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
I would highly recommend to those interested in both biblical history, and history of the bible. If you enjoyed Misquoting Jesus and Beyond Belief this will serve you well. It is not as in depth as I had hoped but he states that is not the intent. I would love to see other religious topics reviewed with the same historical view. I cannot but think that he was stung by criticism related to Misquoting Jesus as he repetitively (and to my ear a little annoyingly) explains that what is being presented is common, widely accepted, knowledge among scholars.
The Jason Culp narration is excellent except that his voice and tone lends an officious air when the wide acceptance among scholars contention returns.
Listening to this book made me wish that I had the opportunity to sit in Bart's lecture hall as a student listening to him first hand. I highly recommend this title to anyone with any interest in historical and critical approach to biblical scholarship.
I love a good book
As I discovered more about this author, I realized he has an agenda. He is a former devout Christian who lost his faith after attending a very liberal seminary. He appears to have an agenda that being Christian is based on inaccurate or incomplete historical knowledge. He sets himself up as a self styled expert who is much more knowlegeable than people of faith. It is very professorial in tone. I think the author has a destructive agenda and is clearly anti Christian and pro liberal. I quit listening to it before I could get half way through.
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.
I really enjoyed this book. After reading Misquating Jesus I found that this book was much more informative and coverd more area.
I got a lot out of this. Well thought out, well written and well narrated. There is a lot in this that I never knew. I am already listening to it again.
This book carefully, if somewhat redundantly, goes over the many contradictions and misstatements in the popular version of the Christian Bible. The author's point could have been made more concisely, but after an array of interesting presentations were put forward, Ehrman repeatedly exercised an apparent need to apologize and explain in response to the many attacks he's received from conservatives who find truth offensive. In the end, this undermines his arguments and the inevitable result of what he demonstrates, i.e., the Bible is both full of fiction as well as contaminated by politics and doctrines that cannot yield to fact. I was disappointed the author seemed reluctant to continue to the obvious conclusions.
Supremely interesting and accessible look at the New Testament unlike anything you learned in Sunday school! Until you study this book, you will probably be sadly ignorant about the NT... the conflicting stories, the question of who wrote what when, the difference between the life Jesus taught and the religion created about Jesus. Whether you are a part time Christian, or hard core Evangelical, you may never hear a more interesting story! Highly recommended!
Scott J-R Productions
It's a Mans journey in finding truthfull things about Christ. It was fun to listen.
no. Just think.
The printed version would be better if you wanted to use it as a reference to fact check along with the Bible. Although I guess one could write down times instead of dog earing a page or highlighting.
Jesus. It seems as history has built up a
His voice was easy on the ears.
When Prof. Ehrman added a much needed alternative to C.S. Lewis'
This book is solid and full of easy to digest information. Beware of people who simply disregard this information with statements that link the author to the devil. Bart Ehrman presents facts and evidence that many believers have trouble addressing.
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