Sorting by


The Best Manuscripts and Social Justice: Readers’ Mailbag October 23, 2016

Question: When you say earliest and “best” manuscripts, what do you mean by “best”?   Response: This question was asked in response to my statement, with respect to the famous story of the woman taken in adultery in John 8 (where Jesus says, “Let the one without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her), that we know it was not originally in the Gospel of John in part because it is not to be found in the “oldest and best manuscripts.”  And so the question is, “how do we know what the best manuscripts are?” It’s a great question and one that has, as you might imagine, occupied textual scholars for a very, very long time.  In fact, for as long as there have *been* textual scholars (i.e., hundreds of years!)   The problem, in a nutshell, is this.  If we have hundreds, or thousands, of manuscripts (centuries ago we knew of hundreds, now we know of thousands), how do we know which ones are more likely to preserve the “original” [...]

Am I a Better Person as an Agnostic?

QUESTION: Dr. Ehrman, I am still reading your book (God's problem) which seems to be very interesting since you are not interesting to gain any approval from anybody but only to communicate what you believe and where you are today. Congratulations for that…. Did you became a better human being after losing your faith? RESPONSE: Great question! Most people have assumed the opposite, that anyone who loses his or her faith must become a worse person. The logic seems to be that without a belief in God, there would be no grounds for morals and that people left to their own unconstrained devices would have no reason to avoid living in any kind of shameful way they chose. I have to admit, when I was a Christian, that’s what I myself thought. And it was one of the reasons that, for years, I was reluctant to question seriously my faith in God. I was afraid that if I no longer believed there would be nothing stopping me from becoming completely profligate and having orgies every [...]

Go to Top