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Theology: The Challenge of Ehrman, part I

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One has to give credit to Ehrman's skill as a writer. In his first 4 chapters, he made the art/science of textual criticism accessible to the lay reader by describing how accidental errors in text copying can occur and also how one might detect intentional changes to the text. In chapters 5-7, he described texts that he thinks were altered deliberately.

His chain of thought appears to be as follows:
(1) There are text variants in the NT manuscripts.
(2) Most people don't know there are variants.
(3) The variants are so numerous as to render the NT as worthless (or nearly so) as a source of knowledge about Jesus.
(4) If the general public knew about the variants, Christianity (as understood by most people) would collapse.

Claim one is beyond dispute. There are many thousands of ancient NT manuscripts (far more copies than any other ancient text) and within them are variants. The vast majority are little boo-boos as described by Ehrman in chapters 1-4 that are easily spotted an…