Re: Earliest New Testament Manuscripts

From: Bart Ehrman (
Date: Wed Sep 02 1998 - 14:05:08 EDT

   Yes, all I can speak of is the Introduction. I did not see any of the
discussions. (And I did not have any problem with the "philosophy" of the
book per se, simply with the fact that there were so many problems with
the factual information presented in the Intro).

-- Bart Ehrman

On Wed, 2 Sep 1998, Dale M. Wheeler wrote:

> Bart:
> 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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