Ehrman vs Wallace - Can We Trust the Text of the NT?Jun 02, 2021
trustthe new testaments this question could mean a number of different things it could mean is the new testament historically accurate it could mean is it theologically true it could mean is it internally consistent all of those are important questions but they are not our focus tonight instead our focus is on a more specific question. Can we
textof the New Testament? And by
textwe mean literally the words that make up the New Testament. Can we know the original text? Can we know the exact words that the original authors wrote or?
Has the text become so distorted by scribal errors and intentional changes over the centuries that we can no longer know what the texts originally were? Another way to think about this question is to ask how much ancient and medieval scribes corrupted the text of a New Testament, this is a crucial question in order to properly understand the New Testament and as our speakers will know we do not have any of the original manuscripts that the biblical writers produced we do not have a single original or a single autograph I refer you to the glossary and its program for definitions of technical terms like autograph instead of autographs what we have are copies or rather copies of copies or even copies of copies of copies, On the one hand, we are lucky to have thousands of these copies in over 5,800 Greek manuscripts of various sizes and more are still being discovered, for example a team at the center led by dr.
Wallace discovered four new Greek Bible manuscripts in Athens this past spring, in addition to the Greek manuscripts. We also have thousands of other manuscripts and languages such as Latin, Coccyx, Optics, Slovak, Georgian, Armenian, Syriac, we also have quotes and allusions to the New Testament from various ancient writers, so this is a set remarkable amount of data think about the skill set scholars have to work on to actually read all of these languages this is why text criticism is one of the most difficult subfields of biblical studies to work on this wealth of data data however creates its own set of problems we have all these manuscripts but they differ from each other the cause of text variation introduced by scribes when we compare the different readings can we determine that one reading is more likely to be original than the others if not if we can't build the original text how far back can we push it how early can we get there and if we can't determine the original text when How much doe If it matters, these are the kinds of questions that text critics tackle, and we're lucky to have two of the world's best-known text critics, Daniel B Wallace and Bart Dearman, we'll see that when they examine the evidence they find a lot. those who agree with each other but find much they disagree on herman has argued that we cannot always know the original text of the biblical writers while the Wallace's Center is dedicated to the great and noble task of determining the autographs from the New Testament that is a quote from the center website for Armen, we will always have significant gaps in our knowledge of the original text unless an autograph for Wallace turns up while the task of determining the original is not complete, it can be done and we are going for good way to do it they clearly disagree, and yet, as you'll see, despite their differences, they obviously have great professional respect for each other.
Our format for tonight is set out in the program that each scholar will present. t an opening argument of about 30 minutes first external aviator then dr. Wallace, after opening arguments, the two of you will have a chance to answer each other and then another round of answers, after that there will be time for questions from the audience and closing arguments will conclude, first my daughter Erman and then Dr. Wallace will then go home and debate who won. I'll introduce each speaker before his opening statement and now I'll start. Bart Deerman is James, a distinguished gray teacher in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
He earned his BA from Wheaton College, his Master of Divinity, and his Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary where he worked with famed text critic Bruce Metzger. After teaching for a few years at Rutgers University, he came to the University of North Carolina in 1988. herman has lectured all over the world, but you don't have to leave home to hear him. He has videotaped several lecture series through the teaching company. You may have come across it in his numerous television and radio appearances on CNN and on shows like Fresh Air with Terry Gross the Diane. Rehm Show The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and even The Colbert Report twice sadly New Testament scholars by definition cannot reach any level of genius so nice try Erlin is the author, co-author or editor of 26 books, that was yesterday's tally, it may be out of date, many of these have been enormously successful, at least four have made the New York Times bestseller list, which never happens for Biblical scholarship going Biblical. scholarship in bestsellers dr.
Ehrman has inadvertently proven that miracles do happen. His books range from technical studies, inscriptions, and particular problems to widely used introductory textbooks such as the New Testament and the Historical Introduction to Early Christian Writings, which has just entered its fifth edition: works on the historical Jesus, the lost gospel. of Judas and Peter Paul and Mary Magdalene his most recent book that just came out is forged writing in the name of God why the authors of the Bible are not who he thinks they are for our purposes I would like to highlight three other books with which the late bruce metzger co-authored the fifth edition of the classic book the text of the new testament which is a standard reference for students and scholars alike he also wrote the orthodox corruption of scripture the effect of early christological controversies on the text of the new testament in which he argued that some of the changes scribes made to biblical texts were theologically motivated, he continues his argument in the most popular book level misquoting Jesus, the story behind who changed the Bible and why, which is a very enjoyable introduction to text criticism for those who are just beginning to learn about it and shorten u They don't think much of it and write a lot about the issues being discussed tonight, Bart, we welcome you here tonight and ask if we can trust the text of the New Testament.
Well, thank you very much for that generous introduction, mark, and thank you all for coming, so just to start, let me ask. How many of you would consider yourself a Bible-believing Christian? Okay, how many of you were here to watch me get torn to pieces? Okay, all I ask is that you approach it with an open mind. I did my PhD with Bruce Metzger, who was the world's leading scholar of textual criticism. I was his last PhD student. I did a master's thesis and a doctoral dissertation with him and then when I graduated. Since the Princeton seminary, for several years I have written nothing but books on textual criticism.
About five or six years ago, I decided to try to write a book for popular audiences to explain what scholars have said about this field and what was the book that misquotes Jesus that Mark mentioned? I must say that when I wrote misquoting Jesus, that is not the title I wanted to give it. You may not know it, but academics who write books for popular audiences usually don't. t give the titles to the book they are not allowed to give the titles to the book and it's not a title I really wanted since the book has to deal with how the New Testament has been passed down through the centuries by scribes who a times change the text.
I heard the title of the book was lost on the stream, which I thought was pretty cool. Very good title. My editor decided against it because he thought that in places like Texas we did call it the . t on the broadcast and someone went to Barnes & Noble and saw it on the shelf they would assume it was a book about NASCAR I suggested it might improve sales can we trust the text of the New Testament to arrive at this question? give a little bit of information about how we got the New Testaments when you read the New Testament today you take the Gospel of Mark and you read the words and you assume you are reading the words Mark wrote of course you assume that but you are reading them in English and Mark wrote in Greek and you are reading the words that Mark actually wrote even if they are correctly translated from Greek to English first we have to think about the original mark we don't know who Mark was we don't know where he lived we don't know when he was writing usually it is thought that he was a greek speaking christian living writing sometime around 70 so about 40 years after jesus died and some people think he was writing in rome not knowing where he is writing lets say he was writing in rome Let's say he is writing in Rome around the year 70 Mark wrote an account of the life of Jesus death and resurrection this book that he wrote was put into circulation in the typical way that books were put into circulation in the ancient world, if someone wanted a copy of the book, they couldn't just go to Barnes & Noble, there was no Barnes & Noble and the book was not available. been mass-produced, had been written by anyone. mark yourself or by a handscribe if someone wanted to have their own copy they had to make a copy or have someone else make a copy for them and so the mark was eventually copied maybe the mark was copied many times, maybe he only copied it a few times, but once it was copied, more copies were needed, so some people copied the copies and then some people copied the copies of the copies and some people copied the copies of the copies of the copies of the copies now don't know if you've ever tried to write a copy of one of the New Testament books like the Gospel of Mark, but I can guarantee that if you do, you'll make a mistake, you could make a lot of mistakes and you will have a much better education. and literate than the vast majority of early Christians Errors occur when people copy texts and the problem is that when someone copies a text and makes a mistake, the next person who copies the copy replicates the mistakes of their predecessor and makes their own mistakes and then someone else comes along and copies that copy and when they copy that copy they replicate the mistakes of their two predecessors and make their own mistakes and then someone copies that copy and it goes on like this year after year after year the only mistakes of time to be corrected is when a scribe is copying a text and realizes that this copy has an error and tries to correct the error, but he wanted to say that he doesn't know what the original said, he is just trying to correct it. gh it's possible that when someone tries to correct an error they correct it incorrectly, in which case you have the original copy you have the error and you have the error in the error correction three forms of the text and then someone copies that tax form and it continues like this month after month year after year decade after decade and so you get copies of the copies of the copies we don't have the original version of the mark we don't have the book II wrote we don't have the first copy made of the mark or any of the first copies or copies of the copies and we don't have copies of the copies of the copies of the mark Mark's book was copied for many years before we have any copies the first copy we have of mark is a manuscript that scholars have called p45 now they call it p45 because it is written in papyrus which was the ancient equivalent of paper was the writing material people used to use and is called p45 because this happens to be the 45 New Testa papyrus manuscript item that was cataloged and that's why it's called p45 this is what it looks like this is a page from p45 you can see it's not a full page as you can see there are holes in the manuscript here and here and the addition of the margin is missing here but this is one of the best preserved pages of this manuscript p45 p45 is not a complete mark manuscript obviously some things are missing on this particular page is that it doesn't have anything from the first three chapters it starts with the chapter for this surviving fragment that we have it's not complete only fragmentary this copy has only five verses from chapter four and then has verses from the next eight chapters it basically goes from chapter on to chapter twelve so it doesn't have the last four chapters it doesn't have the first three chapters so missing the first three, the last four and has some parts of things in the middle t This is our first surviving copy of the Gospel of Mark, except for little bits and pieces we've got a little bit or two here but this is basically the first copy that works for us so it's our oldest copy and it's usually dated to around 220 220 CE or 220 AD now if Mark waswritten in the year 70 that means this copy was made one hundred and fifty years after the original and is our first copy this type of time lapse is not unusual in the New Testament this is the type of time lapse we are talking about for the most of the New Testament books not just a gospel mark for the most part I'm just using the mark as an illustration we don't have a complete copy of the Gospel of Mark until the middle of the 4th century until about the middle of the 4th century 300 years of copies before we have a surviving complete copy many copies were made before this complete copy and many copies were made before P 45 P 45 is not a copy of the original mark it is a proof copy of a copy made a few years before it was a copy of a copy made a few years before that was a copy of a copy made a few years before and so on there have been numerous stages between the original and our first copy how many er rores have slipped into the text before we started getting copies there is no way of knowing because we have no earlier copies these are the first the first complete copy 300 years after how many intermediate stages of copying we don't know we just don't know we can't to know because we don't know if we don't have the manuscripts to tell us this again it's not just true for the gospel brand it's true for all the books of the New Testament it seems that when you buy the New Testament we know what's in it because you go to the bookstore and you buy a New Testament and you know you go to another bookstore you survive the 10 new ones it's the same but not in the ancient world if you lived in Rome and read a copy of Mark and then you went to Ephesus and read a copy of Mark you might be reading two different ent copies with two different wordings of this passage or that passage these copies are circulating throughout the Roman world wherever Christians may of course they wanted copies with the gospels if you wanted a copy of the gospel and you lived in Ephesus but it was made in Rome you had to make a copy in Rome and take it to Ephesus and then you made a copy that was maybe a copy of the copy of the copy so maybe you're making a copy of a copy that actually had a lot of errors in it, but that's the copy you have now in Ephesus and suppose someone from Callosity wants a copy so good that they come to Ephesus and make a copy a copy of this wrong copy and that is the gospel that they have in the colossi and then someone raised someone from Antioch wants a copy because they come to the colossi and there they make a copy of this errant copy that is based on copies of the copies of the cups and it goes around the Roman world like this with everyone making mistakes and there's no way for us to know. what mistakes had been made in the early stages, that is the problem we are faced with with the text of the New Testament, so what can we say about our surviving copies?
Well, the good news is that we have many copies of the New Testament, we have many. more copies of the New Testament than of any other book in the ancient world we have many more copies than we have a Plato or his rip ADIZ or Homer or a masculinist name its author we have many more copies of the New Testament than any that is the good news the bad news is that we don't have any of the first copies it's good that we have copies from later centuries but we don't have the copies we want which are the copies from the first centuries what can you tell us about the ages of these copies, well the The oldest copy of Mark is p45, which we look at from the year 220, we have a fragment of a part of the New Testament from almost a hundred years before, maybe a hundred years, it's hard to date these things look like they come out with mom nuscripts is based on handwriting analysis basically i want to simplify things it is based on handwriting analysis there are scholars called paleography who can look at a greek manuscript and, based on the style of the writing, tell you when it was written about 50 years from now, well, then we have this fragment called p-52, the fifty-second papyrus catalogue, which is a small fragment, probably from the early 1900s. 2nd century so maybe 180 years or 100 years before p45 is a small credit Card sized fragment It is about the size of a credit card quilt written on both front and back containing a part The parts of some verses of the 18th chapter of John The trial of Jesus before Pilate It does not contain any complete verse It is all it is a triangular shaped fragment that was discovered in the basement of the john rylands library in english, where scholars found themselves realize what was discovered somewhere in Egypt like all these papyri w So he gives us some verses which are cool I mean it's cool to know you had a copy of John floating around beginning of the 2nd century, but you did it, it's just a few lines, it's not much. most of our surviving manuscripts date from after the ninth century, so if these books of all the books of the New Testament were written in the first century, as almost everyone thinks, then we won't really start receiving many copies. until the 9th century these 9th century manuscripts that we have are abundant we have thousands of manuscripts from the 9th century the 10th century the 11th century the 12th century and so on but that is not the problem it is good that we have these later manuscripts but they are based on in earlier manuscripts that were based on earlier manuscripts that were based on earlier manuscripts and we don't know how good those manuscripts were that is the problem as a result of copying practices there are many errors found in our surviving copies many errors in the year 1707 long ago in the year 1707 there was a scholar in oxford whose name was john mill who decided to publish an edition of the greek new testament in which he had studied some greek manuscripts that were available to him from the greek new testament studies one hundred manuscripts and took note of each time these manuscripts had differences, where they disagreed with each other and how to compose a prayer tion, he did not write down all the differences just the ones he thought were important and he noted all the differences he thought were important in the manuscript and then produced an edition of the Greek New Testament at the top of the page, he wrote a line or two or three or five of the Greek New Testament and at the bottom of the page he listed the places where he had found different readings what we call variant readings and he did so page after page for the entire New Testament where between the one hundred manuscripts that he examined, he found differences to the surprise and dismay of many of his readers.
John Mills's Greek New Testament contained thirty thousand places of variation among the manuscripts he had examined. Thirty thousand places where the manuscripts differed from each other. upset some people, there were people who claimed that John Mill was trying to make the text of the New Testament uncertain, his followers pointed out that he didn't make up these thirty thousand places, he just pointed out that they exist, well that was three hundred years ago and that was based on the study of one hundred manuscripts now we have fifty six hundred manuscripts how many differences do we know today the reality is that no one knows no one has been able to count all the differences in our manuscripts some scholars say there are two hundred thousand differences some say there are three hundred thousand differences some say there are four hundred thousand differences we don't know Now even with advances in computer technology we don't know one thing we can say for sure is that there are more differences in our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.
There are many differences in the manuscripts and that's just the manuscripts we have, how many differences were there before, we don't know now what kind of errors we have in these manuscripts, so to be quite clear, most of these three hundred thousand four hundred thousand differences are completely irrelevant, insignificant and not It doesn't matter for anything other than to show that scribes in the ancient world couldn't write better than my students today and you know they didn't have dictionaries they certainly didn't have spell check I mean these students today how can you misspell a word? The computer puts a red line below.
How dumb do you have to be to misspell a word? them up or probably misspelled words this is what I would call an accidental type of change that the scribes just couldn't spell and you know the scribes didn't really care how they were spelled sometimes you'll have the same word like two lines later spelled differently they didn't know it wasn't a problem for that what those differences are and so who cares about differences in spelling oh you know most of us don't care that much actually there are some spelling differences that matter, but most spelling differences don't matter at all, there are other kinds of accidental mistakes that you find in man, you see that scribes were often incompetent or sleepy or inattentive and made mistakes.
Scribes sometimes omitted a letter. a word they often omitted an entire line there. I would jump from one line to the next and then they would drop a line. There are some manuscripts in which the scribes have left such a page. Eah, that's one distracted scribe. There are other places where scribes accidentally copy the same word twice or the same line twice. I don't know many cases of copying the same page twice, so these are what I would call accidental changes. by far the majority of man uses the variations that we have in our manuscript and the thing is these accidental mistakes are usually pretty easy if you train, they're pretty easy to spot and you can see where it happened and so they're not non they are all not significant enough to try to figure out what the authors said but i have to say this about accidental changes there were probably even more accidental changes in the years before we have surviving manuscripts now my reason for thinking is this by the time you get to say that the Middle Ages are copying manuscripts, the people who copy manuscripts in the middle are highly educated literate people who are monks in monasteries who are trained to copy manuscripts, those are the people who copied manuscripts in the Middle Ages, well, there were no monks in the 4th century, so when we start to get a full manual, it's copying the man if you still it has no monks in the monasteries well then the people who copied them in the 4th century at least the 4th century manuscripts we have are pretty good so they are written by very literate people who seem to be skilled at copying manuscripts in the 4th century IV, but things begin to change. when you start doing it earlier, the 3rd century manuscripts are not as good as the 4th century manuscripts, the scribes don't seem to be trained when you get to the 2nd century, a lot of the manuscripts we don't have much we just have fragments here and there from the 2nd century , but they are not as good as the 4th century manuscripts I was copying the manuscripts to begin with, the reality is that most people in the ancient world were illiterate.
This seems strange to us today because almost everyone we meet is literate. I mean, literacy is still a huge problem in this country, but 99% of the population in the United States can at least read the sports page in the ancient world, maybe 10% of the population could read the sports page. sports they didn't have sports pages but in theory they could have read the sports page most people couldn't read most people couldn't write who copied the manuscripts in early christian churches probably whoever the guy was in church who could at least read something was the person who copied the manuscript she trained as a scribe not very well so how good was she probably not very good she probably made accidental mistakes that replicated and replicated and replicated until she survived manually i probably mean, I don't know, nobody knows, Dan doesn't know, now he will tell you that he knows, but I tell you that he doesn't, besides accidental mistakes, there are intentional mistakes.
Onal takes are by far the most interesting types of bugs and I'm going to give you several examples of what I think are pretty significant changes where a scribe will look like they're intentionally changing something now that we don't have the scribes around. to interview so we don't know they changed intentionally I mean we can't ask them if they did this on purpose or not but you'll see from these examples it looks like someone is doing this on purpose probably if it's not just a massive accident but still They are major changes, so we will see them before.
I just want to make one final point: the early guides were much worse than the later scribes. They certainly made a lot more accidental changes. They may have made a lot more intentional changes and there is no way for us to know let me tell you about some of the intentional changes. I'll just give you a list of what these will be passages that if you know the bible well I have. a strange feeling thatyou do unlike my students at Chapel Hill these will be passages you are likely to be familiar with in the King James Bible first John chapter 5 verses 7 and 8 provides us with the only place in the entire New Testament where the doctrine of the Trinity is explicitly taught the doctrine of the Trinity is that there are three persons in the Deity the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit and those are not three gods the three are one first John chapter 5 verses 7 and 8 in the King James Bible refers to there are three in heaven, the father, the word and the spirit, and these three are one that is in the King James Bible, but it is not in the Greek manuscript, you get it, actually it is some Greek manuscripts and it is in Latin manuscripts that was in the heart. from the Latin Vulgate is an important verse because as I said you can intuit or you can reason towards the Trinity from other New Testament passages this is the only passage that teaches it explicitly and it was not originally in the dan New Testament and I do not disagree on this point this verse was not originally in the New Testament it is an important verse, well it was for my grandfather when the Revised Standard Version came out in 1952, it went through the roof because it did not have the Trinity teaching, they brought out the Trinity, this was a big offense, no.
Almost as offensive it would be to him, but it was a big offense, well, it's a pretty big deal whether these verses are there or not, whether Jesus was ever called the only God in the New Testament, it depends on which manuscript trust for the chapter of John. 1 verse 18 some of our manuscripts the manuscripts of some textual scholars prefer and others do not prefer some in this verse speak of Jesus as the only God no one has seen the father at any time the only son or the only God who is in the bosom of the father that one has made known to him is jesus actually the only god himself where is the son of god both are important but i mean does it matter if jesus is called god the god in the new testament depends on what you do with j Ohn chapter 1 verse 18 Does the Gospel of Luke teach a doctrine of atonement?
The doctrine of the atonement is that the death of Christ is death for sins. Interestingly, Luke changes several verses that he found in his predecessor, the Gospel of Mark, which spoke of Jesus as an atonement for sins, okay, it's a little complicated, but everyone, most Bible scholars, I don't know I think most Bible scholars agree that Mark was the first gospel written in Luke. Copic marks some of the stories from him and obtained stories from other sources. of the verses in marks it is very famous verse of marks chapter 10 the Son of man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many this is a verse that Lucas excluded when he gave his account of the life of Jesus he does not include that first for some reason, it is striking that the only place where Luke's ideas about Jesus' death indicate that his death was an atonement for sins is in the passage in Luke 22 verses 19 and 20 where Jesus gives is at the Last Supper Jesus in the Gospel of Luke Jesus first gives the cup before receiving the bread this is the cup of the New Covenant, etc. then da el gives bread this is my broken body and then in some manuscripts it doesn't just say that this is my body that has been broken, it says that this is my body that has been broken for you and then goes on to say that this cup is the Covenant of my blood that is shed for you the death of Jesus for the sake of others that is otherwise missing in Luke and you said what a wife is missing in Luke is in Matthew it's fine but no matter what Luke says or doesn't say that no it doesn't matter it just matters what matthew actually says luke doesn't have a doctrine of atonement depending on which manuscripts you trust for chapter 22 many bible readers favorite jesus story is the story of jesus and the woman caught in adultery Jesus is teaching in the temple everyone knows the story that's in all the Jesus movies this story is so good you can't put it down t of a Jesus movie when Mel Gibson made The Passion of the Christ despite which is about the last hours of Jesus, he had to include the story so he included it as a flashback, right boss, Jesus was remembering that this happened because you can't make a Jesus movie. without the woman caught in adultery that the one without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her is found in the manuscripts of the Gospel of John but not originally in the Gospel of John probably because it is not in the early manuscripts of John is a story that was added after our first manuscripts how many stories were added before our first manuscripts?
We have no way of knowing that some of our favorite stories may have been. How would we know that we can't know that we don't? some evidence the last 12 verses of Mark where Jesus appears to his disciples and tells them that anyone who converts and believes in him will be able to speak in foreign languages will be able to handle deadly snakes will drink poison n will do them no harm those verses are not found in the Mark's oldest and best manuscripts these are the verses used by Appalachian snake keepers in my part of the world I've always thought that on the way to the hospital someone should tell one of these people who actually knows those verses are not in the original copy at all.
Jesus prayed. Father, forgive them because they don't know what they are doing. It is found only in Luke, but it may not be in Luke because some manuscripts. If it's missing, you can see that these are pretty important verses, so while most of the changes are accidental, some of the intentional ones really matter - the New Testament text is reliable, the short answer is there's no way to know. how can we know given the kind of evidence we have there are passages scholars continue to debate scholars disagree with this verse or that verse sometimes important verses they debate because we can't know there are passages we will never know what it is the original order was important in my opinion the answer is absolutely yes thank you very much thank you very much dr.
Ehrman, our second speaker is dr. Daniel B Wallace as I pointed out above dr. Wallace is professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. He earned a BA from Biola University and a THM and Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary. he held various ministerial positions, has served on the DTS Faculty since 1987 dr. Wallace has traveled the world to study and photograph biblical manuscripts. He examined biblical manuscripts at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the monastery of st. John the Theologian on the Isle of Patmos The Vatican's Saint Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai and many other sites He is frequently consulted by the media He has appeared on TV shows such as Discovery Day and CBN News and has been a source of stories in publications such as The Wall Street Journal The Boston Globe and Lluis News and World Report has given over one hundred radio interviews in academia is best known for his extensive work in the areas of biblical Greek grammar and text criticism his acclaimed textbook Greek Grammar Beyond Basics, a New Testament exegetical syntax is used in an estimated two-thirds of Biblical Greek classrooms across the country at places like Yale Divinity School Princeton Theological Seminary and abroad and the Cambridge University your textbook on Ancient Greek is so good it's being translated into Modern Greek, think it's already been translated into the port Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
He is the main editor of the Net Bible or the new English translation. This is the first Bible translation that has been beta tested on the Internet. When a preview version was posted online for comment, more than a million people looked at it if it had been on Facebook. they would have said the net bible has nearly 60,1000 footnotes, the most of any one-volume bible translation ever published dr. Wallace is the author or co-author of several other books, such as Who Afraid of the Holy Spirit and Inquiry from God's Spirit Ministry Today Reinventing Jesus How Contemporary Skeptics Failed to See the Real Jesus and Misleading Popular Culture by Dethroning Jesus with Darrell Bock and the Basics of New Testament Syntax I was going to say he's written eight books but that's yesterday's count and it's out of date his newest book is published for the first time tonight reviewing the corruption of the New Testament that title sounds familiar reviewing the corruption of patristic and apocryphal evidence from the new testament manuscript first published tonight in brief dr.
Wallace has done a lot of thinking and writing about the issues being discussed tonight, welcome to SMU and let me ask if we can trust the New Testament text. Bart and I have known each other for almost 30 years. He has had a stellar career. in New Testament studies, especially in the field of textual criticism, I have had the greatest respect for his scholarship, and more than that, I have come to marvel at his quick wit, impressive rhetoric, and clear communication skills, so I want to start. In saying that I am deeply honored to share the stage with him tonight in the appendix to his immensely popular book Misquoting Jesus, Bart states that the facts I explained about the New Testament by misquoting Jesus are nothing new to scholars.
Biblical, they are what scholars have known and said for many years to be right, so up front I want to discuss our common ground, there are basically five things we agree on, first of all, handwritten copies of the New Testament . The document contains many differences, we're not really sure what the number is, but I agree with Bart that there are certainly more differences in manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament, secondly, the overwhelming majority of these differences do not affect Practically nothing. Third, we agree. in what we believe to be the wording of the oldest form of the text is what I will call autographic or, less precisely but more familiar to you, the original text we agree on this almost all the time quarter our agreement is even on various acquaintances and controversial passages some of which Bart has already mentioned mark 16 nine to twenty for example where Jesus tells his disciples they can drink poison and handle snakes and not get hurt I agree with Bart that this passage is not part of the text that Mark wrote and my apologies to anyone who traveled to this Bay debate from West Virginia, we both agree that the story of the woman caught in adultery was not part of the authenticity of John's text, this passage carries more weight emotional than any other, but it has been the search for truth that has led scholars to the near consensus that these 12 verses have no place in the autograph texts of Juan nor in any of the four.
The Gospels, in a nutshell, is my favorite passage that is not in the Bible. These two passages are by far the longest disputed texts in our manuscripts. They have been deemed inauthentic in virtually all modern Bible translations. We both agree that 1 John 5:7 in the King James Bible says that there are three that bear witness in heaven, the father, the word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one, as Bart said, this would be the statement more explicit about the Trinity in the Bible, but it is definitely not part of the original text and this fact has been known to scholars for half a millennium and eventually we both agree that orthodox scribes occasionally changed the text of the New Testament to make it more in line with their views.
So what is the problem? So the problem is not the text, but our disagreement is about two things: how significant these textual variants are, and whether we can have any confidence in recovering the wording of the original. I take the position that we can be relatively safe, I think. that the wording of the originals has not been lost, but can be located in the manuscripts, but the question of how sure we can be that we have found it is an entirely different matter. I will also argue that although the scribes changed the wording of the text for everyone. kinds of reasons why they failed to eradicate the original wording, it was both orthodox and non-orthodox scribes who tampered with a text, but how can we be sure that the original wording has not been erased from the erased history of all records?
Exhibit A is by Bart Ehrman. magnificent scholarly tome the orthodox corruption of scripture for him to locate the tampering of the text by the scribes he has to know what text Pered has been tampered with and nowhere in the book does it say the original is gone or we don't have no idea where the autographs say the opposite. Virtually every one of the 300 pages of this book assumes that the autographic wording can be found among the manuscripts. andwhat's more, Bart has found it right. Let me start with a couple of attitudes that rational people should avoid.
The first is absolute certainty and the second is total despair or complete skepticism. On the one hand, our King James only claims that they are absolutely certain that the King James Bible in each place exactly represents the original text. In fact, I heard them say if the King James Bible was good enough for st. Paul, that's good enough for me and I think it was with the West Virginia accent as well, but this attitude is also one that many church-going Bible-believing Christians adopt without realizing that their modern translations change with each passing day. new addition on the other side are a few radical scholars who are so skeptical that no piece of data no solid fact is safe in their hands everything turns to putty because all opinions are created equal if everything is equally possible no opinion is more likely than any other and his mantra is we don't really know what the New Testament originally said since we no longer possess the originals and since there could have been tremendous manipulation of the text before our extant copies were produced, such skepticism about the recovery of the original wording of the New Testament flies in the face of both reason and empirical evidence, these two actions attitudes, absolute certainty and radical skepticism, are like driving the mountain roads in Greece, which I have done. many times drive too far to the left and you'll hit a tour bus head-on drive too far to the right and you'll end up flying over the cliff where the railing should have been rational people recognize that both extremes result in disaster and the only proper course is one of moderation there are also four questions we need to address tonight how many scribal changes are there for example what kinds of textual variants are there what theological beliefs are dependent on textually suspect passages and finally the In short, can we recover the wording of the original text?
I'm going to spend most of my time on the first question, the number of differences, but you'll see that this ties in significantly to the last question as well, so let me start with a number of variants and I want to start with a definition of a textual variant. is anywhere between manuscripts where there is variation in wording including omission of word order or addition of words, even spelling differences, the most trivial changes count, and even when all but one manuscript says same thing, readings from a single manuscript count as one textual variant and if a thousand read Jesus in one place and a thousand others instead read Christ that also counts as a single variant, the best estimate is that there are between 300,000 and 400,000 variants among the manuscripts, and yet there are only about one hundred and forty thousand words in the New Testament now if this were the only data. we had it would deter anyone from trying to recover the wording of the autographs but that's not the whole story the reason we have a lot of going The important thing is that we have a lot of manuscripts it's simple really no classical Greek or Latin text has as many variants because they don't have that many manuscripts if only one copy of the New Testament existed, it would have zero variants. however, several ancient authors have only one copy of the writings in existence, and sometimes that single copy is not produced for over a millennium, but a single late manuscript would hardly give us confidence that that single manuscript doubled the adjudication. from the original in all respects. was recognized 300 years ago by the brilliant rinche textual scholar Richard Bentley in his works in his work comments on a freethinking discourse that dealt with John Mills's Greek New Testament with 30,000 variants and what he said was if there had been a manuscript but a manuscript of the Greek Testament in the restoration of learning some two centuries ago then we wouldn't have had multiple readings at all and ingenuity If the text were in better condition than it is now that we have thirty thousand variant readings it's nice to have more anchors than one and another manuscript to join the first would give more authority and security.
Bentley pinned those comments to 1713 when only one hundred Greek New Testament manuscripts have been examined today in Greek alone. We now have over 5,600 manuscripts, many of these are fragmentary, especially the older ones, but the average Greek New Testament manuscript is over 450 pages in total, that's over two 1/2 million pages of text that we know pretty well. in CS NT m because we are trying to photograph them all leaving hundreds of witnesses for each book of the New Testament and Bentley was right, the Greek New Testament of his day has about five thousand differences from the critically reconstructed New Testament of today as more and more manuscripts have come to light we are getting closer and closer to the writing of autographs Now, it's not just the Greek manuscripts that count.
The New Testament was translated from the beginning into a variety of languages. Latin, Coptic, Syriac, Old Church Slavonic. The list goes on. There are about 10,000 Latin manuscripts of the New Testament. these ancient versions but the best estimates are certainly over 5,000 plus the 10,000 or so in latin, in total we have at least 20,000 handwritten New Testament manuscripts in various languages, now if someone were to destroy all those manuscripts we still wouldn't be without a testimony and that is because the church fathers wrote commentaries on the New Testament and did not have the gift of brevity to date approximately 1 million citations of the New Testament by fathers have been recorded if all other sources for our knowledge of the text of the New Testament were destroyed the patristic citations alone would suffice for the reconstruction of virtually the entire New Testament w from memory Bruce Metzger and Bart Ehrman much more important than the numbers is the date of the manuscripts how many manuscripts we have in the first century after the completion of the New Testament how many in the second Coming to the third though the numbers are significantly lower I think they are still pretty impressive.
Today we have up to a dozen manuscripts from the second century, 64 from the third, and 48 from the fourth. That's a total of 124 manuscripts within 300 years of the composition of the New Testament. Now, most of these are fragmentary. but collectively, the entire New Testament is found in them multiple times, how does the average classical author compare if we're comparing the same period? 300 years after composition, the average classical author has no literary remains. zero nothing, but if we compare all the manuscripts. from a particular classical author regardless of when they were written the total would still average less than 20 and usually less than a dozen would accumulate them all and they are around four feet tall so how tall would the stack be of New Testament manuscripts in comparison?
Well, let's take a look, would that be enough? No, I think we have a few more that are getting better, probably not enough, we need to add some. more New Testament manuscripts he's getting better but it's still not enough it's not really there yet that's all I could do in PowerPoint it's a quarter of the amount if you put that stack of New Testaments in a stack no in ten i crossed there and made it go up as high as we were supposed to have over a mile of scrolls compared to four feet now maybe this seems a bit abstract let's use money as an analogy everyone can relate to if the ancient author average makes twenty thousand dollars a year, which is below the current poverty level, i.e. the New Testament makes twenty million dollars a year, skeptics repeatedly note that the vast majority of New Testament manuscripts come from this by At least 800 years after the completion of the New Testament, the implication they draw from this is that none of these manuscripts is reliable, that the New Testament is in no better way like any other ancient literature, what they don't tell you is that these later manuscripts add only 2% material to the text if you can imagine and the New Testament is a snowball rolling downhill picking up extraneous items along the way. the ages.
It's remarkable that he only picks up 2% more material over 14 centuries and I won't tell you how this compares to other ancient writers for many major authors, we only have partial live works. Ian Tacitus were two of the most important Roman historians of the first century AD. II. We base much of our understanding of Rome on these two. horsemen Titus Livy wrote one hundred and forty two volumes on the history of Rome, only 25% of them survive today, only a third of Tacitus's writings are still with us, but we have 200 copies of many of the Ancients' writings. ings, but we are waiting 700 years for the first.
Plutarch's lives are found in manuscripts no earlier than 800 years after Josephus wrote. The antiquities of the Jews are found in more than 20 copies. None before the 9th century. The oldest copy of Polybius. historian was written 1,200 years after he wrote there are huge gaps in the copies of the palaces description of Greece they all come more than 1,400 years later Herodotus stories has 26 copies the first comes half a millennium later but we are waiting 1,500 years for the first substantial copy we are waiting 18 centuries for any substantial copy of Xenophon's Hellenic-- now these are not obscure authors there are some of the most important historians and biographers of the Greco-Roman world and for some of the best preserved later writings that are gaps in abundance a scholar complained that surviving copies of some of these writings are full of corrupted, dislocated and interpolated gaps, then proceeds to his principles to fill in the gaps with nothing more than his own reason being that he cannot find the original wording in any manuscript another scholar points out that for the author's manuscripts the main imperfections are gaps in the text where the manuscript tradition completely fails us.
The task of filling in the gaps without manuscript testimony is absolutely necessary for most Greco-Roman literature and almost completely unknown to the New Testament. Let me repeat that the task of filling in the gaps without manuscript evidence is absolutely necessary for most Greco-Roman literature. literature and almost completely unknown to New Testament skeptics also don't tell you how many New Testament manuscripts we have in those earlier centuries I already mentioned the data for the first three centuries here are the statistics up to the year 900 CE II we have here the statistics for 900 EC II we have at least three times as many New Testament manuscripts today within the first 200 years as the average Greco-Roman author has in two thousand years, even though only 10% of the Greek New Testament manuscripts were copied before 900, that's still over 500 manuscripts to make the case that we don't have many New Testament manuscripts from the early centuries only true of later New Testament manuscripts not of anything else in the ancient world, including JK Elliott, a meticulous textual critic of the New Testament that happens to be a non-Christian, you correctly point out that we have many manuscripts, you too He scored a few other things, but not that mark.
I have never lost a battery. I should have quoted Elliott. I knew it was a risk. Bart is right, however, New Testament scholars have a serious problem on his hands, but it is not the problem that plagues Greco-Roman scholars. New Testament scholars face an embarrassment of riches if we have doubts about what the original New Testament said those doubts would have to be multiplied at least a thousand times for the average classical author to think about it now Are skeptics really going to say who have no idea what Plato, Demosthenes or Suetonius wrote? If they apply their skepticism of the New Testament text to the rest of Greco-Roman literature, then we might as well say goodbye to all our ancient history books because we'd know next to nothing about the Caesars Alexander the Great Cicero Plato the glory was what was Rome or millions of other facts that these ancient manuscripts tell us that our modern democracy medical ethics mathematics would be eradicated and most importantly russell crowe could never have played the leading role in gladiator this kind of skepticism would take us back to the dark ages where ignorance was anything but bliss, simply put, the new testament is by far the best attested work from the ancient world and precisely because we have hundreds of thousands of variants and hundreds of early manuscripts, we are in an excellent position to bring back the wording of the original to talk about the numbness er of variants without also talking about the quantity of manuscripts is an irresponsible appeal to sensationalism now we come to the secondsection the nature of variants what kinds of variants are in manuscripts over 99% make virtually no difference for example the most common variant involves spelling and this sorry i spent a little time teaching you today the textual variant absolutely more common is what is called a new mobile which is n at the end of a word when the next word starts with a vowel like our word a book and apple the same kind of beginning or in ecus they say and reserve a good apple then there is untranslatable alterations cannot be translated because greek is a highly inflected language you can put three words jesus loves paul in any order you want in a sentence and it can mean exactly the same thing the order of the words has to do with the emphasis but not the meaning due to the inflections at the end of the words, but it is not only that the Greek has a highly inflected language, it also uses the definite article the word in ways we don't use it in English, you could say that Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem like Luke does in chapter three of his gospel, we would say Joseph and Mary, not the Joseph and Mary, that sounds like a silly, but that's ancient greek and that's how it was now.
I wrote my master's thesis on when the article does not appear in the Greek New Testament. I wrote my doctoral thesis on when the definitive article. the article appears in the greek new testament these two works could cure the most desperate insomniac and i still don't know why it is used with proper nouns it can be significant and there are many texture issues that have that but it's not that significant so here are how many ways you can say Jesus loves Paul and the Greek. Please write this down because it will be on the test. Eight different ways you can say it.
Oh, here are eight other ways you can say it now if you take different spells into account. meanings for these words or what are called nomina sacra or particles that are not normally translated there are literally hundreds of ways to say Jesus loves Paul in Greek where every time it translates exactly the same in English now if a three word sentence as this could potentially be expressed by hundreds of Greek constructions how should we view the number of actual variants in the New Testament manuscripts that there are only three variants for every word in the New Testament when the potential is almost infinitely greater seems trivial especially when we consider how many thousands of manuscripts there are the smallest group of variants are those that are significant and viable less than 1% of all textual variants fit this group let me give you a couple of examples Bart went over some of the major ones where both we would agree mark chapter 9 verse 29 Jesus is talking to his disciples afterward that they tried to exorcise a demon and they came back and totally failed and he said thi This guy can't get out except by prayer well some manuscripts including some very old manuscripts say and fast so there's a problem here Important If you're in the demon exorcism business, you want to know about some of these stubborn demons.
Do you have to drive them out with just do you also need to pray or fast now you can tell just by looking at me I am going with a shorter read then there is Revelation chapter 13 verse 18 this is a verse everyone knows we all know the number of the beast is six six six acts ask someone to SMU what is the number of the Antichrist 666 you don't even need to wake up to tell them well not so fast in the 1840's a German scholar went to Paris to decipher a manuscript that was extraordinarily difficult to read and it took him nearly two years to work on everything, but he came to Revelation 13:18 and noticed that in this manuscript it said six one six was the number of the beast now most scholars think that 666 is the number of the beast and six one six is the neighboring number of the beast, he only lives a few doors down I guess, but then at the end of the 20th century at Oxford University they discovered another fragment, a papyrus which turns out to be the fr The oldest segment of this particular passage, the one t Constantine Tischendorf's Faun discovered or deciphered in Paris was our second most important manuscript for Revelation, the Oxford one, the oldest for this particular chapter, those two manuscripts may well tell us what the original wording of this particular passage is now important, yes I think. is extraordinarily important, especially if it makes it to modern English translations, because if you start having six one six is the number of the beast, it will throw about seven tons of popular Christian literature into the flames, even though the number of textual variants among the numbers of New Testament scripts in the hundreds of thousands those that change the meaning pale in comparison less than one percent of the differences are significant and viable there are still hundreds of texts that are in dispute I don't want to give the impression that textual criticism it's just a clean up job today that all but a handful of problems have been resolved that's not the case there ar The hundreds of passages whose interpretation depends to some degree on whether the reading is followed through to either the end or penultimate we ask what theological beliefs depend on textually suspect passages in the appendix to misquote Jesus there is a sec tion of questions and answers on the most revealing question.
That is why Bart believes that these basic tenets of Christian orthodoxy are in jeopardy due to spelling errors that he discovered in Biblical manuscripts. Now, Bart's answer may surprise you. Essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the New Testament manuscript tradition, suffice it to say that viable textual variants have not yet been produced that would disturb essential Christian beliefs found in the New Testament, and ultimately the bottom line : can we recover the wording of the autographs? I briefly offer four arguments of which we can be relatively sure. relatively sure we can get the wording back on the autographs and first it's a nice little q a quote from Bart that I want to start with and you already mentioned not only we don't have the originals we don't have the first copies of the originals we don't even have copies of the copies of the originals or copies of the copies of the copies of the original set, you could probably put that into a tune.
I like first of all this is probably true but we really can't be sure about it and we can't be dogmatic if that's the case but let's just assume it's true but if it is it's not the whole impression you get of the statement is that the transmission of the New Testament is like the game of telephone it is a game that all children know that you whisper something in someone's ear it goes through ten or twelve people and then that last person spits it at everyone and everyone laughs because the message got completely mixed up, there is absolutely no motivation to get it right, but copying New Testament manuscripts is not like this parlor game, first of all, the message is conveyed in writing, not just orally; second, textual critics do not rely only on the last person, but may examine the work of various scribes who are closest to the original source; third, patristic writers comment on the text as it is handed down Aliss turi and when there are chronological gaps between manuscripts and we have quite a few, these writers often fill in those gaps by telling us what the text said at that place in its day and finally in the telephone game once the story is told by one person that individual has nothing more to do with it, it's out of their hands, but the original books of the New Testament were almost certainly copied more than once and probably several times and they were probably consulted even after a few generations of copies had already been produced.
The second argument is that Bart talks about the first 200 years of uncontrolled copying giving the impression that all the manuscripts of this time were riddled with errors both inadvertently and intentionally the scribes seem to have been undisciplined and wild adding or removing words freely as they pleased. but this is not the whole story the standard introduction to textual criticism of the new testament puts things in perspective it would be a mistake to think that the uncontrolled copying practices that led to the formation of the western textual tradition were followed everywhere they were. reproduced texts in the Roman Empire, in particular, there is strong evidence that conscious and conscientious control was exercised in at least one major early-baptized sea such as the city of Alexandria. in the copying of the books of the New Testament textual witnesses related to Alexandria testify to a high quality of textual transmission from the earliest times it was there that a very ancient line of text was copied and preserved these words are found in the fourth edition of the text of the New Testament of Bruce Metzger and Bart Ehrman We can now illustrate the quality of Alexander II's manuscripts with two manuscripts that Bart and I would agree are two of the best New Testament ministers we have, if not the best two papyrus 75 and the Vatican codex also known because its agreement is higher than that of any other two early manuscripts P 75 is one hundred to 150 years older than B and yet is not an ancestor of B and is said to have been copied from a earlier common ancestor that both B and P 75 were related to the combination of both manuscripts in one particular reading dates back most likely to the early 17th century. second and third century.
The standard Greek New Testament used today is known as the nested text. Out of thousands of variants, here is an image of the text listing one hundred and sixteen places where scholars over the centuries have thought that none of the Greek manuscripts have the original wording if the manuscript were so corrupted from very remote times that we would have a terribly corrupted text in which we would have no idea what the original wording was in hundreds and hundreds of places. There are one hundred and sixteen that the publishers list and only accept. one, the addition of a single letter to the end of a word in acts of 1612 and yet two of the editors quartal london and bruce metzger felt that even in that place the original wording was among the manuscripts that everything in Mexico was the argument is that when it comes to the wording of the New Testament, it can be found above the line or both or below the line in the Nestlé Ahlan text, in other words, the autographic text is found in a B or C never none of the above we can ultimately save and moreover the vast majority of New Testament scholars believe that the wording of the autographs is not only recoverable, but that we have recovered it in most places. the New Testament in these books presupposes knowledge of the writing of autographs.
These are just some of the titles you can see. Notice the orthodox corruption of Scripture by misquoting Jesus. The text of the New Testament is transmission. Corruption and restoration. of God, why the authors of the bible are not who we think they are, take only the latest book published earlier this year as a falsified illustration. is that the vocabulary of these letters is not the same as what we find in the authentic letters of Paul now, for him to make that claim, he has to know what the words are in the other letters of Paul, as well as what the words are in the pastoral.
Regardless of what some of us may think about his argument in forging this book, it simply could not have been written unless Bart was certain of the original wording in almost every place and the same is true of all of his books on the subject. New Testament is what we have now what the authors of the New Testament wrote almost 2000 years ago is almost certainly true in all essentials even in most details we can be relatively safe to be too skeptical about this off the mountain of evidence is to take a leap of faith where the railing should have been it is much more reasonable to be relatively certain that we can recover the wording of the original text of the New Testament and then be radically skeptical about the whole effort thank you for your attention thank you very much Marty at this point we will have two rounds of answers professor our man will have a chance to e answer and ask questions followed by dr.
Wallace followed by Dr Ehrman followed by Dr Wallace each round of answer will be about five or six minutes and Bart will start with you thank you very much and thank you Dan for such an informative and hilarious presentation that is a very impressive statement and I think Dallas is well served to have such a competent textual critic in its midst two things stood out to me about Dan's presentation one was lost in my notes one was how much we agreed on many important points the other was how little it seemed to me which has addressed the actual problem one of the strategies that Dan uses to quote some of my earlier books, some of which were writtennearly 20 years ago stating that I obviously think the original text was weakened.
I changed my mind on that question simply because I've Since we don't have evidence that can tell us if we know about the original New Testament and I was a little disappointed and seeing as Dan didn't provide any evidence I'll bring it up again. At the end of my final comments here, I want to first make a couple of comments about things that you really emphasized that I found really irrelevant. First Dan wants to emphasize that the reason we have so many variants is because we have so many manuscripts and we have all these patristic authors who quote the New Testament we have many, many witnesses I agree but that's not relevant yeah that's why that we have so many variant readings, but what about the man we don't have from the first centuries? he says we have one hundred and twenty-four manuscripts in the first three hundred years and the New Testament is replicated many times in those manuscripts.
I would like to see evidence that we actually have the entire New Testament replicated many times in those manuscripts. but even if it is true, who are our first witnesses? How many do we have before page 45 in the year 224 of the Gospel of Mark? It is one hundred and fifty years after Marcos was originally produced. What manuscripts do we have before they give underlines that we have many more manuscripts of the New Testament than we have for the classical authors and that if we reject the idea we can achieve the original text for the New Testament and how much more for the class of authors?
So, we may not know what Plato or Cicero or Swittoniest or Tacitus said, and you're absolutely right, we may not know, but how does that mean we know about the New Testament? He doesn't address the question and argued that only 1% of our surviving variants are important to anything, only 1% are significant and viable. I don't know if that's true. It could be 1%. I guess it's 1%. My question does not belong to the 1%. My question is about the textual variants that were introduced into the manuscript tradition before our surviving manuscripts how many editions were there before our manuscripts how many omissions were there before our manuscripts and it tells us that we know the answer so I would like to know how we know the answer how we do he knows the manuscripts weren't changed he agrees with me that there are hundreds of passages that really matter but then he wants to emphasize that no essential Christian belief is affected and he quotes me in that sense that's absolutely true I don't think the Dan's theology will change no matter what variants he looks at, but it's just that the way we measure importance doesn't matter because none of our theological doctrines have changed, let me give you an analogy.
Suppose that tomorrow morning we woke up and it turned out that in all the Bibles of the whole world the Gospel of Mark Paul, the letter to the Philippians and the book of 1 Peter were no longer found, whose doctrines of the Christian faith would be affected by the loss of those three books not a single doctrine would be affected it would be significant yes it would be significant it would be hugely significant importance does not depend on whether core beliefs are affected you have answered the question satisfactorily, so I would like you to try again. How do we know that the text did not change significantly before our first manuscripts?
What is our knowledge base for that? I would like you to address that question and allow me to make it more specific. How do we know that our surviving manuscripts were copied from exact copies rather than complete copies? I am not asking whether manuscripts after 900 were accurately copying their predecessors. How do we know that our first copies kept accurate copies of accurate copies? How do we know that Dan also says that 99% of our variant is surviving? the readings are insignificant, so my question is how many significant variants were created before our surviving manuscripts and how does he know, if he doesn't know then how can he say we can trust the New Testament text?
Thank you so much. Dan again Bart, I appreciate your great questions which I may try to answer later because I also had questions about your presentation, you said for example that maybe Marc was only copied a couple of times, that kind of scenario for copying these manuscripts is absolutely vital for the idea to occur to you that the manuscripts could have been changed several times before we get to any of our copies, and yet we see that Paul asks that his letters be distributed to various churches and that the people were making copies of his letters, we see that both Matthew and Luke used the mark and consequently it must have been copied a couple of times at least just for them to use, it is quite doubtful to assume that these books, most of they, probably even some of them, were not copied several times from the original manuscript.
I'm not saying it should or could have been read and copied so many times that it got worn out and deteriorated, so I'm giving my evidence again, it's not proof and it's not me saying I know something, you're the only one. Who says you know you can't know? I'm the one who says that I think we have probability on our side and we have good reason to face this and you can compare this with Greco-Roman literature and recognize that the New Testament itself is in much better shape than those other documents in terms of give us what the church text believed and then there are the early apostolic church fathers and other groups writing on this subject and the patristic writers who are commenting on early versions of the text, some of which go back to the second or third century and then they assume a lie of their own that no longer intersects with the Greek text, those references to an ancient manuscript that we can see in one of the problems. you have in your presentation I think you mean we don't know what were the bugs that were created they were scattered all over the map well if they were scattered all over the map we would have such incredible chaos how could the world Those scrolls they've been completely destroyed, so all we're left with are the ones that seem to fit the orthodoxy to the point that you even confessed that no essential belief of the Christian faith is affected by any of our exta. nt manuscripts, he also said that the early scribes made a number of mistakes in their copies and that they were, in fact, the worst scribes we have.
I would like to ask you how you know that our early scribes have as many as 12 second century manuscripts and by the way you asked how many we have in terms of a multiplicity of that and earlier you asked what is my basis for that information the short quick list says there are 10 2nd century manuscripts or at the cusp of the 2nd and 3rd century and Elden up and one of his recent articles actually added one more, it went to 11 I've seen what tsetse eat has said about some of these comfort and barrett things I think they are too liberal in terms of giving an early date for the manuscripts, but I have added one more.
I have the has 111 now you talk about these early scribes were not literary scribes who were not trained scribes and then you talk about those who are trained that are in the Middle Ages that is certainly true but so is the Sinaitic scribe in the 4th century, so is the Vatican scribe in the 4th century, in fact, so is the scribe of p66 in the 2nd century and that scribe did his job well according to the so-called EC in a scriptorium where the main concern it was to do pretty lettering he made a lot of mistakes there is another manuscript that is almost as old as that 75 piece which we know was not produced in a scriptorium not by a professional scribe it looks like the chicken scratches is almost readable but certainly not pretty but that scribe copied his manuscript one letter at a time and you and dr.
Metzker said that P 75 and B together attest to a very early tradition, a very old tradition, so what I'm saying about what I probably don't know is what you and Dr. Metzker said in 2005 in the fourth edition of the text of the New Testament the other thing about these early scribes is that P 75 was written in what is called a documentary hand a scribe writing in a documentary hand means he is not trained to be a literary scribe copying literature but is trained to be a bureaucrat a public accountant those scribes were meticulous and one of the great proofs to demonstrate that our manuscripts come from these documentary hands is the use of numbers in the manuscripts we do not see this in the most literary manuscripts, what we see are the numbers written so well as documentary hands are not written P 75 was written with a documentary hand, he was an untrained scribe, and yet Bart agrees that that is one of the best manuscripts we have with a new testament the last question is when you talk about these manuscripts and the mistakes they made what kind of mistakes are you talking about in th Those first few centuries you said the mistakes they made were mistakes that they were accidental, not intentional.
Those are the easier bugs you mentioned to discern as well. Let me give an example as I finish and that's in a manuscript at John 1:30. it says john the baptist says after me comes the heir well that doesn't make much sense the greek word lost for lose wrote was there which means a man after me comes a man now that's a reading without but I think the next scribe would know, hey this must mean a mistake after me comes a man talking about Jesus now if you don't believe Jesus ever existed you wouldn't call it a nonsense mistake after me comes there Jesus doesn't it existed as far as you're concerned, but I think it's a pointless mistake and one that the next scribe can easily correct.
Dan's responses to my questions Dan ra raised a number of questions for me which are very good questions and I certainly want to deal with them dan raises the question how do I know Marc was only copied a couple of times that's his first question for me and I don't i know i don't know if it was copied two times or five times or 500 times i don't know and dan weren't accurate the first copies either i don't know and dan weren't the copies of those copies accurate either i don't know i don't know and neither is dan.
How do we know that the early copyists were accurately rendering the text in front of them? There is simply no way to know. much better than for Greco-Roman other Greco-Roman literature and once again we agree on this yes we have many more manuscripts for the New Testament than for any other book in the ancient world yes it is relevant to the question we are talking about tonight there are no questions The question is whether we can be confident that we really know what was in the original copies of Mark and the other books of the New Testament.
Dan wants to label me as a radical skeptic and I'm just saying we don't have evidence if he thinks there is evidence I want to know what the evidence is and so why don't you tell us the evidence that the oldest scribes our relied on did later scribes copy his text accurately? How do we know that the older copies of Mark didn't take out a verse or two they didn't like or add a verse or two that they thought should be there? How do we know they didn't do that? We have no way of knowing so I would like to know why Dan thinks we know Dan asks a very good question how do we know our first scribes were the worst scribes and it works like this if you take two 12th century manuscripts and carefully compare them word per word? often you will agree in the vast majority of cases if you take two, if you take a second century or third century manuscript and compare it to an eleventh century manuscript, there will be huge differences, tons of differences, because later scribes were trained to copy things accurately earlier scribes weren't and not only early manuscripts are more different from each other and then later than later are from each other early manuscripts when you carefully compare them to each other word for which word they are very different from each other and then Dan mentioned, for example, two manuscripts P 66 and P 75 are closely related with hundreds and hundreds of differences between them.
He really doesn't want to use P 66 as an example of a manuscript done by a competent scribe. Yes he does beautiful lettering and makes hundreds of mistakes as detailed in Gordon fee's comprehensive review which has been published as a book and that Dan knows all about this is an example of a scribe who did tons of m Now our early scribes show clearly that they are not trained to copy manuscripts as were the months in later monasteries. When you go back to the 4th century, he mentions Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Bee and says these are very good manuscripts, which they are, of course. what i said myself and agree with in the 4th century you start getting good manuscripts but you start looking at the older manuscripts and they are not that good the earlier manuscripts are copied by scribes who are not trained what aboutthe manuscripts that preceded those manuscripts, what happens with the scribes who were copying the text not in the year 350 but in the year 80, what assurance do we have that those scribes were good when the tendency is that the sooner things go, the worse the scribes are what happens when you go to a period before our surviving manuscripts to a period where scribes copy before our surviving scribes copy you are telling me that those earlier scribes are more likely to be accurate than 3rd and 4th century scribes on what basis do we say that what is the evidence that's what I'm asking for is the evidence let me try one more time with my questions how do we know right rather than how does Dan know that our surviving manuscripts were copied from accurate copies rather than completely wrong copies , how do you know that and when Dan says that 99% of our surviving variant reads are negligible?
My question, my second question is how many variants were created before our surviving manuscripts and how many of those variant readings were significant if you say you don't know then I want to know how you can say you can trust the New Testament text thank you will conclude our round of answers with 10 animated questions again Bart while still dodging the issues I raised but that seems to be the way we're doing it tonight we don't have any solid proof of what you're asking that's what we both agree on, we do not have the hard evidence, but we do have a great deal of soft evidence that all probability leads to the conviction that what we have in our hands is, in all essential respects, what the New Testament writers actually wrote.
I could illustrate it this way. Bart goes on about these early scribes who made mistakes left and right and we have no idea if they were exact copies or not well let's say I took 20 of you and we got together in a room and I read the text of the Gospel of Mark to a lot of people. any of you would make some very egregious mistakes all of you would make mistakes how the hell could anyone go back to the text I read to you well that's what Bart and I know very well how to do it's known as textual criticism we examine these manuscripts we can compare the manuscripts so we can see that this reading comes from this is a misreading that was due to this kind of error we can compare manuscripts in terms of which ones are more sloppy and which ones tend to be more accurate we ate and the basis they have we can do it across multiple generations of copies in fact I do an exercise that I have already done 70 times in churches all over the country and in fact in the world it is called the Gospel according to Snoopy is I wanted to use a mild name so we could play it pretty cool.
We get 50 people, twenty-two of whom are scribes. I give them a passage to copy in English and each scribe has instructions. A scribe has the instructions that you are doing theological. change another you have trouble hearing during this in the scriptorium another you are a terrible speller another you have no idea how to write so anyone can read what you are saying I have done this exercise 70 times in the last 35 years with lay people with people who know nothing of textual criticism and they accept what I tell them the time on Friday night when we start the scribes copy the text on Saturday morning everyone else gets together and on the basis of thinking g through the problems of external evidence and the internal evidence and the relationship that these scribes have with each other to the missing early manuscripts, they worked on that to try to get back to the original wording of the Gospel According to Snoopy over the years almost every time we have done this there has been no more from one or two errors there has never been a serious change in the text something like two verses also those kinds of changes, these are people who don't know anything about e textual criticism, they have the same kind of situation New Testament scholars face and we're trying to put this together based on probability.
I give you a one hour instruction on Friday night. and then I let them decide how to go back to the original without instructions, they have to do it on their own and the discussion in groups that they get back together is a four or five hour project over a dozen times that they have exactly duplicated the wording of the text Originally the worst group I've ever had was the Dallas seminary PhD students but I don't want to talk about them I think they missed it by four words Bart you talk about the worst scribes and you say the first scribes they are the worst and the way you can tell is because you can compare them to an 11th century scribe who is very accurate?
I don't think you're trying to say that in fact I know you are. I'm not trying to say that the 11th century manuscript text you will almost certainly visit is better than the early Alexandrian manuscripts. What you are trying to say, I think, is that these manuscripts that you consider to be the worst manuscripts are just that. they are not made by professional scribes and are consequently in error, but even then I have to ask which manuscripts he is talking about. I don't think it's the second-century manuscripts we have for fragments in the Book of Acts and elsewhere.
Western manuscripts in the 3rd century so we have part of a gospel in the fitt in the 4th century to the late 4th century that has the western text and then we have a manuscript of the Gospels in the 5th century that is western which would be the wild copy of texts bu Alexandrian manuscripts do not differ much from each other, as you suggest, except for those incidental errors, my evidence for this is dr. Tim Finney's doctoral dissertation on Hebrews, is from Perth, Australia, and showed that the early manuscripts have incidental errors for the book of Hebrews and Barbara, along with the former director of the Institute for the Annoyed Testament, look at the text for branding and muenster the flagship institute for critical text.
She studies recently wrote an article in which she looked at John's early manuscripts and said that they really are very similar to each other, except for the types of errors that we can determine what is going on. I think you're trying to suggest to Bart that out of chaos we get this order when the actual chaos of all these manuscripts we could possibly start with would only end up in us having variants where we could go back to the originals exactly as we do today thank you very much Thank you very much, both of you. Now I know many of you have been waiting for a time where you could ask your own questions and now you will move to a time of about 30 minutes. minutes, so the unspoken premise of the debate question is the New Testament itself, how is it constructed? by the original Christian Church, we have since found a number of other documents and other writings that were in circulation but did not make it into the final version of the Canon.
Is there anything we can learn by textual criticism of those? works that would help inform understanding of what we now consider to be the canonical New Testament, yes yes yes it's just that we don't have as many manuscripts as most of these for most of these other non-canonical works but there are some that we have a lot. I mean the yakobe proto-evangelium, the proto-gospel of James is a very popular book during the Middle Ages and we have about 500 manuscripts of it in the various vernacular languages of Europe and what we find in the case of these non-canonical books is exactly what we find in the case of the canonical books.
The scribes made many changes, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally, so they did not copy the New Testament manuscript any better than the others, I would say. they copied them worse, we have some evidence that Martin Haida has done about Pastor Pastor de hermas and he is copying the story, he said, it is much worse than the text of the New Testament and we have evidence about the Gospel of Thomas in this new book that has just been published leaving today that they have edited reviewing the corruption of the New Testament mr. Timmreck Sudi wrote a chapter comparing the Coptic text of the Gospel of Thomas with the three Greek fragments that we have a critical comparison of the text and what he noticed is that there are quite radical differences within a hundred year period and the extrapolation is that it is much worse that what it looks like we have for the new testament manuscripts thanks for here a question for dan or both dr. yerman, I wonder if we can't go back to an automatic reading of the New Testament, then how do you envision the goals of textual criticism in the first place?
What is the point of textual criticism? We can't go back to a car. graphic reading thanks that's a great question and this is where I'm going to strongly disagree with something Dan said when Dan said that the vast majority of textual critics think we can go back to the originals since Dan knows the term very well The critics textuals generally no longer use the original text. If you go to the Biblical literature section of the SPL society on textual criticism where scholars from around the world gather, scholars have avoided using the term original text for many of the reasons that I have presented to you the very center of textual research in Muenster Germany, which is one of the two main centers for textual research in Europe, one is in Muenster Germany, one is in Birmingham, England and both are in have refrained from talking about the original text, so otherwise they tend to speak instead is golly, how do you translate? and we don't know if that text if we reconstruct it is the original or not that's all we can do we can only reconstruct the oldest form of the text and if it's the original or not dan says yes and I say yes No.
I don't know, let me answer that what I didn't say is that the vast majority of textual critics are either trying to go back to the original text or think they can go back to the original text. What I said is that the vast majority of New Testament scholars think that it's largely recovered, you know, it's based on all the writing that they do when you talk about redaction criticism in the synoptic gospels, you're supposed to know that what Mark says, what Matthew says, that sort of thing, yeah, pretty much all the New Tes. Scientific scholarship for the last 2,000 years has assumed that we can recover it in all its essential elements, and I believe that even in the most corrupted text we have it in its essential elements.
Yeah, okay, no. I agree. We probably have. it's not true i mean it's true that for 2000 years people have thought that but in the last 20 years you won't find text critics talking about the original text will you really where they will talk about it in terms of using the songs ? text initial text autographic text that kind of terminology because of the Eldon Epps article saying there are problems with the use of the term original text but JK Elliot still thinks we are going back to the original text even though he doesn't call it what you said in a debate with someone else that only Evan Jellicle is talking about that that's not true Holger stripped the director of the Institute and the minister says that we are trying to go back to the original text Garrett mega-monster also said that there is no difference between the initial text and the autographed text no , not true, the initial text is not the original text that's why they started talking about the initial text because we can't get to the original text that's all I'm saying otherwise I wouldn't have changed the language you know very well when the Orleans first published their book on the text of the New Testament they used the term original text and the Orleans changed it they don't talk about the original text anymore and people in Birmingham or their successors in Munster might, for practical reasons, say well you know that's as close as we get to the original but we don't know if it's the original that's why they don't use the term dude you've read what the headline struthof has said about this, of course, he is not a textual critic, he is the director of the center, although yes, he is the director of a center, but he is not a trained textual critic and he explicitly uses the term mouse context, doesn't use the original text but still assumes it's the same thing that we used to refer to as the original text and garrard mix said the same thing at the colloquium two years ago two texts gentlemen I'm going to ask you to do this in the form of a question , no, this is why I came here tonight, honestly, can I get a chance to come back to this and your closing statements for in the meantime, now let's go back to talking to our questioners in the audience, yes sir, more or less in the same line if it is not the case that there was this massive recession at some point trying to put all the manuscripts on the same path and it is also the case that there was a wild copy especially the sooner the wilder why is there so much verbal agreement between matthew Mark and Luke and flax that leads to the synoptic problem?
Are you asking me or Dan? The difference Wow go ahead okay so yeah one of the problems is that Matthew and Mark and Luke often disagree and often agree and one of the questions that has been raised in scholarship is whether Matthew and Luke really had the same way of scoring against them or not are the differences sometimes Marcos and Lucas sometimes score and Mateo will agree against Lucas sometimesMark and Luke will agree against Matthew and so on and there are times when all three disagree and then there are scholars who think that one of the reasons they can explain this part of the so-called synoptic problem is that Matthew and Luke they had different brand shapes in front of them which is also what i think yeah let me answer that too.
I think there is a method and you told Bard at dinner last night about the PhD students doing trying to figure out what Matthew's art form would be. I think there is a way to do it. In fact, it takes a long time. I don't know if it could be done alone in a doctoral dissertation what you do is look at the text that has Matthew mark where you have the double tradition and where the text that follows doesn't fit in line with your wording 'l but it seems to go against that so it must almost certainly have come from an intermediate text that was corrupted now i don't think the text that matthew and luke had from mark was absolutely pristine all we know about the manuscript copying is that they made mistakes but i have spent the last few years trying to find where there is something in Matthew that doesn't agree with his wording Alisa in her rebranding I can't find him telling me that it wasn't the scribe before him that corrupted the text, but him, because he's doing it for theological and religious reasons. historical, it's changing it, so I don't think Matthew and Luke are at all like the first scribes that we have before them or the scribes that will come after.
Can I ask very quickly between what we have, the solid evidence that we have that has been presented and the original autographs, what would there be in between that would convince you that it's reliable other than the autographs? had copies of Mark, there's supposed to be an archaeological find in Egypt next week and to say that an archaeological find in Rome is in Rome and we may have reason to think that these 10 manuscripts that are discovered are all copied within a week of the Mark's original copy and they disagree on point zero zero one percent of their textual variation, so I'd say that's good evidence and that's precisely what we don't have, yes, late, dr.
Ehrman there was an argument that dr. Wallace represented that it wasn't addressed and didn't specifically mention that the New Testament has more manuscripts than any average classic we have today, following up on the question the young man across from me asked about what kind of evidence would convince you and you reply that with that kind of standard of evidence requirement, how then, in your opinion, should we today consider the classic works for which we have no original autographs or even half the number of manuscripts for them as the Odyssey? and stuff like that then we were asked to read in high school yeah yeah so you wasted your time sorry so no I tried to address that sorry if it wasn't clear but I certainly wanted to address that and tried to approach it is that it is absolutely true that we have many more manuscripts of the New Testament than we have of Homer or Plato or you Rippa DS or Aeschylus or Sophocles or any of these authors absolutely and absolutely true what that means that does not mean that we have the Original New Testament what it means is that we have more New Testament manuscripts than these other works and it is more difficult to reconstruct these other works even than what is New Testament and this is not a disputed point I am a classicist I agree that in many places we are where we have problems and one difference is that most of these classical author scribes did not make intentional changes due to their particular beliefs, po r so there are more intentional changes to the New Testament manuscripts because people wanted to make sure it said what they wanted. say and so they changed in places and that just didn't happen as much in Homer and stuff, but academics have known about the problems in Homer from the very back, you know, for over 2,000 years there were academics who were engaged in the problem of dealing with of reconstructing Homer's text realizing that it was in fact ultimately an impossible task so yes I mean it's an impossible task with the classics but that doesn't mean it's therefore possible Is it possible with the New Testament, thank you very much, sorry we don't have time for all these questions, but thanks to everyone who participated at this point, let's move on to closing statements, we'll start with Bart and then let Dan give his final statement.
Thank you all so much again for being here. It has been a very lively exchange. I enjoyed it a lot. I want to say that I am NOT a. At the end of the day, I am not a complete skeptic about the New Testament. I think historians have to weigh the odds. Is it likely that the Gospel of Mark we have today is completely unlike anything Mark really isn't? we know it's exactly what Mark wrote no we don't know if it's we just don't know how different Mark is from the original mark It's not good enough it might be good enough for some people but you know what if you knew you could trusting your spouse ninety seven percent of the time is good enough with the New Testament we often talk about more than 3 or 4% for example there are two forms of the book of Acts in the manuscript tradition we have two forms of the book of Acts one manuscript tradition is 12.5% longer than the other 12.5% longer we're not talking about three or four percent in each instance Dan himself admits there are hundreds of places where I don't know and that's with the evidence that we have what we have with the evidence that we don't have an analogy, the issue has to do with whether we can trust the text of the New Testament and, in my opinion, when it comes to matters of trust, the person in the what If the burden of proof lies with the person who says we can be trusted, I give you an analogy. there is a bridge that is built over a high ravine and a deb There is talk of whether a passenger train should go over the bridge if it can in fact support the weight of a passenger train that has a hundred people on board both sides of that debate they share the burden of proof no in that case the train the engineer will not take the train to the bridge until he is satisfied that he can trust waiting in matters of trust it is the person who says you can trust who bears the burden of proof test how can we know that the first copyists in the first 200 years of copying the New Testament were skillful and careful or good at all how do we know that our early manuscripts are based on high quality copies in other words that the manuscript is based on the manuscript that is accurate how do we know that especially given the fact that in our early manuscripts we have more errors than in our later manuscript the early scribes were not as ca They weren't even so skilful, what about the first ones? maybe they were that good maybe w Isn't that how we know?
Is this a bridge you want to trust? Is this a bridge where you are willing to take the train? Well, I think it's a bona fide question. Let me close with a final illustration of the problem that my professor Bruce Metzger told me. the story of his own teacher at Princeton University, a man named Paul Coleman Norton, who was stationed in North Africa during World War II and after the war wrote an article that was published in an academic journal about a manuscript which he found out by chance while in north africa in the army during world war 2, there was some downtime and he walked into a mosque and was told by the mosque leaders that they had a very old book once they found out it was professor of ancient history, then he looked at this ancient book, it was a copy, it was an Arabic copy of the Rum, but he found inside the book that he later indicated in this article, he found a page that was written in Greek and while reading this page you realized Realized that this was a commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, it's just a fragment, it was just a page that was stuck in this ancient manuscript, so I wrote He published this article about it in the academic journal and the interesting thing was that it included an important textual variant for the Gospel of Matthew, you know that in the Gospel of Matthew there is a passage in which Jesus talks about people who will be thrown into the art of darkness outside, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, well in this comment, this old commentary on the Gospel of Matthew there was an additional line Jesus says that they will be thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth and the disciples responded but Master, what about those who don't have teeth?
Jesus said they will be given teeth thank you very much thank you Bart lana allows Dan to have his final comments that it was a big hoax Greg produced a fake manuscript Bart gives an illustration of a train and that the person an Argue that you need to trust has The Burden of Proof I would say that all of us are on the mountain road when it comes to thinking about ancient texts not just the New Testament text but all of Greco-Roman literature and if we are we are going to be extremely skeptical and say simply we don't know, so we are really going back to the dark ages where we know next to nothing about the ancient world and therefore have no background to understand our modern world.
I think a radical position moves to the left or to the right, and either way, only a moderate position is going to say we don't know at all we definitely don't know at all we are dealing with historical questions here there is no absolute certainty about These sorts of things, at least not on a historical level, but what is likely is whether it matters if Jesus forgave a woman caught in adultery, of course it matters in Martin. We both agree that we're pretty sure John didn't write that story. Does it matter if Jesus was angry when he healed a leper?
Of course it matters and Bart and I again agree that Mark most likely wrote that when Jesus did this he was angry rather than compassionate. Does it matter if the New Testament speaks explicitly of the Trinity, of course it does matter, and yet we both agree that that was a verse that was added centuries over a millennium after the original New Testament was written, we have an idea of what those earlier documents say and we have a sense of what the original or autographic or initial text or outside of Gong's text says, these things matter a great deal to me, not because I believe any essential teaching of Christianity is at stake , but because I'm a historian who wants to get back to that wording as soon as possible what Paul actually wrote about well the Gospels were actually what the book of Acts was really talking about what the rest of the letters in the book of Revelation was originally said from the pen of the author r as sent to his readers, which is why I founded the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts to that we can photograph these manuscripts and analyze them and help the rest of the world of scholars to think about what they are about.
Bart said historians always base their judgments on probabilities I would say that's exactly right we don't do it on the basis of certainties we don't have those kinds of certainties but he goes on to speak of my point of view as one of certainty but that's not true , I am relatively certain about these things, but he seems not to be absolutely sure about them, and yet, at the same time, in his forged book, not written 20 years ago, but written this year, he seems to assume that he knows why. Paul's authentic letters refer. the vocabulary was about now I'm not judging you for that, I'm just saying that any work we do outside of textual criticism presupposes that when we're working on the New Testament it presupposes that we have a damn good idea where the original text actually said and even in your forged book, as well as the rest of your books in the non-New Testament, presupposes the same thing, whether you say that or not, I believe that our task here and the task for all of you is to seek the truth at all costs and I believe that Bart and I are sincerely on that quest and I want to thank you for a wonderful, lively and even a lot of fun evening, thank you very much Dan, let's give you both one more round. cheers if we can only speak in terms of probability i think it's very likely that most people found this to be an extremely stimulating debate thank you both for coming for being a part of this for organizing it thank you for coming as an audience let me remind you to put your contact information in the baskets when you leave let me remind you about the dinner at abacus next week i will ask you to leave the auditorium as quickly as possible because our time is limited but stay at the book tables thank you very much for coming may there be had a good night i think i would base the strength of winning and losing on something like they did with high probability mania strips and low probability finding scripts i would base it on weak driving and strong induction in that sense and i would say the bottom line strongest anyone came to tonight was dr.
Wallace and then would say that the person had the strongest induction for those conclusions withThe doctor. Wallace, sure, I think the whole debate definitely gave insight into the New Testament and how much we know. I mean how long have all these texts been around? we still have so many texts with the original integrity of the manuscripts and I mean, I really think it's amazing that we have all the truth that we have from the manuscripts that we can still see today. I really think that dr. Wallace won the debate alone because of the ocean of evidence he presented for the reliability of the New Testament.
I mean the issue they were discussing was whether we can trust the text correctly. Well I just think that the overwhelming amount of evidence that was presented for the reliability of the New Testament I really went to dr. Wallace or Dr. the aviator kept saying over and over we can't know we can't know we can't know and he just liked that beach ball floating on top of the ocean as the evidence kept coming forward on the beach. ball kept going higher and higher and higher so i really think dr. Wallace won hands down and it's really interesting to see two scholars, great scholars, wonderful men, who can talk about this professionally on an academic level.
I really think he opens people's eyes to the deeper debate that's going on here about reliability. from the text so I think it was good that way it's worth debating because people based their entire lives on the answer to this question and people have caused millions of people to die over the centuries because of this document which alone should tell us that it is a very important document because we have so much evidence should tell us that it is more important than any document in act in antiquity and we should ask ourselves why, even if we cannot fully construct it and its original autograph, we should ask ourselves the question Why does this evidence function exist?
I don't tell anyone that Wallace provided somewhat more convincing support for his position. I think it's the first time I've seen it. Before the person who represented what was arguably the conservative side was a relativist, but the liberal was the absolutist, not really, I mean, I think what Wallace said was pretty convincing about the relative number of manuscripts that we have for extra-biblical literature and the Greco-Roman world. I would like to know if classical Greco-Roman scholars have the same standard that that flier has for New Testament manuscripts. Are they going to set that same standard for Homer and Livie and many in this other era of historians who I suspect aren't? t but I think Dan Wallis certainly got it right, he seemed to address the questions in my opinion more fully and I think the questions he put to dr.
Ehrman, in my opinion, never fully responded. I really want to go back and look at the argument that the aviators made about the second and third century, you know, the copyists who weren't professionals, who were illiterate and it seemed like an argument to me. of silence that I have always understood to be a very poor form of argumentation but, nevertheless, I still want to investigate it
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