Re: Earliest New Testament Manuscripts

From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Wed Sep 02 1998 - 13:23:49 EDT


Do I understand you correctly to be saying that the problems/errors
you encountered were not in the actual display/transcriptions of the
texts themselves, but rather in the introductory discussion/philosophy
in the book ?

Bart Ehrman wrote:

> I didn't take detailed notes on the Introduction, and so don't recall
>all of the specifics. I do remember thinking, and suggesting to the
>editor at Baker, that he should show the work to a trained paleographer
>(Comfort, of course, is not), since there were so many obvious mistakes
>(one example that I do happen to recall: Comfort evidently didn't realize
>that documentary scribes were professionals).
> It's really too bad, because on a personal level, Comfort is a very
>nice fellow. But his scholarship suffers from a lack of training in the
>field and an evident refusal to get expert help in areas that he himself
>is not knowledgable about. This is all painfully evident in his earlier
>publications; I still think that Bill Petersen's review of _The Quest of
>the Original Text of the NT_ is one of the two or three most devastating
>reviews of any work in any field that I've ever seen (JBL 113 [1994]
>529-31). And Comfort's _Early Manuscripts and Modern Translations of the
>NT_ is just riddled with silly mistakes (he calls the book of Revelation
>an epistle; he claims that Athanasius's 39th festal letter fixed the NT
>canon; he says that homoeoteleuton is a kind of transcriptional error; he
>states that "Western" readings originated in the Western part of the
>Mediterranean; he claimes that Westcott and Hort adopted readings "just
>because" they were found in Codex Vaticanus, etc. etc. etc.).
> In any event, it may be that the manuscript was refereed by someone
>after I saw it, and that some of its mistakes have been rectified;
>since, though, I was being ask to blurb rather than referee it, my hunch
>is that it was already in production and ready to roll.
>-- Bart D. Ehrman
Dale M. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Research Professor in Biblical Languages Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street Portland, OR 97220
Voice: 503-251-6416 FAX:503-254-1268 E-Mail:

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