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The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity
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The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity

4.37  ·  Rating Details ·  264 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Beginning with Walter Bauer in 1934, the denial of clear orthodoxy in early Christianity has shaped and largely defined modern New Testament criticism, recently given new life through the work of spokesmen like Bart Ehrman. Spreading from academia into mainstream media, the suggestion that diversity of doctrine in the early church led to many competing orthodoxies is ...more
Paperback, 250 pages
Published June 30th 2010 by Crossway Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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K.M. Weiland
Oct 23, 2015 K.M. Weiland rated it really liked it
This book wasn’t quite what I expected. It deals with the Bauer-Ehrman thesis that there was never an “orthodox” Christianity, whereas I was thinking it would be more about historical “heresies” in general. Still, it was an interesting look at the historicity and accuracy of ancient documents in general and the New Testament in particular.
Aug 18, 2015 Megan rated it really liked it
_The Heresy of Orthodoxy_ sets out to debunk the Bauer-Ehrmann thesis, along the way demonstrating that belief in the theological diversity of the early church is not so much drawn from reliable evidence as it is the commitment in contemporary academic circles to diversity as virtue. (If you're not familiar with the Bauer-Ehrmann thesis, it is, in a nutshell, the idea that early Christianity was not one faith so much as many faiths, all clustering around the person of Christ but not unified by ...more
Todd Miles
Nov 19, 2010 Todd Miles rated it it was amazing
Kostenberger and Kruger's book is a most-welcome contribution to the scholarship surrounding the reliability of the New Testament. Clearly, Bart Ehrman is squarely in the cross-hairs of this excellent book on the Christian Canon of Scripture. Dr. Ehrman has many things figured out regarding the media, dissemination of ideas, playing on public paranois, and mainstream culture. "The Heresy of Orthodoxy" demonstrates emphatically and sensibly that Dr. Ehrman's scholarship leaves much to be ...more
Robert Murphy
Sep 15, 2013 Robert Murphy rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, kindle
This is a great book, rejecting the Bauer/Ehrman thesis: that there were many "Christianities" and that the one "Christianity" we have today is just the one which happened to win. This is founded on bad scholarship and rejection of evidence.

I liked this book, but it's not the kind of thing I would ever give to a non-Christian, which is a shame.
Feb 16, 2011 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 31, 2010 Pastoralmusings rated it it was amazing
Wow! That is what I must say about this book.
As one who is interested in apologetics and New Testament studies, I was interested in writing a review of this book. I approached it as one would approach a textbook: with trepidation. I felt it would be scholarly- it is; I felt it would be dull- it is not. This book is well written, interesting, scholarly, and all in all a very good book.
The authors are men who are convinced that the Bible is God's Word and reliable and take great care in demonstrat
Richard Minor
Jan 02, 2014 Richard Minor rated it it was amazing
Kostenberger and Kruger do an incredible job of looking at modern accusations that the beliefs of the Early Church was actually quite diverse. The claim is that it wasn't until the 4th century that what we claim to be orthodox actually was solidified. But, Kostenberger and Kruger take a look at the information we have within Scripture itself, and from the writings of the Early Church to show that these claims are not at all based in history, but rather are conjectures that ignore the historical ...more
Feb 05, 2016 James rated it liked it
Shelves: literary
3.5 out of 5 stars.
Writing: 3. Good because academic, bad because repetitive.
Use: 4 [authoritative reference]. If this turns out to be the only summary argument against Ehrman still in print, then it would rise to 4.5 stars.
Truth: 4.5. Stunning truth, particularly for those who have been deceived by Bart Ehrman, Elaine Pagels, or the Jesus Seminar.

A summary argument against Bauer and his disciples (notably Ehrman). Not the refutation of them itself (the authors point out that this has been suffi
David Luke
Nov 28, 2012 David Luke rated it really liked it
The idea of diverse beginnings in the Christian faith which were later suppressed by 'the winners' i.e. orthodox Christianity is an idea that has gained a good deal of traction in recent years both at an academic and popular level. This book takes on this trend head on by dealing with many of the ideas that underpin the thesis. The case that we can trace orthodox Christian belief back to the early church is presented cogently and compellingly. If you are a Christian and haven't had this debate ...more
Kelle Craft
Oct 22, 2015 Kelle Craft rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book. Köstenberger and Kruger are remarkable scholars and have done a great job at not only refuting The Bauer/Ehrman thesis, but also shown the theological biases and lack (rather a denial of) the historical evidence that come from those in support of their claim. In a society fascinated with diversity, K&K hold true to the Christian faith, showing overwhelming evidence to support the validity, accuracy, and trustworthiness of the New Testament, despite Ehrman's erroneous claims.
Apr 26, 2015 Shawn rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. If you are looking for a book that deals with Early Christian orthodoxy, issues in New Testament Canon, and the reliability of the NT text, this book is for you.
May 26, 2012 Randy rated it it was amazing
The Heresy of Orthodoxy is a response to some modern Biblical scholars, especially Bart Ehrman, who argue in essence that we shouldn't take the Bible seriously. The title refers to the notion that it is unfashionable to speak of heresies anymore, and that the very idea of orthodoxy, that some beliefs are true and others are false, is probably the only true heresy left. The subtitle, "How contemporary culture's fascination with diversity has reshaped our understanding of early Christianity", ...more
Patrick S.
Nov 25, 2016 Patrick S. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Having read Kostenberger and Kruger before, I've greatly enjoyed both their level of scholarship, their organization of information for a general and technical reader(s), and their commitment to actually declaring their active beliefs in Christian theology. So many scholars today want "a seat at the table" and so will put aside their Christian beliefs in order to take a naturalistic, populist viewpoint/assumptions in order to be accepted by the academic at large. This book unapologetically comes ...more
Colin Smith
Sep 16, 2013 Colin Smith rated it it was amazing
THE HERESY OF ORTHODOXY seeks to dismantle Walter Bauer's old theory, recently revived by Bart Erhman, Elaine Pagels, and others, claiming that early Christianity was a mish-mash of diverse beliefs, and the "orthodox" faith was simply the one that triumphed by force.

The authors divide the task into parts, looking at the New Testament evidence for a single orthodoxy, then how the formation of the New Testament canon bears witness to a core belief, and finally what textual criticism really tells u
Feb 18, 2015 Cody rated it it was amazing
This is possibly the best book I've read in seminary. 1. It speaks directly to contemporary culture and post-modernism. 2. It calls out and interacts with specific scholars who call the Bible into question (Bart Erhman and company). 3. It is written extremely well and prolifically. 4. It provides from history, a realistic, humble, and well-founded defense of the facts of the Christian faith. 5. It plays with logic and epistemology in terms of helping us to see where bad arguments come from- ...more
Nov 28, 2015 John rated it really liked it
Kruger and Kostenberger take head on the thesis put forward in the 1930s by Walter Bauer and popularized recently by Bart Ehrman and others. The Bauer-Ehrman thesis is that the New Testament, as we have it today, is unreliable due to a number of factors, the most significant being the 4th Century Roman repression of deviant forms of Christianity. Kostenberger and Kruger take this thesis to task for its numerous flaws and provide the defense for why the NT canon was established much earlier than ...more
Aug 23, 2015 Rick rated it it was amazing
A tremendous piece of work. Köstenberger and Kruger have done a tremendous job. A scholarly work, thoroughly footnoted and referenced, in which they demonstrate the a priori devotion of Bart Ehrman and other advocates of the Bauer-Ehrman thesis to a "gospel of diversity" rooted in postmodern relativism. The Bauer-Ehrman thesis essentially argues that the orthodox Christian faith was really only one of multiple "christianities" of the early centuries, and only won preeminence through political ...more
May 19, 2015 E rated it it was amazing
The title references the fact that many critical scholars today believe that there was no "orthodox Christianity" in the first 3 centuries. Rather, there were various competing "Christianities," and the winners (crowned at the council of Nicea) got to decide what "orthodoxy" was.

Is this true? If so, it would be devastating to the grounds for faith on which Christians believe they can rest. However, Kostenbeger and Kruger marshal the facts to show how this was not, in fact, the case. So this is a
Zachary Lawson
Jun 25, 2016 Zachary Lawson rated it really liked it
"Early Christianity was a mess with scores of contradicting gospels and different beliefs about who Jesus was. It wasn't until hundreds of years later that the orthodox squashed out opposing views and rewrote the NT manuscripts". Such is the charge that Köstenberger and Kruger tackle in this short work. They argue (I) early Christianity was remarkably United around the core identity and actions of Jesus, (II) the disagreement on the NT canon was localized to peripheral books and the 4 Gospels ...more
Timothy Bertolet
Aug 01, 2011 Timothy Bertolet rated it it was amazing
This book is an excellent work debunking the Bauer thesis which has gained far more traction is some circles in New Testament studies than it is actually worth. The theory, while roundly refuted as been picked up by scholars such as Bart Ehrman and has been modified and adapted. This book is a welcomed addition to those works refuting the Bauer theory. Even more it takes Bart Ehrman to task for his appropriation of Bauer particularly in the area of textual criticism.

This book is written at a lev
Mar 27, 2014 Kyna rated it really liked it
Man, so far this is the second book I've read where the beginning chapters go over my head and then as it moves forward I comprehend it more and more. Oh well.

I feel the meat of this book that refuted the view that heresy preceded orthodoxy the best were the verses cited in the Old and New Testament. Awesome job authors!

I love the "conclusions" at the end of the chapters. Nice.

The ending chapters were a review for me, but I gained some new insights especially regarding Ehrman i.e., his circular
Aug 09, 2016 James rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
From a conservative, evangelical viewpoint, this is an excellent introduction to the current field of New Testament studies, especially as it relates to canonical issues (i.e. what counts as the New Testament?). For those unfamiliar with the various best-seller works of Bart Ehrman, this book does an excellent job of introducing the novice to Ehrman and his commitment to Walter Bauer's thesis (i.e. the infamous Bauer or the Bauer-Ehrman thesis).

I personally have an M.Div. in my background, but I
Jul 23, 2011 Jason rated it liked it
While I think these guys sometimes overstate their case, and sometimes make the same error as Ehrman et al (ie, by saying that Ehrman must 'demonstrate' any anti-supernatural assumptions he holds - which is of course impossible), I think the straight forward historical points they make are enough on their own to show that Ehrman is being intellectually dishonest in his critiques of early Christianity. I wish they would have just stuck to the historical evidence and not gotten sidetracked by the ...more
Chris Little
Mar 02, 2012 Chris Little rated it it was amazing
A powerful modern message is that Christianity is not what it seems. It's 'corrupted'. Or perhaps the apparent consistency of the message of Jesus is a result of oppression of alternate views.

This is a powerful message in a world where all power is to be mistrusted.

It's a convenient message too, for it provides an easy way to ignore the claim that Jesus who died is now alive and offers forgiveness before he returns as judge of all.

The Heresy of Orthodoxy attacks this modern message. It is a syst
Jonathan Cast
Nov 20, 2014 Jonathan Cast rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own
Great attack on liberalism; not so great defence of orthodoxy. This book is a great example of the contradictions contemporary Evangelicalism gets itself into in trying for a middle-of-the-road approach between Scripture and liberalism; the canon is defended by the Deposit of Faith, but the Deposit of Faith is apparently not enough to establish which passages are included in each book! The Pericope Adulterae is defended because some Church Fathers refer to it, but the Long Ending of Mark is ...more
Dec 30, 2010 Dmcconkey rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent book. It is more than taking on the Bauer-Ehrman thesis. It looks at the underpinnings of the philosophy that tries to address why people would continue to follow a theory that has been proven false. The culprit and seedbed is one - the culture of diversity, that is the only true absolute.The book is divided into three parts: the Heresy of Orthodoxy that examines the Bauer-Erhman thesis in the context of the New Testament & its times. The second part traces the ...more
Steve Castlen
Aug 25, 2010 Steve Castlen rated it it was amazing
This book is a solid refutation of ideas put forth from people like Bart Ehrman, who claim that we cannot know what the original New Testament was, and that the present canon/collection of books which make up the N.T. are somehow arbitrary and decided by those with the most power in the 4th century church.

In the end, the reader will see that such critics as Ehrman cannot make their case on the historical evidence, but rather are driven by theological and philisophical assumptions which are not
Joe Marlin
Mar 18, 2013 Joe Marlin rated it it was amazing
this book is great. not only did i learn a lot i never did in NT/canon/early church history in seminary I also was caught up on the theories and issues surrounding this deeply important issue. can we really say that what we see now as orthodoxy ascended as the 'winners of history' imposing their views and silences others when they were but one of many spins on christianity, is that where the evidence leads us or are we reading in our postmondern outlook back into the historical records? check it ...more
Robert Fonseca
Feb 09, 2015 Robert Fonseca rated it it was amazing
This book had all my favorite subjects- history, theology, and apologetics. The authors did a superb job of responding to the challenges presented in the writings of Ehrman, Pagels, and other contemporary proponents of early theological diversity. Whether or not you are familiar with the battles that rage against the canon of scripture, after reading this book you will have a better grasp of all the intricacies involved. In addition you will increase or solidify your trust in the accuracy of the ...more
Jacob O'connor
Dec 04, 2014 Jacob O'connor rated it it was amazing
Friday famously asked for "Just the facts, ma'am". Tougher than it seems. So often our feelings, prejudices, and personal histories color the way we see simple facts.
Kostenberger and Kruger think this is exactly what's going on with the recent fad of challenging early church history. I agree that our religious commitments, both pro and con, come to play when we evaluate the facts of history. They're the same facts, just seen through contrasting lenses. I hope those who've consumed the Bauer, Eh
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“Rather than being devoted to and dependent on the teaching of the apostles, these groups held that secretly revealed knowledge about Jesus trumped historical and theological continuity. The Fathers, on the other hand, taught that the Rule of Faith originated with the Old Testament prophetic message, which was fulfilled in Jesus and proclaimed by the apostles. The Fathers, in turn, guarded this message and passed it on to others, handing the baton to subsequent generations of believers.” 0 likes
“The siren song of pluralism will always drown out the sobering voice of history.” 0 likes
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