Bart Ehrman’s argument…

I heard some portions of the Ehrman/Wallace debate. Here is a major argumentation for Ehrman’s theory that the Bible cannot be trustworthy: a) There are about 400,000 variants in the Greek text. b) The Greek text contains less than 200,000 words, c) Therefore, there are more textual variants than there are words in the New Testament. Hence, the Bible, according to Ehrman is not inerrant.

Dan Wallace’s critique is quite striking. His point is a simple one: a) The reason there are more textual variants than the words in the Bible is because there are many Greek texts. b) The more Greek texts available, the more the variants. c) Therefore, Ehrman’s argument proves nothing.

If there were only five Greek manuscripts available and there were over 400,000 variants, then there may be a problem. Nevertheless, there are hundreds and hundreds of Greek manuscripts available (not to mention the oral tradition, and the patristic witness, and so on). The more the witnesses the better the ability to reconstruct the original. Unlike great works of literature, which contain one or a few manuscripts, the New Testament provides an abundance of evidence– in both oral and written tradition– that the present set of Greek texts available is reliable beyond a scribe’s dream.

Thanks to James White for some of the observations.

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