Why Don’t People See Discrepancies in the Bible? Readers’ Mailbag October 15, 2016

QUESTION:

I assume that Bart Ehrman today when he reads the books of the New Testament sees large discrepancies between them.  My question is about the precocious sixteen-year-old Ehrman, Did he too see this variousness (which opens up the possibility of inconsistency)? Or did it all as he read it cohere, seem of a piece, convey one doctrinally comprehensive and orthodox and uniform message? And if it did, how does today’s Ehrman think young Ehrman managed to overlook all those obvious ...

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Fundamentalist Mistakes

When, three days ago, I posted my comments about the discovery of a two-page manuscript fragment of the Qur’an that, according to new reports, can be dated (technically, the parchment on which the text is written can be dated) to the lifetime of the prophet Mohammed or to a decade or so later, I had no idea that the post would be such a big deal.   The Facebook version of the post has had nearly245,000 hits. and counting.   Who would-a ...

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A Better Kind of Fundamentalist

In today’s post I’d like to go back to that intriguing little article by Louis Markos in the journal First Things, which he entitled “Errant Ehrman.”   If you’ll recall from my post last week, Markos starts the article by indicating that he felt “great pity” for me because I was the wrong kind of fundamentalist back when I was a conservative Christian.   My problem, he indicates, is that I applied modern standards to decide whether the Bible was inerrant.  Here ...

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Why I’m To Be Pitied for Having Been the Wrong Kind of Fundamentalist

Several readers of this blog have pointed me to an article in the conservative journal First Things;  the article (a review of a book by the  evangelical scholar Craig Blomberg) was written by Louis Markos, an English professor at Houston Baptist University.  The title is called “Ehrman Errant.”   I must say, that did not sound like a promising beginning.

I had never heard of Louis Markos before – had certainly never met him, talked with him about myself or my life, ...

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Getting the Facts of My Life Straight

I have to admit, I sometimes get a bit tired of being the whipping boy for fundamentalist and conservative evangelical  Christian apologists.   If they would deal with my views head on and actually get the facts of my life right, it would be one thing.  But when they publicly accuse me of holding, or having held, positions that I never did – when they are flat our wrong in what they say about me — it gets under my skin.

The ...

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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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The Religion of a Sixteen-Year-Old

I just got home from spending a week in Lawrence Kansas, my home town.   As I’ve done now for years, I took my mom fishing in the Ozarks for a few days.  She’s 87, and on a walker, but still able to reel them in!

I go back to Lawrence probably three or four times a year, and each time it is like going down memory lane.  I left there to go to Moody Bible Institute in 1973, when I was ...

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My Problem with Fundamentalism

QUESTION:

You note that fundamentalism is dangerous and harmful. How do you define fundamentalism and why do you think it’s dangerous?

 

RESPONSE:

There are of course actual definitions of “fundamentalism” that you can find in scholarship on religion, but I sense that you’re asking more for a rough-and-ready description. Years ago I started defining fundamentalism as “No fun, too much damn, and not enough mental.

When I was a fundamentalist myself (yet to be described) I understood it in a positive way. Originally, in ...

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An Agnostic Teaching the Bible

Question:

I have recently wondered how you can truly enjoy (and endure) your line of work with your loss of faith. It would seem to me that the mental dissonance would lead to great frustration and personal anguish in studying and teaching about something which you know is not historically true and has led you away from your faith….not to mention all of the flack you must have to dodge from the average person on a daily basis, including your ...

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