Secret Alias wrote: ↑Tue Sep 20, 2022 7:34 pm
And if he made a mistake? What? He's human?
I've had occasion to contemplate a more egregious mistake than some others, Ehrman's conflation of two separate pairs of letters into one pair, the notorious "Letter 10" of Pliny to Trajan of Did Jesus Exist?
, especially chapter 2.
https://uncertaintist.wordpress.com/202 ... an-origen/
And you're right, to err is human. The blog piece places Ehrman's error in context with what I believe are similar errors by Origen and Jerome (and on days when I feel charitable even by Eusebius). In other words, the problem is timeless, not any novel personal failing peculiar to Ehrman.
Of course, this diagnosis assumes that Ehrman and these authors actually had read what they discussed, and the fault lies with the limitations of unaided human long-term memory. Given the many similarities between the misrecollections and the received sources, however, it is highly likely that all of them, including Ehrman, did in fact read what they said they read in the cases I discussed.
With respect to smaller errors, like a simple miscitation, I think we have a hint about mechanism from the "Acknowledgments" section of DJE?
. Two student research assistants from two separate institutions are acknowledged by name. It follows that Ehrman's role in the production of that work was not that of a sole practitioner, but rather he served as a manager of information production.
His memory still plays a role: he vets what his assistants provide him. It must in some sense appear plausible to him if he then uses it in his publication. If he is not checking personally, then the basis of its plausible appearance would seem to be memory of what he'd read.
It is possible that some of the research assistants' product was entirely unknown to him personally, but unlikely that all of it would be after decades of active leadership in his field. How any reader would know that a small (i.e. involving a single word) error would be due to ignorance rather than misrecollection is unclear.
Meh, I know which theory makes the better headline.