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Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them) Hardcover – March 3, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; First Edition edition (March 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061173932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061173936
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (402 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Ehrman’s ability to translate scholarship for a popular audience has made the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill a superstar in the publishing world” (IndyWeek)

“For both scholars and the masses who read about religion, Bart D. Ehrman needs no introduction . . . He adds the personal to the scholarly for some of his works, detailing how he went from a Moody Bible Institute-educated fundamentalist evangelical to an agnostic . (Durham Herald-Sun)

“There’s something delicious (for nonbelievers, anyway) about the implacable, dispassionate way that Ehrman reveals how the supposedly “divine truth” of Christianity was historically constructed.” (

From the Back Cover

Picking up where Bible expert Bart Ehrman's New York Times bestseller Misquoting Jesus left off, Jesus, Interrupted addresses the larger issue of what the New Testament actually teaches—and it's not what most people think. Here Ehrman reveals what scholars have unearthed:

  • The authors of the New Testament have diverging views about who Jesus was and how salvation works
  • The New Testament contains books that were forged in the names of the apostles by Christian writers who lived decades later
  • Jesus, Paul, Matthew, and John all represented fundamentally different religions
  • Established Christian doctrines—such as the suffering messiah, the divinity of Jesus, and the trinity—were the inventions of still later theologians

These are not idiosyncratic perspectives of just one modern scholar. As Ehrman skillfully demonstrates, they have been the standard and widespread views of critical scholars across a full spectrum of denominations and traditions. Why is it most people have never heard such things? This is the book that pastors, educators, and anyone interested in the Bible have been waiting for—a clear and compelling account of the central challenges we face when attempting to reconstruct the life and message of Jesus.

More About the Author

Bart D. Ehrman is the author of more than twenty books, including the New York Times bestselling Misquoting Jesus and God's Problem. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the Bible and the life of Jesus. He has been featured in Time and has appeared on Dateline NBC, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, the History Channel, major NPR shows, and other top media outlets. He lives in Durham, N.C.

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Customer Reviews

This book is classic Bart Ehrman.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson
Living in the Bible Belt, most of the Christians I know believe firmly that every word of the Bible is true and inspired by God.
Tim Childree
This book goes into the contradictions of the new testament.
Tom Anderson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

349 of 367 people found the following review helpful By J. Norburn on May 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I've read quite a few books on early Christianity (including others by Ehrman), so I can't say that I found an abundance of new information in this book, but I can say that this is easily the best, most concise and well presented discussion of the historical Jesus and historical/critical view of the New Testament I've come across.

One thing that always strikes me when I am reading Ehrman's work is how respectful he is of religion and people of faith. I've read a few books by atheist authors who (while I often find their work interesting and entertaining), do have a tendency to be a little smarmy about religion. Ehrman is a former fundamentalist Christian, who describes himself now as agnostic, but unlike some authors in this genre, he isn't trying to convince people to give up their faith, he really wants readers to understand the origins of the Christian faith and how it has evolved over centuries.

Jesus Interrupted is very readable (Ehrman's writing style is accessible for `non scholars') and each chapter builds on the others very effectively. Ehrman is clearly an expert on this topic and is an excellent teacher, and this is conveyed throughout Jesus Interrupted.

If this subject matter interests you - Jesus Interrupted is a must read. Highly recommended.
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808 of 866 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Murphy on April 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Full disclosure: the author of this review is a former Catholic altar boy (unmolested), was briefly enrolled in a Franciscan seminary, had eight years of Jesuit college/graduate school education, and is now what President Obama referred to as a "non-believer" in his inaugural address. In his own full disclosure, author Bart Ehrman relates that he attended a fundamentalist Bible college, furthered his theological education at Princeton, and is currently a professor specializing in New Testament studies at the University of North Carolina. He also states that he is agnostic, though specifically stating that it was not his study of the Bible that led him from evangelical Christianity to this alternate state of conviction.

This is a special book. It is not a rant, nor a screed. It is a careful, scholarly, and considerate review of what is either known, or reasonably conjectured, about the amazing book called the Bible. How was this book put together in the first place? The first listing of the 27 canonical books that are generally accepted as part of the New Testament today was in 367 CE. How did the 27 canonical books get chosen over many other candidate letters, Acts, and Gospels that existed (and still exist)? What, one wonders, did early Christians do in church without a Bible to read from? Ehrman has some thoughts on the subject. The earliest possible date that a church could have been "Bible-based" was more than 300 years after Christ's death (in reality, extremely low literacy rates and the lack of the invention of the printing press made "Bible-based" churches not feasible for another millennium). How did Christians come to agree on what they believed in without a canon of Sacred Scripture?
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837 of 941 people found the following review helpful By John W. Loftus VINE VOICE on March 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you are a fan of Bart D. Ehrman like I am, there are four books essential to understanding his work. The first is Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium; the second, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (popularized in his book Misquoting Jesus); the third is God's Problem where he argues that the problem of evil is what caused him to lose his faith; and this one, "Jesus Interrupted."

In a way I like "Jesus Interrupted" the best, probably because its aim is to reach the masses with solid Biblical scholarship. I've long thought that scholars mostly talk to themselves in hopes for a nice pat on the back from other scholars. Don't get me wrong here. We need scholars, and Ehrman is one who writes good scholarly material too. It's just that Ehrman also wants to inform the masses about what Biblical scholars have known a long time, but which pastors and ministers aren't telling their parishioners for fear that they might be troubled to learn about it. And Ehrman is a master communicator of it when it concerns the New Testament, which is his specialty.

According to Ehrman this book is about how "certain kinds of faith--particularly the faith in the Bible as the historical inerrant and inspired word of God--cannot be sustained in light of what we as historians know about the Bible." (p. 18).
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101 of 113 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm on March 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Bart Ehrman, a distinguished professor of religious studies at the Univ. of North Carolina, is one of the foremost popularizers of New Testament (NT) research today. His latest book, "Jesus Interrupted," continues along the path he followed in his previous and more technical work, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, but is superior in that he now is dealing with fundamental issues of the Bible and Christianity that are of more interest and relevance to the average layperson. While being a more provocative book than MJ, it is still not nearly as controversial as one would think from the inappropriate subtitle, which, like the subtitle for MJ, appears to have been chosen for marketing purposes. In fact, no new ground is broken here, as he once again devotes a lot of space to material he has covered thoroughly in other books, and people who are well-versed in NT research are unlikely to encounter anything that they haven't seen before.

Prof. Ehrman's motivation in writing this book is to introduce the results of 200 years of critical NT scholarship to the masses. He laments the poor level of knowledge of the Bible, even among students entering seminaries, so here he gives an overview of what has been determined through historical-critical methods, focusing generally only on the most widely agreed (among critical scholars) conclusions. Even though this material has been a standard part of the education of ministers and priests for decades, little of it has been passed on to their congregations, a deficiency that the author hopes to address.
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