Thursday, February 16, 2012

Debate: Daniel Wallace & Bart Ehrman 2012 Audio/Video

Here is a scholarly dialogue on the origins, the transmission, and the reliability of the New Testament. Do we have the original manuscripts? Can we trust the copies passed down to us? How accurate is our New Testament today? Daniel B. Wallace and Bart Ehrman discuss the topic: Is The Original New Testament Lost? Q&A follows the discussion. Video can be found on YouTube here. See also the great website The Ehrman Project for more great resources.

Full Debate MP3 Audio here. (2 hr)


Eyo said...

I guess after this, everyone will be waiting for "the book" coming out in 2013.

Brian said...

This is their third debate

Anonymous said...

Is the 2008 Greer Heard forum available online anywhere?

I understand this was an enlightening debate, due to comments by the other professors, such as Martin etc.

LittleGoose said...

I'm listening to the debate right now, and Wallace says that if all of our manuscripts were destroyed then we could still reconstruct the New Testament from the church fathers. I'm confused, I thought he recently dispelled that as a myth?

Brian said...


Didn't he only dispel as myth the "all but 11 verses" bit. That's not to say that we cannot reconstruct much of the NT text from the quotations of the church fathers -- though I don't recall exactly what he said in this debate.

LittleGoose said...

He says there are 1 million quotes from the patristics and we can construct "practically the entire new testament" from them. I thought I read somewhere that Wallace says we can only construct 40-50% of the NT from the Church Fathers. He quotes Metzger and Ehrman to back up his claim so maybe he's just trying to trap Ehrman. It is confusing though

dgfisch said...

Have no reason to understand Ehrman's skepticism about the ability to reconstruct the NT original. I have read that even with 400,000 perceived copyist errors, the huge bulk of texts (1 million plus pages) would mean a meager 0.5% of the text is flawed, mostly with spelling miscues. Koine Greek had no William Caxton whose printing press help standardize spelling. Indeed, the Greek language had many dialectical differences that made a unified spelling impossible. I remember studying Sophocles' Oedipus Rex and dealing with the messenger of Corinth. Most productions would encourage a differing dialect to approximate the Greek the Corinthian would sound to Thebian ears. And this type misspelling is the main error that the copyists would have committed. and it accounts for the mainstay for most of the 400,000 mistakes.

I am impressed with both Ehrman and Wallace's treatment on the question of Luke 22: 43-44: did Jesus sweat drops of blood or not? In studying my Aland-Metzger Greek text, it offers a neat conundrum. The earliest manuscripts don't include these verses, while some appear to have the verses drafting in the text as an afterthought. The earliest Apostolic fathers Justin Martyr and Iranaeus mention the incident, and is included in Tatian's Diatessaron, the earliest harmony of gospel accounts (ca. 150, according to some scholars). Around 250, the church father Dionysius Magna in his commentary on these verses cites the drops of blood, but offers a rational explanation of it being metaphorical to moments of deep distress and agony, not a literal oozing of blood. It leads one to ponder if the citation is original but excised for personal reasons of disgust, then reinserted. Or if the verses were included because one remembered the mentionings of Justin and Iranaeus? A marvelous puzzle. The Aland-Metzger text leaves out the verses, but ranks the decision as a "C" ("A" being obvious, easily resolved text issues, "D" being extremely difficult). Through this work of these scholars, we have established that 98% of the original is recovered.

What of the 2%? I appreciate Wallace's quest to finish the research. Ehrman's skepticism blocks him from following through on a scholarly mission to improve our understanding of Scriptures, an understanding that has been weaned on the old Textus Receptus. To the authentic scholar, the game is afoot. Ehrman sounds too much of a quitter to be of any good on this mission, even with the offering of newly-discovered texts.

Zzzz... said...

little goose: shouldn't you be studying!?
dgfisch: thanks for the essay, professor.

Greg Logan said...

dgfish - You were not paying sufficient attention nor critically examining the issues. You are working at a level so far below a scholar such as Ehrman - you are not even asking the right questions - much less drawing the right conclusions.

Greg Logan said...

I should add - notify me...:-)

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