April 7, 2009

Jesus, Interrupted by Bart Ehrman Coming Soon!

Recently I joined an online book program that asks for reviews of books that we may or may not like. My task is to read the book, and then post an honest review of the work. My review of ReJesus by Frost and Hirsch was the first one.

I just got my order form for the next round of books, and I will be reviewing Bart Ehrman's book Jesus, Interrupted (the review is now available). Ehrman is a New Testament scholar and textual critic (evaluating and comparing ancient copies of manuscripts). He is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Having once been a conservative, evangelical Christian (graduated from Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton), Ehrman became an agnostic in his search for truth. Ehrman theorizes that much of the biblical text has been tampered with by those with agendas.

Jesus, Interrupted argues:
  • Only 8 of the 27 books of the New Testament were actually written by the authors to whom they’re attributed. Others are likely forgeries.
  • The gospels provide remarkably divergent portrayals of Jesus. As an example, the crucifixion story varies greatly between the gospels of Mark and Luke. Mark’s account depicts a suffering Jesus crying out “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?” as he dies. Luke, however, portrays a calm Jesus who simply says “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
  • The message of the Apostle Paul and the message of gospel writer Matthew are completely at odds over the question of whether a follower of Jesus also had to observe the Jewish law.
  • The Nicene Creed and the Trinity were constructs of the later church and are not found in the Bible.
  • Traditional doctrines such as the suffering Messiah, the divinity of Christ, and the notion of heaven and hell are not based on the teachings of the historical Jesus.
I am not sure what to expect. I want to give this book a fair reading and try to see his point of view before disagreeing with it. I would venture to believe that there are some valuable things in the work...I want to gain those and ditch the rest.

If you want to take a peak inside the book you can check it out here.

Here is a video introduction of his new book:

Ben Witherington III gives a great review of Ehrman's book Misquoting Jesus.

If you want to see Ehrman and Stephen Colbert click here.


  1. I give you credit for having the patience to read this. I've thrown fiction books across the room because I got fed up with them. (And one was a best seller... it just annoyed me.) I know I couldn't read a book that was contrary to everything I believed.

    Btw, as far as the two gospels having different quotes from Jesus - couldn't he have said both of them? Why does one rule out the other?

    You wonder if someone like that ever had true faith or was just following the faith of their parents.

  2. Cyndi,

    Both statements could have been said...both could also have been remembered differently by the different authors. Either way it doesn't disregard the inspiration of the text and God's continual working in it.

    From what I have been able to learn, Ehrman was converted and became passionate about following God. It was in his study that things changed. Unfortunately, things like this give seminaries and higher Christian learning a bad name.

    The real problem starts with all the "Sunday School answers" given by some pastors and Sunday School teachers. They don't challenge people to actually think through some of the issues and understand how to respond. So all we can do is get mad and not understand how to respond appropriately.

  3. Hey Eric,

    Hope all is well. From your comments I gather that this book has the potential of being a good tool from an apologetic/evangelistic standpoint. By that I mean by reading it you could get a better idea why people would have doubts about Scripture and where they might be coming from and then maybe be able to help them through it. Hope my thoughts make sense. Look forward to your impression.

    Funny you should post this. Just this morning I was reading about Bart and his interesting views. Like the article said; "Bart Ehrman has established himself as the media's go-to professor in terms of denying the truthfulness and unity of the Bible, especially the New Testament". (see link)

    Hey, is there a way to put clickable links to a post?



  4. What do you mean "to a post"? I have put clickable links inside the post. If you mean in the comment box, I think you can use html coding to make a clickable link.

  5. Yup, to a comment. When I try it I get this:

    Your HTML cannot be accepted: Tag is not allowed:

    Can't seem to make it happen. Must be operator error.

  6. Can I borrow this book when you are done with it???