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April 05, 2008


Derek Rishmawy

What's funny is thinking about all the scholarly theories that are extremely dependent on 'Q'. Especially those that play 'Q' off against one of the Canonical traditions. I mean, the whole thing is a hypothetical construct of which we have no extant copies of the supposed document! Not that I'm against Q, but it is funny to think about how dogmatically some scholars appeal to it.

Wes Ellis

I always giggle a little bit when someone says that the Bible is inerrant in its' original manuscripts, as though to admit that the later manuscripts (which make up our Bibles) might have been flawed. I find it kinda funny because you can claim whatever you want about the autographs and no one will ever be able to prove you wrong.

I think the original manuscripts had pages that popped out at you with cute little pictures... prove me wrong.


It is rather curious the way the inerrancy discussion has changed. First, it was all about the text as we have them being inerrant, now it has changed to claim inerrancy only for the "original manuscripts" or the "autographs" - which we don't have. Like DeConick, Eugene Ulrich, Emmanuel Tov and others have brought to light, this kind of thinking ignores the larger understanding of who these texts were even developed in the first place.

Derek Rishmawy

You know which book I've got coming in the mail is Richard Bauckham's "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses." Its supposed to be a major reworking and critique of modern form-critical theories about the rise of the Gospels and so forth. I mean, this has already gotten underway in various forms, but its interesting to look at the issue from both the historico-critical point-of-view and the dogmatics point of view at the same time. (And I do think you need to do both. Far too often the two are done separately in their own little corners to the detriment of both.)


Hi Mike -

I am having an epistemological question. Is the claim a) that we can't have knowledge any of what the "autographs" said or b) that we can't have certainty of what the "autographs" said?


Forgive my slopping writing: a) that we can't have any knowledge of what the autographs said or b) that we can't have certainty.


I think the issue is that we truly do not know what the "original manuscripts" looked like, nor fully know what they might have contained as a whole. The best physical evidence we have is fragmentary evidence from the 3rd century or so. This all leads to a bigger questions however. When we talk about an "original manuscript," what are we talking about in actuality? Which recension of the text is considered the "original manuscript"? Is it the oral tradition itself, or the collection of them into written form? The reality is that the process these documents underwent most likely involved multiple layers and revisions. This is what makes the idea of an "original manuscript" so elusive.

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