Monday, January 26, 2009

Bart Ehrman vs. James White Debate MP3 Audio

Bart Ehrman debates James White on Did the Bible Misquote Jesus? This an interesting debate between two excellent scholars who come to two very different conclusions. Full MP3 audio can be purchased here. If you have been looking forward to the debate, this is well worth the $6. CDs are also available.

White's post-debate report of the debate is HERE, which is a good listen. Here is part 2 of White's review of the debate.

Transcript of the debate in PDF here.

Enjoy.

39 comments :

Vinny said...

I started listening to White’s recap and I was struck by his discussion of the relationship between p75 and Codex Vaticanus because I remembered Dan Wallace addressing the same point during his debate with Ehrman at the Greer-Heard Forum last April.

Here is what Wallace had to say:

There was at least one very carefully produced stream of transmission of New Testament manuscripts and there is sufficient evidence to show that even a particular fourth century manuscript in this line is usually more accurate than any second century manuscript. Now we can illustrate this with two manuscripts that I think Bart and I would both agree on are the two most accurate manuscripts of the New Testament if no the two most accurate. I am referring to papyrus 75 or p75 and Codex Vaticanus or nicknamed “B.” These two manuscripts have an incredibly strong agreement. Their agreement in fact is higher than the agreement of any other two early manuscripts and yet p75 is at least 100 years older than Codex B and could be as much as 150 years older than B and yet p75 is not the ancestor of B. B did not copy from p75 or any one of its descendants. We know this because it has more primitive readings than p75 in several places. Instead B copied from an earlier common ancestor that both B and p75 were related to or at least in its lineage it ultimately went earlier and ultimately it had a pretty clean line. The combination of both of these manuscripts in a particular reading goes back to the second century and probably early in the second century. Now Bart has asserted that if we have very few early copies, in fact scarcely any, how can we know that the text was not change significantly before the New Testament began to be reproduced in such large quantities. . . . I think there is a way to be relatively confident that the text of the fourth century where we have our first complete New Testament looked remarkably like the earliest form of the text. P75 has large portions of Luke and John in it, and nothing else. Codex B has most of the New Testament in it. Now B and p75 are very close to each other and yet B often has the earlier reading, we can extrapolate that the text of B is pretty decent for the rest of the New Testament and when it agrees with a manuscript such as Codex Sinaticus, the fourth century manuscript that is in fact a complete New Testament which it usually does, that combined reading almost surely goes back to a common archetype deep in the second century.

Here is what White had to say during the debate:

The earliest manuscripts in our possession demonstrate the existence of not a single line of corrupt transmission but multiple lines of varying accuracy. Many of these lines intersect and cross defying easy identification. But the important thing to remember is that multiple lines are a good thing. They ensure a healthy manuscript tradition that is not under the control of any central editing process. One of the examples that is often noted relate to the early transmission of the text is the relationship between this manuscript p 75, around A.D. 175, and this manuscript, Codex Vaticanus, from A.D. 325. These two manuscripts are clearly very closely related in their text. Indeed they may be more alike than any other two ancient manuscript in the portions where Vaticanus contains the same sections of scripture as p75, Vaticanus is a much larger manuscript obviously. Remember, 150 years separate the copy of these two manuscripts and yet we know that Vaticanus is not a copy of p75 for it actually contains readings that are earlier than some that are in p75. This means that we have a very clean, very accurate line of transmission illustrated by these two texts that goes back to the very earliest part of the second century. What this illustrates needs to be kept in mind. The burden of proof lies upon the skeptic who asserts corruption of the primitive New Testament text since the extant manuscripts demonstrate multiple lines of independent transmission. The skeptic must explain how the New Testament text can appear in history via multiple lines of transmission and yet each line presents the same text without any controlling authority.

White added this in his recap

So there is the presentation I made and I graphically had p75 up and I had Vaticanus up and then I showed two separate lines going to each one but they joining at the end of the first century showing that they were coming from the same stream of transmission but Vaticanus was not a copy of p75.


When I first listened to the Wallace presentation, I had a hard time seeing why he found this example so significant. After all, this is not a line of transmission for the entire New Testament. It is a line transmission for Luke and John. One of the things I learned in Misquoting Jesus was how Erasmus compiled his translation of the Bible from manuscripts of varying quality. For some books, he had the best manuscripts. For some, he had error-ridden manuscripts. Wallace urges extrapolation, but he didn’t seem to offer any reason to think that the compilers of Codex Vaticanus had access to equally clean streams of transmission for every other book as well.

In fact, it sounds like there is reason to think that they did not. After all, Wallace said that there is no other pair of manuscripts that agree as much as p75 and B. No other stream of transmission is as pure. I think that means that the p75/B stream is an outlier and that we would expect others to be worse.

Now look at how much farther White takes the argument. Wallace says that p75 is at least 100 years older than Codex Vaticanus and possibly 150 years older, which could put it at 250 A.D. depending on what date is assigned to Vaticanus. White, on the other hand, sets p75 at 175 A.D. as an established fact and draws transmissions lines back to 100 A.D. as if it were an established fact. Where Wallace extrapolates that Vaticanus is “pretty decent” for the rest of the New Testament, White claims that this one example is sufficient to shift the burden of proof to the skeptic, i.e., we can assume that all the other lines are just as good absent proof they are not.

At the Greer-Heard conference, all the scholars showed respect for each other and were careful not to claim certainty where the evidence was ambiguous. I note that White does not follow either of those practices.

Brian said...

How did you feel the debate was not respectful?

Although lively, White kept answering, "yes, sir - yes, sir," throughout the cross-examination. He even gifted him a tie with p52 on it. Heh heh.

Vinny said...

White's comments in his recap demonstrated a decided lack of respect for Ehrman's work and scholarship. You can't mask disdain like that with a few "Yes sirs."

Brian said...

I find that interesting. One could easily make the assertion that Ehrman is certain of his own position and was disrespectful. Do you think that says something about the truth of his position or the strength of the arguments?

Vinny said...

One could make any assertion one wants. I did not hear anything in White's recap and I have not read anything on his blog that struck me as much more than ad hominem arguments and strawmen.

dvd said...

Let us be honest here. Bart Ehrman is being deceptive and he knows it. He speaks of hundreds of thousands of variances on the John Stewart show to promote his book knowing full well the vast majority of those are not significant and that the lay audience that watches the John Stewart show will think everything is just one big error and mess.

Next point, and one that James White essentially nailed Ehrman on was his description of the late date of the book of Galatians 150 years or so. James White showed that Ehrman himself quoted from soucres that are much later than that, and that date contrasted with other works of that time is actually very good.

Bart Ehrman, is being deceptive, he is being vague and speaks out of two sides of his mouth.

Either the whole document can't be trusted or can be. Just like when he was on the Reginald Finley show and arguing that Jesus existed, upon what basis can he say that when he himself at other times argues against the reliability of the transmission!

On the Infidel show, all Bart did was appeal to his own authority on the Jesus issue as Reginald took him to task for it, and Bart offered no good response other than "I have been doing this for 30 years". Total appeal to authority.

Vinny said...

Let us be honest here. Bart Ehrman is being deceptive and he knows it. He speaks of hundreds of thousands of variances on the John Stewart show to promote his book knowing full well the vast majority of those are not significant and that the lay audience that watches the John Stewart show will think everything is just one big error and mess.

Let’s not be silly. Ehrman’s book thoroughly explains that the vast majority of variants are insignificant and Ehrman unambiguously acknowledges this fact in debates and lectures. Anyone who relies on a six-minute interview on The Daily Show for a complete understanding of the issues is responsible for their own ignorance.

Next point, and one that James White essentially nailed Ehrman on was his description of the late date of the book of Galatians 150 years or so. James White showed that Ehrman himself quoted from soucres that are much later than that, and that date contrasted with other works of that time is actually very good.

Once again, let’s not be silly. No rational person thinks that we know things that occurred in antiquity with the same certainty that we know modern things. For example, we don’t know that Plato wrote The Phaedo with the same certainty that we know that Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address. With Lincoln, we know the exact date and time when the Address was made public. We can trace Lincoln’s movements in the days before and after the address. We have eyewitness accounts of him working on it and we have drafts in his own hand. With The Phaedo, we have manuscripts that date hundreds of years after the time of Plato. We cannot rule out the possibility that The Phaedo was originally rewritten or substantially rewritten by one of Plato’s. We cannot rule out the possibility that it was written by an unknown philosopher fifty years after Plato’s death who used Plato’s name in order to get his own work read. When we say that Plato wrote The Phaedo we are mostly saying that the Phaedo is part of the body of work that has come down to us attributed to Plato.

When Ehrman quotes Tacitus, there is no need for him to say “Of course we aren’t as sure that the historical individual named Tacitus wrote this as we are that Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address.” A rational person understands this.

Either the whole document can't be trusted or can be.

Once again, let’s not be silly. We have different levels of confidence in different documents.

Nakdimon said...

Let’s not be silly. Ehrman’s book thoroughly explains that the vast majority of variants are insignificant and Ehrman unambiguously acknowledges this fact in debates and lectures. Anyone who relies on a six-minute interview on The Daily Show for a complete understanding of the issues is responsible for their own ignorance.

Yes, ehrman's book does so. But let's face it. When he promotes his book, he doesn't mention that, which he should. because he gives people the impression that there are thousands of variants and therefore there are thousands of insurmountable pieces of texts that we can't figure out. And Ehrman doesb't say that when he promotes the book, but he waits for people to buy the book in order to find out. I mean lets face it: 99% of the variants are spelling errors and word order, and thus insignificant on a doctrinal level. Of the remaining 1% there is a large portion of missing lines and missing words, things that have no meaning on a doctrinal level, which means that they are insignificant. then we have the rest of the remaining part of the 1% on which real textual criticism comes into play. we are talking about 0.5% of the NT. When does Ehrman mention that? All you hear from him is "400.000 variants!".

When Ehrman quotes Tacitus, there is no need for him to say “Of course we aren’t as sure that the historical individual named Tacitus wrote this as we are that Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address.” A rational person understands this.

No, a learned person understands this. If you aren't familiar in the field of textual criticism, you cant even begin to get a concept of what is been spoken of. And Ehrman should know that there are a lot of people out there that listen to him that dont know these things. Yet he speaks as if they do. Why not all repeat the figures in every lectures instead of only the 400.000 variants that supposedly make the New Testament a fraud.

Vinny said...

When does Ehrman mention that? All you hear from him is "400.000 variants!".

Ehrman mentions in in his book, he mentions it in debates, and he mentions it in lectures. He did not mention it on The Daily Show (although he did not mention the 400,000 number there either).

No, a learned person understands this.

Fine, but White acted as though he did not understand this. Either he is not learned or he was deliberately distorting Ehrman's position.

vocab malone/jm rieser said...

It does seem as if Ehrman purposefully allows his words to be misunderstood by those who want a reason to think the worst of the NT (My fave example is Bart on The Infidel Guy - classic in so many ways).

And even though Mr. White is indeed abrasive at times, I am glad he finally called him on this.

vocab

PS - Here is the link to Bart on the IG show: http://www.podcastdirectory.com/podshows/2159107

vocab malone/jm rieser said...

It does seem as if Ehrman purposefully allows his words to be misunderstood by those who want a reason to think the worst of the NT (My fave example is Bart on The Infidel Guy - classic in so many ways).

And even though Mr. White is indeed abrasive at times, I am glad he finally called him on this.

vocab

PS - Here is the link to Bart on the IG show: podcastdirectory.com/podshows/2159107

Brian said...

Here is part 2 of White's review of the debate.

Vinny said...

It does seem as if Ehrman purposefully allows his words to be misunderstood by those who want a reason to think the worst of the NT.


That seems like a pretty vague and subjective assessment. I am not even sure how a person "purposely allows his words to be misunderstood."

I think Ehrman states his conclusions clearly and fairly states the evidence upon which he reaches his conclusion. Anyone who reads his book can decide for themselves whether they find his conclusions persuasive.

Ehrman presents an accurate picture of the texts, but it is a picture that many Christians have never seen because they have never heard any discussion of the texts that was more sophisticated than “the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles.”

Blaming Ehrman is like blaming the schoolmate who tells your child there is no Santa Claus.

vocab malone/jm rieser said...

Vinny -

I am familiar with variants and am not scared of them. I even read somewhere once that most Bibles have textual footnotes at the bottom but I'll have to go and confirm that for myself (sorry V., I can't help it=)

The main issue w/Bart is the "more variants than there are words in the NT" quote. Totally misleading to the lay person in every way. Don't you agree?


vM!

Vinny said...

Vocab,

It would be misleading if it were unqualified, but in his books, lectures, and debates, Ehrman acknowledges that the overwhelming majority of the variants are insignificant. The only time I know of that he did not make that qualification clear was on The Colbert Report, but I think the pace at which Stephen Colbert was dishing out zingers made it tough for Ehrman to explain things. Frankly, I think it is his evangelical critics who are misleading lay people by taking that statement out of the context in which Ehrman makes it.

On the other hand, what I find misleading are the apologists who talk about 25,000 to 30,000 hand written copies of the New Testament without adding the qualifications that the great majority of those copies date from 1,000 years after the time of Christ and that the handful of “copies” that date from the first two centuries are fragments. I am quite confident that I can find more examples of that omission than you would be able to find of Ehrman failing to make clear the insignificance of most variants.

vocab malone/jm rieser said...

VINNY -

Ehrman focuses on variants he says ARE very consequential to the Christian faith. Ironically, most of these that he focuses on are in the earlier manuscripts.

If you think paleographers are dishonest when they speak of 25,000 papyri, then inversely Ehrman should mention how many papyri we have every time he mentions how many variants we have. This would give his numbers a bit more context.

The way it's presented now would make one think there are nearly 3 different ways to read every word in the NT (your chum James White points this out=) ...

Plus, we do have more than fragments for our early copies; most notably Vaticanus and Sinaiticus (sp?). All this is out in the open, anyway ... one quick Google search and a person can find a nice healthy list of all the Greek papyri we now posses, where they are housed, when they date from, and what verse they contain. It's all right there to see. It's much more difficult,m though, for the average person to get a list of the variants because they must understand some Greek to use the NA27 Critical Apparatus.

Look, man, I do know what you are saying in a sense, it is true that sometimes certain apologists omit more info than they should to make the case, as it were. I do think we as Evangelicals need to do a better job educating people on this stuff in an open manner. On this, you will get no argument from me. I just want others to work towards doing the same.

Vm!

Ehrman focuses on variants he says ARE very consequential to the Christian faith. Ironically, most of these that he focuses on are in the earlier manuscripts.

If you think paleographers are dishonest when they speak of 25,000 papyri, then inversely Ehrman should mention how many papyri we have every time he mentions how many variants we have. This would give his numbers a bit more context.

The way it's presented now would make one think there are nearly 3 different ways to read every word in the NT (your chum James White points this out=) ...

Plus, we do have more than fragments for our early copies; most notably Vaticanus and Sinaiticus (sp?). All this is out in the open, anyway ... one quick Google search and a person can find a nice healthy list of all the Greek papyri we now posses, where they are housed, when they date from, and what verse they contain. It's all right there to see. It's much more difficult,m though, for the average person to get a list of the variants because they must understand some Greek to use the NA27 Critical Apparatus.

Look, man, I do know what you are saying in a sense, it is true that sometimes certain apologists omit more info than they should to make the case, as it were. I do think we as Evangelicals need to do a better job educating people on this stuff in an open manner. On this, you will get no argument from me. I just want others to work towards doing the same.

Vm!

Vinny said...

Ehrman focuses on variants he says ARE very consequential to the Christian faith.

Where does Ehrman ever say this? I think this is just another example of evangelical Christians attributing more radical positions to Ehrman than he espouses. The variants do concern significant theological issues and they affect the interpretation of the passages in which they occur, but Ehrman concedes that essential Christian doctrine is not affected by the variants that have been identified. Debaters like White always act as though they have wrung some big admission from Ehrman when they get him to say this, but it is the position that he has taken all along.

One of the things to remember about Ehrman’s view is that he thinks that many (if not most) of the intentional variants were attempts by the scribes to get the texts to conform to orthodox doctrine, not to change it. That means that the essential doctrines preceded the variants and were not dependent on them in the first place.

Ironically, most of these that he focuses on are in the earlier manuscripts.

This is true, but I don’t see any irony there. The majority of the identified variants occurred in the second and third century. The uncertainty results from the fact that as one goes back earlier in the manuscript tradition, variants become more frequent while manuscript evidence becomes more scarce.

That is why the total number of copies (or even the number of papyri) doesn’t affect Ehrman’s conclusions. There are simply too few manuscripts from the period in which most of the variants arose to confidently resolve all the questions. Moreover, there are almost no manuscripts from the first seventy-five to one hundred years after the texts were written when the occurrence of variants would have been most frequent. So for that earliest period, we cannot even be sure what variants might have crept into the text.

The way it's presented now would make one think there are nearly 3 different ways to read every word in the NT (your chum James White points this out=) ...

Could we just focus on what Ehrman actually says rather than on what you and White imagine people think when they read Ehrman? There is simply no way to have an intelligent discussion about what unidentified people would think if they read a single sentence that sounds provocative when taken out of context. I just don’t think you can hold Ehrman responsible for how you and White believe others have misinterpreted his work.

Plus, we do have more than fragments for our early copies; most notably Vaticanus and Sinaiticus (sp?).

These are both fourth century documents. I think it is correct to say that second century documents are all fragmentary.





I would like to share with you an answer that Ehrman gave during a Q&A after his debate with Dan Wallace last year:

We can know some things with relative certainty. We can know what Bibles look liked in the twelfth century. We can know what Christian churches in the twelfth century, what their Bibles looked like. We can know what Bibles looked like in some areas in the seventh century. We can know what one community’s Bible looked like in the fourth century and the farther you get back, the less you can know. . . . It’s the nature of historical evidence that you have to go with the evidence if you are going to be a historian and you can’t fill in the gaps when you don’t have evidence. And in the early period, we not only have very few manuscripts, but the other striking phenomenon, is that the manuscripts we have vary from one another far more often in the earlier period than in the later period. And so the variation is immense and there aren’t very many manuscripts. So the historical result, whether we like it or not, is that we just can’t know.

I think most people would look at that and say, “That sounds reasonable.” However, a Christian apologist would look at the last sentence in isolation and say “Wow! That’s so misleading. It sounds like he’s saying that we can’t know anything. If you are going to be that hyper-skeptical, all historical knowledge is in doubt.”

The real problem is that most evangelical Christians spend every Sunday of their lives listening to sermons in which their pastors talk about what the Bible says as if you can be just as sure of the texts of scripture as you can be about yesterday’s football scores. They are taught to think in terms of the “The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it.” They hear Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel tell them that the evidence supporting the New Testament is so overwhelming that no rational could remain unpersuaded but for a willful rejection of God. So its not that they get a false sense of the uncertainty of the texts from reading Ehrman, it’s that they had a false sense of certainty before they read Ehrman.

Most apologists will acknowledge that the evangelical clergy has done a poor job of preparing the laity to deal with the issues that Ehrman raises, but they want to argue that there really isn’t anything in the field of textual criticism that should upset the believer. After all, no essential doctrines are affected. However, if you are a Christian who has spent his entire life looking at the Bible as the very words that God wanted you to have in order to guide your life and know His purposes, the fact that you can still be confident in essential doctrines might not be all that comforting.

I think apologists spend so much time exaggerating Ehrman’s skepticism in order to make the Bible look better. They can tell Christians that even if the texts aren’t as reliable as they might have always thought they were, they are not as bad as this radically skeptical position that they attribute to Ehrman. They can even get Ehrman to “admit” in a debate that he’s not as skeptical as they claimed he was.

Brian said...

Transcript of the debate is here in PDF.

ann_in_grace said...

I was at this debate.
My question is: why are you publishing it outside of AOMin? Did you get permission to do that? This debate is not expensive to buy as an mp3, and every penny matters for Dr. James White. As i said - I was there, James is a dear friend of mine, and i know how much it costs to carry a debate like that through.

Brian said...

Ann in Grace:

It is not being published here. These are all links to post-debate audio. Direct links to the Aomin.org store are all here, in my high hopes that people go and purchase the mp3, as I gladly did.

The mp3 has never been posted here, nor will it ever be posted here! : )
I want people to buy it too!

ann_in_grace said...

In that case, I apologise.

metacogniscient said...

I've taken even an undergraduate class in textual criticism myself, and most of Ehrman's book is pretty bad when you actually know some facts.

Here's a good 60 page critique of his book if anyone cares:

http://www.ses.edu/Portals/0/documents/A%20Response%20to%20Bart%20Ehrman.pdf

Vinny said...

[M]ost of Ehrman's book is pretty bad when you actually know some facts.


Does that mean that Dr. Dan Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary doesn't know the facts? He said that "[m]ost of the book (chs. 1–4) is basically a popular introduction to the [textual criticism] field, and a very good one at that."

metacogniscient said...

Does that mean that Dr. Dan Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary doesn't know the facts? He said that "[m]ost of the book (chs. 1–4) is basically a popular introduction to the [textual criticism] field, and a very good one at that."

This is a fairly rude criticism. You seem to be misinterpreting my post and then responding with an arrogant tone. Yes, Ehrman's book is a solid introduction to textual criticism; this was not part of my original post's reference, though. No, most of his thesis is not factually accurate; and this is what I originally intended to convey. I suppose I should've replaced book with thesis, but I figured most readers on this website were intelligent enough to separate argument from introduction.

Vinny said...

metacogniscience,

Part of your “orginal post’s reference” was the recommendation of an article that makes the following rather hyperbolic statement about Ehrman’s book in its introduction: “Rather, this book is difficult because virtually every assertion and every claim is so fully laden with exaggeration, misrepresentation, selective reporting, and outright falsehoods that almost every line requires a recasting in an accurate light and involves a lengthy response to a series of misrepresentations and half-truths, each built upon the conclusions of the previous.” I cannot imagine how any intelligent person would have guessed that you actually thought that “Ehrman's book is a solid introduction to textual criticism.”

metacogniscient said...

Goodness gracious man. An introduction to the discipline of textual criticism is by far different from his introduction to his argument. I clearly separated "introduction" and "argument" in my last post, which should signify that I'm not referring to the introduction to his argument. Learn some reading comprehension.

Vinny said...

Actually, you did not separate them at all. You simply declared that others should be able to do so. Pray tell, what was it that constituted your argument and what was it that constituted your introduction?

metacogniscient said...

Admittedly, re-reading my posts I was not very clear. I've made all these either right as I go to sleep or wake up, so I thought I was being clearer than I was in reality.

Basically, I came at this post and Ehrman's book from a preexistent understanding of textual criticism. This understanding was perfectly in line with much of Ehrman's introduction to the discipline. Ehrman has to make this introduction in order to make his argument towards the general population. Because I was familiar with the stuff, I skimmed over it, and I also didn't consider it when I made my first reply.

However, the part where Ehrman differs from modern scholarship in his conclusions are what I originally intended to refer to by the statement "his book." I did not originally see the introduction to the field of textual criticism as necessarily conjoined with his argument. I apologize for my lack of clarity as well as my hostility from that point onwards.

Vinny said...

Fair enough.

Vinny said...

With many writers, both liberal and conservative, I feel like I am only getting the evidence that supports their conclusions. I suspect that I would usually favor the liberal conclusions even after seeing the evidence that the conservative side would offer, but I would like to know it all up front. It is rare that I read something by a member of the Jesus Seminar where I am not left wishing that they had developed the evidence better.

What I appreciate so much about Ehrman’s writing is that he makes the effort to fairly lay out the current state of scholarship in the field that he is discussing. He did not need to give such a thorough introduction to textual criticism in order for the reader to follow his argument in Misquoting Jesus, but I think he wanted the reader to be able to judge the merits of his argument as well. Ehrman may not address every argument that conservative scholars might make (although that probably isn’t even possible), but by laying out the evidence, he does one of the best jobs I have seen of equipping his readers to think through the issues for themselves.

I always get peeved when I see Ehrman accused of being deceptive or misleading in Misquoting Jesus since I think that he is nothing if not transparent. Perhaps it is because conservative Christians with prior knowledge of textual criticism skip or skim over the introductory material in order to get straight to his thesis. As a result, when they find his thesis unconvincing, they may not appreciate how fairly he has stated his case. Do you remember the high school algebra teacher who insisted that you “show your work” on your test? Well, I think that Ehrman does a good job of showing his work regardless of what you think of his conclusion

brian said...

What's the big deal? The problem is the oral traditions and how messed up they became. Even Craig said how the factors that relate to the empty tomb for example are not historical.
The Pauline mambo Jambo clearly made it's way through.

Imagine the gospels being administered by a Gnostic church. The gospels theology will be scewered towards supporting Gnosticism.

pamuk7 said...

Worth noting is: White's red herring in the debate. It was obvious for Muslims to see why he tried to bring in Quran in a debate between an agnostic & Christian on the topic of the Bible. White knows Muslims use Ehrman's work in discussions. White wanted to try & get Ehrman to say Quran got corrupted, to use this against Muslims. Even though Ehrman doesn't know anything about Quran, White didn't care. Yet, White is interested in "true scholarship" yet Ehrman is a layman, when it comes to Quran. Double st&ards.

White in his O.S said:
"the Islamic assertion of a single, preserved version leads to the inevitable questioning of those who produced it, such as Uthman, the third Caliph, who burned the sources he used!"

Uthman did not produce Quran. Quran was 1st recited by Muhammad, & mainly preserved through oral transmission. The copies which Uthman burned were copies of Quran which undesignated people made WITHOUT Muhammad verifying as to whether what was written was correct or not. Muhammad designated specific scribes to write down what was being revealed to him from God. Muhammad could not write down for himself because he was illiterate. Muhammad would immediately ask the scribes to write down the revelation he had received, & he would reconfirm & recheck it himself, by asking them to recite what they had written. If there was any mistake done by these specific scribes in transmission, Muhammad would immediately point it out & have it corrected & rechecked. He would do the same with companions who memorized Quran. The scribes were 43 in number (Tarikh al Quraan (Shahin) p.119/ At Tibyan al Quraan p.51/2.)


At Muhammad's time, the undesignated scribes who made their own copies of Quran of what they heard from the designated scribes, Muhammad did not verify & check as to whether or not the undesignated scribes copied everything down 100% correctly. That is why Uthman burned the copies of Quran made by the undesignated scribes, because they were not verified & checked by Muhammad. The earliest manuscripts we do have of Quran today go back to the time of Muhammad himself & were verified by Muhammad himself.

See here: http://islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Text/Mss/

But unlike White's Bible, it was not a need to have manuscripts in order for Quran to be preserved. It is unanimously accepted amongst the scholars & ulema that every verse of Quran is mutawattir. Mutawatir basically means: "reported by such a large number of people that they cannot be expected to agree upon a lie, all of them together." (al-Jaza'iri, p. 33).

Known Muslims we have full biographies about memorized Quran before & after manuscripts were produced.

For 1400+ years, this transmission has always existed so strongly, that if at any time within these 1400 years, all Quranic, Bible etc manuscripts & books were completely destroyed, the only one that can be produced in it's pristine form is Quran, as so many have memorized it, even today.

Contrary to this, oral transmission from Jesus' time till today has not reached us. There is no written text of any of NT books which was verified by Jesus, Paul etc.

pamuk7 said...

In the crossfire period, White said:
"So if there is any claimed Scripture from antiquity that does not have the
originals—the Qur'an has textual variations in it—they can’t possibly come from God,
then?"

Quran doesn't have textual variants, it is variant readings, which are actually taught in our religion (Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Number 1789). We acknowledge these REVEALED variants as we believe that Quran was sent down in MULTIPLE READINGS. These variants differ in not many verses. They differ in different words used, but the meaning of the words the same.

Any 1 of 7 variants readings are sufficient to have the whole Quran (ibid). These variants are not the resultant of:

1) Additions & omissions
2) Lost manuscripts

However, the Bible does have this, & all NT scholars agree. Did Muslim scribes make unintentional errors in manuscript copying? Yes, but because Quran was largely in oral transmission, such mistakes were instantly corrected.

In contrast, Bible does have textual variants, and Bible doesn't teach one to accept these variants as divinely inspired. Big differences between the 2.

Ehrman was wise & honest enough not to comment on Quran, & get lured into White's plan, without the "true scholarship" as White likes to say.

Further readings:
http://call-to-monotheism.com/analyzing_some_of_james_white_s_comments_in_his_ehrman_debate
http://call-to-monotheism.com/response_to_david_wood_s___uthman__corrupter_of_muhammad_s_message_and_the_true_founder_of_islam_
http://call-to-monotheism.com/qur_anic_variants
http://muslim-responses.com/Red_Herring/Red_Herring_

Peter Fapex said...

The quran was manufactured by a man, it was compliled by men as your own "Prophet" quotes that he us illeterate cant readf or write but would recite these to others to write them out for him then after his death the originals were burnt and MEN yes MEN compiled, what you have as the quran...so I think your PAMUK are way below the bottom of the toilet, before you can make any claims here, and yes it is true that Muslims can not put there finger on the bible no matter how hard they try and they rely on sources as bart Ehrmna as fact...fact!! You tell me what's wrong with that picture.

jon said...

"I always get peeved when I see Ehrman accused of being deceptive or misleading in Misquoting Jesus"

I have not read the book so I can't comment on that, but I think it's obvious that Ehrman is deceptive on both Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report. He only tells half of the story, and it's the half that makes the Bible look untrustworthy. When it comes down to it, though, Ehrman knows the truth, he just suppresses it in unrighteousness.

Vinny said...

Jon,

In a six minute interview on a comedy show, Ehrman doesn't have time to tell 1/50 of the truth, much less 1/2. If you care to read his book, I would be happy to discuss your opinion.

jon said...

To be honest, I put my time and energy into reading godly writers who will edify me and build my faith. I don't see the "400,000 errors" as a major hurdle. For Ehrman to say on Colbert that we can't know if Jesus is God incarnate because of the errors is complete foolishness! What about all the fulfilled prophecies, the miracles, the testimonies of the apostles, His authoritative teachings, etc.? And what about man's sin? It's apparent to believers that the condition of the world today and through history conforms perfectly to the Bible's description of human nature.

Ehrman was never "born again" as he claims... he had at one point an intellectual ascent (what I like to call demon knowledge) of the gospel. If he were born again he would still see the significance of his own sin against a holy God who must judge unrighteousness and how gracious, merciful, and loving this Holy God is for sending His own Son to pay the price for believers' wickedness. Anyone who truly understands these things and trusts in them will never (NEVER) turn back to the iniquity and unbelief.

Dk said...

pamuk7 says that while the textual variants in the bible are do not come from God, the variant readings of the Quran *do* come from God, and hence they are approved by God, and the Biblical ones are not.

I would like pamuk7 to show us the autograph to demonstrate all the variant readings in the Quran are exactly identical to the ones revealed in the time of Muhammad.

Anonymous said...

i just peeped this entire debate and ehrman doesnt present much of an argument for his position. he hammers away at a non-sequiter(sp?) regarding biblical inspiration and the few times he actually substantiates his argument on textual variants james white easily deals with them and after that he just keeps repeating on how there are all these textual variants with very little argumentation on the nature of these variants.

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