Without the presence of Christianity, our world would be considerably different. Whether we view it in religious, social, or political terms, Christianity has deeply and integrally influenced the Western worldview and way of life. Yet, throughout Christian history, compelling controversies have existed surrounding the faith's first three centuries, when it grew from a persecuted sect into a powerful religion. These controversies bring into question many commonly accepted beliefs about Christianity.
In this course, an award-winning professor and New York Times best-selling author offers a penetrating investigation of the 24 most pivotal controversies, shedding light on fallacies that obscure an accurate view of the religion and how it evolved into what it is today. In each lecture, you'll delve into a key issue in Christianity's early development:
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
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Ehrman is an erudite scholar of Biblical history, especially as it pertains to early Christian history. This course was so interesting and informative that when I finished it, I started it again. If you are interested in the topics in the above description, listen to this course.
Note: This is not a devotional course. It covers the topics from the perspective of a historian, not from a theologian.
Read this at the risk of weakening of your faith. If you are already godless, no worries. This book will not risk a relationship with God.
Ehrman begins by presenting clear contradictions in the Bible and assessing them in terms of what possible truths might lay behind such inconsistencies. His lecture unfortunately degrades from this sort of analysis of the fractures within biblical canon into a survey and consideration of post-biblical Christian legends and what amounts to fan-fiction. He is overtly selective about what material he presents and analyzes in his treatment of each topic so as to present only the material that supports his presupposed conclusions. His lecture comes across as partisan and dishonest--more fitting to be read from a pulpit rather than a classroom.
The course had the potential to be something interesting and worthwhile if it had avoided the assumptions and biases of faith in favor of evidence-based historical analysis focused around fact rather than opinion.
Attempts were made to acknowledge when opinions were being presented early in the series, but as the series progressed opinions were presented with increased frequency, and their acknowledgement as such became weaker and weaker. The overall tone was one of a sermon, often repeating ideas being presented as key points multiple times almost as if to convince the listener by means of insistence rather than reason.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
This series of lectures explores some of the biggest controversies of early Christianity, ranging from the serious questions (do we still have the original New Testament?) to the borderline crazy (did Jesus have a twin brother?)
If you take it with a grain of salt, it's an interesting journey through some of the most hotly debated issues of the faith.
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