Book: Misquoting Jesus

Anyone ever read this book? What was your impression?

I am about halfway through it. Interesting, but it has actually made my faith, as a Catholic, stronger.

Is the name of the book “Misquoting Jesus”? I’m a little confused.

What is the books name?

Hah, sorry guys. The title of the book is “Misquoting Jesus.”

I believe the book is “Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible & Why”, by Bart D. Ehrman. I’ve read it & it is fascinating, like all of his books are. Of course, he isn’t Catholic, so you have to take that into account.

Yep, that’s the book. I found it fascinating as well. Although he’s not Catholic, I found that he is making a good case for why you need an authority such as the Pope at the head of the Church. It certainly doesn’t support anything sola scriptura.

And what, may I ask, is the conclusion of the author as to who changed the Bible and misquoted Jesus? The only change I know of was the removal of the deuterocanonical books from the Old Testament by the Protestants.

From what I can tell he says that scripture copiers accidentally and purposefully altered the texts of the NT to support doctrine.

I think the most negative views of the book on Amazon tell a better story, especially this one:

The effect of the New testament on European and Middle Eastern culture is so massive for its humanizing influence that Bart Ehrman’s thesis falls flat in the light of 2,000 years of history. The Latin Vulgate alone had a humanizing effect unparalled in the history( cf. Toynbee and Christopher Dawson). What he neglects to record is the effect the Latin Vulgate had on the emerging peoples of Europe, after the Fall of the Roman Empire. Many of these emerging peoples were illiterate and the effect of the Latin Vulgate upon these emerging nations is astonishing. It created, first of all, a culture of literacy that produced an explosion of poetry, art and literature. Secondly, it created a humanism that established, not only new institutions of learning, but hospices and hospitals and every form of social action answering every human need.

It must be remembered that Latin was the Vulgate language, the language of the people, and the Latin Vulgate brought new images to the mind and new sounds to the ear. It provided the intellect with an inexhaustible store of insight and knowledge, a symphony of new words and concepts, powerful prescriptions for right living, and a new charter of human relationships: personal, social, familial and political, and this Vulgate was enshrined in illuminated manuscripts of incomparable beauty, and its ethical teaching laid the groundwork for the end of the Divine Right of Kings, and the rise of government by the people, of the people and for the people.

I challenge Bart Ehrman’s conviction, first of all that the New Testament writings are forgeries and second that the writings of the New Testament had corrosive effect upon the people of Western Europe. Is he really aware of the instructions in Judaism for the copying of sacred documents?. If not, I will quote it to him and challenge him to show that the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus are copies of Greek forgeries, and what would motivate any scholar to do such a thing?

Father Clifford Stevens
Boys Town, Nebraska

The book’s name is ‘misquoting Jesus’, by Bart Ehrman.* No, i have not read it, but have heard a bit about him as a scholar.* He tries to discount the accuracy of scripture by claiming that most of the apostles were illiterate and by selectively taking scripture verses out of context, if i remember correctly.* He approaches scripture with a hermeneutic of suspicion, like many modern day biblical scholars do.* And like many of them, he is a christian turned atheist scholar unfortunately.

The book’s name is ‘misquoting Jesus’, by Bart Ehrman.* No, i have not read it, but have heard a bit about him as a scholar.* He tries to discount the accuracy of scripture by claiming that most of the apostles were illiterate and by selectively taking scripture verses out of context, if i remember correctly.* He approaches scripture with a hermeneutic of suspicion, like many modern day biblical scholars do.* And like many of them, he is a christian turned atheist scholar unfortunately.

This is an accurate characterization of the book. I found it much more interesting than some of the folks on Amazon, but then again, anyone can post a review to amazon and say anything they want. I found it interesting and it actually helped my faith. I was just wondering if any other Catholics found that it enhanced their faith at all.

I don’t think Dr. Ehrman is an atheist. If I’m not mistaken he considers himself an agnostic. Not sure if its the theistic or atheistic kind.

Yes, the last I saw he considered himself an agnostic.

I read Misquoting Jesus several years ago. It’s interesting.

In a debate with Dinesh D’souza, he called himself an agnostic; it’s true, as he didn’t discount that a God might have started the universe and left.* But he capitulated that he’s a practical atheist.* His replies in the debate were from an entirely rationalists perspective as well.* You can find the debate on YouTube.

Originally Posted by Boulder257Yep, that’s the book. I found it fascinating as well. Although he’s not Catholic, I found that he is making a good case for why you need an authority such as the Pope at the head of the Church. It certainly doesn’t support anything sola scriptura.

Why would you find a man’s effort to discount the Sacred Scriptures, the texts that your own Church proclaimed as the inerrant word of God, as forgeries? This truly amazes me. :confused:

Wow. And some Catholics find this interesting. It’s always wise to determine on which side of the fence someone is sitting before they tell you where they stand. We know where Mr. Erhman sits. I am in complete agreement with the person quoted as to the effect of the Scriptures and the Church in general on society. It was an incredibly positive effect. I will also take the word of my Church as to the veracity of the documents over any one person’s opinion. So there! :smiley:

I’m sorry you are so angry about the book. It’s not exactly that we find it interesting as much as some of us wish to know what is being said outside of our circles so that we know how to defend against it. I am very interested in reading other literature so that I know what is being said about our faith. However, this book in particular actually strengthened my Catholic faith and I was curious if anyone had a simiar experience.

I don’t think the poster is backing Scriptures as forgeries. However, when we look at the absence of the original manuscripts outside the Catholic Church, it is very difficult (If not impossible) to understand the validity of Scriptures by themselves, from a secular (Maybe even academic) point of view.

However, what I can gather (read “assume” :)) is that the poster is happy and grateful for the Catholic Church continued presence since our Lord walked the earth in human form and that he left us with His disciples to establish His Church.

Without the Church, people would be left with a collection of scrolls and wild guesses as to what is and isn’t Scripture. The Gospel of Thomas, The Shepherd of Hermas, and who knows what other books would be considered Scriptures.

If we take away the Catholic Church and Its Councils we would have no idea. No matter how much some people want to deny it and how many “what if’s”,

it is what it is.

It was through the Church that we learned what is Scriptures.

I am glad you could, so eloquently, state what I could not. That is EXACTLY what I was trying to say! :slight_smile:

I just got a subscription to Scribd.com. I’ll never realy have enough time to read all the literature I’ve saved there, but just found Misquoting Jesus and started reading the 1st chapter. I don’t plan to read much more, so am happy to have found the commentary here.

The author tells of preparing a paper for Prof Cullen Story (at Princeton Theological Seminary) and Ehrman has a question about a discrepancy he finds in Mark 2.

[For a paper] I chose a passage in Mk 2, where Jesus is confronted by the Pharisees because his disciples had been walking through a grain field, eating the grain on the Sabbath. Jesus wants to show the Pharisees that “Sabbath was made for humans, not humans for the Sabbath” and so reminds them of what the great King David had done when he and his men were hungry, how they went into the Temple “when Abiathar was the high priest” and ate the show bread, which was only for the priests to eat. One of the well-known problems of the passage is that when one looks at the OT passage that Jesus is citing (1 Sam. 21:1-6) it turns out that David did this not when Abiathar was the high priest, bu, in fact, when Abiathar’s father Ahimelech was. In other words, this is one of those passages that have been pointed to in order to show that the Bible is not inerrant at all but contains mistakes…”

Prof Story’s response when Ehrman pointed this out was;

“Perhaps Mark just made a mistake”. . . From there, the floodgates opened.

I’m sure Catholic scholars have addressed this and other passages.
I’d be interested to know who has written on this particularly for the layman.
I’ve been interested in apologetics for a few years, and with the rising tide of atheism, I feel the need, now more than ever, to be able to respond.

I am editing my original post to say I found another thread: [Refuting Bart Ehrman](“Refuting Bart Ehrman”)

Thanks - peace,
Mimi

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