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Gesù non l'ha mai detto: Millecinquecento anni di errori e manipolazioni nella traduzione dei Vangeli

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"Chi è senza peccato scagli la prima pietra" è forse una delle citazioni evangeliche più conosciute anche da chi non ha mai studiato il Nuovo Testamento, ma quanti sanno che l'intero episodio della lapidazione dell'adultera è dovuto a un copista e non apparteneva al testo originale del vangelo di Giovanni? Come afferma Bart D. Ehrman, un esperto di studi biblici, errori, v "Chi è senza peccato scagli la prima pietra" è forse una delle citazioni evangeliche più conosciute anche da chi non ha mai studiato il Nuovo Testamento, ma quanti sanno che l'intero episodio della lapidazione dell'adultera è dovuto a un copista e non apparteneva al testo originale del vangelo di Giovanni? Come afferma Bart D. Ehrman, un esperto di studi biblici, errori, varianti e modifiche sono la regola nella lunga e complessa storia che ha portato dalla stesura dei primi vangeli al testo che si leggono oggi. Ehrman conduce il grande pubblico nel misterioso mondo della critica testuale dei vangeli, alla ricerca dell'autentica parola di Dio.


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kode adsense disini

"Chi è senza peccato scagli la prima pietra" è forse una delle citazioni evangeliche più conosciute anche da chi non ha mai studiato il Nuovo Testamento, ma quanti sanno che l'intero episodio della lapidazione dell'adultera è dovuto a un copista e non apparteneva al testo originale del vangelo di Giovanni? Come afferma Bart D. Ehrman, un esperto di studi biblici, errori, v "Chi è senza peccato scagli la prima pietra" è forse una delle citazioni evangeliche più conosciute anche da chi non ha mai studiato il Nuovo Testamento, ma quanti sanno che l'intero episodio della lapidazione dell'adultera è dovuto a un copista e non apparteneva al testo originale del vangelo di Giovanni? Come afferma Bart D. Ehrman, un esperto di studi biblici, errori, varianti e modifiche sono la regola nella lunga e complessa storia che ha portato dalla stesura dei primi vangeli al testo che si leggono oggi. Ehrman conduce il grande pubblico nel misterioso mondo della critica testuale dei vangeli, alla ricerca dell'autentica parola di Dio.

30 review for Gesù non l'ha mai detto: Millecinquecento anni di errori e manipolazioni nella traduzione dei Vangeli

  1. 4 out of 5

    Trevor

    This really is a fantastic book. When Wendy recommended it I thought that it would be pretty much the same old stuff that one would expect when an Atheist recommends a book on Religion. Let me explain why this isn’t what you might expect. Firstly, it is written by someone who I assume still considers himself a Christian. He begins this book by telling the reader his ‘life story’ – how he became a born again Christian at fifteen and how this lead him to become fascinated in The Bible. Not in the w This really is a fantastic book. When Wendy recommended it I thought that it would be pretty much the same old stuff that one would expect when an Atheist recommends a book on Religion. Let me explain why this isn’t what you might expect. Firstly, it is written by someone who I assume still considers himself a Christian. He begins this book by telling the reader his ‘life story’ – how he became a born again Christian at fifteen and how this lead him to become fascinated in The Bible. Not in the way other fundamentalists necessarily become fascinated by The Bible, but rather really fascinated – perhaps obsessed is a better word if you can view that word positively. He knew that The Bible was the ‘inspired word of God’ – but he also knew a few other things, like that it wasn’t originally written in English. So, he wanted to know, how close is the ‘current’ Bible to the ‘original’ Bible? That is the sort of question that can send one off on a lifetime’s adventure – and that is precisely what happens in this book. He learns Ancient languages, including Greek, Latin and god knows what else. He studies in various (and, to a fundamentalist Christian, increasingly challenging) universities and finally has his faith – the simple-minded faith he started with – rocked to the core by what he learns. When someone is this engaged, this excited and this informed about what they are writing and obsessed in it is impossible not to feel your pulse race as you read. And this guy loves his stuff. I also really like it when someone says something that initially sounds paradoxical and then, once it is explained, makes complete sense. Take, for example, his maxim that if you have two versions of the same text and one version is easy to read and understand and the other is difficult, then the difficult one is most likely to be the original. This sounds almost perverse, but really it is obvious. If you were a scribe and you came across a piece of text, you would be much more likely to change it so as to simplify it than to change it to make it more difficult to understand. Numerous examples are given of parts of the Bible being changed (the last six verses of Mark being added is my favourite and a clear candidate for the most remarkable example) so as to make them easier to understand. This isn’t a book that is seeking to rub the noses of Christians in the contradictions and mistakes inherent in The Bible, but what it is about is pointing out that rather than being inerrant, the New Testament is very much a human book telling a remarkable story in various and very human ways. The book ends with a wonderful explanation of the differences between the four Gospels and makes a compelling argument for why they cannot be read as if they were one book that need to be read to tell the one story, but rather four different tellings of the one story. It is not the similarities that are important in these stories, but their differences and what these differences mean is what is vitally important. He spends much time addressing the differences between Mark and Luke – particularly the passion and the remarkably different portrayals of Jesus in these two Gospels. For this stuff alone the book is worth reading. He also quotes some terribly interesting material regarding the transcription and duplication of the early manuscripts. To be honest, it is hard to imagine that this book survived its origins at all. He quotes one person who is charged with producing a copy of the New Testament who describes how he had to transcribe it letter by letter, given he could not read the language the New Testament he was transcribing was written in. Repeatedly we are told that if you compare the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament you will find that there are more differences between them than there are words in the New Testament. A nice line. Of course, like any evolutionary process, most of these differences are clearly errors and make little or not sense, are easily identified and are almost meaningless. However, some couldn’t be more important to understanding the nature of Jesus and the meaning of his life. He also describes, and makes compelling cases for, intentional changes to the text made by early groups of Christians and their possible motivations for making these changes. I was particularly interested in this as it turns out Paul may not have been the misogynist old prig I’d always taken him to be. Paul’s requirement that women are not to speak in Church – something I tend to raise every time people talk about Women Bishops or Women Priests as my little contribution illuminating how irrelevant Christianity is in today’s world – is asserted to be probably a later addition and is clearly a view that is contradicted elsewhere in the same letter by Paul. Anything that helps remove or even just undermines some of the more obnoxious and objectionable ideas in the Bible (hatred of women, gays, Jews, blacks for instance) can’t be a bad thing. Part of the reason the author says it is important to get some idea of the original text of the New Testament – for Christians and Non-Christians alike – is that The Bible is a cornerstone of our culture and this alone makes it an important document to understand. I don’t think this is as compelling an argument as he does – in fact, getting to the ‘original text’ is quite irrelevant to The Bible as a cultural artefact, as it wasn’t the original that impacted on our culture, but the innumerable ‘error filled’ versions throughout the years. Even if one was able to prove that the original version of the New Testament stated that Jesus was not the Son of God, but just a man who lived and died – what would that matter? Two thousand years of Western religious tradition would hardly vanish as a result – no matter how good the proof. No, the point is that this book and the story it tells really doesn’t require external motivations to justify its telling. The history it explains is completely fascinating in itself. As someone who has spent the last seven years reading over what has been essentially the same document with very minor changes (enterprise agreements all have maternity leave clauses and hours of work clauses – but all are potentially different) I found this book utterly compelling. I think I could have quite enjoyed a life as a Biblical scholar, tracking changes to texts and researching why those changes might not have been accidental. There are many people in the world to whom this book really should be made compulsory reading – for the rest of us no compulsion is necessary – it really is a pleasure to read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Juhem Navarro

    If you read the reviews written in the Barnes and Noble website, you’ll probably see three types of review: 1. The smart ass academic or pseudoacademic who says the book isn’t that good anyway 2. The fundamentalist Christian appalled at the idea of someone doubting the infallibility of the Bible 3. Your average Joe that finds the book quite interesting In my case, I could be a #1 considering that I’m both a smart ass and an academic (or so I like to think). In the case ofMisquoting Jesus Cover bi If you read the reviews written in the Barnes and Noble website, you’ll probably see three types of review: 1. The smart ass academic or pseudoacademic who says the book isn’t that good anyway 2. The fundamentalist Christian appalled at the idea of someone doubting the infallibility of the Bible 3. Your average Joe that finds the book quite interesting In my case, I could be a #1 considering that I’m both a smart ass and an academic (or so I like to think). In the case ofMisquoting Jesus Cover biblical stuff, I’m more like a #3. I wouldn’t say it is the best book I have ever read, but it is a good book in three aspects. The first aspect is readability. In this case, it is a short and entertaining book. Ehrman doesn’t go into unnecessary details on how textual criticism is conducted, but gives you an idea of how gruesome the process can be. Additionally, the side story of how he converted from a fundie believer in biblical literalism to an agnostic (or if you prefer an “atheist without balls” as Stephen Colbert called him) is both interesting and a little sad. The second aspect is in the delivery of the goods. Some of the B&N reviewers complained that “Misquoting Jesus” is a misnomer, but I disagree. In several instances he mentions how the things that Jesus [supposedly] said were changed by scribes or even by the gospel authors (yes Luke, you know what you did). In this case the subtitle “The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why” is more revealing. This is because he tells us some of the more common reasons to make mistakes transcribing ancient texts (reason #1: no Microsoft Word, heck! not even Gutenberg Print). People got distracted, people got tired, others weren’t very good at neither reading nor writing yet were considered literate in a time when a very small percentage of people knew how to read or write. And sometimes they changed stuff to meet their beliefs (just like some people overlook the fact that Rick Ankiel probably used HGH because they like him). In this sense the book is revealing because he is not talking about conspiracy theories (sorry DaVinci Code fans) but about how incredibly human is this supposedly divine book. Finally it provides a little perspective into what was going on during those early days of Christianity. Just like there are many interpretations these days, there were many interpretations in those days (and some way too odd). In a way the bible instead of being inspired, evolved for many many years until some loosely unified theology arose in which most could agree (Jesus is God, God is Jesus, both are the Holy Ghost…and nobody thinks it is a little schizophrenic?). I also used the word evolved combined with bible to piss off the intelligent designers out there. Why I recommend this book? Because of the reasons stated above and because if it wasn’t for this book, we would need to read all the scholarship out there and maybe even learn Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Coptic, Aramaic, and whatever. Also, because it is pissing off fundies everywhere.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    Please, if you're Christian, read this. If you're religious, read this. If you're atheist, read this. I guess what I'm saying is read this. Misquoting Jesus reminds me of the game we played in elementary school. The teacher whispers a story in the ear of one child and it's whispered from one ear to the next until the last child tells the story out loud. And guess what? It's considerably different from the original. No dah! Well, imagine this . . . A book is copied over and over and over by monks Please, if you're Christian, read this. If you're religious, read this. If you're atheist, read this. I guess what I'm saying is read this. Misquoting Jesus reminds me of the game we played in elementary school. The teacher whispers a story in the ear of one child and it's whispered from one ear to the next until the last child tells the story out loud. And guess what? It's considerably different from the original. No dah! Well, imagine this . . . A book is copied over and over and over by monks that are human, prone to error, bias, deceit, and so on. And guess what? Jesus' story changes. No dah! Here's another point to consider. Even if the book were in its original form, you'd still have arguments. For what about the law "Thou shall not kill"? Not a lot of detail on what to do here. What if your country asks you to go to war, do you kill? What if someone threatens your child's life, do you kill? During a discussion, a student of mine of a particular Christian sect piped up and desired to end the discussion by saying, "Well, just do what the Bible tells you to do." OK, people have been doing that for years, and if there were only one way of doing things, why so many sects? Just look in the phone book and you get lost in all the churches in there. This is an essential book for anyone who wants a better critical thinking understanding of how "the story" can go astray based on what individuals think, feel, and hear, based on bias and personal filtering. A must read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~

    Before I write my review, I must emphasize that this book is not making a case against Christianity. It in no way seeks to destroy the your faith, your system of belief, or convert you to atheism/agnosticism. I feel this is an important disclaimer. Something about me, I always feel very lost when it comes to selecting educational books on my own. I don't like to perpetuate false information, and it's overwhelming to select literature that maintains an interesting narrative while also providing Before I write my review, I must emphasize that this book is not making a case against Christianity. It in no way seeks to destroy the your faith, your system of belief, or convert you to atheism/agnosticism. I feel this is an important disclaimer. Something about me, I always feel very lost when it comes to selecting educational books on my own. I don't like to perpetuate false information, and it's overwhelming to select literature that maintains an interesting narrative while also providing facts and support for its claims. Those qualifications, however, are exceeded in Misquoting Jesus. As I stated earlier, this book doesn't set out to destroy your beliefs. Rather, it challenges you to consider how and why one of the most significant books in history was changed from it's original conception into the Bible we know today. While reading this, I decided to view it in the same way a member of a jury may view a prosecutor's statements in a court case. The goal is not necessarily to prove what "for certain happened", but rather to raise questions based on logic and contextual evidence as to what "could have potentially happened instead." Through examples, citations, and logical analysis, Ehrman contemplates how differences in the manuscripts of the New Testament were the product of scribes, both intentional and unintentional. While a large portion of these differences tend to be considered irrelevant, the fact that they exist in the first place is important to consider. If these changes, clarifications, and mistakes exist in what we have of old manuscripts, it is reasonable to consider that the Bible we have today is not the same Bible that was written as the inspired Word of God during it's origination. Because of this, it is also reasonable to take the words of the Bible with a grain of salt. I found the examples in this book fascinating to say the least, and I feel as though both Christians and non-Christians alike should consider giving this a read. Ehrman backs up his analysis with citations and references, along with a long history of formal education on this topic. His arguments create a space for one to consider that reading the Bible should not necessarily be a literal experience. As someone who comes from a religious background, I have to agree with this conclusion. I rated this a 4 stars because there were a couple times when sentences got a little bit convoluted and I was forced to re-read to make sense of it. But overall, a wonderful book that is, for the most part, written in layman's terms. For those of us interested in analyzing the Bible, this is a must-read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Skylar Burris

    While I found it interesting to see what differed in various manuscripts, I did not find any of these changes as sensational, apparently, as the back cover blurb writers did. Ehrman's subject and thesis are interesting, but, unfortunately, he is quite repetitive and his arguments are poorly organized. The introduction and conclusion are the clearest, most arresting portions of the book. The introduction is an intriguing spiritual autobiography, but his conclusion leans a little too heavily towar While I found it interesting to see what differed in various manuscripts, I did not find any of these changes as sensational, apparently, as the back cover blurb writers did. Ehrman's subject and thesis are interesting, but, unfortunately, he is quite repetitive and his arguments are poorly organized. The introduction and conclusion are the clearest, most arresting portions of the book. The introduction is an intriguing spiritual autobiography, but his conclusion leans a little too heavily towards deconstructionism for my taste: he states there is no meaning inherent in text. It is certainly true that texts give rise to multiple interpretations, but it is equally true that some interpretations are more correct than others. The book will be disturbing to those who regard the Bible as a single entity sprung full grown like Athena from Zeus's head. It will be far less disturbing to those whose Christianity has been rooted in an appreciation of both scripture and tradition. Although Ehrman's thesis was interesting, the problem is that you can take any of these phrases or words that are found in some New Testament manuscripts and not others and draw from that fact whatever implications you desire. The difference can mean something or next to nothing, and, to Ehrman, they seem to mean a bit too much. I often had the impression that he was making mountains out of molehills. Ehrman also often attributes complicated theological and social motives to scribes when much simpler motives would suffice. Most of the changes and additions that were made were recognized as such and therefore were not incorporated into our modern Bibles. Even those very few additions or changes that were incorporated into our modern Bibles are inconsequential; it would not alter orthodox doctrine one iota if they were eliminated, because all of the doctrines they bolster find support elsewhere in uncontested passages of the New Testament. In fact, even in Ehrman's own argument, the orthodox ideas were formed and THEN verses were altered to support them; it therefore cannot be reasonably argued that these changes have in any way affected the formation of orthodox doctrine. It is not as if the creedal doctrines we have today are based on some misquoted text; the ideas came first, even before the textual changes; they were drawn from the scriptures as a whole, and not from any one single verse. What Ehrman does make a good case for (though this does not at all seem to be his goal) is the idea that the orthodox tradition is as valuable as scripture, which many denominations recognize explicitly and most recognize implicitly (by the fact that they accept the canon as a canon at all). In the end, Ehrman is not saying anything new, anything that has not been said by textual critics for years and years and years. Somehow, though, he has managed to break through to a more general audience, and that takes talent. Unfortunately, however, that general audience may be ill informed about Christian history and theology and doctrine and its origins and may not be able to put the facts he reveals into context. I believe anyone who reads this should, for the sake of balance, also read Timothy Paul Jones's "Misquoting Truth."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    As a biblical scholar, the author wanted to read the Bible in the languages in which it was first written and so studied them and went deeper into the texts. His decision to go deeper, to fully appreciate it, led him to find out as the old saying goes more than he bargained for. It led him to reevaluate his faith which had been based on a belief in the literal truth of what he had been taught it said and in the inerrancy of it as brought down thru the ages..as it was originally written. What he As a biblical scholar, the author wanted to read the Bible in the languages in which it was first written and so studied them and went deeper into the texts. His decision to go deeper, to fully appreciate it, led him to find out as the old saying goes more than he bargained for. It led him to reevaluate his faith which had been based on a belief in the literal truth of what he had been taught it said and in the inerrancy of it as brought down thru the ages..as it was originally written. What he discovered was that the Bible had been changed many times by those who were translating it, copying in, interpreting it, and even adding to it for a variety of reasons. He learned of all the various debates over the nature of Jesus and God and the schools of thought which were responded to by later copyists who "clarified" and reinforced their side of the debates by adding to the text. He applied his expertise in analyzing the multilayered mysteries of alterations and has provided us a rich and fascinating glimpse into history including the context of various forms of Christian beliefs through the centuries, the purpose of some of the writers and the identification of multiple or single more ancient sources for some of the writing and its authorship and of controversies about the role and nature of Jesus which sparked such changes and forever changes the readers understanding of what the Bible can provide. I thought perhaps one of the most interesting insights I gained is how rewriting, adding or editing was an accepted practice and not as so many today would imagine as sacrilidge and evil and not in keeping with the Biblical writings being "holy or sacred" texts. The last person who consciously edited the new testament to strip it of what he thought was wrong, false, and irrelevant to its message was Thomas Jefferson who did so not as a surreptitious amender but who set off his version as standing on its own as an independent book, a slim volume known as The Jefferson Bible. Not something that a current President or crop of candidates would DARE to admit to even thinking of doing in this time of evangelical religiousity . Again, much is revealed about the temper of the times and how attitudes toward the Bible and its use has changed over time even within the last few hundred years thru books such as these. I heartily recommend it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shaun

    This was pretty good for what it was, a textual criticism of the Bible. Sure it's a little repetitive at times, but I think this is the result of the author trying to simplify and explain a complex topic to an ignorant (at least relatively ignorant) audience. Bart Ehrman attended Moody Bible College and finished his Bachelors degree at Wheaton College. He then received his PhD and M.Div from Princeton Theological Seminary. A born-again Christian, Ehrman's desire to understand the Bible led him to This was pretty good for what it was, a textual criticism of the Bible. Sure it's a little repetitive at times, but I think this is the result of the author trying to simplify and explain a complex topic to an ignorant (at least relatively ignorant) audience. Bart Ehrman attended Moody Bible College and finished his Bachelors degree at Wheaton College. He then received his PhD and M.Div from Princeton Theological Seminary. A born-again Christian, Ehrman's desire to understand the Bible led him to study ancient languages and develop the art and skill of textual criticism, a branch of text scholarship which concerns itself with the identification and removal of errors from text. Through his studies he began to doubt that the Bible was indeed the inerrant word of God based on the fact that it suffered from centuries of editing problems. In his opinion, how can we trust that the Bible is God's word if the words have been (repeatedly) either intentionally or unintentionally changed. Aside from the obvious indication that the Bible is not the absolute perfect word of God, or if it is, then surely the words of an incompetent one as the Bible was manipulated throughout history, I found this to be an interesting read. I now better understand the origin of the Christian religion and it's refinement. Reading this, I was reminded of discussions that we have in the US over our constitution and the "original" intent and our present interpretation. The fact that we've needed to amend our constitution speaks volume about the complications innate in trying to live by a document that was written in a different time and that's when we can verify and agree on the original wording. Some things I learned: Though this might seem obvious to others, the point that most if not all early Christians were unable to read had not been something I gave much thought to before. Even many of the early translators could not read and were merely reproducing symbols. This would seem to encourage errors of all kinds. I had heard that the Bible was an incomplete canon representing various literary works at the time, but did not realize how many were excluded or how many of those included were collections of letters, some written by the original speaker and others written by others using that person's name. I learned that at the time of Christ, there were three distinct groups of believers...those who believed he was merely a man, those that believed he was both man and "god" simultaneously, and those who believed he was a man inhabited by Christ's spirit. I also did not realize that a number of Christians believed that the God of the Old Testament was a different God from that of the New Testament. Thus the Christianity we know today was not born in its "pure" form but evolved over time. This seems like a no brainer, but until reading this book and despite being brought up a Christian, I had never explored this idea thoroughly. I had no idea, nor did I think about, how many copies of the Bible were made using the most antiquated form of publication. I liked that Ehrman provided a number of examples of passages that were changed/added or taken away and the cultural context under which this was done. He also provided examples of the unintentional/editing errors that a process of dictation and hand copying texts that used no punctuation or spacing would tend to produce under even the best circumstances. I also have a better understanding of the rift between Christianity and Judaism. I definitely learned what textual criticism is and how it was/is (because we continue to fine new texts) used to try and recreate the original texts of the Bible as well as all the complications that make it difficult to actually do. Interestingly, I read a review this morning that said most Christians already know all about these "problems" and they don't care, but I don't find that to be the case. I'm sure many Christians I know would find ways to rationalize the inconsistencies away, but the origin and possible errors in the Bible are not something that is openly discussed in most Churches and not something the masses are aware of. I'm not sure whom I would recommend this to. Prior to reading this book, I did not view the Bible as the inerrant word of God (though I know many who do), but still I appreciated the history. I'm not sure how a believer would react to this. Yet whether a Christian or not, Christianity is a major player in the world we live in, and understanding it (good and bad) somehow seems worthwhile. Ehrman is now an atheist. I would be interested in reading a book from a believer's perspective. It would be worthwhile, I think, to see how that person would deal with the issues Ehrman has brought up.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lena

    Ehrman was just a teenager when he had a born-again experience that led him to devote his life to the study of Christianity. Hoping to help defend the Bible as the true word of God, he focused his studies on the origins of the Bible, only to discover that the history of a book whose words many faithful take as infallible truth is nowhere near as clear as most people would like to believe. It seems that God suffered the same fate as many great writers and had his words altered by numerous editors Ehrman was just a teenager when he had a born-again experience that led him to devote his life to the study of Christianity. Hoping to help defend the Bible as the true word of God, he focused his studies on the origins of the Bible, only to discover that the history of a book whose words many faithful take as infallible truth is nowhere near as clear as most people would like to believe. It seems that God suffered the same fate as many great writers and had his words altered by numerous editors, from sloppy scribes to church leaders seeking to make the Bible support their particular interpretation the gospel. Ehrman details with convincing clarity how earlier versions of the Bible vary greatly on such teachings as the role of women in the church and even the divinity of Christ himself. Highly recommended for anyone affected by the idea that the Bible is the true and unaltered word of God.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nat

    A must for anyone who wants to know WHY the Bible isn't inerrant. A wonderful work by a biblical scholar who was motivated by his deep faith and only wanted to find the truth. One of the most interesting aspects is that the reader will come to understand how biblical scholars work and the methods they use to decide which text represents an older tradition than another text. Also, those new to the study of comparative religion will probably be amazed to learn (or refuse to believe) that some part A must for anyone who wants to know WHY the Bible isn't inerrant. A wonderful work by a biblical scholar who was motivated by his deep faith and only wanted to find the truth. One of the most interesting aspects is that the reader will come to understand how biblical scholars work and the methods they use to decide which text represents an older tradition than another text. Also, those new to the study of comparative religion will probably be amazed to learn (or refuse to believe) that some parts of the Bible were deliberately changed for political purposes, while others were changed due to mistakes, either of interpretation or of copy-error. In any case, a fascinating and well-written book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Eric_W

    There was no New Testament until the fourth century. Until that time assorted factions warred over all sorts of different beliefs about Jesus. Some thought he was all human, others he was all God. Some believed there were many gods, others there must be only a few. Their assorted beliefs were transcribed by the individual congregations themselves, obviously representing their own particular view of reality. What happened to those oral and written traditions and documents and how they evolved and There was no New Testament until the fourth century. Until that time assorted factions warred over all sorts of different beliefs about Jesus. Some thought he was all human, others he was all God. Some believed there were many gods, others there must be only a few. Their assorted beliefs were transcribed by the individual congregations themselves, obviously representing their own particular view of reality. What happened to those oral and written traditions and documents and how they evolved and were eventually codified is the subject of Ehrman's fascinating book. Ehrman had a born-again experience in high school and was persuaded to go to Moody Bible Institute to further his understanding. He became interested in scriptural exegesis and transferred to Wheaton, another evangelical fortress, (although considered far too liberal by the Moody folks. Thinking it was impossible to learn the true meaning in translation he found himself soon at Princeton Theological Seminary, a downright bastion liberal thinking where he studied Greek and eventually Hebrew. Already at Moody he had become fascinated by scriptural differences and seeming contradictions. The details of the Crucifixion differ between Mark and John, for example. Could one of them have made a mistake. And when Jesus said the mustard seed was the smallest of all the seeds on earth in the parable, did he make a mistake as we know it's not the smallest seed. Was it incorrectly translated? Was information copied incorrectly? He learned that we have no originals and the copies we do have of Scripture are copies of copies and we lack even the copies closest to the originals. How can we know what the word of God means if we don't know what those words area? These are the puzzles that intrigued Ehrman and ultimately resulted in a shift from a literal and inerrant view of the Bible to a view of it as a very humanly created document. The problem of determining what was actually intended by the original writer was made difficult through a number of factors. The copyists were often illiterate; those who were not would often (there are numerous contemporary complaints of this) change words to suit their own purposes, sometimes to change the meaning, other times by mistake, or sometimes thinking they were correcting an earlier mistake. To make things worse, the manuscripts were often in scriptio continua where there are no capital letters, nor punctuation, nor spaces between the words, e.g. ΜΟΥΣΑΩΝΕΛΙΚΩΝΙΑΔΩΝΑΡΧΩΜΕΘΑΕΙΔΕΙΝΑΙΘΕΛΙΚΩΝΟΣΕΧΟΥΣΙΝΟΡΟΣΜΕΓΑΤΕΖΑΘΕΟΝΤΕΚΑΙΠΕΡΙΚΡΗΝΗΙΟΕΙΔΕΑΠΟΣΣΑΠΑΛΟΙΣΙΝΟΡΧΕΥΝΤΑΙΚΑΙΒΩΜΟΝΕΡΙΣΘΕΝΕΟΣΚΡΟΝΙΩΝΟΣ. In modern Greek that would be Μουσάων Ἑλικωνιάδων ἀρχώμεθ᾽ ἀείδειν, αἵ θ᾽ Ἑλικῶνος ἔχουσιν ὄρος μέγα τε ζάθεόν τε καί τε περὶ κρήνην ἰοειδέα πόσσ᾽ ἁπαλοῖσιν ὀρχεῦνται καὶ βωμὸν ἐρισθενέος Κρονίωνος. Often the earliest manuscripts we have date from centuries after they were originally written and many generations of copies later. This led inevitably to entire lines being dropped as a copier, often illiterate, might skip a line, especially when two lines ended with the same or similar letters. All of this uncertainty was an especial problem for Protestants whose faith relied on the "word" as delivered in the Bible, but if that "word" was uncertain then doesn't that weaken the foundations of that faith? Celsus and Origen in the 2nd century were already noting the substantial number of differences between the texts and a century later Pope Damascus commissioned Jerome to examine the texts and see if he could determine the original version. In just one illustration of many of the effect this cold have on faith is the example of J.J. Wettstein, who, in the early 18th century, sought to find the original words and he given access to the Codex Alexandrinus where is was startled to note problems with Timothy 1 3:16, a passage that had been used to justify the belief that Jesus was God. For the text, in most manuscripts, refers to Christ as "God made manifest in the flesh, and justified in the Spirit." Most manuscripts abbreviate sacred names (the so­-called nomina sacra), and that is the case here as well, where the Greek word God (theos)is abbreviated in two letters, theta and sigma, with a line drawn over the top to indicate that it is an abbreviation What Wettstein noticed in examining Codex Alexandri­nus was that the line over the top had been drawn in a different ink from the surrounding words, and so appeared to be from a later hand (i.e., written by a later scribe). Moreover, the horizontal line in the middle of the first letter, theta, was not actually a part of the letter but was a line that had bled through from the other side of the old vellum. In other words, rather than being the abbreviation (theta­ sigma) for "God", the word was actually an omicron and a sigma, a different word altogether, which simply means "who." The original reading of the manuscript thus did not speak of Christ as "God made manifest in the flesh" but of Christ "who was made manifest in the flesh." According to the ancient testimony of the Codex Alexandri­nus, Christ is no longer explicitly called God in this passage. Well, this was a bit much for Wettstein who began to question his own faith and he remarked how rarely in the New Testament that Jesus is called God. Becoming rather vocal about the problem (shades of Arius v Athanasius )-- see href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... "he aroused the ire of the orthodox. "Deacon Wettstein is preaching what is un­orthodox, is making statements in his lectures opposed to the teaching of the Reformed Church, and has in hand the printing of a Greek New Testament in which some dangerous innovations very suspect of Socinianism [a doctrine that denied the divinity of Christ] will appear." Called to account for his views before the university senate, he was found to have "rationalistic" views that denied the plenary inspiration of scripture and the existence of the devil and demons, and that focused attention on scriptural obscurities." It's a thrilling book, really interesting as an example of how scholars work through textual history, but one that is perhaps a bit misleading. A review on an atheist website noted that something Ehrman doesn't emphasize is that because we have so many variants and texts available to us does not question the validity of what we now have, but rather helps in the determination of the actual original text from which they might be derived. (That review is worth reading: http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=27)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emily Ann Meyer

    I wish there were a 1/2 star method, because I didn't quite like this up to 4 stars, but I liked it more than 3. The book was not quite what I expected, inasmuch as it focused a lot more on the individual motivations of scribes and/or transcription errors rather than the major political and theological debates that also contributed to changes in the text. There is much of this that I already knew - changes are made and mistakes happen. What was new to me, and what really made me sit up and take n I wish there were a 1/2 star method, because I didn't quite like this up to 4 stars, but I liked it more than 3. The book was not quite what I expected, inasmuch as it focused a lot more on the individual motivations of scribes and/or transcription errors rather than the major political and theological debates that also contributed to changes in the text. There is much of this that I already knew - changes are made and mistakes happen. What was new to me, and what really made me sit up and take notice, was the major impact in interpretation some of these changes had. That, for example, the entire story that concludes with the adage "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," was a later addition. Or that no where in the New Testament (barring later changes) is Jesus' divinity explicitly called out. Or, and the one that gave me goosebumps considering how much it was emphasized in my own confirmation classes - that the entire idea of the trinity hangs on the placement of a comma. Or that the exhortation that women should be silent and submissive was likely the opinion of a scribe copying given how much it contradicts earlier documents (which, in fact, have female disciples - take that everyone opposed to female priesthood!) Changes between gospels were also interesting - I was aware of some - but others were new to me. What would've been an interesting expansion of this is to get into, as I mentioned above, some of the external forces impacting these changes - Ehrmann talks about various competing facets, but only in a brief chapter. Another interesting way to add depth might get into the council of Nicea and other early church gatherings where the selection of the books of the bible was made - how did the choice of what was to become "canon" impact the potential interpretation of these books that may have then led to potential scriptural changes?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    As a believer in "verbal plenary inspiration", which this author once cherished but came to see as ridiculous, I am curious to hear his experience and case. I want to admit up front that I already find myself distrusting his conclusions because of an assumption/leap-in-logic that he made back on page 11 about God's motives and choices. But, that said, he still holds my interest on a number of points. Update: I am kind of disappointed in this author, because I feel like he promised these earth-sha As a believer in "verbal plenary inspiration", which this author once cherished but came to see as ridiculous, I am curious to hear his experience and case. I want to admit up front that I already find myself distrusting his conclusions because of an assumption/leap-in-logic that he made back on page 11 about God's motives and choices. But, that said, he still holds my interest on a number of points. Update: I am kind of disappointed in this author, because I feel like he promised these earth-shattering finds against the integrity of the Bible's message, yet most of what he brought up were single-word or single-verse translation differences so widely known that they are noted in the footnotes of several popular English translations already. (i.e. That information is already publicly available.) Yes, the Bibles we all read are translations, and are copies of copies of copies etc. of originals that are long gone. So questioning the priority of a word or sentence as I read seems logical, but the main message of the Bible (God offering free forgiveness through Jesus because he loves us and we need him) is so repeated and dominant that even several scribes/copyists changing a word or line in several manuscripts is still not going to affect all of the manuscripts/records or cause people to miss the point.

  13. 5 out of 5

    11811 (Eleven)

    The repetition in this book was ridiculous. I don't know how many times the author mentioned that the gospels are copies of copies of copies but it was more than a few. Probably more than a dozen. Eventually, he gets to examples which made it interesting but I'm hoping the book he released todayJesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior, has fewer redundancies. I'm about to find out. This was a decent introduction to the to The repetition in this book was ridiculous. I don't know how many times the author mentioned that the gospels are copies of copies of copies but it was more than a few. Probably more than a dozen. Eventually, he gets to examples which made it interesting but I'm hoping the book he released todayJesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior, has fewer redundancies. I'm about to find out. This was a decent introduction to the topic and the most memorable comment for me was that "There are more errors than there are words in the New Testament." For those who believe that scripture is the inerrant word of God, this begs the question - which copy?

  14. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I originally started my review with a big long rant about why even though I still believe in God I no longer go to church or even believe in organized religion. I’m truncating it down to this: the unexamined faith, just like the unexamined life, is not worth living. I feel that if more people understood that modern day Christianity is a product of its times but also the product of what was once a very diverse systems of beliefs and understandings of Jesus’ role, or that it is recognized fact tha I originally started my review with a big long rant about why even though I still believe in God I no longer go to church or even believe in organized religion. I’m truncating it down to this: the unexamined faith, just like the unexamined life, is not worth living. I feel that if more people understood that modern day Christianity is a product of its times but also the product of what was once a very diverse systems of beliefs and understandings of Jesus’ role, or that it is recognized fact that the Bible was changed (over and over again) and that these changes if reverted would change many Christians fundamental belief structures, that we would have a much more tolerant church and perhaps a more unified church. What is the point over arguing about and schisming over a few lines of the Bible when a) you aren’t reading it in the original language any ways and b) that verse didn’t even show up in the bible until the 1600s. I am an advocate for a more informed faith and to many that has made me seem like a dangerous heretic (though I mostly keep to myself so maybe not that dangerous, just a heretic, but that sounds less interesting). So if you want to have an informed faith and make your own decisions about the reliability of your scripture or at least the translation you are using I highly recommend Dr. Ehrman’s works- both Misquoting Jesus and Lost Christianiaties. Both are books that are amazingly researched and make complex topics accessible. I wish that I had this book in text version so that I could have easily stopped reading and looked directly at the verses that were being cited or so I could easily refer back to specific notes the book made. I will warn that it is a bit repetitive but the arguments and presentation are sound.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David

    Ehrman did a good job of explaining textual criticism for the average person. The reason I only give two stars is because I learned pretty much everything he says in this book at a conservative evangelical seminary. In other words, he writes as if these things are a shocking secret to Christians when most Christians, even the most evangelical ones, learned this ages ago and are fine with it. This book should encourage Christian teachers and pastors to teach these things to the people in their ch Ehrman did a good job of explaining textual criticism for the average person. The reason I only give two stars is because I learned pretty much everything he says in this book at a conservative evangelical seminary. In other words, he writes as if these things are a shocking secret to Christians when most Christians, even the most evangelical ones, learned this ages ago and are fine with it. This book should encourage Christian teachers and pastors to teach these things to the people in their churches so that books such as this do not seem so shocking.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Literary Chic

    You had me at "reformed fundamentalist author." Very interesting and the author was fascinating. Definitely read the prologue if you get to this book. The author's education arc adds a lot to the books perspective. Ultimately if you're a believer, this probably won't change your mind. If you find yourself firmly on the fence or a dyed in the wool atheist, you'll find great information.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ojo

    A real eye opener. I'm familiar with the point the author was trying to make in this book. For a couple of years now, I've known the Bible isn't as infallible as most Christians make it look. I've know that the book is littered with errors by its writers throughout history. But I haven't had time to do a proper research on the forms these errors took. Reading this book has saved me a lot of time. It's a bit unfortunate most Christians aren't aware of Biblical textual criticism. It's almost like A real eye opener. I'm familiar with the point the author was trying to make in this book. For a couple of years now, I've known the Bible isn't as infallible as most Christians make it look. I've know that the book is littered with errors by its writers throughout history. But I haven't had time to do a proper research on the forms these errors took. Reading this book has saved me a lot of time. It's a bit unfortunate most Christians aren't aware of Biblical textual criticism. It's almost like they've assumed God Himself personally penned the words of the Bible. And it's even more unfortunate that most Christians don't bother with getting information on how the Bible came about. Most are happy to swallow the dogmas of their religious sects hook, line and sinker, without bothering to filter and see if the Words still exist in their original sense. While this book will definitely be branded as heretic by Christian fanatics, it's a must read for every truth seeking Christian.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Martin Pierce

    There were minor variations in the New Testament manuscripts. This is old news. Unfortunately, Ehrman, a former fundamentalist Christian, thinks it's such a big deal that it casts doubt on the veracity of the Christian faith. Practically nobody agrees, except for people like atheists who already have a bone to pick with Christians. The truth is that no other ancient text is as well supported as the New Testament. Minor variations are to be expected. The ones we find the the NT manuscripts don't There were minor variations in the New Testament manuscripts. This is old news. Unfortunately, Ehrman, a former fundamentalist Christian, thinks it's such a big deal that it casts doubt on the veracity of the Christian faith. Practically nobody agrees, except for people like atheists who already have a bone to pick with Christians. The truth is that no other ancient text is as well supported as the New Testament. Minor variations are to be expected. The ones we find the the NT manuscripts don't affect any significant doctrines.

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Withun

    To be completely honest, reading this book was a waste of my time. I generally enjoy Ehrman's work, in spite of his sensationalist style, but I was very disappointed with this one. Misquoting Jesus was filled with page after page of Ehrman's typical version of "shock and awe," none of which is very often shocking or awing, but with none of the redeeming information and interesting facts that his other books usually contain. Rather than a scholarly and engaging look at the manuscript traditions of To be completely honest, reading this book was a waste of my time. I generally enjoy Ehrman's work, in spite of his sensationalist style, but I was very disappointed with this one. Misquoting Jesus was filled with page after page of Ehrman's typical version of "shock and awe," none of which is very often shocking or awing, but with none of the redeeming information and interesting facts that his other books usually contain. Rather than a scholarly and engaging look at the manuscript traditions of the New Testament and ensuing errors and alterations thereof which I assumed would be the content of this book, Ehrman spends the majority of the book speaking in the first person as a young, naive "'born again' Christian" being exposed for the first time to (what he believes are) the shocking facts that the King James Version isn't the inerrant Word of God and that the Scriptures didn't fall out of heaven one day. This reveals much less about the history and textual traditions of the New Testament than it does about Ehrman himself, who seems to live perpetually in that juvenile state and seems to honestly believe that every other self-professed Christian lives in the same state. This latter apparent view of Ehrman was revealed especially by the variety of inane statements throughout the book which seem to indicate his unfamiliarity with any form of Christianity outside of the evangelical "born again" version of his childhood (see below for an example of this). What scanty little real facts and information there were in this book were not only overshadowed by the above aspects of the book but were also basic enough that they could easily be gleaned by reading Wikipedia articles on the relevant topics (trust me, that's an insult). I've done a little reading in the area, but I'm no expert to be sure, and yet aside from a few minor dates and interesting stories, I was familiar with almost everything covered in this book. In the end, I wouldn't recommend this book at all. There's too much great reading in early Christian history and even specifically in the manuscript traditions of the New Testament (such as Jaroslav Pelikan's Whose Bible Is It? A Short History of the Scriptures, for instance) to waste your time reading such worthless trite. Rather than scholarship, you will receive a thinly-veiled attack on Ehrman's own straw-man of Christianity (he does, after all, begin the book with the story of his own conversion from "'born-again' Christianity" to atheism), made all the more pitiful for not only being possibly the weakest criticism ever leveled at Christianity but for Ehrman's halfhearted attempt to make his attack look like real scholarship. For your reading pleasure, a few outstanding examples of Ehrman's inanity in this book: "This is the account of 1 John 5:7-8, which scholars have called the Johannine Comma, found in the manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate but not in the vast majority of Greek manuscripts, a passage that had long been a favorite among Christian theologians, since it is the only passage in the entire Bible that explicitly delineates the doctrine of the Trinity, that there are three persons in the godhead, but that the three constitute just one God." Really? A purported New Testament scholar who is unfamiliar with Matthew 28:19? How about Titus 3:4-6? Still nothing? Oh well, I give up... Just out of curiosity, though: who are these "Christian theologians" amongst whom the Johannine Comma "[has] long been a favorite"? You'd think things like this would need more than vague assertions and non-arguments; not in Ehrmanworld, I guess. "... or consider all the different Christian denominations, filled with intelligent and well-meaning people who base their views of how the church should be organized and function on the Bible, yet all of them coming to radically different conclusions (Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Appalachian snake-handlers, Greek Orthodox, and on and on)." You'd think it would be a good idea for somebody who "chairs the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill" (as the author bio on the back flap of the book says) to know enough about the two largest groups of Christians in the world, Roman Catholics and Orthodox, that he would not make the ignorant statement that these two groups "base their views of how the church should be organized and function on the Bible." Really? When did the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox pick up Sola Scriptura? And all this time I thought Tradition was the basis of our system of Church governance. In addition, there can't be much reason aside from sheer ignorance why he insists on saying "Greek Orthodox" specifically (he says it twice in this book and I've noticed it in others as well, where he gives a list similar to this one for a similar reason) given that there are 26 other Orthodox jurisdictions in addition to the Greek and that the Greek jurisdiction is not even the largest of them. I can only hope that somebody in a position of power at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is reading this and thinking about hiring a chair for their Department of Religious Studies(!) who is actually familiar with ... well ... religious studies. And, of course, saving the best for last: "Put it this way: There are more variances among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament." Thanks to True Free Thinker for saving me the work on this one: Considering that [Bart Ehrman's] book Misquoting Jesus explored the issue of variant readings in New Testament manuscripts it may be surprising to some that Bart Ehrman’s book itself contains millions and millions of variants. Following are some examples of the variants: On p. 13 reference is made to “Timothy LeHaye and Philip Jenkins” as the authors of the Left Behind series of novels. However, the authors of the series are Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Thus, error 1. Tim has never published as “Timothy,” error 2. his last name is not LeHaye but LaHaye and error 3. Jenkins’s first name is not Philip but Jerry. On p. 110 error 4. “Timothy” is used as LaHaye’s last name. In the index Timothy’s name is error 5. again spelled as “LeHaye.” On p. 110 Hal Lindsey’s name is error 6. misspelled as “Hal Lindsay.” On p. 70 Desiderius Erasmus is error 7. misspelled as “Desiderus Erasmus.” …[snip]… Now, if you are paying attention—or are you like me and simply cannot afford to pay attention? :o)—you may be thinking 1) that is only 16 errors, 2) they are mostly merely misspellings, 3) they do not affect the contents of the text and certainly do not affect any major point which the book seeks to make. As for 2) and 3); thank you for noticing as this is precisely, word for word, how many of us feel about Bart Ehrman’s criticisms of the New Testament manuscripts. As for 1) how do 16 equal my assertion of there being millions and millions of variants? Well, let us learn some methodology, the sort that allows Ehrman claim, “Put it this way: There are more variances among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.” I do not know how many copies Misquoting Jesus has sold but it is reported that “Within the first three months, more than 100,000 copies were sold.” The way it works is as simple as it is deceptive: you multiply the 16 variants by how many times they have been reproduced. As the 16 have been reproduced 100,000 (in three months alone) you multiply these and so the total of variants in Misquoting Jesus equals: 1,600,000. And that, boys and girls, is how Bart Ehrman manages to make sensational claims that gain him notoriety and quite a few shekels. I highly recommend giving the whole post a read. It's a better than mine, I promise!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie *Very Stable Genius*

    I found this book interesting. A biblical scholar, who was a born again Christian as a teen, decides to not only study the bible but other more secular studies. He does this to be able to prove to none believers that the bible is without error. But finds out he has been very, very, wrong about this fact. He says at one point that "there are more errors in the new testament then there are words in it". Most of the errors where honest mistakes by the scribes copying these manuscripts and the rest I found this book interesting. A biblical scholar, who was a born again Christian as a teen, decides to not only study the bible but other more secular studies. He does this to be able to prove to none believers that the bible is without error. But finds out he has been very, very, wrong about this fact. He says at one point that "there are more errors in the new testament then there are words in it". Most of the errors where honest mistakes by the scribes copying these manuscripts and the rest by not so honest people changing things to suite their likes. Makes you go hhhmmmmm.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    An explanation from a noted textual scholar, as to why literal interpretation of the bible is simply not possible. His question is "where is the actual bible you're taking literally?" The one we have is an amalgam of manuscripts, few of them complete, many of them fragments no bigger than a matchbook, copied, recopied over millennia, with many mistakes, many intentional changes on the part of scribes, and thousands of differences, all regularized and heavily edited by scholars of varying stripes An explanation from a noted textual scholar, as to why literal interpretation of the bible is simply not possible. His question is "where is the actual bible you're taking literally?" The one we have is an amalgam of manuscripts, few of them complete, many of them fragments no bigger than a matchbook, copied, recopied over millennia, with many mistakes, many intentional changes on the part of scribes, and thousands of differences, all regularized and heavily edited by scholars of varying stripes over the centuries. He claims (and I'm sure it's true) that there are more differences among early manuscripts of the New Testament than there are words in the New Testament. He admits that 99% of these are careless, obvious, and easily regularized or corrected. But some are significant. I have no problem with any of this--but I do have a problem with his moving from this to agnosticism or atheism (he admits that he does not believe in God). Just because, for example, the story of the woman taken in adultery is not in ANY of the earliest manuscripts of the Gospel of John, that it was apparently a free-floating story that only got attached (in varying places) to John later, and that in at least one instance it was attached to the Gospel of Luke--just because this is true, doesn't mean the incident never actually took place, or that we can't learn something of value from it. Ehrman seems to be in very serious rebellion against is early southern Baptist upbringing.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Jordan

    I listened to this book as an audiobook. I generally enjoyed much of this book and found it to be very interesting. On the other hand, I also sensed that the author was writing with an agenda that missed the mark. He seemed to be relishing the prideful pleasure of iconoclasm as he set himself up as the smartest man in the room to enlighten us poor simpletons who actually believe in the Bible. I suppose I should also blame the narrator for the smug, sneering, condescending tone of this book. I h I listened to this book as an audiobook. I generally enjoyed much of this book and found it to be very interesting. On the other hand, I also sensed that the author was writing with an agenda that missed the mark. He seemed to be relishing the prideful pleasure of iconoclasm as he set himself up as the smartest man in the room to enlighten us poor simpletons who actually believe in the Bible. I suppose I should also blame the narrator for the smug, sneering, condescending tone of this book. I have no doubt that much of what Mr. Ehrman wrote is true, but I also felt that my own intelligence was being insulted several times as he repeatedly assumed too much in the fatuous arguments that he made to the effect that the Bible is not so inspired and divine after all. This book contains a potential spiritual danger, because it has the propensity to destroy faith rather than to build it. He missed the mark, as intellectuals so often do, by straining at gnats and swallowing camels. Perhaps his greatest mistake was to assume that anything inspired by God must be perfect, because God is perfect. Another egregious error that he seemed to commit was to assume that scriptural texts are the foundation and lifeblood of the Christian religion. A third error was to rely too heavily upon reason and empirical evidence alone and to pay too little attention to the invisible spiritual realities that no faithless intellectual can ever discern. I could not help but think of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. An omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and perfect God inspired an imperfect young man to produce an imperfect book of scripture and to found a living church staffed by imperfect human beings. That imperfect Prophet of the Restoration is the most prolific producer of inspired scriptural texts in the history of the world, and by the time the end of the earth comes, those imperfect writings, along with the imperfect Bible, will have led more imperfect people to eternal perfection than any other inspired writings ever could. Although God is perfect, He is not the perfectionist that we myopic human beings so often assume Him to be. I see imperfection all around me in the world, and especially in people, but I also see God's perfect hand working quiet, invisible miracles through small, simple, imperfect means all the time. As for Mr. Ehrman’s second error, a living prophet and living apostles, exercising keys of the priesthood and receiving revelation from God through the Spirit, are the foundation of authority in the true Christian Church. Even if we were to lose every scriptural text in existence, the Christian faith would remain true and vibrant, and we could still receive all the scripture we need through the living oracles, the prophets and apostles who hold and exercise the keys of the priesthood. Finally, as for the third error that I mentioned above, consider the following. After finishing this book, I picked up my error-ridden King James Version of the New Testament and read from the first three chapters of the first epistle of John. I read about apostles who serve as witnesses of eternal life and of their efforts to help all people to experience fellowship with God and to feel the joy of the gospel. I read about the light that is in God, the light of His love, and I read about the darkness of sin and hatred. I read about Christ as the propitiation for our sins and about obedience as the key to acquiring a knowledge of God and to having the love of God in us. I read about the transitory and foolish lust and pride of the world, as contrasted to the eternal rewards of obedience. I read about several other principles, but perhaps most relevant among these was the doctrine at the beginning of chapter 3, which teaches us that we attain a hope in Christ and come to know Christ by becoming like Him. To me, this doctrine is the essence of the gospel. As I read, my heart softened, and I felt the ineffable influence of the Spirit of God. I felt joy and peace. I felt less inclined to commit sin. I felt a desire to improve myself, to continue the fight against the evils in my own life, to master myself and to commune with the Almighty. And I knew by that same Spirit that the Bible is indeed the word of God. Moreover, I know that this Spirit, which I obtained through reading the Bible, can become within me a source of living water that can help me to help other people draw closer to God and build their own faith. The same is true for any person who has a testimony of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost. Mr. Ehrman’s book put some interesting information into my mind, but when it came to the living waters of the Spirit of God, and especially in comparison with the very Bible that Mr. Ehrman was criticizing, his book was conspicuously lacking. But do not misunderstand me: this book was a fascinating read and well worth my time. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the subject. But I would counsel anyone who reads it to be careful not to miss the mark by overlooking the tremendous spiritual power contained within the Bible.

  23. 5 out of 5

    آدم زمین زاد

    This book is fascinating and deep. It presents the history of documentation,translation and transmission of the New Testament in a critical way. There are more variations among the 16000 old manuscripts available than the words in the New Testament. The reasons for these variations were illiteracy of scribers , mistakes, theological differences, worldviews etc. In short the inspired words of God were altered by humans. The question is if God didn't stop the alteration in his words,then may be th This book is fascinating and deep. It presents the history of documentation,translation and transmission of the New Testament in a critical way. There are more variations among the 16000 old manuscripts available than the words in the New Testament. The reasons for these variations were illiteracy of scribers , mistakes, theological differences, worldviews etc. In short the inspired words of God were altered by humans. The question is if God didn't stop the alteration in his words,then may be there were no original inspired words at the first place. There were only humans from start to end. The author has a postmodern/deconstructive idea about this process. He believes every act of reading and writing is an act of interpretation. The meaning of the text is always deferred to other texts and the chain goes on. Every reader and writer give different meaning to each text. The Canonization or dominance of any scripture depends upon the earthly power of its believers.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    Ehrman claims that this, his overview of the formulations of what have come down to us as the texts of the Christian Scriptures, is a work that hadn't been done before. That is a bit of an overstatement. Any work of textual criticism applied to this corpus must needs cover such ground. Such originality as there is to Jesus Misquoted is in its engagingly accessible style. Usually I find self-reference off-putting when used in scholarship. In this case, however, Ehrman's introductory account of how Ehrman claims that this, his overview of the formulations of what have come down to us as the texts of the Christian Scriptures, is a work that hadn't been done before. That is a bit of an overstatement. Any work of textual criticism applied to this corpus must needs cover such ground. Such originality as there is to Jesus Misquoted is in its engagingly accessible style. Usually I find self-reference off-putting when used in scholarship. In this case, however, Ehrman's introductory account of how he evolved from being a serious scriptural inerrancist to becoming an academic bible critic was welcome. It is, in fact, impossible to be a biblical literacist if one actually knows how its texts have been transmitted. As I am fond of saying, "the Bible" you read actually dates to the time of its copyright. The best remedy for narrow-minded Christian--or Jewish or Islamic--fundamentalism is honest study of the textual bases of the faith. Except for the author's treatment of some particular pericopes in light of what kinds of changes tend to happen to a text transmitted from one scribe to another, I found little new in this book--and these, of course, were more or less well-argued opinions. Still, as a short book intended for the general reading public, Jesus Misquoted's popularity is deserved and heartening.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    i really wanted more from this book; it felt like the introduction to a more in-depth exploration. as such, there certainly were things new to me, but as someone with mild exposure to exegesis, much of this was known territory, and i repeatedly felt frustrated at the cursory descriptions (and terse! footnotes). that said, i am glad i read this, and i highly recommend this to *anyone* who takes the bible to be the inerrant word of god. ehrman's writing style is relatively easy to understand, has a i really wanted more from this book; it felt like the introduction to a more in-depth exploration. as such, there certainly were things new to me, but as someone with mild exposure to exegesis, much of this was known territory, and i repeatedly felt frustrated at the cursory descriptions (and terse! footnotes). that said, i am glad i read this, and i highly recommend this to *anyone* who takes the bible to be the inerrant word of god. ehrman's writing style is relatively easy to understand, has a fair amount of details on some questionable passages, and for the most part, he takes a balanced approach. i say most part because i don't agree with the way he came to some conclusions regarding faith/moving forward. some of the logic was a bit funky to me, and to anyone *looking* for a reason to find fault, believe me, you will find it in here. this is why i'm looking forward to reading some of the 'responses' to ehrman's book, eventually. meantime, if the concept of the bible 'authenticity' is new to you, i think this is a decent starting point.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    An oddly encouraging book due to the fact that Ehrman, despite being clearly very educated and clearly bent on discrediting scripture, can summon up surprisingly little here to even begin to make his case. I was left thinking, "Huh, if this is the best they've got, there must not be any significant textual variations to speak of."

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brian Mckean

    I kept waiting for the punch line, but Ehrman over-promised and under-delivered. The controversies he highlights -- such as they are -- are nits at best. Vox Day wrote a book responding to Ehrman, and I'd recommend that instead.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Davie

    A non-fictional account of how and why the Bible is NOT the direct word of God. My Take This was an excellent, very scholarly account using scientific and textual inquiry to present the manner in which people have for centuries been changing the words that make up the New Testament. The work involved in determining which copy is the more original was and is tremendous. It gives me a headache just thinking of how to keep track and organize the mass of material! I want a time machine!! Ehrman explain A non-fictional account of how and why the Bible is NOT the direct word of God. My Take This was an excellent, very scholarly account using scientific and textual inquiry to present the manner in which people have for centuries been changing the words that make up the New Testament. The work involved in determining which copy is the more original was and is tremendous. It gives me a headache just thinking of how to keep track and organize the mass of material! I want a time machine!! Ehrman explains the story in an easy-to-read manner with no blame applied. And it is a simple, basic human reaction to "fix" things. To make it more understandable. As well as a normal human reaction to want to slant the stories, the parables, the words to reflect one's own beliefs. To use these words to pressure others into thinking your way. It makes sense…although, I have to confess that I began to think of the New Testament as a compilation of fanfic. A modern term to sum up what's been happening with the words of the Bible from the beginning. There were so many different writings out there and what we now know as the New Testament are simply those versions put out by the side with the most followers. Ehrman describes the Bible as "a human book from beginning to end...written by different human authors at different times and in different places to address different needs". Each with "their own perspectives, their own beliefs, their own views, their own needs, their own understandings, their own theologies". Some elements are little more than advertising hype. Who knew? Ehrman points out that the mustard seed is not the smallest of all seeds. The apostles can't even agree on a number of points from when Jesus was crucified---after Passover or before; when Joseph and Mary returned to Nazareth; when Paul went to Jerusalem after he was converted; the Adoptionists; the Separationists such as the Gnostics; and, literally thousands of other issues. Ehrman also points out that neither the apostles nor the Church have had access to a vast majority of the original documents and instead have used copies of copies to recreate the apostles' interpretations of Jesus' words, of their own actions. "Mark did not say the same thing that Luke said because he didn't mean the same thing as Luke. John is different from Matthew...Paul is different from Acts. And James is different from Paul". Which only makes sense. Consider the game one can play at a dinner table of starting a sentence and whispering it in the ear of the person next to you. And the garbled version that comes out at the other end. Whispering this one sentence to one person after another within ten minutes or less, one night, at a dinner table. And we expect the word of God to have survived completely intact in a world where so few people knew how to read or write? When the truth about most of those scribes who could write was simply that they could copy the forms of letters? But not actually be able to read them? Ehrman provides several examples of authors complaining because the scribe they hired to make copies were changing their words! Consider also that mistakes made in one document would then be copied faithfully by the next. Or changed so it would be more easily understood or to reflect that scribe's patron's point of view. Then there were the "slips of the pen, accidental omissions, misspelled words, etc." The incompetent scribes or those who got hungry or sleepy, bored or uninterested. The overly scrupulous who thought that Paul's words should agree with Mark's instead of being their own individual viewpoints. It turns out that that whore, Mary Magdalene, whom I learned about in Sunday School is a story inserted by those more interested in keeping women out of any roles in the Church; tearing them from the "significant and publicly high profile roles" they played in the early Church. Instead, Mary Magdalene played a large role and, technically, was one of Jesus' apostles. Even Paul corresponded and talked of women who had highly public roles although he did believe that women should cover their heads in church "to show they were under authority" and that they "should be content with the roles they had been given". Even as Jesus proclaimed "that in the coming Kingdom there would be equality of men and women". Hmmm, just not on earth, huh, where it would be inconvenient or too radical? Still, it wasn't until after Paul that women started to be referred to as inferior and scribes began to change the text referring to women, even to the point of reversing the name order of husband and wife couples to show the husband in the primary position. How very petty! I do like Ehrman's point: "Wouldn't you like to know what are the true words of the Bible?" When you add in the different shorthands individuals used through the ages and how those abbreviations and codes were misinterpreted. The inks that faded rendering the text even more illegible. The people who tried to make the text more understandable, to fit in with how they thought or wanted people to think. I'm rather surprised it's as readable as it is. Consider also that witnesses to an event interpret it from their own perspective. Ask any cop! Ehrman states that professional writers finally began to be used by the Church in the fourth century, in particular, when Constantine, the emperor of Rome, converted to Christianity in 312 C.E. An act which began to attract "more and more highly educated and trained persons". The Old Testament is the beginning of the Jewish Bible. A scripture unique in its origins which tells the history of the Jewish people and provides laws on how to worship and behave toward each other. In a time when rules, instructions, laws were not written down and "almost no ethical principles to be followed" were laid out for the followers of almost all the existing religions. This book, this Old Testament, was the beginning of the Christian Bible. Jesus was a Jewish rabbi and his followers were Jewish. The Torah was what they knew and set the backdrop for Christianity, the second book-oriented religion in the world. Ehrman explains the Bible's evolution and it is fascinating. The apostles would, individually, convert people in a particular locale and then stay in touch, preach or untangle problems by letters which would be read to the people. We know these letters as, for example, Paul's letters to the Thessalonians; the communities of converts as Corinthians, Galatians. Some of these letters would be written by an apostle's followers in his name. The Gospels were stories about "the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of their Lord" and "recorded the traditions associated with" Jesus' life; memoirs of the apostles. Some Gospels were lost, others were compiled from research done by their original and subsequent authors. Some are based on an apostle's interpretation "in light of the Jewish scriptures...which were in wide use among Christians". Which makes sense as these were the books which were known to these new Christians. Books that provided a basis for study and reflection. The Acts are stories about the apostles. The Christian Apocalypses were stories written theorizing about the approaching apocalypse. It was fascinating to read about "Church Orders" as the need for people to be in charge became apparent and rules were formulated. Ehrman mentions the Christian Apologies and Martyrologies as well as the antiheretical tractates which is about the early disagreements about how God should be worshipped with the Christian religion and the commentaries. Ehrman also discusses early Christians who created their own version of how things should be based on their own interpretations. Men like Marcion; Irenaeus, a bishop of Lyons; Athaneasius, a bishop of Alexandria in 367 C.E. who is the first recorded instance proclaiming the current New Testament as the authority; Dionysius, a bishop of Corinth; and, others. He also makes an interesting point about literacy rates in the ancient world. That even in civilized Rome in the early Christian centuries or Greece in the classical period, only 10-15 percent of the population could read and write. Or, as Ehrman drives his point home...85-90 percent of the people were illiterate. I suspect preaching came about simply because most of the people couldn't read, so they came to a central location where someone would read to them. Ehrman also notes the origins of the different Bibles we know about such as the Latin Vulgate (Jerome's translation was a Bible for the Western church and he tried very hard to reconcile the variations; I think he's a saint simply for managing to produce the Vulgate!), the Greek New Testament (the first printed polyglot Bible produced by a Spanish cardinal, Ximenes de Cisneros)---Erasmus published a flawed Greek New Testament as he wanted to be the first out of the blocks!; and, the seventeenth century King James which uses great chunks of Erasmus' flawed publication. The problem of textual variation wasn't readily recognized until 1707 when John Mill created an annotated version of the Greek New Testament pointing out "some thirty thousand places" where the text disagreed amongst the surviving materials. These were only the ones he pointed out in the published edition; they were not all the variations he found. These revelations really screwed things up for the Protestants and their sola scriptura! Oh, man. Then there's Ehrman's point about how the conflict arose between Jews and Christians. It makes sense. Perfect sense. How often do we as individuals try to rewrite our personal history (think résumés!) to make ourselves look better! Here the Christians are promoting Jesus as the Messiah and the Jews are, quite rightly, pointing out that Jesus was essentially an itinerant preacher who got on the wrong side of the law and was crucified as a low-life criminal. This, at a time, when a Messiah was seen as a "powerful warrior or a heavenly judge". To counter this "truth", the Christians resorted to mudslinging. One that continues to this day in our bigotry. Ehrman raises an even more interesting point, historically anyway, about Christian persecution by pagans. It's not one that I learned when I was pursuing my history minor and I must always keep in mind to read a variety of sources from different viewpoints if I want to find the truth. Or at least something close! Still, Ehrman's point makes sense. Considering the huge numbers of religions practiced in that time period and the beliefs of the people then, why wouldn't the vast majority see the Christians as shirking their duty? Endangering the health of society? Being antisocial! Reading a text, whether it's fiction or non-fiction, means you are interpreting these words in light of your own experiences. When you try to explain it to someone else, you are using your words. The Bible is a flawed book of history and stories---it's the victors who write the history. It is not the literal word of God, but it is a collection of concepts that encourages faith. Not a faith that requires a literal interpretation of the words. It is a faith in the basic message. The Cover The cover has a deep cream background with taupe Greek writing---one of the original languages of the Bible. The author's name and title are in a red used in the scholar's robe in the graphic image that takes up half the cover's front to which the eye is drawn to a medieval depiction of that scholar. He's working, writing on a scroll covering a sharply angled support atop his desk. There are shelves in the background filled with boxes, books, and more shelves.. The title is honest. Scribes and scholars have been changing the text found in the Bible from the beginning. They have been Misquoting Jesus.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    When I first started nosing through the Bible about twenty years ago, I noticed that nearly every page had footnotes saying something like "other ancient texts read..." and "according to Hebrew texts; Syriac reads..." Like many American Protestants (or proto-Protestants, which is what I was), I had absorbed the idea that the Bible was somehow, mysteriously produced directly by God. Without really thinking about it, I assumed that I was holding a text translated from a single document, the origin When I first started nosing through the Bible about twenty years ago, I noticed that nearly every page had footnotes saying something like "other ancient texts read..." and "according to Hebrew texts; Syriac reads..." Like many American Protestants (or proto-Protestants, which is what I was), I had absorbed the idea that the Bible was somehow, mysteriously produced directly by God. Without really thinking about it, I assumed that I was holding a text translated from a single document, the original Bible, carefully preserved through dozens of centuries. But the footnotes indicated that there were many competing originals floating around out there, suggested that translators might have had to pick and choose--that the Septuagint, whatever the heck that was, might be better than the Syriac; that there might be times when you preferred the Hebrew; that the Greek might compare unfavorably with the Vulgate depending on who was doing the comparing. So it doesn't exactly come as a big shock to me to encounter the idea that there might be variations in the "original" texts of the New Testament and the copies of them that have survived. In fact, anyone who has ever tried to hand-copy another person's letter, shopping list, or class notes should not be surprised that ancient scribes made errors great and small, and that these errors were often compounded even by the skilled copyists of the Middle Ages. Ehrman's survey of textual criticism--the effort to determine which early Greek texts are the closest to the lost originals--goes way beyond an accounting of copyists' mistakes, although he gives a brief history of scribal practices from antiquity to the early years of printing. There is also a survey of the history of textual criticism; if you are interested, you can read about how Erasmus ultimately screwed up the translation of the King James Bible. Surely the most provocative part of the book is the last couple chapters, in which Ehrman makes his case for parts of the New Testament which have been added, mistranslated, or otherwise messed with by well-meaning scribes over the centuries. I found the history of textual criticism rather dry; I am not a graduate student in the subject, and I do not read Greek and am not likely to study it. It would be good if Ehrman had said something, somewhere, about variations in the Hebrew Bible, which must be even more numerous. As a general survey, he may be trying to cover too much territory, leaving himself too little room to defend his most important ideas. Otherwise, I find it a good book, with some strong arguments to back up his points.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rickey

    I read this after reading Jesus, Interrupted, also by Bart D. Ehrman. This book is slightly more technical than the other, and I would recommend reading Jesus, Interrupted first, then this one. Ehrman begins this book by describing how he was raised as a Christian and was so fascinated by the Bible that he began intently studying it, and I do mean intently. He was so interested in it that he learned Greek, Latin, and some of the ancient languages in order to translate the ancient manuscripts hims I read this after reading Jesus, Interrupted, also by Bart D. Ehrman. This book is slightly more technical than the other, and I would recommend reading Jesus, Interrupted first, then this one. Ehrman begins this book by describing how he was raised as a Christian and was so fascinated by the Bible that he began intently studying it, and I do mean intently. He was so interested in it that he learned Greek, Latin, and some of the ancient languages in order to translate the ancient manuscripts himself rather than just relying on others to tell him what they say. In my opinion this book and Jesus, Interrupted should both be required reading for anyone who reads the Bible. Why would you not be interested in how this book came to be what it is today? Ehrman describes the many ways that the Bible has been changed in the process of copying. After being hand copied for more than 1500 years, wouldn’t you expect that there would be variations? In the first 200 years, these manuscripts weren’t even copied by professional scribes. Also, in the early years of Christianity, the literacy rates were very low, and a person might be considered literate if they could just write their name. At one place in the book he describes how a person is copying a manuscript who can’t really read and is simply copying it symbol by symbol, not able to even read it! Ehrman goes over many of the reasons that these variations probably occurred in the Bible – from simple errors to deliberate changes and outright forgery, and the reasons for many of these changes. He also writes about some of the early Christian religions and the conflicts they had establishing their doctrines - for example, whether Jesus was mortal or divine, if Jesus was born of a virgin, the concept of the Trinity, and even if there was one God or many. Some believed there was a god of the Old Testament and a different god of the New Testament. They believed that the Old Testament god was wrathful and vengeful, and the New Testament god was kind and benevolent. Many of us aren’t aware that the early Christian churches didn’t all agree on this, and what we have today is the doctrine that persevered over the others. A statement he made that stands out in my mind is that there are more variants in the Bible than there are words in the New Testament. I also remember him stating that there are more than 30,000 variants. A recommended read for those who are able to be open-minded about a book considered sacred and inerrant by many.

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