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Misquoting Jesus
The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
Bart Ehrman  

When world-class biblical scholar Bart Ehrman first began to study the texts of the Bible in their original languages he
was startled to discover the multitude of mistakes and intentional alterations that had been made by earlier translators.
In Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman tells the story behind the mistakes and changes that ancient scribes made to the New
Testament and shows the great impact they had upon the Bible we use today. He frames his account with personal
reflections on how his study of the Greek manuscripts made him abandon his once ultraconservative views of the Bible.

Since the advent of the printing press and the accurate reproduction of texts, most people have assumed that when
they read the New Testament they are reading an exact copy of Jesus's words or Saint Paul's writings. And yet, for
almost fifteen hundred years these manuscripts were hand copied by scribes who were deeply influenced by the
cultural, theological, and political disputes of their day. Both mistakes and intentional changes abound in the surviving
manuscripts, making the original words difficult to reconstruct. For the first time, Ehrman reveals where and why these
changes were made and how scholars go about reconstructing the original words of the New Testament as closely as
possible.

Ehrman makes the provocative case that many of our cherished biblical stories and widely held beliefs concerning the
divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, and the divine origins of the Bible itself stem from both intentional and accidental
alterations by scribes -- alterations that dramatically affected all subsequent versions of the Bible.

Other reviews:

“Though himself schooled in evangelical literalism, Ehrman has come to regard his earlier faith in the inerrant
inspiration of the Bible as misguided, given that the original texts have disappeared and that the extant texts available
do not agree with one another. Most of the textual discrepancies, Ehrman acknowledges, matter little, but some do
profoundly affect religious doctrine. To assess how ignorant or theologically manipulative scribes may have changed
the biblical text, modern scholars have developed procedures for comparing diverging texts. And in language
accessible to nonspecialists, Ehrman explains these procedures and their results. He further explains why textual
criticism has frequently sparked intense controversy, especially among scripture-alone Protestants. In discounting not
only the authenticity of existing manuscripts but also the inspiration of the original writers, Ehrman will deeply divide his
readers….”  Excerpted from a review by Bryce Christensen. Copyright © American Library Association.

“Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why is a rare gem of a read for the lay reader who
wants to know more about how the Bible came down to us without being subjected to academic overload…All good
Christians should know that there are from 200,000 to 400,000 errors in the manuscripts making up the Bible as we
see it evolve throughout the existence of the faith. For fundamentalists who have shouted from the mountaintops that
the Bible is word for word unerring, this piece of truth will be a set back………

This book is a huge benefit to the lay reader who is not inclined to go through other more scholarly works to find the
same message. It is organized and informative. I would highly recommend it to other religious individuals who are
curious about things as well as firmly grounded in their faith so as not be shaken up by some translation errors from
the past, serious errors which still haunt our Bibles of today. You know you have a great book in your hands when you
find at the end of the book you have many pages of underlined and highlighted references which you plan to return to
in the future for further review and exploration. This is such a book. Enjoy reading it as I did”  Paul Swanson, Retired
Navy, March 24, 2006

“Misquoting Jesus attempts to bring into lay terms a very complex subject that in certain circles can raise allegations of
heresy. As other reviewers have mentioned, he sticks to the routine books of the traditional bible, leaving out the
contextual arguments of the books that have been excluded from the latin vulgate, greek orthodox, and King James
versions of the text”  Reviewer, March 5, 2006.

“Often I have wondered about the translation of the Bible into English and this book does a very good job of explaining
it. The original form of the Greek is described as is the transcription of the scripture by scribes who did not know how
to read, but could do beautiful writing. It explains how the scripture we often think means one thing, may not really
mean what we think it does. I found the book fascinating and want to study it further.” Reviewer, March 23rd, 2006.
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