These are not idiosyncratic perspectives of just one modern scholar. As Ehrman skillfully demonstrates, they have been the standard and widespread views of critical scholars across a full spectrum of denominations and traditions. Why is it most people have never heard such things?
This is the book that pastors, educators, and anyone interested in the Bible have been waiting for, a clear and compelling account of the central challenges we face when attempting to reconstruct the life and message of Jesus.
©2009 Bart D. Ehrman; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
Things I liked:
• provides a quick overview of some scholarly criticisms
• polite towards believers in God
• overall interesting perspective
Things I disliked:
• rambles toward the end (I feel like the book could've been shorter)
• writes in absolutes as if all biblical scholars accept certain things as facts, which is simply not true (I'm a biblical studies grad and view Ehrman's work as an interpretation/commentary)
• seems to contradict himself occasionally throughout the book
I'll keep this short. For anyone trying to find a somewhat objective view of Christianity, Ehrman is the source. Professor Ehrman, please narrate your own books! Your passion comes through and makes your books better listens.
The first half of this book would be of no interest to anyone except the bible-thumping, evangelical Christians. Progressive Protestant sects and Catholics have accepted for decades the "revelations" that Ehrman discloses. The actual authors of the New Testament is discussed at length in the two most important Catholic bibles. The fact that there are discrepencies in the telling of the same stories in the different Gospels as, for instance, the time in Jesus' ministry that an event occurred, are also obvious to most Christians and are of little significance.
In the second half Ehrman gets down to more meaty matters. Was Jesus God? Did he ever represent himself as God? Did Jesus mean to start a new religion?
I'm undecided on these questions but, not being a Biblical scholar, I have no way of judging the value of Ehrman's arguments. Ehrman, as someone who has left Christianity, cannot possibly be objective. What is needed is an objective presentation of both sides. Ehrman states that many of his friends who agreed with most of Ehrman's interpretation of the New Testament nevertheless remained Christians. A published debate with one of those friends would be of great interest.
yes, because it makes you think on many levels about many things.
the story within the story
the last chapter was very revealing
no, it took me awhile. much to think about.
Though I’m a Christian i like this book very much. Such historical truths cause me to see God as bigger not smaller, and always make me ask, what is God doing? One of the discrepancies in the Bible that seems to disturb people most is the death of Judas. It is a story of betrayal. It is a story of what happens to one who betrays God, and like most of the Bible it is shrouded in layers of complexity and metaphor. And like most of the Bible the story of Judas is meant to speak to us as individuals, much like a dream; its language is full of archetypes at work in the subconscious of every man. Yet a psychotherapist, because he has studied Jung, would be foolish to think he knows exactly what a dream means to an individual without knowing anything about the individual's background or history. It's the same with the Bible. And the only psychotherapist who can tell us anything helpful is the Spirit of God, without whom the Bible is just an interesting artefact. Whatever else we wish He might do, this is done one human heart at a time.
Imagine you really were the God who created life on planet earth through evolution. What kind of book would you write? It has to last for thousands of years, it has to speak to everyone, and it has to be full of wisdom, warning and compassion. Would you lock yourself into one narrative, find a few heads, empty them out completely of their own ability to narrate and judge, fill them with this narrative and have them write it down verbatim? Not the God I know.
The Bible promises that many will have eyes and see without seeing, have ears and hear without hearing. I only ask for eyes and ears to see and hear. The God so many say isn't there certainly has His own way of answering.
My praise for Bart D. Ehrman goes far beyond acknowledging his scholarship, he has done me an immense favor. Although baptized as a child, I am not a Christian and have always been made to feel that it was my fault. After listening to Jesus, Interrupted; I now understand why I am not a Christian and why I do not believe. The difference is that I can now articulate, with some degree of authority, just why I disbelieve. The coup de grace for me came when Bart asked the rhetorical question: Just how does one decide to believe one miracle and not another. Knowledge is a wonderful thing, especially if it inoculates a person from the mind-virus that is religion.
Hard Headed Stephen
Misquoting Jesus was one of my recomended downloads, but a reviewer suggested trying Jesus Interrupted first, so I did. I liked it so much and was so intrigued, I bought the book and downloaded his other works. Having grown up Protestant and Catholic, this really amazed me, more so when I opened the Bible to verify...WOW! I enjoyed his presentation of the material thoroughly and found it very hard to put down. I did not find it overly technical nor dry but quite fascinating. I agree whole heartedly that one should approach this open minded, considering what is said and what is written and referred to in the Bible. Man touched the Bible, therefore there will be mistakes. Professor shares his research yet suggests nothing but your deepest consideration of the facts. I have suggested it to my wife and children and many friends, I do to you as well!
The author goes into the heart of Christianity and analyzes Jesus. Are the sayings from the Bible really from Jesus? Did he really teach the Sermon on the Mount? Which version of the Crucifiction is the most accurate? Dr. Ehrman shows us what the evidence supports. A good read for someone interested in Biblical history.
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
I have been reluctant to listen to this book from prof. Bart D. Ehrman for one reason, he claims that those who are pastors will not find anything new in this book. They would have been taught at seminary, most of the content of this book.
Ehrman's statement is only a half-truth. A lot of the issues I know, but what I didn't know is his own approach to the historical critical method of the Bible. You will get to know more about how Ehrman sees the world in this book, than just the things that pastors learned and haven't told their congregations.
As Ehrman concludes that the Bible cannot be the Word of God because of all its errors, in South Africa the view in theological faculties are that it is God's Word in Human Language. It is a midway from the Bible being the inerrant Word of God and the reality of the discrepancies in the Bible.
Ehrman is not scared to follow a train of argument through to the end of its consequences. This is probably on of the best popular books on the historical critical method of investigating the Bible. At the same time it is also a chapter by chapter "summary" of other books he has written.
I've recognised "Misquoting Jesus," "Forged," "Lost Christianities" as well as a little bit of "Did Jesus Exist?" his latest book. I you want to know what it is all about for Bart, then this is probably a good book to read.
I must say that I appreciated the tone of the book. He doesn't seem to want to convert Christians to atheism. Yet, I can see how having a few years of theology condensed into one book, can shake a person's faith. It challenges a lot of traditional beliefs.
Bart D. Ehrman does for the Biblical Sciences what Richard Dawkins did for the Natural Sciences. He takes a difficult topic and put it in a congestible format. Not only is the historical-criticism of the Bible a difficult subject, it also has tremendous consequences for Theology and in the end for Christians.
This book might challenge your belief-system to the core. Yet it is important information given in a digestible format. I personally think that it is sad that Ehrman doesn't believe. While he de-constructs the basics of the Christian faith, his reconstruction feels very empty.
The book is recommended, for anyone interested in the historical-critical approach of the Bible. It might not be everybody's cup of tea but it is an important perspective on the New Testament and needs to be heard.
This is one of the best discussions of New Testament scholarship I've ever read (or listened to). Ehrman writes clearly and engagingly on a wide variety of topics: internal inconsistencies in the Bible, conclusions about the historical Jesus, early (non-orthodox) versions of Christianity, and much more. I've read several of his books, and I think this is a good one to start with; to some extent it works as a summary of some of his other work. Ehrman's scholarship is first rate, and his presentation is accessible and absorbing. Jason Culp does an outstanding job narrating the discussion
Of the four books, I have read by Professor Ehrman this is definitely the best. If you have any interest in knowing the truth about the Bible you will enjoy this book. If you want to keep your head buried in the sand, you would be better off not reading this offering. Those that have an open mind will find this book worth their time and money.
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