Emily Ann Meyer's Reviews > Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman
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Jun 12, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: history, religion, 2007
Recommended for: objective scholars of religion
Read in June, 2007

I wish there were a 1/2 star method, because I didn't quite like this up to 4 stars, but I liked it more than 3.

The book was not quite what I expected, inasmuch as it focused a lot more on the individual motivations of scribes and/or transcription errors rather than the major political and theological debates that also contributed to changes in the text.

There is much of this that I already knew - changes are made and mistakes happen. What was new to me, and what really made me sit up and take notice, was the major impact in interpretation some of these changes had.

That, for example, the entire story that concludes with the adage "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," was a later addition. Or that no where in the New Testament (barring later changes) is Jesus' divinity explicitly called out. Or, and the one that gave me goosebumps considering how much it was emphasized in my own confirmation classes - that the entire idea of the trinity hangs on the placement of a comma. Or that the exhortation that women should be silent and submissive was likely the opinion of a scribe copying given how much it contradicts earlier documents (which, in fact, have female disciples - take that everyone opposed to female priesthood!)

Changes between gospels were also interesting - I was aware of some - but others were new to me.

What would've been an interesting expansion of this is to get into, as I mentioned above, some of the external forces impacting these changes - Ehrmann talks about various competing facets, but only in a brief chapter. Another interesting way to add depth might get into the council of Nicea and other early church gatherings where the selection of the books of the bible was made - how did the choice of what was to become "canon" impact the potential interpretation of these books that may have then led to potential scriptural changes?
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message 1: by Denise (new)

Denise If you're ever looking for a good reading list around this topic, let me know. Ehrmann's one of the really well-known scholars, and I haven't read this particular one yet but I have read his others, and he sometimes tapdances over the tops of stuff. Ever try some John Dominic Crossan?


Emily Ann Meyer I'd love a reading list, yes! May take a while to hit everything, but this is a subject I've missed since my wayward days as a religious studies minor.

Just ran Crossan through Amazon, and it looks like I've read his book on the historical Jesus, but not the others. Any recommendations?


Skylar Burris "Or that no where in the New Testament (barring later changes) is Jesus' divinity explicitly called out."

That's not true, nor do I think the author claims it so absolutely. He merely notes one or two places where mention of Christ's divinity appears to be a later insertion, but there are other places that are not in dispute where Christ's divinity is also at least as firmly asserted.


message 4: by John (new)

John He touches on the selection of books that were eventually included as (and excluded from) the New Testament in this book's "sequel": Jesus, Interrupted.


Kenny Bell PLEASE READ* Does Bart Erhman provide the resources or evidence to where he claims "We don't have the original bible" and "we dont know who wrote the bible"? He just says this thing without pointing readers where to look this up. And it was also weird to me that if we dont have the original bible then what did they use to translate to English?


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