The Irony of our Earliest Manuscripts May 2, 2012 BDEhrman2020-04-03T19:45:17-04:00May 2nd, 2012|Bart's Debates, New Testament Manuscripts| Share Bart’s Post on These Platforms FacebookTwitterRedditLinkedInTumblrPinterestEmail Click for the Previous Post Click for the Next Post 42 Comments RyanBrown May 5, 2012 at 4:35 pmLog in to Reply Dr. Ehrman, how do the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus compare? They were produced at approximately the same time, so did they use the same sources? Or, do they have significant differences? BDEhrman May 5, 2012 at 8:06 pmLog in to Reply They are very close on most important matters — though not identical. In the portions that i’ve collated throughout the Gospels, they tend to agree over 70% of the time in variations that are genetically significant. This puts them pretty close to one another. Unfortunately we do not know exactly when or where they were copied, or what their exemplars were (but probably not the same ones). You can get pretty good introductions to both in Bruce Metzger, The Text of the NT, 4th ed. ntuser May 6, 2012 at 11:50 amLog in to Reply “Then a third scribe copies the copy made by the second scribe, replicating the mistakes of both his predecessors, and adds his own. And so it goes, year after year, decade after decade. ” Doesn’t this overstate the problem? Manuscript copying would have been a non-destructive process but describing the process as serial suggests otherwise. If A is copied making B, and then B is copied making C, there is no reason someone couldn’t then copy A again making B2. There is no reason to think A (or B) gets tossed when copies are made. What this process description might suggest be called M (made 13 decades later) could be a copy of A or B and really be B100 (the hundredth copy made from A) or C50, only a second or third generation copy made more than century after A was produced. Moreover, there being a bunch of crummy B’s and C’s in existence (personal copies maybe?) doesn’t mean someone couldn’t recognize or know of a professional B or C and use that preferentially. Couldn’t people of the first centuries recognize poor copies just as we can today? The process description given in this article sounds too robotic. Maybe we just find more of these poor copies today because they were more abundant and cheaper to produce. If so, then is it reasonable to conclude that this over-representation of poor early copies in our current record means that these poor copies were more likely sources for later copies? BDEhrman May 7, 2012 at 1:47 pmLog in to Reply Yes, your paragraph two is right — it is messy, even messier than that. I don’t know that there is any evidence for later scibes recognizing that earlier copies they were copying were highly problematic, however. SHameed01 May 24, 2013 at 8:46 amLog in to Reply I have a heard a Christian argument that states that you can reconstruct the entire New Testament from the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, who extensively quoted the New Testament almost in its entirety. What would you say in response? Thanks! Sincerely, Shaikh BDEhrman May 24, 2013 at 7:32 pmLog in to Reply I think you must have misunderstood this person. S/he surely did not mean the “apostolic fathers,” which is a gropu of ten writers from soon after the NT period, most of whom do not say much about the NT or quote it at all. Possibly they meant “church fathers” of different time periods. If that’s what they said, then yes, of course, they quote the NT a whole lot! But it’d be virtually impossible to reconstruct the text from their quotations, since they obviously do not cite chapter and verse and so there would be no guidance for putting their quotaitons together in a sensible (let alone the right) order. SHameed01 May 24, 2013 at 11:44 pmLog in to Reply Also did such church fathers differ on as to what is Scripture or not? I read some where that the Muratorian canon is the earliest canon we have of he new testament and it excludes books that are in our current new testament. -Shaikh BDEhrman May 25, 2013 at 10:23 pmLog in to Reply Yes, there were debates for centuries. You may want to look at my book Lost Christianities. SHameed01 May 25, 2013 at 11:26 pm Trust me, that book you just mentioned has been on my mind for some time. Currently, I need to finish you book, titled “Misquoting Jesus”. Really wish we can one day meet in person, since New Testament textual criticism is something I am super deeply interested in not only learning but also engaging into a thorough discussion in with some one who knows the subject intensely. SHameed01 June 9, 2013 at 12:39 am Does your book Lost Christianities also talk about there being Christians during Paul’s time who had a different understanding and interpretation of Jesus’s message? BDEhrman June 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm That book focuses on Christianities after the New Testament period, not in Paul’s day. SHameed01 May 24, 2013 at 8:57 amLog in to Reply Check this out, it shows how the Aramaic and the Greek New TestamentS contradict each other: http://aramaicnttruth.org/downloads/outside/8_Contradictions.pdf. Question is which is the real New Testament? Also according to the author whose link I posted argues that the New Testament was initially written in Aramaic, a position called Aramaic primacy. What’s your take on the Aramaic vs. Greek primacy? Thanks! Sincerely, Shaikh BDEhrman May 24, 2013 at 7:33 pmLog in to Reply No, the NT was originally written in Greek. This is not a debated point among experts in the field, although outsiders who are not experts sometimes claim otherwise! SHameed01 May 25, 2013 at 11:29 pmLog in to Reply Do you know an article I can read that talks about how we don’t know the authors of gospels? Also one thing I wanted to share regarding my own personal observation is that in the Gospel of John, John is spoken of in the third person, now this does not make sense if John was the one writing this Gospel. I mean would he not address himself in the first person? Sincerely, Shaikh BDEhrman May 26, 2013 at 10:20 pmLog in to Reply YOu might try my book Forged. I don’t believe John is ever mentioned in the Gospel of John at all, is he? SHameed01 May 27, 2013 at 3:28 am “There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] JOHN.” (John 1:6) (capitalizing emphasis done by me) BDEhrman May 27, 2013 at 10:14 pm Yes, that’s referring to John the Baptist, not to John the disciple of Jesus (who was the alleged author of the book). SHameed01 April 22, 2014 at 12:08 amLog in to Reply What criteria do scholars use to prove their case for Greek primacy? Also how do they reconcile Greek primacy with the statements of early Church fathers who talk about such-and-such book was written in Hebrew (i think they mean Aramaic)? BDEhrman April 22, 2014 at 10:20 pmLog in to Reply There are ways linguists can establish if a text is translation-Greek or composition-Greek. Not much doubt about the NT. The church fathers who talk about an Aramaic Matthew were writing decades — or more commonly centuries — after the fact, and almost certainly were just guessing. Matthew could *not* have been written in Aramaic. It depends, word for word, on the *Greek* text of Mark! SHameed01 May 24, 2013 at 9:09 amLog in to Reply Even John 3:16 reads differently from the Greek version of it in at least one or more Aramaic manuscripts: “For IN THIS WAY God loved the world. IN WHAT MANNER? That His Son, The Only Begotten, He would give up, that everyone who trusts in Him shall not be lost, but there shall be to him eternal life.” (John 3:16 from the The Peshitta Aramaic-English Interlinear Gospels, located here: http://biblehub.com/aramaic-english/john/3.htm) However, I have an Aramaic New Testament with English translation on the side, which translates John 3:16 in the same way that it is translated from the Greek. Sincerely, Shaikh SHameed01 May 27, 2013 at 3:30 amLog in to Reply One of the arguments Christians use to prove the inerrancy of the Bible is by saying most of the variations in the New Testament manuscripts ARE MINOR and the minority major variations don’t do any damage to any existing doctrine of Christian theology. What would your response be to such a typical Christian argument? BDEhrman May 27, 2013 at 10:14 pmLog in to Reply My response would be that they should read my book The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. SHameed01 May 31, 2013 at 1:03 amLog in to Reply Were there other Church leaders during Paul’s time that were teaching a different interpretation of Christianity? Also one thing I have read is that the Gnostic gospels date after the gospels that are in the Bible today, is this information accurate? BDEhrman May 31, 2013 at 10:16 pmLog in to Reply Yes, Paul faced opposition in most of his communities from people who had other ideas. And yes, the four Gospels we have in the NT are the oldest that exist. SHameed01 May 31, 2013 at 1:25 amLog in to Reply Where and how did the 4 gospels get their names? BDEhrman May 31, 2013 at 10:16 pmLog in to Reply We don’t know. They are first called by their current names by Irenaeus in 185 CE. I deal with such topics in my book Forged. SHameed01 June 10, 2013 at 7:15 amLog in to Reply But by writing Lost Christianities how are you proving that there was no single early Christianity when they all came after the New Testament period? What if Christians then say that they were later heresies and that the Christianity of the New Testament is the true pure unadulterated faith and teaching of Jesus? BDEhrman June 10, 2013 at 11:19 pmLog in to Reply That’s not what I’m trying to prove. You should read the book! SHameed01 June 11, 2013 at 4:25 amLog in to Reply Trust me I plan on it and thanks for mentioning Imanuel Tov. SHameed01 June 12, 2013 at 6:57 amLog in to Reply What specific grad programs did you get into that gave you the opportunity to study new testament manuscripts and thereby become a new testament textual critic afterwards? Did you join a paleography grad program? Reason why I am asking is because I am deeply interested in a similar field as you are in. And I do mean DEEPLY. BDEhrman June 13, 2013 at 11:17 pmLog in to Reply I studied at Princeton Theological Seminary, as Bruce Metzger’s last student. To go into the field you need considerable preparatory work, already at the college level; it is especially important to get Greek at a high level, and hopefully other ancient languages (Latin, probably Syriac and Coptic; possibly Hebrew). It’s not easy! SHameed01 June 14, 2013 at 6:40 amLog in to Reply I don’t mind the work, but would love to know how many years it does it usually take? BDEhrman June 14, 2013 at 8:30 pmLog in to Reply Depends how good you are with languages. Have you been to college? If not, then that’s the place to start. If so, then you need to start taking classes at a reputable school. Doing it on your own won’t work. SHameed01 June 14, 2013 at 9:27 pm Well I love languages and already speak two languages in addition to some Spanish. And even at this moment I am working on learning Arabic, since I primarily plan on becoming a Quranic textual critic like you are a New Testament textual critic, while I also am interested in studying the New Testament as well. Speaking of college, I am getting a BA in Economics this December, hence the reason why I was asking you of the graduate work you did, since I plan on doing something different at a graduate level instead of Economics at the moment. -Shaikh BDEhrman June 15, 2013 at 3:39 pm Yes, I’d say that you would need to go to some kind of masters program in religious studies and start taking Greek and Latin, and preferably either German or French. SHameed01 June 30, 2013 at 1:35 amLog in to Reply Is there any way to prove historically that the earliest followers of Jesus Christ, did not see him as god? I heard a Christian once say that Ignatius of Antioch believed in the deity of Christ proving that the belief in the deity of Christ not being a doctrine latter invented by the Church. Just wondering what your thoughts are on this subject. BDEhrman June 30, 2013 at 11:28 pmLog in to Reply this is the topic of my forthcoming book, How Jesus Became God. SHameed01 July 1, 2013 at 6:45 amLog in to Reply Doesn’t John 17:3 tell us that Jesus thought of the Father as being the one true God? IF so, then on this very basis how can Jesus therefore be God if the Father is the only one true God? Just some thoughts I wanted to share. BDEhrman July 1, 2013 at 9:08 pmLog in to Reply You’ll need to read my book, on just this topic! It will be out in the spring. SHameed01 August 7, 2013 at 12:39 amLog in to Reply Hello Professor, In this video around the 2:09 mark Lee Strobel talks about how there is historical evidence for the resurrection. I really can’t articulate this argument at the moment, so I will just post the video below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fpp37iJogFI. What would your response to Strobel be? Thanks! And I am really interested in hearing what you would have to say being a historian yourself. Sincerely, Shaikh SHameed01 August 7, 2013 at 12:41 amLog in to Reply I meant starts stating his arguments around the 2:09 mark in the video. His arguments I believe goes on till the video of the video. BDEhrman August 7, 2013 at 7:05 pmLog in to Reply I haven’t listened to the video, but I have an extensive discussion of the matter in my forthcoming book, How Jesus Became God. Leave A Comment Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.