Whether taken as a book of faith or a cultural artifact, the New Testament is among the most significant writings the world has ever known, its web of meaning relied upon by virtually every major writer in the last 2,000 years. Yet the New Testament is not only one of Western civilization’s most believed books, but also one of its most widely disputed, often maligned, and least clearly understood, with a vast number of people unaware of how it was written and transmitted.
But now a distinguished religious scholar is available to help you gain a carefully reasoned understanding of not only the New Testament itself, but of the individuals and communities who created its texts.
Drawing on modern biblical scholarship, recent archaeological discoveries, and careful literary analysis - and approaching his subject purely as a historian, with belief or disbelief suspended - Professor Ehrman has crafted a series of 24 fascinating lectures that trace the history of the New Testament and the early Christian faith community. He discusses not only the 27 books included in the New Testament, but also many of the significant texts that were excluded as he addresses key historical questions around the issues of authorship, circumstance, audience, content, meaning, and historical accuracy.
"Our ultimate goal," he notes, "is to come to a fuller appreciation and understanding of these books that have made such an enormous impact on the history of Western civilization and that continue to play such an important role for people today."
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
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A fantastic course on New testament history conducted by Bart Ehrman. This work addresses such questions as:
Who wrote the Gospels?
When were the Gospels written?
In what order were the Gospels written?
What discrepancies are in the Gospels and why?
Who the wrote the Pauline epistles?
How can we tell who wrote these books?
Ehrman is erudite and well-regarded among Biblical scholars. This work does not disappoint and I highly recommend this and other Great Courses by Bart Ehrman.
Note: This work is from a historical-critical perspective, not a devotional perspective. It is academia, not religion.
The narrator does a fantastic job of addressing a controversial subject with care. Keep in mind that this is a historical discussion of the New Testament, not a theological discussion.
The information was great but most of the lecture was spent looking at discrepancies in what we consider the New Testament today. A better title would be "Finding the Original New Testament" or "Inconsistencies in the New Testament". All in all, it was really interesting, just not what I thought it would be.
Student of philosophy & religion. Christian theist. Graphic designer. Musician. Golfer. Writer.
MAIN POINT: This is a great place to start learning about the New Testament. It's also great for those who have only learned about the collection from a theological perspective.
Ehrman does an excellent job introducing listeners to the complicated contextual world that is The New Testament. He surveys almost every book/letter, trying to take each on its own and understand it on its own. He, again, spends time harping on particular issues like the transmission of the text, pseudepigraphical letters and books, theological and historical discrepancies within the canon, et cetera.
Ehrman covers the right issues. Unfortunately, as he does come from a fundamentalist Christian theological background prior to his deconversion, it feels as if he structures and performs his historical narrative with a bent on making something (sometimes to the point of annoyance) clear: fundamentalist doctrines of inerrancy are untenable. While I sympathize with his theological conclusion based on the historical data, I'm not a fan of it implicitly creeping into his historical exposition of the New Testament. Let the listener draw that conclusion for themselves if the evidence compels them to do so.
Besides that complaint, it's a great start for anybody curious about The New Testament. Don't stop here though and think you "get" the New Testament. Go further. Listen to other historical points of view. Explore Ehrman's philosophical assumptions when dealing with these documents.
There is so much to learn! Go get it!
Bart Ehrman's lectures are simply wonderful. Throughout his talks, he is clear and precise. Plenty of specific examples and verses are given. In all, the whole presentation was very eye-opening to me, a former member of the Jehovah's Witnesses. To be given such a clear and direct historical overview of the New Testament is incredibly refreshing.
Cool listen, I identify as an atheist and found the subject matter rather intriguing. I spend way too much time learning about things I don't believe in and this was a really good way to do it. Factual, interesting and I would say a rather unbiased narrative on historical Jesus and the new testament.
Christian or atheist, this is eye opening. For Christians this can affirm their belief and fuel their quest for the true teachings of Jesus. For non believers, it is edifying to see how this critical text evolved and took on its current meaning. I can't recommend this highly enough.
the only negative is that the lecturer seems repetitive at times. of course this is because it is a live lecture, where the listener can't skip back 30 seconds if she missed something, so the lecturer gets a pass on this.
This lecturer gave me great context on this powerful book that is a pillar of western civilization.
I love the lectures in this series. So far, I have listened to both The New Testament course, and the Historical Jesus course lectures. While they are a bit similar, it's still awesome stuff.
A lecture course about the New Testament may sound a bit dry, but in the hands of Professor Ehrman it is the audiobook equivalent of a page-turner. This course is history not theology and would work equally well for Christians and non-Christians. The lectures progress through the New Testament discussing the historical basis and relevance of the material; for more detail on the content I recommend looking at the Great Courses website which has a list of lecture titles. My interest in the bible is as a cultural and historical source, and I found the insights provided by these lectures absolutely fascinating. I cannot recommend this course highly enough. One final point -- there is another Great Courses lecture series called "Great Figures of the New Testament" which has a slightly different focus but if you are deciding between the two I strongly recommend Professor Ehrman's course.
"It's an atheists view"
Christians Beware: this course is given by an atheist looking to dismiss the Christian message.Professor Ehrman's atheism may distress some Christian readers but he is a respected scholar and for those with a strong faith there is some content the robust believer will find helpful. One wonders who else might be interested, in fact. Why would an agnostic or atheist waste their time on such an in-depth study of the New Testament?
Ehrman presents his own arguments clearly but does not really consider many of the alternatives to his viewpoint. He implies that Christianity chooses to overlook many of his challenges whereas they have been tackled often over the centuries. For example, Pope Benedict XVI's books 'Jesus of Nazareth' deal with the inconsistencies in the resurrection narratives. Differing accounts from various reporters are hardly proof of falsehood and who would expect the evangelists to be neutral in their portrayal of events when objectivity eludes most historians! For all but the most ardent of biblical fundamentalists this is hardly an impediment to faith.
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