(4 min read; 1,093 words)
[T]he notion of word-for-word agreement is a relatively recent historical development. In times of antiquity it was not the practice to give a verbatim repetition every time something was written out. To be sure, I don’t believe that one passage of Scripture ever directly contradicts other passages. Yet, when someone asks, “Does everything in Scripture and in the biblical manuscripts agree word-for-word?” that person is asking the wrong question. The answer to that question will always be a resounding “no.”
(7 min read; 1,647 words)
(4 min read; 896 words, footnotes included)
I think the writer here is Eric Chabot. In any case, he is focused on the genre of the gospels. In the conclusion, he writes:
It is my hope that more people will take the time to look at the genre of the books of the Bible and actually attempt to know what it is they are trying to interpret. While this may be a challenge for some people, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
The post is replete with facts and sources relevant to understaning the genre (literary framework) through which the gospel writers deliver their message.
Although there are many portions of this post that are worthy of excerpting, here is one that is particularly pithy [emphasis added]:
Michael Bird has recently noted that the content of the Gospels is singularly determined by Jewish Christian content, while the literary form of the Gospels is a clear sub-type of Graeco-Roman biography.
(8 min read; 2,020 words)
Stanley E. Porter is Dean and President of McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario, a noted New Testament scholar, and a prolific author. His book, How We Got the New Testament: Text, Transmission, Translation (Acadia Studies in Bible and Theology), published in 2013, had its genesis in a series of three lectures delivered in 2008 at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. The Hayward Lectures are an annual affair at Acadia and have featured many noted scholars over the years, many of which can be viewed in Acadia’s video library.
There are three sections in Porter’s book, which correspond to the three lectures he gave.
The Text of the New Testament
Explanation and history of the Hayard Lecture series begins at 00:00. Introduction of Stanley Porter begins at 3:48. And Porter himself begins speaking at 6:47, and he begins the lecture proper at 7:15. The lecture ends at 1:03:14, with the remaining time given to questions and answers.
Porter ends his lecture with the proposal that we use the oldest complete text rather than the eclectic text, but without making an extensive argument for it.
Other notable statements:
We’ve never found a copy of the Gospel of John that doesn’t have chapter 21.
[Speaking of the variants in New Testament manuscripts], the situation is getting better with the discovery of new manuscripts, not worse. (about 46:50) This is book production, remember this is all copying done by hand, that I would say, rivals that found today in modern print. (about 47:40)
The Transmission of the New Testament
Dr. Craig A. Evans begins his personal introduction of Dr. Porter at 00:00. Porter begins speaking at 5:20, and the lecture proper begins at 6:00.
The Translation of the New Testament
After a brief introduction by Dr. Christopher Killacky, Dr. Porter begins speaking at 1:02 and begins the lecture proper at 1:30.
The hour-and-a-half video below is from Day 3 of the three-day 2008 Haywood Lectures held at Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia. Stanley Porter’s recent book How We Got the New Testament: Text, Transmission, and Translation grew out of these three lectures and this video, as you might expect, the basis for the “Translation” portion of the book.
Here is the first in a series of five short videos in which Dr. Stanley E. Porter of McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario answers questions about his recent book How We Got the New Testament: Text, Transmission, Translation (Baker Academic, 2013). Here’s the topic covered by each video, followed by its length.
- Why did you write How We Got the New Testament? (1:05)
- The Reliability of the Bible (2:15)
- Eclectic vs. Single Manuscript (1:56)
- Using How We Got the New Testament in the Classroom (2:09)
- Scholarly Guidance for Popular Questions (1:29)
There are links at the end of each video that lead from one to the next so that you can watch them in sequence.
Can We Still Believe the Bible? An Evangelical Engagement with Contemporary Questions was published in April 2014. There are six chapters in it. The first two chapters are on the New Testament text, canon, and translation respectively.
- Aren’t the Copies of the Bible Hopelessly Corrupt?
- Wasn’t the Selection of Books for the Canon Just Political?
- Can We Trust Any of Our Translations of the Bible?
- Don’t These Issues Rule Out Biblical Inerrancy?
- Aren’t Several Narrative Genres of the Bible Unhistorical?
- Don’t All the Miracles Make the Bible Mythical?
As you may have surmised, Blomberg has framed his chapter titles as challenges to the position he defends.
Nick Peters of the Deeper Waters podcast (on-demand radio) interviewed Blomberg about this book on April 26, 2014. The episode takes its title from the book “Can We Still Believe the Bible?” Peters’ show last two hours and is divided into six 20-minute segments. They spent one segment on each of the six chapters. Therefore, you can get the material on text and canon in the first 40 minutes. To listen to the podcast, find the date and title of the episode on this list: Deeper Waters Podcast Schedule
Nick Peters’ blurb about this podcast episode:
Join us this Saturday as Craig Blomberg comes on to talk about his newest book “Can We Still Believe The Bible?” We’ll be discussing the text of the Bible, questions about what books made it into the canon and what books didn’t, questions about why there are so many translations of the Bible, how it is that a Christian should understand the topic of Inerrancy, how genre consideration plays into our understanding of the Gospels, and finally whether the Bible can be believed since it contains miracles in it.
His first point is simply that Jesus’ Jewishness, though often downplayed or inadequately factored in scholarly studies, is of major importance. The growing recognition of Jesus’ Jewishness is part of a larger body of scholarly work on the Jewish setting of Jesus and earliest Christian circles…In assessing the net effect on our understanding of Jesus, Deines states, “He cannot be understood without the analogies provided by the Jewish world he lived in but at the same time he is not fully encapsulated by them.”
In addition to focusing on the Jewishness of Jesus, Larry’s post also focuses on Jesus’ reliance upon Scripture as a key aspect of His Jewishness.
(3 min read; 617 words)
People can argue about whether or not Paul would have circumcised his son, but no one disputes Paul’s Jewishness. And rightly so!
(3 min read; 685 words)