Although the title of the show is An ‘Unbelievable?’ Debate on the NT Documents – Bart Ehrman & Pete Williams, this is really a very well done interview by Justin Brierley. Bart Ehrman is a professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of Misquoting Jesus (whose title in the UK is Whose Word Is It?, a much better title in my opinion). Peter J. Williams is the warden of Tyndale House and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University of Aberdeen, and you can read his review of Ehrman’s book here.
I think this interview was very helpful. I shared a few thoughts on Ehrman’s book and, at the time, I could not understand what the big deal was with some of the stuff in his book. It became obvious to me in this interview that Ehrman does not think that the issues he raises are theologically damaging, but he thinks it does make a difference in how we understand and interpret the text. Which reading is correct if we don’t know for sure what was originally written?
I titled this post “Is Bart Ehrman a Proponent of Intelligent Design?” because one of the things you will notice in Misquoting Jesus is that at several points Ehrman believes the scribes made certain changes on purpose. Williams remarks that although Ehrman’s reconstructions may be correct, he doesn’t give much room for copying mistakes. In this sense, Ehrmans is more like a proponent of Intelligent Design than one who believes that things just happen by chance. Although I was not quite persuaded by Williams’ explanation of some of Ehrman’s examples, I think his analogy was hilarious and revealed Ehrman’s tendency.
In the Evangelical Textual Critical World, Intelligent Design is a bad thing.