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Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are [Hardcover]

Bart Ehrman
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 14 2011

Bart D. Ehrman, the New York Times bestselling author of Jesus, Interrupted and God’s Problem reveals which books in the Bible’s New Testament were not passed down by Jesus’s disciples, but were instead forged by other hands—and why this centuries-hidden scandal is far more significant than many scholars are willing to admit. A controversial work of historical reporting in the tradition of Elaine Pagels, Marcus Borg, and John Dominic Crossan, Ehrman’s Forged delivers a stunning explication of one of the most substantial—yet least discussed—problems confronting the world of biblical scholarship.

Frequently Bought Together

Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are + Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them) + Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
Price For All Three: CDN$ 48.79

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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.

About the Author

Bart D. Ehrman is one of the most renowned and controversial Bible scholars in the world today. A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, his work continues to drive debate among supporters and detractors alike. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is the author of more than twenty books, including the New York Times bestselling Misquoting Jesus; God's Problem; Jesus, Interrupted; and Forged. Ehrman has appeared on Dateline NBC, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, the History Channel, and top NPR programs, and he has been featured in Time, the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and more.

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Stephen Pletko TOP 50 REVIEWER

"Let me conclude this introduction simply by saying that I have spent the past five years studying forgery in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, especially but not exclusively within Christianity. My goal all along has been to write a detailed scholarly monograph that deals with the matter at length. The book you're reading now is NOT that scholarly monograph.

What I try to do in the present book is to discuss the issue [of forgery] at a layperson's level, pointing out the really interesting aspects of the problem by highlighting the results of my own research and showing what scholars have long said about the writings of the New Testament and pseudonymous Christian writings from outside the New Testament...The present not intended for my fellow scholars...It is...intended for you, the general reader, who on some level is...interested in THE TRUTH."

The above comes this informative and readable book by Bart Ehrman. He is a Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the Bible and the life of Jesus. Ehrman is also the author of more than twenty books.

Ehrman's interest in this book is with forgeries of the early Christian Church. He discusses many Gospels, letters, treatises, and apocalypses that claim to be written by people who did not write them. Such authors who called themselves Peter, Paul, John, James, Philip, etc., etc., were fully aware that they were not these people.

Ehrman debunks many popular myths about the Bible's forged books and letters, including the idea that "writing in the name of another" was a common accepted practise in antiquity.

At the end of most of the chapters of this book is a conclusion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very revealing May 24 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
well researched information leaving me wondering if what I learned in the past was a cover up,ignorance or indifference to the truth. It sure woke me up!
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth will triumph April 9 2011
Faith is a profoundly emotional issue with its own dynamics as Eric Hoffer makes clear in The True Believer, a seminal study on the nature of belief and mass movements. Another valid insight is that of the metaphysician Ernest Holmes who warned against destroying or undermining a person's faith if it gives them comfort and helps them seek what is good and right: "Every person's religion is an answer to the cry of the soul for something which is real, something which may be relied upon - a resting place for which everyone instinctively feels a need."

Thus, the pursuit of truth may be a perilous enterprise that leads to painful places. Giving up certainties takes courage. In this investigation, Ehrman approaches the subject with empathy. Both non-canonical works and those eventually included in the New Testament are subjected to scrutiny. That is appropriate since when these were written, no canon existed.

It is no secret to most scholars in the field: Many of the books of the New Testament were composed by authors who lied about their identities, deliberately impersonating famous characters such as Peter, Paul and James. That is deception; a book written by someone who lies about his identity is a forgery.

In order to avoid this harsh reality, most Christian theologians employ the word "pseudepigrapha" when referring to these forgeries. Yet the word literally means "writing inscribed with a lie." Scholars may claim that it was an acceptable practice in the ancient world to write a book in someone else's name. Not so: the author cites Polybius, Martial and Diogenes Laertius in this regard.

Only 7 of the 13 letters of Paul of Tarsus were written by him. In the ancient world, books like that were called "pseudoi" (lies).
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