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Video: Bart Ehrman vs. James White Debate

I wasn’t sure whether I should post this debate or not. Frankly, it was not a good experience. I normally do not have an aversion to the people I debate. But James White is that kind of fundamentalist who gets under my skin. To be fair, he would probably not call himself a fundamentalist. Then again, in my experience, very few fundamentalists *do* call themselves fundamentalists. Usually a “fundamentalist” is that guy who is far to the right of *you* — wherever you are! Someone on the blog can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe White does hold to the absolute inerrancy of the Bible. If so, given what else I know about him, I’d call him a fundamentalist.

In any event, he’s a smart fellow and came to the debate loaded for bear. But it’s good to see me at not my best as well as at my best.

So why not? Here’s the debate! The topic was, as you will see, over whether or not we have access to the “original” New Testament.

Part 1 of Debate. Please adjust gear icon for 720p HD (Uprezed from DVD):

Part 2 of Debate. Please adjust gear icon for 720p HD (Uprezed from DVD):

Response to the Response: How God Became Jesus
My Interview on Fresh Air



  1. Joshua Gordon  April 28, 2014

    James was hard to watch, he just can’t handle facts. Your patience is admirable.

  2. reedm60  April 28, 2014

    Dr Ehrman,

    I bought this DVD from the Alpha Omega website a few years ago. While it was on sale, your name was displayed prominently on their store’s website. I hope you received a percentage.

    Who is TC Skeets? I looked him up online but couldn’t find anything about him.


  3. hardindr  April 28, 2014

    I think you could call him a fundamentalist since he subscribes to the Chicago statement on inerrancy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Statement_on_Biblical_Inerrancy

    The muslim stuff is obnoxious, as is his claim of hypocrisy regarding the reliability of other ancient text.

    Also, do you ever wear the tie he gave you?

  4. toejam  April 28, 2014

    People like White make me angry. He’s not there to exchange ideas. He’s there to WIN at any cost. I think you handled yourself very well.

  5. Mikail78  April 28, 2014

    Bart, why are you so hard on yourself about this debate? Even many evangelical Christians thought you wiped the floor with “Dr.” James White. You performed very well.

    Yes, White believes that there is not one error in the Bible. Sorry to be blunt, but he’s a real jerk. He blocked me on twitter simply for stating my disagreement with him and asking him questions. I made no ad hominem attacks nor did I make derogatory remarks towards him. White likes to promote himself as some super duper intellectual Christian apologist. In reality, he’s just a pseudo-intellectual, like the rest of his Christian apologist comrades.

  6. DMiller5842  April 28, 2014

    Thank you for posting this debate. I think it shows a true strength of character when someone can put on full display the arguments of the other side and let the audience make their own decisions about what is the better argument. I do feel that you don’t play with a full deck sometimes because you limit yourself to “scholarship” and do not go to the full spectrum of reason such as Thomas Paine would have done. On this constant point about inspiration and preservation of the word of God, Paine says : “…something that has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, is a revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second, to a third, a fourth and so on , it ceases to be a revelation to all of those persons. It is a revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other….” Anyone who believes that God revealed his word to one person or several must surely believe that he is capable of revealing it to all – if he wanted us all to have his inerrant word (never mind preserving it in writing) why didn’t (doesn’t) he just telepathically communicate it to us all? I think all of the evidence points to the truth that God never did reveal his word to anyone, all of the holy books are the words of men. Instantaneous, telepathic transmission is my standard of perfection in godly communication. So Mr. White has a problem with your standard of perfection in manuscripts HMMM – I just wonder what his reaction would be to mine.

    • VaulDogWarrior
      VaulDogWarrior  October 17, 2016

      Where is this quote from? I googled it and your quote was the only thing Google brought back!

  7. tslawson1  April 28, 2014

    Ευχαριστω σοι περι του διαλογισμου!

    Thanks for posting the debate!

  8. tawfiq  April 28, 2014

    By chance I cane across this YouTube channel and wondered if have you see it, it is called the Ehrman Project :


    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  April 28, 2014

      Yes, it was started by a former student of mine!! 🙂

      • SHameed01  April 30, 2014

        have you addressed any of their attempted rebuttals to you? i am referring the scholars in the youtube videos of the ehrmanproject

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  April 30, 2014

          Nope. I told my students: read what I say; hear what they say; weight the evidence; and make up your own mind! Much of what they said was just silly, in my opinion. (I didn’t, and couldn’t, watch it all) (OK, or even a lot)

      • tawfiq  April 30, 2014

        You are inspirational…

        A second question, if I may. On one of the videos on this channel “Is The Original New Testament Lost? :: A Dialogue with Dr. Bart Ehrman & Dr. Daniel Wallace”

        A question was asked about discoveries of earlier manuscripts. Dan Wallace had previously mentioned a first century manuscript, and that he cannot reveal any more information about it at that point. You questioned him and he did not provide any more information(from approx. 1:48:00) . Can you please elaborate about this discovery?

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  April 30, 2014

          The manuscript was to be published in January 2013. So far, we haven’t seen it.

          • VaulDogWarrior
            VaulDogWarrior  October 17, 2016

            Has it been published as of October 2016?

          • Bart
            Bart  October 18, 2016


  9. AmenRa  April 28, 2014

    And the winner in this debate is Dr. Bart Ehrman. And here’s why.

    1. Historic evangelical theologians like Charles Ryrie have stated that inerrancy is limited to the original manuscripts. We do not have them as confessed by all. Dr. Ehrman’s logic was not overcomed by James White regarding appealed to preservation. This appeal is a knee jerk reaction to protect their minor doctrinal position.

    2. If both debaters agree that the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery was a later addition to the life of Jesus then it shows that scribes did put words in biblical characters mouths to support the view of Jesus. This gives probability that Dr. Ehrman argument that we do not know what the original Jesus and christianity was like with high certainty..

    3. Dr. Ehrman scholarship overwhelmed the debate

    • VaulDogWarrior
      VaulDogWarrior  October 17, 2016

      But I think White’s point was that we can know to a high degree of certainty what the original NT said, exactly because we have so many manuscripts. Not all the mistakes are in the same place. So when we see two manuscript traditions with mistakes in different places, but with words in the same places over and over again, we can be fairly certain where the original lies to within 95% of the time. That was White’s argument. And I think it’s a good one.

      What I find unbelievable is that while he admits that the transmission of the Bible is utterly uninspired, he holds tenaciously to the idea that the original writers themselves were inspired. And this is nothing more than an unverifiable faith assertion. Believers were forced to change their views on inspiration in face of the overwhelming evidence that critical scholarship presented them. All they did was move the goalposts so to speak, so that they can still claim the Bible is inspired, and claim it in such a way that it is impossible to verify the claim.

      Creationists do the same things. God is always at the point where humans are unable to reach. History shows us that as soon as we figure out a way to reach that point God disappears! And believers are left reeling until they figure out a way to move God further back…

  10. Wilusa  April 28, 2014

    Haven’t time to look at it right now. But, re fundamentalists…raised Catholic, I was always given the impression that “fundamentalists” were people who considered the Adam and Eve story literally true, in all its details. I don’t remember how the Catholics said their teaching on that point differed. But as I understood it, everything in the New Testament was literally true, and believing that did *not* make one a fundamentalist.

    People like me never learned about all the contradictions in the New Testament, because we never read it. To this day, I can’t understand why someone would consider reading such stuff, *unless* they’d been told about the contradictions and were checking it out!

  11. nichael  April 28, 2014

    Dr Ehrman

    Thank you for posting this.

    Regardless of the published title of the debate, or the purported emphasis on scholarly discussion as laid out in its stated topic, I think it it is safe to suggest that what was actually going on here was made clear by the phrase that Dr White used in his final summation: “…weapons used against the faith”.

    • nichael  April 28, 2014

      It’s always fun to imagine what one might have said after the fact, but had I had the opportunity to approach the mike after the debate, here are two questions I would have loved to have asked Dr White:

      First, given that the agreed upon topic of the debate concerned a historical, scholarly discussion of the “retreivability” of the original text, what relevance does his repeatedly-made point that Dr Ehrman’s texts are often cited (and as Dr White acknowledged, often cited incorrectly) by the likes of Christopher Hitchens, (or Richard Dawkins, “the Infidel guy”, Muslim Apologists, etc, etc) *possibly* have?

      My second question would have focused on his bewildering claim that his point of view is virtually never presented to the population at large (as opposed to those of Dr Ehrman who presumably spends all his time proselytizing on “Fresh Air” and “The Daily Show”…)

      If Dr White really believes this, I’ll be glad to invite him along for the next trip I take home to the Midwest where we can visit my relatives and join them as they switch among the couple dozen or so cable channels (including Fox?) -and the even more numerous radio stations- whose entire reason for being is to stress the unquestioned, infallible inneracy of the text of the Bible.

      Or, to bring the question a bit closer to home -and more to the point- I’d be interested in asking how many of the members of that audience, who, after years and decades of church services, sermons, and Weds night Bible Study had ever even *heard* of the notion of a textual variant.

  12. Arlyn  April 28, 2014

    His inerrancy position if I recall from his words in the debate was akin to the Chicago Evangelical Statement.

    Recently someone requested I read and reply to a treatise by William Lane Craig. My reply was, why would I give it weight, given his academic environment has compromised his scholarship legitimacy. When the evangelical movement purged moderate and liberal professors from its schools of higher learning, it risked losing the authority that is gained from independent reasoned scholarly thought.

    If scholars words, have to reflect traditional belief dogma… I view them not to be scholars, but rather church apologist..

    I applaud UNC for not going there.

  13. DarylIverson  April 28, 2014

    If God controlled people to write the words that He wanted written so that everybody could have an accurate understanding of the words He wants understood to have come directly from Him (being all powerful) God certainly could have done so – by the very meaning of “all powerful.”

    James White said it’s unreasonable and unscholarly to think that God would control the hand of the scribe. Isn’t that what fundamentalist Christians believe happened? Don’t they also believe that the canon of the Bible was created by the hand of God so that only the manuscripts that God wanted to be included (because they are perfect) are in there – making too can be perfect?

    The evidence is that we don’t have a perfect “Bible” because there are so many variations of it. We have no assurances that we have all original copies of each manuscript that makes up the Bible.

    Furthermore – where and when did God sanctify ANY Bible as representative of Himself? Even if we had original copies of every manuscript included in the Bible there is NO evidence that God commissioned it or ratified it. Is there even Biblical prophesy, in the Bible, that mentions that it would be created.

    There is much reason for reasonable doubt and I think both of you proved it in your performances.

  14. cjcruz  April 28, 2014

    To me, the most perplexing of all White’s assertions is the notion that the original text MUST be among the known variations. If one text says Jesus responded in anger and another that he responded kindly, we somehow know that the original text said one of these two things. It is – again, somehow – impossible that the original words were lost or have been altered beyond recognition, or that the passage in question was not in the original text at all! I would have been less angry if White had revealed the source of this knowledge: his faith. That, at least, I could respectfully disagree with.

    White’s tactics were also less than gentlemanly, in spite of his ending every sentence with “sir.” He spent quite a lot of time attempting to discredit Ehrman for being an extremist (for taking such *extreme* positions as “We don’t have sufficient evidence to assert that Jesus probably said X”), an agnostic, and even an authority leveraged by *atheists* like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. I regret that I feel the need to editorialize a bit here, but White seems downright resentful of Ehrman’s personal success and even complains that no one on “his side” is invited on Colbert, etc., and that Ehrman’s book was not the first of its kind for laymen since his, White’s, own book was out long before Misquoting Jesus.

    To top everything off, he explicitly states that those of us who are unconvinced by his arguments have a personal agenda. We all must have unrelated personal reasons for not wanting to believe. To him, this is the only rational explanation.

    In the end, this is a frustrating but worthwhile listen.

  15. ben.holman  April 28, 2014

    Dr. Ehrman,

    I’ve seen a couple of places where you’ve pointed out James White is not a scholar, and/or are otherwise disappointed with him for various reasons that go unspecified. Would you mind elaborating? Why do you have an aversion to him? If you’d rather not get into specifics, I understand.


    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  April 28, 2014

      He’s not a scholar because he does not have scholarly training, does not have scholarly credentials, and never publishes any works of scholarship. My aversion to him is simply rooted in the fact that he does not seem to be a nice guy. I have no problem with him being a committed Christian believer; but when someone is that offensive, I tend to take offense!

      • Curtis7777  April 29, 2014

        Dr. Ehrman I was wondering why Dan Wallace gets a pass? His PhD is not in textual criticism nor was he trained by a genuine textual critic. I realize that he is an academic with legitimate credentials, which is more than we can say of James White but these two men promote each other’s work. Their views are very similar.

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  April 29, 2014

          He was trained by Zane Hodges, who was indeed a textual critic, although a rather idiosyncratic one. Dan is a genuine scholar. He is trained as a scholar, he publishes scholarly work, and is widely recognized within the scholarly community of having all the necessary bona fides. I disagree with him on lots of important things, but it’s not because he lacks the credentials.

  16. RonaldTaska  April 28, 2014

    I look forward to watching the debate. I have no clue how you do so many things nor how anyone can debate for such long periods of time. I hope your debate opponent is not one of those “Christian” critics who accuse you of “sloppy scholarship.” If any criticism applies to you, it’s not that one. That criticism of you particularly gets under “my” skin.

    Did you read the recent column where the writer lists some examples, such as Jesus forgiving sins, which she contends show that Jesus was thought to be divine in the synoptic Gospels? If so, I would be interested in your response. She seems to be one who is trying to address the substance of your book rather than just personally attacking you. I will follow-up with the author’s name, etc.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  April 28, 2014

      Yes, I don’t understand why people point to Jesus forgiving sins in the Synoptics as an argument *against* me. In my book I’m completely explicit: I think the Synoptic Gospel writers *did* think that Jesus was divine!!!

  17. RonaldTaska  April 28, 2014

    The article to which I previously referred is entitled “Bart Ehrman and the Divinity of Jesus” by Robin Schumacher. It appeared on the “Confident Christian” website on 4/27/14.

  18. Eric Rodvan  April 28, 2014

    Bart, what did you think of William Lane Craig when you met him? Was he a nice guy?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  April 29, 2014

      I didn’t talk with him much, but I was really offended by his attempts to mock me publicly during the debate.

      • HaiKarate  May 10, 2014

        I noticed that James White also tried to frame the debate around a personal attack on you in his opening statement. He sought to discredit your positions by discrediting you, despite the fact that you are often echoing what the majority scholarship has to say about the Bible.

  19. mary  April 29, 2014

    Thanks for posting the video of your debate.
    James White was not interested in the content or truth of what you had written. He attempted to beat you up with his technical terms and appear superior which was not successful. The arrogance of it was revealed when you questioned him. He thinks he should be listened to and followed, because he “said so”.

    You called him on his source of information, and the accuracy of the numbers he spoke of, which was wonderful. I am not familiar with all the people that are scholars and writers that you discussed. But, James did not have a reasoned, logical presentation at all. He did not make sense to me and the “my tie is bigger than your tie” didn’t work for him either.

  20. JacovZ  April 29, 2014

    I got to watch this before actually commenting (which I will), but I can relate to you and your experience. White has a kind of invasive hubris that has the potential to let you want to walk over and leave an imprint of your boot on his… (you choose where).

    But I have seen the guy rattled and I have seen his responses as pure ignorant arrogance. I initially wondered why you would debate someone like this. White is NOT a scholar. He is merely an apologist. He is by far not the best Evangelical apologist, but merely the cricket chirping the loudest.

    Having said that, I am going to watch your debate. And I shall respond…

  21. pbrockschmidt  April 29, 2014

    I’m reading Michael Satlow’s “How the Bible Became Holy” and he quotes Justin Martyr’s description of Sunday services: readings from the apostles and prophets, sermon, prayer , Eucharist, collection for the poor. “It is those latter activities more than the reading that formed the core of Christian service. That is, the fact of Christ and his salvation…mattered far more than his words or words about him. There is no testimony from this time that Christians educated their children in scripture, and there is no Christian art from the time that would have (secondarily) exposed Christians to the stores of scripture.

    He also suggests that Christians used the cheaper codex rather than the scroll because the message was what mattered, not the precise words with which it was written or the medium.

    Would you agree?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  April 29, 2014

      I agree with his final sentence. but I don’t know of any evidence to support the second to last sentence.

      There are lots of reasons why Christians may have preferred the codex. If it *was* because of expense (it’s hotly debated) it may be because, well, Christians on the whole were from the poorer classes.

  22. Matt7  April 29, 2014

    Funny that James thinks an omniscient God would have to wait until 1949 for human ingenuity to develop the copy machine. He designed the human reproductive system, but He can’t figure out how to reproduce documents.

  23. stephena  April 30, 2014

    Odd that someone can believe a text is “inerrant” when it’s blazingly obvious that MANY “errors” exist in the Biblical text over its nearly 2000 year history, even if one claims that the “originals” were perfect, which is hard to sustain given that they cannot be found and likely no longer exist (as you so expertly demonstrated in your introduction!)

  24. Dennis  April 30, 2014

    Well done Dr. Ehrman. During your first rebuttal I imagined you walking over to the wall and banging your head against it. During your cross-examination to Mr. White there was blood all over the floor. Excellent closing statement highlighting your opponents cognitive bias as perhaps skewing his conclusion. Thank you for sharing.

  25. richard gills  May 1, 2014

    Dr Ehrman

    does the bible you have contain all the different variants for a particular verse at the footnote section? i remember when carrier debated jp holding ,he said in his response that bibles which the scholars have contain all the different variants in the foot note section. if such a bible exists, where can one purchase it?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 1, 2014

      There is no Bible that contains *ALL* of the variants in the manuscripts. But the Greek New Testament that is widely used by scholars contains virtually all of the really important variants. There is nothing like it in English, in part because a lot of the variants do not translate very readily into English.

  26. SHameed01  May 1, 2014

    Dan Wallace and James White argue since there was not a central authority over the copying of manuscripts and that they were done independently from any authority above over them that decreases the likelihood of textual corruption, how would you respond to that?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 1, 2014

      They surely don’t argue that. There is no doubt that there is textual corruption. Anyone who has ever studied manuscripts will know that. It’s not an opinion but a fact!

      • SHameed01  May 2, 2014

        Whether they argue that or not, even though I do recall James White using that argument in his debate with you. However, I could be wrong, but I am just asking how would you respond to that specific argument that absence of central authority over scribes equaling less likelihood of textual corruption by scribes. Anyways maybe I have misunderstood your response, for which I do apologize.

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  May 2, 2014

          I’d respond by saying its ridiculous. We don’t need to speculate *whether* scribes would have changed their texts, when we have thousands of manuscripts that we can examine, and when we do it is patently obvious that scribes *did* change their texts.

          • SHameed01  May 2, 2014

            Can you give at least a couple of examples from right off the top of your head where we can say for sure that scribes DELIBERATELY changed the text? Also what is the criteria to know which change is deliberate as compare to which is not?

          • Bart Ehrman
            Bart Ehrman  May 5, 2014

            I can give dozens! (For starters, whoever added the last twelve verses of Mark or the story of the woman taken in adultery in John did not do so by a slip of the pen!) But if you’re really interested, I’d suggest you read my book Orthodox Corruption of Scripture as a way into the problem.

  27. KevinBradshaw
    KevinBradshaw  May 1, 2014

    Dr. Bart Ehrman: closet Muslim apologist!!?? Really??

    There has to be a name for this kind of fallacious argument, you know something like the fallacy of argument by false association or whatever.

  28. cheito
    cheito  May 1, 2014

    DR Ehrman:

    Would you agree that the letter written to the Philippians was an original writing of Paul? Do you agree that the first copy of the letter written by Paul to the Philippians was also an original? Assuming there were errors made by the person(s) who copied the original letter of Paul to the Philippians, would you agree that the first copy even with some errors still had the original context of the first letter. If you do agree, then is it totally accurate to say that we don’t have the original letter of Paul written to the Philippians? Don’t you think that it’s more accurate to state that we do have the original but it has been altered to some degree?
    Has the letter to the Philippians written by Paul been altered so much that we can’t really know what the original proclaimed? How many Greek manuscripts do we have of the Letter written by Paul to the Phillipians?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 1, 2014

      Yes, if we had the copy of the original that had been changed, we would have a changed copy of the original. But, of course, we don’t have that. We don’t have an extensive copy of Paul’s letters until P46, which does have portions of Phillipians. It dates to around 200 CE, and so is about 140-150 years after Paul wrote the letter. Technically speaking there is no way of knowing if what we have is what was in the original. We wouldn’t know unless we had the original to compare it with! But my guess is that what we have is not too far off. It can’t be more than a reasoned guess though.

      • cheito
        cheito  May 2, 2014

        DR Ehrman:

        Thank you for your answer. I believe you’re ‘guess’ is probably accurate.

        Jeremiah’s stated that the words of the ‘living God’ in his generation had been perverted by the priests and prophets and scribes. This revelation was literally spoken to him By The Lord himself. I think, what we need today is another prophet truly inspired by God Himself to set the record straight about the scriptures we possess. If the Lord does not appear personally, or send one of his angels to someone in the manner that he showed himself to Jeremiah then we’ll just have to continue debating about what has the Lord really said. Each one of us will have to walk by faith and cling to our own convictions of whether the words attributed to God and Jesus are truly from their mouths.

        JEREMIAH 23:36“For you will no longer remember the oracle of the LORD, because every man’s own word will become the oracle, and you have perverted the words of the living God, the LORD of hosts, our God.

  29. JacovZ  May 4, 2014

    Ok, now I can respond,

    Dr Ehrman, I enjoyed your presentation tremendously. I appreciate the point you made re. the % issue of correspondence/agreement among mss. Of course a 1% difference in a text (say one with and another without the Greek “ouk”) would still make a 100% difference to the meaning of the text. It’s a no-brainer. And I hope you enjoyed the ceremonial/boastful display of White’s tie right in the beginning of the debate. It was certainly meant to intimidate/irritate.

    Anyway, after listening to your debate as well as being busy with your latest book, do you still think that the monogenes theos reading in Jn 1:18 is inferior to the monogenes huios reading? What do you think about Margaret Davies’ proposal that ‘monogenes’ is probably original?


  30. KenUmbach  May 4, 2014

    My own sense of it, after one full viewing, is that neither debater “won” or “lost,” but that both presented their views and that at the end of the day, they differ at a basic level. Folks will have to decide which one they accept.

    It seems to me that, more important than the accuracy with which the first draft (so to speak) of each book in the New Testament was transmitted over the centuries and millennia is the truth (the historical factuality) of what was written. If the birth narratives, for example, were mere inventions (and of course they were), it is not important whether or not the precise original wording of each was accurately copied and copied and copied, Even if accurately copied, the narratives are still fabrications. And THAT was not touched on in that debate, and correctly so, as it was not the topic.

  31. willow  May 5, 2014

    Huh. Just a thought. How does one discern an original document from a copy? Can we ever be certain of the originality of such ancient documents? Through what means is an ancient document verified as being original?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 5, 2014

      Right — if we found an “original” we’d be very hard pressed ot show that it *was* the original!

  32. SHameed01  May 6, 2014

    According to James White, since I was watching an old Christian program of his, where he was talking about how you talked about the New Testament being the most attested ancient document from all ancient documents and therefore if you are going to be consistent and question the reliability of the text of the New Testament then you would also have to question the reliability of all ancient texts.

    Any comments?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 6, 2014

      He’s absolutely right. Most ancient documents are even more problematic. The Hebrew Bible, for example, is very, very difficult, textually, far more than the NT. But so too are Homer, Euripides, Cicero, etc. etc.

      • HaiKarate  May 10, 2014

        What angers me, every time I hear that argument, is that no one is telling you to sacrifice your life for the sake of Beowulf or The Iliad. Whether those texts are 100% accurate or not matters little to most people. It’s inconsequential to 99.999% of the population. Debates about the accuracy of those texts live and die almost entirely within the realm of academia.

        Christianity, on the other hand, is the largest religion on the planet, with 2.1 billion adherents. Worldwide, Christianity is directly responsible for a cash flow that is in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually. In the US government, our leaders, who are writing laws and passing budgets, are overwhelmingly Christian. On planet Earth in 2014, Christianity is hugely important. And the Bible is the foundation of Christian belief.

        Comparing the Bible to The Odyssey, with regards to attestation, is completely a red herring argument.

  33. ajbarnhart  May 13, 2014

    It was amusing to see White speak about John 8 not being in the earliest copies in one segment and in the very next segment he spoke about how he believes in the inerrancy of the bible! His comments were just a few minutes apart!

  34. jeremiahsvoice  July 23, 2014

    Dr. Erhman I am about to watch the debate on youtube about you and James White but would first like to comment on my experience with James White when he was here in South Africa, debating a Muslim if “Jesus’ original disciples thought Jesus was god”.
    Afterward in Q&A I asked the question to James what his view is on the ideas that God becoming man was as pagan as the Greek gods. He immediately burst out loudly, expressing his disdain and utter disrespect for people that entertain such thoughts. He said straight to my face “I have no respect for you and your question is invalid, I will not answer it”
    Needless to say, I was so shocked at his reaction, I was totally unprepared for it, so I did not react to it. After the proceedings I went up to his table to address the same question and ask him about his overreaction. He just said “I don’t want to talk to you” and turned away.

    I could only say one word (and that I don’t want repeat here)

    I am enjoying your book ‘How Jesus became God’ where many of my suspicions are confirmed. I believe you have already done what I set out doing from 2010.

    Great work!

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  July 23, 2014

      Wow. Unbelievable! But oh so believable!!

      • richard gills  August 29, 2014

        Dr Ehrman,

        i don’t understand the double standards when it comes to seeing parallels between jc and other gods.
        christians see parallels between a human jesus and 4 legged animal.
        christians see parallels between jesus’ and the RITUAL slaughter of 4 legged animal.
        christians call jesus “lamb of god”

        christians think that animal flesh sacrifices were pointing to a human males crucifixion.

        but when it comes to the resurrection of pagan gods, they are unable to see parallels .

        some christians say that jesus’ weekend crucifixion abrogated the need for sacrificing bulls, goats, and birds.
        one can argue that jesus died for animals/livestock.

        what is your thought on this? do you see double standards?

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  August 30, 2014

          I’m sure a lot of people do have double standards! But I’m not sure there were other religions that talked about a human who died and then was raised again (even a divine human).

  35. Josephsluna
    Josephsluna  September 30, 2014

    Your really nice to non scholars
    But when it comes to scholars stating not the best and smart questions lol
    So if I would to choose sides in this one
    Funny how powerful knowledge is
    So he admits Bart
    That a top name lol
    This video also motivates me to learn another lanuage

  36. countybaseball  November 27, 2014

    This debate should have been called ” Debating Bart’s books” because that all White did was debate on your book.

  37. Adam Beaven  August 13, 2015

    Doctor Ehrman

    when james white debated robert m price somebody did a summary of price’s arguments against white

    i quote:

    “Second, the claim that Jesus and the disciples would have prevented error from accruing, which is a common evangelical argument, is disproved by the contents of the gospels themselves and contrary to what our expectations would be. In the gospels we’re told that Jesus himself couldn’t prevent listeners from telling tales he didn’t want told. The gospels tell us that false reports concerning Jesus circulated widely and in fact Jesus directed the disciples to not bother correcting them. Making up things was considered pious and acceptable in this culture. Gnostic teaching was accepted widely. Gospel reports indicate erroneous resurrection belief. John the Baptist was thought to be raised but this is a case of mistaken identity. This is proof that this error is easy to make. In the Gospel of John we’re told that Jesus did say he’d destroy the temple in 3 days, but John allegorizes the story. Mark and Matthew tell us that Jesus said no such thing and only false witnesses say he did. Luke says that Steven is reported to have said it. Look at every day experience. What preacher hasn’t been chagrined to learn what others have thought him to have said? Look at the fact that rabbis can’t keep straight who it is that supposedly uttered a statement, attributing the same wise saying to various sages. Why does Mt 10 tell us that Jesus wanted the gospel to go only to the Jews, Mt 28 says he wanted it spread far and wide, and yet at Acts 15 they’re debating whether the gospel should go to Gentiles as if they’ve never heard of the great commission?”

    this part was interesting

    “The gospels tell us that false reports concerning Jesus circulated widely and in fact Jesus directed the disciples to not bother correcting them. ”

    the only false reports i am aware of

    1. claim of ressurection vs claim of stolen body

    2. Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands

    Dr Ehrman, do you know of any other “false reports” “widely circulated” with in the gospels?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 14, 2015

      Our only evidence for such things is in the Gospels themselves.

  38. mrbrain
    mrbrain  November 25, 2015

    One comment I had was that he seemed to sidestep your argument that we don’t have the original texts. No matter how well preserved the copies are, what we have aren’t copies of the original or anywhere near. He didn’t address that.

    I have a question about the argument comparing Biblical texts vs any other ancient texts of the same period. One might say (as I believe James White did) that we shouldn’t demand a higher level when analyzing Biblical texts than we would of other ancient writings, but as you may have pointed out: other ancient texts aren’t claiming to be from the mouth of God. Other texts aren’t asking humans who read them to drop all they’re doing and follow, and change their whole lives. So there obviously should be a higher standard for Biblical texts. Anyway, how do you answer the ancient (non-Bible) texts comparison argument?

    • Bart
      Bart  November 25, 2015

      I think it’s right. We can’t be sure of the exact wording of *most* books from antiquity. That doesn’t mean that we *can* be sure of the wording of the NT!!

  39. mrbrain
    mrbrain  November 25, 2015

    I think you hit on the right formula when you noticed that all those in disagreement on a point you were making were evangelicals. I think it’s possible that people like James White enter into research knowing already what the answer is (they think), and then study to try and prove that they’re right. As opposed to searching for truth. Politics has entered into research. Smells like an agenda.

  40. BibleResearcher  December 11, 2015

    He does now dear Professor Ehrman …!
    “There is a historical use of the term fundamentalism that would describe ME .. to be honest with you!”, James R. White.
    minute 14:35

  41. BibleResearcher  March 6, 2016

    The only thing Dr. James White has to offer in addressing any related issues to your books and lectures is convoluting your personhood and scholarship with an Islamic dressing; I could almost swear that I have never seen your work referred to by him without the inclusion of Muslims into it!!!

    I still do continue to see Dr. White as being impolite towards you and lacking any decency in showing objectivity in addressing scholarship when asking/demanding for more debates. For one thing, he is in no position to declare you as an, [apostate]! Where does he think he lives, in the Vatican? He has no Judiciary mandate over anyone, including you Sir. I thought it was Islam that were accused by him for not giving Caesar what is Caesar ‘s!

    To me as I see it, is that if he were not quoting you addressing your own beliefs and stances, then he certainly has no right whatsoever in labeling you with a word such as, [apostate]. That is defamation and definitely NOT an honorable and honest invitation for debate, nor is it showing any regret for earlier misbehavior towards your person.

    We as Muslims endorse your work Sir without daring to infringe upon that which you yourself have in your heart towards your Lord, because we do not view you as a disbeliever -for a reason or another- and neither do we see in you a Muslim since you have already declared your status on the world’s stage (period) Hence, it bothers me a lot that Dr. White keeps inserting our name as ‘Muslims’ whenever he mentions you; however it does clearly show that he is in no scholarly position to confront you and is left with such childish plays that demonstrate bankruptcy in the first place.

  42. mrdavidkeller  April 5, 2016

    By chance I came across a YouTube post Dr White put out this week directed toward you, a debate challenge of course, I recall a few years back he was on the verge of being nationally prominent as one of the growing number of credible concensus Christian apologetics but like Sarah Palin’s politics once you get to know more about his theology the less sense he makes, at any rate even if the debate fee’s go toward those in need, as a Christian I would discourage you from letting him bait you into appearing together, he speaks for an insignificant sliver of the billions of folks who identify as Christian and frankly he seems rude to the point of being just plain nasty as a person, even were you to trounce him in a debate, he wins by getting back into the growing sphere of those who are viewed as prominent apologetic scholars from either side, which seems to be his whole mission at this point.

    • Bart
      Bart  April 5, 2016

      I have to admit, I haven’t heard of any challenge from him, and if he wants to challenge me, it’s not hard to find my email! So I would assume this is all bluster.

  43. VaulDogWarrior
    VaulDogWarrior  October 17, 2016

    The process of Biblical transmission as revealed by textual scholars is shown to be an utterly human affair. You and White agree on this. White wants to claim that this was God’s way of preserving the NT text, even though it leaves us with no verifiable way of confirming this. How miraculous a constant stream of inspired scribes down to today would be! It’s the same with the original writing of the NT. What we see are various books written in various styles and competency levels. We do not see evidence, in the way it was written, of One Author. It looks utterly human, yet White would have us believe this is how God chose to do it. So it really doesn’t matter how human the Bible appears to be, believers will simply tell you this is how God has chosen to hand down His infallible Word to us. I think for many of us, the problem is that we were told the Bible was a Book of divine origin, yet upon closer inspection this is clearly not the case. This is a God-of-the-gaps type mentality, where as we become more aware of how things actually happened in the past, believers simply reinterpret how God did it. The same with Evolution vs. Creation. Once I rejected Creationism I very quickly saw through Evolutionary Creationism for what it was… It is simply the James Whites of the science world telling us that in spite of the fact that the whole thing looks totally natural, it was still orchestrated by God…

  44. glr  January 26, 2017

    Professor Ehrman, you made James White appear as a junior high, defensive, ignorant debater in this video. Coming from an evangelical, fundamentalist background, I have great respect for your knowledge and professionalism in such debates.

  45. Elagabalus  May 12, 2017

    Bart Ehrman vs the Prince of F***ing Darkness! 😉

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