Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why” as Want to Read:
Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  12,168 Ratings  ·  1,116 Reviews
For almost 1,500 years, the New Testament manuscripts were copied by hand––and mistakes and intentional changes abound in the competing manuscript versions. Religious and biblical scholar Bart Ehrman makes the provocative case that many of our widely held beliefs concerning the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, and the divine origins of the Bible itself are the results of bo ...more
Paperback, 266 pages
Published February 6th 2007 by HarperOne (first published November 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Trevor
Feb 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
This really is a fantastic book. When Wendy recommended it I thought that it would be pretty much the same old stuff that one would expect when an Atheist recommends a book on Religion. Let me explain why this isn’t what you might expect.

Firstly, it is written by someone who I assume still considers himself a Christian. He begins this book by telling the reader his ‘life story’ – how he became a born again Christian at fifteen and how this lead him to become fascinated in The Bible. Not in the w
...more
Juhem Navarro
Sep 10, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you read the reviews written in the Barnes and Noble website, you’ll probably see three types of review:

1. The smart ass academic or pseudoacademic who says the book isn’t that good anyway
2. The fundamentalist Christian appalled at the idea of someone doubting the infallibility of the Bible
3. Your average Joe that finds the book quite interesting

In my case, I could be a #1 considering that I’m both a smart ass and an academic (or so I like to think). In the case ofMisquoting Jesus Cover bi
...more
Jeffrey
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
Please, if you're Christian, read this. If you're religious, read this. If you're atheist, read this. I guess what I'm saying is read this. Misquoting Jesus reminds me of the game we played in elementary school. The teacher whispers a story in the ear of one child and it's whispered from one ear to the next until the last child tells the story out loud. And guess what? It's considerably different from the original. No dah! Well, imagine this . . . A book is copied over and over and over by monks ...more
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Before I write my review, I must emphasize that this book is not making a case against Christianity. It in no way seeks to destroy the your faith, your system of belief, or convert you to atheism/agnosticism. I feel this is an important disclaimer.

Something about me, I always feel very lost when it comes to selecting educational books on my own. I don't like to perpetuate false information, and it's overwhelming to select literature that maintains an interesting narrative while also providing
...more
Skylar Burris
Dec 23, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christianity, bible
While I found it interesting to see what differed in various manuscripts, I did not find any of these changes as sensational, apparently, as the back cover blurb writers did. Ehrman's subject and thesis are interesting, but, unfortunately, he is quite repetitive and his arguments are poorly organized. The introduction and conclusion are the clearest, most arresting portions of the book. The introduction is an intriguing spiritual autobiography, but his conclusion leans a little too heavily towar ...more
Wendy
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who like history, are curious about the Bible..whether skeptic or religious
As a biblical scholar, the author wanted to read the Bible in the languages in which it was first written and so studied them and went deeper into the texts. His decision to go deeper, to fully appreciate it, led him to find out as the old saying goes more than he bargained for. It led him to reevaluate his faith which had been based on a belief in the literal truth of what he had been taught it said and in the inerrancy of it as brought down thru the ages..as it was originally written.

What he
...more
Shaun
Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was pretty good for what it was, a textual criticism of the Bible. Sure it's a little repetitive at times, but I think this is the result of the author trying to simplify and explain a complex topic to an ignorant (at least relatively ignorant) audience.

Bart Ehrman attended Moody Bible College and finished his Bachelors degree at Wheaton College. He then received his PhD and M.Div from Princeton Theological Seminary.

A born-again Christian, Ehrman's desire to understand the Bible led him to
...more
Lena
Jul 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Ehrman was just a teenager when he had a born-again experience that led him to devote his life to the study of Christianity. Hoping to help defend the Bible as the true word of God, he focused his studies on the origins of the Bible, only to discover that the history of a book whose words many faithful take as infallible truth is nowhere near as clear as most people would like to believe. It seems that God suffered the same fate as many great writers and had his words altered by numerous editors ...more
Nat
Apr 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A must for anyone who wants to know WHY the Bible isn't inerrant. A wonderful work by a biblical scholar who was motivated by his deep faith and only wanted to find the truth. One of the most interesting aspects is that the reader will come to understand how biblical scholars work and the methods they use to decide which text represents an older tradition than another text. Also, those new to the study of comparative religion will probably be amazed to learn (or refuse to believe) that some part ...more
Emily Ann Meyer
May 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: objective scholars of religion
Shelves: history, religion, 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 n
...more
Eric_W
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
There was no New Testament until the fourth century. Until that time assorted factions warred over all sorts of different beliefs about Jesus. Some thought he was all human, others he was all God. Some believed there were many gods, others there must be only a few. Their assorted beliefs were transcribed by the individual congregations themselves, obviously representing their own particular view of reality. What happened to those oral and written traditions and documents and how they evolved and ...more
Stephanie
As a believer in "verbal plenary inspiration", which this author once cherished but came to see as ridiculous, I am curious to hear his experience and case. I want to admit up front that I already find myself distrusting his conclusions because of an assumption/leap-in-logic that he made back on page 11 about God's motives and choices. But, that said, he still holds my interest on a number of points.

Update: I am kind of disappointed in this author, because I feel like he promised these earth-sha
...more
11811 (Eleven)
Feb 27, 2016 rated it liked it
The repetition in this book was ridiculous. I don't know how many times the author mentioned that the gospels are copies of copies of copies but it was more than a few. Probably more than a dozen. Eventually, he gets to examples which made it interesting but I'm hoping the book he released todayJesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior, has fewer redundancies. I'm about to find out.

This was a decent introduction to the to
...more
Literary Chic
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
You had me at "reformed fundamentalist author."

Very interesting and the author was fascinating. Definitely read the prologue if you get to this book. The author's education arc adds a lot to the books perspective.

Ultimately if you're a believer, this probably won't change your mind. If you find yourself firmly on the fence or a dyed in the wool atheist, you'll find great information.
Becky
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I originally started my review with a big long rant about why even though I still believe in God I no longer go to church or even believe in organized religion. I’m truncating it down to this: the unexamined faith, just like the unexamined life, is not worth living. I feel that if more people understood that modern day Christianity is a product of its times but also the product of what was once a very diverse systems of beliefs and understandings of Jesus’ role, or that it is recognized fact tha ...more
Ojo
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A real eye opener.

I'm familiar with the point the author was trying to make in this book. For a couple of years now, I've known the Bible isn't as infallible as most Christians make it look. I've know that the book is littered with errors by its writers throughout history. But I haven't had time to do a proper research on the forms these errors took. Reading this book has saved me a lot of time.

It's a bit unfortunate most Christians aren't aware of Biblical textual criticism. It's almost like
...more
David
Dec 31, 2007 rated it it was ok
Ehrman did a good job of explaining textual criticism for the average person. The reason I only give two stars is because I learned pretty much everything he says in this book at a conservative evangelical seminary. In other words, he writes as if these things are a shocking secret to Christians when most Christians, even the most evangelical ones, learned this ages ago and are fine with it. This book should encourage Christian teachers and pastors to teach these things to the people in their ch ...more
David Withun
To be completely honest, reading this book was a waste of my time. I generally enjoy Ehrman's work, in spite of his sensationalist style, but I was very disappointed with this one. Misquoting Jesus was filled with page after page of Ehrman's typical version of "shock and awe," none of which is very often shocking or awing, but with none of the redeeming information and interesting facts that his other books usually contain.

Rather than a scholarly and engaging look at the manuscript traditions of
...more
Stephanie *Very Stable Genius*
I found this book interesting. A biblical scholar, who was a born again Christian as a teen, decides to not only study the bible but other more secular studies. He does this to be able to prove to none believers that the bible is without error. But finds out he has been very, very, wrong about this fact. He says at one point that "there are more errors in the new testament then there are words in it". Most of the errors where honest mistakes by the scribes copying these manuscripts and the rest ...more
Jon
Aug 25, 2011 rated it liked it
An explanation from a noted textual scholar, as to why literal interpretation of the bible is simply not possible. His question is "where is the actual bible you're taking literally?" The one we have is an amalgam of manuscripts, few of them complete, many of them fragments no bigger than a matchbook, copied, recopied over millennia, with many mistakes, many intentional changes on the part of scribes, and thousands of differences, all regularized and heavily edited by scholars of varying stripes ...more
Martin Pierce
Jun 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
There were minor variations in the New Testament manuscripts. This is old news.

Unfortunately, Ehrman, a former fundamentalist Christian, thinks it's such a big deal that it casts doubt on the veracity of the Christian faith. Practically nobody agrees, except for people like atheists who already have a bone to pick with Christians.

The truth is that no other ancient text is as well supported as the New Testament. Minor variations are to be expected. The ones we find the the NT manuscripts don't
...more
Aaron Jordan
Feb 12, 2013 rated it liked it
I listened to this book as an audiobook. I generally enjoyed much of this book and found it to be very interesting. On the other hand, I also sensed that the author was writing with an agenda that missed the mark. He seemed to be relishing the prideful pleasure of iconoclasm as he set himself up as the smartest man in the room to enlighten us poor simpletons who actually believe in the Bible. I suppose I should also blame the narrator for the smug, sneering, condescending tone of this book. I h ...more
آدم زمین زاد
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, religion
This book is fascinating and deep. It presents the history of documentation,translation and transmission of the New Testament in a critical way. There are more variations among the 16000 old manuscripts available than the words in the New Testament. The reasons for these variations were illiteracy of scribers , mistakes, theological differences, worldviews etc. In short the inspired words of God were altered by humans. The question is if God didn't stop the alteration in his words,then may be th ...more
Erik Graff
Nov 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians
Recommended to Erik by: Thomas Miley
Shelves: religion
Ehrman claims that this, his overview of the formulations of what have come down to us as the texts of the Christian Scriptures, is a work that hadn't been done before. That is a bit of an overstatement. Any work of textual criticism applied to this corpus must needs cover such ground. Such originality as there is to Jesus Misquoted is in its engagingly accessible style.

Usually I find self-reference off-putting when used in scholarship. In this case, however, Ehrman's introductory account of how
...more
Heather
Oct 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Heather by: Robin
i really wanted more from this book; it felt like the introduction to a more in-depth exploration. as such, there certainly were things new to me, but as someone with mild exposure to exegesis, much of this was known territory, and i repeatedly felt frustrated at the cursory descriptions (and terse! footnotes).

that said, i am glad i read this, and i highly recommend this to *anyone* who takes the bible to be the inerrant word of god. ehrman's writing style is relatively easy to understand, has a
...more
Kathy Davie
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A non-fictional account of how and why the Bible is NOT the direct word of God.

My Take
This was an excellent, very scholarly account using scientific and textual inquiry to present the manner in which people have for centuries been changing the words that make up the New Testament. The work involved in determining which copy is the more original was and is tremendous. It gives me a headache just thinking of how to keep track and organize the mass of material! I want a time machine!!

Ehrman explain
...more
Katie
Aug 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, sociology
When I first started nosing through the Bible about twenty years ago, I noticed that nearly every page had footnotes saying something like "other ancient texts read..." and "according to Hebrew texts; Syriac reads..." Like many American Protestants (or proto-Protestants, which is what I was), I had absorbed the idea that the Bible was somehow, mysteriously produced directly by God. Without really thinking about it, I assumed that I was holding a text translated from a single document, the origin ...more
Rickey
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this after reading Jesus, Interrupted, also by Bart D. Ehrman. This book is slightly more technical than the other, and I would recommend reading Jesus, Interrupted first, then this one.

Ehrman begins this book by describing how he was raised as a Christian and was so fascinated by the Bible that he began intently studying it, and I do mean intently. He was so interested in it that he learned Greek, Latin, and some of the ancient languages in order to translate the ancient manuscripts hims
...more
T Fool
May 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-books
Devout Christians should pay attention to this. Not just those strongly adhering to The Word, but those also who fashion a faith on broader foundations that include any writings. People write, take dictation, transcribe, copy, and pass-on traditions that become more and more mistake-prone with each production.

It's not just that we in America are reading English versions which rely on translating notions and cultural contexts almost certainly to veer from the original setting, but for which we ca
...more
Xysea
Aug 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book from many perspectives.

I enjoyed reading about a fundamentalist who actually saw the light and understood the Bible, like the Constitution, was intended to be a living document - not a frozen one.

And that the whole purpose of Christianity, in Jesus, was to foment change in how people viewed the things they previously believed were absolutes as well (Laws of Moses).

As an aside, I had been down this road before. I took a course in college called the New Testament as Literature.
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Hitler button 6 100 Sep 19, 2014 08:04PM  
  • Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 years
  • The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable is the Gospel Tradition?
  • Who Wrote the Bible?
  • The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts
  • Not the Impossible Faith
  • The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? Challenging the Existence of an Historical Jesus
  • A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization
  • The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans and Heretics
  • 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God
  • Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism
  • Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture
  • The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book
  • The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails
  • The Dark Side of Christian History
  • The Evolution of God
  • Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists
  • Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making of the Christian Myth
  • Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally
831 followers
Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. He came to UNC in 1988, after four years of teaching at Rutgers University. At UNC he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies.

A graduate of Wheaton College (Illinois), Professor Ehrman received both his Masters of Div
...more
More about Bart D. Ehrman

Nonfiction Deals

  • Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
    $9.99 $2.99
  • How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Hidden Figures
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Pocket Prayers: 40 Simple Prayers that Bring Peace and Rest
    $2.99 $0.99
  • Manifest Your Destiny: Nine Spiritual Principles for Getting Ev
    $11.74 $1.99
  • A Three Dog Life
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam
    $14.99 $2.99
  • How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front
    $5.99 $1.99
  • My Glory Was I Had Such Friends: A Memoir
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life
    $6.99 $0.99
  • The War of Art
    $9.99 $1.49
  • Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Abigail and John: Portrait of a Marriage
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas
    $19.99 $2.99
  • The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos
    $14.99 $2.99
  • I'd Rather Be Reading: A Library of Art for Book Lovers
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Girl With No Name: The Incredible True Story of a Child Raised by Monkeys
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific
    $10.99 $1.99
  • America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines
    $14.99 $1.99
  • The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa
    $11.99 $3.99
  • Dear Bob and Sue
    $6.99 $2.99
  • Hello Mornings: How to Build a Grace-Filled, Life-Giving Morning Routine
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her
    $13.99 $1.99
“The Bible, at the end of the day, is a very human book.” 4 likes
“Moreover, his view was precisely the one that many English Protestants feared would result from a careful analysis of the New Testament text, namely that the wide-ranging variations in the tradition showed that Christian faith could not be based solely on scripture (the Protestant Reformation doctrine of sola scriptura), since the text was unstable and unreliable. Instead, according to this view, the Catholics must be right that faith required the apostolic tradition preserved in the (Catholic) church.” 1 likes
More quotes…