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Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them) [Paperback]

Bart D. Ehrman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Mar 2010
The Human Story Behind the Divine Book In this New York Times bestseller, leading Bible expert Bart Ehrman skillfully demonstrates that the New Testament is riddled with contradictory views about who Jesus was and the significance of his life. Ehrman reveals that many of the books were written in the names of the apostles by Christians living decades later, and that central Christian doctrines were the inventions of still later theologians. Although this has been the standard and widespread view of scholars for two centuries, most people have never learned of it. Jesus, Interrupted is a clear and compelling account of the central challenges we have when attempting to reconstruct the life and meaning of Jesus.

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Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them) + Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament + Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
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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: 20.5 x 13.8 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
153 of 164 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An agnostic's agenda? 20 Sep 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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130 of 142 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bible scholarship that doesn't pander to piety 23 April 2009
By Sphex TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book But alas will fall on deaf ears 13 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book should be essential reading for any one athiest, liberal, or fundamentalist. In devasting terms it summarises the essence of New Testament scholarship from the past 200 years. It proves definitively that the New Testament is not the inerrant word of God as most Christians would have us believe.

This of course has been well known in Academic Circles for 250 years. Anyone reading this book would have to seriously question the stance of say the Catholic Church in not allowing women to take positions of leadership in the church. Or the obnoxious fundamentalism so prevalent in those who call themselves evangelical Christians.

The tragedy of course is that those people have prevailed in the churches and as such the church has become an obnoxious institution whos only rationale seems to be to enhance bigotry against Gays, women and ethnic minorities.

Had say people taken the concerns of the writers of Essays and Reviews seriously then it would have all been so much different. The Bible is a piece of literature nothing more nothing less Just as say the Works of Plato or Shakespeare . Bart Ehrman has done a really good job of summarising why the Bible should be treated as such. Unfortunately I fear his attempt will fall on deaf ears as far as the institutional church is concerned as it seems it wants to claim a bogus authority based on it's belief that the Bible is the inerrant word of God as such the institutional church will just stick its head in the sand. The tragedy is that the instutional church still has an undue influence on our society today.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Detailed and authoritative
This is just what you need when the bible-thumpers come knocking at your door. My only criticism would be that the title is a bit misleading, as the book is about the New Testament... Read more
Published 8 days ago by L. Rose
4.0 out of 5 stars a historical-critical reading of the New Testament, not a...
This is a very interesting popularization of current scholarship on the New Testament. Most importantly, Ehrman takes what he calls a historical-critical perspective, i.e. Read more
Published 1 month ago by rob crawford
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
Ehrman gives us a popularisation of just what historical methods can tell us about the life of Jesus. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr. A. P. Lloyd
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I very much enjoyed reading this book. It was hard for me to put it down.Fully recomend it to any body interested in the bible.
Published 3 months ago by Frank Rea
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise and to the point
This is an excellent book and provides a very academic deconstruction of the bible. Unlike some other books where authors get carried away listing endless examples of... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Chard
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
This book is a very interesting account of some the differences in the Gospels. And not just to point out that they exist, no, Ehrman describes, in detail, why this discrepancies... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Victor Hvingelby
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bible Scholar's journey
I have just finished reading this excellent book. Ehrmann describes how his original view
that the Bible is the inspired word of God was changed by studying the New... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Will
4.0 out of 5 stars Not far enough...
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. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Rod
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
It does not however go into much detail of anything in particular, the author makes reference to his other books occasionally and skims over other things by claiming there's not... Read more
Published 15 months ago by ryan watkins
5.0 out of 5 stars very good
Very good reading with this one. Even for a believer like myself. Erhman is the best writer about the bible in my humble, although he concentrates on the NT. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
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