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Author Topic: Bible scholar claims half of New Testament is forged  (Read 2199 times) Average Rating: 0
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HumbledDaily
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« on: May 14, 2011, 09:25:49 PM »

Thoughts?

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/13/half-of-new-testament-forged-bible-scholar-says/?iref=obnetwork
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2011, 09:32:51 PM »

 Roll Eyes

There is always someone who says things like this. It's funny how the claims of the detractors also contradict each other, whereas the Scripture continues to stand the test of time.

Also, if the Apostles, who were also busy doing things like preaching, and being bishops,  Roll Eyes had some secretary or other helpers to write things down for them, so what? If a person has an assistant, that makes him a forger?  Huh

Then again, Ehrman can't support the Gospel, because if he did, he'd have to stop cranking out his factory of facile 'this isn't really what it says' books, which cater to the confused.

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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2011, 09:33:00 PM »

I think Bart D. Ehrman has been trying his darndest to pick up where the Jesus Seminar left off. Nonetheless, because I'm curious, I will buy the book.
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2011, 09:35:10 PM »

This guy again? Seriously?
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2011, 09:36:54 PM »

What a cheap attention whore Bart Ehrman is. I knew exactly who was behind this just by looking at the headline.

So he's got another embarrassing book out? Nice.
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2011, 09:41:41 PM »

At some point Ehrmen was supposedly a respectable scholar. Now all he does as present Minimalist teaching as fact.

Given the efforts the early Church put into avoiding canonization of pseudopigraphy, I have a hard time believing that many books/epistles slipped through.
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2011, 09:44:11 PM »

Quote from: Kasatkin fan
Given the efforts the early Church put into avoiding canonization of pseudopigraphy, I have a hard time believing that many books/epistles slipped through.

True. His complaint seems to be, 'Hey, I didn't see them write it, and we don't have photos!...'  Angry  Tongue

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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2011, 10:29:56 PM »

New Testament scholar Ben Witherington III's review of this might be worth a look (Witherington III, mentioned also in the article linked in the original post, recently debated the author publicly on this topic. Whereas the thread title has "Half of the NT was forged," Witherington III argues *none* of the NT was forged *by Bart Ehrman's own definition of forged*).

I haven't read Ehrman's latest (although I have reviewed an earlier book of his here). Perhaps I'll add a bit more later.

For now here is an excerpt:
Quote from: Ben Witherington III
What I will be arguing as this review goes on, is that Bart is wrong, not about the many forgeries out there in antiquity.  He is too narrow in his thinking about what the name label on a scroll  might mean,  and is therefore wrong that we have forgeries in the  NT.  No, actually we do not.  We have documents authored by those so named, we have documents written by scribes on behalf of those so named, we have anonymous documents later mistakenly ascribed to Paul (e.g. Hebrews)  or John son of Zebedee (e.g. Gospel of John, Revelation of John), we have composite documents that list the first or most important contributing source.   In none of these cases are we dealing with forgery as defined by Bart Ehrman...

...what we mean by putting someone’s name on a document today was not exactly the same as what was meant in antiquity.   Sometimes a document was named or labeled after its most famous contributor  (e.g. Moses when it came to the Pentateuch, or  Matthew when it came to the Gospel in his name).    Sometimes a document would be named after its most famous source (e.g. 2 Peter which has a Petrine source).  Sometimes a document would be named after the person who actually wrote it— say Luke, in Luke-Acts.  Now all of these practices were legitimate scribal practices, when they were putting tags on ancient documents to identify them and their sort or source or author.  Van der Tooren is worth a close look on some of these things, and one can also read the Introductions in my commentaries on the Pastorals or on 1-2 Peter and Jude....
« Last Edit: May 14, 2011, 10:38:48 PM by xariskai » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2011, 10:33:10 PM »

Honestly this guy is just making noise just to fund his wallet. His "scholarship" has been widely discredited as fringe. His heterodox beliefs collapsed one day and now he seeks revenge through venom. Ehrman presupposed that the Bible was an innerant and infallible book, which is in direct contradiction to the actual Church that gave birth to the New Testament and the Bible itself.

It's funny how he mentions that half of the NT was forged, yet Plutarch who was a biographer during the antiquity period never signed a single manuscript and no scholar doubts the authoriship. But according to Ehrman's logic, they must be forgeries.
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2011, 10:33:10 PM »

BTW isn't the NT practically 99.5% accurate based on the various manuscripts that we have? I'm sorry but the NT is about as reliable as it comes when it was being copied.

And in any case didn't the Church Fathers know of the inconsistencies within the NT, yet it still was an accurate reflection of what the Church professed to be true?

Ehrman would neeed to provide substatinal evidence that the Orthodox Church fell into such heresy that it cannot be trusted. He's yet to provide a compelling case.
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2011, 10:33:23 PM »

I totally forgot about that BW3 blog post, thank you xariskai. What a fantastic rebuttal.
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2011, 10:47:30 PM »

I think Bart D. Ehrman has been trying his darndest to pick up where the Jesus Seminar left off. Nonetheless, because I'm curious, I will buy the book.

You'd do better to put that money towards a homeless shelter, rather than in that man's pocket.

...just saying.

Don't support him with your dollars.
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2011, 10:48:43 PM »

Yeah, fwiw I took the book out of my amazon.com cart after it only being in there a few minutes.
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2011, 10:51:39 PM »


 Cheesy 
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« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2011, 12:08:51 AM »

Protestant textual criticism's logical conclusion.
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« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2011, 12:10:24 AM »

Yeah, fwiw I took the book out of my amazon.com cart after it only being in there a few minutes.

Whew.  Cool

His stuff is unfortunately pretty popular with the library. There's always a segment of the population that will believe any theory of uncertainty.
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« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2011, 01:27:17 AM »

I think Bart D. Ehrman has been trying his darndest to pick up where the Jesus Seminar left off. Nonetheless, because I'm curious, I will buy the book.
If you want to save money, you can check out a copy from the library or try inter-library loan if your library does not have it.
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« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2011, 02:17:24 PM »

Protestant textual criticism's logical conclusion.

Pithy and to the point!
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« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2011, 02:30:42 PM »

For now here is an excerpt:
Quote from: Ben Witherington III
What I will be arguing as this review goes on, is that Bart is wrong, not about the many forgeries out there in antiquity.  He is too narrow in his thinking about what the name label on a scroll  might mean,  and is therefore wrong that we have forgeries in the  NT.  No, actually we do not.  We have documents authored by those so named, we have documents written by scribes on behalf of those so named, we have anonymous documents later mistakenly ascribed to Paul (e.g. Hebrews)  or John son of Zebedee (e.g. Gospel of John, Revelation of John), we have composite documents that list the first or most important contributing source.   In none of these cases are we dealing with forgery as defined by Bart Ehrman...

...what we mean by putting someone’s name on a document today was not exactly the same as what was meant in antiquity.   Sometimes a document was named or labeled after its most famous contributor  (e.g. Moses when it came to the Pentateuch, or  Matthew when it came to the Gospel in his name).    Sometimes a document would be named after its most famous source (e.g. 2 Peter which has a Petrine source).  Sometimes a document would be named after the person who actually wrote it— say Luke, in Luke-Acts.  Now all of these practices were legitimate scribal practices, when they were putting tags on ancient documents to identify them and their sort or source or author.  Van der Tooren is worth a close look on some of these things, and one can also read the Introductions in my commentaries on the Pastorals or on 1-2 Peter and Jude....

If Ehrman is not aware of these basic facts, how does he get published? Surely there must be more to his argument no matter how incorrect it is.
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« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2011, 02:46:46 PM »



If Ehrman is not aware of these basic facts, how does he get published? Surely there must be more to his argument no matter how incorrect it is.

Not really.  The fact is Ehrman is not arguing anything "new", he's just rehashing late 19th and early 20th century arguments that have been discredited in actual Biblical scholarship for more than 50 years.  Works get published not because arguments hold weight but because publishers know those books will sell.  At least in the commercial press.  In academia works can get published not because the argument holds weight but because it supports the popular theories and dear mythologies of the reigning school of thought.
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« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2011, 03:19:13 PM »

New Testament scholar Ben Witherington III's review of this might be worth a look (Witherington III, mentioned also in the article linked in the original post, recently debated the author publicly on this topic. Whereas the thread title has "Half of the NT was forged," Witherington III argues *none* of the NT was forged *by Bart Ehrman's own definition of forged*).

I haven't read Ehrman's latest (although I have reviewed an earlier book of his here). Perhaps I'll add a bit more later.

For now here is an excerpt:
Quote from: Ben Witherington III
What I will be arguing as this review goes on, is that Bart is wrong, not about the many forgeries out there in antiquity.  He is too narrow in his thinking about what the name label on a scroll  might mean,  and is therefore wrong that we have forgeries in the  NT.  No, actually we do not.  We have documents authored by those so named, we have documents written by scribes on behalf of those so named, we have anonymous documents later mistakenly ascribed to Paul (e.g. Hebrews)  or John son of Zebedee (e.g. Gospel of John, Revelation of John), we have composite documents that list the first or most important contributing source.   In none of these cases are we dealing with forgery as defined by Bart Ehrman...

...what we mean by putting someone’s name on a document today was not exactly the same as what was meant in antiquity.   Sometimes a document was named or labeled after its most famous contributor  (e.g. Moses when it came to the Pentateuch, or  Matthew when it came to the Gospel in his name).    Sometimes a document would be named after its most famous source (e.g. 2 Peter which has a Petrine source).  Sometimes a document would be named after the person who actually wrote it— say Luke, in Luke-Acts.  Now all of these practices were legitimate scribal practices, when they were putting tags on ancient documents to identify them and their sort or source or author.  Van der Tooren is worth a close look on some of these things, and one can also read the Introductions in my commentaries on the Pastorals or on 1-2 Peter and Jude....

Thank you! That explains a lot.  Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2011, 04:40:15 PM »

It's important to remember than in the 19th and early 20th century (as FormerReformer alludes), it was common and fashionable in biblical scholarship to say Jesus of Nazareth never existed and that Christianity is nothing more than mythology.

Unfortunately for these people, over time, the accuracy of the New Testament on non-theological claims has been increasingly confirmed by archaeology and scholarship of non-Christian contemporary sources.

The moment someone even tries the "Jesus never existed" or "the New Testament can't be true because it was purportedly written by illiterates" thing, I just stop listening.
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« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2011, 04:44:16 PM »


The moment someone even tries the "Jesus never existed" or "the New Testament can't be true because it was purportedly written by illiterates" thing, I just stop listening.
This has got to be one of the worst arguments in the history of the world on any subject, yet has the distinctive flavour of something that would come out of modern academia. Just because someone was a poor illiterate fisherman (and even that was only a small number of the apostles), does not mean they can never learn to be literate.
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« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2011, 06:04:02 PM »



If Ehrman is not aware of these basic facts, how does he get published? Surely there must be more to his argument no matter how incorrect it is.

Not really.  The fact is Ehrman is not arguing anything "new", he's just rehashing late 19th and early 20th century arguments that have been discredited in actual Biblical scholarship for more than 50 years.  Works get published not because arguments hold weight but because publishers know those books will sell.  At least in the commercial press.  In academia works can get published not because the argument holds weight but because it supports the popular theories and dear mythologies of the reigning school of thought.
Exactly, his arguments are simply oldhat and have been refuted in modern Biblical scholarship. The only reason he gets attention is because people simply do not do their homework and/or choose not to. It kind of reminds me of the sad attempt atheists have on holding onto a Jesus myth theory which has been thorougly debunked. In fact many of those myth comparisions have simply been made up.

As I said, Ehrman would have to demonstrate significant evidence as to why these documents would be forged as a springboard for manipulation or control.

Either Christianity is the crulest hoax ever created or it is the turth. There is simply no gray matter about it.
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« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2011, 09:03:48 PM »

This guy again? Seriously?

My sentiments exactly.
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« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2011, 09:24:53 PM »

Ehrman's a hack. The man is just desperate for attention since no one listens to him anymore.
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