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How Jesus Became God | [The Great Courses, Bart D. Ehrman]

How Jesus Became God

This fundamental historical question and its complex answer speak penetratingly to the spiritual impulses, concerns, and beliefs that have played a seminal role in our world, even as they reveal the foundation of history’s most global religious movement, and fresh insights into the Western world's single most influential human being. Tackling all of these matters and more, Great Courses favorite Professor Ehrman returns with the unprecedented historical inquiry of How Jesus Became God.
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Publisher's Summary

The early Christian claim that Jesus of Nazareth was God completely changed the course of Western civilization. What exactly happened, such that Jesus came to be considered God?

To ask this question is to delve into a fascinating, multilayered historical puzzle - one that offers a richly illuminating look into the origins of the Western worldview and the theological underpinnings of our civilization. This fundamental historical question and its complex answer speak penetratingly to the spiritual impulses, concerns, and beliefs that have played a seminal role in our world, even as they reveal the foundation of history’s most global religious movement, and fresh insights into the Western world's single most influential human being.

Tackling all of these matters and more, Great Courses favorite Professor Ehrman returns with the unprecedented historical inquiry of How Jesus Became God. In 24 provocative lectures, Professor Ehrman takes you deep into the process by which the divinity of Jesus was first conceived by his followers, demonstrating how this conception was refined over time to become the core of the Christian theology. A distinguished scholar of Christianity and New York Times best-selling author, Professor Ehrman develops the inquiry with meticulous research and in-depth analysis of texts. In these lectures, Ehrman reveals that the theological understanding of Jesus as God came about through a complex series of factors and events, each of which must be understood in order to grasp this most extraordinary and historically pivotal story.

In the enthralling inquiry of How Jesus Became God Professor Ehrman lays bare the diverse elements that combined to produce both an astonishing true-life story and one of history’s most significant developments. Join a renowned biblical scholar in grappling with this pivot.

©2014 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2014 The Great Courses

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Richard Riverside, CA, United States 12-16-14
    Richard Riverside, CA, United States 12-16-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Fine scholarship but an off-putting delivery"
    Would you consider the audio edition of How Jesus Became God to be better than the print version?

    No. The text version would be an intriguing read, but the author's delivery is screechy and preachy.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of How Jesus Became God?

    The author's establishment of the concept that few if any 1st-century Jews could have easily accepted the ignominious death of anybody claiming to be the Messiah. This (if true, and he makes a good case) makes it more clear why it took a couple of generations of effort by the resurrectionist Christians to begin to convince potential believers that Jesus' resurrection was perhaps a more valid parameter of God-hood than any other. It also helps the reader to understand why at least some early Christians felt that they had to look outside the ranks of Jews to build the population of believers -- thereby contributing to the development of a more universalist canon of beliefs, and in all likelihood to the later permeation of the church into many diverse cultures. .


    What didn’t you like about Professor Bart D. Ehrman’s performance?

    His voice is high-pitched and squeaky, his delivery is loud and often over-the-top in tone. He sounds like a backwoods fundamentalist preacher even though what he is saying is basically sound and sober scholarship.This book (and his others on Audible) would be far more influential if it had been delivered by a professional narrator.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not at all.I couldn't stand to listen to the author's voice for more than a chapter at a time.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is very educational and the ideas seem better-based, more grounded in historical evidence, and more seriously reasoned through than other current books about the nature of Jesus' ministry and the establishment of Christianity in the 1st-4th centuries. However it is hard to listen to, and that is sad.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Bono 12-17-14
    A. Bono 12-17-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Learned a Lot About Origins of Christianity"
    Would you listen to How Jesus Became God again? Why?

    Yes. There is so much great information in this book that I am definitely going to have to listen to it 2 or 3 times to really absorb what was taught. But I had great retention of the material so it was definitely lots of information given out at a good pace.


    Any additional comments?

    Coming from a Catholic background, I had been indoctrinated to the beliefs with no real knowledge of the bible or its origins. In general Catholics do not try to understand their own religion, they just do what they are told and the church generally likes it that way - no annoying "why?" questions to answer from their congregation. This is what really turned me off to my religious upbringing.

    This lecture series helped me really understand the New Testamate and where it came from. The author is very careful to separate out what we know from what we believe to be true and why. He does a great job explaining the origins of many of the books of the New Testamate as well. And you get a really good feel for the people and their thinking during the first four centuries after Jesus's death.

    I did get a little of a sense for the lecturer's opinion of what he believes to be true but it was so faint that I am not entirely sure. He worked hard to keep his beliefs out of the discussion and just lay out the facts of what religious scholars know, what they THINK they know and why they see it that way.

    I will definitely be looking for more lectures by this author. I am finally getting a grasp on the religion I was brought up with and gaining a deeper understanding of the roots of a religion that drives a very large portion of thought in today's world.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana Leeds, MA, USA 10-12-14
    Diana Leeds, MA, USA 10-12-14 Member Since 2015
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    "History Not Theology"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    2000 years is a long time. What do we really know about Jesus? And how did what we think we know come to be constructed? Ehrman makes the case that Jesus' resurrection is possibly the most significant historical event of modern times. What really happened? If you wonder, if you like having new facts and opinions about things you have always taken for granted, then this course is for you.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Bart D. Ehrman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I've read or listened to a couple of Professor Ehrman's books and courses on early Christianity, so worried that this would be too repetitious, but there was plenty of new ideas and facts to keep me amazed.


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. S. 01-04-15
    C. S. 01-04-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Good Storyteller..."

    This is a well written and well researched book. I disagree with the conclusion that Jesus is not God's son and thus part of the Holy Trinity though. I do enjoy hearing other people's ideas so that part was enjoyable. This teacher is a good storyteller as well. My only complaint about the book is that the author seems to use some circular logic - for example early on he goes to some trouble to show that we must accept the gospels as a reliable historical sources then later he goes to some trouble to show why the gospel writers are not reliable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Damian Tauranga, New Zealand 12-20-14
    Damian Tauranga, New Zealand 12-20-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Good, but a bit repetitive"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend the author, but probably not this particular book if my friend had read or heard any of Ehrman's previous books/lectures. Unfortunately, there isn't all that much that is new in this lecture series that he hasn't already said in his previous work. For new Ehrman listeners it is good, though not his best work.


    What other book might you compare How Jesus Became God to and why?

    Any of Ehrmans other works. His Historical Jesus work is very good, as is Misquoting Jesus and Jesus Interrupted. If you are interested in early Christian history then I think his "From Jesus to Constantine" is a good bet.


    What does Professor Bart D. Ehrman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Well you can feel his passion and enthusiasm coming through. I think he would be a very good lecturer in person, though he is not a brilliant orator.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ahmedinejad Bloomington, MN, United States 10-29-14
    Ahmedinejad Bloomington, MN, United States 10-29-14 Member Since 2014
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    "An excellent course."

    This course addresses the topic that the professor's book covers extensively:

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20149192-how-jesus-became-god?from_search=true

    Either the book or the course will serve you well in learning how Jesus of Nazareth came to be known as God himself. The course is narrated by professor Ehrman who is a proficient orator. Either medium is highly recommended.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Philip Hoffer Conifer, CO USA 12-15-14
    Philip Hoffer Conifer, CO USA 12-15-14 Member Since 2006
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    "Factual Inaccuracies"
    What disappointed you about How Jesus Became God?

    As part of "The Great Courses" series I expected a high quality of academic accuracy. However, there were several unsupported assertions made by Professor Ehrman. Then compounding the errors, deductive rational was drawn from the unsupported assertions. Poor excuse for academic work - absolutely not a "Great Course"


    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob Watson Sapulpa, OK 09-07-14
    Bob Watson Sapulpa, OK 09-07-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Vey informative"
    Where does How Jesus Became God rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's the best lecture I have heard.


    What other book might you compare How Jesus Became God to and why?

    There is no comparison.


    What about Professor Bart D. Ehrman’s performance did you like?

    He was very objective and unbiased.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No, it was a lecture.


    Any additional comments?

    This is an excellent lecture from a historical perspective on how Christianity developed, and evolved. This is not a fundamental view, but a historical view.

    8 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H. G. Bedell 11-29-14

    HGBooks

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    "not a course but a rant"
    What would have made How Jesus Became God better?

    I returned the book after the first 2 lectures because the information was not well organized or presented. He sounded like he was preaching, not explaining. I have several audio books of his which are very good and thought provoking, but this course was terrible


    Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses and Bart D. Ehrman again?

    No. His material was not presented in an orderly manner


    What didn’t you like about Professor Bart D. Ehrman’s performance?

    He sounded like he was ranting and it was hard to follow the point he was trying to make.


    Any additional comments?

    a big disappointment because I like his books.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Happy in the Rockies 04-12-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Thought provoking. Fascinating."
    Would you listen to How Jesus Became God again? Why?

    Absolutely. I ordered the supplemental book from The Great Courses to continue an indepth study of this subject. Based on history and several books from the New Testament, it puts early Christianity in a new intellectual light. I plan to listen to the course several times in the coming year.


    What other book might you compare How Jesus Became God to and why?

    This is difficult to compare to other books. The content of the course is remarkable.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    In-depth discussion of the various books of the New Testament, the disciples and the traditions and laws prevailing during the time of Christ. This course is well-documented and definitely has affected my perspective of Christianity and what I have learned from churches, classes, books and articles over the years.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. I listened to it over two days of a long road trip but now will retake the course doing only one chapter at a time. With the supplemental materials I have ordered and with a copy of the New Testament, I will spend quality time absorbing the material.


    Any additional comments?

    This course has my highest recommendation for content. Plan to spend quality time which will provoke deep thought and trigger many questions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 27 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • Jonathan
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    3/29/15
    Overall
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    "Another fantastic Ehrman course"

    This is my third of the Great Courses given by Professor Ehrman and it continues at the same level -- absolutely first rate. Both the lecturing style and the material made me want to keep listening. This course covers both the period around Jesus' life and subsequent developments in Christianity over the next few centuries. A detailed summary of the content, including titles of each lecture, can be found on the Great Courses web site. For me it provided a highly revealing account of this key period in Christian history and I highly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • swheelie
    UK
    3/2/15
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    "Excellent exposition of Christian doctrine"

    Really enjoyed this. Essential companion for anyone reading the New Testament who wants to know how it came to be.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Md Lachlan
    London UK
    1/27/15
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    "Eye opening stuff"
    What did you like most about How Jesus Became God?

    Clear, very authoritative with a powerful message. His personal journey from ultra conservative fundamentalist to agnostic is very interesting too.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of How Jesus Became God?

    How many animals is Jesus riding when he enters Jerusalem?


    Have you listened to any of Professor Bart D. Ehrman’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but very long.


    Any additional comments?

    He has a slightly hectoring style, which give away his Texas preacher roots. It's fine and engaging for a while but after a couple of hours you feel like a break. There's only so much zeal and gusto one can take! Nevertheless, an engaging speaker who clearly knows his subject inside out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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