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Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are Hardcover – 22 Mar 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (22 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062012614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062012616
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 474,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Bart D. Ehrman is the author of more than twenty books, including the New York Times bestselling Misquoting Jesus and God's Problem. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the Bible and the life of Jesus. He has been featured in Time and has appeared on Dateline NBC, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, the History Channel, major NPR shows, and other top media outlets. He lives in Durham, N.C. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
Faith is a profoundly emotional issue with its own dynamics as Eric Hoffer makes clear in The True Believer, a seminal study on the nature of belief and mass movements. Another valid insight is that of the metaphysician Ernest Holmes who warned against destroying or undermining a person's faith if it gives them comfort and helps them seek what is good and right: "Every person's religion is an answer to the cry of the soul for something which is real, something which may be relied upon - a resting place for which everyone instinctively feels a need."

Thus, the pursuit of truth may be a perilous enterprise that leads to painful places. Giving up certainties takes courage. In this investigation, Ehrman approaches the subject with empathy. Both non-canonical works and those eventually included in the New Testament are subjected to scrutiny. That is appropriate since when these were written, no canon existed.

It is no secret to most scholars in the field: Many of the books of the New Testament were composed by authors who lied about their identities, deliberately impersonating famous characters such as Peter, Paul and James. That is deception; a book written by someone who lies about his identity is a forgery.

In order to avoid this harsh reality, most Christian theologians employ the word "pseudepigrapha" when referring to these forgeries. Yet the word literally means "writing inscribed with a lie." Scholars may claim that it was an acceptable practice in the ancient world to write a book in someone else's name. Not so: the author cites Polybius, Martial and Diogenes Laertius in this regard.

Only 7 of the 13 letters of Paul of Tarsus were written by him. In the ancient world, books like that were called "pseudoi" (lies).
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44 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Sphex on 26 April 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bart Ehrman is a biblical scholar with a knack for shaping a wealth of learning into a form that's accessible to the lay reader. In this fascinating book, he concentrates on the part forgery played in the early church, arriving at a startling conclusion: from the first to the twenty-first centuries, "Christians intent on establishing what was right to believe did so by telling lies, in an attempt to deceive their readers into agreeing that they were the ones who spoke the truth". In short, throughout history, Christians "have seen fit to fabricate, falsify, and forge documents" in the name of their religion.

Ehrman acknowledges that this will sound odd to many, believers and non-believers alike. After all, this is a religion with a reputation for possessing not just the truth, but the Truth. In contrast with other ancient religions (more interested in proper practices than whether or not their beliefs were true), the "Christian religion came to be firmly rooted in truth claims, which were eventually embedded in highly ritualized formulations, such as the Nicene Creed" and "Christians from the very beginning needed to appeal to authorities for what they believed". If Jesus said it, if Paul said it, if James said it, that was enough to settle the matter in hand. If you wanted your views to carry more weight, put them in a document and attach the name of an established authority (producing books in the name of Peter, for example, "was a virtual cottage industry in the early church"). In other words, forgery (pseudepigraphal writing "in which an author knowingly claims to be someone else") was far from unusual, and we know of over a hundred writings "from the first four centuries that were claimed by one Christian author or another to have been forged by fellow Christians".
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. V. Acuff on 16 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Bart Ehrman lived up to my expectations once again. This book is well researched and sheds light on who did or did not write certain books of the Bible and how this book came to us down through history. As a student and teacher of the Bible for almost 65 years I would encourage the reader to shed preconceived cultural indoctrination and look at the facts as the author presents them. Many of the beliefs we hold today are based on the writings of unknown authors and need closer examination.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a really interesting book, and a good supplement to someone who has read one of Ehrman's earlier works. It is not the longest book in the world, and sometimes feels slightly repetitive, but it is a valuable (if not essential) read for any lay-person interested in the early Church; or for someone questioning their Christian beliefs.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anis on 25 July 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book would be the top of my list of recommendations to anyone who shares my literary interests. The author provides very accurate and educational information about the writing/compiling of gospels back in their heyday and the illicit forgery that came with it. I think Ehrman really hit the nail on this one and I would find it would be nigh impossible to claim that this book's premises are wrong. Simply said, the author makes a claim based on objective study without relying too much on what subjective scholars have said about biblical forgeries. He pushed the envelope and surely enough, the envelope has budged. Great read, very accurate and well-oraganised.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 27 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fascinating and informative to the point of being shocking - even to an aged sceptic like myself. Clear and readable prose; well argued and equally well evidenced insofar as I, a non-expert, could judge.
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