As I was saying in my previous post, when I decided to write Misquoting Jesus my friends thought I was nuts. Even specialists in the New Testament are not, as a rule, interested in textual criticism, the scholarly endeavor to reconstruct the original Greek text of the New Testament given the fact that we have thousands of manuscripts with hundreds of thousands of minor differences among them, and even some rather major differences. New Testament scholars know *that* much about the manuscripts, but most scholar don’t have a deep knowledge of the situation. That is for one main reason: they find the topic terribly technical and massively boring!
So if scholars who have devoted their lives to the study of the New Testament aren’t interested in knowing more about textual criticism, why would lay people who are just lookin’ for something interesting to read on the weekend? Who in the world would want to buy a book about *that*?
But I obviously did find it interesting. By this point in my life (I was writing the book in 2003 and 2004) I had been enthralled with the hard-core technicalities of textual criticism for well over 25 years. I had started looking into it in college. I took Greek as my foreign language so I could pursue it. I went to Princeton Theological Seminary to study with Bruce Metzger, one of the world’s experts in the field, and did my Master’s thesis with him on the topic, and then stayed on to do a PhD in the area, also with him. I was his final student, and I think that over the course of his final ten years teaching he had only one other graduate student in the field. And he was the only professor in North America who could train graduate students as textual critics (apart from some fundamentalists). This was decidedly not a hot topic.
But it was for me. One of my fundamental decisions in writing Misquoting Jesus involved …
This is where it starts to get interesting. To see the rest of what I have to say, you need to belong to the blog. It won’t cost much to join, and all the money goes to good causes. So why not join???