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Forged: Writing in the Name of God

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  2,418 Ratings  ·  245 Reviews
s/t: Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are
Bart D. Ehrman, the New York Times bestselling author of Jesus, Interrupted and God's Problem reveals which books in the New Testament were not passed down by Jesus' disciples, but were instead forged by other hands--and why this centuries-hidden scandal is far more significant than many scholars are willing to admi
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Hardcover, 1st edition, 320 pages
Published March 22nd 2011 by HarperOne (first published March 2nd 2011)
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Bill  Kerwin
Mar 31, 2011 rated it liked it

Bart Ehrman is a legitimate scripture scholar who began as a fundamentalist at the Moody Bible Institute and who is now an agnostic teaching at Chapel Hill. He is scrupulously accurate and typically fair-minded, but he does have an ax to grind: he is a man who feels he has been deceived by lies and misled by euphemisms, and consequently commits himself--at least in his non-scholarly books like this one--to calling a spade a bloody shovel.

The term pseudo-epigraphy--the scholarly term for works f
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Clif Hostetler
Apr 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
The material covered isn't new to anyone familiar with critical biblical scholarship.
However, Ehrman is different because of the following:

1. He's willing to call it forgery, lying and deceit (where appropriate).
2. He says those who use milder adjectives are not supported by the evidence.
3. He used to believe the Bible was true without error.
4. He is now writing about the untruths and errors contained in the Bible.
5. His writing style is interesting and clear.
6. He has the academic credentials
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Ian
I am a nominal Roman Catholic. I attend mass once a week; I send my children to Catholic school; my wife teaches at Catholic school; I am a semi-active volunteer in my parish community; I even play in the Sunday evening worship band. (Yes, Catholics can have worship bands, too.) For most of my life, up until a few years ago, I would have described myself as an evangelical Christian. I spent my formative years in the Presbyterian Church (USA) then, for over a decade, I was a member and very activ ...more
Trevor
May 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, history
Part of me wasn’t going to bother with this one. I had already read Misquoting Jesus, and suspected this book would be much the same and on exactly the same topic. But, although he does cover some of the same material (mostly right at the end) he does this in a very summary way – just enough to remind you of some of the stories there. This book covers lots of new ground for me and, like his other books, is remarkably interesting.

I’m not going to do a full review of this one, really. This will be
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Edward
Jun 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I think this is the eighth book by Bart Ehrman I've read this year, so to be honest it's becoming a bit of a blur. Forged is one of the good ones, though. At first glance the topic appears to be a re-tread of Misquoting Jesus, but actually the main focus is on overall attribution of the books of the New Testament (and other extra-biblical writings), not the ways in which the initial texts became corrupted through the years. It's interesting to see which of the books in the NT were actually writt ...more
Laura
Jun 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Laura by: NPR
When I was young and still trying to be a Christian, something I read mentioned off handedly that at first, the book of Job ended with him abasing himself before God. No restoration, no great grandchildren, no death at 140 full of days. It was the first time it had hit me that this book I’d read and been taught was central to faith, while perhaps inspired in the writing, was edited by human hands. It preyed on me. On the one hand, it made it seem like a wiser text. Bad things do happen to good p ...more
Grace Tjan
What I learned from this book (in no particular order):

1. There were lots of forged writings in the ancient world, including biblical ones.

2. Out of the 27 books of the New Testament, 10 might have been forged works --- depending on which biblical scholar you talked to.

3. Some modern-day scholars of biblical textual criticism prefer to call them “pseudepigrapha” (“falsely attributed”), but this term is misleading, as the authors of these works intended to pass themselves off as someone else, ty
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E.
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
A lot of Ehrman's work I've considered simply popularization of stuff that those of us with academic training in religion learned in school. I think he would generally acknowledge that. Gosh, I even learned most of it in my Southern Baptist school, because the academic standards of historical-critical method were still used.

I really wanted to read this book, however, because it made what to me was a new argument. It had been standard in my education and in other commentaries I've read to claim t
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Russell Ince
Jun 15, 2011 rated it really liked it

I am a big fan of Bart Ehrman because, as an erstwhile Christian and venerable New Testament scholar, he is adequately equipped to discuss these subjects but unlike many Christian academics his agnosticism lends him an air of intellectual honesty which I, as an agnostic atheist interested in Christianity, sometimes find lacking in other New Testament scholars. Ehrman has a respect for his Christian material that axe-grinding atheists may lack but is not clouded by personal subjectivities and rel
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Louise
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bible-studies
While looking for something aimed at the general reader on how the books of the Bible were selected, I came upon this book. It has a different focus, but through the story of how the books were written, it answers some questions on how the actual canon was created.

The author, Bart Ehrman, provides a lot of background on the times with emphasis on literacy, the culture's view of forgery, pseudonyms and other aspects of authorship. His best descriptions are those of why some books are suspect: som
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Libby
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is another winner by Bart Ehrman, whose works I have reviewed before. Ehrman has the knack of dealing with complex issues in in assessable terms. He clears up murky issues, defines sneaky slippery terms and frequently footnotes to lead the reader to other authors' works. Needless to say, dealing with the issue of forgery or falsity in the Bible is a little like juggling live lobsters and lit dynamite, hot, emotional and controversial. Ehrman is an agile and dextrous juggler who leads h ...more
David Schwan
Oct 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book. A somewhat large percentage of the new testament was written by people other than who the works are attributed to. Sometimes it has been clear that these occurred and these works were officially blessed by the church, other times it has only been modern scholarship that has identified certain works as deceiving at the minimum. This book can in places present more detail than is necessary to make it's point but in spite of this is still a very insightful book well worth reading.
Rusty
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Straight up, a warning, I still have half a dozen religiously related books on my to-be-read pile, and several others I intend on getting to at some point soon that I’ve not already purchased. So, tons of pointless religious talk coming. Read at your own peril.

It’s like this, I was listening to this podcast the other day, and it was a free form conversation, but with the assumption that the two persons would spend the most of their time discussing the existence of God, the necessity of religion
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Dee Eisel
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
This is a fun book to read. Ehrman does not take himself too seriously, and enjoys teasing everyone from atheists to literalist fundamentalists. His topic this time? Which books of the New Testament are forged - that is, written by people other than the people said to be their writers. It's a fantastic fun read, and if you have to read just one book by Ehrman, make it this one.

In the first part of the book, Ehrman defines his terms: What does forged really mean? What is pseudoepigraphical? How
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Dave Maddock
Mar 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
Not much new in this book if you're familiar with Ehrman's other work. As he has done before, Ehrman marshalls his typical collection of anecdotes, facts, assertions, etc. and applies them to a specific focus. In Misquoting Jesus the focus was textual variation in New Testament manuscripts. In Jesus Interrupted it was variation in content, theme, etc. in NT books. In Forged, he focuses specifically on authorship.

The details about the books themselves are nothing new to people who know what they
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Darrel
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book felt like an easy walk and discussion with the author. I was pretty familiar with the territory he covers, but the greater detail was welcome as well as well reasoned arguments. I particularly liked how he used non-canonical and other ancient texts to illustrate the process of forgery, plagiarism, etc. I found his precision of language important in understanding the claims of moderns about ancient writers. I was told throughout my seminary and early religious training that forgery and ...more
Thomas Wells
Feb 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
The author begins the book by assuming that the New testament is forged. He offers terrible arguments, the only basis for which is on ancient forging practices. I attempted to write a history paper to argue against this book, but there wasn't enough historical evidence being proposed to argue against.
Joe
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bible, 2011
For the Presbyterian Outlook

Bart Ehrman has once again written a sprightly, challenging and informative volume. Some of his previous books too often offer a rehash of well known scholarly conclusions, served up in an exaggerated fashion that is often misleading. You will find similar tendencies in Forged, but Ehrman also offers some original research which will be presented in a more scholarly volume at a later date.

The basic premise of Forged is that much of the New Testament is in fact compris
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Richard
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is at least the 9th book I've read by noted Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman. I've enjoyed every one, including now Forged. As usual, the writing is clear and witty. Ehrman compellingly lays out the evidence that at least 10 of the 27 books of the New Testament are forgeries. That is, each of these books was written by someone other than the person who claims to be the author, in order to deceive the world at large in the early centuries A.D. There are other forgeries. Other New Testament books ...more
Sarah
Jun 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book contains a lot of good information, even though it was somewhat dry and academic. I found it to be very much worth reading. It talks about how many of the books of the New Testament are forgeries written by authors pretending to be people they weren't. I found it ironic that some of the most memorable Bible passages that speak out against lying, such as the one that says "the truth will set you free" were written by forgers who were lying about who they were in order to geai a wider re ...more
Kristi Richardson
“One of the ironies of modern religion is that the absolute commitment to truth in some forms of evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity and the concomitant view that truth is objective and can be verified by any impartial observer have led many faithful souls to follow the truth wherever it leads—and where it leads is often away from evangelical or fundamentalist Christianity. So if, in theory, you can verify the “objective” truth of religion, and then it turns out that the religion being e ...more
Kris
May 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I really enjoyed reading this book and I think that it would be a good book for all people to read.

Here are a few things I read about in the book. If any of this interests you then you should pick up the book and read it. Or if you are a christian, then you really should read this book.

Many early christian writings are pseudonymous, going under a false name. A more common word for this is forgery.

Second Thessalonians which claims to be written by Paul warns against falling for forgeries but it i
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Marfita
Apr 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion-atheism
If you've read the rest of Ehrman's oeuvre, there won't be a great deal more in this book to sink your teeth into. Right now I suspect Ehrman's a popular New Testament exegesis factory but even a factory turns out good material, even if it all starts to look the same. He does, however, footnote everything. He gives you the location of his source material in English so you can check up behind him. He does not make things up (as colorful as Borg and Crossan's book might have been, they made stuff ...more
Vegantrav
Apr 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
In his latest book, Bart Ehrman points out that many of the books of the New Testament were written by men claiming to be apostles when they really were not. For example, Jesus’s disciple Peter did not write the books of 1 and 2 Peter, nor did the apostle Paul write Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, or the pastoral epistles (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus). This is the accepted view in academia; it is the consensus among almost all New Testament scholars. Even at the conservative evangelical se ...more
Sean
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I would suggest that every Christian read this book, but you could give all the evidence in the world - you could give concrete proof - that the Bible is an imperfect, fallible, and very human book, and most Christians would still believe it's the inerrant and perfect "Word of God." People believe what they want to believe. It's just really sad that so many people base their lives on the Bible, but are at the same time so ignorant of its history. Most Christians can't even answer simple question ...more
Martha
Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
First, I received an uncorrected proof of Forged from the publisher, HarperOne. There was no other compensation and I made no promises as to what I would say about it.



Forged is a book aimed at a popular readership using material Bart Ehrman plans to use also for a more scholarly book about the practice of forgery in the ancient world and the forgery of documents in early Christianity. The practice was not, according to Ehrman, generally accepted in the Ancient World, despite what I may have lear
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Lumumba Shakur
Professor Ehrman writes in a highly accessible and entertaining style. The message is profound: forgery was a widespread practice in Early Christianity - so widespread that in one way or another, it found its way into almost half of the books of the New Testament. But as it is not a new claim, I got the book to serve as a comparison between the canonization of Christian scripture and hadith authentication. With that aim in mind, I appreciate Ehrman's focus on the discipline of textual criticism ...more
John de' Medici
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Wish I'd read Bart in my young, conceited seminary days. What a difference that would've made...

Yet another brilliant book by Bart, this one dealing particularly with pseudonymous New Testament books (books written under a false name). Bart argues that these books are modern equivalents to Forgeries, pointing out how prevalent this practice in the early church and just how much it was generally condemned.

He highlights books that didn't make it into the canon, primarily because they were deemed t
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Jon
Feb 24, 2015 rated it liked it
I was vaguely familiar with the controversy about how to take Biblical books which were clearly not really written by the authors who are claimed (in the books themselves) to have written them. Ehrman is quick to point out that he is NOT talking about the gospels, none of which itself claims to have been written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. He is talking mainly about 1 and 2 Peter, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, 2 Thessalonians, Colossians, and Ephesians. Most authorities explain away false claims ...more
Sahar Kharrufa
Jun 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting. Especially coming from a born again christian and an evangelical Bible scholar. Its very difficult to separate the truth from the trash when you have preconceived ideas. Which all religious people have.
In short, the author discusses the plausibility of getting a true account of the bible using references which are almost impossible to verify. He refers to much material which appears to be especially suspect and is a part of todays new testament. He also says, very briefly, tha
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Goodreads Librari...: Fix Title 2 9 Sep 17, 2016 08:58AM  
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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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“The search for truth takes you where the evidence leads you, even if, at first, you don't want to go there.” 51 likes
“One of the ironies of modern religion is that the absolute commitment to truth in some forms of evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity and the concomitant view that truth is objective and can be verified by any impartial observer have led many faithful souls to follow the truth wherever it leads—and where it leads is often away from evangelical or fundamentalist Christianity. So if, in theory, you can verify the “objective” truth of religion, and then it turns out that the religion being examined is verifiably wrong, where does that leave you? If you are an evangelical Christian, it leaves you in the wilderness outside the evangelical camp, but with an unrepentant view of truth. Objective truth, to paraphrase a not so Christian song, has been the ruin of many a poor boy, and God, I know, I’m one. Before moving outside into” 1 likes
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