Evangelicals counter Bible scholar
By Yonat Shimron
The release of a new book by Bart Ehrman, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s pre-eminent New Testament scholar, has long been an unnerving and occasionally intimidating time for evangelical Christians on campus.
The pugnacious professor, whose challenges to cherished Christian beliefs make him a nemesis among some, relishes the role.
The titles of some of his best sellers — “Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why” and “Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible” — testify to his penchant for knocking dogmas.
Now he’s at it again with “Forged: Writing in the Name of God — Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are”(HarperOne, $26.99).
This time, campus evangelicals are better prepared.
In January, leaders of Campus Crusade for Christ, an international student ministry at 1,140 colleges and universities, decided to fight back with a website critical of Ehrman’s conclusions.
In a polite, straightforward way, The Ehrman Project (ehrmanproject.com) attempts to offer students alternative views to those drawn by the superstar scholar whose Introduction to the New Testament class draws hundreds of students each semester.
“A lot of people struggle with what he teaches,” said Miles O’Neill, director of Campus Crusade for Christ at UNC-CH. “We just wanted to give students other resources because we feel he gives a one-sided view.”
The site consists of short video clips of scholars from evangelical schools offering their views on Christian orthodoxies:
Does the Bible include errors?
Did the early church leaders conspire to misrepresent what Jesus said to conform to their emerging theology?
The website’s scholars, professors at conservative evangelical schools such as Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky., and Dallas Theological Seminary, maintain that the Bible is reliable and that the changes made by scribes over the years are trivial.
But, Ehrman contends, their views do not represent the consensus among scholars using historians’ techniques to analyze ancient texts…
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