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Publisher's Summary

In this highly accessible discussion, Bart Ehrman examines the most recent textual and archaeological sources for the life of Jesus, along with the history of first-century Palestine, drawing a fascinating portrait of the man and his teachings.

Ehrman shows us what historians have long known about the Gospels and the man who stands behind them. Through a careful evaluation of the New Testament (and other surviving sources, including the more recently discovered Gospels of Thomas and Peter), Ehrman proposes that Jesus can be best understood as an apocalyptic prophet - a man convinced that the world would end dramatically within the lifetime of his apostles and that a new kingdom would be created on Earth.

According to Ehrman, Jesus's belief in a coming apocalypse and his expectation of an utter reversal in the world's social organization not only underscores the radicalism of his teachings but also sheds light on both the appeal of his message to society's outcasts and the threat he posed to Jerusalem's established leadership.

©1999 Oxford University Press, Inc. (P)2019 Tantor

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I must read for those whose wanting to expand their insight from a single perspective (devotional) to include historical

Another fantastic and illuminating read from the incomparable Dr. Bart Ehrman! First a warning! To all who the diehard - slightest of true-believers, including, those who consider themselves “open-minded.” (Actually, it’s those who are truly “actively” open-minded would purchase this book to begin with.... nonetheless.) This book may cause a large amount of “cognitive dissonance.” Regardless of the undeniable, messy and inconvenient historical evidence. Ehrman argues against the billion+ individuals who live inside the Christian paradigm— notwithstanding, as he states in another book, the very foundation of the entire “western culture.” So understand your personality type when diving into the real world and scholars like Bart Ehrman. And remember the intensity of the discomfort is relative to the individual. People who are flexible enough to adjust their thoughts or live with “gray areas” may not have a strong response when they notice the discrepancies. While others may experience it more intensely or frequently if they have a high need for consistency in their lives. (I see those as a broad brush stoke, when lumping people into groups, besides the “high demand conservative religions” it’s goes for the Trump supporters as well, it’s the same personality, again in general! We need to stop the desire to erratic the notion that everything has to be couched in “PC.” Geezzzz-us!) Also remember why this kind of argument is so hard. 2,000+ years and over 1 billion believers, even the US official holiday is “Christmas.” (Separation of????) It’s is a long time for anything to solidify as fact vs tradition... so one has to break free from the learned misconceptions of revisionist history and then then to break free from the cultural milieu. For some it’s just too encompassing of a task. Just the mention of two, social & psychological; might take a life time, if ever to recover. Especially for those, who live in the “South” or “Utah.,” taking just 2 as an example. Those environments have a real cost breaking free from the “undo influence” of the unspoken yet, demanding cultural expectations place upon individuals. Having said that... and giving away no spoilers (well I did allude to the biggest one, oops). From the words of the ever so wise and cleaver Bart SIMPON, I publicly would like to, “... JESUS, ALLAH, BUDDHA, I LOVE YOU ALL!” and I THANK YOU ALL, and the Cosmos for BART D. EHRMAN!! PS: join his blog... it cost next to nothing, 100% proceeds go directly to a handful of charities AND he writes 4-5 1,000 posts A WEEK! Plus, one can actually ask him questions! It’s a win-win, as Dr. Ehrman says!

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Another good book by Bart Ehrman

I really enjoy the history aspect of the book and how it is analyzed. It continues the theme of the other books.

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Excellent book

This is indeed a great book. It is everything a reader/listener would want in a work of nonfiction: the author clearly states his points, the author clearly states how these points are known to be true, and the author knows his topic. And in this case, the topic is of great importance: what is known about the historical Jesus. It turns out, according to Ehrman (assuming that Jesus did exist, and that we know some of the things he said and something about his worldview), Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet. Albert Schweitzer, and many other scholars, came to similar conclusions. The book has enormous implications for the understanding of cultures which are or were Christian. For example, many of the Christian values taught over the past two thousand years as applicable to ongoing human social organization began as recommendations for getting into God’s good graces in time for the soon-to-come apocalypse, when human social organization would no longer exist in any recognizable form.

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His best

A good book for anyone curious about the history of the historical Jesus. I highly recommend !

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Ehrman distills the St. Nicholas from our culture’s Santa Claus

Paradigm shifting, though entirely consistent with biblical text, Ehrman patiently guides us through what the New Testament actually says about Jesus. His textual analysis approach to understanding scripture should be foundational in Sunday Schools.

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  • Jim
  • 10-08-20

hard to get past the poor narration

the weird pronunciation of Jesus (cheeSUS) gets very grating after a few chapters. this is my third Bart Ehrman book. Jesus interrupted and the gospel of Judas, this one isn't on their level. there a lot more speculation here, while it's interesting, is not satisfying. I think I'd rather have a survey of the evidence.