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Forgery Lecture

I will be giving a lecture at Rice University in Houston on Thursday April 19.  I had originally thought that it was only for scholars connected with an antiquity seminar there, but I see now that it is open to the public.   Here is the description I gave them (aimed obviously at the academics), if anyone is in the area and wants to come:

4/19/18             Bart Ehrman         James A. Gray Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Literary Deceit in Its Various (Dis)Guises

4:00 pm, Humanities 119
Open to the Public, Registration Required

Many scholars of early Christianity express qualms about calling a forgery a forgery – an understandable reluctance when dealing with a book in canonical scripture. An alternative such as “pseudepigraphon” may seem better – more neutral and wissenschaftlich – but it has the drawback of mystification. Who would know it refers to a book written by someone intentionally but falsely claiming to be a famous person? Or that, even in the ancient world, this was considered a lie? There are different ways a text could be forged (sometimes authorial claims, for example, are inserted by later editors). These are usefully differentiated from one another. And forgery is not the only kind of literary deceit. Thus it is important to distinguish one set of practices from another and to determine which can justifiably be considered duplicitous. Plagiarism is obviously a distinct phenomenon; so too are the fabrication of a narrative, the falsification of a text, and the erroneous attribution of a text. This lecture will address these and other forms of literary deceit in evidence among the Christian writings of the first four centuries.

An Easter Reflection 2018
Ehrman & Licona: Are the Gospels Historically Reliable? Part 2



  1. Avatar
    Erekcat  March 26, 2018

    I’ll be there looking forward to hearing the lecture.

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    JoeRoark  March 26, 2018

    Will this lecture appear later on your blog?

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    Thomasfperkins  March 26, 2018

    Misquoting Jesus $1.99 on BookBub today

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    RonaldTaska  March 26, 2018

    For five years of medical school and internship at Baylor Medical School, I lived a few blocks from the Rice campus. It is a beautiful place and when I was there everyone who got accepted got to attend tuition free. That has changed. While there, you must get some Mexican food at Ninfa’s.

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    RonaldTaska  March 26, 2018

    P.S. Oh, the specialty dish is Tacos Al Carbon

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    RonaldTaska  March 26, 2018

    P.S. For lunch, my favorite place was Goode’s BBQ close to the Rice campus. I suggest a BBQ beef sandwich. The owner was a childhood friend of mine.

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    Jim Cherry  March 26, 2018

    Good to see your lecture is at 4 pm, so there is no conflict with Rachel Maddow’s interview with James Comey at 8 pm, CST, on the same day! (MSNBC)

  8. talmoore
    talmoore  March 26, 2018

    “pseudepigraphon” really rolls off the tongue, don’t it?

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    Steefen  March 27, 2018

    Bart Ehrman: Many scholars of early Christianity express qualms about calling a forgery a forgery – an understandable reluctance when dealing with a book in canonical scripture.

    Steefen (ALARMED): What? Yes, I know you wrote the Orthodox Corruption of Scripture and Forged, but now my attention is GRABBED with this question:

    What are the top two books in the TANAK/Old Testament and what top two books in the New Testament have a forgery/wissenschaftlich, excluding the inauthentic Letters of Paul. Top two forgeries means level of significance. What are the most significant forgeries.

    When I look at 1) Chapter 2: Anti-Adoptinistic Corruptions, 2) Chapter 3: Anti-Separationist Corruptions, 3) Chapter 4) Anti-Docetic Corruptions, 4) Chapter 5: Anti-Partripassianist Corruptions, I don’t quite get alarmed.

    Question: Your lecture will be on Chapters 2, 3, 4, and 5 of your book The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, where literary deceit = these four types of corruption?

    Well, forgery sounds different from a few monks changing a word here or there.

    I feel I should know this. It sounds like you are saying there’s more to it than the inauthentic letters of Paul or attributing the four gospels to significant names in Jesus’ circle or maybe attributing the Book of Revelation to John–but that doesn’t leave much else in the New Testament. When I think of James in Josephus, could he have written James in the New Testament? I don’t think so.
    = = =
    So, those are my two questions: 1) What two books in the Old Testament and what two books in the New Testament , other than the inauthentic letters of Paul have the most significant forgery problem and 2) your upcoming lecture on literary deceits will cover the four chapters from your Orthodox Corruption of Scripture scholarly book?

    • Bart
      Bart  March 28, 2018

      The only actual forgery in the TNK is Ecclesiastes. In the NT, how about 1 and 2 Peter for starters?

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    SidDhartha1953  April 2, 2018

    Would any bloggers from SC or thereabouts be interested in a road trip to catch this? I can contribute fuel and driving spells, but have no vehicle. aek03030731 at gmail dot com

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