Startling and Disturbing Development Involving Manuscripts at the Museum of the Bible

There’s been a new and rather astonishing development in the story involving the so-called “First Century Gospel of Mark.”  If you recall, a few years ago some textual scholars began to claim that we now have in our possession the oldest copy of Mark (by a long shot) ever to be discovered.  The existence of the manuscript was first announced in 2012 by Prof. Dan Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary, in a public debate he was having, as it turns ...

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Crazy Things Textual Scholars Say

This post is free and available to anyone who wants to look.  On the Bart Ehrman Blog, there are substantial posts on interesting topics like this five days of the week, going back well over seven years.  If you belonged to the blog, you could get these posts, and access to all the archives.  The membership fee is extremely low, given the value; and every penny goes to charity.  So why not join?


It makes sense that scholars of ...

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Did God Want Us To Have His Word?

In my previous post I said that, in my opinion, the best way to approach the “original” text of the New Testament – given the fact that we don’t actually *have* it – is to make a working assumption that we are pretty darn close, in most places, most of the time.   I openly admit, and always have, that this is an *assumption*.  But since it’s one that “works,” well, I think I’ll continue calling it a working assumption!  And ...

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Misconstruing My Words. Can We Know What the Authors of the New Testament Originally Said?

Sometimes people take what I say to an extreme that I don’t mean to convey.  That especially happens when I talk about the textual criticism of the New Testament.   As a reminder, “textual criticism” is a technical term.  It does not refer to the interpretation of texts or to the history behind the composition of texts or to the assessment of the original context of texts or anything like that.  It is used to refer specifically to the attempt to ...

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How Did We Get Chapters and Verses?

Here’s a question I get on occasion, about where the Bible’s chapters and verses came from (did the original authors write that way???).   I’ve drawn my answer from my textbook on the NT, and since the answer is so brief, I’ll attach another couple of paragraphs drawn from a nearby page in the book, dealing with another somewhat related and even more important (for many people) problem: when did scholars start to think that the differences in our manuscripts were ...

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Can We Reconstruct the Entire New Testament from Quotations of the Church Fathers?

I am making this post free to everyone, so that, if you’re not a member of the blog, you can see what you’re missing.  Every week I make five posts on everything connected to the New Testament and  Christianity of the first four centuries.  Members can read it all, for a small fee.  Every penny of the fee goes to support worthy charities. So why not join?


Recently you mentioned that your early work involved analysing patristic citations of ...

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Scribes Who Changed Their Texts on Purpose

I’ve been browsing through some old posts and came upon this one from years ago, about this time.   It’s an interesting topic that people on the blog frequently ask me about:  did scribes really change the texts of the NT on purpose, and how can we know?    The answers are simply: almost certainly yes and it’s difficult!

Here’s an example I talked about back then, one of the most intriguing instances in the Gospel of Mark, where the ...

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The Legality, Morality, and Scandal of Acquiring Ancient Manuscripts: Guest Post by Jennifer Knust

Here is the final part of Jennifer’s Knust’s quest to trace the history of an intriguing Christian manuscript she came across, suspecting it had come to Duke ultimately as a result of Nazi looting decades earlier.  Now she details how she tried to track it down.

The entire episode leads her, then to reflect on the Green Family Collection, a group of manuscripts and antiquities purchased by the owners of the Hobby Lobby and the basis of the “Museum of the ...

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Christian Manuscripts and Nazi Loot: Guest Post by Jennifer Knust


This now is the second of Jennifer Knust’s three posts on her current project, tracing the history of a Christian manuscript she came upon from the rare book collection at Duke University.  Her research led her to booksellers in London, Munich, and Amsterdamn, and implicates the Aryanization policies of the Nazis.   Who knew New Testament scholarship could be so interesting?   Here is what she has to say:




Part II: Nazi Loot?

My own project began when Aaron Ebert, a doctoral student at ...

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Tracking Down Stolen Manuscripts: Guest Post by Jennifer Knust

I have asked my friend and colleague Jennifer Knust (Professor of early Christianity at Duke) to write some guest posts for us on the blog.   Jenny has recently published the definitive study of the famous passage of the “Woman Taken in Adultery” (containing the line “Let the one without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her” – a passage not originally in the New Testament), a long, sophisticated, and learned book (co-authored with Tommy Wasserman), ...

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