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.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee Paperback – April 7, 2015
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Ehrman, who has written prolifically about early Christianity, here takes up one of religious history’s most profound questions: How did a messianic Jewish preacher become identified as God? This is a particularly astonishing phenomenon when one considers how fast it happened and how different the idea of Jesus as God was from Jesus’ actual message. Ehrman writes very personally, especially in the beginning, and this approach draws the reader into a subject that is littered with curves and contradictions. Eventually, all writers who tackle this topic must answer the fundamental question: Did Jesus’ followers actually see a resurrected Christ? Ehrman sets up his answer well, first considering the various interpretations of divine humanity in ancient times. When it comes to the resurrection, he explains that whether the apostles actually saw Jesus or saw a vision makes no difference. Their belief in a risen Jesus is what shifted and shaped Christianity. A discussion of later Christologies and heresies becomes complicated, but this fascinating discussion will engage—and provoke—a wide audience. --Ilene Cooper --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
HOW JESUS BECAME GOD makes the most astonishing and complex topic in the history of Christianity accessible to every reader, and offers a clear and balanced discussion of how various Christians–and non- Christians-see Jesus. (Elaine Pagels, professor of religion at Princeton University and author of The Gnostic Gospels)
“ In this lively and provocative book, Ehrman gives a nuanced and wide-ranging discussion of early Christian Christology. Tracing the developing understanding of Jesus, Ehrman shows his skills as an interpreter of both biblical and nonbiblical texts. This is an important, accessible work by a scholar of the first rank.” (Michael Coogan, Harvard Divinity School lecturer and editor of The New Oxford Annotated Bible)
“Ehrman writes with vigor and clarity, but above all with intellectual honesty. He demystifies a subject on which biblical scholars too often equivocate. Both believers and non-believers can learn much from this book.” (John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament at Yale)
“This careful book starts where the ‘historical Jesus’ accounts ends and lays out how this absorbing story continued for centuries. Candid and direct, it unfolds what often seem to be the unnecessarily complicated controversies that divided early Christians in a fair and understandable manner.” (Harvey Cox, Hollis Research Professor of Divinity at Harvard)
“How did ancient monotheism allow the One God to have a ‘son’? Bart Ehrman tells this story, introducing the reader to a Jewish world thick with angels, cosmic powers, and numberless semi-divinities. How Jesus Became God provides a lively overview of Nicea’s prequel.” (Paula Fredriksen, Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and author of Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews)
“Ehrman writes very personally, especially in the beginning, and this approach draws the reader into a subject that is littered with curves and contradictions... This fascinating discussion will engage—and provoke—a wide audience.” (Booklist)
“Ehrman’s book raises questions that should interest us all... [and] represents a genuine conversation among informed scholars.” (Christian Century)
“Bart Ehrman has made a career of zeroing in on some of the most difficult questions at the intersection of faith and history.” (Boston Globe)
Top customer reviews
The ideas in this book are not all new to those who have read some of Ehrman’s earlier work, but he pulls several strands together in How Jesus Became God. Using his expertise about the early history of the Church, prior to the canonization of the New Testament, Ehrman traces how the followers of Jesus changed their views following what they believed was his resurrection, and how the Christian view of Jesus continued to evolve in the ensuing decades. The fact is that Christians in the first and second centuries did not all adhere to what is now considered Christian orthodoxy.
Early Christians did not see Jesus as the divine equal of the Father who always existed, writes Ehrman, and those views are reflected in the early Pauline letters and gospels. Romans 1:3-4, for example, contains what is believed to a be pre-Pauline creed that describes Jesus “who was descended from the seed of David, according to the flesh, who was appointed Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.” This view that Jesus was appointed Son of God at his resurrection is also found in Acts 13:33: “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’”
Mark appears to believe Jesus was adopted to be God’s son when John the Baptist baptized him. According to Mark,
when Jesus came up from the water, the heavens opened up and the Spirit of God descended upon him as a dove, and a voice from heaven says, “You are my beloved Son, in you I am well pleased.” (1:9-11)
The notion that Jesus was exalted by God, to whom he was obedient, is also found in Phillipians 2: “Who, although he was in the form of God did not regard being equal with God something to be grasped after. But he emptied himself...becoming obedient unto death – even death on a cross. Therefore God highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.”
Ehrman summarizes this way: “Jesus was not originally considered to be God in any sense, though he eventually became divine for his followers in some sense before he came to be thought of as equal with God Almighty.” Debates about the nature of Jesus continued into the third century. The Nicene creed was written to define orthodoxy and to reject heresy by the Council of Nicea, Turkey in 325 A.D.
Among the controversial assertions Ehrman makes are these:
• It’s highly unlikely that Joseph of Arimethea, a member of the Sanhedrin, buried Jesus. Though Ehrman admits he can’t prove it, he makes a logical case using the Gospels and other historical evidence. Mark states (14:55) that the “whole council” of the Sanhedrin tried to find evidence “against Jesus to put him to death,” and at the end of the trial, “they all condemned him as deserving death” (14:64).
• There is reason for doubting the empty tomb story based, among other things, upon four different resurrection narratives in the Gospels that disagree on nearly every detail. (Evangelist Craig Evans makes a persuasive refutation on this point, in the Response to Bart Ehrman book. Evans is not as persuasive about Joseph of Arimethea.)
• The reliability of the gospels as historical accounts is undermined because he authors were not eyewitnesses, were not from Palestine, and did not speak the same language as Jesus, and their sources were stories passed by word of mouth for decades among people in different parts of the world who spoke different languages.
• Jesus did not spend his ministry preaching that he was the Son of Man; instead “his message was an apocalyptic proclamation of coming destruction and salvation” when the Son of Man would come very soon in the clouds of heaven.
• Protestant evangelicals who insist the evidence of eyewitnesses is proof of the resurrection generally aren’t as impressed by the testimony of tens of thousands of Roman Catholics through the centuries who claim Mary appeared to them.
While Ehrman challenges interpretations embraced by most rank-and-file Christians, though not by most scholars, he insists that his book need not undermine intelligent, informed Christian belief. Christians who seek only information to confirm what they already believe, however, will be disappointed. Ditto for Christians who believe that doubt is inconsistent with faith. ###
The book is worth reading not only for its discussion of contradictions in the early and later gospels but how Jesus evolved from an itinerant preacher with a social revolutionary message to the center of a new religion.
Although the book is written in an informal, at times almost folksy style, the scholarship is serious, and for the devout Christian it can be troubling since it calls into question some of the very foundational tenets of the Christian faith. Still, a mature faith requires an openness to examine objectively what scholars such as Ehrman claim about the historical Jesus. His book deserves a thoughtful, careful reading.
Most recent customer reviews
Lately, I have been really interested in books that show an outside angle of faith.Read more