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Video: Misquoting Jesus

I have decided to add a new feature to my blog.   There have been a number of video’s recorded of my lectures and interviews, and I thought it might be interesting to post these on occasion here on the blog combined with my added comments.

My most successful popular book so far has been Misquoting Jesus.   After it was out for a while and finally “took off,” I got asked to give a bunch of lectures on the topic.  In fact, I still *do* give lectures on the topic.  Well, usually, it’s the same lecture!   So I won’t be posting every one of them — one is enough.   This is one of the earlier ones I did, at Stanford University on April 25, 2007.   This was part of Stanford’s Heyns Lecture Series.   The lecture was given at  Cubberley Auditorium, Stanford University Campus.   The lecture was called  “Misquoting Jesus: Scribes Who Altered Scripture and Readers Who May Never Know.”   The original flyer announcing the event is here in PDF format.

One of the things I especially like about this video clip is that it gives not only the lecture, but the extensive question and answer period that followed it, where I responded to questions from — well — all over the map!   If you’ve heard the lecture before, just skip on to the final bit to catch that part.


Fortune Telling with Manuscripts
A Rather Serious Mistake



  1. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  November 4, 2013

    Posting your lectures is a great idea. Thanks.

  2. Avatar
    Steefen  November 4, 2013

    April 25th is my birthday, so I’ve got to watch this!

    I’m reading The Possessed by Dostoyevsky and I’m writing a new theatrical play for production.

    I bought Zealot by Reza Aslan this weekend. Boo-hoo, it no longer has the 30% discount for being a current bestseller. And, I have plenty of work still to do on the second edition of my book.

    I feel the joy of a packed education schedule again.

    Bart, you remind me that I’d like to list your books and amazon ranks to see how they stack up. Thanks for letting us know Misquoting Jesus is at the top of the list. I sort of think there is a publishing industry source that may include more sales, but I will have to research that. “Misquoting Jesus” is such a POWERFUL title–WHAT? Jesus DIDN’T say that! What person interested in Jesus wouldn’t stop for that?

  3. Avatar
    Mikail78  November 4, 2013

    A great idea and a great addition to this already great blog!

  4. Avatar
    David Chumney  November 4, 2013

    Great idea to share the videos.

  5. Avatar
    Winslow_dh  November 4, 2013

    Nice addition to your blog. I enjoyed hearing you speak.

  6. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  November 4, 2013

    I have heard this lecture before and it is a terrific lecture. The examples that you give are clear and easy to understand. The information about John Mill and his 30-year project is fascinating. What persistence he had.
    Anyway, I got to about 47 minutes in the lecture and you were about to take questions and the program froze. It then took me some time and effort (I am a computer idiot) to get my computer restarted and functioning again. I would very much like to finish listening to the lecture, but wanted to check to see if others have had this problem or whether it is unique to my computer before I try again. Thanks. My guess is that I can probably find the lecture another way if need be.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  November 6, 2013

      It should be OK now. It’s a problem with too much traffic on the site. We’re taking care of it. Sorry ’bout the inconvenience.

      • Avatar
        RonaldTaska  November 8, 2013

        I was able to hear the rest of the lecture and the questions and answers. The part about the Trinity was especially worth hearing again. Thanks.

  7. Avatar
    Adam0685  November 4, 2013

    Your lectures and debates are very popular on Youtube…literally millions of views!

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  November 6, 2013

      I don’t suppose I could charge them a penny per view….

      • Avatar
        Adam0685  November 6, 2013

        That’d be a good deal! Your most popular is the interview you did with the the infidel guy with a quarter million views, and the video you posted on this post, which was also posted by other people…watched over 350,000 times.

  8. Avatar
    maxhirez  November 4, 2013

    Thumbs up to this feature.

  9. Avatar
    kidlat  November 6, 2013

    Thanks for the great lecture. The questions were very interesting. This reminded me of something in the Da Vinci Code. I hope you don’t mind me asking if you had made any comments about “the apostle whom Jesus loved.” Was it John, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  November 6, 2013

      Certainly not Mary or Lazarus. John is never mentioned in the Gospel, so if it’s him, it’s him incognito….

  10. Avatar
    SHameed01  June 13, 2014


    Have you read Dr. Dan Wallace’s book, “Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament: Manuscript, Patristic, and Apocryphal Evidence (Text and Canon of the New Testament)”, located at: http://www.amazon.com/Revisiting-Corruption-New-Testament-Manuscript/dp/082543338X/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402629478&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=Revisitng+the+Corruption. I have a friend of mine who has read a number of your books and this book of Dr. Dan Wallace’s. According to him, Dr. Wallace does bring strong points against your main thesis of the New Testament actually being corrupted. This might be a book you would want to read and dedicate a few or more threads here on Christianity in Antiquity to.


    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  June 13, 2014

      Yes, I do know the book. He certainly does *not* argue that the text had been corrupted. (How could he???!) He just wants to minimize the damage. If you have a specific point from the book that you would like me to address, let me know.

      • Avatar
        SHameed01  June 13, 2014

        I just watched my friend’s book review of the book again. And based on what he has shared about the book, here’s what I have gathered:

        According to Wallace’s book, Matthew 24:36 cannot be seen as an argument for the orthodox corruption of Scripture because the majority of early church fathers did not have an issue with Christ’s ignorance of when the last day would be and had their own theological explanation of Christ’s ignorance AND THEREBY DID NOT have any theological motivation to remove the parts of Matthew 24:36 that would make Christ appear to be ignorant of the Second Coming.

        Wallace’s book continues to argue that the same verse occurs in Mark and that there are only a handful of manuscripts of Mark that have “the Son” omitted from the phrase “neither the angels, nor the Son, but the Father alone” and that 99.99% of the textual history of Mark does not have any signs of a scribe omitting “the Son” and

        SO IF THERE WAS THIS ORTHODOX CONSPIRACY TO CHANGE THE TEXT then why is this change not found in Mark as much as it is found in Matthew?
        If you have the whole canon in front of you why would you not change in Mark who you also changed in Matthew?

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  June 14, 2014

          With respect to your second paragraph, it is not an issue concerning what the “majority of church fathers” thought. An individual scribe made these alterations, not the majority of elite church fathers! (And Wallace cannot deny that these alterations were made. You will note that he never does deny it!!)

          It is a sleight of hand for Wallace to argue that there was no “orthodox conspiracy” to change the text. I NEVER argue that there WAS an orthodox conspiracy! That’s never been my argument, and he knows it. So to disprove something that I don’t argue is not really a useful counterargument….

          • Avatar
            SHameed01  June 14, 2014

            I understand but if a scribe changed the passage in Matthew 24:36 to prevent people from believing that Jesus was ignorant of the day of HIS SECOND COMING then why not cause similar change in Mark?

          • Bart Ehrman
            Bart Ehrman  June 16, 2014

            Scribes were not consistent. And sometimes different scribes copied different books. But even if you don’t think that is the reason someone changed Matthew 24:36 but not the parallel passage in Mark, you would still need to come up with SOME explanation, since scribes did change Matthew 24:36 but did not change the parallel passage in Mark! Usually it is thought that Mark was not changed as much because it was not read, studied, or copied as much.

  11. Avatar
    SHameed01  June 13, 2014

    According to my friend who has “Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament: Manuscript, Patristic, and Apocryphal Evidence (Text and Canon of the New Testament)”, Dr. Wallace argues that there can’t be an uncontrolled copying of manuscripts and at the same time a proto-orthodox conspiracy, since conspiracy requires control and what wild copying is anything but control. Any comments?

    Also in his book, Dr. Wallace quotes Keith Small, who says the following,

    “Ehrman tries to make a case for significant theological alterations to the text of the new testament by a group that did not have control over the text from the beginning but the historical ingredients for his hypothesis are missing…”
    Dr. Wallace also mentions that there are second century witnesses who have said that the church fathers had access to the original manuscripts of the New Testament and asked individuals to see them.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  June 14, 2014

      There was an uncontrolled copying of manuscripts. But I never argue that there *was* a conspiracy! And I don’t argue that the proto-orthodox “group” (whatever that would be; I don’t know what he’s thinkoing about when he calls them a group) had “control” over the text. Sometimes I wonder if people have really even read my book! And it’s fine that possibly some church father in Rome had access to the original manuscript of Paul’s letter to the Romans (which I doubt), but how does that affect an unknown scribe living in Alexandria Egypt who is copying Paul’s letter to the Ephesians????

      • Avatar
        SHameed01  June 14, 2014

        I think he is using the uncontrolled copying as an argument for the reliability of the New Testament. Funny thing he also mentioned that the stuff that you apply to the New Testament is more applicable to the Quran. Again bringing the Quran into the discussion…reminds me of James White…lol

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