Trevor's Reviews > Forged: Writing in the Name of God

Forged by Bart D. Ehrman
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's review
May 27, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 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 more just a couple of asides further to this review here

All the same, there are things I need to say about this one:

The bit that stopped me was a line about Thomas the Contender – who was the ‘author’ of a Gnostic gospel, but whose main claim to fame, even beyond being one of the apostles, was that he was Jesus’s twin brother. It is hard to adequately describe what happened to my brain on hearing this. The first thought that slammed in was – how did I get to be this old without knowing Jesus had a twin brother? (Surely someone ought to have mentioned this to me at some stage before now) I know people are sometimes surprised to learn that Jesus had brothers and sisters, but nothing prepared me for the idea he might have a twin. And then slowly the full implications of this came to me. ‘Hang on – Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit… That would mean Thomas really could have been a contender’.

And there was more that I’d never heard of before, not least the gay fan fiction at the end where Jesus brings young men back to life so he can have his way with them, a new meaning to raising the dead. And the ‘prequels’ where just amazing – particularly the life of Mary pre-Jesus and adolescent Jesus staring in ‘The Road to Tibet’, but perhaps the best new story was Jesus the mass murderer – a kind of ‘don’t cross the man on the cross’ story of Jesus as a rather unforgiving boy.

Lots of stuff about Christianity's long road to anti-Semitism and some disturbing accounts of other texts. I had no idea that Pontius Pilate was made a Saint in the Abyssinian Church. The poor man was so over come by allowing the nasty Jews to convince him to kill God that he became a convert to Christianity, even writing his own account of the death of Jesus. This was, in fact, a story he felt strongly compelled to write. So compelled he wrote it years and years after his own death. That sort of commitment does deserve recognition.

It probably is time we stopped blaming the Jews for the death of Christ. However, if we stop blaming the Jews it might mean we need to then blame the Italians – and that can’t be allowed to happen (with Italian food, Italian women and Italian coffee God is clearly on their side). Isn’t there some way we can blame the death of Christ on the Danes? If there is one thing missing from the New Testament it is Vikings.

If you don’t catch yourself saying, “oh no, you have got to be kidding”, at least five times during this book, you really aren’t trying.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 27, 2011 – Shelved
May 27, 2011 – Shelved as: religion
May 27, 2011 – Shelved as: history
May 27, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Richard (new)

Richard This guy is a one-man factory of Bible debunking, but his academic credentials are apparently rock-solid.

He has ten courses at The Great Courses, which is a great site for audio courses. I used to go through quite a few of those before they invented podcasts.

Trevor Yes, I did too - particularly liked a couple I listened to on Nietzsche by a guy with a very strong Southern accent. But then I discovered talking books and haven't really gone back.

I think he is an ex-happy-clapper on a crusade, in some ways - but he really knows his stuff and the sheer depth of his knowledge is a delight in itself.

message 3: by Christopher (new) - added it

Christopher Donaghue I have just started reading 'Misquoting Jesus', but you make this book sound so interesting that I cannot but wait to get to it next.

Trevor Oh, I liked them both. I've liked all of the books of his I've read. A real joy to read someone who knows his stuff and writes with passion in a way that shows he actually wants to communicate. A rare coincidence of skills.

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