I am a casual reader of New Testament commentary. I had read Bart Ehrman's book, "Misquoting Jesus," and was aware of Daniel Wallace's critique of Ehrman. So, I jumped on the chance to preorder this book. I expected the book to be what the subtitle indicates: a dialogue between Ehrman and Wallace. Unfortunately, it isn't. This book is essentially a proceedings volume of a forum held at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in April 2008. Although the format of the forum is not clearly explained, it apparently consisted of Ehrman and Wallace each speaking for 40 minutes followed by a session of questions from the audience. The following day several other scholars made presentations connected to the theme of the reliability of the New Testament.
The volume reproduces transcripts of Ehrman and Wallace's remarks. (I assume that they are transcripts because they contain a few bracketed insertions that apparently represent corrections to the spoken lectures.) These are quite short; Ehrman's takes up just 14 pages, while Wallace's takes up 19 pages. Although their remarks are lively and interesting, they break no new ground and the points made will be familiar to many readers. If you are unfamiliar with Ehrman and Wallace's work, then these selections provide a brief introduction, otherwise you will probably find them disappointing. These selections are followed by 13 pages of questions and answers. Apparently, this is a transcript of the live Q&A session with the audience. Some of the questions and responses are interesting, but a number of the questions are off the main topic: Wallace's critique of Ehrman. Ehrman and Wallace never engage each other directly. In other words, there is no dialogue! This is quite disappointing. In his remarks, Wallace raises some important questions about Ehrman's work, particularly about the extent to which Ehrman believes it is possible to recover the original wording of the New Testament and the extent to which the wording of the New Testament as we have it represents changes meant to reinforce orthodox views. In this volume, Ehrman doesn't respond to ANY of Wallace's critiques.
This forum is apparently part of an ongoing series, the Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum in Faith and Culture. I would strongly urge the organizers of this forum to rethink its format. There should have been an opportunity for Ehrman and Wallace to engage each other. Just giving them an opportunity to restate their views without any dialogue doesn't serve much purpose.
The remaining 120 pages in the volume -- in other words two-thirds of the volume -- is given over to papers by other scholars. Some were apparently delivered at the forum, some were written later. As a group, they are interesting, but rather academic. I have never read an academic theology journal, but these papers are what I imagine is typically published in such journals. Most of the papers make at least passing reference to Ehrman's work, but, of course, there is no rebuttal from Ehrman included -- if, in fact, he even read these papers.
So, all told, this volume contains some interesting perspectives on the reliability of the New Testament. But it is not at all what the title advertises it to be. I would give it 3 1/2 stars.