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The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings
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The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  790 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
This new edition of Bart Ehrman's highly successful introduction approaches the New Testament from a consistently historical and comparative perspective, emphasizing the rich diversity of the earliest Christian literature. Rather than shying away from the critical problems presented by these books, Ehrman addresses the historical and literary challenges they pose and shows ...more
Published October 7th 1999 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1996)
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Dec 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who think the best way to attack Christianity is its history
Recommended to Huyen by: Matt Molloy
One of my friends once said Christianity was a great idea, unfortunately, Jesus' disciples made it into a religion. I was never sure if I could agree with him. One thing to take away from this book, like other books by Ehrman, is that once you look critically into the historical stuff about Jesus and what he actually said and did, not what others interpreted him to say, things aren't as romantic as moralists or philosophers (not to mention theologians) would like us to think.

Unlike what most pe
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, religion
The chosen textbook for many History of the NT classes, and it's easy to see why. The primary strength of the book is its clarity, which is not easy to achieve in this subject area. Ehrman is careful not to stray into theological arguments, but when the historical context makes it impossible to avoid, he describes the conflict without taking sides. The result is a clear presentation of the history that avoids controversy. Of course there are historical disputes in addition to theological ones, b ...more
Mike Hankins
Jan 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
If you search for Bart Ehrman on Amazon, you'll find not only a prolific author, but one that is the cause of an intense amount of controversey. The comments pages of his book listings overflow with venomous diatribes. Some seminaries consider his name a curse word. And some of that is deserved. Ehrman has devoted much of his work to discrediting or even maligning Christianity, but this book should not be considered part of that body. Rather, this is a fairly old book, written before Ehrman beca ...more
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A terrific book, with writing that is clear, concise and logical as noted by one of the back cover testimonials. Professor Ehrman provides historical context for the New Testament as well as explanations for the different methods used in the study of the NT: literary - historical, thematic, comparative, and redactional. Also, discussed are the many problems found in the NT: the Gospels don't agree with one another in many instances, many of Paul's letters were not written by Paul, the books in t ...more
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are parts of this that are slow reading if you're not very interested in the New Testament, but there are other parts that are really interesting for anyone with an interest in the formation of sects/religions or the composition of the New Testament documents.

I'm not even close to done yet, but I've already learned so much. This is a fantastically researched, scholarly, objective account of the development of early Christianity, the Bible (as we now know it), Jesus' life and the time and
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
My book study group viewed this book as a series of lectures by the professor of religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Excellent presentation and delivery: just the right pace and amount of repetition to give me a chance to absorb the material. This is very much a historical look at the New Testament, showing how different parts support or conflict with each other, and why. It was especially interesting to me to see how the four gospels contradict each other, having been w ...more
Eric Wurm
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An academic textbook meant to objectively examine New Testament writings, the authors, and their purpose for writing them. This is a good place to begin for one interested in understanding the history of early Christianity.
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally! After starting this book over two years ago, and after several pauses in the reading, i've finished it!

This is an extremely well written and researched book that I recommend to anyone interested in the history of what is considered to be the Christian New Testament. The historical and literary methods used by Dr. Ehrman are fascinating. I am left amazed by the vast number and significance of facts and history related to the Early Christian writings that are never discussed in the domin
Jacob Aitken
now this one is fairly bad, but bad in an intriguing way. He laughably holds to the long-refuted Wredian thesis. Thirdly, he fails to engage Tom Wright or GB Caird on the points where the specifically challenge and overthrow Ehrman's thesis. He is aware that NT Wright has completely ravaged his thesis, but it doesn't bother him.

Some of the chapters on Gnosticism are interesting and helpful. He does go out of his way to show that certain historical details could not have happened. For example, he
Mike  Davis
I must admit at the outset that I am a fan of Dr. Ehrman. This book is essentially a text book on the historical origins of today's New Testament (NT). Dr. Ehrman is a theological historian, not a theologian. His research is exhaustive, factual, intellectual and honest.

It is not a book of faith, it is a book of fact based not only on the contents of the NT but takes into consideration available outside works of the same time period that support or challenge biblical content, and the recent finds
Neil Harmon
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the primary text for a graduate New Testament course. This was a fascinating book. It started with a bang explaining some very fundamental things that are often misunderstood about the New Testament and continued with eye opening information. The book uses a historical/critical approach and is largely about the text, the times and people involved in creating it, and the way that differences in time affect our ability to understand it. It is not a really doctrinal book and should be of i ...more
Wing Cheung
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very comprehensive textbook written for undergraduates. To introduce the student to the different methods of biblical criticism, the author uses genre criticism to analyse Mark, redaction criticism to analyse Matthew, the comparative method to analyse Luke, the socio-historical method to analyse John, and the contextual method to analyse the Johannine epistles. The author's stance is that the earliest traditions portray Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet, and he, perhaps unfairly, suggest ...more
John Jones
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to The Early Christian Writings is an outstanding informative book of understandings and very knowledgeable in pursuit of Christianity, provides view points, archeological and chronological surveys and facts. This is by far a very essential book to Christian Theology studies, a must have! This edition supplies color of the photos and well edited, very easily comprehended writing, key terms, and supplies many references to support the information given ...more
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Ehrman has a way with words when discussing difficult or sometimes boring issues. This book is an excellent introduction to the New Testament from a historical perspective. Granted, Ehrman could have spent a little more time discussing differences among various interpreters and scholars. To keep the pace going he usually skates through a few rather hotly-debated issues by noting that they are hotly debated, then moving on. As an intro text, though, this is probably to be expected. His suggestion ...more
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a Christian, I loved his approach.His critical acumen and broad base of knowledge is def. admirable. At times, it seems like his bias got in the way of portraying some information, yet at the same time, sometimes people with a grudge are the best innovators of a subject. For they are not afraid of what they find. It is difficult to find someone like that in this field.One can have faith and be a scholar, but unfortunately for some individuals of faith, this seems to be a paradox! All in all, ...more
Ira Therebel
It is a great book to introduce someone to the history of the New Testament. It is written from the neutral point of view, the author doesn't claim that there is God nor that there isn't. He just talks about history so it may be interesting for religious people just as Christians.

It discusses several books of the Bible and analyzes them using different methods while looking at the historical context, the development of Christianity at that time and the sources that might have been used. It was v
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had read an early, academic book by Ehrman before and I thoroughly enjoyed the argument (scribes altered biblical texts to argue a specific philosophy). I would have had a deeper understanding of that text had I read this one first. It is written at an easy to read level and covers both canonical and non-canonical works but superficially covers the divisions that came in the first and second centuries.
Jun 01, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the New Testament
Recommended to Theodora by: Elaine Pagels
Overall a good introduction to the New Testament. The stuff about Aramaic letters vs. Greek letters are very important, as was the discussion about Jesus' progression to God. Although I think Jesus was a prophet, and maybe an apocalyptic prophet, I think there is a balance between the sweetness of his teaching and the apocalyptic message. I don't think Jesus associated with sinners because they were the ones who had committed the most terrible offensives.
Cassandra Sabako
Oct 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All in all, a satisfactory introduction to the historical analysis of the New Testament. Ehrman is consistent in his agenda (and he DOES have one), but it usually leaves you with wanting to know more. This book sets the groundwork for further investigation. The exercises at the end of each chapter are thought provoking, if you're reading this for a class, and the bibliography is perfect for when you want to search down some more answers.
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bible-history
Designed as a text for Dr. Ehrman's seminary students, the book is imminately readable and informative. I was fascinated to see that Ehrman assumes his students know nothing about the scriptures except the myths delivered in Sunday School. For anyone who is curious about the 'holy' Christian scriptures, Dr. Ehrman is indeed a must read.
Would suggest if you haven't read Ehrman a good start is MISQUOTING JESUS.
May 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ehrman's quality as a scholar and this books valuable information unfortunately pale in comparison to his juvenile sense of humor and his seminary nerdiness that pervade every chapter of this book. I just finished this and all I can recall are his awkward jokes and jabs directed at the unknowing Christian masses of undergrad students that he has to deal with in his classes.
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kristin by: New Testament prof, University of Washington (required reading)
I loved this book. Ehrman, who teaches at UNC, apparently started out as an Evangelical fundamentalist Christian and through studying theology came to be an agnostic. For someone like me, who grew up in church but is still searching for answers, and who also really likes secrets, I was appreciative of his careful historian's perspective and open mind.
Although the book's layout resembles an extended 'Think and Do' page from a Saturday newspaper, Ehrman's learning and powers of exposition make this an excellent introduction to contemporary liberal scholarship. Those who hold to scriptural inerrancy may be puzzled or troubled by Ehrman's approach but for this reader, he is a fine guide to the books that lie at the heart of a Christian's faith.
William T.
Sep 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An awesome text; easy reading yet with enough details and bibliographical notes to start you on a full-bore study. It really made me wanna learn Greek!

I read it while going through a podcast New Testament course at Yale (I believe the instructor was Dr Dale Martin). The book and course are great!
Jun 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-books
while this, like any other book that attempts to give the most "accurate" presentation of the bible, is also just another historian's interpretation, i enjoyed reading it immensely and felt it made valuable and plausible insights. best when read in conjunction with an opposing point of view (john dominic crossan is a good choice)
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the better textbooks I've been assigned! Also would be a good intro reader for someone who wants the information in one place. A few glitches here and there, but overall, again, for an intro book it's pretty darn good.
Aug 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Any serious student of the Bible would be well-advised to begin with this classic textbook of the New Testament's historic beginnings. absolutely fascinating, Bart Ehrman is a great professor and writer--must read for Divinity students and novices alike.
Stephen Cranney
In general I think biblical scholars underestimate the size of their confidence intervals, but the book was very informative and worth reading to get a sense of the complexities in the NT that I previously took for granted.
Apr 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good book and one that I would highly recommend, especially to biblical literalists. I learned quite a lot from reading it. It's a good introduction to studying the New Testament from a historical perspective.
Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: outside-reading
Interesting introduction to the New Testament. Looks at the book from a historical approach, mixed with some literary criticism, and socio-cultural perspectives. An engaging textbook style introduction to "the book" of Western civilization.
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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
More about Bart D. Ehrman...

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