Tired of the Ehrman topic? So are Christian college students as they sit in their classrooms, believe me. I mentioned on the DL yesterday one of the young students who comes into our channel complaining that her textbook was written by…Bart Ehrman. And this evening I was appraised of the release in less than a month of a new book by Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them). Please note the description provided by the publisher:
Picking up where Bible expert Bart Ehrman’s New York Times bestseller Misquoting Jesus left off, Jesus, Interrupted addresses the larger issue of what the New Testament actually teaches—and it’s not what most people think. Here Ehrman reveals what scholars have unearthed:
* The authors of the New Testament have diverging views about who Jesus was and how salvation works
* The New Testament contains books that were forged in the names of the apostles by Christian writers who lived decades later
* Jesus, Paul, Matthew, and John all represented fundamentally different religions
* Established Christian doctrines—such as the suffering messiah, the divinity of Jesus, and the trinity—were the inventions of still later theologians
These are not idiosyncratic perspectives of just one modern scholar. As Ehrman skillfully demonstrates, they have been the standard and widespread views of critical scholars across a full spectrum of denominations and traditions. Why is it most people have never heard such things? This is the book that pastors, educators, and anyone interested in the Bible have been waiting for—a clear and compelling account of the central challenges we face when attempting to reconstruct the life and message of Jesus.
For anyone who has listened to Ehrman’s NT Intro lectures, this is nothing new, and though I am ordering the book, of course (and have added the few remaining Ehrman titles I did not already own to my ministry resource wish list just so I can check them all for citations while working on this book), I can tell you the line of argumentation Ehrman is going to follow. But does anyone else find the trajectory of his works over the past few years to be rather…interesting? For someone who was absolutely dead set against debating a theological topic, since theology and history are separate things, and Ehrman’s conclusions about theology are just “his opinion,” why are his last two titles so very…theological?
I see a very clear progression here, and if Misquoting Jesus was a big seller amongst atheists and other enemies of the faith, Jesus Interrupted will look to build upon the same foundation to attack the historic Christian faith—all under the guise of unbiased “history” of course.
I am not the only one, however, who has noticed that when Ehrman moves away from his strict area of expertise (textual criticism) into anything requiring exegesis, the results can be painful to observe. Lord willing, others will see the need to respond to this movement on Ehrman’s part (aside from yours truly!) and as a result more sound, believing works will be provided to the people of God demonstrating why we must handle the Word aright. TBN Christianity is defenseless against the Ehrmans of the world, as is the anti-intellectual strain of conservative Christianity that refuses to seriously challenge believers to go deep into the Word and learn to handle it properly.