7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
You can stop flogging that horse -- it's dead already :),
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This review is from: Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them) (Paperback)
I enjoyed reading this book, I don't regret buying it, and I would recommend it to anybody with an interest in the history of religion and religious texts. But...
The problem I have is that Ehrman is writing as if his subject were contentious. Perhaps in the US, or at least in some parts of the US, it still is. But in the UK, well, I'm not so sure. In fact, Ehrman frankly admits that his views are uncontroverial and are essentially those routinely taught at Christian seminaries. So why the big deal?
There is new stuff in this book although, as other reviewers have commented, it's telling the same story as Lost Christianities and, in fact, most of Ehrman's other output. The central thesis is that Christianity as we know it today developed out of one particular strand of belief and practice, among the many that flourished in the 1st and 2nd centuries. The surving documents that make up the New Testament reflect, to some extent, that diversity, but not as much as the documents that never became canonical.
He tells the story very well -- I'm just not sure who it will be news to. I suspect that Christian believers will tend to the view that the emergence of Orthodoxy as we now understand it was the work of providence; while the agnostics will tend to see it as the result of social and political factors. But I don't think there's much disagreement on the general thrust of events.
I felt that this book was consierably more polemical than Lost Christianities, and not as good. There doesn't seem to me to be much point in arguing for something that few people who take an interest in the subject will disagree with, and when the people who don't agree will, by their very nature, be unconvinceable.