on 21 December 2003
I read this book over 20 years ago. It truly changed my life.
At the time I was a born again Christian having been persuaded to take that unquestioning leap of faith. My problem was how to reconcile that faith with a scientific education and a very rational disposition. I became worried about how heavily Christianity depended on the "authority of the scriptures". I started reading the history of the early church and researching the history of the new testament. Who decided what books to include? What about all those (very interesting) apocryphal books?
Humphrey Carpenter's book came as a breath of fresh air. It really stands out as the only truly objective historic analysis that I have ever found on the topic.
If you are a committed Christian, beware, it may lead you to a more rational viewpoint. It may prove a little traumatic to find that what you were taught in Sunday school is based on relatively modern interpretations and "traditions". It isn't really based on what Jesus said or taught.