Misquoting Jesus


I recently got this book as a gift on Kindle. I know nothing about the author or even who he is and I have just started the book.

I was raised a Protestant Fundamentalist and this book raised questions for me. He says the bible cannot be innert becuause all we have are copies of copies of copies, not the original manuscripts. That makes sense to me.

But who is the author, is he Catholic? Is the book even ‘kosher’ to read? I have no idea. The gifter is a very liberal Episcopalian.


Which book/author? With “errant” scriptures, and no central authority to interpret, that leaves the doctrinal field wide open to man’s itching ears. Not good.


Fair enough. Be forewarned, though: in one broad stroke, you’ve disenfranchised the world of all the books of antiquity, and more or less, everything that’s been written up until, maybe, the last couple hundred years. Is that really an argument that makes sense, then?

But who is the author, is he Catholic? Is the book even ‘kosher’ to read? I have no idea. The gifter is a very liberal Episcopalian.

It’s not ‘kosher’ by any stretch. I have the book, too, and have been wanting to sit down and dive into it, but haven’t had the chance to do so yet… :shrug:


Never mind! I see the title in the thread title. Bart Ehrman? Avoid.


Bart Ehrman is an agnostic who believes that very liberal historical-critical analysis and exegesis is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

St. Pius X had a nice name for folks like him. :slight_smile:

Ignore the book, unless you’re planning to work on apologetics.


The author is an evangelical professor, who’s main claim to fame is wring books, putting forward the thesis that the Bible has been forged, mistranslated and copied incorrectly from the time of the Apostles.
Where is leads us is anyone’s guess, however for the protestant who espouses the bible alone, it is a frightening prospect.
Leave it alone.



Sounds like a disciple of St. Alfred Loisy, but minus the “Church” bit. :smiley:


Because different parts of the Bible were originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, translation into various successive languages could be an issue.


I have a lot of his books and think they are extremely well done and very, very interesting and illuminating.

He’s a former Christian, now agnostic. He is considered to be a highly-respected New Testament scholar for the last 25-plus years. He’s a distinguished, award-winning Professor of Religious Studies at North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
He is a historian who studied fluent Greek and Latin in order to read the earliest manuscripts of the bible, and has degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Moody Bible College, among others.
He discusses and researches biblical topics as a historian, not leaning in any biased direction…he has no interest in convincing someone away from their religion.

He’s taken part in many riveting debates, which you can find on youtube, and is often consulted as an expert.

His next book coming out in April is called “How Jesus Became God” and I’m looking forward to that one.

I don’t know why one would be “frightened” to read his books unless learning new information is scary to a person.
Much of what he says makes a lot of sense and many scholars agree with him.

The information and thoughts he presents don’t need to be incongruent with a person’s religious beliefs.



I read Wicki on Erhman and I will pass.

When I was a fundamentalist Innerent meant that every word of the bible is littertal fact, including science and history. I passed on that too. years ago.


Yes, but much of what he says is fact, not a “theory”. Hard copies of existing manuscripts do indeed show changes and additions over the centuries, I think there is no dispute about this.
Scholars who have studied these manuscripts firsthand know this, he is not the first to say it. He is not the first to note, for example, that the earliest manuscripts we have don’t contain those last 16 or so verses in the Mark gospel (most bibles asterisk this and note it in their footnotes) or that the earliest manuscripts did not contain the “…cast the first stone…” scene, but that it began appearing in manuscripts centuries later.
And that there are thousands and thousands of minor errors made when the manuscripts were copied by hand over and over.

fyi, he doesn’t say the entire bible has been forged…but certain books, yes, have been given the names of writers who even Christian scholars agree could not have written them.

It’s not meant to “lead” anywhere except to have more detail and knowledge about how the gospels and bible were put together.

His “claim to fame” is more that he is able to explain all he does in laymen’s terms and make it a very compelling read.



Ehrman’s hypothesis is basically a modern retelling/reinforcement of the Bauer approach to historical-critical readings of the Bible, and is just as bankrupt as Bauer’s was back in the 1930s. The fact that Ehrman puts it in terms that are ‘sexy’ (from a marketing perspective) doesn’t make it any less wrong.

For more on this, see Kostenberger and Kruger’s excellent 2010 book The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity (available on Amazon here). While the authors themselves are not Orthodox Christians (just a clarification, in light of the title), their approach to this topic is compelling, and really shows Ehrman and Co’s “revolution” in thinking about early Christianity to be quite worn and devoid of anything much new, interesting, or (above all) trustworthy to say about the subjects in which they are considered to be ‘experts’.


Reviews generally speak of the book as having an agenda. The bigger criticism is that it is directed at a lay audience, and that agenda is to provoke doubt through overstatement, whereas proper modern scholarship is built upon nuance and recognition of how little there is that can be said with certainty either way.


Do you not think that it is so sad to see a supposedly erudite biblical scholar formally a Christian, allowing his intellectual pride drive him away from his Christ, to the detriment of his immortal soul?
I would prefer to lose my intellect than my Faith. We must pray for him and pray also that his works do not deceive anyone away from the Truth of the Bible and our God. AMDG


The Dead Sea Scrolls prove that Scripture has been accurately copied.


No, I don’t agree at all.
His beliefs have nothing to do pride. In fact, quite the opposite: He was vulnerable and humble enough to allow himself to reach outside his comfort zone and study.

The reason he no longer considers himself a Christian (although I’ve met him and must say he’s one of the kindest, most humble and charitable person I’ve ever met…and for those who label those qualities “Christian”, then he’s more Christian than most people)…has nothing to do with most of the stuff he writes about–bible errors and discrepancies and how Christianity evolved, etc.
There is just one issue that convinced him to changes his beliefs (which I will not mention here so we do not go off topic).

Why can’t a person have both faith and intellectual curiosity?
A person can have faith and still read the findings of one of the top biblical scholars of this country. (A lot of what he learned, by the way, was in the seminary)
Is faith so shaky that one historical book by a revered professor would change a person’s entire life’s belief system?
If so, that would say a lot about the person’s faith.

I would imagine a real intellect who is also a Christian would want to know as much as possible about the New Testament from those who have spent a lifetime studying it…and not shut themselves off just because a new or different detail or fact might “scare” them somehow.

Those topics you mention, about parts of the bible being forged, mistranslated and copied incorrectly…are you saying this is not the case, even though most biblical scholars who have studied these texts have seen it with their own eyes?

And do you think if the above is true, it’s reason to lose one’s faith?

I don’t think so at all…and neither does this Ehrman dude.



Does he have an agenda? I think he does, just look at the titles of some of his books:

**Misquoting Jesus, The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

Forged: Writing in the Name of God – Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are

Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make it into the New Testament

Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and Faiths We Never Knew

Jesus, Interrupted, Revealing the Hidden Contradictions of the Bible

Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics
I read ‘Jesus, Interrupted, Revealing the Hidden Contradictions of the Bible’ and there is nothing in that book that had not already been brought up in earlier New Testament classes that I had attended, years before that book came out. Bart Ehrman takes existing modern historical-critical ‘theories’ and puts a sinister title on them to sell books!

For instance, The Second Letter of Peter, many modern scholars beleive this book was written by an anonymous Christian but that it was attributed to St. Peter. Now (whether you believe this or not), this was not uncommon in ancient times (and accepted), that a disciple would write in tribute in their master’s name and authority. In modern scholarship this is called a pseudonymous work (read the introduction to 2 Peter in the NAB). But that does not sell books, so Bart Ehrman takes the already established theory and spices it up with a sinister title and calls this a forgery! Using a 21st century interpretation of ‘plagiarism’ and applying it to a 1st century practice that was considered acceptable. I don’t know if he does this to persuade people not to become Christians, or he does this to sell more books, or both! :frowning:


A lot of people are looking for reasons not to believe, and Bart Ehrman delivers his product to laymen in a calculated way that allows them to do so.
I don’t see that as an intellectually honest way for a scholar to behave.


I don’t know what is in his heart, but a verse from scripture keep popping into to my head when I think of this possibility:

"Who ever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea." (Mark 9:42) :frowning:

I’ll pray for Bart Ehrman!


=andrewstx;11729953]I recently got this book as a gift on Kindle. I know nothing about the author or even who he is and I have just started the book.

I was raised a Protestant Fundamentalist and this book raised questions for me. He says the bible cannot be innert becuause all we have are copies of copies of copies, not the original manuscripts. That makes sense to me.

But who is the author, is he Catholic? Is the book even ‘kosher’ to read? I have no idea. The gifter is a very liberal Episcopalian.

Sorry; I don’t know:o

HOWEVER, the Founder of CAF; Karl Keeting authored an EXCELLENT book on this very topic entitled:



It;s an exceptional explanation of both catholic and Fundamental Beliefs.:thumbsup:

God Bless you,

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