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on 9 October 2014
As a born again, Bible-believing Christian this has certainly given me food for thought. I see Ehrman is a scholar who has attempted (more or less) to deal honestly and scientifically with the text.

I have learned a great deal about the problems of textual criticism, and it was fun to read how early scribes may have altered the text in such a way that our modern reading has been affected by it. And how modern scholarship is attempting to recover the originals.

But it's the "more or less" that I have problems with. It is clear that Erhman has a slant, an agenda. I do not mean this in a derogatory fashion. We all have our slants and our agendas. And this has coloured his opinions. There were parts of the text where I really felt he was stretching it. It's hard to remember all of the areas i felt he was doing this, but just this morning I finished up the last chapter where he delves into the anti-Semitic reasons as to why early scribes may have changed the text. He speaks with such certainty, but like so much in this field his opinions are only conjecture. Perhaps very good and logical, but sitting there reading I was able to come up with other possible scenarios (using the principles he gives) as to why the text may have changed.

Ehrman tries to portray himself as a disinterested scholar, but it is clear he dislikes Christianity even though he has given his life to the study of it. That's fine. But one should be aware that this will affect the way one looks at the evidence and how one interprets it.

I believe Christianity is primarily about a relationship with Jesus Christ, which is why I am not too bothered by the idea that textual variants have appeared in the manuscripts. Fundamentalistic religion balks at the idea and squirms around it, but the Word is a Person, not ink on a page.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 October 2016
This is a very interesting and well written book, that examines how the manuscripts of the New Testament have been altered and adapted over time. The author, a biblical scholar, examines the historical process which has changed the New Testament. The original manuscripts - written during the latter part of the 1st century and the first part of the second century, no longer exist ... nor do the first copies that were made during the second 2nd century. Nor, indeed, do the initial copies of the copies - as made during the 3rd century. What we have access to are copies of the copies of the copies of the copies ... And the earliest such documents that still survive are from the 4th century. These manuscripts, written centuries after the originals, contain many differences. As such, we simply don't possess - and can't access - the originals. And what we do possess clearly show that many changes have been made.

Given that so many changes were made during the initial centuries following the writing of the original New Testament manuscripts, we can't know what those originals actually said. All we know is what later writers offer us ... and, as these later documents are so very different from each other, we've no idea which - if any - is more authentic. What's more, still later versions of the New Testament - such as the King James - are is various ways different from the earliest existing manuscripts. So further changes - throughout the second half of the first millennium, and during the first half of the second millennium - have been made. Sentences in the text have been altered; new sentences have been added!

What Ehrman does is provide us with a fascinating account on who changed the New Testament. This is a book written with a popular audience in mind, and it's straightforward to understand. I found it an enjoyable read ... But it is rather short (at some 218 pages), and it goes into little detail as regards what the alterations and changes actually are. Ehrman points out that such adaptations have been made, but says too little about their specifics. I would have enjoyed a more in-depth study. Fortunately, the author has written such a book - The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament.
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on 23 March 2015
Bart Ehrman has a consistent and convincing position on the reality of Jesus and the New Testament. Having read several of his books, it boils down to the story of a first century messianic preacher who was elevated to godhood in the generations that followed his death. In "How Jesus Became God", Ehrman examines that process and the external religious influences that spurred it on. In "Forged", he looks at how large parts of the New Testament were fraudulently attributed to Paul in particular to support the emerging orthodox Christian position against rival Christian views like Marcionism and Gnosticism. With "Misquoting Jesus", he's in the same territory but this time taking a closer look at the role of scribes and translators in accidentally and intentionally altering texts. This book spans a much longer time period from the Romans to the Enlightenment.

I think it's fair to say it complements his other works but if you were starting out on the works of Bart Ehrman, I'd try some of his other writings first - particularly the recent "How Jesus Became God". Ehrman is much heavier going than Reza Aslan ("Zealot"), but ultimately more rewarding. He may lack Aslan's fast paced story telling ability, but the analysis is more rewarding and deeper. That's not to diminish Aslan who has clearly gone for a more populist approach.

What Ehrman forces Christians to face up to is a combination of amateur, blundering scribes in the first centuries, deliberate alterations and "improvements" to the texts and a total absence of copyright law in the ancient world. Thousands of changes have wormed their way into the New Testament including accounts of Jesus's life and works that were inserted into the gospels from other sources. Theological agendas have removed offending words from the original texts and mistranslations have been repeated and accepted.

A fascinating book.
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on 10 May 2012
It is not easy to find a book that is so eloquent on the subject of the the Bible. From an avid evangelist to a faithful critique of the origins of the book. The story explores the twisting pathways and mutations that the bible underwent to arrive at the modern 'English' version.
a detailed look with full supporting evidence at how the bible was written, not with God's inspiration but by man's politics.
If there as to be one criticism the story only delves at how the bible is a fable based on long lost stories. Ehrman doesn't explore the potabilities that not only was the bible a fable but also that the persona of Jesus was also a myth.
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on 20 April 2015
Bart brings the evidence to justify what I have always thought about the inadequacy of religious teaching. That it is based on mythology in patent; but that the mythology has to be redacted to make it seem less mythological is an eye-opener. A good book especially as it comes from someone who was brought up to believe every word in the gospels.
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on 12 November 2010
This was a subject that I basically knew nothing about. I found this book to be fascinating.
In particular I found the history of the subject to be unexpectedly interesting and also interesting how attitudes have changed. The author was a Fundamentalist and until he started his theology studies he had no idea that other branches of Christianity don't see the Bible as the inerrant word of God.
It went into just the right amount of depth, though sometimes the writing can be a little stilted.
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on 6 October 2015
Really informative book, Ehrman at his best. It really explains the ways that biblical scholars try to unearth the early bible from later copies. Of course, the originals do not exist. Really fascinating stuff. Very clearly explained.
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on 24 December 2017
The author clearly shows the credibility of the New Testament. Importantly, he is not asking that you agree with his interpretations, but shows the processes that have affected the texts over the millennia so that you can draw your own conclusions.
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on 6 February 2018
An interesting read.
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on 19 September 2017
Came punctually. Quality as promised. Super
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