Bart Ehrman The New Testament Summary

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Bart D. Ehrman. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. New York: Oxford University Press, Fifth edition, 2012

SUMMARY The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings is an
536 page, illustrated, historical guide to early Christianity and many of the early writings of the time—not just those of the New Testament Canon. As the title boasts it is used as an introduction textbook for scholars studying the New Testament. According to Ehrman, this edition of the text provides the reader with a new design that makes the book more readable as well as new tools “designed to help students synthesize the material in the chapter.” (xxviii) Additionally, this edition contains numerous …show more content…

Ehrman makes it a point throughout the textbook to emphasize that his approach is consistently from a historical perspective. His apparent goal is to familiarize the student with New Testament writings and early Christian writings by “emphasizing the rich diversity of the earliest Christian literature.” (xxvii) What the reader is left with is a textbook that comes across as being written from an interpretive standpoint where it is apparent Ehrman views his interpretation to be the one true expression of …show more content…

For example, in chapter 8 “The Synoptic Problem and Its Significance for Interpretation,” Ehrman introduces the reader to the Synoptic Problem and the “Q” source. Ehrman talks of Q as if it is an actual document—a document that one could put their hands on, touch, read, and prove exists. He does not spend any significant time letting the reader know that no such document supporting the Q theory has ever been discovered. Ehrman never mentions that some scholars would find statements like the following one preposterous: “despite the exuberant claims of some scholars, we cannot fully know what Q contained because the document has been lost. We have access to it only through the materials that Matthew and Luke both decided to include in their accounts, and it would be foolish to think that one or both of them included the entire document.” (110) Hypothetical question here—would it be foolish to think that the author of a textbook that purports to take a rigorous historical approach to introducing New Testament writings and early Christian writings would know better than to introduce an idea, a theory that has never been proven and pass it off as history? It appears the line that separates historical fact from fiction is easily

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