Monday, August 8, 2011
What is Your Favorite Bart Ehrman Book?
1. Early Christianities – I find it fascinating that there were about a half dozen different types of Christianities that sprouted up and only one survived. Ehrman does an excellent job of not only explaining what each gr oup believed, but he also mentions which gospels they primarily read and why they lost out to the orthodox beliefs that Christians have today.
2. The God Problem – I saw Ehrman interviewed on the Cobert Report for this book. Stephen asked him, “Isn’t an agnostic just an atheist without balls?” Ehrman took a second. I almost felt sorry for him, but he came up with a witty response (to bad I forgot what it was). Anyway, this book goes into what the Bible says about suffering, which surprised me (even though I was familiar with it). Much of it contradicted itself and most of it is unsatisfying. What I really like about this book is Ehrman is willing to say that he just can’t be a Christian anymore. Some many writers of Biblical History / Historical Jesus bend over backwards to rationalize Christianity.
3. Misquoting Jesus – This was the first book by Ehrman that I read. Yes, I knew when the printing press was invented, so it makes sense that the Bible was originally copied. Ehrman explains the problems with this and shows how the early copies were possibly manipulated and why.
4. Judas Iscariot – I didn’t think this book would be too interesting when I picked it up, but I was surprised. It is a wonder that as much of the manuscript survived as it did. Ehrman tells us what is in it and why. Entertaining.
5. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to Early Christian Writings – Yes, this is sad. I liked Bart Ehram’s books so much that I bought his textbook for his class. One problem – much of what he writes here is repeated elsewhere and it is a textbook. Still, I think it’s good.
6. Jesus, Interrupted – This is probably a good place to start. However, I felt like much of it was stuff I already knew and repeated elsewhere. Maybe it was a book I should have read instead of his textbook.
7. Peter, Paul, and Mary – this book will make the top five eventually, but I’ve just started it and unfortunately I don’t have it with me so it might take a while to finish it. I’ve read enough of it to know that I like it as it got me thinking about how Peter is portrayed. I haven’t gotten to Paul or Mary yet so I feel like I shouldn’t even include this book on my list.
Have you read any books by Bart Ehrman? Which are your favorites? Do you disagree with my list? Which ones would you suggest that I read?