Tyler 's Reviews > Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Lost Christianities by Bart D. Ehrman
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Mar 12, 2009

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bookshelves: non-fiction, history
Recommended for: All; History and Religious Studies Fans
Read in February, 2009

Of the four main strands of Christianity prevalent before the fourth century, only one had what it took to emerge as the religion we know today. Theology students are no doubt familiar with this history, but seldom does it make its way past the pulpit. So as a general reader, I found this survey of the earliest years of Christianity informative.

The book, for example, takes up the subject of gnosticism, an early Christian theology that considered matter itself to be evil. Lost Christianities discusses a score of other books beyond the 27 of the New Testament, books circulated far and wide throughout Christendom, even after the Council of Nicaea. The author traces out why these other books never came to be included in the official canon, and discusses how the Bible might have turned out differently from the one we know. While the what-ifs get a little too speculative, the documentation provided and the history covered in Lost Christianities provide an informed foundation for understanding the evolution of the religion we know today.
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