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How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus' Divine Nature---A Response to Bart Ehrman [Kindle Edition]

Michael F. Bird , Craig A. Evans , Simon Gathercole , Charles E. Hill , Chris Tilling
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In his recent book How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher From Galilee historian Bart Ehrman explores a claim that resides at the heart of the Christian faith— that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. According to Ehrman, though, this is not what the earliest disciples believed, nor what Jesus claimed about himself. 

The first response book to this latest challenge to Christianity from Ehrman, How God Became Jesus features the work of five internationally recognized biblical scholars. While subjecting his claims to critical scrutiny, they offer a better, historically informed account of why the Galilean preacher from Nazareth came to be hailed as “the Lord Jesus Christ.” Namely, they contend, the exalted place of Jesus in belief and worship is clearly evident in the earliest Christian sources, shortly following his death, and was not simply the invention of the church centuries later.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In 2014, well-known author of biblical exegesis, Bart D. Ehrman published How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. In it, he posits that the concept of Jesus as God evolved over time. Five biblical scholars gather here to refute that theory. Although it’s preferable to have read Ehrman’s book before tackling this one, the authors do a relatively even-handed job of stating Ehrman’s case before attempting to demolish it. The topics they discuss include divinization in the ancient world, the Christological claims of the synoptic Gospels, and burial practices at the time of Jesus’ death (even those sympathetic to Ehrman’s case would probably agree that his discussion of the empty tomb contains too much conjecture.) This book, while putting forth arguments well worth examining, is weakened by the fact it contains five voices, and dry, scholarly ones at that. Ehrman has mastered the art of writing in a style suitable for general audiences, making his book more accessible. Still, the two deserve consideration together, and the publisher of this volume has cleverly used a cover image in the same style and color as Ehrman’s book, which may help lead interested readers in the right direction. --Ilene Cooper


'This is a helpful collection of essays by first-rate scholars abreast of the latest research. Anyone who wants a reliable historical account of how early Christians came to see Jesus as God should read this book.' -- Richard Bauckham, , Emeritus Professor of New Testament, University of St Andrews, UK

Product Details

  • File Size: 1349 KB
  • Print Length: 233 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0310519594
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (March 25, 2014)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I2P2OVS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,252 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Bart Ehrman is a boogeyman some evangelicals like to hate. Ehrman consistently takes positions that undercut Christian orthodoxy, and his scholarly positions often lead you to believe that most of what you have heard in sermons and all of what you have heard in Sunday School is erroneous. That is where he believes the evidence leads, and like any scholar, he wants to convince his students.

That said, it is unfair to Ehrman and his scholarship to dismiss him out of hand or make him a heel. He is a human being, a hard working scholar, and an engaging communicator. This is why each time Ehrman publishes a book like his last release, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, evangelical scholars respond in print or in lectures. He deserves to be answered fairly and with good scholarship.

In How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus' Divine Nature---A Response to Bart Ehrman, Michael F. Bird, Craig A. Evans, Simon J. Gathercole, Charles E. Hill, and Chris Tilling respond to Ehrman's How Jesus Became God. On short notice, this team of scholars offered their rebuttals to Ehrman's presentation of the historical Jesus. Their work offers an apologetic, or defense of Christian doctrine. And I think it is well done.

I am not current enough in New Testament history to provide a wholesale evaluation of the arguments of Bird, Evans, Gathercole, Hill, and Tilling in this volume, but I am familiar enough with the biblical material and a broad enough range of scholarly research on the New Testament to approve and recommend this collection of essays. How God Became Jesus addresses the key questions raised by Ehrman concerning first century Jewish cosmology, Jesus' self-perception (Did Jesus understand himself to be God?
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152 of 201 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed-bag April 17, 2014
By Joelice
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I wasn't expecting this to be a great "response" due to two facts: their authors wrote this book in a short time span and the inclination of the authors to do a "theology" instead of "history." More thant a "response," this was an "alternative" view presented by these authors to lay people and believers alike who feel "threatened" by Ehrman's new book. Sometimes the tone of some authors is very irreverent, ad hominem and childish. It seems that they are too offended by some "heresies" of Ehrman's book that they feel justified to use non-academic and derrogatory language in some instances.

Most of the articles were a disappointment. The best article, in my view, was that from Craig Evans "Getting the Burial Traditions and Evidences Right." That was really a great response, using all data available. Doing a fast review of each article:

1. The Story of Jesus as the Story of God; Michael F. Bird: Weak
2. Of Gods, Angels, and Men; Michael F. Bird: More or less good.
3. Did Jesus Think He was God? Michael F. Bird: Really weak
4. Getting the Burial Traditions and Evidences Right; Craig A. Evans: The best one, superb
5. What Did the First Christians Think about Jesus? Simon Gathercole: Garbage
6. Problems with Ehrman’s Interpretative Categories; Chris Tilling: Garbage, possibly the worst one, boring and constantly trying to avoid to response to the point directly.
7. Misreading Paul’s Christology: Problems with Ehrman’s Exegesis; Chris Tilling: Weak, too much theology instead of responding to Ehrman's main argument.
8. An Exclusive Religion: Orthodoxy and Heresy, Inclusion and Exclusion; Charles E. Hill: More or less good, but fails to respond the main issue.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How Jesus Scholarship Becomes Annoying February 19, 2015
Format:Kindle Edition
I dislike the tone of this response book. It could have been so much better if it wasn't trying so hard to be 'hip'. Michael Bird (the main contributor to this book) is the worst culprit at this. He needs to drop the lame jokes and catch-phrases. The authors also spending way too much time smearing Ehrman as some kind of off base rogue skeptic. Ehrman's main thesis in his book - that belief in Jesus' divinity went through evolving stages over an extended period of time - is more mainstream than I think these scholars would like to admit. Some of the alternative interpretations presented are worthy of consideration. I won't deny that. Similarly, they do manage to point out some potential circularity in Ehrman's case. But most of the time their criticisms seem more like nit-picking, and never a killer blow is landed despite protestations that they have done so. Craig Evans' article is probably the pick of the bunch, arguing for the plausibility of Jesus' burial (Ehrman has recently changed his mind and now sees the burial stories as more or less fictional). Gathercole's article is interesting too, arguing for a view of pre-existence in the synoptic gospels. Charles Hill's final chapters are very depressing and fall fair and square in the bracket of apologetics. There are some good moments of scholarship in here if you are able to get past the constant hipster smear apologetics.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inside Theological Baseball June 10, 2014
By Dick
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Needs to be read with "How Jesus Became God..." in order to make sense. Trouble is, between the two books, this looks less like scholarship and more like WWI trench warfare between two sides with strong grenade-throwing arms. On both sides, belief tends to trump history. But both sides make relevant points.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 14 days ago by Betto
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting read.
Published 1 month ago by khang fré y
1.0 out of 5 stars Stop before you spend your money or waste your time on ignorance.
I have pursued an exhaustive historical study of the life of Jesus, having read many famous authors whose scholarly capacity for historical, unbiased and accurate exposure of the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dorsey Ney
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I am still working on reading with notes.

OK, Book
Published 1 month ago by Bruce Buller
1.0 out of 5 stars Now, Now, Dr. Bird Play Nice
Very disappointing as Dr. Michael Bird, of Ridley College in Melbourne, begins his rebuttal to Dr. Ehrman's view of Jesus in a sarcastic manner with such snarky comments saying... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Patrick E. Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Not finished yet, but Ehrman is so far unscathed.
Published 2 months ago by dennis boyle
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a good read for pastors and students in seminary
This is a good read for pastors and students in seminary. Each of the five scholars tackle the most important points in Bart Ehrman's recent book, "How Jesus Became God. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Alfonso Gilbert
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent retort
Frankly, the essays are very compelling, making it a striking companion for Ehrman's own book, which this one counters. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mark Adams
1.0 out of 5 stars Unrefined mockery...
Filled with snarky comments! I often pictured the author sticking his tongue out at certain points. Notice how Bart Ehrman never does this when he writes. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Douglas Kirk
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new...
Nothing here to get excited probably got all this in Sunday is like asking how God made the universe...nobody knows...get it?? Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lewis Tagliaferre
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