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4.0 out of 5 stars
What is truth ?, 11 Sep 2011
A very interesting read for those who do not know the history of how the 27 books of the New testerment came to be chosen, written and compiled over many years, we see how the historical Jesus evolves perhaps into something he never claimed to be.
Paul as the first Christian writer, writing only around 35 years after the death of Jesus only seems interested in the divine Christ and says very little indeed about the historical Jesus, why ? Did he know next to nothing of the historical Jesus or did this just not interest him and why so little if anything from Paul on the 'virgin birth' ? We learn here that only Luke and Matthew construct a birth narrative, maybe this was unknown to Paul after all a divine exit should also shorely require a divine entrance ? As Ehrman says Mark was the first gospel to be written circa 70 AD 15 or so years after Pauls letters, but I would have liked to see a little more of what came before this first Gospel - collections of other writings must have existed, a passion gospel, a sayings gospel, a parable collection ?
The 1st century was hardly a media intensive age, perhaps once the author of Mark had gavered together all his material, finished his gospel he threw everything else away - in exactly the same way we would today, gather our material choose what we do and don't want to suit our purpose and there's our finished product ! Unfortunetely if there was a loose collection of material before Marks gospel ( the lost Q gospel for example ) everything has been lost, yes some or it is contained is Marks gospel but what else was available, when did it date from and who wrote it ? Could some of Jesus followers have dictated material which was passed down ? We will never know which makes the wider debate and detective work in this book so interesting - perhaps this will provided the subject for a forthcoming Ehrman book as I have to deduct 1 star as he does tend to revisit the same or very similar material over several different books.