(US Title: Misquoting Jesus: the story behind who changed the bible and why)
I’ve been meaning to read this for a long while, so I was happy that it appeared in a list of books that I can read for college.
Bart D. Ehrman is a scholar of some renown, and his field is textual criticism. This is the study of how an ancient text can be put together from all the fragments that remain, and how certain we can be that we have words that are as close to the originals as possible.
Though Ehrman has moved away from his evangelical background (as he details in an autobiographical introduction to the book), his book remains optimistic, rather than sensationalist as it looks at the reasons that different scribes and copyists had for making changes as they made copies of the original new testament documents, and then copies of those copies.
His conclusion is that while there are a few places where the modern bibles have strayed from the “best” reading of the text, the vast majority of the bible we have today is about as good as it can get.
Written in a lively, not-too-scholarly style, this is a book that even made the New York Times’ bestseller list. If you’re curious about how the new testament made it from the original documents to the modern bible, this is a useful introduction.