Sam Harris interviews Bart Ehriman

Lon

Active member
Some of these variations show vast changes to the text, demonstrating that the Bible has literally been rewritten by unknown authors. I will offer two passages for discussion.

1. The woman taken in adultery.

2. The last chapter of Mark.

Please elaborate on your understanding regarding the passages above and how they do/do not show that the text of the Bible has been altered at will by unnamed authors.
Vast change? These two passages are not in the 'Alexandrian' texts. What does this mean? Bart assumes (as do others) that 'earlier' means 'likely or probability of being more correct.' The problem? It doesn't actually have to mean that. The Alexandrian texts could be culprit for this particular.

Bottom line: Is either passage 'inconsistent' with the rest of the bible message? The answer to all problems ever listed is 'no.' Ehrman, as I've contested, does not see the unity of the scriptures. This means his whole education is based on 'differences' to the neglect of 'what is the same' and what is consistent with Christian doctrine. It had and continues to hurt him in analysis. If you read the Daniel Wallace piece I linked, you can see one of many professors who hold to their bible's and faith just fine with the same or better credentials. Another link discussing briefly in overview, where textual criticism is at today, if you'd like to read a bit. ChristianForums has also discussed a similar thread with a few very knowledgeable scholars' input (the family or cluster of manuscripts).
 

carolus magnus

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I used the Dead Sea Scrolls because they are the oldest known form of the bible that exists at this time. It may be that there will be other discoveries in the future, but for now...the Dead Sea Scrolls are the oldest bible writings.
No they're not. The silver scrolls KH1 and KH2 predate them by centuries, and remarkably are consistent with the old testament we have now. The Jews were nothing if diligent about accurately recording their sacred texts. Something we could wish the Christians would have been, but then the Christians were more concerned with the gist of the text and had the oral traditions handed down from the apostles to guide their transmission of the New Testament documents.

It is impossible to know if the bible we have today is the most accurate to the original autographs, because there is no such thing as an original autograph. They didn't survive. What did survive are copies of copies of original autographs. And what those copies show is variance within text over time, and it's not just spelling and word order. There are passages found in bibles now, that were not in the oldest copies of manuscripts.

While your words here are somewhat accurate they do not capture the larger truth of the situation.
If you wrote a letter, then a dozen people copied that letter, each introducing variants, then your original was destroyed we would still be able to get back to what you originally wrote with a high degree of certainty using forensics.

So while it seems annoying that early Christian scholars introduced variations, in some ways it has been a boon as it has created a very active body of scholarship that constantly renews interest in the fascinating texts of the New Testament.
 

carolus magnus

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Some of these variations show vast changes to the text, demonstrating that the Bible has literally been rewritten by unknown authors. I will offer two passages for discussion.

1. The woman taken in adultery.

2. The last chapter of Mark.

Really? This is the best you've got? These are well known, don't affect any matter of faith, and almost all translations put these in brackets and footnote that these are not in the earliest texts. It doesn't prove that the New Testament is a fabrication.

These were probably part of the oral tradition, and scholars recording the text felt the need to put these stories in somewhere.
 

carolus magnus

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No. But, that’s all I think you need to her from me. Y’all can work the rest of it out. Anyway, peace be with you on your quest.

PS. Your link to the video never did work. FWIW.

Yeah, these discussions usually go in circles and don't convince anyone of anything.
Looks like the video got pulled. A search for Sam Harris Bart Ehrman will easily find it.
 

Lon

Active member
Lon, we seem to be having some communication challenges. The link you sent was in English. I don’t read Greek or Hebrew, I meant I understood the link. Regarding qualifications, I thought you said you were working on a masters.
:nono: Have an MA

I have a Bachelor of Science degree with 66 continuing education units that I have not applied toward a Masters degree and at this time I don’t plan to.
:up:

Maybe it would be helpful if we just stick to what pertains to this thread?
Well, if the degree pertains to the thread...

You made claims about Ehrmans work, as I posted earlier...claiming he was distorting truth, or rather, attacking it. We have agreed to numerous manuscript variations, 150,000 estimated via the last link I provided. I found out about the large number of manuscript variations by reading Misquoting Jesus. So, he was not speaking untruthfully in that regard.
This OP was about the interview. As far as his book? It is an appeal to those who already doubt, a kind of confirmation bias.

As Magnus said, the English bibles also have listed any problematic texts in parenthesis or with footnotes. You can read them in your own bible.
The rest of the variants are inconsequential.

Try this:

Jesus Christ is the Lord of Heaven and Earth.

Jsus, the Lord of Heaven and Earth.

Jesus Christ, the Lord over all of Heven and Earth.

Jesus Christ is the Lord of Heaven and Maker of all the Earth.

Many variants, can you grasp the meaning regardless?

You need to get specific about what he is saying that is not true, because I have verified those variations and they are supported by modern scholarship. So, you’ll have to explain what exactly he is lying about.
Well, lying is harsh. I don't believe Bart thinks he's lying, he just stopped actually reading his Bible, if he ever did. What I said was that he was ignorant 1) of the easy stuff that is found clearly in the bible and 2) that he overstates his findings (like the example above). He questions the veracity of the texts being written by the Apostles and disciples, for instance. Is he the first to make such an assumption? No. These men miss "What is the same" for their focus on 'what is different' (like the example above, they miss the meaning and intent and simply say it is untrustworthy).

And that brings us to where we are now. I have claimed that it can be shown that large portions of bible text, found in modern day bibles have been inserted by unknown authors, and these edits have altered the Bible. Human editors have changed the Bible at will over the centuries. That is my claim.
See, this is Ehrman's claim too. I do dispute this as verifiable or even substantiated by claim. It is troublesome at this point, because Ehrman is claiming this about only one family of texts: The Byzantine. There are large problems with his claim, however, like the consistency of the whole body of these saved texts: They all hold these in common. It is only when compared to the Alexandrian etc. that 'variants' become most apparent. It is a matter of categorization at that point, and to make claims is a bit hasty. Forensics, as Carol Magnus was saying, does help, but nothing is definitive for these results. If anything, I'd say Bart has overstepped his bounds of 'ability' in drawing conclusions.

I have specifically selected two passages, that I did in fact get from Ehrmans work Misquoting Jesus. He claims, and I have accepted at least two significant Bible texts have been changed. The last chapter of Mark, and the Woman Taken in Adultery.
There are two crowds you can follow at this point, both scholar communities: One that believes the text authentic and Spiritually meaningful, and the other group that does not. The data of both follows their stance in bias. If you go with the stance of unbelievers, you are going in the direction of unbelief concerning God and Jesus Christ.

Now, we need to both go about the process of determining if in fact these claims are true. That’s how I see it anyway.
Long ago, I became a believer. There was a time when I had a season of doubt, but these particulars have to be weighed upon the premise of 'who wrote these' and 'why.' Bart is not a believer/Christian. His 'reasons' for spending time on these is not the same as mine.

One challenge: Truth is always experienced, not really ratified. If you doubt Algebraic expression, nobody can 'prove' the functions are true. You have to learn it. If you believe any science claim, none of it can be proved true, you have to also hold to its long record (medicine for instance).

There are books that contend that medicine, in the long run, is not natural and kills us. There is some of what they say, that is correct. Enough to totally dismiss the medical community? :nono: Not for me.

The choice is what steers us. I'm not into relative truth. Truth is true. It can accompany misinformation, this is the path reflected here.

My contention: Say there is a latter addition: Does it affect the overall message of the scriptures adversely? Not to my thinking. Would the woman caught be a story you'd think 'shouldn't' be in your bible? Why or why not?
 

Guyver

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Yeah, these discussions usually go in circles and don't convince anyone of anything.
Looks like the video got pulled. A search for Sam Harris Bart Ehrman will easily find it.

Exactly.

I mean, people need to believe in something.....it’s what we do. But, I would say that in today’s world, with so much information...I don’t see a problem with examining one’s beliefs and choosing to accept the task of keeping the good ones, and taking out the trash.

Anyway, good to talk to you. We all choose what we will believe.
 

Guyver

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Try this:

Jesus Christ is the Lord of Heaven and Earth.

Jsus, the Lord of Heaven and Earth.

Jesus Christ, the Lord over all of Heven and Earth.

Jesus Christ is the Lord of Heaven and Maker of all the Earth.

Many variants, can you grasp the meaning regardless?

No Lon, I don’t believe I can grasp that meaning, would you like to explain it in great detail?
 

Lon

Active member
No Lon, I don’t believe I can grasp that meaning, would you like to explain it in great detail?

Let me ask another way: Can you try to make one sentence that represents these four? You have a degree, give it a shot :up:

Jesus Christ is the Lord of Heaven and Earth.

Jsus, the Lord of Heaven and Earth.

Jesus Christ, the Lord over all of Heven and Earth.

Jesus Christ is the Lord of Heaven and Maker of all the Earth.


 

Guyver

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Let me ask another way: Can you try to make one sentence that represents these four? You have a degree, give it a shot :up:

Jesus Christ is the Lord of Heaven and Earth.

Jsus, the Lord of Heaven and Earth.

Jesus Christ, the Lord over all of Heven and Earth.

Jesus Christ is the Lord of Heaven and Maker of all the Earth.



Perhaps I could form a sentence like that Lon, but I have no interest in doing so. I don’t really care about the intricacies of Bible wording. That’s for you, and those of like interests.

I thought you were interested in explaining what that actually means in real life....you know, where we live.
 

Lon

Active member
Perhaps I could form a sentence like that Lon, but I have no interest in doing so. I don’t really care about the intricacies of Bible wording. That’s for you, and those of like interests.

I thought you were interested in explaining what that actually means in real life....you know, where we live.
It is merely an example, don't get lost in details. Here is a redress of Ehrman's book. Have a look. Tim Barnett knows the language and knows textual criticism very well. A summation of his points are
1) almost all variants are spelling related (easy fix - Greek was a common language of many people, spelling is easy to fix). These make up more than 70% of the variants.
2) most others are non-viable variants (means we know they are wrong and not in the bible) because they are very few and not recopied.
3) viable but of no consequence (they affect nothing) to the meaning (like in the example I gave you).
4) viable and can challenge translation like the difference between 'our joy' vs. 'your joy' being completed. At that, a huge difference that cannot be appreciable? :nono: If one is to rejoice with those who rejoice, then in the Body, if one is completed in joy, the other likewise shares so translating this is no problem except to note what was likely the intent. Of all variants, less than 1% is of a problematic translation. Of those that affect Christian doctrine, other scripture passages shore up consistently, the common message such that it is not a burden.

Example: a couple gospels have chapters that aren't present in others, and some are only found in a 'different' gospel. Likely, one was simply trying to preserve a gospel account and it affects the story of the gospel nor the theology of the gospel at all

5)finally, the author uses a quote from Ehrman where Ehrman agrees no Christian doctrine changes because of these. IOW, "Misquoting Jesus" and a couple of his other books amount to much-to-do-about-nothing-really, by his own admission. Hope this all helps.
 

Guyver

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Lon, I’m more interested in hearing you explain the truth about the statements you quoted. I’m not interested in hearing you disagree with Dr. Bart Ehrman.

Why don’t you discuss how you know those statements about Jesus are true?
 

Lon

Active member
Lon, I’m more interested in hearing you explain the truth about the statements you quoted. I’m not interested in hearing you disagree with Dr. Bart Ehrman.

Why don’t you discuss how you know those statements about Jesus are true?
Well, it was an example. We can get lost in details and then traverse far away from the premise of this thread (which is about Ehrman, specifically). For this truth, see Acts 17:24 with Ephesians 1:20,21 Psalm 89:29

Rather what I was trying to do, was get you to compare the 4 statements, because someone will argue what it means, BUT you can write a cogent sentence that expresses what was said, giving credence to all 4 sentences/authors:

Jesus Christ is the Lord of Heaven and Earth.

Jsus, the Lord of Heaven and Earth.

Jesus Christ, the Lord over all of Heven and Earth.

Jesus Christ is the Lord of Heaven and Maker of all the Earth.
"Jesus Christ is the Lord of Heaven and Maker of Earth." Do we know these to be true from other scriptures? Yes. My conclusion: Whatever translation, if it agrees with the wording of other scriptures, the conclusion is the same: It is a true expression of the intent and wholly agrees with the rest of the Bible.
Because of that, there is no, and never was a problem.
 

Guyver

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Well, it was an example. We can get lost in details and then traverse far away from the premise of this thread (which is about Ehrman, specifically). For this truth, see Acts 17:24 with Ephesians 1:20,21 Psalm 89:29

Lon, you cant give me bible verses. You need to make it real. Can you?
 

Lon

Active member
Lon, you cant give me bible verses. You need to make it real. Can you?
I don't think you were paying attention: The phrase I gave you was a bible verse. I simply 'varied' it so you'd understand what we are talking about with textual criticism. You simply CANNOT talk about textual criticism and variance without giving the texts they are concerned with. Yes, they ARE Bible verses. There is absolutely no "you can't give me Bible verses" to this conversation!

I'm going to link

and ALSO give you an example of text variation:

Matthew 5:44
MT/TR (majority/received texts): But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.

CT (critical text: But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.

This should 'make it real.' Its the English translation from Greek.

In addition, here are the various texts with English equivalence on the right of variations in the Byzantine family (others here, but mostly in Greek with little explanation).

Question: In honesty, is any one of them saying anything different than "Love your enemies and pray/do good to those who persecute you?"
Look them over, do ANY of them say anything different than this?
 

Guyver

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I don't think you were paying attention: The phrase I gave you was a bible verse. I simply 'varied' it so you'd understand what we are talking about with textual criticism. You simply CANNOT talk about textual criticism and variance without giving the texts they are concerned with. Yes, they ARE Bible verses. There is absolutely no "you can't give me Bible verses" to this conversation!

I'm going to link

and ALSO give you an example of text variation


This should 'make it real.' Its the English translation from Greek.

In addition, here are the various

texts with English
equivalence on the right.

Question: In honesty, is any one of them saying anything different than "Love your enemies and pray/do good to those who persecute you?"
Look them over, do ANY of them say anything different than this?

I don’t care Lon. I couldn’t give a rip less. I don’t watch daytime television, because I know it isn’t real.

When I go to the DMV....that’s real. It’s an experience that requires thought and effort and it’s not pleasant. There’s a bunch of creepy people waiting around in the DMV, and there’s a person who speaks Russian at the counter I can’t relate to. I know the DMV is real because I experience it.

Is what you believe about Jesus real? Or, is it something you hope for in your mind?

That’s what I’m asking you.
 

Lon

Active member
Is what you believe about Jesus real? Or, is it something you hope for in your mind?

That’s what I’m asking you.
What evidence can I give you?

1) I have personal anecdotal story, but that seldom meets qualification or connects with people. They simply find the intervention of God (supernatural) implausible and scientifically impossible to observe. That is as it should be, because God certainly can make each and every person on the planet believe with no doubts. There is something that happens, tragically, when that happens: Grace is over. Why? Because nobody would have a choice at that point. They could no longer choose opposite. It'd be strong-arming and damning. God tarries that all who can and will, will come based on Grace and love.

2) Nature declares 'creation' therefore 'Creator.' We see incredible things. We have an earth that is perfect for life. I have a fish tank. If the conditions are off only slightly, certain species will die. If we were just a few degrees closer to the sun, we couldn't survive. A few degrees further away and we'd freeze (no idea what the actual distance for either happens to be). I know you don't want 'the bible' but all truth is self-authenticating. I realize the problem of that, I'm just telling you not to let another's hang up about something become your own. Don't allow bias.

I've heard similar from Mormons, but I don't discount their book because of what it says nor tell them not to use it. Rather I use it to discuss inconsistency or to tell them where they have something right (The Book of Mormon does contain pieces from the Bible).
3) We have an ability to reason well beyond this material plain. It demands that we also 'have' something beyond this material plain to be able to grasp that which exists, but isn't physically perceived.
Example: We know that a line goes on eternally with no end points. Wherever the universe ends, the line continues, forever. How do we know this? Not by measuring, but by reasoning, logically. We know it. Because we are able to capture that outside of this 'material plain' as true, we too know that something of us and our ability also comes from beyond this natural universe' ability to produce. It is a law of diminishing returns. Energy isn't lost, but neither does a physical world produce nonphysical abilities. We rationalize and conceive and are capable on a much higher plain. Reason? Something more made us than is contained in this universe as we interact physically (see, hear, taste, smell, and touch) with it.

4) Revelation. That is, 'if there is a God' it is reasonable to expect interaction. There are many religions but few that claim God, Himself came to spend time and communicate with us. Of those, none have the weight of teaching and spending time instructing man, but Judeo/Christian claim.
It is therefore, important for us, as created beings, to seek out truth of such a claim. If God has indeed interacted, according to expectation, we have to find where and how. As far as my journey: the Bible fits that expectation. Was it comfortable? No, because I learned that I don't measure up to what I'm supposed to have been. I believe it. What I'm seeing fits with real-world observation, love, and frustration (etc. etc.).

5) Other evidence. Sorry, I have to use the Bible for a few moments because to addresses your question of how we know (but I'll paraphrase so as not to give chapter and verse): Paul for instance, says creation declares Him. It says too that those who would be found by God, must seek Him with a promise they shall find Him under His met conditions. Yet another says that men already know by their own minds, that they are not creators, but creations. I did. I knew/know implicitly that I did not create/make myself. I'm the product of something other/greater than I. Even collectively, there is something greater than all we've learned and all we've done OR there would be nothing left to learn or do. It may not look like 'God' at the initial thought, but we all recognize to some degree, there are things vastly greater than ourselves and it bespeaks of greater love, greater intelligence, greater ability etc.

There are more, I'm merely posting a few here. Others have made longer lists of reasons why they know God exists. I'm giving a short one here because interaction wouldn't be as meaningful with a much longer list. -Lon
 

Guyver

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Lon, I don’t care what religions, say...I care what you say.

And you don’t say jack-diddley. You have nothing, but you pretend to have everything.
 
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