I was very excited when I started this book. for the first third of it I thought it would be the kind of book I would recommend to everyone, since he...moreI was very excited when I started this book. for the first third of it I thought it would be the kind of book I would recommend to everyone, since he was doing an excellent job of explaining how the Bible came to be and what every person should consider when studying it. After that bit though, if kind of went downhill. Most of that downhill was because he was beginning to repeat his arguments. The book could have been much better if: 1. More structure 2. While it's not Ehrman's area of expertise he could have gone through the same kind of treatment he did for the New Testament and applied it to the Hebrew Bible. For me personally I know much more about the Textual Criticism of the Tanakh and the whole time I was reading his treatment of the NT I was thinking of how NT studies compared and differed from Hebrew Bible studies. Of course if he had given equal treatment he would have had to change the title, but that would be fine I think. The title is a little sensational to begin with.
The introduction is a bit sad. Ehrman explains how he began to question his faith. For me as a Mormon learning about the Bible's history of error and redaction doesn't shake my faith in the least, because our church is not based exclusively on the Bible (or on the Book of Mormon), like Catholics we believe in a line of priesthood authority (just not the same line as theirs). Ehrman's foundation for his lack of faith is that if God can perform miracles and he wants us to read His book then why did he not preserve the text perfectly. The point in response that seems most often made is that the teachings are basic enough in the Bible and that the important thing is to understand that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ. While I agree with that I also agree with Ehrman's view that there are many things ambiguous in the bible like Godhead vs. Trinity, Faith vs. Works, etc which are important aspects of faith. It's the issue of Godhead vs. Trinity that keeps Mormons from being considered "Christian" by some of the other Christian faiths. (It is interesting that in Ehrman's background many Christians are not "real Christians". But like I said this issue doesn't shake my faith because I believe that while the foundation of a faith in Christ is the most important thing, you also will learn more about the nature of God as you study the scriptures and that it's not supposed to be easy, it's "line upon line" as in Isaiah 28:10 and "milk before meat" as in 1 Corinthians 3:2.
Like Ehrman's other book God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question-Why We Suffer this world is not perfect, where there is one perfect Christian church with the perfect Bible that has answers to all questions and no one suffers from disease, car accidents, and fascist dictators. I won't be reading that book, I am already fed up with the "a loving all powerful God can't exist if there is suffering in the world", to that I will just say: 1. If God stopped someone every time they pulled a gun on someone or got in a car while drunk we would not have freedom, we would be God's slaves or automaton, there would be no need for faith since you'd see God's hand every time you tried to hurt someone else. 2. As a father I see my children suffer all the time. They cry when they are hungry, when they want a toy, when they are sleepy, and when they don't want to get into the car-seat. To them it seems tragic, but with my perspective I can see that they will eat very soon, they will eventually have their toy, they will sleep, and the car-seat keeps them safe. If we had God's perspective our tragedies wouldn't seem so bad. Now I know, it can be a terrible thing to tell someone who is experiencing real tragedy, but it might be effective in some cases, just to help them know that in a few months, or a year they might still be sad about the tragedy, but they will have gotten over most the pain. (less)
Whenever I give one star to something I feel like I have to say why. You can read most of the other comments who gave this book negative ratings and I...moreWhenever I give one star to something I feel like I have to say why. You can read most of the other comments who gave this book negative ratings and I agree with almost all of them. The low point in the book was when he referenced Time Magazine calling him "The Man Who Can't Miss". Kind of ironic?
For someone who writes mysteries (none of which I have read--I saw the film adaption for Along Came A Spider, I didn't care for it--I think films/novels about serial killers are beyond stupid) it seems as though most of the motivations and actions of the Egyptian characters weren't very well thought out. His confident assertion that he's "solved" the mystery is based on circumstantial evidence.
Novels about Egypt are hard to read (and I assume they are harder to write). The names are all awkward and it's hard to feel like you are immersed in the story. You have a culture that in many ways is far removed from our own, much more so than Rome or even Biblical Israel--at least aspects of those cultures are present in our own. So I can't blame all of this on Patterson or Dugard. I think the only way a good novel of ancient Egypt will be written is if a fantasy writer teams up with an Egyptologist.(less)