Licona, March 27, On March 22, the New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman published his latest iconoclastic book challenging the traditional Christian view. Ehrman is well read on the subject, citing from a number of doctoral dissertations, scholarly monographs, and journal articles in both English and German. Why is the subject matter of this book important? For years, a significant number of biblical scholars have contended that the traditional authorship of a large portion of the New Testament literature is mistaken.
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He then goes on to discuss works that were wrongly claimed to have been written by Peter or by Paul as well as other forgeries, including some in the last two centuries. Most of the forgeries Ehrman discusses served Christian anti-Jewish propaganda, although some were antipagan, while the so-called Gospel of Nicodemus was an attempt to correct the very anti-Christian Acts of Pilate. Craft, emerita, Longwood Univ. Their readers, had they known, would probably have called them liars and condemned what they did.
But in their own eyes, their conscience may have been free from blame, and their motives may have been as pure as the driven snow. They had a truth to convey, and they were happy to lie in order to proclaim it. Ehrman dares to call it what it was: literary forgery, a practice that was as scandalous then as it is today. Ehrman investigates ancient sources to: Reveal which New Testament books were outright forgeries. Explain how widely forgery was practiced by early Christian writers—and how strongly it was condemned in the ancient world as fraudulent and illicit.
Expose the deception in the history of the Christian religion.
Forgeries Served Christian Propaganda
Shelves: religion-spirituality , nonfiction , good-but-flawed I am a nominal Roman Catholic. I attend mass once a week; I send my children to Catholic school; my wife teaches at Catholic school; I am a semi-active volunteer in my parish community; I even play in the Sunday evening worship band. Yes, Catholics can have worship bands, too. For most of my life, up until a few years ago, I would have described myself as an evangelical Christian. I spent my formative years in the Presbyterian Church USA then, for over a decade, I was a member and very active participant in the Evangelical Covenant denomination. I played in the worship band in that church also, and yes, the music was better there … much better … I miss it.
Forged: Writing in the Name of God
Works[ edit ] Ehrman has written widely on issues of the New Testament and early Christianity at both an academic and popular level, much of it based on textual criticism of the New Testament. He examines how early struggles between Christian " heresy " and " orthodoxy " affected the transmission of the documents. Ehrman is often considered a pioneer in connecting the history of the early church to textual variants within biblical manuscripts and in coining such terms as " proto-orthodox Christianity ". He outlines the development of New Testament manuscripts and the process and cause of manuscript errors in the New Testament. In doing so, he highlights the diversity of views found in the New Testament, the existence of forged books in the New Testament which were written in the names of the apostles by Christian writers who lived decades later, and his belief that Christian doctrines such as the suffering Messiah , the divinity of Jesus , and the Trinity were later inventions. It makes a case for considering falsely attributed or pseudepigraphic books in the New Testament and early Christian literature "forgery", looks at why certain New Testament and early Christian works are considered forged, and describes the broader phenomenon of pseudepigraphy in the Greco-Roman world. The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth , defending the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth in contrast to the mythicist theory that Jesus is an entirely fictitious being.
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