He then goes on to discuss works that were wrongly claimed to have been written by Peter or by Paul as well as other forgeries, including some in the last two centuries. Most of the forgeries Ehrman discusses served Christian anti-Jewish propaganda, although some were antipagan, while the so-called Gospel of Nicodemus was an attempt to correct the very anti-Christian Acts of Pilate. Craft, emerita, Longwood Univ. Their readers, had they known, would probably have called them liars and condemned what they did. But in their own eyes, their conscience may have been free from blame, and their motives may have been as pure as the driven snow. They had a truth to convey, and they were happy to lie in order to proclaim it.
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Shelves: religion-spirituality , nonfiction , good-but-flawed I am a nominal Roman Catholic. I attend mass once a week; I send my children to Catholic school; my wife teaches at Catholic school; I am a semi-active volunteer in my parish community; I even play in the Sunday evening worship band.
Yes, Catholics can have worship bands, too. For most of my life, up until a few years ago, I would have described myself as an evangelical Christian. I spent my formative years in the Presbyterian Church USA then, for over a decade, I was a member and very active participant in the Evangelical Covenant denomination.
I played in the worship band in that church also, and yes, the music was better there … much better … I miss it. I once found Truth in the Protestant Church, especially in its more evangelical forms. I also find plenty to disagree with in both. Spiritually, I am probably best described as a Teilhardian agnostic.
You already know what an agnostic is; look up Pierre Teilhard de Chardin for the other half of my spiritual equation. I attend mass primarily because I find meaning and sustenance in the act and ritual of the Eucharist. All of the above is simply to establish who I am and what I believe in the most general terms. And perhaps I could present you with a declaration from my wife, signed under penalty of perjury, stating that I stayed up too late one night writing this review and that she was annoyed because the kids had gone to bed and she wanted me to "come to bed" wink wink, nudge nudge and this review sounds like me and says things that her arrogant bastard husband likely would say.
Assume that Ian Foster of Vista, California, actually wrote it and he actually believes the things the review says he believes. I want to discuss this concept called intellectual honesty. When I drop something like this in the lap of a conservative Christian friend, his or her typical response is something like: "Forgery?
You mean incorrectly attributed authorship, right? Forgery is immoral … forgery is illegal … forgery is wrong. That would be a better description of the gospels, which were written anonymously and, only a century or two later, were attributed to Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Those are almost certainly mistaken attributions for several empirical and historical reasons, the specifics of which are not the topic of this review. The same is also probably true of Acts and Hebrews.
But a number of New Testament books, including six alleged letters of Paul, were forgeries, plain and simple. As we all know, a document can be written anonymously or the document itself can make a claim of authorship. Within the former category are the four gospels plus Acts and Hebrews; none of those six documents makes a claim of authorship on its face. Within the latter category are the remaining 21 books of the New Testament.
However, to the surprise of many a Christian, nearly all modern scholars agree that the authorship of only seven of those books is certain. The remainder are believed to be pseudonymous; that is, 14 books of the New Testament were written by somebody other than who is stated as the author in the documents themselves. By "Pauline letters" I mean the 13 or 14 New Testament books which are traditionally attributed to Paul.
One was written anonymously--Hebrews--and people have argued for centuries about whether Paul wrote it. Of those 13, scholars agree that Paul wrote seven: Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1st Thessalonians, and Philemon. Six are believed to be written by people other than Paul: Ephesians, Colossians, 2nd Thessalonians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, and Titus. This has been demonstrated through extensive statistical study of every word contained in every Pauline letter.
Bart Ehrman argues that the same, now unknown, person wrote 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus because of similarities in vocabulary, historical context and writing style; he believes Ephesians, Colossians, and 2nd Thessalonians were written by three different people. Not every scholar, perhaps, is willing to use the term "forgery," but the scholarly consensus is Paul did not write those six letters.
Yet it seems clear to me that "forgery" is the correct term. And the thing is, it worked. It worked spectacularly. People believed he was Paul and they listened to what he had to say. How do we know this? We know because the letter made it into the Christian Canon and, for or more years, people believed Paul was the author.
Bart D. Ehrman
Works[ edit ] Ehrman has written widely on issues of the New Testament and early Christianity at both an academic and popular level, much of it based on textual criticism of the New Testament. He examines how early struggles between Christian " heresy " and " orthodoxy " affected the transmission of the documents. Ehrman is often considered a pioneer in connecting the history of the early church to textual variants within biblical manuscripts and in coining such terms as " proto-orthodox Christianity ". He outlines the development of New Testament manuscripts and the process and cause of manuscript errors in the New Testament. In doing so, he highlights the diversity of views found in the New Testament, the existence of forged books in the New Testament which were written in the names of the apostles by Christian writers who lived decades later, and his belief that Christian doctrines such as the suffering Messiah , the divinity of Jesus , and the Trinity were later inventions. It makes a case for considering falsely attributed or pseudepigraphic books in the New Testament and early Christian literature "forgery", looks at why certain New Testament and early Christian works are considered forged, and describes the broader phenomenon of pseudepigraphy in the Greco-Roman world.
Forged: Writing in the Name of God
Bart discusses his books and public debates, responds to criticisms from other scholars, and answers questions raised by readers. The public forum on this site is available to all interested readers. The membership site provides substantially more content for those willing to join. Bart has started this site as way of raising money to combat hunger and homelessness. ALL proceeds from the site go to charity! Some of these critics have published books taking alternative stands while others use the Internet. Members will read for the first time, how Bart responds to these critics.
Review of Bart Ehrman’s book “Forged: Writing in the Name of God”…
Shelves: religion-spirituality , nonfiction , good-but-flawed I am a nominal Roman Catholic. I attend mass once a week; I send my children to Catholic school; my wife teaches at Catholic school; I am a semi-active volunteer in my parish community; I even play in the Sunday evening worship band. Yes, Catholics can have worship bands, too. For most of my life, up until a few years ago, I would have described myself as an evangelical Christian. I spent my formative years in the Presbyterian Church USA then, for over a decade, I was a member and very active participant in the Evangelical Covenant denomination. I played in the worship band in that church also, and yes, the music was better there … much better … I miss it.