19 votes, average: 4.95 out of 519 votes, average: 4.95 out of 519 votes, average: 4.95 out of 519 votes, average: 4.95 out of 519 votes, average: 4.95 out of 5 (19 votes, average: 4.95 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.

My Focus on Christology in The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture

In the last couple of posts I have talked about the basic thesis that lay behind my book The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture.   After doing my dissertation I became interested in seeing how theological disputes in early Christianity may have affected the scribes who were copying the texts that later came to be collected into the canon of the New Testament.  Rarely had a study of this sort been pursued before, and never thoroughly and rigorously.

Here let me provide a bit more background.   First, for reasons I have stated earlier in this very-long thread, there is a broad consensus among textual scholars that the vast majority of textual variants found in all of our manuscripts down to the invention of printing (and beyond!) were probably generated in the first 200 years of copying.   This has to do with the phenomenon that I have earlier called “the tenacity of the tradition.”

If you recall, this is the phenomenon that later scribes appear not to introduced new readings into the tradition (at least not very often at *all*, except by simple mistakes); invariably, if they changed the text it was a change that had already been made before, and most of the time it was probably because they were familiar with the alternative form of the text from having read it someplace.

In my earlier discussion of the phenomenon, I tried to show why, in my judgment, the “tenacity” of the tradition does not, decidedly does NOT, show that we necessarily have the original text in every place, at least *somewhere* in the textual tradition.  That is frequently argued by conservative Christian scholars, but I showed why the evidence does not support that conclusion.  What it does support is this:  even if we have textual variants found only in later manuscripts (for example, from the seventh to the twelfth century), these variants in all likelihood originated earlier — most likely during the first couple of centuries of textual reproduction.

The evidence for that is…

The Rest of this Post is for Members Only.  If you don’t belong yet, JOIN!!! It costs very little, and every dime goes to charities helping the hungry and homeless.

You need to be logged in to see this part of the content. Please Login to access.

Why Bother With Anything *Except* the “Original” Text??
The Unusual Thesis of The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture



  1. Avatar
    shakespeare66  September 14, 2015

    So the debating centered as much around who Christ was as anything else. Of course this was an important element that had to be determined. I imagine all the Christians joining this “religion” when the details had not really been worked out. It must have been like going a club without knowing what the dues are going to be, or what the club stands for. Aside from Christology, what other major element did these competing Christianities debate over?

    • Bart
      Bart  September 15, 2015

      Lots and lots of things. The understanding of God, the creation, salvation, the role of women, the status of riches, who belongs in the church, the viability of martyrdom, and lots and lots of other things.

  2. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  September 14, 2015

    A really good series written very clearly. Keep going.

  3. Avatar
    ALIHAYMEG  September 14, 2015

    If only other scholars would adopt this model of connection with the general public we could all be so much more informed about so many things. It may have not been your original intent, but I hope you realize now just how thirsty we all are for specific knowledge in a vast array of fields. No one person could ever become an expert in all of them. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us.

  4. Avatar
    SidDhartha1953  September 14, 2015

    I have heard, but can find no reference to support the claim, that Erasmus altered a verse in his Greek New Testament in response to Luther’s challenge to find explicit scriptural support for the doctrine of the Trinity. Is that true, or apocryphal?

    • Bart
      Bart  September 15, 2015

      No, it wasn’t Luther, it was biblical scholar named Stunica, and there is real question of whether the story its aocryphal or not (the verses are 1 John 5:7-8)

      • Avatar
        Loring  September 20, 2015

        Uh-oh. I’ve long heard that (apocryphal?) story about the 1 John verses, and even presented it to others. I’d enjoy a post or comment elaborating on the true origin of these verses. Thanks.

        • Bart
          Bart  September 21, 2015

          Good idea. I’ll think about posting on it down the line.

  5. cheito
    cheito  September 14, 2015

    DR Brown

    I believe Jesus existed before He was born. I believe He existed in the image of a man, i.e. if you were to see Him before He was born He would look exactly like a man and that’s because we were created in His image. We bear the image of the divine, not the image of animals, birds, sea or crawling creatures.

    What I’m saying is this: Jesus existed before we did. We were created by God through Him. The body that Jesus had in eternity was an incorruptible body. The same body that we’ll have in the resurrection. A body that will not die. When Jesus left all His glory behind and became human he was still the same person except He had a corruptible body not a heavenly one. As for the ratio of human vs divine, I think that’s irrelevant. Jesus is Jesus!

    I think the important thing to understand about Jesus is that He existed even before the world was created and He came from another place, He was not from this world, but came to this world to reveal to us the truth about who we are in relation to Him and what God intends to do for us, i.e. give us eternal life, and for that He became human like us but did not cease to be who He was prior to becoming human.

    • Avatar
      prince  September 15, 2015

      That’s not true… God in the old test mentions nothing about creating humans through a person! (pre-existent Jesus)

    • Avatar
      Rthompsonmdog  September 15, 2015

      The fact that you can assert these claims does not make them compelling. Do you have evidence for these claims?

    • SBrudney091941
      SBrudney091941  September 16, 2015

      Beliefs are beliefs are beliefs. You can’t inform us that you have this or that belief and then tell us it is something we need to understand as if you also knew and intended to show or had already shown your belief is true. Neither the Bible nor personal religious experience of Christ is proof that what you believe is true. Was it Susan Armstrong who said, “belief is a red herring.”

  6. Avatar
    prince  September 15, 2015

    “There were Christians and Christian groups in the second and third centuries who maintained that Christ was a fully human being, and as such he was not really divine”… The state Christological conceptualization of Jesus is consistent with second temple Jewish Monotheism… It behoves me, according to Hurtado’s thesis, that strict monotheistic Jews would now worship Jesus because God, through supposed “revelatory experiences”, said its okay to do so now.. and through the same vein of “revelations” God also has now revealed ,”oh by the way Jesus in his pre-existence was actually a the eternal Son of God or an Angel “… makes no sense to me … im not so sure that Bousset’s thesis is wrong as Hurtado claims…

  7. Avatar
    silvertime  September 15, 2015

    Dr. Ehrman: I know that you have heard this many times, however, this blog is a treasure and a source of invaluable information that cannot be obtained anywhere else. It holds my interest everyday, and it would be cheap at twice the price. Thanks for sharing your powerful research and information with us

You must be logged in to post a comment.