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The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological…

av Bart D. Ehrman

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
311363,543 (3.8)4
The victors not only write the history, they also reproduce the texts. In a study that explores the close relationship between the social history of early Christianity and the textual tradition of the emerging New Testament, Ehrman examines how early struggles between Christian "heresy" and"orthodoxy" affected the transmission of the documents over which, in part, the debates were waged. His thesis is that proto-orthodox scribes of the second and third centuries occasionally altered their sacred texts for polemical reasons--for example, to oppose adoptionists like the Ebionites, whoclaimed that Christ was a man but not God, or docetists like Marcion, who claimed that he was God but not a man, or Gnostics like the Ptolemaeans, who claimed that he was two beings, one divine and one human. Ehrman's thorough and incisive analysis makes a significant contribution to ourunderstanding of the social and intellectual history of early Christianity and raises intriguing questions about the relationship of readers to their texts, especially in an age when scribes could transform the documents they reproduced to make them say what they were already thought to mean,effecting thereby the orthodox corruption of Scripture.… (mer)
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Bart Ehrman's main proposal here is that proto-Orthodox scribes of the second to third centuries adapted ambiguous texts (he uses the word "corrupt") regarding particular christological issues in favour of orthodox interpretations. Chapters 1 and 6 are geared toward a general audience. Chapters 2 through 5 are very technical and may better benefit those with background in New Testament textual criticism. There are two excellent benefits to reading this book. First, for those in the beginning phases of this strand of research, Ehrman's analysis of particular problems provides a good example of how to do text criticism. Second, this is a remarkable piece of scholarship demonstrating scribal tendencies in early Christianity. ( )
  ronjawdi | Jan 26, 2012 |
This is an excellent book. It is the book of which Misquoting Jesus is only a summary. (A LibraryThing review elsewhere claims that Ehrman writes the same book over and over. I tend to agree.) Good detailed insight into how 2nd century theological controversies led scribes to "occasionally" alter the text they were copying. ( )
  Darrol | Dec 3, 2011 |
I found this book well-argued and interesting, though not as radical in its conclusions as I expected. Only someone starting out from a literalist understanding of Biblical inspiration (as the author seems to have done) would find it particularly challenging.

Ehrman traces the way in which scribes appear to have "corrected" the text of the Gospels, usually in the context of early christological controversies involving doctrines such as docetism, adoptionism, or separationism. However, he does not (as the casual blurb-reader might suppose) end up radically questioning the received text of the Gospels, since he is dealing mainly with variant readings found in only a minority of the manuscripts (as sometimes mentioned in the footnotes in translations of the Bible). Many readers may have forgotten (or do not know) that the canonical text generally accepted by scholars and translators is a patchwork of alternative readings, whose authenticity is indirectly deduced by very much the same sort of argument that Ehrman deploys. Such variant readings are a commonplace of NT scholarship: what Ehrman does is provide a background motivation for the scribes who produced such a plethora of variants, despite their presumed intention to transmit the words of scripture faithfully.

There are very few cases in which the reading taken by Ehrman to be the more original is not the accepted canonical text. For the most part, the variant readings consist in minor alterations such as reading "Jesus Christ" for "Jesus" in order to emphasize the orthodox doctrine that the human Jesus was in fact the same person as the divine Christ. Ehrman does make clear his own view that what became mainstream doctrine (which he refers to as "proto-orthodox") merely happened to come out on top during the controversies in the early Church, and points up the fact that many early patristic writers such as Irenaeus, Origen, or Tertullian may have been using variant (i.e. corrupt) versions of the text when constructing the theological arguments which led to the establishment of "orthodox" doctrine.

The most interesting feature to me (though probably well known to most NT scholars) was the notion that the writer of the Gospel of Luke not only fails to present a theology of substitutionary atonement like that of Paul, but deliberately downplays any hint of this theology in his adaptation of material from the Gospel of Mark (so that later scribes sometimes felt obliged to put it back in again, sure that the evangelist "must" originally have meant the same as other NT writers).

The only thing I felt the lack of, in a book apparently aimed partly at non-specialists, was an index of sigla explaining what all the manuscripts such as "Byz" and "P66" actually are, as they range from single fragments of Greek text on Egyptian papyrus to entire Bible translations in Coptic, Syriac, or Latin.

The book formed an interesting contrast to another I was reading at the same time: Ludemann's "The Great Deception", which by comparison is radically sceptical about the original Gospel text itself, but is incompletely and unconvincingly argued.

MB 30-xii-2008, rev. 20-ii-2009 ( )
1 rösta MyopicBookworm | Dec 30, 2008 |
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The victors not only write the history, they also reproduce the texts. In a study that explores the close relationship between the social history of early Christianity and the textual tradition of the emerging New Testament, Ehrman examines how early struggles between Christian "heresy" and"orthodoxy" affected the transmission of the documents over which, in part, the debates were waged. His thesis is that proto-orthodox scribes of the second and third centuries occasionally altered their sacred texts for polemical reasons--for example, to oppose adoptionists like the Ebionites, whoclaimed that Christ was a man but not God, or docetists like Marcion, who claimed that he was God but not a man, or Gnostics like the Ptolemaeans, who claimed that he was two beings, one divine and one human. Ehrman's thorough and incisive analysis makes a significant contribution to ourunderstanding of the social and intellectual history of early Christianity and raises intriguing questions about the relationship of readers to their texts, especially in an age when scribes could transform the documents they reproduced to make them say what they were already thought to mean,effecting thereby the orthodox corruption of Scripture.

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