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The Greatest Controversies of Early Christian History | [The Great Courses, Bart D. Ehrman]

The Greatest Controversies of Early Christian History

In this course, an award-winning professor and New York Times best-selling author offers a penetrating investigation of the 24 most pivotal Christian 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 deeply into a key issue in Christianity's early development. Explore intriguing questions in this unique inquiry into the core of Christian tradition.
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Publisher's Summary

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:

  • Did the Jews Kill Jesus?
  • Was Jesus Raised from the Dead?
  • Did the Disciples Write the Gospels?
  • Did Early Christians Accept the Trinity?
  • Is the Book of Revelation about Our Future?
  • Who Chose the Books of the New Testament?
You'll delve into the conception of the meshiach (messiah) in Jewish tradition, and the basis for the core Christian claim that a suffering messiah was predicted in the Jewish scriptures. In grasping Paul's role in the early faith, you contemplate the key differences between the teachings of Jesus himself and the Christian view of his death and resurrection. And you trace the ambiguous role in early Christianity of the Jewish scriptures, and how these books came to be accepted as the Christian Old Testament. Explore these and other intriguing questions in this unique inquiry into the core of Christian tradition.

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.

©2013 The Great Courses (P)2013 The Teaching Company, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (100 )
5 star
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4.4 (87 )
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4.5 (88 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ahmedinejad Bloomington, MN, United States 12-20-13
    Ahmedinejad Bloomington, MN, United States 12-20-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Essential early Christian history"

    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.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    malin 01-03-15
    malin 01-03-15
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    "Sure interesting but long"
    Any additional comments?

    What I enjoyed a lot was how he pointed out a lot of "facts" that didn't turned out to be facts at all, without disrespecting those who believe.
    I truly believe he is not out to prove the bible wrong, but to straighten facts out.
    I found it vey interesting, but a bit too long ( happens to me with most courses, so that might just be me....)

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saud 07-31-14
    Saud 07-31-14

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating journey through Early Christianity"

    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.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew D. Miller Westampton, NJ 08-28-14
    Matthew D. Miller Westampton, NJ 08-28-14 Member Since 2015

    eclectic observer

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    "A Lackluster Survey"
    What disappointed you about The Greatest Controversies of Early Christian History?

    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.


    What could The Great Courses have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    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.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    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.


    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 04-22-15
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 04-22-15

    Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "And the Controversies Go On!"

    The Great Courses offers several lecture series by Bart Ehrman and I have enjoyed each one I've encountered. He has great command of the subjects of early Christianity, and his approach is clear and understandable.

    Ehrman begins the course with an explanation of his purpose. Not a religious interpretation, this is an attempt to explore the historical realities and the context in which early Christians lived, told their stories, and advanced their faith.

    So the controversies include not only the questions Ehrman confronts about the historical probabilities of the Christian Bible and beliefs, but also about how listeners will react to the approach itself. As a scholar, the Professor challenges areas which most of us have encountered only in a religious context. If the listener's mind is not open to different ways of looking at Christianity, he/she will most likely not appreciate this course.

    Anyone willing to listen will learn a lot.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Orlando, FL, United States 06-03-15
    Eric Orlando, FL, United States 06-03-15 Member Since 2004
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    "Interesting subject, well presented."

    The New Testament has always fascinated me and I have always appreciated Bart Ehrman's insights.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gnadenthal 03-21-15
    Gnadenthal 03-21-15
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    "In depth knowledge and excellent narrative"

    The presenter is very knowledgable in this area. He is clear when speaking from a position of most scholars in the area versus his own learned position on s subject. I wish I had written material to study that would go along with this course.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    x 10-31-14
    x 10-31-14

    a22223344

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "New Title Suggestion: Deconstruction of Christian"
    What would have made The Greatest Controversies of Early Christian History better?

    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.


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

    no


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

    nothing


    What character would you cut from The Greatest Controversies of Early Christian History?

    The Author.


    4 of 22 people found this review helpful
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  • Karl
    Gloucester, United Kingdom
    12/31/14
    Overall
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    "Thank one of the gods for Bart Ehrman"
    What made the experience of listening to The Greatest Controversies of Early Christian History the most enjoyable?

    For me, Bart Ehrman makes very deep subjects easy to understand and this set of lectures is very well broken down so the various topics are easy to access and replay as required.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It's not a story as such. As an atheist myself I liked the wealth of knowledge obtained from this to discuss with my Christian friends.


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

    I've several books by him...they're always wonderfully narrated and clear to understand. This is certainly one of my favourites.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A film to hopefully make Christians actually read their books and think


    Any additional comments?

    If you are religious or an atheist like me, I recommend everything by Bart Ehrman.This is maybe not the best starter though.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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