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This new edition of Bart Ehrman's highly successful introduction approaches the New Testament from a consistently historical and comparative perspective, emphasizing the rich diversity of the earliest Christian literature. Rather than shying away from the critical problems presented by these books, Ehrman addresses the historical and literary challenges they pose and shows This new edition of Bart Ehrman's highly successful introduction approaches the New Testament from a consistently historical and comparative perspective, emphasizing the rich diversity of the earliest Christian literature. Rather than shying away from the critical problems presented by these books, Ehrman addresses the historical and literary challenges they pose and shows why scholars continue to argue over such significant issues as how the books of the New Testament came into being, what they mean, how they relate to contemporary Christian and non-Christian literature, and how they came to be collected into a canon of Scripture. Distinctive to this study is its emphasis on the historical, literary, and religious milieu of the Greco-Roman world, including early Judaism. As part of its historical orientation, this text also discusses works by other Christian writers who were roughly contemporary with the New Testament, such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the letters of Ignatius. The volume is enhanced by two color inserts, one on illuminated manuscripts and the other on archaeology. New to this edition: . Additional material on archaeology, including a new eight-page color insert . "What to Expect" and "At a Glance" boxes that provide summaries of the material covered in each chapter . A Website Study Guide at http: //www.oup.com/us/ehrman, offering chapter summaries, glossary terms, guides for reading, and self-quizzes for students. . Several new "Something to Think About" and "Some More Information" boxes . More extensive treatments of Judaism and of the role of women in the history of early Christianity . Nine new illustrations . An Instructor's Manual containing chapter summaries, discussion questions, and possible examination questions Ideal for undergraduate and seminary classes in the New Testament, Biblical Studies, and Christian Origins, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, 3/e, is an accessible, clearly written introduction that encourages students to consider the historical issues surrounding these writings."


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This new edition of Bart Ehrman's highly successful introduction approaches the New Testament from a consistently historical and comparative perspective, emphasizing the rich diversity of the earliest Christian literature. Rather than shying away from the critical problems presented by these books, Ehrman addresses the historical and literary challenges they pose and shows This new edition of Bart Ehrman's highly successful introduction approaches the New Testament from a consistently historical and comparative perspective, emphasizing the rich diversity of the earliest Christian literature. Rather than shying away from the critical problems presented by these books, Ehrman addresses the historical and literary challenges they pose and shows why scholars continue to argue over such significant issues as how the books of the New Testament came into being, what they mean, how they relate to contemporary Christian and non-Christian literature, and how they came to be collected into a canon of Scripture. Distinctive to this study is its emphasis on the historical, literary, and religious milieu of the Greco-Roman world, including early Judaism. As part of its historical orientation, this text also discusses works by other Christian writers who were roughly contemporary with the New Testament, such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the letters of Ignatius. The volume is enhanced by two color inserts, one on illuminated manuscripts and the other on archaeology. New to this edition: . Additional material on archaeology, including a new eight-page color insert . "What to Expect" and "At a Glance" boxes that provide summaries of the material covered in each chapter . A Website Study Guide at http: //www.oup.com/us/ehrman, offering chapter summaries, glossary terms, guides for reading, and self-quizzes for students. . Several new "Something to Think About" and "Some More Information" boxes . More extensive treatments of Judaism and of the role of women in the history of early Christianity . Nine new illustrations . An Instructor's Manual containing chapter summaries, discussion questions, and possible examination questions Ideal for undergraduate and seminary classes in the New Testament, Biblical Studies, and Christian Origins, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, 3/e, is an accessible, clearly written introduction that encourages students to consider the historical issues surrounding these writings."

30 review for The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings

  1. 5 out of 5

    Huyen

    One of my friends once said Christianity was a great idea, unfortunately, Jesus' disciples made it into a religion. I was never sure if I could agree with him. One thing to take away from this book, like other books by Ehrman, is that once you look critically into the historical stuff about Jesus and what he actually said and did, not what others interpreted him to say, things aren't as romantic as moralists or philosophers (not to mention theologians) would like us to think. Unlike what most pe One of my friends once said Christianity was a great idea, unfortunately, Jesus' disciples made it into a religion. I was never sure if I could agree with him. One thing to take away from this book, like other books by Ehrman, is that once you look critically into the historical stuff about Jesus and what he actually said and did, not what others interpreted him to say, things aren't as romantic as moralists or philosophers (not to mention theologians) would like us to think. Unlike what most people would imagine, that Jesus was an asteroid hitting the earth with great moral force, he was more like a pebble thrown into the sea. His influence outside Palestine was nil, very little was known or written about him in the pagan or non-Christian Jewish literature, the best we had was a passing mention of some guy called Christos by the historian Josephus. He was more like a typical village preacher than a great philosopher. Apart from the four Gospels, each with a distinct theological orientation, very few other Christian sources actually described Jesus' life and deeds, often with contradictory and unreliable information. Jesus' preaching had little to do with reforming society or inculcating better morality but much more about what people had to do to enter the imminent Kingdom of God when all current social institutions would be destroyed to be replaced by God's eternal happy paradise. on this topic Ehrman's "Jesus, the first millennium apocalyptic prophet" is a much better read. I think the most interesting thing I learned from this book is the increasing anti-Jewish tendency of early Christianity. Most Jews at that time probably found it ridiculous that some people believed that Jesus could be the messiah. The messiah is supposed to be a fantastically powerful, glorious warrior with aura shining and angels flying above his head not a humiliated, helpless little guy. To recruit more followers, Paul made it very clear that Gentiles could also be salvaged by Jesus' suffering given that they believed in him. Unlike Judaism, which was exempted from persecution by the Roman empire in many aspects, as a weak emerging religious movement without any political clout, early Christianity had to defend itself against subversive charges, and had to create an "enemy" in its process of self-definition. And if you can't tickle the big guy (Rome), the easiest target was Jews who refused to believe in Jesus, and these attacks became increasingly vitriolic and took tragic turns once Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire. Another minor interesting thing is how Ehrman explains the evil number 666 (mine is that it sounds like sex sex sex). He says that in ancient Hebrew, each letter can have a numerical value, and 666 makes Rome, the evil centre of the world at that time, which makes pretty good sense. The book gets a bit tedious at times, but is still an excellent textbook to learn about early Christianity. I love Ehrman as always, his writing is so brilliant and engaging that even a mind-numbingly boring topic like this can be interesting.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    The chosen textbook for many History of the NT classes, and it's easy to see why. The primary strength of the book is its clarity, which is not easy to achieve in this subject area. Ehrman is careful not to stray into theological arguments, but when the historical context makes it impossible to avoid, he describes the conflict without taking sides. The result is a clear presentation of the history that avoids controversy. Of course there are historical disputes in addition to theological ones, b The chosen textbook for many History of the NT classes, and it's easy to see why. The primary strength of the book is its clarity, which is not easy to achieve in this subject area. Ehrman is careful not to stray into theological arguments, but when the historical context makes it impossible to avoid, he describes the conflict without taking sides. The result is a clear presentation of the history that avoids controversy. Of course there are historical disputes in addition to theological ones, but Ehrman has written the book carefully to deflect misplaced theological criticism. Separating out the history from the theology of the NT has been extremely helpful to me in understanding my own religious beliefs. The scope of the book is fairly broad, historically speaking, but the examination is thorough and provides helpful suggestions for further study. Ehrman's text was also a great companion to the HIstory of the NT open course taught by Dale Martin (available for free via Yale Open Courses.) I enjoyed both immensely.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    If you search for Bart Ehrman on Amazon, you'll find not only a prolific author, but one that is the cause of an intense amount of controversey. The comments pages of his book listings overflow with venomous diatribes. Some seminaries consider his name a curse word. And some of that is deserved. Ehrman has devoted much of his work to discrediting or even maligning Christianity, but this book should not be considered part of that body. Rather, this is a fairly old book, written before Ehrman beca If you search for Bart Ehrman on Amazon, you'll find not only a prolific author, but one that is the cause of an intense amount of controversey. The comments pages of his book listings overflow with venomous diatribes. Some seminaries consider his name a curse word. And some of that is deserved. Ehrman has devoted much of his work to discrediting or even maligning Christianity, but this book should not be considered part of that body. Rather, this is a fairly old book, written before Ehrman became the more outspoken, controversial author he is reputed to be currently, and it is a fairly vanilla textbook meant to accompany undergraduate introductory classes. As such, it is limited to braodly discussing widely held beliefs, and avoids invective and too much conjecture. The book aims to analyze the New Testament and many related non-canonical early Christian documents in their historical context, allowing the student to undertstand where these texts came from and how they came to us in the form we are familiar with today. Ehrman arranges the book somewhat topically, starting with a few introductory chapters of general history and textual analysis, and proeceeding to first look at the life of Jesus throught he gospels and other non-canon biographies, then looks closely at Paul's writings. Other epistles are then grouped thematically. This approach gives the book a nice sense of flow and allows the ideas to build on each other. Although the texts are not considered in the order they were written, necessarily, they are arranged (losely) in historical chronological order (i.e. Jesus before Paul, even though Paul's letters were written long before the gospels) which again allows the book to flow smoothly, developing and building on itself. Although the book is not meant to be controversial, and its tone goes out of its way to remain conciliatory, the book does purposefully challenge many ideas that readers may have been given by the modern church, attempting to introduce the views of biblical and historical scholars and textual analysts. Many religious readers might be uncomfortable with the idea that very few of the New Testament books have certainty regarding their authorship. The insinuation that many of Paul's epistles were not in fact written by him, or that the gospels are, in fact, anyonymous, will no doubt cause some serious blowback for some readers. Some people may be offended by the discussions of how certain books came to be included in the canon, and others excluded, or by the discussions of how scribes changed and edited the texts over the centuries, and many hallowed passages may not have been originally included in these works. If there is an overriding theme to the book, it is the idea that these works must be examined in their proper context. The New Testament books are meant to be inspirational religious works. They are designed to convert people to the faith, or to inspire those already converted. They are not meant to be history books or science textbooks. To study them as if they were does them a severe disservice--as well as a disservice to history and science. While they certainly have historical value, not every detail in them is historically accurate. Ehrman shows that this cannot be so by examining how many details of narratives from different canonical works do not line up with each other, in addition to the fact that the writers used sources that were likely modified and chagned over the years, even if they relied on eyewitnesses. He includes many chapters that attempt to discover the historical truth by analyzing the text, showing various methods scholars have used to do so over the years. These historical problems are the nature of these types of documents, and acknowledging this does not at all take away from the importance of these texts. Regardless of his reputation, Ehrman continually makes this point, emphasizing that just because not every single verse of these books literally historically happened--just because authors changed events to suit their theological points--just because speeches and sermons were made up by the authors and are likely completely innaccurate historically--none of this means that these texts are not valuable or important. Rather, they simply must be studied in light of what they are: religious, theological, inspirational documents. Of course the works have extreme historical value as well, but just as historians are critical and careful of the veracity of other ancient sources (Plutarch, Livy, or Suetonius to name a few) so modern readers must be critical when reading the New Testament. While this will certainly ruffle some feathers of those who believe these words are the inspired words of the Almighty, Ehrman--and ultimately all serious historians--must examine these texts as they do any other ancient source: as documents written by specific people in specific situations for specific purposes. This does not necessarily undermine the argument for inspiration, although Ehrman's discussion of the problems of textual analysis will give many fundamentalists a run for their money. This discussion, the final chapter of the book, examines the copies of the New Testament we have to work with, and how many versions of these texts do not line up with each other, indicating changes by scribes over the years that might alter the way these books are interpreted. The extensive bibliography and "further reading" recommendations are an extremely valuable addition. These minature annotated bibliographies conclude each chapter, and Ehrman insists on including works which disagree with him. If nothing else, the book has extreme value as a platform for further research, placing the vast field of scholarly study in an easy-to-access context for readers on all levels. In any case, Ehrman's textbook does an excellent job in what it sets out to do, and does it in as nonoffensive a way possible. While he does take a few ideas a little too far (the discussion of the Johanine community seems a little to conjectural) this book ultimately provides a solid synthesis of current scholarly thought about the New Testament, and provides a firm foundation and context for it's study. Anyone who has a faith built on these documents would benefit from this book, and the church would perhaps be better off if more pastors taught some of these ideas. Unfortunately, many people find it easier to believe that the New Testament is an almost magical document that appeared in the sky one day, which is how many churches teach it. This however, does the New Testament a diservice, and those readers whose faith would be destroyed by the ideas in Ehrman's book ultimately reveal that their faith was perhaps a little on the weak side. Ehrman, despite his reputation, presents nothing here that undermines these documents, but rather, provides a context for deeper understanding, appreciation, and ultimately inspiration.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Aitken

    now this one is fairly bad, but bad in an intriguing way. He laughably holds to the long-refuted Wredian thesis. Thirdly, he fails to engage Tom Wright or GB Caird on the points where the specifically challenge and overthrow Ehrman's thesis. He is aware that NT Wright has completely ravaged his thesis, but it doesn't bother him. Some of the chapters on Gnosticism are interesting and helpful. He does go out of his way to show that certain historical details could not have happened. For example, he now this one is fairly bad, but bad in an intriguing way. He laughably holds to the long-refuted Wredian thesis. Thirdly, he fails to engage Tom Wright or GB Caird on the points where the specifically challenge and overthrow Ehrman's thesis. He is aware that NT Wright has completely ravaged his thesis, but it doesn't bother him. Some of the chapters on Gnosticism are interesting and helpful. He does go out of his way to show that certain historical details could not have happened. For example, he says the census by the Roman Emperor could not have happened for two reasons: 1) there is not corroborative evidence for it and 2) it would have been impossible to carry out. In response: (1) is not as big a problem as he thinks. He has already filtered out the NT acting as primary evidence, but says that it must be interpreted in light of Roman records. But the NT is the most attested ancient document in the world, whereas Roman records are woefully scanty. It is simple prejudice that keeps him from accepting the NT as evidence. (2) This isn't a problem at all. Big Governments routinely embark on projects which cannot possible work (healthcare.gov, anyone?).

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    For what it is (an undergraduate textbook) this is a great overview of the New Testament. When I started reading it it didn’t really occur to me that I would need to read the entire New Testament alongside this book, but you kind of need to in order to follow along. It’s extremely accessible.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Spencer

    Bart Ehrman is a former "Christian" who after studying the history of the New Testament has become an atheist. This is NOT a book that most Christians will enjoy because it strips away all of the supernatural elements of Christianity and focuses on actual evidence. This leads to all sorts of problems, but it also leads to a better understandings of the Scriptures. A mature Christian can read this and enjoy it, and not have their faith tested. Someone who is not familiar with textual criticism wil Bart Ehrman is a former "Christian" who after studying the history of the New Testament has become an atheist. This is NOT a book that most Christians will enjoy because it strips away all of the supernatural elements of Christianity and focuses on actual evidence. This leads to all sorts of problems, but it also leads to a better understandings of the Scriptures. A mature Christian can read this and enjoy it, and not have their faith tested. Someone who is not familiar with textual criticism will read this and hate it. There may be some Christians who read this and turn to atheism, as it does not hold back on all the differences found in the New Testament. If you are a believer, agnostic or an atheist, you will find this book to be quite interesting. My only recommendation for any who read it is to hold Ehrman to his own standards. When he says things like, "We don't have enough evidence to support the New Testament claims" but then turns around and states that there were all sorts of documents against the New Testament, you must understand that he is going by much later sources. An example of this would be when he talks about a local Messiah figure that mirrors Jesus as if it happened without any actual written evidence from the time. He never questions it, and just states it as fact. His only source comes from much later writing. I am not saying it didn't happen, as I believe it quite possible could have happened. All I am saying is, he does not take an honest route at times. When he presents the irrefutable facts, the book works great. When he has an agenda, the book fails as a trustworthy source, if you ask me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Wing

    This is a very comprehensive textbook written for undergraduates. To introduce the student to the different methods of biblical criticism, the author uses genre criticism to analyse Mark, redaction criticism to analyse Matthew, the comparative method to analyse Luke, the socio-historical method to analyse John, and the contextual method to analyse the Johannine epistles. The author's stance is that the earliest traditions portray Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet, and he, perhaps unfairly, suggest This is a very comprehensive textbook written for undergraduates. To introduce the student to the different methods of biblical criticism, the author uses genre criticism to analyse Mark, redaction criticism to analyse Matthew, the comparative method to analyse Luke, the socio-historical method to analyse John, and the contextual method to analyse the Johannine epistles. The author's stance is that the earliest traditions portray Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet, and he, perhaps unfairly, suggests that it is how Jesus saw himself. He then explains convincingly the evolution of christology (from low to high). Six full chapters are devoted to the undisputed Pauline letters. These are really very well written. The letters are rendered clear and patent. It is a marvel to have Paul's concerns and theology explained in a way that a layperson can actually understand! Finally, the pseudepigrapha and apocalypses are discussed. Indispensable and thoroughly engaging - five stars!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kent

    A terrific book, with writing that is clear, concise and logical as noted by one of the back cover testimonials. Professor Ehrman provides historical context for the New Testament as well as explanations for the different methods used in the study of the NT: literary - historical, thematic, comparative, and redactional. Also, discussed are the many problems found in the NT: the Gospels don't agree with one another in many instances, many of Paul's letters were not written by Paul, the books in t A terrific book, with writing that is clear, concise and logical as noted by one of the back cover testimonials. Professor Ehrman provides historical context for the New Testament as well as explanations for the different methods used in the study of the NT: literary - historical, thematic, comparative, and redactional. Also, discussed are the many problems found in the NT: the Gospels don't agree with one another in many instances, many of Paul's letters were not written by Paul, the books in the NT are presented in the order they were written (i.e. all of Paul's actual letters were written before any of the Gospels), and on and on. Highly recommended for anyone interested in reading about the history of the founding of Christianity that doesn't add layers of theological viewpoints and arguments.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aketzle

    There are parts of this that are slow reading if you're not very interested in the New Testament, but there are other parts that are really interesting for anyone with an interest in the formation of sects/religions or the composition of the New Testament documents. I'm not even close to done yet, but I've already learned so much. This is a fantastically researched, scholarly, objective account of the development of early Christianity, the Bible (as we now know it), Jesus' life and the time and There are parts of this that are slow reading if you're not very interested in the New Testament, but there are other parts that are really interesting for anyone with an interest in the formation of sects/religions or the composition of the New Testament documents. I'm not even close to done yet, but I've already learned so much. This is a fantastically researched, scholarly, objective account of the development of early Christianity, the Bible (as we now know it), Jesus' life and the time and people around him, the historical context of it all, and much more. Really, really fascinating. I would definitely recommend this for anyone, religious or not, who is interested in history or religion.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    My book study group viewed this book as a series of lectures by the professor of religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Excellent presentation and delivery: just the right pace and amount of repetition to give me a chance to absorb the material. This is very much a historical look at the New Testament, showing how different parts support or conflict with each other, and why. It was especially interesting to me to see how the four gospels contradict each other, having been w My book study group viewed this book as a series of lectures by the professor of religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Excellent presentation and delivery: just the right pace and amount of repetition to give me a chance to absorb the material. This is very much a historical look at the New Testament, showing how different parts support or conflict with each other, and why. It was especially interesting to me to see how the four gospels contradict each other, having been written at different times. The accompanying guidebooks made a good reference, as would the hard copy of the book. The author has written a number of other books on the Bible.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Will Thorpe

    Been churning through this book for about 5 months now actually studying a few pages each day. It’s been incredibly helpful in reprogramming my brain and to look at the Bible as any other anthology of ancient documents vs the “word of god”. It’s one thing to no longer be convinced the Bible is the word of god but it’s another to be able to replace that gap with helpful information and processes. If you’re unfamiliar with Professor Bart Ehrman then please consider watching some of his lectures. I Been churning through this book for about 5 months now actually studying a few pages each day. It’s been incredibly helpful in reprogramming my brain and to look at the Bible as any other anthology of ancient documents vs the “word of god”. It’s one thing to no longer be convinced the Bible is the word of god but it’s another to be able to replace that gap with helpful information and processes. If you’re unfamiliar with Professor Bart Ehrman then please consider watching some of his lectures. I do disagree with him on some points and I made notes in the textbook showing this, but it’s rare when I do. And often times his opinions line up with the majority of scholars- he is just the more outspoken of most of them and I think layman like myself are all the better for it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hugh Brein

    Ehrman’s work is well put together and teaches both teacher and student alike in a way which engrosses the mind and keeps the attention at hand. However, whilst the medium of expression is more than excellent, the content often falls short. Ehrman engages in a variety of NT topics but does not provide the soundest of arguments. Quite frequently (and this is by no means an attack on his work), he relies on fallacies and strawman arguments (forgive my lack of knowledge in terminology related to th Ehrman’s work is well put together and teaches both teacher and student alike in a way which engrosses the mind and keeps the attention at hand. However, whilst the medium of expression is more than excellent, the content often falls short. Ehrman engages in a variety of NT topics but does not provide the soundest of arguments. Quite frequently (and this is by no means an attack on his work), he relies on fallacies and strawman arguments (forgive my lack of knowledge in terminology related to the realm of logic) and these are not resolved nor are reliable sources pointed towards. If you want to use this as an introduction to NT studies, be aware that it is quite lacking and it is obviously clear which biases Ehrman holds. TLDR: A good effort but not really a comprehensive analysis.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Igor

    The opinion of this great work will depend on personal beliefs and level of interest of the historic Jesus. The book goes deep and it not a 'easy' reading. Despite the fact that the author does what he can to smooth the subject for non specialists. Therefore, for my purpose and personal understanding of reality – since I consider myself to be an agnostic, this book is great and the author the best in this field. So, I advise you to read other review before beginning this ‘journey’. Following Kant a The opinion of this great work will depend on personal beliefs and level of interest of the historic Jesus. The book goes deep and it not a 'easy' reading. Despite the fact that the author does what he can to smooth the subject for non specialists. Therefore, for my purpose and personal understanding of reality – since I consider myself to be an agnostic, this book is great and the author the best in this field. So, I advise you to read other review before beginning this ‘journey’. Following Kant advice: Sapere aude!

  14. 5 out of 5

    John

    NYT-bestseller and University of North Carolina professor provides an academic, but easily understandable treatise of the New Testament. He skillfully sets the scene for the historical Jesus through lectures on ancient Greek and Roman and Jewish culture before discussion the gospels and letters which comprise much of the New Testament. He closes the book with a defense of textual criticism in as one of the tools in studying the New Testament. I have read and enjoyed several of Professor Ehrman's NYT-bestseller and University of North Carolina professor provides an academic, but easily understandable treatise of the New Testament. He skillfully sets the scene for the historical Jesus through lectures on ancient Greek and Roman and Jewish culture before discussion the gospels and letters which comprise much of the New Testament. He closes the book with a defense of textual criticism in as one of the tools in studying the New Testament. I have read and enjoyed several of Professor Ehrman's books, including this one, and none have let me down.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Eric Wurm

    An academic textbook meant to objectively examine New Testament writings, the authors, and their purpose for writing them. This is a good place to begin for one interested in understanding the history of early Christianity.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Davis

    Extensive study of New Testament from historical perspective. Studied in conjunction with on-line course released by Yale University.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    A good overview of the history of the New Testament, including the history of various books and where variants come from.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dave Harmon

    They should teach the Bible in schools and use this as the textbook. There would be a lot less strongly religious people out there.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rosster Montreal

    I don't agree on his views on Christ mythicism, but as a scholar of the early church, I thought his ideas were very good.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Ehrman did a good job writing this book. He covers history pretty well. However, he is obviously an atheist and was too dismissive in some parts of his book. Interesting read

  21. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    definitely an introdictory text, but very textually so

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dayla

    Bart is a joy to listen to.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Finally! After starting this book over two years ago, and after several pauses in the reading, i've finished it! This is an extremely well written and researched book that I recommend to anyone interested in the history of what is considered to be the Christian New Testament. The historical and literary methods used by Dr. Ehrman are fascinating. I am left amazed by the vast number and significance of facts and history related to the Early Christian writings that are never discussed in the domin Finally! After starting this book over two years ago, and after several pauses in the reading, i've finished it! This is an extremely well written and researched book that I recommend to anyone interested in the history of what is considered to be the Christian New Testament. The historical and literary methods used by Dr. Ehrman are fascinating. I am left amazed by the vast number and significance of facts and history related to the Early Christian writings that are never discussed in the dominant "Christian" culture. It is baffling to me that these topics are seemingly never considered by people who claim to base their life upon the Christian scriptures. At any rate, this is an excellent introduction to the topic for anyone with the intellectual integrity and courage to deal with it. I highly recommend this book with 6 out of 5 stars! ps. this is an academic book which deals with the history of the early Christian literature in an objective, scholarly manner. It does not express opinions of the author, other than related to historical and textual criticism methods, etc. It is NOT to be put in the same category of some of Dr. Ehrman's other more "popular" books in which he clearly offers his opinions about matters of theology, faith, and philosophy.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mike Davis

    I must admit at the outset that I am a fan of Dr. Ehrman. This book is essentially a text book on the historical origins of today's New Testament (NT). Dr. Ehrman is a theological historian, not a theologian. His research is exhaustive, factual, intellectual and honest. It is not a book of faith, it is a book of fact based not only on the contents of the NT but takes into consideration available outside works of the same time period that support or challenge biblical content, and the recent finds I must admit at the outset that I am a fan of Dr. Ehrman. This book is essentially a text book on the historical origins of today's New Testament (NT). Dr. Ehrman is a theological historian, not a theologian. His research is exhaustive, factual, intellectual and honest. It is not a book of faith, it is a book of fact based not only on the contents of the NT but takes into consideration available outside works of the same time period that support or challenge biblical content, and the recent finds from sites such as Nag Hammadi and the Dead Sea Scrolls that were uncovered long after the current canon had been chosen. This is a long, exhausting read. It is well written, well documented and interesting but will not be read in a short period of time, and may well become a life-long reference to unsupported claims by some biblical scholars and theologians. I would recommend this book to anyone with an open mind who wants to see exactly what we know to date about the origins and potential accuracy of "scripture."

  25. 4 out of 5

    John Jones

    The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to The Early Christian Writings is an outstanding informative book of understandings and very knowledgeable in pursuit of Christianity, provides view points, archeological and chronological surveys and facts. This is by far a very essential book to Christian Theology studies, a must have! This edition supplies color of the photos and well edited, very easily comprehended writing, key terms, and supplies many references to support the information given The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to The Early Christian Writings is an outstanding informative book of understandings and very knowledgeable in pursuit of Christianity, provides view points, archeological and chronological surveys and facts. This is by far a very essential book to Christian Theology studies, a must have! This edition supplies color of the photos and well edited, very easily comprehended writing, key terms, and supplies many references to support the information given. Bart D. Ehrman is one of my most favorite authors because he provides strong relevant information that covers many important details, backed by statistics, and researched documentation and a strong point of knowledge. I believe every single Christian should possess this knowledgeable book to better understand the origins of Christianity... Sincerely, John Shelton Jones

  26. 5 out of 5

    Neil Harmon

    This was the primary text for a graduate New Testament course. This was a fascinating book. It started with a bang explaining some very fundamental things that are often misunderstood about the New Testament and continued with eye opening information. The book uses a historical/critical approach and is largely about the text, the times and people involved in creating it, and the way that differences in time affect our ability to understand it. It is not a really doctrinal book and should be of i This was the primary text for a graduate New Testament course. This was a fascinating book. It started with a bang explaining some very fundamental things that are often misunderstood about the New Testament and continued with eye opening information. The book uses a historical/critical approach and is largely about the text, the times and people involved in creating it, and the way that differences in time affect our ability to understand it. It is not a really doctrinal book and should be of interest to a wide variety of people. (People from very, umm... hard and fast denominations may be disturbed by some of the information presented. After reading this book and understanding much better where the text came from and how it got to us, it is much more possible to understand the danger presented by those who would use a shallow knowledge of scripture (Christian or other) to be divisive or to condemn others. It was a textbook that did its job very well.

  27. 4 out of 5

    BHodges

    Ehrman has a way with words when discussing difficult or sometimes boring issues. This book is an excellent introduction to the New Testament from a historical perspective. Granted, Ehrman could have spent a little more time discussing differences among various interpreters and scholars. To keep the pace going he usually skates through a few rather hotly-debated issues by noting that they are hotly debated, then moving on. As an intro text, though, this is probably to be expected. His suggestion Ehrman has a way with words when discussing difficult or sometimes boring issues. This book is an excellent introduction to the New Testament from a historical perspective. Granted, Ehrman could have spent a little more time discussing differences among various interpreters and scholars. To keep the pace going he usually skates through a few rather hotly-debated issues by noting that they are hotly debated, then moving on. As an intro text, though, this is probably to be expected. His suggestions for further reading should help mitigate this shortcoming. Ehrman does a nice job weaving methodological questions throughout the book rather than laying them all out up front and then using them in subsequent chapters. I enjoyed taking the online quizzes at OUP's website after I finished the book. These extra online tools are available for free.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    As a Christian, I loved his approach.His critical acumen and broad base of knowledge is def. admirable. At times, it seems like his bias got in the way of portraying some information, yet at the same time, sometimes people with a grudge are the best innovators of a subject. For they are not afraid of what they find. It is difficult to find someone like that in this field.One can have faith and be a scholar, but unfortunately for some individuals of faith, this seems to be a paradox! All in all, As a Christian, I loved his approach.His critical acumen and broad base of knowledge is def. admirable. At times, it seems like his bias got in the way of portraying some information, yet at the same time, sometimes people with a grudge are the best innovators of a subject. For they are not afraid of what they find. It is difficult to find someone like that in this field.One can have faith and be a scholar, but unfortunately for some individuals of faith, this seems to be a paradox! All in all, great introduction and would recommend it to anyone because Ehrman is great at making anything make sense to the beginner.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ira Therebel

    It is a great book to introduce someone to the history of the New Testament. It is written from the neutral point of view, the author doesn't claim that there is God nor that there isn't. He just talks about history so it may be interesting for religious people just as Christians. It discusses several books of the Bible and analyzes them using different methods while looking at the historical context, the development of Christianity at that time and the sources that might have been used. It was v It is a great book to introduce someone to the history of the New Testament. It is written from the neutral point of view, the author doesn't claim that there is God nor that there isn't. He just talks about history so it may be interesting for religious people just as Christians. It discusses several books of the Bible and analyzes them using different methods while looking at the historical context, the development of Christianity at that time and the sources that might have been used. It was very interesting to read

  30. 5 out of 5

    Theodora

    Overall a good introduction to the New Testament. The stuff about Aramaic letters vs. Greek letters are very important, as was the discussion about Jesus' progression to God. Although I think Jesus was a prophet, and maybe an apocalyptic prophet, I think there is a balance between the sweetness of his teaching and the apocalyptic message. I don't think Jesus associated with sinners because they were the ones who had committed the most terrible offensives.

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