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Fortune Telling with Manuscripts

An interesting new manuscript of the Gospel of John has just been identified. I’ll give some information on it in the next post, but to make sense of it I need to provide some background. This is pretty esoteric stuff (i.e., hardly anyone but hard-core experts knows about it), but it’s pretty interesting. In 1988 my mentor, Bruce Metzger, published an article called “Greek Manuscripts of John’s Gospel With ‘Hermeneia.’ ” In this article he identified five Greek manuscripts of the Gospel of John with an unusual feature. These papyrus manuscripts date from the third (or possibly fourth) to the seventh centuries. The unusual feature in them is that on the bottom of one or more pages (fourteen instances altogether among the five manuscripts) after the portion of the text of John’s Gospel , they have written the Greek word “hermeneia,” which is then followed by some kind of phrase or other. These phrases are such things as “If you believe it will be a joy to you” or “it is a good deliverance” or [...]

2020-04-03T17:45:17-04:00November 5th, 2013|New Testament Manuscripts, Reflections and Ruminations|

Video: Misquoting Jesus

I have decided to add a new feature to my blog.   There have been a number of video's recorded of my lectures and interviews, and I thought it might be interesting to post these on occasion here on the blog combined with my added comments. My most successful popular book so far has been Misquoting Jesus.   After it was out for a while and finally "took off," I got asked to give a bunch of lectures on the topic.  In fact, I still *do* give lectures on the topic.  Well, usually, it's the same lecture!   So I won't be posting every one of them -- one is enough.   This is one of the earlier ones I did, at Stanford University on April 25, 2007.   This was part of Stanford's Heyns Lecture Series.   The lecture was given at  Cubberley Auditorium, Stanford University Campus.   The lecture was called  "Misquoting Jesus: Scribes Who Altered Scripture and Readers Who May Never Know."   The original flyer announcing the event is here in PDF format. One of [...]

2018-01-14T22:51:17-05:00November 3rd, 2013|New Testament Manuscripts, Public Forum, Video Media|

Writers Who Contradict Themselves

In response to the question of why the authors of the New Testament sometimes contradict themselves, I’ve so far discussed two phenomena: (1) sometimes (as with Paul) an author changes his mind about something over time, and (2) sometimes an author (as with John) incorporates a number of earlier sources in his or her writing when these sources are sometimes at odds with one another, thereby creating discrepancies, or “literary seams” as I called them in my previous post. Now I deal with a third and final thing (there may be more explanations, but these are the ones I’ve thought most about). In my view, authors – not just NT authors, but authors in general (and whatever we can say about the writers of the NT, at least we can say they were authors!) – often simply are careless and don’t notice mistakes. This is not only true of authors, it’s true of readers. Very often, when I point out internal discrepancies, for example, in the Gospel of John or in the Book of Acts, [...]

2020-04-03T17:45:25-04:00November 1st, 2013|Canonical Gospels, Reader’s Questions|
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