Bart Ehrman, in his New York Times bestseller, Misquoting Jesus
, claims that the New Testament cannot wholly be trusted. Cutting and probing with the tools of text criticism, Ehrman suggests that many of its episodes are nothing but legend, fabricated by those who copied or collated its pages in the intervening centuries. The result is confusion and doubt. Can we truly trust what the New Testament says?
Now, Wheaton College scholar Nicholas Perrin takes on Ehrman and others who claim that the text of the New Testament has been corrupted beyond recognition. Perrin, in an approachable, compelling style, gives us a layman's guide to textual criticism so that readers can understand the subtleties of Ehrman's critiques, and provides firm evidence to suggest that the New Testament can, indeed, be trusted.
Nicholas Perrin PhD, Marquette University, is Franklin S. Dryness Professor of Biblical Studies at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Between 2000 and 2003 he was Research Assistant to Nicholas T. Wright. He is author of numerous books, including Thomas: The Other Gospel, Lost in Transmission, and Jesus the Temple.
Perrin, a professor of New Testament at conservative Wheaton College in Illinois, addresses his first book as a response to Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus. He hopes evangelical readers will not simply ignore the controversy (or the gnawing doubts it may create) but will understand both Ehrman's critique and the many reasons Perrin argues for surety. Rather than going through questions about New Testament Greek word-by-word, Perrin approaches the topic more philosophically, offering a history of textual criticism and of liberal and conservative views. His main assurance stems from the focus of Jewish culture on preserving text and the motivation of biblical authors and scribes to record everything accurately. He also meets Ehrman's personal story of walking away from faith with his own journey from secularism into Buddhism and eventually Christianity, as a searching, party-loving college student. There are both great strengths and weaknesses herePerrin's overview is simple to read and quite helpful at placing the debates within context, but skeptics will find him occasionally dodging tough questions with statements like, "being Christian does not also require us to be rationalists." In the end, he concludes that the four gospels contain "equivalents and approximations, but they are indeed the words of Jesus." (Jan. 8)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.