Thursday, October 02, 2014

Jesus, Interrupted by Bart D. Ehrman

Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them), Bart D. Ehrman. New York: HarperCollins e-books, 2009. ebook, 211 pps.  [n.b.: 24.95 a year to read and comment].

     It was with some eagerness that I finished Misquoting Jesus and began Jesus, Interrupted. This book, published in 2009, describes specific doctrinal disagreements and viewpoints of Jesus in the New Testament present in the Gospels. Jesus, Interrupted also speaks to the issue of forgeries present in the present-day Canon. I understand that this is a dicey subject for those who sincerely believe that their god directly inspired the authors of the New Testament books but I don't know how to lessen the potential impact of the material. Ehrman gives us what acclaimed biblical scholars have found out.

     The four gospels were not actually written by eyewitnesses/ the first four apostles. They were written after the death of Jesus Christ, years afterwards. Early Christians were common folk who did not speak Greek, the language of the learned and of scholars. [The New Testament books as they have come down to us are all written in Greek]. The story of Nicodemus and being born again is actually a Greek double entendre which does not work in Aramaic [or in English]. What Jesus was reportedly saying to Nicodemus [and the story itself is in doubt because of the Greek literary structure] was that one has to be physically born the first time plus born FROM ABOVE [and not "born again"].

     The development of what books to include in the Canon took many years and did not happen overnight as I'd been led to believe. There is a Third Corinthians [not written by Paul, as it turns out] and an Apocalypse of Peter [which almost made it in instead of Revelations]. And it turns out that the authorship of II Peter is in doubt. Back in the days of antiquity, it happened that folks authored stuff under the name of the more prominent so that their ideas would receive some exposure which would otherwise had been denied them.

     Bart D. Ehrman devotes the last bit of Jesus, Interrupted to explaining how it is that a Christian can know these things and still believe. Although Ehrman is an agnostic, he does not argue that Christians should de-convert.

sapphoq reviews says: I believe that Jesus, Interrupted should be read after Misquoting Jesus. The latter book delves into considerable detail regarding the controversies that early Christians had with each other. It is also helpful to have a New Testament handy when reading this book. Highly recommended to all thinking adults with an interest in the New Testament and Jesus Christ.

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