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

By Bart D. Ehrman

For virtually 1,500 years, the recent testomony manuscripts have been copied by way of hand––and blunders and intentional adjustments abound within the competing manuscript types. non secular and biblical pupil Bart Ehrman makes the provocative case that lots of our extensively held ideals about the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, and the divine origins of the Bible itself are the result of either intentional and unintentional adjustments via scribes.

during this compelling and engaging e-book, Ehrman indicates the place and why adjustments have been made in our earliest surviving manuscripts, explaining for the 1st time how the numerous adaptations of our loved biblical tales got here to be, and why in simple terms yes models of the tales qualify for ebook within the Bibles we learn this present day. Ehrman frames his account with own reflections on how his examine of the Greek manuscripts made him abandon his as soon as ultra–conservative perspectives of the Bible.

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The Bible began to ap­  pear to me as a very human book. Just as human scribes had copied,  and changed, the texts of scripture, so too had human authors origi­  nally written the texts of scripture. This was a human book from be­  ginning to end. It was written by different human authors at different  times and in different places to address different needs. Many of these  authors no doubt felt they were inspired by God to say what they did,  yet  they  had  their  personal  perspectives,  their  personal  beliefs,  their  personal  views, their own needs, their own desires, their own understandings,  their own theologies; and these perspectives, beliefs, views, needs, 12  MISQUOTING JESUS  desires,  understandings,  and  theologies  proficient  every little thing  they  stated.

By virtue of necessity, then, they  have devised alternative scenarios to explain the accidental origin of  the more difficult reading. Most commonly, it is simply supposed that 146  MISQUOTING JESUS  because the  phrases  in question are similar in appearance (XARITI/  XWRIS), a scribe inadvertently mistook the word grace for the prepo­  sition apart from. This view, however, seems a shade unlikely. Is a negligent or ab­  sentminded scribe likely to have changed his text by writing a word  used less frequently in the New Testament ("apart from") or one used  more frequently ("grace," four times as common)?

This day  there  are  approximately  two times  as  many  copies  of  the  Latin  Vulgate as there are Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. THE  FIRST PRINTED  EDITION OF  THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT  As I have indicated, the text of the New Testament was copied in a  particularly  standardized  shape  all through  the  centuries  of  the  heart  Ages, both in the East (the Byzantine text) and in the West (the Latin  Vulgate). It  was once  the  invention  of  the  printing  press  in  the  15th  century by Johannes Gutenberg (1400­1468) that changed everything  for the reproduction of books in general and the books of the Bible  in particular.

C H AN GE S   O F   T HE  T E X T  It would be a mistake, however, to assume that the only changes being  made were by copyists  with a personal stake in the wording of the  textual content. In fact, most of the changes found in our early Christian manu­  scripts have nothing to do with theology or ideology. Far and away  the most changes are the result of mistakes, pure and simple—slips  of  the  pen,  unintended  omissions,  inadvertent  additions,  misspelled  words, blunders of one sort or another. Scribes could be incompetent:  it is important to recall that most of the copyists in the early centuries  were not trained to do this kind of work but were simply the literate  individuals  of  their  congregations  who  have been  (more  or  less)  capable  and  keen.

E. , Mill) have been "owning and labour­  ing to prove the Text of the Scripture to be precarious," making refer­  ence then to Mill's thirty thousand variants. Collins's pamphlet, which was widely read and influential, provoked  a number  of pointed responses,  many  of them  dull and  laborious,  some of them learned and indignant. Arguably its most significant re­  sult was that it drew into the fray a scholar of enormous international  reputation, the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, Richard Bent­  ley.

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