In our previous debate, we learned Bart Ehrman’s peculiar twist on the integrity of the New Testament text. His focus is on the first hundred years or so of the original writing of the New Testament, for which we have essentially no manuscript evidence. His contention is that we can’t be sure how radical the variations were during this period because that early in history the scribes couldn’t have been as well trained as the scribes and monks of the middle ages, so what we have may be vastly different than what was originally written by the apostles and their associates.
Wallace rightly characterizes this as radical skepticism, and argues for the proposition that Ehrman’s claims are making a mountain out of a mole hill. His contention is that it’s less likely that the variation was as extreme as Ehrman wants us to conclude. This is part of what I came away with from their last meeting on Wallace’s turf in Dallas, Texas.
Now they plan to meet on Ehrman’s turf to “dialogue” (as opposed to debate? Is this just postmodern euphamism?) on whether the original New Testament was lost. I suspect my summary of their positions above will be at the heart of this dialogue. Wish I could attend, but, then, it gets old hearing the same jokes out of both fellows. Hopefully they come up with fresh material. More on this in a few weeks after the debate is made available to those of us unable to attend. (Click for more info)