We Weren’t Misquoting Jesus, Only Misinterpreting Him

(via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • AxeGrrl

    Good thing for the ‘explanation’ text at the bottom, because from the panel alone, I thought that was the Statue of Liberty they were talking to :)

  • http://twitter.com/Humanisticus Humanisticus

    Isn’t interesting how each new generation thinks they have the right interpretation. Never mind the great theologians of which many are now Saints, who spent their life studying the bible in it’s original language. It is today’s Christians, many of whom have not even  bothered to read the re-re-re-translation who have it right.

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      While I agree to some extent with your point, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that we are capable of better thinking today than we were in the past. Your so-called “great theologians” typically produced really poor arguments. The development of modern, formal, analytical thinking after the 16th century really opened the door to a much more critical analysis.

      Of course, theologians continue to ignore much of this. It is left to the unbiased (or less biased) scholars to analyze ancient religious writings… and from this thought we now understand how much cannot be interpreted with confidence at all, and how much is simply fiction.

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    I guess Jesus had to keep off his right side while napping. 

  • Piet

    Strawman! True Christians™ will never admit they are wrong.

    • Eureka Publishing

      Piet – hoe kan jy so seker wees dat hulle verkeerd is?

  • GreatIam

    That must be his Chuck Norris side. His ass kicking side.

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      Jesus, by Dan Simmons.

      • Stev84

         Ha! I thought that too

  • Aimee

    The Bible:  A very concise history of ancient mental disorders.

  • Eureka Publishing

    [[President of Eureka Publishing]], of [[Great
    Falls]] in [[Montana]], wrote “As a Publisher of many books, including
    several National Best-sellers, investigating how to protect e-Books, we know we
    have to find ways of protecting our manuscripts – they are worth A LOT to us!
    So I asked our eldest son (who had 3 International Math papers published by the
    end of his 2nd. year at University) to do this: For every online order of an
    e-Book, introduce many small and a few large errors/changes/omissions into each
    e-book, noting the ‘wheres & whats’ in a database along with the person’s
    ordering particulars – thus tying any e-book to a unique individual. Sounds
    like a nice idea. So every single copy would be uniquely different and we can
    then trace any illegal copies floating around on the Internet back to the
    ‘guilty party’ – This is actually an extreme case of what Bart Ehrman alleges (in Misquoting Jesus) happened over time with the New Testament – but in our case, it was to be purposely done! He claims that this renders the New Testament unreliable.
    REALLY? So Dan did the math and said” ‘It’s not going to work Dad – All I would need is (on average) 12 changed copies, run them through a program to compare them, and I would be able to re-construct the original MASTER-COPY of the book, without any changes in it anymore, traceable to nobody, then distribute that MASTER COPY, FREE, on the Internet – without fear of prosecution.’ Still in denial I said: ‘So let’s make a LOT of changes, say 256 (then 512 then 1,024 etc) or more unique changes in each and every e-book ordered.’ Well again Dan did the math and concluded that it was a losing battle, since it would take, on average, much less than just 256 altered copies to compare and then re-construct the ORIGINAL UNCHANGED MASTER-COPY! That’s way less than the 100′s of Thousands of copies of the New Testament that still exist in some form or other – some dating back to the time of the Christian founders. I asked Dan to persist – but it turns out that once a few thousand flawed, but similar, copies exist, it’s mathematically very easy to reconstruct the original MASTER COPY. I gave up – now you know why my kids bought me a Wiley Coyote tee-shirt :) In other words, I’d like to confirm that it is absolutely possible to re-construct the New-Testament from the many copies still in existence, and produce the original MASTER COPY. It’s way more reliable than most accounts of History that almost nobody questions. The (way too) proud Bart Ehrman is NOT a Mathematician – and that clearly shows! Oh yes, before I forget … ALL of the purposely changed books we investigated in my Wiley Coyote scheme, were still PERFECTLY READABLE and agreed with each other. The basic PLOT, MESSAGE, PUNCH-LINES etc. were perfectly preserved – so in order to have any credibility, Ehrman’s Thesis needs 100′s of thousands of unique and vastly different books – an ABSOLUTE worst case scenario, the real-world chances of which (as a publisher who deals with 2nd. and 3rd. and subsequent editions often) I can assure you, in this case, are (when viewed as a mathematical ‘Limit’) = Nil!  Put another way, you’d be well served trusting the New Testament INSTEAD of Ehrman, Hawkins, Hitchens and Harris. So Hermant – as a MATH teacher … Please, DO THE MATH :)

    • Eureka Publishing

      Case in point … The Snow-White story has undergone 10′s of thousands of re-writings, translations and modifications from 1812 to 2012 (that’s exactly 200 years) BUT yet in all these stories, their central theme remains very TRUE to the original – which we do still have! (1) The Queen is JEALOUS of the young princess (2) She tries to kill Snow-White (3) She tries several times and in the end almost gets it right – Snow White  falls into a coma (4) BUT Snow White is SAVED and marries the Prince and with him, she lives happily ever after (5) Not so for the wicked queen – who is punished for her evil. (6) Snow-White’s Dad is a “no-show” (7) The Dwarfs are her helpers etc. Now really – clearly there was and still is a much more determined interest by many more people to preserving the central themes of Jesus’ teachings!


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