Title: Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
Author: Bart D. Ehrman
Release Date: October 31, 2005
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5
Misquoting Jesus is part memoir, but mostly history – specifically, the history behind the actual text of the Bible. Ehrman takes the reader through the centuries, focusing in on specific textual criticisms in order to understand who changed the Bible and why. The result is a fascinating and unique look at the most famous book in the world.
Having attended Catholic school, I’ve always had a fascination with the history of Christianity from a secular point of view. I think it’s incredibly interesting to look at religions in general through non-religious eyes, whether those lenses are archaeological or historical. In Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman shows the reader the Bible through the eyes of a textual critic, giving new depth to each individual word in the book.
Ehrman’s personal history, discussed in Misquoting Jesus, is very interesting. He was an evangelical whose views on Christianity were derailed by his study of the Bible’s text. After all, he asked himself, how can a work be divinely inspired if we don’t have the originals and the current text is riddled with deliberate and accidental errors? He has since become an agnostic.
This is a book that would probably be difficult to read and somewhat dry if you don’t have a secular interest in the history of the Bible. I imagine Ehrman’s journey to agnosticism, as well as his emotionless dissection of the Bible’s text, would likely be difficult for someone with extremely conservative religious views, but if you have an open mind, you might find this book as fascinating as I did.
Misquoting Jesus was a satisfying read that really opened my eyes to textual criticism of the Bible. I didn’t know much about it before, so I’m really glad I read this book. This is a great look at the Bible and the evolution of Christianity through history. Ehrman does a wonderful job explaining the nuances of textual criticism to those who are unfamiliar with its specifics. This book definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you find the subject matter intriguing, I think you should give it a try!