The doctrine that the Bible is inerrant (meaning that the original manuscripts have no contradictions among them or within themselves) is one that is held by a great many Christians. Typically, this doctrine is supported by exegesis from verses in the Bible, but what I'm wondering about is whether there is a consensus among scholars about whether the Bible's original manuscripts are contradiction-free. If there is such a consensus, why is that opinion held? If there isn't such a consensus, what are the main opinions?
closed as not a real question by Jack Douglas♦ Jun 19 '13 at 7:06
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I honestly have strong doubts that this is an exegetical question. At any rate, it is essentially impossible for there to be a consensus, given the fact of radical differences in presuppositions and assumptions among scholars. Many scholars work from a presupposition, not merely that the texts are not inerrant, but that such a characteristic is incoherent or impossible. Given that, they are not about to read the texts in a way open to solving apparent tensions or incompatibilities to anywhere near the degree of a scholar with different presuppositions (i.e. that the Bible is God's Word, and since He cannot err, it contains no errors).
I really don't know how you could catalogue the main opinions in any useful way. There are certainly a variety of positions, ranging from almost complete skepticism (Robert Funk) to "moderately critical" views (e.g. Richard Hays) to views that appear more critical on the surface than they seem once reading them (I'm thinking of e.g. N.T. Wright, who generally comes down on the side of the coherence and reliability of the text without really starting from there), and then beyond them a whole subspectrum of views among people who all claim to hold to inerrancy but whose methodology and principles scarcely resemble each other.