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Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are Paperback – March 6, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
The evocative title tells it all and hints at the tone of sensationalism that pervades this book. Those familiar with the earlier work of Ehrman, a distinguished professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and author of more than 20 books including Misquoting Jesus, will not be surprised at the content of this one. Written in a manner accessible to nonspecialists, Ehrman argues that many books of the New Testament are not simply written by people other than the ones to whom they are attributed, but that they are deliberate forgeries. The word itself connotes scandal and crime, and it appears on nearly every page. Indeed, this book takes on an idea widely accepted by biblical scholars: that writing in someone else's name was common practice and perfectly okay in ancient times. Ehrman argues that it was not even then considered acceptable—hence, a forgery. While many readers may wish for more evidence of the charge, Ehrman's introduction to the arguments and debates among different religious communities during the first few centuries and among the early Christians themselves, though not the book's main point, is especially valuable. (Apr.)
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From the Back Cover
The Untold Story of Forgery in the Bible
In Forged, leading Bible authority Bart D. Ehrman exposes one of the most unsettling ironies of the early Christian tradition: the use of deception to establish the truth. With the scholarly expertise and provocative claims for which he's known, Ehrman reveals which texts were forged in the name of Jesus's disciples and considers how the deceptions of an unnamed few have prevailed for centuries. The untold story of widespread forgery in the ancient world sheds new light on how documents of scandalous origin became part of the Bible we have today.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is well referenced, but it does feel like he pushes his premises to the limit of acceptability. An example in point is he appears dismissive of the possibility of scribes writing at the behest of the Apostles/disciples, or the possibility of schools of thought and traditions in the name of the Apostle. Sometimes it does feel like he pushes his premises to the limit of acceptability.. Otherwise he raises interesting and thought provoking questions with reasonable resolutions. Most of the examples are interesting and thought provoking and his reasoning is carefully crafted and tied together in a thoughtful, yet determined point of view.
The motives of those who would forge documents or artworks are explained many more times than required, as if an editor pointed out the need for more pages and Ehrman therefore added yet another section on why people do bad things. And then the listings of the (presumed) forgeries are of interest to those cheering for Paul over Peter in the Xianity semi-finals. Yes, it looks like this one is a fake and it's probably because the forger thought HIS (probably not "her") superstition was somehow better than the other one. And so forth. Perhaps of interest to the 500th angel on that pin head.
When the forgeries do deviate from orthodoxy, it is made clear that they do, but no background is offered for why one set of superstitions is to be preferred over the other. What's more is the 'non-forged' writings are given provenance by the most sketchy of 'evidence'; to anyone who is not superstitious, it appears there is scant reason to credit any of the New Testament to those who supposedly wrote it.
And then we get this:
"This does not mean, as is now being claimed with alarming regularity, that Jesus never existed. He certainly existed as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian agrees, based on clear and certain evidence. But as with the vast majority of all persons who lived and died in the first century, he does not appear in the records of the Roman people."
Eherman is a professor; he should be ashamed to offer such a claim absent any cite whatsoever. And the claim that the supposed God Junior who supposedly rose from the dead under the watch of the Roman officials and somehow supposedly escaped notice is an equivalence to the 'vast majority' of people at the time is special pleading at its worst.
It seems to escape Ehrman's ken that the claimant must offer evidence of the claim and that supernatural claims need very special evidence. The best Ehrman offers is the statement that most of the people who agree with him agree with him. Pathetic.
I will read his "Did Jesus Exist", but I have the strong suspicion that it will also rely on Ehrmans claims of authority.
Sorry I spent the money on this; I'd suggest you don't. I think Ehrman owes me a refund for such a sophomoric effort.
I'll expect the same if his "Did Jesus Exist" is equally lame.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Full of lies and distortions. A big myth perpetrated by another God hater.