Dr. Bart Ehrman, a noted Biblical scholar out of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has provided a series of lectures on the New Testament for the Teaching Company. I’m working my way through the lectures and find them interesting, if not a little frustrating at times.
Ehrman just released a book called Misquoting Jesus, a critical look at the variations and alleged mistakes in the Bible. Having known about this book in the first place, I figured the dialogue in my head would become pretty intense. A tight grip on the wheel and the occasional gasp or sigh were all inevitable.
Ehrman begins his lectures on the tapes with some thoughts on his method. He approaches the Bible from the standpoint of history and of literature. While he mentions that some approach the Bible from a standpoint of faith, he did not feel this was appropriate for a state school setting. In fact, he doubted the legality of such an undertaking.
So right off the bat I became suspicious. The Bible has been written for the express purpose of revealing God to us. It’s hard to study it from an objective vantage point. I can’t escape my faith and Ehrman can’t escape his lack of it. I don’t know if one can stick to a strictly historical approach without asking the faith question.
I’d almost rather he bring his skepticism to light and make that part of his study. He could include the arguments of his opponents, and his opponents could do the same thing about him while teaching the Bible from the standpoint of faith.
But what do I know. I only have a puny MDiv.