In October 2019 I was invited to a Christian apologetics conference in Chicago to give a talk. (click the link to see my post about it). As you may know, “apologetics” is big in evangelical Christian circles; it is the attempt to demonstrate the intellectual reasonableness of the faith, to “defend” the truth of Christian claims (for example, mounting evidence for the actual resurrection of Jesus, for the infallibility of the Bible, and so on). It is highly unusual for a non-evangelical to be invited to talk at one of these things, but they wanted me to come to speak alongside three very conservative Christian apologists so that the audience could hear “the other side.” We all talked about contradictions and inconsistencies in the Bible. I said they were numerous and signficant and, short story, the others said they were not.
You would think I’d be entering the Lion’s Den, but in fact it was great fun and everyone was well behaved and good natured.
The scholar who organized the conference was Kurt Jaros, a young evangelical theologian who at the time was finishing up a PhD at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. I met Kurt there and we had a long talk and I enjoyed it all very much. We’ve stayed in touch since, and now recently he has volunteered to share with the blog some videos that he has made dealing with my book Misquoting Jesus, where, rather than attacking it (the typical evangelical approach) (or rather, the “virtually universal” evangelical approach) he points out that what apologists claim I say in the book is not actually what I do say.
Now *that’s* a refreshing take! I’ve agree to re-post the posts for your viewing pleasure. Here’s the first one! Kurt will be happy to deal with your responses.
Misquoting Ehrman – Part One: Introduction
“Have evangelical Christians botched Bart Ehrman’s positions in Misquoting Jesus?” That was the question I was continually asking myself as I was reading Misquoting Jesus this past autumn. It was the first time I had a chance to give Ehrman’s book a detailed read. I had heard many things about it, especially from Christian New Testament scholars and apologists, and usually the idea about it was that the author communicates a radical skepticism about our knowledge of the New Testament writings. But that idea was not a position Ehrman was presenting. Indeed, he was writing about a “conservative process” that transmitted the text throughout the years. Frequently there would be errors that found their way into the manuscripts, but the vast majority of these errors were miniscule. The message from many Christian scholars and apologists about Ehrman & Misquoting Jesus was far from accurate, and a correction from within the evangelical community was needed.
I’m an evangelical theologian (D. Phil, University of Aberdeen), and I agree with Bart Ehrman.