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Kenneth Davis book is really called Don't Know Much About The Bible- Everything You Need to Know About the Good Book But You Never Learned It is very good, and amusing and full of great accessible scholarship. Fun!
Bart Erhman's book is Misquoting Jesus and the full title is listed in Book and Movie Suggestions thread and also in Women Apostle Women Disciple thread. This computer is shared by all the family so most times some one is clamoring for me to let them get on it and so I get rushed with the posts I do make. Have fun and enjoy our journey with Jesus and each other! God bless from Connie Bishop John Shelby Spong is the name of another great bible author and John A Sanford is another. Also lots of great lady theologians too- Women Priests book is super and is listed in Women Apostles thread and Theologian thread and Book and Movie Suggestion thread too.
Though "Don't Know Much About the Bible" is just so-so, Ehrman's books are really worth the read.
His “Studies in Textual Criticism of the New Testament” is the height of scholarly work. Here's a review of the main points found in the The Gospel of Mark as an example of what he covers. The Son of God:
Mark 1:1: The vast majority of MSS read: “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” But the final phrase, “The Son of God” is lacking in several important witnesses, including codices Sinaiticus and Koridethi, MSS 28c and 1555, the Palestinian Syriac, Armenian, and Georgian versions, and Origen. It is important to point out that the two earliest extant MSS attest to the omission: Sinaiticus and Koridethi. Scholars conclude with reasonable certainly that early manuscripts lacked the phrase. The later inclusion of the phrase appears to be an attempt by the early church to harmonize the witness of the synoptic gospels. The Spirit Descends Upon Jesus:
Mark 1:10: In codices Vaticanus, Bezae, and several other important witnesses, when the Spirit descends upon Jesus at his baptism, it becomes a dove εις αυτον, “unto” or “to” him. But the preposition εις can also mean “into”, which Gnostics would have asserted to mean that the heavenly Christ came into Jesus in the form of a dove. The subsequent change is also noted in Matthew and Luke, where the word επι (upon) is used in order to avoid the implication. An Angry Jesus:
Early MMS present Jesus with a full range of emotions. Mark 1:39-45 is an example of a leper in the hands of an angry Jesus. A literal TR of an early account with the word that was changed because scribes could not explain Jesus’ anger reads as follows:
39 And he [Jesus] came preaching in their synagogues in all of Galilee and casting out the demons. 40 And a leper came to him beseeching him and saying to him, “If you will, you are able to cleanse me.” 41 And [becoming angry (οργισθεις) /feeling compassion (σπλαγχνισθεις)] reaching out his hand, he touched him and said to him, “I do will, be cleansed.” 42 And immediately the leprosy went out from him, and he was cleansed. 43 And rebuking him severely, immediately he cast him out 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing that which Moses commanded, as a witness to them.” 45 But when he went out he began to preach many things and to spread the word, so that he [Jesus] was no longer able to enter publicly into a city.
The word οργισθεις / becoming angry is found in only a few Western MSS of Mark, in the fifth-century Codex (D) and several Old Latin MSS (a ff2 r1), but scholars attest that their witness goes back at least to the second century.
In this narrative it is said that Jesus “casts him out” (εκβαλλω), a term usually reserved for demons in Mark’s narrative. Also, Jesus appears to break the law by touching the leper (see Lev 13) but then seems to affirm it by telling the man to do what Moses commands.
In short, the difficulty arises in the passage because the leper doubts Jesus’ willingness to heal him, which to Jesus would be unthinkable. God and God’s life-giving and healing gifts are never willfully withheld from those who believe. Jesus presents a faith without compromise. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus becomes angry when anyone questions his authority, ability or his desire to heal.
Another citation will help to clarify Mark’s purpose as he demonstrates a definitive case for Jesus’ just anger in Mark 3:4-5:
4 Then he said to them, "Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?" But they remained silent. 5 Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
Again, this scenario points out a failure to wholeheartedly live in a way that bears witness to God’s mercy and goodness. Jesus’ question is met with silent attestation to a ‘letter or the law’ mentality that spawns timidity or indifference to the human condition. It is clear that inaction falls short of God’s intention for humanity to live in faith.
Jesus anger/aggravation is also detectable in Mark 10:14 when the children are being prevented from being brought to him. Both Matthew and Luke retain the story, but both delete the reference to Jesus’ anger (see Matt 19:14 and Luke 18:16). Both Matthew and Luke use Mark as a large portion of their source material, but have difficulty presenting Mark’s angry Jesus; both change the wording in order to present a compassionate Jesus. The High Priest:
Mark 2:26: Material derived from codex D has been changed in some subsequent manuscripts. It reports that David entered into the Temple to partake of the showbread, which took place “while Abiathar was the high priest” (which in fact he was not), and some of the later MSS show correction on this detail. Tekton:
Mark 6:3: In most of our Greek and versional witnesses, the people of Nazareth identify Jesus as the “carpenter, the son of Mary”. Celsus found this identification of Jesus as a τεκτων (tekton) important, though his principal opponent, Origen of Alexandria, felt this to be disingenuous, claiming that there is no MS of the Gospels that provides this identification. Conceivably all of Origen’s texts agreed with P45, f13, and 33 in changing the passage in order to identify Jesus as “the son of the carpenter”. The second-century modification aligns Jesus’ employment and socioeconomic status for the sake of an apologetic theme. Fasting:
Mark 9:29: Regarding Codex D, the most well known incident of ascetically-oriented corruption of text is found in Mark’s account of Jesus’ words to his disciples after they have been unable to cast out a particularly difficult demon: “This kind comes out only by prayer”. Codex D as well as a host of other MSS, both early and late, have added to them the phrase “and fasting”, indicating that ascetic practices are necessary to overcome satanic evil in the world.
The Encratitic* Gnostic influence attributed to Tatian can be found in the Sinaitic Syriac text of Luke 2:36, wherein it is related that the prophetess Anna enjoyed marital bliss not for “seven years” but only for “seven days”; the other example is found in Matthew 22:4 of the same manuscript where the oxen and fatted calf have been omitted from the description of the divine marriage feast. The Gospel of the Ebionites also shows scribal changes in the text to indicate a vegetarian cuisine indicating that John the Baptist ate pancakes (εγκριδες) rather than locusts (ακριδες). (There is also some evidence in favor of the argument that the word ‘locusts’ actually meant to indicate the “lightening” or ripe tasseled-tops of grain plants.)
*encratitic: ascetic, anti-conjugal, against sexual intercourse The Crowd:
Mark 15:8: Pilot attempts to release Jesus when “the crowd” begins to make demands for his execution. The codex D text presents this more emphatically, and the Jews thereby more culpable by wording of “all the crowd” that demands Jesus death. King of the Jews:
Mark 15:12: The codex D text changes Pilot’s words from “whom you call King of the Jews” to “who is called king of the Jews”. Forsaken/Reviled/Left Behind:
Mark 15:34: Codex D and its Old Latin allies reflect changes that align with the Christology of the second century, particularly where material may have tended to support Gnosticism. The codex D MS, rather than report Jesus crying out “My God, My God, why have you left me behind”, was modified to read “My God, my God, why have you reviled me”. Most English translations use the word “forsaken” in place of “reviled”. The Longer Ending:
Mark 16:9-20: Most scholars agree that the longer ending was incorporated into the Gospel of Mark in the second century. It is viewed as a type of resume of the gospel material.