This was a thoroughly fascinating listen. Anyone with an interest in what history can say about the life of Jesus would love these lectures although those with an unshakeable theological agenda may have difficulty with Professor Erhman's historical perspective.
Myth and contradictions obscure our sense of who the real Jesus was. For one thing, the sources can be clouded by the agenda of the writer. Furthermore many of us come to the subject with agendas of our own. Professor Erhman meticulously describes the criteria used by the historian to evaluate the record. Then he patiently examines that record (biblical and non-biblical) to create a picture of the world in which Jesus lived and the task which Professor Erhman believes the Jesus of history hoped to accomplish. Professor Erhman then explores the way in which the death of Jesus compelled his followers to re-evaluate that task and re-make the message and meaning of Jesus's life and teaching.
This isn't a novel so the question doesn't apply. But I think that my favorite part was the convincing case Professor Erhman makes for an apocalyptic Jesus.
I wandered everywhere I could in my daily life with my earphones in so that I could keep listening. I do regret that I am not one of Professor Erhman's students because, as I became so engaged with the topic, I began to want to ask questions myself and explore the topic further.
I would urge the reader to consider reading the first book in the Barchester series --The Warden--before reading this one. Although one could read Barchester Towers alone and enjoy it immensely, I think the relationships between the central characters are better enjoyed and savored more fully if one has read about them first in The Warden. (It's relatively short and very enjoyable.)
Still BT is an enjoyable read all by itself and the wonderfully amusing wry asides by the author truly made me laugh out loud. If you yearn for a simpler time, or delight in the very best novels of English country life from Austen to Pym, or simply love an English sentence well-turned, you will enjoy this book. The reader is excellent.
A charming story--witty and insightful. Beautifully read as well. This novel is a perfect introduction to Trollop's works and to the world of Barchester.
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