Ed Komoszewski has a fine post summarizing the recent debate between Bart Ehrman and Dan Wallace in Dallas. Check out “DON’T PUT THE BART BEFORE THE HORSE”. Also, don’t miss Craig Blomberg’s response to Ehrman’s charge that the volume of “errors” in the Bible should cause us to mistrust it. Here are some highlights and a promo video below from the Wallace/Ehrman debate, but be sure to read the whole thing (or order a DVD here) and see how Wallace unpacks his response to Ehrman:
Ehrman’s basic point was simple (even “simplistic,” according to some attendees): We don’t have the earliest copies of the New Testament and the early copies that we do have are the worst manuscripts of all. Therefore, extrapolating backwards toward the originals, we can have absolutely no confidence that the New Testament manuscripts correctly represent the original text.
Wallace’s central argument was six-fold:
- The New Testament has vastly more manuscripts than any other ancient author.
- The New Testament has far more manuscripts in the early centuries than any other ancient author.
- There are two attitudes that rational people will avoid: absolute certainty and radical skepticism.
- The New Testament copying was not like the telephone game.
- The Alexandrian family had roots that almost surely went back to the first decades of the second century.
- Wallace’s coup de grâce was his listing of various titles of books that Ehrman had written. Wallace argued that if Ehrman was right that we simply have no idea what the original text said, then all of Ehrman’s books on the New Testament would be pointless!