Is Faith Strong Enough for Scholarship?

Posted by Censor Librorum on May 19, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

Dr. Bart Ehrman is the Chair of the Religious Studies department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and author of 17 books, including the New York Times bestseller, Misquoting Jesus, The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. Ehrman says the modern Bible was shaped by mistakes and intentional alterations that were made by early scribes who copied the texts. In the introduction to Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman writes that when he came to understand this process 30 years ago, it shifted his way of thinking about the Bible.

During a recent interview by Biblical Archaeology Review Dr. Ehrman was asked, “How did your scholarship affect your faith?”

“First, I lost my fundamentalist faith because of my scholarship. I had a very high view of Scripture as the inerrant word of God, no mistakes of any kind-geographical or historical. No contradictions. Inviolate.

My scholarship early on as a graduate student showed me in fact these views about the Bible are wrong. I started finding other discrepancies and started finding problems with the Bible. What that ended up doing for me was showing me that the basis of my faith, which at that time was the Bible, was problematic.

Historical scholarship calls into question certain beliefs and can into question faith. It’s better to have a knowledgeable faith than an ignorant faith, and it may be that it will change faith, but it’s not necessarily going to lead somebody to agnosticism.”

My feeling–multi-level scholarship (linguistic, archaeological, anthological, historical, etc.) will lend credence to some parts of the Bible and cast doubt on others depending on the bias of the writer…and the reader. I don’t believe any scholar — Jew, Christian, or Atheist is capable of researching the Bible in an impartial, objective way, open to whatever revelation they might receive.

We just want confirmation of what we believe or want to believe is true.

Bookmark and Share

Leave a Reply