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The Core of My Dissertation on The Gospel Quotations of Didymus the Blind

Here is the second of three posts on how Bruce Metzger directed my rather technical dissertation on the Gospel quotations of the fourth-century church father Didymus the Blind, from six years ago on the blog.

THIS IS A CONTINUATION OF MY POSTS OF MY RELATIONSHIP WITH BRUCE METZGER, MY MENTOR

As I started thinking about how to write up this second post on my dissertation (the first post was posted some days ago), I remembered one of my clearest pieces of advice that I ever gave to myself, many years ago now, based, already then, on substantial experience.  Never , ever, NEVER ask a graduate student what s/he is writing the dissertation on.   They invariably will tell you, and it will take a half hour, and your eyes will glaze over in 30 seconds.   So just don’t do it.   With that principle in mind, I think I had better not go into all the ins and outs of the dissertation.

I’ll just go into some of them….

The reason it is so painful listening to someone’s story about their dissertation is that by their very nature dissertations tend to be highly technical and detailed.  They are, in almost every case, an author’s first book.  But they are not the kind of book that …

To see the rest of what I say here, you will need to belong to the blog.  Join the elite corps of human beings who have taken the plunge.  Not a single one has complained about having done so.   Well, OK, maybe one did.  But still.  You should join.

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Finishing my Dissertation
Bruce Metzger and Me: Finding a Dissertation

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Comments

  1. talmoore
    talmoore  August 15, 2018

    Dr. Ehrman, I have to admit that I envy you. I’ve never had a mentor. Ever. Not in my academic life. Not in my professional life. Not in my personal life. Not even in graduate school. The only advice I ever seemed to get from my professors is: “Don’t focus too hard on the big picture”. They all seemed to think that I was getting overwhelmed by the big picture, which, to be honest, was true — and still is. #rabbithole

    But I have since learned that ALL professors say this to ALL their students, because, as you’ve pointed out, most post-grad level research is on the finest fringe details of a discipline, and if you focus too much on the big picture, then, yeah, you’re quickly going to get overwhelmed and spend the next 10 years working on your dissertation.

    Anyway, that’s why I left academia. I’m a big picture guy, and big picture people don’t tend to work well in academia. (Academics call us “holistic” thinkers, apart from the “reductionist” thinkers one usually finds in the upper echelons of a research institution.)

    The way I see it, I’m perfectly happy to let other people find the puzzle pieces, but I want to put the puzzle together. Because what’s the point of having all those puzzle pieces if you never get to see the picture from the cover of the box?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 17, 2018

      Maybe so — but I’ve never ever said that to a grad student! (If they weren’t interested in any of the trees in the forest, I may well have done so, though. Big pictures are great — I do a lot of them; but the PhD involves detailed research into a small field that needs to be explored.)

      • talmoore
        talmoore  August 17, 2018

        My problem was that I couldn’t even focus on one field. That’s why I went for a Masters of Education in Social Science, so I could study ALL the social sciences, while at the same time learning how people learn. It’s a great way to get the big picture, but a lousy way to get any academic respect or credibility. Might as well be a leper.

  2. darren  August 15, 2018

    1. I think it’s sweet whenever I see a believer on here writing a post, encouraging you to come back to the church. Naive, but sweet because I assume their heart is in the right place.
    2. At the risk of making you roll your eyes, have you ever considered devoting one of your general audience books to the Gospel of Thomas? I know there’s a lot of interest out there, and I’d be curious to here your thoughts on how gnosticism developed, what people have said about the doubting Thomas the apostle, why his name was attached to the gospel, and so on. There’s a lot of kooky stuff on Thomas out there and I think readers (me anyway) would love to read your analysis.

    • Bart
      Bart  August 17, 2018

      I have a chapter on it in my book Lost Christianities. Unfortunately, I disagree with one of the core theses of the chapter now (I don’t refer to Thomas as “Gnostic” any more)

      • NulliusInVerba
        NulliusInVerba  August 17, 2018

        You could title it “From Not Doubting Thomas To Doubting Thomas” >;-)

      • ardeare  August 17, 2018

        Wow, I didn’t know that. While his gospel sounds a whole lot like Q, some of the sayings seem to be the rantings of a madman. And I don’t think that madman was Jesus. I think I’m 50/50 with the belief that there were at least 2 authors.

      • webo112
        webo112  August 17, 2018

        Professor,
        Wow, I didn’t know that…is there any post or recent writings on why you do not view Gospel of Thomas this (Gnostic) way anymore?
        Perhaps you can write an independent blog post on this? was it other published scholarly work that made you re consider or through your own research and thinking?

        • webo112
          webo112  August 17, 2018

          Do you think that the apparent “Gnostic” sayings should not be actually interpreted as Gnostic? …or do you think the Gnostic sayings were later edits to an original non-Gnostic Gospel of Thomas? or something else?

          I cant believe you dropped a bomb like that and no one is asking you a thousand questions on this blog! (unless I missed a post about this – I am behind on them, but I am pretty keen on what I haven’t read yet)

          • Bart
            Bart  August 19, 2018

            I think they can certainly be *interpreted* gnostically, very easily. Whether they author himself should be classified as a Gnostic is another question.

        • Bart
          Bart  August 19, 2018

          I’ve just started a thread on it!

      • ddorner  August 18, 2018

        That’s interesting. If not Gnostic then how would you refer to it now?

  3. Lev
    Lev  August 15, 2018

    May I ask an off topic question?

    In Mark, Jesus is said to have preached “the word” (Mk 2:2) and Jesus himself discusses how “the word” is spread and received in the explanation of the parable of the sower two chapters later (Mk 4:14-20).

    So what is “the word”? More specifically, what did 1st century Jews think “the word” was?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 17, 2018

      Good question. I don’t think Mark is indebted to Jewish views of “the word” here (there was not a single view, in any event); he seems to be reliant on the Christian views of his own day, where “preaching the word” is what missionaries did.

      • Lev
        Lev  August 17, 2018

        Thanks Bart. Do you have a sense of what 1st-century Christian missionaries thought “the word” was?

        • Bart
          Bart  August 19, 2018

          It was the proclamation of hte salvation God had brought.

          • SidDhartha1953  August 19, 2018

            Is the logos what Jesus was preaching and the shower was sowing in Mark?

          • Bart
            Bart  August 20, 2018

            I’m not sure what you’re asking. Anyone who preaches speaks a word.

          • SidDhartha1953  August 22, 2018

            Sorry. Is logos the only word for “word” in the NT?

          • Bart
            Bart  August 24, 2018

            The other common word for word is “RhEMA” which means something more like the actual things on the page or the actual words spoken, often found in the plural

    • talmoore
      talmoore  August 17, 2018

      If you don’t mind my 2 cents worth, this is my hypothesis. The parable itself (Mk 4:1-9) is a paraphrase of something the actual historical Jesus probably said. The “interpretation” of the parable (Mk 4:10-20) comes from a later Greek or Hellenized Jewish Christian “interpreter” of the parable. Notice the fact that logos (“the word”) doesn’t appear anywhere in the parable itself, but it is used eight times within the interpretation. This, to me, is very telling.

      For those Palestinian Jews who were used to studying scripture in Hebrew or Aramaic, “the Word” almost always referred to prophecy — that is, a prophecy comes to a prophet as debar YHWH — the “Word of the Lord”. Similar to how the Holy Spirit went from being just a figure of speech for prophetic inspiration in earlier scripture to becoming a separate, realized entity in the centuries leading up to Jesus, so to “the Word of the Lord” went from being just an expression for prophetic inspiration in its earlier context to being seen as a separate entity that Hellenized Jews such as Philo called the Logos. We might call this the reification of the abstract concepts of the Holy Spirit and the Word of the Lord.

      So here’s the thing that makes me think these are from two sources. Jesus’s use of the parable is clearly meant as an admonition. He uses pretty strong admonishing language: “Listen!” “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” Both of these expressions are standard forms of biblical admonition. (“Listen!” comes from the Hebrew “Shim’u!” [cf. Isaiah 1:10], and the “Whoever has ears to hear…” [Ὃς ἔχει ὦτα ἀκούειν ἀκουέτω] comes from the Hebrew expression “Aznei Shom’im tiqshabnah” [Isaiah 32:3, “Ears of the listeners, heed!”])

      This means the parable itself was “the Word”. The parable, itself, is Jesus’s prophesy. He’s not saying this is what might happen if the Word (i.e. the prophesy) isn’t spread. He’s saying this is what’s actually going to happen! Jesus is making a prophetic admonition.

      The writer of the interpretation, however, is talking about things that are happening while the interpreter is writing (“Some people ARE like the seed along the path”). The interpretation is no longer an admonition. It’s an explanation of what is actually happening contemporaneously with the writing of the “interpretation” (i.e. long after Jesus has already died) in terms of the original parable.

  4. Lev
    Lev  August 15, 2018

    “In the course of it I developed a new method for classifying Greek manuscripts of the New Testament…. which showed why earlier approaches were inadequate. That’s a long and detailed story, and trust me, you probably don’t want to hear it.”

    OK, well you’ve got me really interested – especially how the new method “showed why earlier approaches were inadequate.” That sounds really significant and I’d really like to hear that story!

    • Bart
      Bart  August 17, 2018

      Doesn’t much matter any more; the only classification system anyone is interested in now is the Coherence Based Genealogical Method. Don’t ask. But mine tried to evaluate not only the percentage of overall agreement among witnesses in genetically significant variatnion, but the amount of agreement with various witnesses in a variety of kinds of readings preserved by manuscripts in previously established textual groups.

      • dschmidt01
        dschmidt01  August 17, 2018

        Oh shoot Dr Ehrman. My eyes just glazed over. I can’t even begin to imagine the work involved in getting a PHD. I’ll stick with your trade books.

  5. Robert
    Robert  August 15, 2018

    ” In the course of it I developed a new method for classifying Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, based in part on some surmises that Metzger had had nearly forty years earlier but had never pursued, which showed why earlier approaches were inadequate. That’s a long and detailed story, and trust me, you probably don’t want to hear it. Trust me on that one….”

    Trust me, I definitely want to hear it! I have no doubt whatsoever that earlier approaches were clearly inadequate and that newer approaches (eg, CBGM) show promise. Please do tell. Don’t be a tease!

    • Bart
      Bart  August 17, 2018

      Doesn’t much matter any more; the only classification system anyone is interested in now is the Coherence Based Genealogical Method. Don’t ask. But mine tried to evaluate not only the percentage of overall agreement among witnesses in genetically significant variatnion, but the amount of agreement with various witnesses in a variety of kinds of readings preserved by manuscripts in previously established textual groups. I lay it out in my book on Didymus the Blind, and it was used by subseuqent analyses of Patristic witnesses by most others pursuing the matter.

  6. forthfading  August 15, 2018

    Dr. Ehrman,

    Do you think someone can be a scholar and not have a phd, or is the PhD the minimal qualification?

    Thanks

    • Bart
      Bart  August 17, 2018

      It’s possible. But in my field, it almost never, ever happens. Off hand I don’t think I can come up with an example of the thousands of scholars I either know or know about.

  7. Liam Foley
    Liam Foley  August 16, 2018

    I like what you said here…”That is one reason that people who have PhD’s get frustrated with people who want to claim to be “experts” in a field (say, the New Testament; or evolutionary science; or whatever) without having one.”

    I can completely emphasize. I get bothered by the amateur (fill in the blank) who thinks they know more than PhD level professionals working in the field. It’s one of my pet peeves.

    I think many people misunderstand a PhD level dissertation. Many people think that to earn a PhD one is simply regurgitateing information on a narrowly focused topic back to their professors just to prove they’ve learned the material. It’s not the case (as you full well know) but to actually earn a PhD you are doing actual research to advance knowledge in a particular field. Ha, look who I’m saying this too! Of course you know this I just needed to vent!

    No, question today, I just thank you for more insight into the academic process!

  8. prestonp  August 16, 2018

    In our estimation, this methodology is not less critical than the naturalistic historical-critical method; rather, it is more critical. For . . . this method requires that Western scholars be critical of their commitments to their own culturally conditioned naturalistic presuppositions. . . It requires that scholars not be uncritically committed to any metaphysical stance, but rather, in the name of critical scholarship, always bring a certain inquisitiveness to their presuppositional commitments” Eddy and Boyd

    It is that certain inquisitiveness that separates Pharisaical scholars from real scholars that I’ve tried to describe.

    “It is much less important that the doctrine itself should be fully comprehensible. We believe that the sun is in the sky at midday in summer not because we can clearly see the sun (in fact, we cannot) but because we can see everything else.” lewis

    “First, while historical work necessarily demands a certain critical judgment, the outright a priori denial of the possibility of such occurrences represents no less of a metaphysical commitment than one which accepts them. To rule out a priori the possibility of inexplicable events can hardly represent a truly critical methodology” The Sacred Page

    “In Science we have been reading only the notes to a poem; in Christianity we find the poem itself.” lewis

    But what if we just don’t buy it? What if we just can’t accept all these wonderful sounding ideas about God and miracles? It is too bogus.

    This next idea relies upon the importance and virtue of inquisitiveness. Being inquisitive is fun and it leads us to learn new and interesting things. So, even if we don’t believe the claims and arguments about and for His divinity, what if we became simply open to such a possibility? What if we decided we would try to keep an open mind? That’s all, just open mindedness? We could consider whether or not Christ was God’s son unencumbered without any pressure to come to a conclusion.

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  9. prestonp  August 16, 2018

    “Bart August 15, 2018
    It’s pretty easy, really. I’m not a Christian, I don’t believe in God, and I don’t think miracles happen. The thing that makes me different from the millions of other people like that is that I’m a scholar of the Bible. And why not? There are scholars of all sorts of things, e.g., scholars of Islam who are not Muslim, scholars who study Das Kapital but are not communist, scholars of Mein Kampf who are not Nazis, and and and….”

    I’m not arguing any of that, at all. Aren’t you glad I don’t teach? I can’t explain something super basic to the world’s leading Biblical scholar! As my landlord stared at my mug, he used to say, “There’s no hopes for some people!”

    If we remove every mention, every verse, every account, every whiff of the miraculous from the N.T. as we know it today, from the historian’s menu, what is left is not the same book.

    If I play a game of cards without any diamonds or clubs, I’m not playing with a full deck. I hope you appreciate that. See, I reject diamonds and clubs. They are not really playing cards in the first place and the people responsible for getting them placed in with the other cards are boobs. Sure, I see them. I know they exist, but I exclude them. I never play with them. Period. Am I playing with a full deck? Are you kiddin?

    Oh well, I tried.

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  10. JulieGraff  August 16, 2018

    Mr. Ehrman, it is a nice coincidence that you speak about your Didymus the Blind work as I have looked into your earlier books some weeks ago and wanted to purchase this one (it’s standing by in my amazon account as we speak!).

    Also It is a nice coincidence that you talk about how you worked on discerning the earliest NT writings looking at them through the quotations of the church fathers… Why is it a nice coincicence, because you answered one of my question recently “are the oldest Gospels copies that where found in aramaic then translated into greek… or realy the oldest ones are in greek?” saying that they where in greek… but then it got me to think about the eastern church, the ones that have a long tradition of working with aramaic scripture and was wondering if they knew something more that we dont about oldest copies… and so I’m wondering has any of the work you just mentionned, about studying the NT scriptures through the quotations of the church fathers, ever been done through the quotations of the eastern aramaic church fathers?

    Thanks!

    • Bart
      Bart  August 17, 2018

      Do you mean church fathers like Ephrem and Aphrahat? There’s been some work, but nothing definitive that I”m aware of. Lots more work on the Diatessaron.

      • JulieGraff  August 24, 2018

        Thank you Mr. Ehrman for your answer.

        I do not know much about the eastern church, that’s why this question poped up.

        I will look into the names you mentionned. And I’ll be looking forward to bying your book.

  11. Omar Osama  August 16, 2018

    Professor Bart
    Why did not you follow Bruce Mazzger’s approach?
    I mean, he was a Christian, but you are not
    So why

  12. fishician  August 16, 2018

    Is the book on Amazon entitled “Didymus the Blind and the Text of the Gospels (The New Testament in the Greek Fathers)” your original dissertation, or a modified version for more general readers?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 17, 2018

      It’s the dissertation. No way to make it accessible to general readers. Much of it is in Greek!

  13. RonaldTaska  August 16, 2018

    Dr. Metzger sounds like a very special and remarkable person.

  14. tskorick  August 16, 2018

    I’d actually be very interested in the new method for classifying Greek NT MSS that you developed … But I assume that can’t be condensed into a teeny tiny blog post 🙂

    • Bart
      Bart  August 17, 2018

      Doesn’t much matter any more; the only classification system anyone is interested in now is the Coherence Based Genealogical Method. Don’t ask. But mine tried to evaluate not only the percentage of overall agreement among witnesses in genetically significant variatnion, but the amount of agreement with various witnesses in a variety of kinds of readings preserved by manuscripts in previously established textual groups.

  15. prestonp  August 16, 2018

    “The same is true, even more so, with the later Gospels. Luke begins his Gospel by saying that eyewitnesses started passing along the oral traditions he had heard (Luke 1:1-4), but he never indicates that he had ever talked to one.” Bart

    Then how does he know that what he heard had originated with the eyewitnesses? If he never talked with any of them, he couldn’t know what they said.

    “He has simply heard stories that had been around from the days of the eyewitnesses.” B

    You are assuming that that is what happens. You imagine if Mark inquired about the trustworthiness of what he’d heard, he was satisfied. Being familiar with oral traditions, why would he expect what he heard 50 years after the fact could possibly be accurate?

    “And if the standard dating of his Gospel – and Matthew’s – is correct, they were writing about 50 years or more after Jesus’ death. John’s Gospel was even later.” B

    Whose standard is it? Additionally, you make another assumption that he relied upon spoken words alone. You cannot know that. Combined with the fact that the inner circle devoted themselves to the study and to the spreading of Christ’s word as soon as the church was born, it is quite likely His words were being shared by eyewitnesses and written down. In doing so, they would be helping to ensure that they were preserving exactly what He said.

    “And the Gospel writers, who never say they consulted any of them, probably never did consult with any of them. The Gospels are based on oral traditions that had been in circulation – and changed as a result –” B

    There is no proof that they were changed as the result of the length of time that passed.

    “…for decades before the Gospel writers had even heard them.” B

    That is purely speculative. You don’t know how long it took before the writers heard of them or when they were written originally.

    “And as anyone knows who has been subject to oral traditions – this would include all of us – the stories told about a person can change absolutely overnight! It happens all the time.” B

    As you have phrased that, it is not true. You cannot prove that happens “all the time.”

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    • flcombs  August 18, 2018

      Prestonp, you keep assuming that we should take the bible as true and proven, yet you haven’t done that.

      You obviously haven’t read about the differences in the accounts and the irreconcilable ones. But YES because people are the way they are, a lot CAN be assumed about how stories are passed down, “miracles” are created, etc. You can’t prove that gravity will work tomorrow, yet it is safe to assume it likely will. People used to look at the sun and know it was a god riding a flaming chariot across the sky. There are plenty of studies about how unreliable memories and eyewitnesses are, showing they can’t be trusted. The burden is on YOU to prove that we should ignore all the evidence and history of people and accept that ONLY the BIBLE is an exception to human nature and its anonymous writers were truly different than everyone else. If you had such evidence you would have more than faith claims for them.

      But why do you reject the truth proven in Harry Potter? It documents witnesses to the many miracles. They wouldn’t have risked their lives or done the things they did if they weren’t true! Clearly it is proof of it’s truth! Based on your arguments for the bible, Christians could also flock to Islam and the Quran since it is “proven true” as well.

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  16. ardeare  August 16, 2018

    After reading some of Didymus’s teachings and his leanings towards Origen’s theology, it occurred to me that absolutely no religion ever ends up the way it started. People ask questions and they demand answers. Over time, different church leaders respond with different answers and that leads to contradictions. Then a council attempts to clarify things, which may work for awhile……………….then the process starts over again.

  17. prestonp  August 17, 2018

    Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of
    the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were
    handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewit-
    nesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating
    everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly
    account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may
    know the truth concerning the things about which you have been
    instructed (Luke 1:1—4).

    “Several points here are of interest. First, Luke states that he had sev-
    eral predecessors, others before him who had written accounts of the
    words and deeds of Jesus. Second, he suggests that he didn’t find these
    earlier accounts satisfactory. That’s why he, evidently in contrast to
    those who came before him, is going to write an “orderly” account that
    will allow his reader to “know the truth.” (This is a particularly telling
    remark if, as almost all scholars think, Luke used Mark as one of his
    sources!). Finally, he indicates that the stories that both he and his
    predecessors have told go back to oral reports, which originated, ulti-
    mately, among eyewitnesses.” B

    “Second, he suggests that he didn’t find these earlier accounts satisfactory.” B
    Where?

    “That’s why he, evidently in contrast to
    those who came before him, is going to write an “orderly” account that
    will allow his reader to “know the truth.” B

    He wrote his account so that Theo would have his own accurate and
    personal account of those things which had blown through the region.

    “Finally, he indicates that the stories that both he and his
    predecessors have told go back to oral reports, which originated, ulti-
    mately, among eyewitnesses.” B

    He says that? In these 4 verses? Oral report? Where?

    Notice this interesting, ignored phrase, “many have undertaken”. Not 1, not 2, not a few, but many had already begun the enormous task of writing down this phenomenon, the incredible history of the events that had just transpired introducing the Son of God to the children of Israel.

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  18. John4
    John4  August 17, 2018

    Aw come on, Bart! Tell us *more* about your dissertation, lol.

    I mean, unlike you, I’m just an amateur on this Bible study stuff. As a freshman back in the mid ‘70’s, I made one of the three “C’s” in my otherwise excellent academic career in Wayne Meek’s New Testament survey class. At the time, I found redaction criticism to be utterly mystifying, lol. But then, after I was married and out of college and all, an associate pastor got me interested in Old Testament source theory and I’ve been hooked ever since. In my retirement now, I’m learning (slowly, lol) Biblical Hebrew and I want, lolol, to know *more* about your dissertation on Didymous the Blind!

    I bet I’m not your only hard core amateur on the blog. Spill, Bart! Spill!

    😀

    • Bart
      Bart  August 17, 2018

      Doesn’t much matter any more; the only classification system anyone is interested in now is the Coherence Based Genealogical Method. Don’t ask. But mine tried to evaluate not only the percentage of overall agreement among witnesses in genetically significant variatnion, but the amount of agreement with various witnesses in a variety of kinds of readings preserved by manuscripts in previously established textual groups.

  19. prestonp  August 17, 2018

    “He has eliminated the several indications from his source, the Gospel of Mark, that Jesus’ death was an atonement, and he never indicates in either his Gospel or the book of Acts that Jesus died “for” you or “for” others or “for” anyone.” Bart

    Are you sure, Bart?

    “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you”

    He has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son; today I have become Your Father.’ In fact, God raised Him from the dead never to see decay. As He has said: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings I promised to David.’

    But Peter and the other apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging Him on a tree. God exalted Him to His right hand as Prince and Savior, in order to grant repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.…

    Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

    Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    God raised Him up on the third day and caused Him to be seen–

    “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
    and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
    In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
    Who can speak of his descendants?
    For his life was taken from the earth.”

    The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

    I love Gamaliel

    in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone. Let them go! For if their purpose or endeavor is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God.” They ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and released them.…

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    • flcombs  August 18, 2018

      prestonp cites: “For if their purpose or endeavor is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God.”

      So prestonp, would you say that is proof that Islam, Mormonism, etc. are proven to be from God then? They obviously didn’t fail.

    • stevenpounders  August 18, 2018

      Interestingly, none of your quotations contradicts what Dr. Ehrman actually said about Luke and Acts. As he also states:

      “Here is my key point: there is a difference between an atonement for sins and the free forgiveness of sins. Mark thinks Jesus’ death is the first (as does the apostle Paul, for example); Luke thinks it is the occasion for the second.”

  20. SidDhartha1953  August 19, 2018

    I get frustrated with the same individual trying, and failing, to.show.he knows more.than.the guy with the pH.D. Then I remember that, whatever his motives,. he’s giving $24.99 a year to doing God’s work (caring for the poor) if there were a.God.who cares about the poor. So I can stand it.

    • Bart
      Bart  August 20, 2018

      Yeah, that’s kinda where I am too.

    • Pattycake1974
      Pattycake1974  August 20, 2018

      I’m all for debating the issues, but certain exchanges are frustrating rather than intellectually challenging.

    • talmoore
      talmoore  August 21, 2018

      I give Bart’s blog an extra 5 bucks a month so that I feel less guilty pestering him daily with my eccentric ideas and opinions.

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