It's a solid book with interesting facts and ideas. However, if you've already read Misquoting Jesus there really isn't any reason to read this one.
One of the best books I have ever read, however Mr Ehrman, I must disagree with you on one point at least. I read gospel of Barnabas, I failed to remember anything anti-Jewish, if anything, it is more anti-Christian. For example, he condemned Christian of practicing certain rituals that's totally against Jesus teaching such as eating pork, not circumcizing and drinking wine. He also accused Paul of promoting such ill practices. In addition, he proclaims Mohammad as messiah not Jesus. He specifically has pointed in his Gospel that Mohammad was to be the messenger after Jesus as Jesus himself told his deciples in John that God will send them another comforter who will stay with them forever. Barnabas has named Mohammed as the comforter which leads me to believe that scriber has later intentionally changed the word to "comforter" as they have changed words in other places in the scripture.
Like other Bart Ehrman books this one is outstandingly well researched and he goes out of his way to present the "standard" narrative for the "Historical/Critical" perspective of the Bible. He is not putting forth any groundbreaking theories at all. His point is that the historical/critical approach to the Bible has valuable things to say about the Bible and presents some of them in a very accessible format.
I do recommend listening to/reading "Misquoting Jesus" before this book because it will introduce you to some of the concepts and gives a good overview of historical changes to the Bible which is valuable to understanding this book.
There is one caveat with this endorsement, though. This would not be a good book for those that are threatened by "poking holes" in Scripture. While this is not the author's goal it could be interpreted as that when he points out discrepancies in the Bible. He reconciles them by pointing out the context that they occur under and the different audiences that are being addressed rather than reconciling them by semantic/historical gymnastics as some conservatives would do.
He also occasionally goes into diatribes against those who denigrate the Historical/Critical approach. He does not say that the Historical/Critical approach is the best, but that it is a valid way to look at the Bible and, sometimes, in my opinion, goes a little far in striking back at some of his critics. That is what kept this book from being a 5-star listen for me.
Bloke who took to audiobooks in order to beguile long hours on the road travelling to photography gigs across his home state. Now addicted!
Can there be many educated Westerners to whom it would come as a shock that the New Testament does not present an accurate, or logically-consistent, portrayal of historical events, least of all when it comes to that story's protagonist, arguably the most famous person who has ever lived? Or that it contradicts itself, and cannot even resolve the character and aims of its hero?
Should you be one of these hypothetical sheltered souls, this may well be the best place to begin your exposure to those cruel winds whipped-up by any real historical examination of the texts.
The point is made, and made well, that the writers of the NT did not set out to write The Bible, and the politics - and sheer arbitrariness - of what ended up constituting 'the definitive account' of the life of Jesus is convincingly documented.
I suppose the problem I have is that the conclusion that Ehrman derives from it all - that, despite having been a devout amongst the devout who admits his researches have made him an agnostic himself, nothing here need make any reader a non-believer - would appear to be a non-sequitur.
And something of a cop-out.
For, exposed to all this clinical historical information, the anachronisms, the contradictions, the absurdities, and the compelling evidence of the all-too-human frailties and fervent passions of the authors - whoever they may have been - how can anything resembling doctrinal 'faith' endure, without resort to the merest humbug?
For me it certainly can't, but I suppose I've never been inclined to believe, and I live in a nation where the Church is now not much more than just another community organization to which one might belong - a sort of sacerdotal Rotary - whether by accident of history or by choice.
The historical absurdity of the story is certainly no small part of the decline of Christianity in much of the West, as is the rise of Science and the concomitant - and less desirable - rise of the consumer economy and its vulgar, and frequently exploitative, materialism.
Decline, that is, except, of course, in one nation, the leader of the West, which is now, despite being arguably the most materialistic nation ever to have existed, and unlike its cousins, scarcely secular, to a degree that would probably have shocked its founders.
There it's much more difficult to come out and just say clearly 'look, it's just a series of pedagogic - and implausible - stories composed by personalities that we would now regard as, um, rather-too-zealous, to put it mildly'. Intriguing, certainly, and the moral ideas it advances are certainly generally more appealing than many of the preceding book's more violent notions, but fatally dangerous to confuse with fact or truth.
In this sense, this is a book written very much for that one nation, and probably presents it about as great a challenge as it can bear.
The rest of us can be fascinated and amused - I, too, would have enjoyed a sky-high Towering Jesus and a Speaking Cross, and rather regret the exclusion of that Gospel!
(I will add that this book will almost certainly not please those looking for a fiery New Atheist denunciation of Christianity as Fraud or Neurological Impairment - there are plenty of such polemics elsewhere!)
Culp's genial and avuncular narration makes for pleasant listening, and, should this material be at all threatening to you, is also about as gentle an introduction to an uncomfortable exposition as you could possibly hope for.
Very diverse person who enjoys good books.
yes, I enjoyed learning more about the historical information on the Bible. I think that anyone who takes the Bible literally, should read/listen to this book as well as his earlier book called, "Misquoting Jesus" I think it would open up their eyes a little bit. And that is something that they really NEED to do.
There were several...I really can't pick just one.
Yes, he was a good narrator.
It made me feel good about my skepticism.
The book was very enjoyable: a nice account of the New Testament from an historical perspective.
My complaint is that the book is only 6 hours. It is listed as 12 hours and divided into two parts. If you download both parts, you just downloaded the same book twice. It's a good listen, just limit your expectations to 6 hours (not 12 hours!).
I liked that the author presented his information in a strongly unbiased way. He is clear about when things he is stating are his own opinion vs. the widely held scholarly opinion. Although the author considers himself an agnostic he approaches the subject in manner that is not condescending towards believers.
The performer was very clear and understandable with an accent that sounded very ordinary to me (an American speaker). My only complaint was that he talks a bit slow, but I was able to speed the playback up on the Android app so this was no problem.
If you have never studied the Bible using the
This is an awesomely informative book with information that I was not aware of and definitely recommended highly for believers or nonbelievers. Mind opening and thought provoking, really enjoyed this work! Keep it coming!
Really enjoyed this and helped to shed light on the "roots" of the bible. My only criticism is the repetition, particularly heavy in the final chapter, of the author to keep stressing the importance of reading the bible from a historical perspective. I completely agree, and I still agree after the 50th time I heard him stressing this, and it started to numb my ears. All the same, very much worth the listen.
I have been absolutely enamoured with this book since I download it. Listened more than twice and really enjoy the academic analysis of the 'holy' book. I am an ex Jehovahs Witness and reckoned I knew my (Watchtower) trained scriptures well. It's scary to think the volume of people who hang on the Bible as a truth as to where we are going and what we are. Well argued, intriguing and fascinating the Ehrman work is really on the ball when making its case. It should appeal to seekers of the real truth in all phases of life.