Innovators World

Moral Innovators need to go beyond “Misquoting Jesus” by Bart Ehrman

“Misquoting Jesus” book reinforces the New Testament of the Bible has over 400,000 variations, most of which do not impact Bible’s message, but there are some significant variations that can change the message in the Bible. Instead of giving us comprehensive analytical insights on the implications of the significant variations, the author showed some specific illustrative examples in this book. It is up to the Moral Innovators to follow up with more questions.
For example, the Old Testament was mostly in Hebrew, and adding some Aramaic text (Gemara) we have Talmud for the Jewish Bible. Why did the Protestants decide not to include the Septuagint in the Old Testament? Was it simply because it was written in Greek, and Protestant only wanted to accept the Hebrew Old Testament? (Protestant Old Testament has 39 books, and Catholic Old Testament adds the seven Septuagint books to make 46 books.)
There may be 5700 copies of Greek language scribes for the New Testament. Yes, the 27 New Testament books were specified by Athanasius in an Easter letter which was never globally ratified. (Even though the Synod of Carthage agreed to use these 27 books, this Synod was not an “ecumenical” council and did not have the global authority to canonize the New Testament.) The missing elements in this book include: What book did Roman Emperor Constantine read (and in what language) when he converted to Christianity in 312ce? Why was it not mentioned that Catholics became the official religion of the Roman Empire in 380ce which was why there were more professional scribes around that time.
The book has a detailed description of how Erasmus took short-cuts by using mostly a single 12th century (terrible) manuscript as the source, and translated at least one page from Latin to Greek in order to complete his “first” edition of the Greek New Testament that came out around the year 1515. The author did not explain why, after 1522 when the Polyglot Greek New Testament came out, did King James not use the (better) Polyglot version to translate from Greek to English in 1611? Why did King James use the Greek version and not the Latin Vulgate version to translate into English?
We know different Bible versions are different (e.g. http://www.blueletterbible.org) but we need to correlate the substantive changes among Orthodox, Catholic, and different Protestant sects.
Finally, from what sources were the different English bibles translated from? (e.g. New International Version, Revised Standard Version, Jerusalem Bible, etc.) Which bible was Matteo Ricci using when he started to translate the Bible into Mongolian? What version (and what language) of the bible did Robert Morrison use in China to create the Chinese bible in the 19th century? The entire Bible is available in 518 languages, and parts of the Bible is available in 2,798 languages, but we only saw a very small part of the translation process from Hebrew to Latin to Greek to English…
All religion have their moral standards (and values). Moral Innovators start to engage with religious moral standards (and not religious beliefs) in productive exchanges to find continuous improvements.

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2 thoughts on “Moral Innovators need to go beyond “Misquoting Jesus” by Bart Ehrman

  1. Garry’s input:
    There is absolutely no way that anyone can know the original intent of anything that someone else wrote … in another language … in another era. Jesus is central to Christianity. Whether he is just a prophet or the only begotten son of God or God himself is a matter of interpretation NOT translation. People see what they want to see in a sacred text, translations are more about politics, theology, and control. The fun of religions and sacred texts is that it gives classicists, English majors, historians, philosophers, sociologists, and theologians an awful lot of material to work with and interpret to their hearts’ delight. There is no such thing as a definitive anything when it comes to faith, beliefs, or interpretation. Whether you read ancient Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew, Latin, or English is only a matter of inflection. Ehrman was an Evangelical before he went to Princeton and saw the light of Reason. That means that he went from not questioning the Bible at all to questioning everything.

  2. Moral Innovators believe that we all start with faith or beliefs, but we gain knowledge only with that portion of faith or belief that has been confirmed by truths or facts. There will always be more faiths/beliefs than truths/facts. Bart Ehrman started with his faith, and through his extensive work to learn and read the “original” Bible in various languages, he tried to gain knowledge by confirming his faith. When he discovered that his faith can not be confirmed, he shared his findings in this book and other publications.

    Moral Innovators respect the faith and beliefs of others, and take action with knowledge to do the right things and make it better. Trying to take action based on faith/beliefs alone is dangerous and promotes conflicts based on opinions. Taking action with knowledge is more likely to promote harmony with mutual understanding.

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