I wanted to drop a line before we head out to sea. I’ve been thinking about last night, and a number of things have come to mind. First, I’m really glad Dr. Ehrman said many of the things he did. Most of us have known he was heading this direction, but the frankness of the debate, and his obvious displeasure at being challenged, led him to make things very, very clear. His statement that he has “moved away” from even talking about the “original” text is tremendously telling, and the fact that much of what is called New Testament textual studies today is no longer, really, relevant to the concerns of believing Christians needs to be made very, very clear.
I was especially interested in his tremendous fear to even talk about the Qur’an and Islam. I thought Dr. Ehrman is a professor of religious studies? The chair of that department, in fact? Yet he professed utter ignorance of Islam last night, once even accusing me of trying to “liken” him to a Muslim! He simply refused to comment on the Qur’an whatsoever, not even theoretically answering the question that if the Qur’an has textual variants, would this not mean that the Qur’an is misquoting Muhammad? His unwillingness to apply his own hyper-skepticism to anything other than Christianity betrays his deep bias and prejudice. He knew that to be consistent he would have to say the Qur’an misquotes Muhammad, but Dr. Ehrman is a good post-modernist liberal, and quite politically correct. He avoided that like the plague, though, obviously, he would have to say that very thing, if he was consistent.
I will attempt to have sound clips (pulled from my little video camera) to play on the DL tomorrow.
One other item. Ehrman asked me to cite all 12 papyri manuscripts that can be dated to within 100 years of the writing of the New Testament. I knew where my list was in a print book, but forgot totally that I had the same book in my Libronix library! I could have pulled the list in 20 seconds had I remembered that. I have been kicking myself for that all morning once I realized how quickly I could have accessed the information. But, here’s the data (I will be expanding this discussion a good bit in the future). The following manuscripts have been dated to the second century by credible papyrologists and paleographers: P4/P64/P67 (all one manuscript), P32 (which I mentioned), P46, P52, P66, P75, P77, P87, P90, P98, P104, P108, P109.