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

Paperback | February 6, 2007

byBart D. Ehrman

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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 both intentional and accidental alterations by scribes.

In this compelling and fascinating book, Ehrman shows where and why changes were made in our earliest surviving manuscripts, explaining for the first time how the many variations of our cherished biblical stories came to be, and why only certain versions of the stories qualify for publication in the Bibles we read today. Ehrman frames his account with personal reflections on how his study of the Greek manuscripts made him abandon his once ultra–conservative views of the Bible.

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From the Publisher

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 both intentional and accide...

Bart D. Ehrman is one of the most renowned and controversial Bible scholars in the world today. A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, his work continues to drive debate among supporters and detractors alike. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is the author of more than twenty books, including theNew Y...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.61 inPublished:February 6, 2007Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0060859512

ISBN - 13:9780060859510

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for history or religion buffs Bart D. Ehrman is great at making the works of biblical scholars available to laypeople like myself. For those curious about the history of the Bible and of Christianity, "Misquoting Jesus" does an excellent job at presenting the facts from a non-religious point of view. There's no hand-waving or special pleading to explain problems away, instead they are closely examined.
Date published: 2014-11-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fascinating It's not surprising that the words we read in the Bible today are different than the words originally captured back in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. - or even more recently than that. It's a well-known fact that these words have had to endure through several translations from one ancient language to another, and the vagaries of being hand-copied by hundreds, if not thousands of scribes over the centuries until the invention of the Gutenberg press in 1450, so changes are not only expected, they are inevitable. What this book does is provide a history of that progression and many examples where ancient writings and the currently accepted version of the New Testament (the book focuses primarily on the new Testament) disagree. The author then explains the methods used to identify the inconsistencies and the various approaches taken to try to determine how and why the changes occurred, and which version best represents the author's original intention. What I found most interesting is that this wasn't a simple exercise of establishing time lines from which it could be determined that the oldest text was necessarily the correct (or more correct) one. Manuscripts would leap-frog each other, and in some cases, more recent texts would be based on much older originals, now lost. Equally fascinating was the discussion of why scribes might change the text they were working on at the time. Certainly there were situations where simple transcription errors could result in significant changes being made to the message, but equally there were cases where changes were made intentionally, either at the behest of the patron (whoever was paying to have the manuscript transcribed) or the scribe himself, based on his own, personal beliefs and their cultural or political environment at the time. All in all a very good and interesting read for anyone (Christian or not, religious or not) who has any interest in how the word of God, as represented in the New Testament of today, came to be.
Date published: 2007-04-15