degree. Ehrman is not way out of the field, and most errors are fairly easy to classify. This chapter will give you a good idea how scholars accomplish their work.

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