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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is nice to get some honesty about how the bible was formed, 12 Oct 2010
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This review is from: Whose Word is it?: The Story Behind Who Changed The New Testament and Why (Paperback)
I went to many churches and meetings but was never given the sort of information on textual analyisis that Bart Ehrman gives insight into. I only heard about Ehrman from the great thinker Richard Dawkins. I'm glad I bought this book. The ministers in my part of Scotland infer or hope you assume that the N.T was written down by 4 of the 12 disciples shortly after his resurrection. It is quite a revelation to discover that the majority of bible scholars would be happy to push the date for the earliest scripture(Pauls letter to Galatians), back to 50 C.E.. That there is general agreement that no-one knows who wrote Mark, Matthew, Luke, John, that Mark was at earliest written after 70C.E( based in part on Q), that Matthew and Luke were largely based on Mark ,while John was written several decades later. In fact the earliest extant fragment of N.T scripture (from 1 Thess) called p52 is from the early 2nd Century. The next earliest fragments are from Galations, called p46 from about 200 C.E. The earliest extant full N.T is from 330 C.E. Scholars have had to look at letters written by other historical figures for and against the gospel accounts(from 2nd and 3rd century)to see evidence that parts of the 300 C.E. version were similar to earlier copies. Ehrman points out that it is likely that N.T writings were built up as rival factions of Christianity tried to refute each other. "Whose word is it?" will help to awaken your mind to seeing how these texts came to be put together and that, probably, they are far from being a fax from God.
On page 186 headed "Jews and the Texts of Scripture", Ehrman discusses the anti-Semitic language which increases with time from Mark through to Johns gospel(probably written after 100C.E.
How is it that a faith supposedly all about love talks in such a harsh, brutal way about the Jews , language which is also unacceptable in a modern civilization? The Jews, even according to the story, only played into Gods plan and in any case how can you blame a whole peoples for the decision of Pilate and a few priests?
Perhaps the greatest idea from this book is that you should let each of the books of the bible have its own voice rather than averaging & blurring everything together. E.g when you compare Lukes nativity with Matthews it is obvious the contradiction between them is impossible to reconcile, Luke has Mary and Joseph native to Nazareth while Matthew has M&J native to Bethlehem.
Does this review accurately reflect the words of Ehrman or have I exaggerated and massaged his views to suit my own doctrine? You'll have to read the originals!
For one of the clearest examples of Bible fiction try " The pre Nicene New Testament " by Robert M. Price p 592 where he observes that Acts 10 & 11 has Peter wondering if the gospel is just for Jewish people, but how can that be when Matt 28v19 and Luke 24v47 has Jesus tell the 11 disciples, " to make disciples of all nations ". Had Peter forgotten ? Acts 10 shows disciples with no habit of looking up written records of the sayings of Jesus. No wonder Jesus got fed up with Peter's actions sometimes
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