To put an end to this thread on the textual variants of the New Testament, and whether they matter, and thought that it might be good to give an alternative perspective that I first posted, well, ten years ago.  Earlier than that, on January 3rd, 2009,  Peter J. Williams and I appeared as guests on  “Unbelievable,” a weekly program on UK Premier Christian Radio, moderated by Justin Brierley.   For this show we discussed my book “Misquoting Jesus” (In the UK the book, for some reason, is titled is “Whose Word Is It?”).

Peter Williams is a British evangelical Christian scholar — a very smart one, who knows a *lot* about the manuscripts of the NT — who believes in the reliability of the New Testament and that thinks that my position is too pessimistic and extreme.  He did his PhD at Cambridge.  Peter is the author of Can We Trust the Gospels? and C S Lewis vs the New Atheists. Here’s our back and forth.  See what you think!

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2024-06-13T00:34:09-04:00June 16th, 2024|New Testament Manuscripts, Public Forum, Video Media|

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  1. apmorgan June 16, 2024 at 8:56 am

    We might say that the most significant textual variants are those that:

    (a) have some kind of theological ramification; or
    (b) have some bearing on ethical teachings and the like; or
    (c) have some bearing on the character and outlook of key individuals.

    At one hour and four minutes, the idea raised by the interviewer that we should worry about the possibility that a sermon might turn on the particular variation under consideration strikes me as a highly contrived concern!

    I am too tired to flesh out my points, so I’ll leave them in note form.

  2. rivercrowman June 16, 2024 at 10:24 am

    Bart, thanks much for sharing this debate as part of recent posts! It’s new educational content for me, as I didn’t join your Blog until 2014. You had a great moderator too.

  3. Karlpeeter June 16, 2024 at 5:05 pm

    Hi bart
    If we would find the real occusary Antigonus II Mattathias (crusified jewish king from 40bce) would that mean that jesus got a tomb also or would it just have been a rare exepsion made for a king?

    • BDEhrman June 21, 2024 at 12:16 pm

      Jesus would not have had a tomb as a poor, lower class, person from a different area and no family in the vicinity.

      • AngeloB July 4, 2024 at 5:20 am

        That is a very good point Bart

  4. OPENmind June 16, 2024 at 8:07 pm

    Hi Bart,first time commenting on the blog. I’ve been reading my way through your books and as a former evangelical they have been immeasurably helpful to me so thank you. Maybe a bit off topic their was a guest on Alex O’Connor’s show John Nelson who has a recent critique on his blog on your book jesus before the gospels. If you haven’t addressed these points previously I thought it might give you some ideas for a future blog or guest post. Thanks again, Tony South Australia

  5. Karlpeeter June 17, 2024 at 6:23 pm

    Hi bart
    I heard a christian talker say its unreal how the bible ritters knew that the world had a beggining.
    I think its not that insane because mesopotamian influencw could of giving the view of a creation (Enuma Elish) but i think the canaanians did not have a cration story did el create the world?

    • BDEhrman June 21, 2024 at 12:24 pm

      Yes, there were certainly creations stories in other cultures of the Ancient Near East, including Canaan.

  6. geofff June 18, 2024 at 1:26 am

    Once again, more apologetic gymnastics which is quite tired & tiring to listen to, although Peter Williams is less strident than the usual proponents. It should be an Olympic event . . .

  7. Karlpeeter June 18, 2024 at 10:27 am

    In genesis 1: 2 there is the sentence “Now the earth was formless and empty” in NIV version does the now come from context so in it would be when god created the eart was formless and empty?

    • BDEhrman June 21, 2024 at 12:25 pm

      It doesn’t mean “now” in the termporal sense. It’s just a conjunction continuing the story…

  8. daniel.calita June 18, 2024 at 2:52 pm


    At the end of Luke, Jesus and the apostles were in Bethany when Jesus ascended to heaven, but in Acts they were on the Mount Olivet – separate places from which they returned to Jerusalem

    Question: is this difference of location a contradiction? How far are all from each other? Are Bethany and Mount Olivet inside of Jerusalem? I do not know the geography of that location in the time of Jesus.

    Thank you in advance for the answer and for all of your answers.

    • BDEhrman June 21, 2024 at 12:29 pm

      Bethany is on the Southeast slope of hte mount of olives.

  9. barthalaszlo78 June 26, 2024 at 9:13 am

    Hi Bart,

    during the discussion debate Dr. Williams referred to Richard Bauckham’ s study on gospel name popularity. As I understand Kamil Gregor and Brian Blais revaluated this study and found that :
    “We show that Bauckham’s thesis offers no advantage in explaining the observed correspondence between name popularity in Gospels-Acts and in the contemporary Palestinian Jewish population over an alternative model of ‘anonymous community transmission’. Moreover, our statistical analysis identifies some, albeit weak, evidence against Bauckham’s thesis.”

    • BDEhrman June 29, 2024 at 9:27 am

      Yes, I don’t thgink the book is in the least cobnvincing. I talk about it in my book on memory and eyewitensses, Jesus Before the Gospels.

  10. AngeloB July 4, 2024 at 5:12 am

    I think I watched or listened to this debate years ago

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