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After only a month on the market, Misquoting Truth is already in its second printing, having sold around 13,000 copies!
28 July 2007 - 11:05 CDTName: "Geoff"
I may not be able to call into the Bible Answer Man, but this is what I want to know:
Given the fact of textual variants, how can we still claim to possess God's Word? I know the facts of all the documents, etc. What I want to get to is the underlying assumption. There is an assumption that if you have any doubt about any verse you can't say you have God's word.
That is the assumption of Muslims and Ehrman.
If you could help address this question, I would be very grateful.
28 July 2007 - 11:08 CDTName: "Geoff"
One more thing. Ehrman, when interviewed on Issues, Etc., admitted that we pretty much know what the New Testament writers wrote.
Also (ok two things) I wanted to clarify my last post. I was taking a more meta approach. How can we say we accurately know what this authoritative text (could conceivably do this for any text) when we have variants?
I think we need to nail down the underlying epistemology groundwork.
30 July 2007 - 13:48 CDTName: timothypauljones
You're correct about the epistemological framework---and you're working toward the real crux of the issue.
First off, I think it's important to note that the internal reliability of the text (which I deal with in the first half of Misquoting Truth) is a completely different issue from the external validity of the claims (which I deal with in the second half of Misquoting Truth). In other words, simply because the original text is recoverable doesn't mean that the claims of the text are true. Likewise, even supposing that the original text isn't recoverable, the claims of the text might still be true. I'm not claiming that you (or Ehrman, for that matter) is confusing these two, but it's important to note the distinction. I say this primarily because I was once on a radio program in which the Christian host said---in essence---"We have more than 5,000 copies of the New Testament, and they agree more than 99% of the time, therefore they must be true." This is, of course, a false line of reasoning.
I can't build a complete framework here, but here's a starter: What we mean when we refer to Scripture as "God's Word" is that we possess an unerring record of God's self-revelatory dealings with humanity, supremely of God's consummate dealing with humanity in Jesus Christ. This "Word" was inspired in human minds and written down. These human authors wrote in their own words---using descriptive language and rhetorical features from their culture---their words were kept from historical or factual error. (Of course, "historical or factual error" does not include having made estimates, having used language of appearances, having adapted or combined historical accounts, or having worded these accounts in ways that allowed the meaning of an event to be more readily applied to the original hearers' historical circumstances.) Although these words were not copied perfectly through the centuries, their words were copied with sufficient accuracy that it is possible to know and to experience the original "Word" which bears unerring witness to the Word of God who is Jesus Christ.
30 July 2007 - 13:50 CDTName: timothypauljones
On the basis I described above, it is possible to refer to Scripture as God's Word even with textual variants, because the original intent---the "Word" that God inspired in the original authors---is readily recoverable and knowable.
31 July 2007 - 10:12 CDTName: "Geoff"
Thank you so much for the reply. Now, a fleshed-out version of that (the underlying epistemological problem) would be a great thing to use on BAM.
We need that meta-answer before going into the underlying textual information. It is those hidden epistemological assumptions that through Ehrman for a loop.
Also, mentioning that there were OT textual variants in Christ's day and Christ verifies Scripture would be helpful.
Go to minute 3 of the above link. If you can get it to Hank prior to the show, use it. Trust me.
29 August 2007 - 08:00 CDTName: "James McGrath"
Thanks for the comment on my blog - I would have picked either of your proposed titles over the one they went with! :-)
In addition to the original review (which I did indeed intend to be positive, but of course not uncritical) of your book, I also posted a follow-up on the 'lucky winners' thesis. The links to the two posts are: