Christians Misquoting Bart Ehrman

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Bart Ehrman

If you are participating in a debate, you love it when your debate opponent says something that supports your position.  However, stating that your opponent just said something that supports your position when he/she did not, makes you look really foolish.

Below is an excerpt from evangelical Christian authors Josh and Sean McDowell:

This chapter [Gnostic Gospels and Other Nonbiblical Texts] began with a quote by the agnostic historian and Bible scholar Bart Ehrman, and it is only fitting to end with one as well, one that verifies everything we have learned so far:

The oldest and best sources we have for knowing about the life of Jesus…are the four Gospels of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  This is not simply the view of Christian historians who have a high opinion of the New Testament and its historical worth; it is the view of all serious historians of antiquity of every kind, from committed evangelical Christians to hardcore atheists.  This view is not, in other words, a biased perspective of only a few naive wishful thinkers; it is the conclusion that has been reached by every one of the hundreds (thousands, even) of scholars who work on the problem of establishing what really happened in the life of the historical Jesus, scholars who…have learned Greek and Hebrew, the languages of the Bible, along with other related languages such as Latin, Syria, and Coptic, scholars who read the ancient sources in the ancient languages and know them inside out.  We may wish there were older, more reliable sources, but ultimately it is the sources found within the canon that provide us with the most, and best, information.  (Ehrman, TFDVC, 102-103)

Therefore, we should hold with confidence that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the only true gospels and that they give us accurate information about the life of Jesus Christ.

Evidence that Demands a Verdict, p. 139

Gary:  Wait a minute!  Ehrman never said that the four canonical gospels give us “accurate information” only that they give us the “best” information [available to us].  Ehrman never says or implies that everything these books say about Jesus is accurate historical fact.  Neither does Ehrman say that the four canonical gospels are the only “true” gospels.

This is a serious misstatement of an Ehrman quote.  I hope it was unintentional.



11 thoughts on “Christians Misquoting Bart Ehrman

  1. I’d agree… Ehrman says the gospels are “the best info”, but not necessarily that it’s all “accurate” info…

    About this quote: “However, stating that your opponent just said something to support your position when he/she did not, makes you look really foolish.”

    This is something that I think you yourself would do well to take to heart, Gary.


  2. I know that the above debate between Bart Ehrman and evangelical Christian scholar, Mike Licona, is long (over three hours!) but it is really, really, really good!


  3. FYI: At the end of the lecture, questions are taken from the audience. The first person in line to ask Dr. Ehrman a question is none other than Mike Licona’s son-in-law, Nick Peters, an amateur on-line Christian apologist with whom I have had multiple online “discussions”.


  4. I’ve watched two debates between Ehrman and Licona and frankly Licona is an absolute dick.
    After he was forced out of his job – twice – by Geisler and his henchmen over the Dead Saints incident ( Matthew’s Zombie Walkabout) I am really surprised he had the gall to get up and still ”preach” this crap, especially the eye witness rubbish.
    Licona is simply a bloody fool and a lousy apologist.


  5. The Secular Web has a whole book titled, The Jury Is In, that dissects McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict. I contributed the last chapter concerning the “Uniqueness of the Christian Experience,” along with a critique of McDowell’s testimony, which has grown even more grandiose over the past two decades.


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