An Insider’s Perspective on My #1 Most Watched Video Ever

The lecture you are about to see was based on my book, Misquoting Jesus — by far the best-selling book I’ve written, just as the video is by far my most-watched, with over 1.2 million views on Youtube.

Here is the question:  Do we have the original New Testament?  That is, do we know what the authors (whether inspired or not) actually wrote?   Almost everyone has always assumed we do – whether Bible-believing Christians or committed atheists or anything in between.

But do we?

I am not asking whether the words of the Bible were inspired by God; I am asking whether we know what the words originally were?  It turns out that in many instances, the answer is no.

Yup, that would matter.  In this lecture, I explain this surprising situation.

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The Lecture (Plus Additional Resources While You Watch)

I hope you enjoy the talk.

As you watch, there may be information you find interesting and want to explore further.  Below the video, I’ve provided timestamps where I discuss each topic as well as links to further reading on the topic.

Supplemental information to the main lecture:

Supplements to the Q&A portion of the lecture:


Questions and Answers

Q: Where was this lecture held and how did it come about?

When my book Misquoting Jesus became a bestseller, I was asked to do a number of lectures on the topic.  And now, some fifteen years later, I still get asked.  This is one of the earlier ones I did, at Stanford University on April 25, 2007.   It was part of Stanford’s Heyns Lecture Series; I gave it at Cubberley Auditorium, Stanford University Campus.

Q: Why do you think this video has so many views?

A lot of people were quite surprised by the popularity of the topic– including my publisher and my scholarly friends.  As it turns out, almost no one (outside of scholars) had ever heard or thought about the issue I raise – let alone realized they would be deeply interested in it — until I explained it to them and showed why it mattered.  And since I wrote the book I’ve learned people seem to be just as intrigued with the topic on video as they are in print.

Q: Ok, your joke about Mary throwing a rock at the woman taken into adultery (minute 34:27) was hilarious!  Did you come up with that yourself or where did you hear it?

Glad you had a laugh. Yeah, the joke’s a good one.  It’s been around a while, mainly among biblical scholars.

Q: In the Q&A, someone asked if you had ever read the book of Urantia.  You said it had been recommended to you several times but had never read it.  Have you read it now, and if so, what were your thoughts?

The Urantia Book is a philosophical and religious book that originated in Chicago sometime between 1924 and 1955.  I have looked at it, but it didn’t take long to realize there was no point in reading every word.  I can see why some people would find it attractive, even compelling.  As a biblical scholar, I would have to say, though, that it is not rooted in deep knowledge about the past and is not of much use for someone who wants to know about it.  But if it’s the sort of thing you like – go for it!

Q: Bart, you look a lot younger and healthier in your more recent videos.  What’s your secret?

In 2015 my doctor told me I was pre-diabetic.  I wasn’t going to take it seriously until my wife informed me that I was.  So I went on the Mediterranean diet, and it turns out, I absolutely love it.  Haven’t ever come off it.  Just the kind of stuff I like anyway.  At the outset, I lost a pound a week, for 7 months.  After that, I’ve worked hard to keep it off.  I’ve also upped the exercise regime, get more sleep, and most days feel good, apart from these 65-year-old rickety bones….  I wrote a blog about it here.