Misquoting Jesus Review
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When I first picked up a copy of Misquoting Jesus, I expected it to be a book about the politics of why the New Testament has been changed over the years. But I was really disappointed—maybe because I expected something that this book simply is not.

I was looking for something with a bit of intrigue as to why Jesus was misquoted. I thought that perhaps the story would come out here about exactly why the 27 books that make up the New Testament were chosen and why other books were left out. Surely there would be tales of manuscripts being burned to keep them out of circulation—or some other cool DaVinci Code stuff.

Unfortunately, none of that is between these covers. That’s not to say that this isn’t a well-written book, or one that shouldn’t be read. It’s just not the kind of book that people are going to come looking for based on the book jacket. It’s frustrating when a book jacket is as misleading as this one is. When you read the back cover, the book sounds like it’s going to be full of things that are wrong with current translations. But the three things it lists on the back are all covered in the first couple of chapters, leaving the reader very little to look forward to later in the book.

What Bart D. Ehrman has written is a very scholarly text, more suited for a history class than a family library. Misquoting Jesus is a detailed study of how the text of the Bible—the New Testament in particular—was put to paper in the early years of Christianity. He chronicles how and why scribes made mistakes when putting the stories of Jesus on paper. He does touch slightly on how the scribes, and the people in power, put flourishes on (and deleted) portions of the Gospels to better suit their agenda, or to fit in their time. Unfortunately, it does not spend enough time on this part of the book to keep the interest of the average reader.

There’s no spice or sizzle in Misquoting Jesus. It’s a straightforward look at how the books of the New Testament have changed since they were first copied. There are interesting sections of the book that discuss the differences in the four books that make up the Gospels—or why certain stories were omitted from one book but included in others. There just isn’t enough of that in the book.

I’d recommend this book to someone wanting to understand the mechanics of how the Bible has been changed. People looking for why it was changed—and who was behind the changes—need to look elsewhere.

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