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Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I was subjected (through age 20) to more than my share of fundamentalist preaching, yet values at home were more those of inquiry and evidence toward the world in general. Ehrman's approach to the Bible is more to my liking than reiteration of a dogma I've already heard, documented by passages of scripture preselected to prove that certain view. Consider a book where all aspects of the early development of Christianity are subjected to scrutiny. Issues of dogma are extensively discussed, but not endorsed nor advocated. Instead, they are examined for consistency within the whole context of Biblical and non-canonical sources and the political setting in which the early church solidified its views.
Few seminary graduates that have studied Biblical Textual Criticism have seen fit to share this type of information with their flocks. Ehrman fills this gap - every page chock full of information you would not find compiled anywhere else. This is his forte.
Mary Magdalene is incredibly popular, despite being mentioned in the Bible only thirteen times. One of the Bible's best stories is that of Jesus and the adulterous woman, mistakenly identified by many as Mary Magdalene. The Pharisees brought her to Jesus, asking what they should do with her. Of course, it was a trap. If he said she should not be punished, he would be going against scripture.Read more ›
That said, his newest work, "Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene," whose stated goal is to review what is known of the lives of these three early followers of Jesus appears a rather uneven text, much of it derivative of his previous books. At its essence the book might be summed up as follows, "A bit, quite a bit, and almost nothing." Of Simon Peter we can know almost nothing independent of the Christian Scripture. While Ehrman can tease out some useful biography - a fisherman, lower class, married, denied Jesus thrice, head of the Jerusalem Church along with Jesus' brother James - there is little here that cannot be found on a Wikkipedia search. Reviewing the various writings attributed to Peter, Ehrman rejects them all as not from the Apostles own hand, some more convincingly than others. He does, however, do a good job showing what followers of Peter generally held to among the sects of the early church, mostly Jewish Christians ascribing to abstinence seeing Jesus as a Jewish Messiah.
On Saul of Tarsus we know more, so Ehrman can offer a more substantive biography, though again he often diverges into speculation.Read more ›
Bart Ehrmann is not just re-chewing old cabbage from previous books here, though he is forced by his subject matter to reexamine old ground from a new point of view. The rationale for his title, which he obviously found just too pawkishly juicy to resist, is the way in which the sixties folk pop trio, like the Biblical one, came on the scene in an apocalyptic time bearing a pop-countercultural message, the latter as expressed in what became the Gospels, the latter-day one in such a song as "If I Had A Hammer."
In the Biblical case, unlike the sixties case, this book's central question is who were these people? Modern Christians seem to be pretty sure they know, for all that their opinions may vary all over the map. By way of illustrating the real problem, Ehrmann would ask, for example, who was Jesus? For all that modern Christians may think they know that one, the reality is that the four different gospels portray four different Jesuses, with radically different personalities. For modern Christians, of course, who read the Bible "as a little child," if at all, this is not necessarily a crisis of faith. They just go with the Jesus they like best, most usually the rather Buddhistic "cool guy in sandals" Jesus of Matthew, and let it go at that. Obviously for a serious scholar like Ehrmann, that's not good enough, for understanding either the real Jesus or other such lesser players as Peter, Paul and Mary.
Simon-called-Peter, for a start, is particularly problematical, in that, important as he must have been, we only know him from the accounts of others. By all accounts, he was an illiterate Aramaic-speaking blue-collar fisherman, a strange choice for what Jesus called "The rock upon which I will build my church...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Informative, thought provoking, prompting further investigationsPublished 9 months ago by Beverly Flatt
The book tended to follow the masculine heritage of the Catholic foundation history by the tone of its dissertations of each apostle, even St. Mary. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Friendly Frank
The efforts of Peter, Paul and Mary to further Christianity cannot be understated. It is particularly interesting how little historical information is available for the serious... Read morePublished 17 months ago by MSHusker
If you ever wondered how a rock could redefine the World. Read this book!Published 22 months ago by Joann M. Keyes
There are many contradictions in the New Testament, and the first thing to do in order to realize that is to pay attention while reading it. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Bible Contradictions