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.
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
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
University of North Carolina at Chapel
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
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.