The Book From Which The Quote Came

You thought that I had forgotten to post the book from whence this quote came – ye of little faith.

“During the second and third centuries, however, there was no agreed-upon canon – and no agreed upon theology. Instead there was a wide range of diversity: diverse groups asserting diverse theologies based on diverse written texts, all claiming to be written by apostles of Jesus.”

“Some of these Christian groups insisted that God had created this world; others maintained that the true God had not created this world (which is, after all, an evil place), but that it was the result of a comic disaster. Some of these groups insisted that the Jewish scriptures were given by the one true God; others claimed that the Jewish scriptures belong to the inferior God of the Jews, who was not the one true God. Some of these groups insisted that Jesus Christ was the one Son of God who was both completely human and completely divine; other groups insisted that Christ was completely human and not at all divine; others maintained that he was completely divine and not at all human; and yet others asserted that Jesus Christ was two things – a divine being (Christ) and a human being (Jesus). Some of these groups  believed that Christ’s death brought about the salvation of the world; others maintained that Christ’s death had nothing to do with the salvation  of this world; yet other groups insisted that Christ had never actually died.”

“Each and every one of these viewpoints – and many others besides – were topics of constant discussion, dialogue, and debate in the early centuries of the church, while Christians of various persuasions tried to convince  others of the truth of their own claims. Only one group eventually ‘won out’ in these debates.”

Misquoting Jesus

 

This is the book which chronicles the 1500 years of  mistakes and changes to the text of the Bible by scribes who hand copied each edition they made. Author Bart D. Ehrman, a textual critic, reveals:

  • The king James Bible was based on corrupted and inferior manuscripts that in many cases do not accurately represent the meaning of original text.
  • The favorite Bible story of Jesus’s forgiving the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-11) doesn’t belong in the Bible.
  • Scribal errors were so common in antiquity that the author of the Book of Revelation threatened damnation to anyone who “adds to” or “takes away” words from the text.

So we will leave you with one more quote from Ehrman and we leave the rest for your investigation.

 

“For the more I studied , the more I saw that reading a text necessarily involves interpreting a text. I suppose when I started my studies I had a rather unsophisticated view of reading: that the point of reading a text is simply to let the text ‘speak for itself,’ to uncover the meaning inherent in its words. The reality, I came to see, is that meaning is not inherent and texts do not speak for themselves. If texts could speak for themselves, then everyone honestly and openly reading a text would agree on what the text says. But interpretation of texts abound, and people in fact do not agree on what the texts mean. This is obviously true of the texts of scripture: simply look at the hundreds, or even thousands, of ways people interpret the book of Revelation, or consider all the different Christian denominations, filled with intelligent and well-meaning people who base their views of how the church should be organized and function on the Bible, yet all of them coming to radically different conclusions (Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Appalachian snake-handlers, Greek Orthodox, and on and on).”

“Or think back on the last time you were involved in a heated debate in which the Bible was invoked, and someone volunteered an interpretation of a scripture verse that left you wondering. How did he (or she) come up with that? We hear this all around us in discussions of homosexuality, women in the church, abortion, divorce, and even American foreign policy, with both sides quoting the same Bible – and sometimes even the same verses – to make their case. Is this because some people are simply more willful or less intelligent than others and can’t understand  what the text plainly says? Surely not – surely the texts of the New Testament are not simply collections of words whose meaning is obvious to any reader. Surely the texts have to be interpreted to make sense, rather than simply read as if they can divulge their meanings without the process of interpretation.  And this, of course, applies not just to the New Testament documents, but to texts of every kind. Why else would there there be radically different understandings of the U.S. Constitution, or Das Kapital, or Middlemarch? Texts do not simply reveal their own meanings to honest inquirers. Texts are interpreted, and they are interpreted (just as they were written) by living, breathing human beings, who can make sense of the texts only by explaining them in the light of their other knowledge, explicating their meaning, putting the words of the texts ‘in other words.'”

“Once readers put a text in other words, however, they have changed the words. This is not optional when reading; it is not something you can choose not to do when you peruse a text. The only way to make sense of a text is to read it, and the only way to read it is by putting it in other words, and the only way to put it in other words is by having other words to put it into, and the only way you have other words to put it into is that you have a life, and the only way you have a life is by being filled with desires, longings, needs, wants, beliefs, perspectives, worldviews, opinions, likes, dislikes – and all the other things that make human beings human. And so to read a text is, necessarily, to change a text.”
 

 

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Posted on July 7, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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