The Reliability of the New Testament focuses through a series of essays from several scholars on one important question: What does it mean for a text to be 'reliable'? We might, of course, get at the heart of this question in any number of ways. We might ask: What characteristics does a reliable text embody, or not embody? What must its history of transmission be? Can the text be changed and remain trustworthy?
These are the questions The Reliability of the New Testament seeks to answer, and does so in the first place by presenting the opposing views of two leading scholars, though the two only 'dialogue' indirectly.
The dialogue consists of two transcripts taken from a conference held in New Orleans (2008). Each scholar briefly, but comprehensively, lays out their respective positions--Wallace argues for the NT's reliability while Ehrman argues against it--and in this reader's receive a synopsis of their positions but no new ground-breaking contribution is made to scholarship. Their arguements are widely known.
Still, the summary is valuable and sets reader's up to engage with the rest of the book's excellent essays by various scholars which do contribute new persepctives, evidence, and methodological consideration into the debate between Ehrman and Wallace, between reliability and unrelibility.
The book then largely addresses this question: how viable are the diametrically opposed positions of Wallace and Ehrman? Who has read the evidence better, and created a better methodological system for understanding the textual evidence we currently have? This is the primary question this book answers, and in doing so it also addresses the crucial question which Daniel Wallace must demonstrate: Is the New Testament text reliable?
Topics include, the history and methods of transmission, the theological importance of text criticism, the concept of a fixed text, discussion of why changes in the text occurred, the nature and effect of those changes, the overall stability of the NT text, and patristic use of the text. All of these questions are focused to one end: is the NT's text that we have today generally reliable?