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Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them) Paperback – 1 Mar 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 edition (1 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061173940
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061173943
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

For both scholars and the masses who read about religion, Bart D. Ehrman needs no introduction . . . He adds the personal to the scholarly for some of his works, detailing how he went from a Moody Bible Institute-educated fundamentalist evangelical to an agnostic . --Durham Herald-Sun

Ehrman's ability to translate scholarship for a popular audience has made the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill a superstar in the publishing world --IndyWeek

About the Author

Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. He came to UNC in 1988, after four years of teaching at Rutgers University. At UNC he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies. A graduate of Wheaton College (Illinois), Professor Ehrman received both his Masters of Divinity and PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary, where his 1985 doctoral dissertation was awarded magna cum laude. Since then he has published extensively in the fields of New Testament and Early Christianity, having written or edited 21 books, numerous scholarly articles, and dozens of book reviews. Among his most recent books are a Greek-English edition of The Apostolic Fathers for the Loeb Classical Library (Harvard University Press), an assessment of the newly discovered Gospel of Judas (Oxford University Press), and two New York Times bestsellers: God's Problem (an assessment of the biblical views of suffering) and Misquoting Jesus (an overview of the changes found in the surviving copies of the New Testament and of the scribes who produced them). Among his fields of scholarly expertise are the historical Jesus, the early Christian apocrypha, the apostolic fathers, and the manuscript tradition of the New Testament. Professor Ehrman has served as President of the Southeast Region of the Society of Biblical literature, chair of the New Testament textual criticism section of the Society, book review editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature, and editor of the monograph series The New Testament in the Greek Fathers (Scholars Press). He currently serves as coeditor of the series New Testament Tools, Studies, and Documents (E.J. Brill), coeditor in chief for the journal Vigiliae Christianae, and on several other editorial boards for journals and monographs in the field. Winner of numerous university awards and grants, Professor Ehrman is the recipient of the 1993 UNC Undergraduate Student Teaching Award, the 1994 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement, and the Bowman and Gordon Gray Award for excellence in teaching. Professor Ehrman has two children, a daughter, Kelly, and a son, Derek. He is married to Sarah Beckwith (PhD, King's College London), Marcello Lotti Professor of English at Duke University. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

160 of 171 people found the following review helpful By T. Scott on 20 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recall a reviewer of one of Ehrman's books observing the author as merely pushing his agnostic agenda. Fair comment, but for tackling a profound subject such as this what are the alternatives?

Well, and to make a few generalisations, erudite atheists such as Dawkins seemingly want the believer to see sense and start living a secularly productive life away from the restrictions of dogma. Most other atheists categorise believers as deluded, scratch it and get on with their lives (history isn't exactly abundant with wars waged by atheists on countries of faith to 'de-convert' the masses to secularism). So if an atheist were the author how balanced would the book be? Conversely, a believer is compelled to convert the reader to the light and would nigh on find it impossible to remain objective in their interpretation of their book of faith.

So what we have from an agnostic is a thoroughly absorbing book on the origins of the Bible, its authors, its discrepancies and historical context. There is much overlap of topic and narrative with some of Ehrman's previous books so those who have read Misquoting Jesus for example, expect a sense of déjà-vu. But we do learn some new things as Ehrman invites the reader to look at the Bible from an observational stance free from the confines of doctrine, and view it and therefore understand it as a human creation.

The discrepancies in the Bible, both minor and consequential, are many and Ehrman picks some of the highlights for discussion.

Take the nativity story as one of many examples. The first problem is the two significantly differing accounts in Matthew and Luke, of Mary and Joseph's journey, the dates, its reasons and routes taken.
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133 of 146 people found the following review helpful By Sphex on 23 April 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Gospels "were written thirty-five to sixty-five years after Jesus' death by people who did not know him, did not see anything he did or hear anything that he taught, people who spoke a different language from his and lived in a different country from him." They are not disinterested accounts of what "really" happened, an impartial record of an infallible oral tradition. The anonymous authors were often biased "in light of their own theological understandings". Nor are the Gospels independent - "Mark was used as a source for Matthew and Luke" - and for many of the stories about Jesus there is no "corroboration without collaboration". And yet they are still "widely inconsistent, with discrepancies filling their pages, both contradictions in details and divergent large-scale understandings of who Jesus was."

Such a description of the Gospels is, unsurprisingly, "virtually unknown among the population at large" despite being routinely taught in the seminaries that train future priests. Bart Ehrman, who has read the Bible both as a believer and as a biblical scholar - using both the "devotional" and the "historical-critical" approaches - is committed to narrowing this gap in knowledge, and this is his latest brilliant contribution. He constantly reassures the reader that these "are not my own idiosyncratic views" and, given the sensitivities of some religious people, you can see why. Does a believer want to hear that the New Testament contains "forgeries" or that "the doctrines of the divinity of Christ and the Trinity" were not present in the earliest traditions of the New Testament? Can it be true that the Bible approves of knocking out the brains of Babylonian babies or that a "Lake of Fire is stoked up and ready for everyone who is opposed to God"?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alan Cambs on 6 May 2012
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If you're a Christian, then you should read this book, but you'll probably wish that you hadn't! If you're a non-Christian, then this offers a fascinating insight into the origins of the biblical texts, revealing the many surprisingly contradictory elements - some of which are monumental - and the many instances of forgery. As an atheist, this book gave me a fairly comprehensive overview of the bibles content, without getting bogged down in religious ideology, though it does delve into this area. The book is not intended to completely debunk the bible's ideological message, but principally to question its religious value; it analyses its historical construction, demonstrates that "God" played little part (if any) in that construction or the textual content, while showing that Jesus (whoever he really was) did not invent Christianity and was certainly not divine.
My only criticism is that it is at times rambling, repetitive and lacking in eloquence. Nonetheless, I found it to be pretty addictive reading.
In conclusion, whatever your specific views of Christianity are, this book represents a fascinating revelation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rod on 9 Jan. 2013
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Prof Ehrman's book is an excellent introduction to historical - critical method in New Testament studies and he does it very well, as far as it goes. Members of the new evangelical churches will find it quite scary and probably their pastors will direct them away from it. But the book contains nothing new at all that was not taught when I was at theological college 40 years ago. It is indeed a good question to ask why we do not know all about it in the churches. Sometimes those of us who have had years of preaching have wanted not to unsettle the faith of the faithful though in my experience people want to think and know and understand the inheritance of faith.

Of course, coming from a liberal tradition I don't see the Bible as the word of God in any case and therefore can't see what the fuss is about when it comes to people running away from biblical criticism. So I welcome this book and hope that it is widely read; it deserves to be.

However I have one big reservation about it and that is that it doesn't go far enough. The author spends time comparing the infancy narratives in Matthew and Luke and the obvious inconsistencies and contradictions. But I would want to go much further and say that the infancy narratives were added at a much later stage even than when the Gospels were written - that they are the product of imagination. I also noted that there was a total dearth of attention paid to the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Q. At this particular stage in the history of biblical criticism I do find that odd, nor is there any reference to the Jesus seminar whose work is so influential among biblical studies today.

But as a starter, and an exciting one at that, this book is very good indeed - I just wish it went a little further.
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