Rickey's Reviews > Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible & Why

Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman
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it was amazing

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 himself rather than just relying on others to tell him what they say.

In my opinion this book and Jesus, Interrupted should both be required reading for anyone who reads the Bible. Why would you not be interested in how this book came to be what it is today? Ehrman describes the many ways that the Bible has been changed in the process of copying. After being hand copied for more than 1500 years, wouldn’t you expect that there would be variations? In the first 200 years, these manuscripts weren’t even copied by professional scribes. Also, in the early years of Christianity, the literacy rates were very low, and a person might be considered literate if they could just write their name. At one place in the book he describes how a person is copying a manuscript who can’t really read and is simply copying it symbol by symbol, not able to even read it!

Ehrman goes over many of the reasons that these variations probably occurred in the Bible – from simple errors to deliberate changes and outright forgery, and the reasons for many of these changes. He also writes about some of the early Christian religions and the conflicts they had establishing their doctrines - for example, whether Jesus was mortal or divine, if Jesus was born of a virgin, the concept of the Trinity, and even if there was one God or many. Some believed there was a god of the Old Testament and a different god of the New Testament. They believed that the Old Testament god was wrathful and vengeful, and the New Testament god was kind and benevolent. Many of us aren’t aware that the early Christian churches didn’t all agree on this, and what we have today is the doctrine that persevered over the others. A statement he made that stands out in my mind is that there are more variants in the Bible than there are words in the New Testament. I also remember him stating that there are more than 30,000 variants.

A recommended read for those who are able to be open-minded about a book considered sacred and inerrant by many.
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Reading Progress

July 12, 2013 – Started Reading
July 12, 2013 – Shelved
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Michael Perkins Years ago, I recall hearing sermons that hinged on the meaning of a single word in a Biblical passage. How absurd that seems given your synopsis of this book.

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