Automotive Holiday Deals Books Holiday Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Indie for the Holidays egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Beauty Deals Gifts for Her Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Cyber Monday Deals BestoftheYear Outdoor Deals on HTL

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Condition: Very good condition., Very good condition dust jacket. Clean - No marks of any kind. / Binding: / Publisher: / Pub. Date: Stock#: Z992181065 () * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Heretics: The Other Side of Christianity Hardcover – August, 1996

4 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
$15.00 $2.85

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Ludemann's critical examination of "holy scripture and its authority" is a meticulous historical investigation of early Christianity that seeks "to direct attention once again to Jesus." General readers may find the extensive documentation intimidating; but the argument is accessible, and the documentation is tucked away in notes. Beginning with Lessing's insight that the New Testament was a work of the Catholic Church and Lessing's claim that we may draw our own conclusions about Jesus, Ludemann sets about to welcome the heretics of primitive Christianity back into the Christian community as valuable human witnesses to the human Jesus. A heretic is one who makes a choice, and Ludemann notes that this was done on all sides in the processes of canonization by which the New Testament was formed, just as it must be done by contemporary Christians who would draw conclusions for the present from historical reconstructions. No doubt, some readers will be put off by Ludemann's assertion that the Bible is the word of human beings, not the word of God. Steve Schroeder


In Heretics, Gerd Ludemann argues that the time from the first Christian communities to the end of the second century was not a period of great harmony, but was defined by the struggles of various Christian groups for doctrinal authority. Drawing on a wealth of data, Ludemann asserts that the losers in the struggle actually represented Christianity in its more authentic, original form. Since Orthodoxy has been defined by the victors in this struggle, it is the silenced alternative views that have been labeled "heretical". Ludemann's findings are important as well as liberating for understanding both Christianity and the Bible. Readers will gain a new understanding of Jesus and the early church from this compelling and controversial book. Heretics is a model of historical scholarship and theological investigation. Indeed, the first recorded clash and conflict over doctrinal propriety took place in the Jerusalem Christian community when Paul sought a cessation of the practice of circumcision and the abolition of certain dietary prohibitions. The subsequent debates regarding the nature of God, the definition of what would be come reliable scripture, the theology and doctrines of Christianity would rage around the rim of the Mediterranean and result in schism, conflict, commissions, and conferences. Heretics is the informative history of those fascinating times. -- Midwest Book Review

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 335 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; First Edition edition (August 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664220851
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664220853
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,556,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Bernhard W. Hoff on August 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Ludemann's main point appears to be that ALL Christians in the first century or so after Jesus were regarded as heretics by one or another group of their fellow Christians. Everyone, it seems, had their turn at being orthodox or heretical, even the original Jewish Christians and St. Paul himself. Ludemann convincingly illustrates these conflicts from the New Testament and other first and second century texts, most of which still are embraced as orthodox today (e.g. the Apostles' Creed, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Justin Martyr). But Ludemann goes beyond the mere fact of factions within the early church to consider why, and what it all might mean, even to us today.
Ludemann locates the source of the problem in the natural human response to Jesus' ministry and subsequent death. Jesus "lived out for his disciples the message of the boundless love and grace of God - in words and actions" to quote from this book. This love and grace is available to the poor, the outcast and the lost even without temple sacrifices and ritual observances. His message was also apocalyptic, that the kingdom of God (including the physical resurrection of the dead - a widely held belief in Judaism at the time) was at hand. Unlike other apocalyptic messages, He also taught that we humans can live the Kingdom of God now before it actually comes. This message of living the Kingdom of God attracted a wide and fervent following of believers who then tried to make sense of Jesus' death in light of his radical and apocalyptic message and eventually in light of the fact that the Kingdom did not come. The various "heretics" and indeed the emerging Catholic orthodoxy itself, each understood more fully different parts of Jesus' message and accordingly so emphasized them in their doctrines.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
28 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
If history is written by the victors, then it makes sense that the losers would have a different - though equally valid - viewpoint. "Heretics" provides just this view of the man we call Jesus. After 2000 years you wouldn't think there was much new that could be said on the subject - Gerd Ludemann has proved this wrong! Like the equally contentious, yet inspiring, "The Autobiography of Jesus of Nazareth and the Missing years" by Richard G. Patton, this book does sound true! It does make sense that there would be this power struggle as each of the different 'Christian' Church's wanted their definition of Jesus to be the 'official' version. This book will make you question, but ultimately reaffirm your belief in the Man from Nazareth. Excellent reading.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent resource for students and scholars who are interested in studying the so-called heretics of early Christianity. From the offset Ludemann offers scholarly insight and exegesis into the various and competing forms of Christianity from across its formative years and seeks to isolate and understand their beliefs, views, and ideas from the words of their opponents. Ludemann is extremely fair in his treatment of early Christianity and is not biased towards any particular group or individual, whether they be heretical or orthodox, he simply acts as an historian attempting to reconstruct the facts as best he can. If anyone is curious about the untold heroes and unknown villains of early Christianity, this book is a must read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 68 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
How can we view findings about Jesus of Nazareth when there was no Nazareth at the time of Jesus. My readings conclusively tell me that Nazareth came into existance well after the time of Christ.
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: church history