Which gets to Ehrman’s entire problem: he continues to define the meaning of the phrase “understanding the Bible” in terms of the rationalistic, historical-critical, skeptical methods of the modern West — even though the Bible was not written, edited or even now largely read by persons who share that hermeneutic.Ehrman shows his own flatlander bias when he writes, “scholars of the Bible have made significant progress in understanding the Bible over the past two hundred years, building on archeological discoveries, advances in our knowledge of the ancient Hebrew and Greek languages in which the books of Scripture were originally written, and deep and penetrating historical, literary, and textual analyses.”
Factually speaking, the recent discoveries made by scientists have not been of things never before known. No, much of what has been done is to restore a degree of familiarity with the languages and contexts of the ancient world which — well — the ancients were totally familiar with by virtue of being alive then. To put a plain point on it — the knowledge of Scripture that Paul exhibits, for example, when he wrote his own letters (which would become Scripture themselves) is of a degree that I seriously doubt whether Ehrman could even come close. Paul, after all, is likely to have been versant in biblical Hebrew, as well as Aramaic, Greek and Latin. As a trained bible scholar — a Pharisee — Paul probably had committed the Scriptures to memory to a large degree, as well as a large oral tradition, and he would have been exposed to manuscripts far more ‘original’ than any Ehrman has ever seen.
And just in case that wasn’t enough, you can always check out Steven Colbert’s interview with Ehrman below: