Michael's Reviews > Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible

Jesus, Interrupted by Bart D. Ehrman
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M_50x66
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May 27, 12

Read in May, 2012

In this book, Ehrman sets out to explain historical criticism of the New Testament to a lay audience.

As a general overview of New Testament scholarship, this book is great. I was a little disappointed that it focused exclusively on the New Testament, but it does a great job of surveying the topic. If you're interested in finding out who wrote the New Testament, what their historical situations and perspectives were, how books of the New Testament were selected, etc., you will love this book. If you're already familiar with the material this book breaks no new ground, but it's breezy and well written, and I enjoyed the reminders.

Ehrman is a self-proclaimed agnostic who at the outset claims that he wants his book to be read by Christians. In this, I'm not sure he succeeds. Were I writing a book about analyzing the Bible through a historical lense I would start with a history lesson, not a catalogue of contradictions. The prevalence of contradictions in the text is certainly a motivation to learn more about it, but it seems a little hostile to start that way. If you are a Christian who wants to learn more about the Bible, I might suggest saving the first chapter for the end.

Also, the big question of why this stuff isn't common knowledge is never answered. Ehrman correctly points out that ministers of mainstream protestant denominations all learn this stuff at divinity school, but they don't take it back to their congregations. (I remember being blown away by my first Bible class in college; Ehrman describes similar reactions from his intro students.) I would love to read a book that attempts to answer the question of why this is the case, but despite the title, this is not that book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this and recommend it to anyone who's interested in the subject. (It's been a number of years, but I also recommend Richard Friedman's _Who Wrote the Bible_ as and Old Testament companion.)
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