Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Testament Scholars and the Historicity of the New Testament Documents

T wrote me and requested: "If you have time to dig up a few youtube links, can you give me suggestions for lectures on the historicity of the new testament to counterpoint the hours of Richard Carrier and Bart Ehrman I've already watched. Thanks."

I'm posting my response here.

Thank you T. Here's what I think.

Bart Ehrman is an actual New Testament scholar; Richard Carrier is not. So in terms of NT studies it is important to pay attention to people like Ehrman. I've listened to him and read some of his material. I also have listened some a read of bit of Carrier's stuff. My observation is that, in general, NT scholars pay attention to Ehrman, and Carrier gets no attention. He's just not especially qualified in this area.

The majority of my NT studies on the historicity of the text come from biblical commentaries that dig deep into each word and sentence in their context. I have read lots of textual studies, and watched very little on youtube. So I can't refer to specific youtube presentations. But I can refer you to scholars worth looking at if you can find their lectures on youtube or elsewhere.

My suggestion is this. Any NT studies (books or youtube lectures) by the following NT scholars are worth listening to and reading. These scholars (who pay attention to Ehrman but do not arrive at many of his textual conclusions) include:

  • Craig Keener
  • Ben Witherington
  • Andreas Kostenberger
  • N.T. Wright
  • Craig Blomberg
  • Craig Evans
  • Richard Bauckham
  • Grant Osborne
  • Robert Mounce
  • Gordon Fee
  • D.A. Carson
  • Donald Hagner
  • R.T. France
  • Gary Burge
  • Robert Yarbrough
  • John Nolland
  • David Garland
  • R.T. France
  • Darrell Bock
  • Joel Green
  • Anthony Thiselton
  • Peter O'Brien
If any of these have youtube videos on biblical textual studies they will be worth watching. I have used all of these for the past 20+ years in my preaching through the NT books. This, to me, is the most valuable way to get a grip on historical issues in the NT.

A number of these have especially responded to Ehrman, questioning his methodological assumptions. Kostenberger and Bock have recently written Truth In a Culture of Doubt: Engaging Skeptical Response to the Bible

Warning: all of these scholars study the NT texts as ancient historical texts. You won't find any fundamentalist (and therefore anachronistic) scholarship in them.