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Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  5,154 ratings  ·  481 reviews
Picking up where Bible expert Bart Ehrman's New York Times bestseller Misquoting Jesus left off, Jesus, Interrupted addresses the larger issue of what the New Testament actually teaches—and it's not what most people think. Here Ehrman reveals what scholars have unearthed:



The authors of the New Testament have diverging views about who Jesus was and how salvation works

The Ne
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ebook, 304 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published February 20th 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Eric
First off, I think it’s important to dismiss any of the common misunderstandings about Bart Ehrman and this book. The book is not a diatribe. It does not set out to debunk Christianity. Ehrman, in my opinion, is not angry, condescending, or uncaring in this book – quite the opposite, actually. Ehrman is not asking that you abandon your faith. I personally feel, having read the book, that Ehrman has served us up a wonderful tool, and has provided us with a great opportunity for discussion that co ...more
Ian
I have written elsewhere in angry fashion about a crisis of faith I experienced a couple of years ago. I have emerged from the crisis and entered something of a renaissance in my own faith. I haven’t given up on everything I once believed but I also won’t pretend that the faith I now hold is merely a stronger version of what I was taught to believe growing up. To be sure, my faith now is much stronger than what I was taught to believe, but it’s also much more thoughtful, intelligent, egalitarian ...more
Trevor
Here’s a question for you. How important is it that the Jesus of the Bible and the historical Jesus are more or less the same guy? Or even better, how important is it that the ideas Jesus was trying to spread by his ministry are the same ideas that have come to be followed in the various Christian churches?

There was a time when I would have thought that all Christians would have wanted to answer both of these questions by saying that it was fundamentally important to their faith that what they c
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Stephanie
I’m going to catch Hell for this………..

The Bible is the most boring book ever written. Ever.

This book has some very interesting observations and conclusions, but the author admitted he was delving into the minutia of the Bible but that he just couldn’t help himself, he then stated “I’m going to stop that now.” Soon after a few cogent points, he was right back at it. God love him.

Bart D. Ehrman knows his stuff when it comes to religion and the Bible, in particular. The guy has more degrees on reli
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K.D. Absolutely
An eye-opener. This book points out the inconsistencies in the Bible. But it is written positively or with no malice of putting down one's faith. It just makes the reader aware of those inconsistencies so one can search for truth be it in further research by reading more books or internet entries or, in my case, search from the bottom of my heart on those deep-seated beliefs that no matter how blunt and thought-provoking the exposes are, what prevails is that belief that I have since I was a lit ...more
Jan Rice
I have read several of Bart Ehrman's books previously, or listened to his lecture series: The New Testament (Great Courses series), From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity (Parts 1 and 2) (Great Courses), Lost Christianities, and now the present book. For some reason Goodreads isn't showing many of his books, and I'm not up for laboriously adding them tonight. This is surprising, for surely he has a wide readership. Bart Ehrman is one of those writers about whom it is said he ...more
A
Jun 24, 2012 A added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: truth seekers
Once again Bart D. Ehrman has reminded me why I transferred out of Lancaster Bible College. "Jesus, Interrupted" is a summery of the Critical-Historical approach to the New Testament. This is opposed to the devotional studies approach espoused by nearly all evangelical churches. The Critical-Historical approach looks at the various books of the Bible as being historical documents existing separately, each written with a specific message for a specific audience. I.e. Paul's letter to the Church o ...more
Hayden
Despite having an incredibly stupid title, this book is fascinating. Ehrman dishes all the dirt on not just the contradictions between how, say, Mark and Luke tell Jesus' story, but also who the authors of the New Testament really were (and more importantly, who they were not), what the early sects of the Christian church were like, and how they battled it out to decide what would be left in and out of the canon.

A couple of my favorite tidbits:

1. Matthew says that Jesus was born "of a virgin" be
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Casey
So when I bought this book on a whim who knows how long ago, I expected it to be a collection of interesting contradictions in Biblical statements. I thought that Ehrman might do something like contrast 1 Corinthians 14:33 ("For God is not a God of disorder but of peace") with Matthew 10:34 ("I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword"). Then we'd all get a good laugh out of the ridiculous of it all.

Jesus, Interrupted is not a book about these surface level contradictions. In fact, it was f
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David S. T.
Imagine if you tried to remove all of the later history of the bible, the views of inerrancy of scripture, the later theology, later tradition and then started to study the bible for the first time, looking for clues in the text, study the culture it was written in, treat it like any other surviving ancient document not the divine word of God, you'd probably come away with something like what is presented in this book. This book was a very good easy to read introduction to the historical critica ...more
Nick
By far his best book.....until the last chapter. Before I explain why, I would like to put forward that I find Bart Ehrman by FAR the best of the newer agnostic authors. Much like myself, he know longer believes in the Christ or the bible, and yet he is not condescending or combative with those who are, unlike a Richard Dawkins who kills his own arguments for me when he attacks religions. However, This line in the last chapter killed it for me...

"Even now, as I type these words, I'm on a beach h
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James
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A.J.
Christians, here is what Dr. Ehrman will do for you. He'll pick you up at the airport on his own time and with his own car. He'll put your bags in the trunk, engage you with small talk, and show you around town so you're comfortable. He knows what's going through your head, but once the surroundings are more familiar, maybe you'll loosen up. Then he'll explain why we have the Procedure. He knows it's scary, but by now you'll know that a lot of people have been through it. As you arrive at the fa ...more
Matt
I generally avoid the religion section of the bookstore, not for lack of interest but because of a general fear of accidentally picking something up that basically wants to preach one way or another. In that sense, it's not a lot different than the political aisle. Some years ago I stumbled into the work of Elaine Pagels and I liked several of her books. But with religion, most books are guilty until proven otherwise.

But I took a flyer on this one. I became familiar with Ehrman because he's one
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Rickey
I'm not an expert on the Bible, which is why I read this book, although I'd always been interested in the history of the Bible and early Christianity, which a lot of people also aren't very knowledgeable about. Many seem to think the Bible just dropped down from heaven in the form it is today and that the Christian religions of 2000 years ago were the same as today. Ehrman convinced me that he had quite a lot of expertise on the New Testament. I liked his delivery and was impressed with his rese ...more
Tim
Oh man was this book good....

It's along the same vein as Misquoting Jesus, his previous book on the scribal mistakes of the NT. This book focuses more on the textual, political, and theological history of early Christianity and how these factors came to influence the orthodox views that we're familiar with today. Ehrman exposes a few very important issues and the impact they may have for us today.

A few of the issues that he brings up strike me particularly hard, and now that he's brought them u
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Clif Hostetler
I recommend the review of this book by Trevor at the following link:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

The following is my review written five months ago:
There is nothing new or revolutionary in this book for anyone who has studied bible in a mainline seminary or divinity school (or in my case, listened to Ehrman's lectures from the Teaching Company). The problem is that most ministers use the Bible only as a source of devotional material, and refrain from telling their parishioners about w
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Trey Nowell
I enjoyed this book better than Misquoting Jesus actually. I like how Ehrman has respectable scholarship and reiterates other scholars would agree on the historical implications he has put forth. I reach the conclusions of many collegues he refers to often in his book, not to say his ideas for not believing are not resonable. This book points out many of the questions I have asked for years....did Nicea get it right with all the chosen books of the cannonical 27? What about other books like The ...more
Judith
Like many people, I had a vague picture of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John keeping journals of their everyday lives with Jesus and stapling them together to send them in to Random House for publication. Well, duh! Do you know who wrote the Bible? As it turns out, every seminary student learns in his first year of college that the 1st 4 books of the New Testament weren't written by MML&J at all, at least not the disciples, (though they could have been coincidentally 4 men with the same names.) ...more
poorvi cowkur
The Bible is the most important book in the history of Western Civilization.It is the most extensively purchased,read and deeply revered book and ,as Bart. Ehrman puts it, also the most misunderstood book in history!Having come from an evangelical Christian background himself, the author takes a very sympathetic approach towards unraveling his thesis of the Bible and makes it clear from the very start that this book is not some ground breaking attempt to unravel the many contradictions in the Bi ...more
Notary Tim
If you are happy in your belief that the Bible was dictated by God or otherwise inspired in such a way that it is "inerrant," you will not want to read this book -- as it is a direct challenge to that belief.

Ehrman points out the many, many contradictions within the New Testament (his speciality as a Bible scholar) and gives a good overview of the historical-critical approach to Bible studies, as contrasted with the devotional and other approaches. Most church-based Bible studies are devotional
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Chungsoo Lee
May 30, 2011 Chungsoo Lee rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all Christians
Recommended to Chungsoo by: NPR
Every Christians should read this book. “Have courage to read this book,” as Sartre said about Fanon's The Wretched Of The Earth. As Ehrman says, the book contains information which is nothing new. He only organized very lucidly the updated scholarly findings regarding the New Testament which are widely taught in the top 10 seminaries in the U.S.A. for the last 20 to 50 years. But American layman is completely in the dark due to pastors not teaching them in the Sunday schools about the historica ...more
Curtis
A fascinating and objective history of the New Testament's creation and the formulation of the early Christian church, and about the transition from the religion OF Jesus to the religion ABOUT Jesus that dominates much of the world today. This book is a revelation (no pun intended) because of the startling facts it reveals and because of the availability of those facts to anyone who cares to know more about the book that guides so many lives. I think it is the duty of any devotional Christian to ...more
Bob
I liked this book a lot more than I expected to. My typical reaction to Bart Ehrman is that I find his facts compelling, but I don't feel compelled to accept all his conclusions, and this book was no different.

He does a good job of presenting scholarship (i.e. facts you can look up for yourself in the Bible) about discrepancies in the New Testament accounts. He also presents good historical information about the origin of the New Testament canon, as well as conclusions scholars have drawn about
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Karyl
I went into this book thinking I would enjoy it, as I have issue with a lot of people who believe the Bible, especially the New Testament, is the literal Word of God. How can it possibly be? For one thing, it's a translation from the original Aramaic and Greek. A translation cannot possibly be the Word of God. Secondly, we don't have any of the original texts. We have texts that were copied hundreds of years after the originals were written, and the originals were written at least several decade ...more
Denice
Admittedly, I knew nothing of the Bible before reading this book. Although this book is really interesting, the author repeats himself often about how many scholars agree with him in each chapter (and sort of rehashes the same "now this is what we have learned in the last chapter", he is constantly on the defense from his critics. I was annoyed though that he constantly name drops one of his other books a few times throughout, and then, in the middle of the book, he just takes a huge part of the ...more
David Chivers
An excellent book on the historical aspects of the Bible, its origins, its conflicts within itself, and the problems thatarise with Biblical research. For anyone who took historical/critical Bible studies in college, it will go over familiar ground, and he makes no bones about this. But as he points out, while most theological schools have critical Bible studies as a part of the regular curriculum, most of this basic research (The Q source, problems of literary consistency in the wiritng suggest ...more
Terence
May 24, 2010 Terence rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terence by: Xmas gift from the Dad
Bart Ehrman is joining Jonathan Kirsch as a writer whose earlier books I admire and enjoyed but whose more recent works are largely rehashes and (worse) often poorly written and edited. Jesus, Interrupted doesnt' cover any territory not already covered in Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus or Lost Christianities. It also reads like Ehrman threw together his lecture notes - it's repetitive and slapdash. I could envision him using this to good effect in a lecture hall but as a book, the style has serious p ...more
Mike
If you really want to understand the Bible and where it came from then this is book is a must read.

If you've read the Bible and felt frustrated when you tried to make sense of it, as I did, this book will help you understand why, clearly and without exaggeration or bias - the author wants to show you the true sources of the book.

Bart Ehrman will show you inconsistencies and contradictions that were so glaringly obvious when he pointed them out that I had to wonder how deep my Catholic fear and
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Steven
Had I read or been taught the bible from the perspective Bart D. Ehrman gives in Jesus Interrupted, I might still be a practicing Christian. But I was brought up a fundamentalist, a Northern Baptist. In that religion every word of the bible is inspired, the word of God himself, inerrant. So what does a smart kid do when he perceives contradictions and no religious leader can give him a good answer; chuck the religion. What sort of religion perpetrates such absolutism, but then contains such broa ...more
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  • The Atheist's Introduction to the New Testament: How the Bible Undermines the Basic Teachings of Christianity
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Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. He came to UNC in 1988, after four years of teaching at Rutgers University. At UNC he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies.

A graduate of Wheaton College (Illinois), Professor Ehrman received both his Masters of Div
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More about Bart D. Ehrman...
Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question - Why We Suffer Forged: Writing in the Name of God Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make It Into the New Testament

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“One of the most amazing and perplexing features of mainstream Christianity is that seminarians who learn the historical-critical method in their Bible classes appear to forget all about it when it comes time for them to be pastors. They are taught critical approaches to Scripture, they learn about the discrepancies and contradictions, they discover all sorts of historical errors and mistakes, they come to realize that it is difficult to know whether Moses existed or what Jesus actually said and did, they find that there are other books that were at one time considered canonical but that ultimately did not become part of Scripture (for example, other Gospels and Apocalypses), they come to recognize that a good number of the books of the Bible are pseudonymous (for example, written in the name of an apostle by someone else), that in fact we don't have the original copies of any of the biblical books but only copies made centuries later, all of which have been altered. They learn all of this, and yet when they enter church ministry they appear to put it back on the shelf. For reasons I will explore in the conclusion, pastors are, as a rule, reluctant to teach what they learned about the Bible in seminary.” 47 likes
“The historical problems with Luke are even more pronounced. For one thing, we have relatively good records for the reign of Caesar Augustus, and there is no mention anywhere in any of them of an empire-wide census for which everyone had to register by returning to their ancestral home. And how could such a thing even be imagined? Joesph returns to Bethlehem because his ancestor David was born there. But David lived a thousand years before Joseph. Are we to imagine that everyone in the Roman Empire was required to return to the homes of their ancestors from a thousand years earlier? If we had a new worldwide census today and each of us had to return to the towns of our ancestors a thousand years back—where would you go? Can you imagine the total disruption of human life that this kind of universal exodus would require? And can you imagine that such a project would never be mentioned in any of the newspapers? There is not a single reference to any such census in any ancient source, apart from Luke. Why then does Luke say there was such a census? The answer may seem obvious to you. He wanted Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, even though he knew he came from Nazareth ... there is a prophecy in the Old Testament book of Micah that a savior would come from Bethlehem. What were these Gospel writer to do with the fact that it was widely known that Jesus came from Nazareth? They had to come up with a narrative that explained how he came from Nazareth, in Galilee, a little one-horse town that no one had ever heard of, but was born in Bethlehem, the home of King David, royal ancestor of the Messiah.” 20 likes
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