This is by far the most unusual thread I have had in the three and a half years of doing the blog. It started with a question that I began to address on June 30. It is now September 11. I have had a few brief interludes dealing with other things, but almost all the posts in the intervening weeks (months!) have been background that I needed to lay out to answer the question. And in fact the background has been only to answer one part of the question. Here was the original question:
Dr. Ehrman, I do not know if others would find this interesting, but I would love to know how you developed the idea for The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. How did you go about researching it? How long did it take? Is it a once in a lifetime work?
OK, so to understand my response it is important to bear in mind what I have been discussing all this time. Here I will summarize. Roughly speaking this background has involved two different fields of study: the history of early Christian theology and the textual criticism of the New Testament. These two fields have almost always been kept almost completely distinct from one another. Scholars in one field simply have not worked in the other. Part of the reason is that to master either one of them takes many years of full-time work, and each of us has a limited number of years, months, weeks, days, and hours to devote to our work. Another part of the reason is that scholars by and large (with very rare exceptions) did not see the integral relation of these two fields of inquiry.
Here by way of bullet points are…
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