Ehrman: Misquoting Jesus
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Bart D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus : The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. San Francisco : Harper San Francisco, 2005. x + 242 pages.
Dr. Ehrman chairs the Department of Religious Studies at Univeristy of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. This is perhaps the first popular book on "textual criticism", the method by which scholars attempt to reconstruct the original version of a document from its many 'children'.
Our author traces the history of the text of the New Testament and describes how scholars use the principals of textual criticism to determine what the 'best reading' of the texts in question might be.
No autographs of any of the books that make up the Bible exist, and the earliest manuscript copies date from many decades -- or even a century or more -- after the time of the original writing. Consequently, the question of which version of the literally thousands of variants of these texts is 'the original' text is not always easy to resolve.
The writing is clear and concise. The style is amusing but not frivolous. A good read.
-- Notes by SJB