Has the Bible been copied accurately? Skeptics such as biblical scholar Dr. Bart Ehrman have suggested that it wasn’t. According to Bart Ehrman‘s book Misquoting Jesus, it makes no sense for Christians to refer to the Bible as God’s inspired Word “because we no longer possess the words that God supposedly inspired. … All that we have are error-ridden copies” far removed from the original texts.
In the first half of this episode, two scholars in the field of textual criticism join Garrick and Timothy to talk about the reliability of the text of the New Testament. Peter Gurry is assistant professor of New Testament and co-director of the Text and Canon Institute at Phoenix Seminary; Elijah Hixson is a research assistant at Tyndale House in Cambridge. During the interview, Elijah shares the amazing story of how he discovered a lost snippet of Greek text in the fifth-century manuscript Codex Bezae.
A biblical theology of the city is the theme of the second half of this episode. While setting the stage for a theology of the city, your intrepid cohosts recognize that 1986 was the greatest year ever for rock and roll, and they explore the very first tune that Timothy heard when he went searching for rock and roll. That song was “You Belong to the City,” written and recorded in 1985 for the soundtrack of Miami Vice. In the process of exploring the meaning and purpose of the city, Garrick and Timothy also define “fundamentalism” and discover that—despite Timothy’s best efforts—rock and roll music is incapable of boiling an egg. More seriously and far more importantly, Garrick and Timothy discuss the impact of the crack epidemic and disproportionate incarceration on African-American communities in the inner city.
This episode is also a wild and reckless celebration of the lost art of mispronunciation! Before the episode was recorded, Timothy said to Garrick, “When this song was on the radio in Kansas in the 1980s, I’m pretty sure that the disc jockey pronounced the artist’s last name like ‘fry.'” After the recording was over, it was discovered that Timothy was slightly right but mostly wrong. That is indeed the way the name was being pronounced in the corn and soybean kingdom of Kansas in 1986, but it’s not the correct pronunciation of Glenn Frey‘s latter nomen, which is in fact pronounced “fray”—less like a fried strip of tuber that you dip in catsup and more like what happens to the hemline of Garrick’s cargo slacks when he spends too much time practicing the moonwalk on the front porch of the chapel at Southern Seminary.
This week’s question from the Infinity Gauntlet erupts into a deadly duel between Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter, and we deal with a deep and difficult dilemma of vital importance for the daily life of every listener: Can a non-magical weapon block a magical curse? The results of our discussion leave Luke Skywalker lying on the floor of the Death Star with a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead, whining about how he never got to go to Tosche Station with Ron and Hermione even though he finished his chores and saved the galaxy. Also “Tosche Station” would be a great name for a band.
In this Episode
Peter Gurry, Ph.D., is assistant professor of New Testament at Phoenix Seminary where he teaches courses in Greek Language and New Testament literature. His research interests range across Greek grammar, the history and formation of the Bible, and the history of New Testament scholarship. Gurry is the author of A Critical Examination of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method in New Testament Textual Criticism and A New Approach to Textual Criticism: An Introduction to the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (co-authored with Tommy Wasserman). Follow Dr. Gurry on Twitter at @pjgurry.
Elijah Hixson, Ph.D., is research associate in New Testament Text and Language at Tyndale House, Cambridge, where he is working with Dirk Jongkind to produce a textual commentary on the Greek New Testament. Hixson is the author of Scribal Habits in Sixth-Century Greek Purple Codices and coeditor with Peter Gurry of Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism. He has served as a tutor in biblical studies at the University of Edinburgh and has written articles for Journal of Theological Studies, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, and Lexham Bible Dictionary.
Questions to Discuss
1. What is textual criticism?
2. Can you tell us what you recently discovered in computer images of Codex Bezae?
3. One of the questions that Bart Ehrman asks in Misquoting Jesus is, “How does it help us to say that the Bible is the inerrant word of God if in fact we don’t have the words that God inerrantly inspired but only the words copied by the scribes—sometimes correctly but sometimes (many times!) incorrectly?” How would you respond to that question?
4. Bart Ehrman also makes the claim that “there are more variations among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.” Is Ehrman’s claim true and, if it is, should it worry us?
Links to Click
If you want to dig deeper into the historical integrity of the New Testament, one great place to start is In Defense of the Bible, edited by Terry Wilder and Steven Cowan. To download a sample chapter, visit http://www.bhacademic.com
Misquoting Jesus: book by Bart Ehrman
“A Lost Page of Codex Bezae”: article by Elijah Hixson
“The Digital Recovery of a Lost Page of Codex Bezae”: article by Elijah Hixson
“A Theology of Cities”: article by Tim Keller
Shelby Park: neighborhood in Louisville
Sojourn Church Midtown: church in Shelby Park
The Color of Law: book by Richard Rothstein
The New Jim Crow: book by Michelle Alexander
The City of God: book by Augustine of Hippo
“Miami Vice Theme”: soundtrack by Jan Hammer
“You Belong to the City”: song by Glenn Frey
“Livin’ On A Prayer”: song by Bon Jovi
“Danger Zone”: song by Kenny Loggins
“Don’t Stop Believin'”: song by Journey
“Hotel California”: song by Eagles
“Take It Easy”: song by Eagles
“Tequila Sunrise“: song by Eagles
“Crooked Ways”: song by Propaganda
“It’s Not Working”: song by Propaganda
If you are interested in earning a master’s degree online or on campus that will equip you with the most comprehensive apologetics training available anywhere, click here.
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The Closing Credits
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