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. Members of the new evangelical churches will find it quite scary and probably their pastors will direct them away from it. But the book contains nothing new at all that was not taught when I was at theological college 40 years ago. It is indeed a good question to ask why we do not know all about it in the churches. Sometimes those of us who have had years of preaching have wanted not to unsettle the faith of the faithful though in my experience people want to think and know and understand the inheritance of faith.
Of course, coming from a liberal tradition I don't see the Bible as the word of God in any case and therefore can't see what the fuss is about when it comes to people running away from biblical criticism. So I welcome this book and hope that it is widely read; it deserves to be.
However I have one big reservation about it and that is that it doesn't go far enough. The author spends time comparing the infancy narratives in Matthew and Luke and the obvious inconsistencies and contradictions. But I would want to go much further and say that the infancy narratives were added at a much later stage even than when the Gospels were written - that they are the product of imagination. I also noted that there was a total dearth of attention paid to the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Q. At this particular stage in the history of biblical criticism I do find that odd, nor is there any reference to the Jesus seminar whose work is so influential among biblical studies today.
But as a starter, and an exciting one at that, this book is very good indeed - I just wish it went a little further.
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