Bart Ehrman on the Strangest Moment of His Teaching Career

Over at his blog, Bart Ehrman discusses what he considers to be the strangest moment in his long career of teaching. One of his student’s parents called him to ask if Ehrman could keep her daughter from flunking his class by changing her grade. Since that would be unethical of Ehrman, he declined and explained it just wasn’t possible.

I told her I was sorry to hear that her daughter hadn’t passed the class, but I couldn’t simply change a grade because a parent would like me to; I couldn’t even change it if I myself wanted to.  It wouldn’t be fair to any of the other students or to the school itself.   I told her I wished I could.  And she said, “Dr. Ehrman, I’m just prayin’ to Jesus that you will reconsider and change her grade.”

He did some investigating and found that all she needed was a few extra points and she would pass. But that wasn’t possible for Ehrman not simply because of ethical concerns and because of the nature of university work. He called the woman back and told her of the situation. ““Dr. Ehrman, I’m just praying to Jesus that you will see it in her heart to change her grade.  It would mean so much to me and would allow her to stay in college.”

Ehrman did some more investigating and discovered his teaching assistant who was “one of my best” and was “destined to be a contributing New Testament scholar” was also apparently not so good at math and had made an error in grading this student’s work. When Ehrman recalculated the score, she ended up getting exactly what she needed to graduate his class.

I called the mother back and told her, “I don’t know what kind of prayer life you have, but…..

I’m sure the mother thought prayer had saved the day when it was really just a combination of human error and reevaluation. But there is a real miracle lurking in this post from Ehrman. He writes,

Ssince [sic] I started teaching in 1984, I have never ever had a parent call to complain about what I teach — or about misleading their child, or promoting the doctrines of Satan, or anything else.  Never.   That seems weird, even to me, but it’s true.

He never had a parent call to complain? Never? 

Now that’s a miracle!

Check out the rest of his post here.

Featured image: By yohey1028 – Pictured by the user, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8124565

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