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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58

Were Miracle Stories Originally in the Gospels?

Looking through old posts on the blog, I came across this very interesting and important question from seven years ago.  It’s a question I continue to get on occasion, so I thought we all might profit by thinking about it again.  (And now, older and wiser, I would answer almost exactly the same way!)

QUESTION:

I have looked up the content of all the papyri I’m aware of (off of links on wikipedia, so who knows if they’re accurate).

It is my understanding ...

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68

When Did Jesus Become Sinless?

I recently received a question from a blog member about when it was in the Christian tradition that Jesus came to be thought of as “perfect,” without sin.   I feel no great need to answer the question myself because my friend and occasional guest blog poster Jeffery Siker, long-time professor of New Testament at Loyola Marymount University, has written an entire book on the topic.   And so I asked him to prepare some blogposts, and here’s the first one.

For what ...

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49

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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36

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

Why Did Ancient Christian Forgers Commit Forgery?

Here is an intriguing question I received recently about the use of literary “forgery” in antiquity.  A “forgery,” in the technical sense I’m using it, refers to a very specific phenomenon: it is not simply making up a false story or perpetrating some other kind of falsehood.  It refers, specifically, to a book whose author falsely claims to be a (famous) person.   If I wrote a novel and claimed I was Stephen King, that would be a forgery.

Sometimes these books ...

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23

Why Are the Gospels Anonymous?

Looking through some old posts, I ran across this one (that I’d forgotten about) that answers a question I get at least a couple of times a year.   Why didn’t the authors of the Gospels name themselves?  (They have long been called Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, of course, but you’ll notice that the authors themselves never indicate who they are; the first record we have of anyone actually quoting these books *and* calling them Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John ...

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48

Did Jesus Pray “Father Forgive Them” from the Cross?

I recently received an important question about a highly significant textual variant in Luke 23:34, the one and only place in the NT where Jesus prays for those responsible for his death “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.”  The verse is not found in the other Gospels, and interestingly, it is also not found in some of the important manuscripts even of Luke.  And so the question: is it a verse that some scribes inserted into Luke?  ...

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39

Pilate Released Barabbas. Really??

I received recently the following question, which deals with an issue I had long puzzled over.  It involves the episode in the Gospels where Pilate offers to release a prisoner to the crowds at Passover, hoping they will choose Jesus.  But instead they choose a Jewish insurrectionist and murderer, Barabbas.  Could that have happened?

Here’s the Question and my Response:

 

QUESTION:

Pilate condemns Jesus to execution for treason against Rome. Pilate gives the Jewish crowds the option of releasing Jesus or a Jewish ...

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122

Do Any Ancient Jewish Sources Mention Jesus? Weekly Mailbag

I recently received a succinct but very important question about whether Jesus is ever mentioned by any Jewish sources of the first century.

The premise behind the question is that if Jesus was the miracle-working son of God who was healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead – wouldn’t everyone be talking about him, all the time?  It turns out, the answer is – we don’t know!  We have hardly any Jewish writings from his time and place.

At ...

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