Saturday, May 06, 2006

Misquoting Jesus

I was at Barnes and Noble (yes again) last night doing some browsing when I came across a book entitled Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman. And since there are so very many books out basically saying that for the past 2000 years we've completely missed what Christ was actually teaching I thought I'd take a look at this one. I opened it up to the middle of the introduction and started reading. After a couple of pages I came to the most fabulous quote I think I've ever seen. I'd like to share it with you.

In some places, as we will see, we simply cannot be sure that we have reconstructed the original text accurately. It's a bit hard to know what the words of the Bible mean if we don't even know what the words are!

This became a problem for my view of inspiration, for I came to realize that it would have been no more difficult for God to preserve the words of scripture than it would have been for him to inspire them in the first place. If he wanted his people to have his words, surely he would have given them to them (and possibly even given them the words in a language they could understand, rather than Greek and Hebrew).
- From page II of the Introduction

Once I read that, quite honestly, I started laughing and had to put the book down. I'm not sure what else the book said because I gave up right there. Let me ask you something, weren't the disciples and the people of that time also "God's people"? And obviously they didn't speak English at that time (Good golly! Jesus spoke something other than English? I must speak heresy! Everybody knows that Jesus was a white guy with pretty blue eyes that spoke beautiful English. HA!) so why would God inspire them to write in a language that they couldn't understand? How would the people of that time have been schooled and instructed in their lives if the church leaders decided to write them letters in a language that didn't even exist at the time? Never mind the English we speak today is quite different from the English that was spoken, say during the 1500-1600s which was quite different than the English that was spoken between 400-500. To insist that God spoke like us is pretty arrogant I think. The religion would have died out and this guy wouldn't have been able to get his book published because nobody would know who Jesus was.

So, yes, I laughed quite a bit and put the book back on the shelf after deciding perhaps I better just sit and read my Bible instead.

1 comment:

ThirstyDavid said...

Actually, no one was speaking English in 400-500 AD. Even Old English (which is more closely related to the Germanic & Scandinavian languages than English) did not exist yet.

But your point is still good. That really is a funny quote.