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RE: [textualcriticism] I OWE Dr. Ehrman a Public Apology

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  • Mitch Larramore
    Dr. Ehrman: I  owe you a public apology. I had no idea you would be offended by being put in the same group as Crossan and the Jesus Seminar. I have read that
    Message 1 of 45 , Mar 27, 2009
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      Dr. Ehrman:

      I  owe you a public apology. I had no idea you would be offended by being put in the same group as Crossan and the Jesus Seminar. I have read that very "accusation" in numerous works, but perhaps they were mistaken; some are quick to criticize you and misunderstand you as they go about the business of "defending their Lord and Scriptures." Please allow me to publicly apologize for such an association based on your own denial of such an affinity. I am embarrassed I assumed the truth of what I've read.

      My larger concern was Greenlee's "strawman" that he felt like he decisively handled in his all-to-brief book The Text of the NT, a book endorsed by Dr. Daniel Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary, who I presume is a conservative Evangelical. Wherever Dr. Wallace is on the TC spectrum compared to you, I note that Dr. Wallace was chosen to present the opposing view of yours in the Heard-Greer debate.

      Obviously current Evangelical scholars feel the historical TC historical information supports their conclusions. Could you do me (us?) the favor of putting in bullet format the Evangelical areas you feel your works have decisively demonstrated, especially those points you feel Evangelical scholars have claimed to have historical support, have decisively demonstrated to be historically wrong. (By the way, Dr. Daniel Wallace has rebutted your book, Misquoting Jesus, by writing an ariticle on bible.org. In that article, if he is correct, he has demonstrated, with relative ease - which leads me to think your views were not accurately represented - he has demonstrated that your conclusions have little to very little significance. For example, your concern with Jesus responding with "anger" at the leper in Mark 1 seems to have no theological significance, since Jesus had responded in such fashion on other occasions. That is, there is a fairly simply theological explanation if we accept your conclusion that Jesus did indeed respond out of anger to that leper. Your other concerns, including your Hebrews "apart from God" are shown to be again of little significance by Dr. Wallace. Of course, that is simply my opinion.

      Actually I have read Baur, Crossan, and many of the Jesus Seminar, especially Robert Funk. But, I do not consider myself to be a TC scholar...by any stretch. Please realize you are dealing with a neophyte in this area. I don't hold a lot of views held by (Calvinistic) Evangelicals today, and I am not committed - ahead of time - to accepting the Evangelical's position of the historical evidence of Orthodoxy and their view of the first few centuries of the manuscript evidence. I will admit publically that I've read every book you've written and have found myself even in less agreement with the conclusions you have amassed. But, being a neophyte in TC, this should hardly move you to reconsider your views :o ) Apparently one's conclusion are related to one's volitional commitment to the larger question of Jesus and the existence of a transcendent Creator.

      I have the highest respect for your scholarship and consider your research on the same level as Evangelical scholars (with perhaps the exceptions of Everett Ferguson and H. Gamble, only because I can follow their writings with realitive ease - to me a sign of true genius. I can follow your conclusions as far as the propositions read, but I just can't accept the "corruption" you see as being of any real significance).

      Please accept my apology for "assuming" information, or misunderstanding information, that I thought you would be not object to being associated with. If this public apology is not suffcient, please let me know what I can do to further undo any damage you feel I've done by misunderstanding your positions!!!!!!!

      In closing, Crossan has on many occasions, at least in Texas on our public broadcasting network, PBS, has address the issues of Textual Criticism with great regularity. His conclusions often align with many of yours, but I can only guess at his "presuppositions or assumptions" and of course can only estimate yours based on your writings. Again, I don't know of one of your books I have NOT read, but I am relying completely on oral statements made by Crossan in the many interviews I've seen of him on Public Broadcasting Service. Another quick note: I do not remember seeing a PBS series in which Crossan is asked for his views, and someone like a Willker or Gamble giving opposing views. PBS tends to interview all those broadly within the Jesus Seminar camp.

      Mitch Larramore
      Sugar Land, Texas

      --- On Fri, 3/27/09, Bart Ehrman <behrman@...> wrote:

      From: Bart Ehrman <behrman@...>
      Subject: RE: [textualcriticism] Greenlee's strawman (??) in The Text of the NT
      To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Friday, March 27, 2009, 7:23 AM

          Have you actually read my books, Crossan, and the works of the Jesus seminar?  It seems a bit odd to mention us all in the same breath, and even odder to think of Crossan and the members of the Jesus seminar being interested in textual criticism!  (So far as I know, they're not -- *at all*).  But I like that bit about Bauer (not Baur)'s apes.  (Have you read Bauer?  Shouldn't pan someone if you don't know his work!)
          I think it is important to be very clear about methodology.  At any point where there is textual variation, one has to decide what the earliest form of the text is and what the latter changes (corruptions) were.  Only once that decision is made can you go on to consider whether theological debates were involved in making the corruption.  I have never argued, and never plan to argue, that the theological orthodoxy of a reading should be used as a *criterion* for deciding the text (this is in marked contrast with, in another field of discourse [establishing the earliest forms of the sayings of Jesus] the Jesus Seminar's Five Gospels, which states -- as a *criterion*! -- that apocalyptic sayings of Jesus are to be considered secondary; that may be a conclusion, but how it can be a criterion escapes me).
          To claim that scribes never intentionally corrupted the text -- if by that one means what one normally means by the term "corrupted" (i.e., "changed the wording of the text") -- seems beyond remarkable to me.
      -- Bart Ehrman
      Bart D. Ehrman
      James A. Gray Professor
      Department of Religious Studies
      University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

      From: textualcriticism@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:textualcrit icism@yahoogroup s.com] On Behalf Of Mitch Larramore
      Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2009 8:11 PM
      To: Textual Criticism
      Subject: [textualcriticism] Greenlee's strawman (??) in The Text of the NT

      On the final page (120) of Greenlee's book, he reiterates what he stated throughout this book. It reads as follows:

      ... there is virtually no evidence of a scribe intentionally trying to weaken or corrupt the text.

      I'm not understanding the objections to the NT by the apes of W. Baur, such as Bart Ehrman, Crossan, the Jesus Seminar, etc. It seems to me that these skeptics argue rather that the orthodox scribes changed the text to make it "stronger" toward the orthodox beliefs. What would be gained should Ehrman or Crossan argue that the early scribes made their own scriptures 'weaker'? Is this what the skeptics/revisionis ts argue? My understanding is that the skeptics claim that the scribes altered some texts to make it more orthodox or stronger. For Greenlee to show that the scribes did not make their own scriptures weaker threw me for a loop.

      Mitch Larramore
      Sugar Land, Texas

    • Daniel
      ... When we study the topic of blank spaces deliberately left in a ms, we keep coming back to the PA. W has an unusual blank space between John and Luke that
      Message 45 of 45 , May 7 3:05 PM
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        --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, "James Snapp, Jr." wrote:
        > In Codex L there is a blank space after John 7:52, but the blank space is not large enough to contain the PA. Do you think the scribe might have been replicating some leftover space, maybe at the end of the first volume of a two-volume copy of John, rather than indicating an awareness of a textual variant?<

        When we study the topic of blank spaces deliberately left in a ms, we keep coming back to the PA. W has an unusual blank space between John and Luke that may have been left for the PA--or might it be a relic of W's exemplar in which the gospels ended at John?

        Delta is an intersting study in blank spaces. Delta's scribe left a blank space for a variant reading that s/he:
        1) Later appears to have filled in from another exemplar (Mark 9:29);
        2) Never did end up filling in (Mark 10:19);
        3) Remembered was supposed to be there only after writing the rest of the line omitting it(PA).

        At John 7:52, Delta reads, on the fifth line of page 348:
        But then the scribe stops before even reaching the margin, lines out all but the first word, and, leaving the entire rest of the page blank (with an asterisk at the front of the last line), starts back up at the top of page 349 with:
        (with an obelus taking the place of the second EST above ELALHSEN!)

        images here:

        Another explanation, I suppose, is that Delta's scribe had heard of the PA's existence at the end of a book of the gospels, and was therefore replicating the corpus-ending blank space in that hypothetical exemplar.

        Daniel Buck
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