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Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Whyby Bart D. Ehrman
"[A] fascinating account of New Testament textual criticism....For believer or atheist, I recommend Misquoting Jesus to anyone with an interest in where this ancient anthology that has helped shape our culture came from." Doug Brown, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Although he addresses a popular audience, [Ehrman] undercuts the very religious attitudes that have made the Bible a popular book. Still, this is a useful overview for biblical history collections." Booklist
"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
"[An] accessible lay introduction to New Testament textual criticism....Recommended." Library Journal
Now in paperback, this New York Times bestseller explores the mistakes and changes that ancient copyists made to the New Testament that greatly impacted the Bible used today.
The author of Lost Christianities reveals how ancient scribes erroneously or deliberately changed New Testament stories in the face of period cultural, theological, and political disputes, explaining how numerous Christian beliefs are based on altered texts.
About the Author
Bart D. Ehrman chairs the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is an authority on the history of the New Testament, the early church, and the life of Jesus. He has taped several highly popular lecture series for the Teaching Company and is the author of Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew and Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.
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