Part 1 of 3

The James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at North Carolina Chapel Hill, Dr. Bart Ehrman, is the most recognized evangelical-turned-agnostic in the world today. He has written more than twenty books, though in recent years he has focused on popular writing more than academic. This is a strategy that will eventually backfire. His most recent iteration is yet another provocative trade-book hostile to the Christian faith. His most popular previous books have attacked the reliability of the New Testament (NT) manuscripts as witnesses to the original text (Misquoting Jesus), the historicity of the NT (Jesus, Interrupted), and the problem of theodicy—how there can be a good God with so much evil in the world (God’s Problem). Forged takes head-on the authorship of many of the books of the NT, arguing that the ancient church got it wrong on most of them.

The book has eight chapters that, at first glance, look like discrete units. This gives the impression, reinforced by the subtitle to the work, that Forged marshals hundreds of pages of evidence that the writings of the NT are forgeries. But there is extensive overlap between chapters 2, 3, 5, 6, and 8. Furthermore, most of Forged is about books other than the NT: forgeries in early Christianity written both by the orthodox and heretics, other Greco-Roman forgeries, even modern forgeries. To the undiscerning reader, Ehrman’s relentless revelations about ancient forgeries will seem like rock-solid arguments—by their sheer volume—for NT forgeries. But surprisingly there is comparatively little on the NT itself.

Ehrman’s argument that there are forgeries in the NT is threefold: First, the ancient church, as with the rest of the Greco-Roman world, always rejected pseudepigraphical writings (or forgeries) whenever they were detected as such. Second, sophisticated computer-generated statistical tools have demonstrated that Paul, for example, did not write the Pastoral letters—1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. (Actually, Ehrman provides other arguments, but this one caught my eye since his claims regarding statistics were more than I had heard before.) Third, there is no evidence that the secretaries (technically known as amanuenses) for any ancient letters—including the NT letters—had any role other than to copy down what the author dictated. They did not do any significant editing, nor were they coauthors or composers of these documents.

This threefold argument—if true—would have devastating ramifications for the Christian faith. If Ehrman is right, we would need to toss out several books of the NT: Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1–2 Timothy, Titus, James, Jude, and 1–2 Peter. That’s ten letters assigned to the flames, since, according to Ehrman, the real authors of these letters deceived their readers into thinking that they were someone else. A brief examination of Ehrman’s arguments and evidence is therefore in order.

Ancient Forgeries

What Ehrman has to say about forgeries in the ancient world and in early ‘Christian’ circles—he gratuitously includes Gnostics and other heretics under the rubric Christian—from the second century on is quite accurate and very informative. This is an excellent primer on why ancient forgeries were produced, what forgeries were produced, what their contents are, and how we know that they are forgeries (though this last item has a rather lean discussion overall). Most of the book is actually about such non-NT forgeries. He very carefully defines a variety of categories—forgeries, fabrications, falsifications, pseudonymy, pseudepigraphy, false attributions, etc. Ehrman has been working for years on a scholarly tome on forgeries; Forged is a kind of first fruits of this scholarship and here he demonstrates a well-thought out organization of the data and what appears to be an enviable command of much of the literature.

Along these lines, Ehrman makes important distinctions between the anonymous books of the NT—the Gospels, Acts, Hebrews, and 1–3 John—and those that claim some authorship. This distinction is important: Although the traditionally assigned authorship of the Gospels, for example, has ancient and unequivocal testimony, it is not part of the original text. All the Gospels were originally anonymous. Thus, for those who hold the Bible in high regard, there is still room for debate over the authorship of these books.

What the subtitle of the book claims, however, is related only to the Bible: forgeries abound in the Bible (specifically the NT). This, of course, is where the interest and the battle-lines are drawn. But surprisingly, Ehrman sides with evangelicals against most liberal theologians for one very important point—indeed, for his main thesis—that the ancient Greco-Roman world, including the ancient church, decidedly rejected any documents written in someone else’s name. This view has been held by evangelicals for a long, long time. Moderate and liberal scholars have rejected it, finding at best paltry evidence to support their claims that the ancient church embraced benign forgeries. In his important work, The Making of the New Testament Documents (Leiden: Brill, 1999), evangelical NT scholar E. Earle Ellis discusses the possibility of benign forgeries, or “‘Innocent’ Apostolic Pseudepigrapha.” He concludes (324):

“In the patristic church apostolic pseudepigrapha, when discovered, were excluded from the church’s canon. This applied whether or not the pseudepigrapha were orthodox or heretical.

The hypothesis of innocent apostolic pseudepigrapha appears to be designed to defend the canonicity of certain New Testament writings that are, at the same time, regarded as pseudepigrapha. It is a modern invention that has no evident basis in the attitude or writings of the apostolic and patristic church…”

In this regard, Ehrman has aligned himself with the historic evangelical position, though he never acknowledges this. Significantly, his argument against liberal scholarship on this point is that the evidence doesn’t support their view, even though their position would be what Ehrman often refers to as the consensus of critical scholars. That phrase is loaded: it essentially means the consensus of those people who normally agree with Ehrman on various issues regarding Scripture (hence critical). Rather conveniently, it ignores the great body of scholars who would disagree with him and with other liberal scholars—namely, evangelical as well as many Catholic and Orthodox scholars. Indeed, if one were to poll all NT professors, there would be no consensus over the authorship of the Pastoral letters, 2 Thessalonians, Ephesians, or Colossians (though for all of these letters, when all three confessions of the Christian faith are considered, most biblical scholars would probably see them as authentic; see Ben Witherington’s discussion on this here and here). And for the non-Pauline letters, the only NT book that would achieve anything close to a consensus against apostolic authorship would be 2 Peter. Even here, there are many notable exceptions. By reducing the pool to what Ehrman euphemistically calls critical scholars (as though evangelicals cannot be critical), he is able to shape public opinion by systematic misinformation.

Interestingly, where appeal to the consensus suits his purposes, sometimes that is his only argument. But when it goes against his views, he brings in evidence—evidence that evangelicals have long embraced.

Ehrman’s fundamental thesis, then, is refreshing in that it devours a sacred cow of liberal scholarship and puts the issue of the authorship of NT letters on an evidential basis. Finally, here is one liberal scholar with whom evangelicals can find common ground: If these books are not written by their purported authors, then they are intentionally deceptive and the early church was wrong to accept them. This focuses the debate on the data rather than sidestepping it with banal, worn-out diatribe about the canonicity of pseudepigrapha. As T. L. Wilder has argued (Pseudonymity, the New Testament, and Deception: An Inquiry into Intention and Reception [Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2004] 254-55), if it is true that some NT books are forgeries, such books must be expunged from sacred Scripture.

Ehrman puts himself at risk at this very point; he has to back up his assertions with other arguments that certain NT writings are forgeries. Major gaps in his presentation, however, are seen: Nowhere, for example, does he discuss the patristic testimony about the authorship of the thirteen letters by Paul. Routinely, biblical scholars wrestle with internal evidence (indications within the disputed NT letters) and external evidence (patristic testimony). And it is here that the evidence is overwhelmingly in support of apostolic authorship: the unequivocal testimony of these ancient authors—some reaching back to the late first century—is that Paul wrote all thirteen NT letters that bear his name, Peter wrote 1 Peter, and John wrote 1 John. As for the rest, there is some doubt raised about authorship from time to time—particularly over 2 Peter—a fact that shows that the ancients were not duped dolts but engaged in reason and research on the matter.

The massive amount of forgeries written in the apostles’ names that Ehrman produces demonstrates that the early church looked at the matter cautiously, since none of these forgeries—or, in Ehrman’s view, only a few of these forgeries—made it into the canon. Ehrman never mentions the fact that the ancient church sifted the documents, even though the evidence is clear. Further, he never mentions that the overwhelming majority of orthodox writings throughout church history were not forgeries, while the same cannot be said for heretical writings. Nor does he mention that it is the orthodox who unmasked the forgeries of both the orthodox and heretics; as far as I am aware there is zero evidence of any heretical group admitting forgery for any of their own writings—in spite of the fact that heretical works allegedly by Thomas, Mary, Philip, Peter, and many other of Jesus’ disciples have been found.

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C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    41 replies to "Book Review of Bart D. Ehrman’s Forged: Writing in the Name of God—Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are"

    • Dan

      Perhaps you could clarify this statement: “Thus, for those who hold the Bible in high regard, there is still room for debate over the authorship of these books.”

      Does this imply that there is not room for debate among those who whole the Bible in high regard over the authorship of other books? Are you only allowed to contest authorship if a book is anonymous? Does questioning whether a book was written by its purported author mean that you no longer hold the Bible in high regard?

    • Adam1

      Ehrman is a good example of why it is bad to be a fundementalist. He is still a fundementalist, only a fundementalist atheist/agnostic. When you listen to him, for example, talk about various wording differences between the gospels, he is as absolutist about the matter as fundemenalists, although most other Christians are open to the simple realities of different human-written biographical accounts. Most atheists I have known were former fundementalist Christians. Being a fundementalist means you can’t tolerate any gray, and when you finally do, your entire absolutist worldview collapses. Notice how you don’t see this among Catholic or mainline protestant groups.

      I have also noticed other atheist scholars do what Ehrman did, refer to “critical scholars” which pretty much means only scholars who agree with them.

    • Aaron Walton

      Wallace,
      I think the argument that only the Orthodox shot down those writings is clever. It almost fails in that Ehrman sees no Orthodoxy in the first century; however, the fact that one group (and only one) seemed to be shooting down false scripture is very interesting. And I think, testifies to something.

      I agree with Adam.

      To Dan: I think Wallace made a bad statement because later he judges Ehrman for ignoring Church Fathers while questioning the author requires a ignoring Church Fathers. I think his point is that if the text says it was Paul, one should believe it. (Since Wallace views Scripture as inerrant, he would say it must be correct). But if Scripture does not claim an author, inerrancy is not an issue and it is open to question.

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      Let me clarify a couple of matters. When I spoke of those who hold the scripture in high regard, I meant those who hold it in the highest regard–that is, consistent evangelicals. And there is plenty of evidence, as such evangelicals have been producing for decades, to suggest that we should not tolerate pseudepigrapha in the canon.

      To Aaron: I simply couldn’t understand your statement, “I think Wallace made a bad statement because later he judges Ehrman for ignoring Church Fathers while questioning the author requires a ignoring Church Fathers. I think his point is that if the text says it was Paul, one should believe it.”

      Questioning the authorship of a book requires ignoring Church Fathers? I don’t think so. My point throughout this piece indeed has been that the ancient church sifted through the purported books by apostles and only accepted those that had the necessary credentials. So I could not at all agree that if it says Paul wrote it we must accept it.

    • Dan

      Thanks for the clarification. I wonder if I wouldn’t word this differently. One could say that the the group you call “consistent evangelicals” holds “scripture” to a high standard. In other words, it has to meet certain criteria of authenticity in order for it to be considered scripture, whereas those who would accept forgeries in the canon hold the “bible” in high regard. That is to say, they want to retain the canon they have at any cost.

      It seems to be that it is the former that we should be striving for, but what bothers me is that among most committed evangelicals, the issue doesn’t seem to be up for discussion. Or if it is, the discussion is just an exercise in simulated doubt, raising the question only with the intent of striking it down by whatever means necessary. The moment you admit that there might be forgeries in the NT, you are no longer an evangelical in their eyes. That’s the kind of attitude I want to guard against.

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      Dan, those are very good points. I would personally prefer that we treated scripture in a way more like Luther did: he really questioned canonicity of the books that he thought were in conflict with others. The universal church has never had a council on the canon, so in that respect it has never been closed. But this doesn’t of course give us the right to open it up to books that are not from the first century.

      What you say about simulated doubt is an excellent point as well. Nice turn of phrase–I think I’ll borrow that!

    • David Clark

      Prof Wallace,

      I was hoping you would clarify/expand upon this sentence from your original post:

      If these books are not written by their purported authors, then they are intentionally deceptive and the early church was wrong to accept them.

      For the sake of argument, suppose one could determine with a very high degree of certainty that the disputed Paulines were not written by Paul, what then should be done with respect to their canonicalness? They would presumably still pass two out of three criteria for inclusion in the canon, they would still be orthodox in doctrine and catholic in acceptance.

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      David, I suppose it depends on how much you would consider the ancient church as getting things right methodologically and as following the leading of the Holy Spirit.

      In David Dungan’s book, Constantine’s Bible, he mentions almost off-handedly that Eusebius checked the archives of the major sees and made pronouncements about canonicity based on an unbroken chain of bishops’ views in these churches going all the way back to the first century: What he called homolegoumena were the books that had been accepted by the original churches and on unanimously. What was called antilegomena had doubts along the way. Significantly, not a single one of Paul’s 13 letters was placed outside of the homolegoumena.

      That kind of evidence is exceedingly significant and, if Eusebius really had such good records to rely on, virtually undeniable. But Dungan gives no more data on this, which is most frustrating.

    • Rev. J

      Ehrman is just re-affirming those committed to the historical-critical method (and has “drank the Kool-aid” with them). The Catholic University I attended was dedicated to this methodology throughout their Religious Studies program. What seems to be more extreme is to call supposed “pseudo-letters” (Pauline and others) forgeries. Nonetheless, my internet search found others claiming the same almost a decade ago. It is sad when critical scholarship ignores Patristic evidence and even internal evidence to fit a liberal agenda.

    • Jim Larsen

      Dr. Dan,

      Great review. As you pointed out, I find Ehrman a bit disengenuous at times, using terms such as “critical scholars/scholarship” in ways that either spin his perspective in a more scholarly light while at the same time implying that those who disagree with him must be less “scholarly.” As well, neglecting to mention that his argument regarding the early rejection of Pseudepigrapha etc. is consistent with evangelical arguments regarding Scripture seems to imply that evangelicals argue for an un-“critical” acceptance of the canon. Not throwing the baby out with the bath water, I will be quite interested to see an evangelical/conservative response to the computer generated statistical analyses (as well as the specific data) to which he refers.

      Thanks for the review!!!

    • Mike

      Rev. J,

      What about comparing texts to each other, placing them in their historical context, and trying to approach the books objectively like any other work in history amounts to drinking the Kool-aid?

    • C Michael Patton

      Dan,

      I don’t know if you remember the project that I was assigned under you in 2000 to examine the use of huper by amanuenses in the oxyrhynchus papyri. If you remember, one of my assignments was to examine the freedom (if any) given to the amanuensis. What I found was that there was often significant differences in the style and vocab used by the amanuenses in their writing compared to that of the original author. The way I determined this was by looking to the original authors signature and, often, concluding remarks. The original author would use the secretary, even though, often, he did not need one. He would come in at the end and write his name. Sometimes he would add a few things himself (possibly because the sec. had left and he began to think about what else he should have said. Either way, there was freedom given in this time, particularly in style.

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      Michael, I don’t remember that–but that’s the very kind of thing that needs to be done. Do you have any of the data, maybe even the paper, still?

    • C Michael Patton

      Ha! I wish. It was on my old computer that crashed. I had all the manuscripts (pasted in), evalution, and conclusion. There was a lot there. I lost 75% of my DTS work, papers, exegetical, this assignment, and my (treasured) thirty page argument for Matthean priority that I did with Hoehner! (Which I did not really hold, but was very intrigued by his arguments and wanted to learn how the argument would be made).

    • C Michael Patton

      There were three things that I took away from that study:
      1. How often an amanuenses was used when it was clear that he was not needed. It was about 50/50
      2. How often the author would give concluding remarks that went beyond the mere signature and verification statements. About 20% of the time.
      3. How often the different style was detectable. Since my pool of data was so large, I found a significant number of these cases. (When I say that, I mean about four—but you have to understand, this is when the original author wrote enough to determine the differences…which was about 1/20…still a lot.

    • […] – Dan Wallace reviews Bart D. Ehrman’s Forged. […]

    • Craig Bennett

      2nd Peter is one of my favourite books. I often wonder why its questioned and yet left in the canon… what’s your opinion of it?

    • Rev. J

      Mike,
      The point is that Ehrman and the historical-critical crowd are not as “objective” as they claim to be; their modus operandi is to be critical about most texts, questioning everything. Further, their presuppositions deny the supernatural (at least the majority of them deny) which necessarily forces the critic to reject most of the narratives found in the Bible, “adjust time lines” to fit their agenda, and snub traditional authorship. I wish those critics would be intellectually honest about their biases, then at least there could be a real debate about Biblical authority and critical interpretation. As far as historicity goes, scholars from both sides offer great arguments to support their views; there is no “superior” interpretation held by the critics. Lastly, textual criticism can only go so far and rarely does it offer reasonable doubt that favors New Testament criticism; we have enough manuscript evidence to be confident that the biblical cannon is trust worthy and accurate…

    • Rev. J

      Mike, (continued)
      Unfortunately we do not have the autographs and thus this debate will continue-in that I am sure we agree!

    • Vinny

      Dr. Wallace,

      Can you give any examples of the kind of sifting that the early fathers did? Serapion’s rejection of the Gospel of Peter seems to be based solely on his distaste for its theology. Irenaeous’ reasons for asserting that there were only four gospels seem to be little more that apologetic claptrap. What kind of evidence is there of early critical thinking about the authorship of the canonical texts?

    • Mike

      Rev. J, I’d like to portray the issue in a slightly different light and see if we agree then.

      You have the critical approach, which assumes that we ought to approach these texts as any other, and you have the commonly called Evangelical approach, which generally assumes Christianity and works within that framework. (At least that’s how they’ve been portrayed to me – correct me if wrong)

      I think we can say two things about the critical approach. First, it actually is more objective in principle, even if the people are still biased. But that is precisely why we need the method – to lessen the bias. Second, the assumption of critical scholarship is actually warranted given the issue of extremely low prior probabilities.

      If we have any hope of being objective, then, yes, we ought to approach these claims with skepticism just as we do when reading about a Temple of Athena defending itself with magic. Specific people aside, I don’t see any reason to disparage the approach.

    • Rev. J

      Mike,
      Thanks for your response. While I have always preferred the Historical-Grammatical approach, I have recently learned to appreciate the thoroughness of commentaries incorporating the Historical-Critical method; no stone is left unturned. That said, the critical approach credited to the likes of Simon and Spinoza was birthed from atheism and pantheism. Later, as the Enlightenment emphasized reason, Wellhausen radically challenged OT interpretation and the “new criticism” gradually took hold in academia. My obligation then as an Apologist, Scholar, or Minister is to recognize presuppositions; an Atheist or Agnostic is not going to interpret scripture the way a Theist or Evangelical does…

    • Rev. J

      Mike, (continued)
      … Exempli gratia, in a recent Synoptics class, I debated a student who said it was not necessary to believe in the Resurrection to be a Christian (this is the new battle coming our way). How does such ideology take root? It is by adopting critical methodology without examining past scholarship and ignoring internal evidence. Ehrman’s journey from Evangelical to Agnostic is an example of what happens when critical methodology goes unchallenged.

    • Mike

      I have to honestly say I’ve never heard of the Historical-Grammatical method (not that it’s surprising, since I’m no expert). I’ll have to look into it. Thanks!

    • Aaron Walton

      Wallace,

      Sorry for the late response. (I hope you are still reading responses… I failed to click the button to alert me of responses.) (If needed, see posts 3 and 4)

      To clarify: I think it was a mistake on my part. In the second paragraph under “Ancient Forgeries” I could not tell if it was your statement or a summary of Ehrman. (Which I think now it was the latter). The confusion was because in the second to last paragraph you critiqued that Ehrman ignores the overwhelming external evidence which supports Pauline authorship. However, you did not make any objection of that sort for the books without an explicit author in the text.

      Also, I think I understand your reply as to why the fathers do not need to be ignored… if I understand you correctly, they are taken into consideration as part of the evidence, but not necessarily taken as ‘gospel’ as it were. (I think part of my statement above was rooted in my high and maybe unhealthy regard for the Fathers.)

    • Mike B.

      Mike and Rev J:

      Just to be clear, the historical-grammatical approach and the historical-critical method are the same thing. Conservatives call it the historical-grammatical (or grammatical-historical, or something similar) method because they think the word “critical” has negative connotations. The only real difference is that conservatives are hesitant to do any kind of analysis that might call traditional authorship into question (hence source analysis in the OT is usually taboo), and obviously, it’s unpopular to question Pauline authorship of any of the epistles. But regardless of their conclusions, Bart Ehrman and Dan Wallace are both arguing their respective points on authorship using the same “method,” whatever name you ascribe to it.

    • ScottL

      Dr. Wallace –

      You made a statement and supported by referring to T.L. Wilder: if it is true that some NT books are forgeries, such books must be expunged from sacred Scripture.

      Is this not similar to something like what we deal with in the OT, maybe with 1-2 Samuel being traditionally recognised as being authored by Samuel, but we now pretty much think he didn’t author it (though maybe contributed)? Or that Isaiah might have possible come to us from 3 different authors, though attributed to one (though many evangelicals don’t accept this)?

      Is this not similar? Can we not recognise 1-2 Timothy as being God-breathed even if it were postulated or proven that he didn’t author the two letters (although I doubt such could be proven)?

    • Rev. J

      To Mike B.
      Your assumption about the two approaches to methodologies is wrong; definitions and descriptions are easily found in a web search. The Professors at my Pentecostal Bible college would have choked if I were to espouse the historical-critical method; conversely, in my M.A. program (at a Catholic University I attended), the professors used the historical-critical method exclusively. After a small debate in an OT class, I learned that my “old approach” was not suited for my papers and projects. That said, they did allow me to view my opinions as long as I had the scholarly evidence to back it up. In fact, all my professors enjoyed to hear “my view” in class discussions. As to Dr. Dan’s critique of Ehrman, you are somewhat correct, as he is engaging in what is called “textual” or lower-criticism. Most liberal Universities are now engaging the higher-criticisms, and seem to disregard the lower. All my professors pushed for higher-criticism to be incorporated in my papers.

    • Mike B.

      Short rebuttal: Conservatives engage in higher criticism all the time. The goal of lower criticism is to establish the original form of the text as received (and “liberal” universities do not, in fact, ignore this discipline). Higher criticism attempts to discover when and where the text was written, by whom and for what purpose: the basic who, where, when and why that you have to answer to do exegesis. Only when you establish this can you discover the original meaning of the text. The historical-grammatical method has precisely these same goals: Discover the original meaning in its original context. The only difference is that conservatives get edgy around certain higher-critical issues. So, for example, you’re allowed to do source criticism in the gospels, but not in the Pentateuch. But you have to do some higher criticism, no matter what. It’s a prerequisite of all modern biblical scholarship, conservative or liberal.

    • Mike B.

      One more thing: Dan is not engaging in lower criticism in this particular review. He has, in the past, engaged Ehrman on the topic of textual corruptions in the NT, but discussion Pauline authorship falls squarely within the rubric of higher criticism.

    • […] on the heels of parts 1 & 2 (of a proposed three-parter) of Dan Wallace’s review of Bart Ehrman’s Forged is […]

    • […] Here is a review of Bart Ehrman’s latest book “Forged” by Greek specialist Daniel … […]

    • […] […]

    • […] Wallace has written a three-part review that is very helpful, and I encourage you to read it here: part 1, part 2, part 3. Wallace concludes with […]

    • Maureen

      Your amanuensis results don’t surprise me a bit. Even in a business setting, most businesspeople who give dictation expect their secretary to smoothe and edit what they say, not just copy. In the case of dictation that is very rough or sketchy, writing a letter becomes essentially an act of original composition on set themes and talking points given by the boss. So I would expect different amanuenses to come up with different results. If the boss was someone with a bold and difficult style of talking, like St. Paul, I’d expect the results to be very different depending on the scribe.

      If you wanted an exact transcription of your thoughts, you’d go to a court reporter-type scribe or you’d write it down yourself.

    • […] Book Review: Forged by Bart Ehrman. Read this excellent review and rebuttal (in parts 1, 2 and 3) by Daniel B. Wallace. (Don’t think that because he wears underwear on his head he is anything less than brilliant.) […]

    • zaba da

      some verses in bible are true from god and prophets some of the verses are corrupted.that why some christian rejected the books and some christians defense its. the verse was too old and all witnesses of the verses died.The early witnesses may be speak the truth.But afters decades many of the verses was corrupted by many writers by some causes.Constantine may be the top person who inspired so many forgeries in bibles.Bart ehrman is not too clever because he even rejected Jesus exist.Jesus exist, he is a human.a prophet,not god .This men was told in history books and in so many booksand known over the world at his time to modern world,to this day.Why he is not exist.we muslim believe in Jesus as one of god prophets.I guess this prof Bart Erhmaan are thinking beyond his knowledge.God know better then us.

    • Scott

      All ten of Paul’s church letters, along with Philemon, are doubtlessly authentic.
      None of the arguments against Ephesians, Colossians, and II Thessalonians have any merit at all. The external evidence in favor of their authenticity is overwhelming. They are quoted from frequently in the apostolic fathers and appear in Marcion’s Apostolikon.

      The following are the usual arguments cited as evidence for three of these epistles:

      II Thessalonians – the teaching about the Lawless One is weird, the apparent mention of an epistle forged in Paul’s name seems too out of place in an early letter, its eschatology is different from I Thessalonians, and its style is too similar to I Thessalonians.
      Ephesians – “Critical” scholars say that it is too general, lacks the apocalypticism of the primitive Paul, and has a weird style (a lot of complex sentences and hapax legomena).
      Colossians – “Critical” scholars say that the heresy described in Colossians did not exist in the time of Paul as he never wrote about it, and once you throw Ephesians out the letter’s style is too unlike Paul.

      These arguments are crap.

      II Thessalonians – stylistic similarities between this epistle and I Thessalonians are proof, not disproof, of Pauline authorship. The Lawless One in II Thess. was probably drawn from Dan. 11:36 and following in response to Caligua’s threat to install an image in the temple. There is no contradiction between the two epistles. I Thessalonians says that the Day of the Lord will catch unbelievers off gaurd like a thief in the night, but won’t catch believers off gaurd because they are awake and not asleep. II Thessalonians explains why believers will not be caught off gaurd: they will see the signs. There is no contradiction.

      Ephesians – this letter was probably originally written to Laodicea (see Harnack’s arguments). That explains its generality – it was written to those who had not seen Paul’s face in flesh (Col 2:1) and its similarity to…

    • Scott

      Continued from previous post

      Colossians – The argument that epistle lacks Paul’s primitive apocalypticsm is overstated. Paul refers to the second coming of Christ as “the expectation being reserved for you in the heavens” and “Christ among you, the expectation of glory (Col 1:5,27). The reference to the time when “Christ, who is our life, appears” indicates that the Parousia was still fresh in Paul’s mind when he wrote this epistle (Col. 3:4). The argument that the Colossian heresy didn’t exist in Paul’s day because Paul never wrote about it is not only viscously circular but also ignores the evidence that Paul did write about it – in this letter! The argument that the Christology is too high ignores the high Christology in Paul’s other writings. Its stylistic peculiarities do not disprove Pauline authorship, especially if the Pauline authorship of Ephesians is accepted.

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