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The Reliability of the New Testament: Bart Ehrman and Daniel Wallace in Dialogue by [Stewart, Robert]
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3.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert B. Stewart is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Theology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he holds the Greer Heard Chair of Faith and Culture and directs the annual Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1453 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Fortress Press (February 9, 2011)
  • Publication Date: February 9, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00511IL22
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,067,650 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Hal Jordan VINE VOICE on February 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a casual reader of New Testament commentary. I had read Bart Ehrman's book, "Misquoting Jesus," and was aware of Daniel Wallace's critique of Ehrman. So, I jumped on the chance to preorder this book. I expected the book to be what the subtitle indicates: a dialogue between Ehrman and Wallace. Unfortunately, it isn't. This book is essentially a proceedings volume of a forum held at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in April 2008. Although the format of the forum is not clearly explained, it apparently consisted of Ehrman and Wallace each speaking for 40 minutes followed by a session of questions from the audience. The following day several other scholars made presentations connected to the theme of the reliability of the New Testament.

The volume reproduces transcripts of Ehrman and Wallace's remarks. (I assume that they are transcripts because they contain a few bracketed insertions that apparently represent corrections to the spoken lectures.) These are quite short; Ehrman's takes up just 14 pages, while Wallace's takes up 19 pages. Although their remarks are lively and interesting, they break no new ground and the points made will be familiar to many readers. If you are unfamiliar with Ehrman and Wallace's work, then these selections provide a brief introduction, otherwise you will probably find them disappointing. These selections are followed by 13 pages of questions and answers. Apparently, this is a transcript of the live Q&A session with the audience. Some of the questions and responses are interesting, but a number of the questions are off the main topic: Wallace's critique of Ehrman. Ehrman and Wallace never engage each other directly. In other words, there is no dialogue! This is quite disappointing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As has been noted in another review, the title and description of the book are a bit misleading. The book contains a transcript of a debate held in 2008 between Ehrman and Wallace in which, apparently, they both gave presentations and answered audience questions. This isn't a "conversation" (the word that the Amazon description uses) or a "dialogue" (as the title of the book states) because the pair never actually interact with each other. I think that's a bit of a shame, though I still feel as if I came away learning quite a bit about the state of current New Testament scholarship.

However, this debate only fills up about one third of the book. The remainder is a collection of presentations and papers which discuss issues raised within the debate. As with most collections, the contributions are hit-or-miss. For example, William Warren's essay, "Who Changed the Text and Why? Probable, Possible, and Unlikely Explanations" was short and sweet; it got right to the heart of the issue while staying objective as possible. On the other hand, K. Martin Heide's essay on the stability of the New Testament was very tedious.

Overall, while the essays were enjoyable, they seemed to be a bit one-sided. While some were fairly neutral, the majority seemed to be critiques of Ehrman. A little more balance would have been nice. Or a little more discussion about what "reliability" actually means (and why it's important) would have added a lot.

Nevertheless, I think both conservative Christians and die-hard Ehrman fans will be surprised at some of the things that can be learned in this volume. For that reason, I definitely recommend this as a good introduction to the topic.
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This is an excellent book that presents the various issues relating to the reliability of the New Testament Greek manuscripts in a lively and intellectually-stimulating form. I did not give it five stars because it is rather daunting for anyone not already well familiar with the issues, and the dialogue between Ehrman and Wallace was not much more than 25 percent of the book, something I didn't expect. I have not finished reading the other authors yet, but what I have read is also scholarly and invigorating, but still quite technical for me (I took 3 years of NT Greek and have a B.A. in theology). The dialogue between Ehrman and Wallace is candid and respectful, with both participants presenting their views clearly (if you're already familiar with them). As the dialog began nearing its end, Wallace took up a greater bulk of the chapter, and effectively presented an interpretation of the textual problems that (to me) answered much of Ehrman's skepticism, which are based largely on the probability that the original NT documents are heavily corrupted early on because so much time has passed from the original writings to what we have discovered so far. The problem with this view is that it is an argument from silence. Most of the changes in the NT Greek texts we now have are inconsequential, at best, and both Ehrman and Wallace agree on this. But the few changes that are significant, Ehrman feels, give probable cause that greater changes were made earlier to the NT texts, changes that are great enough to call into question the entire reliability of the New Testament. Wallace feels Ehrman's speculations are unjustified. Wallace has an upcoming book on this subject, due summer 2011 that should be even more enlightening. Anyone seriously interested in this subject needs this book.
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