Sunday, 11 January 2015

Bart Ehrman blogs on the back foot to my email

As you may have realised from previous posts, I am going through Daniel Wallace's interesting book Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament. Actually, the full title is worth noting ...Testament: manuscript, patristic, and apocryphal evidence.

Bart Ehrman is central to every chapter of this book, which is a response to his much earlier work: The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. If I had to summarise what I understand the basic point of this book to be, it would be that the corruptions that took place need to be weighed without bias between the various criteria available in order to come up with sound hypotheses to the reasons motivating the changes, and placed within a wider context of overall reliability.

I need page references for this so I apologise, but Bart is quoted as recognising that the criterion of orthodoxy needed to be a secondary issue and not a primary one, while seems to be shown to making the orthodoxy criterion not only a primary criterion, but almost like some kind of supreme cause for manuscript miscopying. I already believe this to be an overstatement because when I consider the criterion applied by Bart of "embarrassment", it is difficult to see that as being a strict issue of orthodoxy. That said, the discussions in the book around Matthew 24:36 do indeed seem to reveal some possible bias from Bart.

I do not know Bart Ehrman. I neither like him, nor dislike him. For a very interesting discussion on para-social relationships, I would direct anyone interested to the Liturgists podcast episode 10, which deals effectively with the work-identity separation, which I think Bart should hear because he has taken this the wrong way (i.e. personally), which seems confirmed by the very title of his blog post hyper-linked below. By the way, for reference, I am also a "thin-skinned" individual, and I thought it was good and very open for Bart to acknowledge this aspect of his character.

So in reverse order:

1. Bart Ehrman's response (obviously I cannot prove that it was in response to my email, but I will leave that to you to judge). I leave a comment there and a link to this post. The comment will essentially be a brief reference to the value of dialogue between scholars and the potential for progress in our understanding.

2. My 2nd email:

Before I worry too much about which side of the intelligence fence I sit, I think I might put this question out to the members forum for their views to see if I can get a bit more discussion going on this. There's something missing here. 

I also note that this may have been written in the night which may have affected your tone, as I am sure you are not usually so dismissive of Wallace's credentials!

Have a good day.

3. Bart's initial response:
No, I haven’t responded.  I think anyone with intelligence can read what I have to say and what they have to say to figure out who has the better argument!

4. My 1st email: Dear Bart, thanks for all your hard work and commitment to this blog, I do find it informative and have just become a member.

I am wondering if there is somewhere here or perhaps in print that you have responded to Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament (Wallace and co.), and in particular the allegations of the criterion of orthodoxy?
....[technical issue]
Many thanks,

NB I note that I made have also harmed this discussion by using the word "allegations", which was a much too loaded word. Sorry for that, Bart, if you ever read this!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks very much for your feedback, really appreciate the interaction.