The Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

The Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Bart D. Ehrman

Bart D. Ehrman

What if Marcion's canon-which consisted only of Luke's Gospel and Paul's letters, entirely omitting the Old Testament-had become Christianity's canon? What if the Ebionites-who believed Jesus was completely human and not divine-had ruled the day as the Orthodox Christian party? What if various early Christian writings, such as the Gospel of Thomas or the Secret Gospel of Mark, had been allowed into the canonical New Testament? Ehrman (The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture), a professor of religion at UNC Chapel Hill, offers answers to these and other questions in this book, which rehearses the now-familiar story of the tremendous diversity of early Christianity and its eventual suppression by a powerful "proto-orthodox" faction. The proto-orthodox Christians won out over many other groups, and bequeathed to us the four Gospels, a church hierarchy, a set of practices and beliefs, and doctrines such as the Trinity. Ehrman eloquently characterizes some of the movements and Scriptures that were lost, such as the Ebionites and the Secret Gospel of Mark, as he outlines the many strands of Christianity that competed for attention in the second and third centuries. He issues an important reminder that there was no such thing as a monolithic Christian orthodoxy before the fourth century. While Ehrman sometimes raises interesting questions (e.g., are Paul's writings sympathetic to women?), his book covers territory already well-explored by others (Gregory Riley, The River of God; Elaine Pagels, Beyond Belief), generating few fresh or provocative insights.
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Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

Bart D. Ehrman

Bart D. Ehrman

From The popular perception of the Bible as a divinely perfect book receives scant support from Ehrman, who sees in Holy Writ ample evidence of human fallibility and ecclesiastical politics. Though himself schooled in evangelical literalism, Ehrman has come to regard his earlier faith in the inerrant inspiration of the Bible as misguided, given that the original texts have disappeared and that the extant texts available do not agree with one another. Most of the textual discrepancies, Ehrman acknowledges, matter little, but some do profoundly affect religious doctrine. To assess how ignorant or theologically manipulative scribes may have changed the biblical text, modern scholars have developed procedures for comparing diverging texts. And in language accessible to nonspecialists, Ehrman explains these procedures and their results. He further explains why textual criticism has frequently sparked intense controversy, especially among scripture-alone Protestants. In discounting not only the authenticity of existing manuscripts but also the inspiration of the original writers, Ehrman will deeply divide his readers. Although he addresses a popular audience, he undercuts the very religious attitudes that have made the Bible a popular book. Still, this is a useful overview for biblical history collections. Bryce Christensen Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved Review "Offers a fascinating look into the field of textual criticism and evidence that Scriptures have been altered." -- Charleston Post & Courier "One of the unlikeliest bestsellers of the year." -- Washington Post "Whichever side you sit on regarding Biblical inerrancy, this is a rewarding read." -- Dallas Morning News
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The Triumph of Christianity

The Triumph of Christianity

Bart D. Ehrman

Bart D. Ehrman

From the New York Times bestselling authority on early Christianity, the story of how Christianity grew from a religion of twenty or so peasants in rural Galilee to the dominant religion in the West in less than four hundred years.Christianity didn't have to become the dominant religion in the West. It easily could have remained a sect of Judaism fated to have the historical importance of the Sadducees or the Essenes. In The Triumph of Christianity, Bart Ehrman, a master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, shows how a religion whose first believers were twenty or so illiterate day laborers in a remote part of the empire became the official religion of Rome, converting some thirty million people in just four centuries. The Triumph of Christianity combines deep knowledge and meticulous research in an eye-opening, immensely readable narrative that upends the way we think about the single most important cultural transformation our...
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Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible

Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible

Bart D. Ehrman

Bart D. Ehrman

The problems with the Bible that New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman discussed in his bestseller Misquoting Jesus—and on The Daily Show with John Stewart, NPR, and Dateline NBC, among others—are expanded upon exponentially in his latest book: Jesus, Interrupted. This New York Times bestseller reveals how books in the Bible were actually forged by later authors, and that the New Testament itself is riddled with contradictory claims about Jesus—information that scholars know… but the general public does not. If you enjoy the work of Elaine Pagels, Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, and John Shelby Spong, you’ll find much to ponder in Jesus, Interrupted.Review“Ehrman’s ability to translate scholarship for a popular audience has made the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill a superstar in the publishing world” (IndyWeek)“For both scholars and the masses who read about religion, Bart D. Ehrman needs no introduction . . . He adds the personal to the scholarly for some of his works, detailing how he went from a Moody Bible Institute-educated fundamentalist evangelical to an agnostic . (Durham Herald-Sun)“There’s something delicious (for nonbelievers, anyway) about the implacable, dispassionate way that Ehrman reveals how the supposedly “divine truth” of Christianity was historically constructed.” (Salon.com) From the Back CoverThe Human Story Behind the Divine BookIn this New York Times bestseller, leading Bible expert Bart Ehrman skillfully demonstrates that the New Testament is riddled with contradictory views about who Jesus was and the significance of his life. Ehrman reveals that many of the books were written in the names of the apostles by Christians living decades later, and that central Christian doctrines were the inventions of still later theologians. Although this has been the standard and widespread view of scholars for two centuries, most people have never learned of it.Jesus, Interrupted is a clear and compelling account of the central challenges we have when attempting to reconstruct the life and meaning of Jesus.
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