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Phi Beta Kappa Scholar Presents ‘Misquoting Jesus’

Bart Ehrman has published extensively in the fields of New Testament and Early Christianity.

<em>Book cover: 'Misquoting Jesus'<br><br></em>Book cover: 'Misquoting Jesus'

A nationally renowned bestselling author and religious studies scholar with controversial views on the origins and accuracy of New Testament scripture will speak at Alma College.

Bart Ehrman, this year’s Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, discusses “Misquoting Jesus: Scribes Who Changed the Scriptures and Readers Who May Never Know” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13 in the Remick Heritage Center.

Admission is free and open to the public; no ticket is required.

“The title of his talk comes from the title of one of his bestselling books,” says Kate Blanchard, associate professor of religious studies at Alma College. “He argues that there are no existing original copies of any of the books of the New Testament — or even copies of the copies. The copies we have are from much later, in most cases many centuries later. So how can readers know what the authors of the New Testament originally wrote?

“You don’t have to be a Bible scholar or even a Christian to find his work fascinating,” says Blanchard. “Western civilizations have been defined largely by their interactions with texts about Jesus, so anyone who wants to understand American society better can benefit from thinking critically about where the Bible came from and how it’s been passed down to us over the centuries.”

Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he has taught since 1988. He has published extensively in the fields of New Testament and Early Christianity, having written or edited 30 books, including five New York Times bestsellers: Misquoting Jesus; God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer our Most Important Question – Why We Suffer; Jesus Interrupted; Forged: Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are; and How Jesus Became God.

More than two million copies of his books and lecture course recordings have been sold, and his books have been translated into 27 languages. He has master’s and doctoral degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Ehrman’s work has been featured in Time, Newsweek, the New Yorker, the Washington Post and other print media, and he has appeared on NBC’s Dateline, CNN, The History Channel, National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, the BBC, major NPR shows, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Colbert Report, and other top media outlets.

Winner of numerous university awards and grants, Professor Ehrman is the recipient of the 2009 J. W. Pope “Spirit of Inquiry” Teaching Award, the 1993 UNC Undergraduate Student Teaching Award, the 1994 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement, and the Bowman and Gordon Gray Award for excellence in teaching.

The Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program makes available distinguished scholars who visit colleges and universities with Phi Beta Kappa chapters. Alma College is among the 10 percent of all colleges and universities in the nation to hold membership in the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious undergraduate honors organization.

Story published on September 14, 2016