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After the New Testament: A Reader in Early Christianity [Paperback]

By Bart D. Ehrman (Editor)
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Item description for After the New Testament: A Reader in Early Christianity by Bart D. Ehrman...

The remarkable diversity of Christianity during the formative years of the first three centuries has become a plain "fact" for most ancient historians. But until now there has been no source book of primary texts that reveals the many varieties of Christian beliefs, practices, and experiences. AFTER THE NEW TESTAMENT provides clear and concise information drawn from substantial texts.

Publishers Description
The remarkable diversity of Christianity during the formative years before the Council of Nicea has become a plain, even natural, "fact" for most ancient historians. Until now, however, there has been no sourcebook of primary texts that reveals the many varieties of Christian beliefs, practices, ethics, experiences, confrontations, and self-understandings. To help readers recognize and experience the rich diversity of the early Christian movement, After the New Testament provides a wide range of texts from the second and third centuries, both "orthodox" and "heterodox," including such works as the Apostolic Fathers, the writings of Nag Hammadi, early pseudepigrapha, martyrologies, anti-Jewish tractates, heresiologies, canon lists, church orders, liturgical texts, and theological treatises. Rather than providing only fragments of texts, this collection prints large excerpts--entire documents wherever possible--organized under social and historical rubrics.
This unique reader's concise and informative introductions and clear and up-to-date English translations make it ideal for courses on the New Testament, Christian Origins, Early Church History, or Late Antiquity. It will also be of interest to anyone--student, scholar, and general reader alike--interested in the entire range of early Christian literature from the period after the New Testament up to the writings of the so-called father of church history, Eusebius.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Oxford University Press, USA
Pages   46
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.14" Width: 7.44" Height: 0.79"
Weight:   1.66 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 22, 1998
Publisher   Oxford University Press
Edition  New  
ISBN  0195114450  
ISBN13  9780195114454  

Availability  0 units.

More About Bart D. Ehrman

Bart D. Ehrman Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He came to UNC in 1988, after four years of teaching at Rutgers University. At UNC he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies.

A graduate of Wheaton College (Illinois), Professor Ehrman received both his Masters of Divinity and Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, where his 1985 doctoral dissertation was awarded magna cum laude. Since then he has published extensively in the fields of New Testament and Early Christianity, having written or edited twenty-four books, numerous scholarly articles, and dozens of book reviews.

Among his most recent books are a Greek-English edition of the Apostolic Fathers for the Loeb Classical Library (Harvard University Press), an assessment of the newly discovered Gospel of Judas (Oxford University Press), and four New York Times Bestsellers: Jesus Interrupted (an account of scholarly views of the New Testament), God’s Problem (an assessment of the biblical views of suffering), Misquoting Jesus (an overview of the changes found in the surviving copies of the New Testament and of the scribes who produced them) and Forged (discusses why some books in the New Testament are deliberate forgeries). His books have been translated into twenty-seven languages.

Among his fields of scholarly expertise are the historical Jesus, the early Christian apocrypha, the apostolic fathers, and the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.

Professor Ehrman has served as President of the Southeast Region of the Society of Biblical literature, chair of the New Testament textual criticism section of the Society, book review editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature, and editor of the monograph series The New Testament in the Greek Fathers (Scholars Press). He currently serves as co-editor of the series New Testament Tools, Studies, and Documents (E. J. Brill), co-editor-in-chief for the journal Vigiliae Christianae, and on several other editorial boards for journals and monographs in the field.

Professor Ehrman lectures extensively throughout the country. Winner of numerous university awards and grants, he is the recipient of the 2009 J. W. Pope “Spirit of Inquiry” Teaching Award, the 1993 UNC Undergraduate Student Teaching Award, the 1994 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement, and the Bowman and Gordon Gray Award for excellence in teaching.

Professor Ehrman has two children, a daughter, Kelly, and a son, Derek. He is married to Sarah Beckwith (Ph.D., King's College London), Marcello Lotti Professor of English at Duke University. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Bart D. Ehrman currently resides in Chapel Hill, in the state of North Carolina. Bart D. Ehrman has an academic affiliation as follows - Department of Religious Studies, The University of North Carolina, Cha.

Bart D. Ehrman has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Loeb Classical Library
  2. New Testament in the Greek Fathers
  3. Studies & Documents (Paperback)

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Reviews - What do customers think about After the New Testament: A Reader in Early Christianity?

Early Christianity, a serious study  Dec 15, 2007
Most Christian professionals have little understanding of what happened after the first half of the first century. This book carries perspective beyond that point to the understanding of the formation the Orthodox Chrtistianity (Western Orthodox). An essential tool for interpreting the New Testament and its developemnt into theologies that form the religion's beginning today. Christianity is not the religion of Jesus. It is the religion that developed about Jesus and this book helps us understand that early period. The interpretation of its impact on us today is up to current individuals.
I bought this book because I like Harry Potter  Sep 12, 2005
Book arrived in good condition and in a timely manner.
A Profitable Read  Sep 2, 2004
I used this book in a course on Early Judaism and Early Christianity, which I took as an undergraduate. Although one may read a secondary reader, there is nothing like reading a well-chosen sampling of primary texts - and the selections here are just that: well-chosen.

Although the Church traces its lineage and heritage through a particular history - the New Testament, followed by the Apostolic Fathers and they themselves followed by the Church Fathers - in reading this volume one immediately notices a spectrum of thought, filled with every subtle shade of variation that one could imagine. It is in reading the differences and polemical writings contained here that makes the battles between traditions so fascinating: after the New Testament, one can rightly speak of earliest Christianities. Somehow or another, though, they all find their raison d'etre in Jesus, the itinerant Jewis Hasid from Nazareth.

Perhaps one may be generous enough to say that every writing in this book seeks to answer Christ's question to the Apostles: "Who do you say that I am?" From Gnostic writings and proto-orthodox Church Fathers to apocryphal Gospels and "lost" Epistles, one is thrust into a mass of movements, each of which claims to have the answer to this question. (And, as a side note, it turns out that the views of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches are, in fact, among the most ancient of these various other traditions.)

Ehrman's introductions are short and to the point; they are helpful and note where writings develop earlier, more historical traditions, if writings were later declared orthodox or heretical and what the polemical context was of a particular piece. He also notes where texts were once used and where they were popular, and if and when they fell out of favor. Lastly, and most interestingly to this reader, is the short section that notes the development of the canon of the New Testament and how many books that are now taken for granted were hotly debated in those early centuries.

One could easily spend hundreds of dollars collecting the various works that were important to and written by early Christians/s/s/s/s/...; this book is a wonderful, well-written selection of those works. As a supplement to studies in early Christianity, Judaism and/or later Antiquity, it will prove to be quite helpful and informative. For the interested lay person, this book will also prove to be both informative and an excellent introduction to the subject. In short, it is a profitable read.
A nice serviceable volume of worthwhile texts  Jul 26, 2003
Professor Ehrmann has assembled a nice collection of Christian (orthodox and heterodox) writings from the period immediately following the New Testament and before the Council of Nicea. Although these are not brand new translations and all are readily available in other collections, the easy-to-read double column textbook format, the thematic way the texts are categorized, and the brief, helpful introductions make this anthology well worth its price. This volume and Ehrmann's other anthology THE NEW TESTAMENT AND OTHER EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITINGS are essential companions to his THE NEW TESTAMENT: A HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION TO THE EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITINGS.

On the frustrating side, there is much overlap between Ehrmann's two anthologies--in fact, I ended up buying them both because it was too much trouble to compare the tables of contents to see which volume included more non-New Testament works. Also somewhat disappointing was the fact that there are no bibliographic references to the supplied texts (each chapter introduction concludes with a short list of general topic books "For Further Reading"). I would, at least, like to know if there are other respected translations or commentaries in print on any of these texts. Another oddity: The Didache is split into three parts and presented out of sequence (with the document's brief chapter 6 being omitted altogether). This is not inappropriate, considering that Ehrmann has arranged his texts topically so readers can read significant key documents in relation to one another (such as, The Structure of Early Christianity [Did ch 11-15]; The Development of the Liturgy [Did 7-10]; Leading the Upright Life [Did 1-5]).

This is a nice, handy collection of key texts that I'm sure I'll return to over and over, especially as I read other books about the beginnings of the early Church.

First Steps in Christian Beginnings  May 30, 2000
Though the Church in the Second and Third Centuries is a "Dark Age" in the minds of most Christians, the darkness is not due to lack of data. The 19th Century series "The Ante-Nicene Fathers" runs to 5,000-some large pages in small type - and it was not complete even in its own day. Subsequent discoveries, most notably the Nag Hammadi library of Gnostic-Christian literature, have added much to our knowledge or, oftentimes, to our perplexity.

Professor Ehrman's selection of readings gives an overview of this vast forest. He has selected 76 works, mostly self-contained excerpts, though a few are complete. In addition to familiar items that cannot be omitted from such a collection (e. g., the Epistle to Diognetos, large parts of the Epistles of St. Ignatios, and selections from Justin Martyr, Tertullian and Origen), we are given much that later generations found heretical, dubious or silly: apocryphal Scriptures, esoteric Gnostic speculation and writings by Christians who refused to recognize any separation between their faith and Judaism. The texts are arranged thematically (e. g., "The Attack on Christianity: Persecution and Martyrdom in the Early Church", "Anti-Judaic Polemic", "The Development of the Liturgy") in such a way that neighboring pieces illuminate one another.

The translations have all appeared in print before, and the editor deserves credit for choosing clear, readable versions. His introductions, while well-suited to the intended audience, are open to criticism. On the positive side, they are judicious and nonpartisan, avoiding (except on the topic of the ministry of women in the early Church, where no mainstream modernist can afford to be completely candid) speculation beyond the evidence. On the negative, they are so judicious that the untutored reader is left unaware of controversies that have a major impact on the meaning of the texts. To take a significant instance, Prof. Ehrman blandly states that "most scholars" date the manual of Church discipline known as the "Didache" to c. 100 A.D. True enough, but some date it much earlier and some much later, and its value as evidence depends crucially on the time and place from which it came.

All in all, for anyone who would like to know more about pre-Nicene Church history, this volume is, if not the last word, a useful and interesting preface.


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