Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman has delivered an intensely informative investigation into the history of the transmission and transcription of the Bible in Misquoting Jesus. Using textual criticism, Ehrman shows that the 'word of God' isn't even known since we have no original documents of the writings that make up the New Testament. We don't even have copies of the copies of the copies... Scribes who copied the words through the ages may well have had a profound impact on the Bibles we read today, and those modern-day versions, says Ehrman, are almost certainly (and significantly) different from the documents written by the authors of the New Testament books.

By examining the various manuscripts that do exist, Ehrman explores the differences, tracing commonalities and divergences, drawing some conclusions as to what the 'original' text might read like, and making it clear that in many cases, we simply can't know based on our current evidence. Some of our best versions of the New Testament texts were created hundreds, in some cases many hundreds, of years after the authors originally wrote them. It is very, very difficult to know exactly what was in those long-lost original scriptures.

A history of various books of the Bible (and the later full cannon itself) is explored throughout, giving the reader a very scholarly lesson in the subject. While Ehrman's writing shows his own amazing intellect and talent for pursuing difficult investigations, the writing is engaging and approachable to anyone interested in this subject.

Not only were there thousands of cases of typos and other unintentional transcription errors, later in the book Ehrman looks at specific passages that were intentionally changed to support some views of Christianity over others. During the early periods, there were numerous cases where text appears to have been changed to match a specific interpretation, such as passages which allowed alternative visions of the nature of Jesus and the Christ.

This book solidifies the idea that the Bible is indeed the work of human hands, some of which had ulterior motives for ensuring that the documents read a specific way. Thoroughly enjoying and enlightening, this book is very highly recommended to anyone interested in biblical scholarship. Five stars.

(posted on my blog: davenichols.net)

Tags: Bart Ehrman, Biblical Criticism, Book Review, Jesus Christ, Misquoting Jesus, Religion, The Bible

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I just got this yesterday, although my husband will be reading it first. I am excited about it!
This is a brilliant book and it should be read by every "aspiring" Atheist. For that matter, it should be read by every Christian, they might learn something they didn't know.
This book was actually the final nail in the coffin lid of Christianity for me. The fact that Bart Ehrmen started out as a bible thumping born again believer is a powerful testament to the information in this book. He never expected his faith to crumble. What I don't understand, is how can people "study" the bible for years and years and NOT come across this information? How can anyone even read it and still believe?
Well... as an ex Xtian, it's not hard to overlook because you only come across the inconsistencies in fragments. If you happen to notice that Jesus is not a descendant of King David because the bloodline comes through Joseph and not Mary, there's a ready-made answer from any "authority" you might question on the matter. Most Christians don't do an extensive study of the Bible and don't compare texts (even Jesus references the OT incorrectly, but that slides past unnoticed... because most of us really don't look at the footnotes of ANY book we're reading). You know, things like how many dudes were in an army are just not facts we store in our brains.

The fact is, there are ready-made answers for EVERY angle someone might come from to refute the Bible... even if they're extremely flimsy. They work because the person arguing against the Bible is just left speechless that anyone could spout such utter nonsense, like... "Satan is just trying to trick you by placing bones in the earth!"

It's a mess. But they've covered their bases.
From what I've heard about this book, it's going on my to-read list.
I'm only in, like, Chapter 2... but it's VERY informative. I like it because instead of stammering... "Uh duh... they don't have the original copies!" I can actually give some facts and feel educated enough to make an argument against the Bible.
From what I'm reading here, I'll have to put this on my to-read list as well.
I will be starting it in a day or two!!

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