Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bart Ehrman vs James White - Did the Bible Misquote Jesus? 2009 BEST

In this debate ( audio | video | transcript ) Misquoting Jesus author Bart Ehrman argued against Calvinist Apologist Dr James White concerning the textual reliability of the New Testament.

4.25 stars: There is a lot detail packed into this epic debate. And though White's rather blatant underlying agenda ultimately left him sounding a bit whiny, he certainly comes off as a polished proponent for theism. BEST

This is a pretty strong debate between the two. I have heard Ehrman before but not White. This is the usual debate on this topic, Ehrman takes a conservative view on the textual reliability and White feels that the "misquotes" brought up by Ehrman are trivial or misused in some fashion. Nothing truly groundbreaking is thrown around between the two, at least as far as I heard. I liked the format of the debate, there was a pretty intense cross examination between the two where I think both debaters got in the points they wanted to hit home well.

Of course I think that Ehrman did better for the content he presents but he also does a good job of distilling the issues he discusses. He and White both got a little heated about things and Ehrman did so about some odd stuff. He didn't like being compared to a Muslim, which sounded weird to me, for lack of a better way of describing my impression. White kept on being kind of condescending about things in the cross-exam which probably agitated Ehrman a little. White would repeatedly say that Ehrman was not understanding what he was arguing and would repeatedly ask Ehrman whether or not he was familiar with other big names in the fields related to the subject of the debate. It sounded like Ehrman was getting more and more annoyed with this.

White did okay, I need to hear him more to develop more of an impression. I think he would agree because I would like to think he wasn't so whiny as he came off. He kept getting upset about Ehrman going on popular talk shows and having his work referred to by atheists and Muslim apologists. Look White, write a book with a controversial sounding title and you might get to go on those talk shows. Write a book that counters a view that has been so engrained in the American mindset ever since the beginning of this country and maybe you'll get on those shows. It sounds pretty lame to complain about non-Christian perspectives getting popularized in the United States, I'm sorry if just repeatedly affirming the validity of an old tome already considered dogma by the population doesn't sound sexy enough to go on Colbert. Maybe you can go to all the churches, universities, other shows and channels devoted to Christianity to make yourself feel better, eh?

The audio is good but it has some sort of stutter going through it, maybe Veritas has a better copy. I didn't watch the video, just listened to it.

Other Reviews
CSA: best!

Note on James White's Sale of these debates.  I think they're free now! See!

Post Revision History
7-7-2013 I cleaned up what I said about White's complaints, lowered to score because I think I need to be more critical and noted that on the epic list of debates put together by Luke Muehlhauser this debate is labeled as "best!".


  1. I cannot believe you even consider bart presentation to be comparable to Dr Whites. The message that Jesus Christ is the son of God that saves those who believe in the blood shed on the cross have eternal life. Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus is the only way to God. Jesus will come back in the future. This message is in every text in existence which means God has preserved the good news that leads men to eternal life. God has won again. James is the clear winner here. Bart is very bitter with no real way to combat the facts presented by Dr. White. Its sad really that anyone has ever considered Barts words seriously . Very sad.

  2. Textual criticism is welcome analysis, not a "non-Christian perspective." Unless christianity is mere blind obedience to dogma and authority.

    1. Sure. I'm down to change what I said. I'm not married to it. And you make a legit point, many of the innovative and/or thought-provoking critics of the bible are pretty devout themselves, right?


Don't be a jerk!