Thursday, November 07, 2019

Myths and Mistakes Now Available

A new book on textual criticism is now available!


The New Testament is important, and defending it is important, but what we’ve noticed is that occasionally well-meaning defenders rely on other well-meaning defenders. If left unchecked, this can lead to a chain of citations that go back to resources now-outdated with plenty of opportunity to make mistakes along the way.

One problem is that it’s really hard for any one person to be up-to-date on everything. There’s no way around it—that’s difficult. That’s why this book is a co-edited multi-author volume and not a monograph. We thought that this sort of project is better done by a team of people, each of whom can do one thing well, than by one person trying to do all the things well.

So what is the book? It’s a self-corrective written by people who value the New Testament and think it should be defended, written for people who value the New Testament and want to defend it. We’ve taken some common mistakes about manuscripts and textual criticism that show up in “Why Trust the New Testament” talks, explained why these common mistakes are mistakes or otherwise poor arguments and tried to show what a better way might be.

Over at The Gospel Coalition, Justin Taylor has blogged some of our “Key Takeaways,” which we put at the end of each chapter. Of course, the chapters explain why we assert what we assert here, but Taylor’s post is a great example of what kinds of things the book aims to explain.


  1. Got mine on Tuesday (Amazon). I've read the first two chapters. Pretty rough...right now it seems like there is NO evidence for the reliability of the NT. Y'all threw out everything.

    I sure hope it gets better!


    1. I sincerely hope that by 'gets better' you don't mean 'begins to affirm other inaccuracies I've been fed and pass on to others'.

    2. Nope. By 'gets better,' I mean stops shooting planes down and starts putting a few in the air. Reliability of the NT planes. :-)

    3. If planes are unsafe to fly, it's better for everybody if they stay grounded. That doesn't mean flying is unsafe, just flying in those particular planes.

      There are lots of reasons to trust that our New Testaments are reliable, and there is no shortage of books written to that end. Still, there are enough 'unsafe planes' to merit a book about why we shouldn't be hanging a lot of weight on *those* reasons. The book is not an apologetics book, and it would be a mistake to read it thinking that it is. Instead, what I personally hope the book will accomplish is all downstream—that we'll see better apologetics books written down the road. The main goal of this book is not to present new arguments for the reliability of the New Testament text but to help trim away the 'bad' ones (by showing why they are 'bad', whether outdated, built on unproven assumptions, factually wrong, etc.) so that apologetics books 5–10 years from now will be on much firmer ground on this issue. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

    4. In that case, I'm buying the book! Not that I expect to agree with everything in it, but we need to strengthen or remove those weak links in the chain.

    5. I haven't read any of the book. But I did attend an ETS session where the chapters were presented as papers. And I don't recall anything in any of them that at any point gave support to any claims against the reliability of the NT.

      What are some things in the book that you thought did that?

  2. Brent Niedergall12/04/2019 1:21 pm

    This is a great book and one that needed to be written. I just posted my review here: