Feedback on the Blog?

I’m back from Greece and Turkey now, with two weeks with nothing to do but work like a  wild-person day and night on my book project on Christian tours of heaven and hell in relation to their Greek and Roman predecessors.   I’m madly into Virgil’s Aeneid just now.  Great stuff.  I’ll say more about it anon.

But it seems like a good time for me to pause for a day and take assessment of developments on the blog and get your ...

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Is There a “Best” Bible Translation Out There? A Blast from the Past

Here is one of the most frequently questions I have received over the years; I addressed it exactly seven years ago on the blog, as I have just discovered while rummaging through the archives.  And since it continually comes up, I thought it would be a good time to address it again.  Here’s what I said then (and what I still think now!).

 

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QUESTION:

Dr. Ehrman, most of your readers doe not know the ancient languages thatthe Bible was written ...

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61

Being Willing to Accept the Truth

Here I’d like to add just a couple of more reflections on whether critical scholars *have* to claim there are contradictions in the Bible because of their beliefs.  As I tried to state as strongly as I could in my previous post, I think the answer is absolutely not.

To begin with, let me stress that I started learning about serious contradictions when I was in a Christian theological seminary taking biblical studies courses with committed Christian teachers who were devoted ...

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41

Do My Biases Mean I *Have* to Find Contradictions?

I have now had a week to reflect on my debate with Matthew Firth about whether there are contradictions in the Bible.  Now I’d like to give my personal reactions.  I don’t mean for this to be a continuation of the debate per se —  I won’t be adducing more evidence or counter-evidence.  But I thought it might be helpful to put some thoughts on paper (well, on screen) about what a debate like this can show or at least ...

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49

Judging the Debate!

Now that my debate with Matthew Firth over the contradictions in the Gospels has ended, I would like to know your reactions.   Any reactions are fine.   There is the obvious question of which side you found more convincing, but also the less obvious question of why that is.  What about the argument, or counter-argument, was compelling or not compelling?

Part of the problem, of course, is that virtually everyone listening in on the debate already had a pretty firm idea of ...

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99

Early Christian Liars

Yesterday I started explaining in some depth how forgers in early Christianity – that is, authors who falsely claimed to be, say, Peter or Paul or James (as in the case of the authors of 2 Peter, 1 Timothy, the Proto-Gospel of James, etc.) – could justify their lies.  I need to stress, the idea that they were lying is not just a modern one.  The ancients talk about forgery a good deal; they never approve of it and they ...

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38

Could Christian Forgers Justifying Lying?

Yesterday, in response to a question, I started to discuss the age-old problem of literary forgery (authors lying about their true identity), and specifically the question of why Christians would engage in it.  In my two books on the topic I spend considerable time trying to demonstrate that forgery was indeed understood – in antiquity – to involve lying, and that the authors who claimed (falsely) to be Plato or Galen or Peter or Paul knew they were lying.  But ...

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28

Contradictions and Contradictions: Final Response to Matt Firth

Matt: thanks for your additional comments.   I’ve given my replies below.  At the outset I should say that I’m not sure I understand what a “genuine contradiction” would look like for you.    If you have two authors who at least appear to contradict each other, surely the best explanation will not be one that:

  • Suggests an author / speaker really doesn’t mean what he says but means something else.
  • Suggests an option that has never ever ...
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23

Similarities and Differences: Which Matter the Most?

I have been thinking a lot about the categories of “similarities” and “differences” recently.  In fact, now that I look back, I’ve been thinking about these categories for about forty years.   It’s funny the things we think about.   But for a scholar of early Christianity, these categories matter a lot.

When I was a conservative evangelical Christian, reading, studying, and thinking about the Bible, I was completely focused on similarities.   This book, this passage, this teaching is very similar to that ...

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22

A Blog Anniversary! Seven Years!

Today is the seven anniversary of the blog.   My first post (which I reposted a few days ago) appeared on April 3, 2012.  I never thought it would last this long.  I figured I would run out of things to say in about six months.   Hasn’t happened yet!   There’s so much interesting material back in ancient Christianity, starting with Jesus and the New Testament, and going on up through the next three hundred years, that it seems inexhaustible.  And readers ...

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