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Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew [Paperback]

By Bart D. Ehrman (Author)
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Item description for Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew by Bart D. Ehrman...

Focusing on key historical texts, a biblical authority offers a revealing look at the early church and the intense struggle to form the canon of the New Testament. 11 halftones.

Publishers Description
The early Christian Church was a chaos of contending beliefs. Some groups of Christians claimed that there was not one God but two or twelve or thirty. Some believed that the world had not been created by God but by a lesser, ignorant deity. Certain sects maintained that Jesus was human but not divine, while others said he was divine but not human.
In Lost Christianities, Bart D. Ehrman offers a fascinating look at these early forms of Christianity and shows how they came to be suppressed, reformed, or forgotten. All of these groups insisted that they upheld the teachings of Jesus and his apostles, and they all possessed writings that bore out their claims, books reputedly produced by Jesus's own followers. Modern archaeological work has recovered a number of key texts, and as Ehrman shows, these spectacular discoveries reveal religious diversity that says much about the ways in which history gets written by the winners. Ehrman's discussion ranges from considerations of various "lost scriptures"--including forged gospels supposedly written by Simon Peter, Jesus's closest disciple, and Judas Thomas, Jesus's alleged twin brother--to the disparate beliefs of such groups as the Jewish-Christian Ebionites, the anti-Jewish Marcionites, and various "Gnostic" sects. Ehrman examines in depth the battles that raged between "proto-orthodox Christians"--those who eventually compiled the canonical books of the New Testament and standardized Christian belief--and the groups they denounced as heretics and ultimately overcame.
Scrupulously researched and lucidly written, Lost Christianities is an eye-opening account of politics, power, and the clash of ideas among Christians in the decades before one group came to see its views prevail.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew by Bart D. Ehrman has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Ingram Advance - 08/01/2005 page 76

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Oxford University Press, USA
Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.32" Width: 6.14" Height: 0.85"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 15, 2005
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  0195182499  
ISBN13  9780195182491  

Availability  1 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 20, 2017 05:12.
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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. New Testament in the Greek Fathers
  2. Studies & Documents (Paperback)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Gnosticism
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Criticism & Interpretation
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

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Reviews - What do customers think about Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew?

An Interesting but Literalist Approach  Jun 1, 2008
Ehrman's "Lost Christianities" is a valuable resource that is at its best when offering translations and summaries of actual early Christian texts, revealing a fascinating diversity of views within the early Church. The history of early Christian disputes and how they led to Rome's dominance, and the destruction of alternative paths, is highly readable and engaging.

The book's main weakness is not so much its secularism, but its surprisingly constricted approach to interpretation. Ehrman tends to adhere to literalism in his analysis, which leads him into some blind alleys. One example: in discussing the references to the author of the Coptic Gospel of Thomas as Jesus' twin, Ehrman wonders if this implies the mother of Jesus gave birth to Joseph's son at the same time as she delivered Jesus, and points to Greek mythology in which Hercules the son of Zeus had a mortal twin. Very literalistic. But I recently read an analysis which put forth the view that in referring to Thomas as Jesus' twin, the meaning (or at least a meaning) is that humanity is/can be the "twin" of the son of God, if we (humanity) will step up and claim our true natures. This esoteric interpretation has basis in Gnostic theology, and it's surprising that Ehrman doesn't even mention it.

Ehrman also repeatedly refers to many ancient gospels as "forgeries." I think that term would have been better reserved for medieval or modern hoaxes (of which there are many). Yes, we know that many gospels, maybe all, both canonical and otherwise, were not actually written by the apostles themselves. But if an unknown scribe collected the oral traditional associated with an apostle and then produced a work under the apostle's name, it seems that labeling it as "fraudulent" or a "forgery" is not really appropriate and, in fact, somewhat misleading.
holy smokes what a horrid book  Apr 26, 2008
Ehrman's a really bright guy, but this is just plain bad scholarship. He's so concerned with showing any sort of Christianity to be irrational, he completely loses himself. Ehrman underqualifies nearly all of his positive claims, and when he summarizes views that contradict his, those views clearly obliterate any chance of his working at all. Take, for example, his discussion of "secret Mark". He really, really wants there to be a secret Mark, but he's a good enough scholar to present other's viewpoints. Even after presenting all the multi-faceted evidence that it was completely forged, he still just plain wants to think there was such a thing. This book reads much like the Da Vinci Code: really entertaining narrative, but pure fiction.
A Lucid Explanation of Early Christianity  Jan 28, 2008
This is the third publication of Bart Ehrman I have read, and I have been equally enthralled by all three. I come away from reading this book with a much clearer understanding of early Christianity. Bart delves into the major directions that various faiths took after the period of Jesus and the apostles. All of these faiths, interestingly, believed that they were on the correct path. We learn about the Ebionites, the Marcionites, the Gnostics and, of course, the proto-orthodox.

The book also discusses the formation of what we know as the canon of scripture, and how it took centuries to coalesce into a unified book. Eventually Athanasius in 367 CE decreed which books would be included in the canon, and at the synod of Hippo in 393 CE, the great orthodox theologian Augustine of Hippo threw his weight behind the list. But in the centuries before this, things were quite different.

It is interesting to note how events of the fourth century in Rome profoundly directed the course of events. Emperors Diocletian and Maximian led a campaign to suppress Christianity which failed, and then Constantine's embrace of the religion led to about fifty percent of Rome claiming to be Christian by the end of the fourth century up from several percent at the beginning of the century. This was an important turning point for the proto-orthodox movement.

It is unfortunate that many of the texts of the "losers" have been suppressed, destroyed or otherwise lost. We could probably have a much clearer picture of just what happened in those formative years of the birth of Christianity.
Book Is Incorrectly Titled: Should Say: "Wannabe Scholar Tries to Save Face From Previous Stupid Refuted Book"  Jan 26, 2008
Bart, trying to save face after his first book was refuted (or rather pointed out as having already been refuted years ago and that all his lazy self had to do was use the internet, book store, or library).

Big surprise it's unavailable.
an insightful read  Jan 18, 2008
Ehrman captures a historical view of the first 3 centuries of Christianity which is well worth reading. These books were not written to convert someone to Christianity, nor were they written to drive someone away from Christianity. They were written to inform people in an easy-to-understand way about the historical beginnings of one of the most influencial religions in the history of the known world.

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