10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Some overlaps with Ehrman's other books,
This review is from: Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know about Them) (Hardcover)
Bart Ehrman is a book writing machine. I had read his book on "Lost Gospels", which I found interesting at the time. I recently decided I wanted to get a bit deeper into the topic and looked up another one of his books. Choosing one was difficult as there appears to be much overlap in his production. I chose Jesus Interrupted as it seemed to focus on the history of the official bible more than on the "lost gospels" on which I had already read something.
In a nutshell, I found this book to be well written and worthy of attention, but I was also a bit disappointed to find fairly sizeable overlaps between "lost gospels" and "Jesus interrupted". This does not mean I regret having purchased and read this book, but this means I suspect I won't be looking too much further into Ehrman as I anticipate this would be a case of diminishing returns.
I am not particularly knowledgeable in the field of Bible studies. In fact I have never read the New Testament in full. But as an otherwise reasonably well read person, given the overall impact of Christianity on western culture I'm obviously very familiar with many themes and episods from the new testament. Where Ehrman opened my eyes is where he shows that there are a number of episods in various Gospels that seem to be logically incompatible with each others. For instance, did Jesus spend his childhood in Egypt or in Nazareth? I had probably seen stories mentioning either possibility, but I had never given serious thought to the fact that both are unlikely to have occurred. This is not very important from the point of view of Christian's doctrine, except if the doctrin involves a godly origin for the written word of the bible, in which case we have a bit of a paradox. That's basically the point that Ehrman is trying to make here, I think. Probably more important in the big picture, there are several attitudes of Christ at the moment of his crucifixion that I had encountered at various points in time: either a blessed detachment or an intense sufferring culminating in a cry. Given the centrality of the Christ figure in our culture, that works of art may have presented either attitude had never given me much pause. After all, artists will do what artists do, namely interpret and re-interpret. But I had failed to appreciate that those two incompatible attitudes are already inside the New Testament itself, showing a certain level of theological confusion at the core. Would this be enough for a Christian to doubt? Probably not, but this is nevertheless fairly interesting. All this information is contained in the second chapter of the book. The rest is basically a historical overview attempting to show why and how such conflicting information may have been included in the New Testament. This is fairly convincing, I found, but again had fairly strong overlaps with the "lost christianities".
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Initial post: 22 Feb 2010 12:50:03 GMT
Last edited by the author on 22 Feb 2010 12:53:13 GMT
beyond the wall says:
not a comment on the book, but have you considered reading any of the 'Jesus as myth' books? which have also been around for a long, long time ... since i note you, and others here , seem to take Jesus, as man at least, as a given ... whereas quite a few would say, ain't necessarily so ... Alexandria? ... and do you know what the RCC itself describes Easter as? .. i think you might be surprised ... as with John the Baptist supposedly born June 24 .. and in Judaism, the 3 patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are supposedly all born, and all died, at Easter .. and Samson's strength is in his hair? ... know that one?
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