Day One of Jesus and Brian

As indicated yesterday, I will now give a couple of play-by-play accounts of the Life of Brian Conference held this past weekend in London.  Luckily, I do not need to write up an account myself.  My friend and colleague from Duke, Mark Goodacre, also attended the conference and produced a very useful two-part account, the first of which I give here.  I have taken this from Mark’s blog, with his permission:  http://ntweblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/jesus-and-brian-conference-day-1.html   So, these are his words:

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It’s ...

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The Life of Brian Conference

I need to take a hiatus from my thread on textual alterations of the NT (you may be relieved to know!) in order to make some posts on the Life of Brian Conference, called “Jesus and Brian” that was held this past weekend at Kings College London.   I will not be giving my personal blow-by-blow account.  One of the attendees, Mark Goodacre, a friend and colleague who teaches New Testament at cross-town rival Duke, who has been a huge fan ...

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Radio Debate with Pete Williams on Textual Variants

I’m in the midst of a thread on the textual variants of the New Testament, and whether they matter, and thought that it might be good to give an alternative perspective.  On January 3rd, 2009,  Peter J. Williams and I appeared as guests on the radio show “Unbelievable,” a weekly program on UK Premier Christian Radio, moderated by Justin Brierley.   For this show we discussed my book “Misquoting Jesus” (In the UK the book, for some reason, is titled is “Whose ...

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Why Textual Variants Matter for the Rest of Us

In this thread I am discussing why it matters that there are so many variants in our surviving manuscripts of the New Testament.  It does not matter because there are any “fundamental Christian doctrines” at stake, per se, but for other reasons.  As I sketched in my previous post, it should matter for anyone who believes that God gave the very words of the Bible, since the facts that we don’t *have* the original words in some cases and that ...

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Fundamentalists and the Variants in our Manuscripts

In my previous post I began a discussion of why textual variants (that is, different wordings of the verses of the NT) found in the manuscripts might matter to someone other than a specialist who spends his or her life studying such things.    Most of the hundreds of thousands of variations are of very little importance for anything, as most people – even specialists – would admit.   Only a minority really matter.  And none of these seriously threatens any significant, ...

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Who Cares??? Do the Variants in the Manuscripts Matter for Anything?

Ever since I wrote Misquoting Jesus readers have asked – these are usually conservative Christians with a high view of Scripture, but not always – whether any of the differences in the manuscripts of the New Testament actually *matter* for anything.

I have often pointed out that there are hundreds of thousands of differences among our surviving manuscripts.  We don’t know exactly how many because no one has been able to count them all.  Are there 200,000?  300,000?  400,000?   ...

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Hypothetical Problems with Copies of Philippians

In trying to figure out what it even means to talk about the “original” text of Philippians (was it what Paul meant to dictate?  Was it what he did dictate, if it was different from what he intended? Was it what the scribe wrote even if it was different from what Paul dictated?  Was it what Paul corrected after he saw what the scribe incorrectly wrote?  Was it the fresh copy that the scribe made even if it was different ...

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Dictation of Letters: More Complications for Knowing an “Original” Text

I have been talking about the problems in knowing what the “original” text of Philippians is.   Even with the following brief review, the comments I will be making in this post will, frankly, probably not make much sense if you do not refresh your memory from my previous two posts.   Here I will be picking up where I left off there.

We have seen that knowing what the original of Philippians is complicated by the facts that: 1) The letter appears ...

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Complications with Finding an “Original” Text

I have been asked to comment on whether we can get back to the “original” text of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, and I have begun to discuss the problems not just of getting *back* to the original, but also of knowing even what the original *was*.   In my previous post I pointed out the problems posed by the fact that Philippians appears to be two letters later spliced together into one.  And so the first problem is this: is ...

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What Would Be the “Original” Text of Philippians?

I have begun to answer a series of questions asked by a reader about the textual history of Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  In my previous post I explained why some critical scholars maintain that the letter was originally two separate letters that have been spliced together.  That obviously makes the next question the reader asked a bit more complicated than one might otherwise imagine.  And it’s not the only complication.   Here is the reader’s next question:

QUESTION:  Do ...

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