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The Ehrman Chronicles-The Bombastic Tales of Blowhard Bart: Part I

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While I have continued my further research into the New Testament Criticism, I must admit that Bart Ehrman’s latest book has been the most amusing, especially for his highly scholarly work for the church layman. After reading chapter by chapter of his detailing histories, I have come across two  mistakes that Ehrman commits in his work.

And the first one has to do with Paul.

Although Bart discusses about Peter’s epistles prior to dealing with Paul (because he thinks illiterate people don’t write books), I want to point a couple of things entailing with the epistles he does not bother to mention in the book whatsoever. According to his recent book, Forged, Ehrman writes “virtually all scholars agree that seven of the Pauline letters are authentic: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. These seven cohere well together and appear stylistically, theologically, and in most every other way to be by the same person. They all claim to be written by Paul” (Ehrman 93).

Of these seven books that Bart accepts only two of these books claim to be written by Paul, Galatians and Philemon, mostly because the endings of these books contain the following quotes:

  • Galatians 6:11– See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.
  • Philemon 1:19– I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it–to say nothing of your owing me even your own self.

In fact, the rest of the books that are allegedly accepted as to be written ‘by the same person’ was never written by any of Paul’s hands, though most of the other books contained similar phrases such as these:

To those who think I’m trying to cast further doubt upon the New Testament in support of Bart’s arguments must have not read any of my previous posts for long. The point I am trying to convey here is that many of these same books were given credit to the same person pretty much for the same reason: they were written by none other than Paul. In doing so, there has been no mentioning by Bart or any of the scholars he cites that even these ‘accepted’ epistles indicated the apostle’s plethora of ways to write letters in his name. If this assertion is correct, then Paul’s epistles have differing styles which include:

  • The use of secretaries
  • Signature autographs
  • Declaration of Letter

Out of the same books that Ehrman lists that are the alleged forgeries (2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Ephesians, and Colossians), he fails to mention that at least two of them have similar variants with the endings of the books that he accepts:

Although these two books are not stylistically written with the same way, we can assure ourselves that Paul was the one who would bother to autograph the book.

But how do we know Colossians is not a forgery?

Again, Paul has a variety of ways to emboss a seal or ‘signature’ on the books that he approves of. As I already mentioned, Paul often used a secretary. I cannot stress any further how much of a difference that makes when one investigates the authenticity of the New Testament. If we have secretaries who write in the name of Paul, we can be assured of two things:

  • Some secretaries handled Paul’s messages through wording the letters verbatim i.e., everything mentioned by the apostle was written, word for word.
  • Some secretaries handled Paul’s message through wording the letters by replication i.e., everything mentioned by the apostle was written with the tinge of rewording.

Even though Bart acknowledges the popularity to my theory, in his mind, he refuses to remain open to that theological possibility because neither Paul nor Peter did not have either the sufficient means of education or political status to access key figures like  secretaries or politicians, especially ones that could co-author or put input that resembled the theological treatises in his book. In addition, Bart’s book  does not mention the following things:

  1. The apostles already had some religiolitical (religious + political) influence and connections. Paul was a Roman Citizen, Peter was not. There were so many benefits that can be enjoyed, including: the rights to get sued, married, vote, and run for office. If Roman Citizenship includes these benefits, what makes you think Paul could not have any access (as a citizen) to higher authorities within the Empire?
  2. Paul’s ability to argue, read, and write suggests that he had the capability of developing highly complex theological treatises that Ehrman dismisses so easily. If Paul used secretaries to write his book, why would different styles of writing and length be so hard to accept?

Should anyone be surprised about the different wording? If the works are written differently then, should we conclude that the theological emphasis and closings of these epistles to be the same?


Whenever one writes in a different style, particularly (theological) points, there is always going to be variants of ideas that is stressed, along with the introduction of new vocabulary.

And Paul’s epistles just seem to be the case.



1 Comment

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