If you have an hour, you really ought to listen to the 2010 debate between Dr. Bart Ehrman and Dr. Craig Evans on the reliability of scripture. Below are the YouTube videos in 9 parts.
Dr. Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Craig A. Evans is the Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College of Acadia University, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada.
The audience is the First Family Church in Kansas City and Dr. Ehrman acknowledges at the beginning that most people there will not agree with him. However, throughout the debate you will notice a growing trend: Dr. Ehrman demonstrates the discrepancies and inconsistencies and errors of the biblical text, and dismantles any possibility of an “inerrant” or “infallible” text. In response, Dr. Evans does not dispute Dr. Ehrman’s arguments, but instead dismisses these errors as “insignificant” or attempts to argue that the text is still reliable despite the textual problems.
I’ll let you decide whose argument is more compelling. However, I agree with the moderator, Pastor Jerry Johnston, who states after one of Dr. Evans’ responses (Pt. 3, @ 3:37), “Sounds like an evangelist.”
The key questions are as follows:
- Are the gospels reliable? (Pt. 1 @ 3:50)
- Do the gospels accurately preserve the teachings of Jesus Christ? (Pt. 2 @ 3:42)
- Do the gospels accurately preserve the activities of Jesus Christ? (Pt. 3 @ 3:42)
- Do the gospels contain eyewitness tradition? (Pt. 4 @ 4:25)
- Do archaeologists and historians use the gospels as sources? (Pt. 5 @ 4:05)
- Have the gospels been accurately preserved down through the centuries? (Pt. 6 @ 6:22)
- Do scribal errors and textual variants significantly impact any teaching of Jesus or any important Christian teaching? (Pt. 7 @ 7:33)
- Final Remarks (Pt. 8 @ 7:01)
Here are the videos. Enjoy!
Filed under: bible, christianity, religion, scholarship, theology Tagged: | bart ehrman, craig evans, first family church, inerrancy, infallability, kansas city, literalism, new testament, reliability, scripture