Todd and Cindy gave me Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman for my birthday.

It was high on my list of desirable books, and I was very excited to get it, and continued to be excited to read it.

In brief, the author (who is a highly-respected scholar among academic biblical historians – he’s come recommended from a variety of sources in the past, including The Teaching Company (who produces those lectures on CD I listen to)) explores the field of Biblical authenticity, guiding the reader through a handful of examples of the reasons why most Biblical scholars would argue that the Bible as we have it today is not the original Bible, as it was written. Though we don’t have any texts that we would be able to say with certainty are authentic to the original, the older and arguably more reliable texts do not, in fact, say the same things as the modern versions of our Bible. Whether through accidental mistakes in copying, deliberate changes intended to thwart heresies, or additions to the texts (such as the very famous example of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery), it’s not just our translations that are misled, but the Greek and Latin texts from which they were translated. The King James version, which many people rely as itself divinely inspired, was in fact based on a fabricated Greek version known at the time of production to contain errors!

The sometimes technical expedition through the history of biblical translation is framed with the author’s own story and reasons for Biblical study, starting with his graduation from the Moody Bible institute and his plans to champion the fundamentalist Protestant inerrant view of the Bible, and ending with his secular but deeply enthusiastic love for textual archaelogy.

It’s a reasonably short book and easy to follow – I’d recommend it to anyone. There’s nothing terribly new or shocking within, but it’s very well presented and explained.