- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: HarperOne; First Edition edition (March 22, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062012614
- ISBN-13: 978-0062012616
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (228 customer reviews)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#265,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #423 in Books > Reference > Writing, Research & Publishing Guides > Publishing & Books > Authorship
- #455 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Bible Study & Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > New Testament
- #1017 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Bible Study & Reference > Bible Study > New Testament
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Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are Hardcover – March 22, 2011
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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
It is often said, even by critical scholars whoshould know better, that “writing in the nameof another” was widely accepted in antiquity.But New York Times bestselling author Bart D.Ehrman dares to call it what it was: literaryforgery, a practice that was as scandalous then as itis today. In Forged, Ehrman’s fresh and originalresearch takes readers back to the ancient world,where forgeries were used as weapons by unknownauthors to fend off attacks to their faith andestablish their church. So, if many of the books inthe Bible were not in fact written by Jesus’s innercircle—but by writers living decades later, withdiffering agendas in rival communities—whatdoes that do to the authority of Scripture?
Ehrman investigates ancient sources to:
- Reveal which New Testament books wereoutright forgeries.
- Explain how widely forgery was practiced byearly Christian writers—and how strongly it wascondemned in the ancient world as fraudulentand illicit.
- Expose the deception in the history of theChristian religion.
Ehrman’s fascinating story of fraud and deceit isessential reading for anyone interested in the truthabout the Bible and the dubious origins ofChristianity’s sacred texts.
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Top Customer Reviews
While reading this, I had a few problems, the first was just how little of this book actually dealt with forgeries in the new testament canon. Later while reading Jesus, Interrupted, I was surprised to find that it covered many of the same arguments presented here, surely with a book almost 10x the size of that section, you'd find far more detailed arguments but sadly that's not the case. Further he seems to try so hard to prove that books of the new testament are forgeries that he seems to contradict himself, for example in Misquoting Jesus (p.59) while talking about Paul dictating his letters to a scribe, he (Ehrman) throws out the idea that maybe Paul just listed a few points and then the scribe filled in the rest (with his own writing style and perhaps got some of the ideas wrong), in Forged that idea is thrown out. I mean Ehrman goes on for a decent section talking about the different vocabulary and sentence length between Ephesians and the accepted Pauline letters but if you take his points from his previous book wouldn't these differences be easy to explain, Ehrman himself gave us a great explanation already. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to defend the Pauline authorship of Ephesians, but I have to ask, which is it, did a scribe write the letter in his own writing style or didn't he, obviously we don't know but it frustrates me that he emphasizes one point when it helps his case and ignores it when it hurts it. In another section he talks about a scholarly study over three Roman officials which looked in detail at every one of their surviving works only to conclude that none of them had someone write in their name.....well none except for Cicero, which leads me to naturally think, wait so your saying that in this exhaustive study it happened 1/3 of the time? Doesn't this really hurt your point not help it? Once again, I'm not saying that Ehrman is wrong, but I fail to see why he continues to set up his own easily refuted strawmen, I don't get why he takes the opinion of being objective in his other works only to easily dismiss the arguments which hurt him in this one. So with all of this being said, I walked away thinking his sections on canonical forgeries just wasn't worth the time it took me to read this book, if anyone wants to read an Ehrman book on canonical forgeries, I'd recommend to first read Jesus, Interrupted, it contains most of the best arguments presented here, yet contains far more and is a far better book.
While, I was pretty disappointed the sections covering canonical forgeries (which from the subtitle 'Why the bible's authors are not who we think they are', I assumed would be more of a focus than it was), I was at first at least partially pleased with his discussions of other non-canonical forgeries. The bulk of this book covered these books and I at least thought that was pretty interesting. At the time I thought his reasons for doing this was its easier to attack a non-canonical book for being a forgery, later when the reader is offended at someone writing a gospel of Peter, they'll realize just how they should feel about the forgery of Second Peter. I removed a star from my rating though when I started to read other Ehrman books. To my disappointment, he seems to cover the same non-canonical books over and over again (The Gospel of Peter, The Acts of Thecla, etc.), I mean he mentions there are "dozens" of other non-canonical gospels, why does he rehash the same ones over and over again. Almost every forged book he covers in detail, he already did the same in Lost Christianities. To me this was very disappointing, I fail to see why he doesn't expand his discussions to books which he hasn't already covered twice in Jesus, Interrupted and Lost Christianities? After reading the same stuff two other times in his previous books, I decided that three stars is the highest I can rate this duplicate material.
Don't get me wrong this book isn't a bad book and if you take it by itself its a decent one, the problem is, with everything Ehrman has already written this book just wasn't needed. It presents very little that is new, contradicts his other writings and I fail to see why he wrote it. For anyone interested in Forgeries in the new testament canon, please read the far superior Jesus, Interrupted and if you want to read some good discussions of non-canonical forgeries, see the superior Lost Christianities.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Full of lies and distortions. A big myth perpetrated by another God hater.