Clarification by Wallace on Using Patristic Witnesses to Re-Construct the New Testament
Many evangelical Christian apologists use an argument attributed to the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, which goes as follows:
We can almost completely restore the New Testament off of the early church fathers alone.
This argument posits that based on the writings of the early Church Fathers (Patristics), in their quotations, we can use those quotations of the New Testament to reconstruct the entire New Testament. However, as Dr. Dan Wallace clarifies, this is not a claim he makes, and he specifically qualifies that although such a reconstruction can be done, it cannot be done using the early Patristics:
As Dr. Ehrman points out, this cannot be done using the early Patristic writings (1st to 3rd centuries). Unfortunately, this is quite a popular argument used by Christian apologists, and it’s long overdue that either Dr. Wallace or Dr. Ehrman corrected lay Christians on their use and abuse of alleged arguments by scholars.
and God knows best.
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