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The Historical Jesus (Great Courses, #643)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  238 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Who was Jesus of Nazareth? What was he like? For more than 2,000 years, people and groups of varying convictions have pondered these questions and done their best to answer them. The significance of the subject is apparent. From the late Roman Empire all the way to our own time, no continuously existing institution or belief system has wielded as much influence as Christia ...more
Published January 1st 2000 by The Teaching Company
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Clif Hostetler
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
I listened to these lectures about ten years ago, and decided to brush up on the subject by listening to them again. Bart Ehrman starts at the beginner's level and proceeds in small logical steps to explain the historical method and criteria for judging the reliability of sources.

Ehrman basis his analyses on three criteria and uses the first ten lectures to explain and defend these criteria. People who are familiar with the criteria and are willing to accept them can safely skip these ten lectur
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
We listened to Part I of this audio book on a recent trip. The author is a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina; he is also a prolific author, with many titles to his name. This one definitely focuses on the historic life, and evidence to support the same, of Jesus of Nazareth. This is not a religious treaty, but an objective, and thought provoking look at a life that has impacted history for over two thousand years.
We listened to part I of this book a couple of ye
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
A well designed course covering the purely historical evidence available about Jesus. Ehrman makes it crystal clear that the course is an historical, and not a theological approach. It is a critical evaluation, which will upset a few people who have set views about Jesus and the NT (and Ehrman's critics can be found fulminating all over the internet). But a critical evaluation of the historical evidence can also provide a context for the theology that it inspires. It may even transform it.

Jean Doolittle
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was very informative and was a well-balanced and authoritative look at Jesus from a historical perspective, demonstrating what can be learned from the historical record. It was a clear look at how historical research is conducted, which was very worthwhile. I can take that understanding into other historical documentation and be able to distinguish in a much deeper way what is likely factual, possibly factual, or highly suspect and in the realm of opinion or conjecture. By placing all his e ...more
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
Bart D. Ehrman is a religious studies professor at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. In these twenty-four audio lectures, he uses the tools of a secular historian to determine what Jesus actually said and did. This was really my first analytical look at the gospels, and I had not realized some of the contradictions between the books on some pretty big points like whether Jesus was put to death before or after the Passover feast. I very much enjoyed these lectures. They were captivating, ...more
Seth Davis
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Meh it was ok. Definitely interesting on some points. I find it funny that technically this is just ANOTHER interpretation of the Gospels.
Audio download.
This is a fascinating set of lectures that clearly demonstrate the methods use by the (modern) historian: 1) examine the sources and establish the most credible (i,e, believable) facts, 2) establish the historical context (i.e., languages, common culture, political realities), 3) suspend personal biases and ignore undocumented supernatural claims, 4) establish a methodology to weigh or measure the evidence in forming a conclusion. This is basically the scientific method in action.
Gabe Bernal
Apr 15, 2016 rated it liked it
There are a lot of good things that Professor Ehrman presents and a lot of not so good things he presents in this lecture series. What I expected when I bought this was a scholarly, unbiased overview of the historical man of Jesus. You definitely receive some scholarly research on the sources and a peek into methodology of research the historical Jesus. BUT... you definitely do not receive an unbiased analysis of the information provided.

For example, he spends much of the first few lectures prep
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Everything I tell you is true. Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, all of it. True. It just may not be based in fact."

- My "World Religions" Professor's opening statement

RECOMMENDED READING: For believers, non-believers, skeptics, religious studies majors, history buffs, people in those 'Atheist vs.' Facebook groups, fans of cool narrative, poli-sci majors.

You can get on Audible for 1 credit or about $20, if you don't have an account - you can get for free.

These 24 lectures deft
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
I listened to this series many years ago and it was perhaps the first set of such lectures on Christian religion I had listened to. Now many books and lectures behind me, I decided to listen to this one again.
It still stands out as one of the clearest expositions of the historical Jesus. Take away all items of faith and what remains. The purpose is not to the abnegation of faith, although it does make the case occasionally for how certain inconsistencies in the Apostles appear to support the va
Jun 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I liked the way he gave the criteria he would use throughout to determine the probability of authenticity from an historians point of view and how he took the examples he gave through the criteria. I wish he would have given the process he used to decide that the gospels were pseudononymous and the dates of their composition.

He also stated at the beginning that the criterion of disimilarity could really only be used to say that something probably did happen but not that it didn't. Yet near the
Jun 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This set is made up of 24 half hour lectures by University of North Carolina Professor of Religious Studies Bart Ehrman. Ehrman applies tests of historical accuracy to the various gospels to try to zero in on what did Jesus really say? and what did Jesus really do? Professor Ehrman is a great speaker and shows that he has a sense of humor. These traits make the lectures fun to listen to. I appreciated how Ehrman keeps recapping previous material and tying the many parts into three over-arching c ...more
Glenn Bowlan
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very interesting look at the historical Jesus. Ehrman reads the new Testament with 3 historical criteria (multiple attestation, dissimilarity and contextual credibility) in order to identify material that is most likely historical. This exercise results in a portrait of Jesus as a Jewish apocalypticist who thought the end of the world was at hand. There is a lot of great material here such as the discussion of the phrases: 'the son of man' and 'the son of God'.
Mario Russo
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ttc, religion
Wow. What a great course. Bart really nailed (no pun intended) the subject.
It goes all the way to historical evidences, context, gospels and passing through different criterias to give in the end a deeper understanding of the who was this important figure in our culture, filtering out much of what is theological beliefts. Seriously, what a great course. And it closes with a golden key reinforcing that interpreting Jesus out of his context might be a big mistake. 5 glowing stars.
Jun 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
Parts of this were slow and quite repetitive. But overall I enjoyed these lectures and found several things worth thinking about. The lecture that went through the historical context of Israel was very useful and enjoyable.
Peter Swenson
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Kind of earth shattering. Really good. Not for Christians who are afraid of new perspectives. Or rather, that's exactly who should read this. You should be more interested in truth and fact than in the comfort of traditions.
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
All of you have heard my praise Erdhman's scholarship before so all I shall add is that his reasoning and research remain as relentless as the tide. Brilliant analysis. Not always reassuring but fact usually aren't.
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
This is delivered in a very monotonous way. He sounds like someone giving their first powerpoint presentation. If you're interested in this subject but are having a hard time getting through this try his more recent work (by 2005 his skills are much better).
Josephus Brautigan
A fantastic and objective search for just who Jesus was. Mr. Ehrman is a reputable historian who, seemingly, leaves no stone unturned in these lectures.
Craig Bolton
"The Historical Jesus, Part 1 & 2 by Professor Bart D. Ehrman (2000)"
Mar 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Great content. Excellent explanation of the secular historian's viewpoint and tools. Not faith promoting.
Mark Mazelli
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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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