Bart D. Erhman


Bart D. Erhman chairs the department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An authority on the early Church and the life of Jesus, he has appeared on A&E, the History Channel, CNN, and other television and radio shows. He has taped several highly popular lecture series for the "Teaching Company" and is the author of The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (Third Edition, OUP, 2003) and Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (OUP, 1999).

Professor Erhman is one of my favorite writers. His works are making a huge contribution to the Christian world and the world at large in all respects. All of his books are well-written and scholarly. Without exception I highly recommend his books, especially for those who want more information about how the Bible was written, early Christian writings, and accurate history. Erhman's scholarship is impeccable.

Some of his works are easy read, others are written for the academic and those who want all the details, therefore, I have two sections on this page: Arm Chair Reads and Study Reads. What I call Arm Chair Reads in no way sacrifice the information needed to understand what happened in the Early Church. Study Reads provide information for those doing research or who simply want all the details.

In any event, however, please know that one who is a scholarly reader would benefit from any and all of this works. Included below are some links to interviews and the National Geographic Pages concerning a whole site is available concerning the newest available ancient text, The Gospel of Judas, in which Erhman writes a commentary.

Enjoy! Blessings, Jessika

Hear Interviews with Bart Ehrman about his book
Misquoting Jesus!
From NPR

Hear Interviews with Bart Ehrman about his book
Lost Christianities!
From Written Voices
From NPR

Read About: The Gospel of Judas (Hardcover)
by Bart D. Ehrman (Commentary), Rodolphe Kasser (Editor),
Marvin Meyer (Editor), Gregor Wurst (Editor)
National Geographic.Com

Also see: The Da Vinci Code Books

Arm Chair Reads

The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot: A New Look at Betrayer and Betrayed (Hardcover) by Bart D. Ehrman

The Gospel of Judas presents an entirely new view of Jesus, his disciples, and the man who allegedly betrayed him.

Book Description from Amazon
The recent National Geographic special on the Gospel of Judas was a major media event, introducing to tens of millions of viewers one of the most important biblical discoveries of modern times.... Ehrman gives the reader a complete and clear account of what the book teaches and he shows how it relates to other Gospel texts--both those inside the New Testament and those outside of it, most notably, the Gnostic texts of early Christianity. Finally, he describes what we now can say about the historical Judas himself as well as his relationship with Jesus, suggesting that one needs to read between the lines of the early Gospels to see exactly what Judas did and why he did it.

The Gospel of Judas presents an entirely new view of Jesus, his disciples, and the man who allegedly betrayed him. It raises many questions and Bart Ehrman provides illuminating and authoritative answers, in a book that will interest anyone curious about the New Testament, the life of Jesus, and the history of Christianity after his death.



Misquoting Jesus : The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (Hardcover) by Bart Ehrman

"More than almost anything I've ever written about, the subject of this book has been on my mind for the past thirty years, since I..." (

The popular perception of the Bible as a divinely perfect book receives scant support from Ehrman, who sees in Holy Writ ample evidence of human fallibility and ecclesiastical politics. Though himself schooled in evangelical literalism, Ehrman has come to regard his earlier faith in the inerrant inspiration of the Bible as misguided, given that the original texts have disappeared and that the extant texts available do not agree with one another. Most of the textual discrepancies, Ehrman acknowledges, matter little, but some do profoundly affect religious doctrine. To assess how ignorant or theologically manipulative scribes may have changed the biblical text, modern scholars have developed procedures for comparing diverging texts. And in language accessible to nonspecialists, Ehrman explains these procedures and their results. He further explains why textual criticism has frequently sparked intense controversy, especially among scripture-alone Protestants. In discounting not only the authenticity of existing manuscripts but also the inspiration of the original writers, Ehrman will deeply divide his readers. Although he addresses a popular audience, he undercuts the very religious attitudes that have made the Bible a popular book. Still, this is a useful overview for biblical history collections. Bryce Christensen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene : The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend (Hardcover)

by Bart D. Ehrman

Book Description
Bart Ehrman, author of the highly popular Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code and Lost Christianities, here takes readers on another engaging tour of the early Christian church, illuminating the lives of three of Jesus' most intriguing followers: Simon Peter, Paul of Tarsus, and MaryMagdalene.
What do the writings of the New Testament tell us about each of these key followers of Christ? What legends have sprung up about them in the centuries after their deaths? Was Paul bow-legged and bald? Was Peter crucified upside down? Was Mary Magdalene a prostitute? In this lively work, Ehrman separates fact from fiction, presenting complicated historical issues in a clear and informative way and relating vivid anecdotes culled from the traditions of these three followers. He notes, for instance, that historians are able to say with virtual certainty that Mary, the follower of Jesus, was from the fishing village of Magdala on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (this is confirmed by her name, Mary Magdalene, reported in numerous independent sources); but there is no evidence to suggest that she was a prostitute (this legend can be traced to a sermon preached by Gregory the Great five centuries after her death), and little reason to think that she was married to Jesus. Similarly, there is no historical evidence for the well-known tale that Peter was crucified upside down. Ehrman also argues that the stories of Paul's miracle working powers as an apostle are legendary accounts that celebrate his importance.


The Gospel of Judas (Hardcover)

by Bart D. Ehrman (Commentary), Rodolphe Kasser (Editor), Marvin Meyer (Editor), Gregor Wurst (Editor)





Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code : A Historian Reveals What We Really Know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine (Paperback)
by Bart D. Ehrman

"Despite the intricacies of its plots and subplots, The Da Vinci Code is essentially a story of right versus wrong...

From Publishers Weekly
Ehrman, chair of religious studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, has written widely on the subject of early Christian documents and the formation of the biblical canon. While acknowledging that Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code is an exciting mystery novel, Ehrman questions some of its historical claims. Focusing on 10 areas of concern, including the role Constantine played in the formation of the both the church and the Bible and the evidence for Jesus' personal involvement with Mary Magdalene, Ehrman reviews the historical record and demonstrates that Brown's history behind the mystery is seriously flawed. Ehrman is not concerned with theology; he has no interest beyond that of the professional historian who wants to arm the everyday reader with sound research and helpful historical perspective. His is a documentary approach, avoiding speculation and theory. This tone distinguishes the book from many other responses to Brown's novel that uphold a particular theological agenda. Ultimately, Ehrman believes that readers should not try to learn history from speculative fiction. This is a very readable treatment of some difficult themes, such as the reasons for the exclusion of some early gospels from the canon and the enormous influence of recent archeological discoveries. Readers at every level will appreciate this book.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


The Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew (Hardcover)

by Bart D. Ehrman
"Ancient Christians knew of far more Gospels than the four that eventually came to be included in the New Testament..." (more)

Book Description
The early Christian Church was a chaos of contending beliefs. Some groups of Christians claimed that there was not one God but two or twelve or thirty. Some believed that the world had not been created by God but by a lesser, ignorant deity. Certain sects maintained that Jesus was human but not divine, while others said he was divine but not human.

In Lost Christianities, Bart D. Ehrman offers a fascinating look at these early forms of Christianity and shows how they came to be suppressed, reformed, or forgotten. All of these groups insisted that they upheld the teachings of Jesus and his apostles, and they all possessed writings that bore out

their claims, books reputedly produced by Jesus's own followers. Modern archaeological work has recovered a number of key texts, and as Ehrman shows, these spectacular discoveries reveal religious diversity that says much about the ways in which history gets written by the winners. Ehrman's
discussion ranges from considerations of various "lost scriptures"--including forged gospels supposedly written by Simon Peter, Jesus's closest disciple, and Judas Thomas, Jesus's alleged twin brother--to the disparate beliefs of such groups as the Jewish-Christian Ebionites, the anti-Jewish Marcionites, and various "Gnostic" sects. Ehrman examines in depth the battles that raged between "proto-orthodox Christians"-- those who eventually compiled the canonical books of the New Testament and standardized Christian belief--and the groups they denounced as heretics and ultimately overcame.
Scrupulously researched and lucidly written, Lost Christianities is an eye-opening account of politics, power, and the clash of ideas among Christians in the decades before one group came to see its views prevail

Hear Interviews with Bart Ehrman about Lost Christianities!
From Written Voices
From NPR

Lost Scriptures : Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament (Hardcover)
by Bart D. Ehrman

"Jewish Christians in the early centuries of the church were widely thought to have preferred the Gospel of Matthew to all others, since it is..." (more)

Book Description
We may think of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament as the only sacred writings of the early Christians, but this is not at all the case. Lost Scriptures offers an anthology of up-to-date and readable translations of many non-canonical writings from the first centuries after
Christ--texts that have been for the most part lost or neglected for almost two millennia.
Here is an array of remarkably varied writings from early Christian groups whose visions of Jesus differ dramatically from our contemporary understanding. Readers will find Gospels supposedly authored by the apostle Philip, James the brother of Jesus, Mary Magdalen, and others. There are Acts originally ascribed to John and to Thecla, Paul's female companion; there are Epistles allegedly written by Paul to the Roman philosopher Seneca. And there is an apocalypse by Simon Peter that offers a guided tour of the afterlife, both the glorious ecstasies of the saints and the horrendous torments of the damned, and an Epistle by Titus, a companion of Paul, which argues page after page against sexual love, even within marriage, on the grounds that physical intimacy leads to damnation. In all, the anthology includes fifteen Gospels, five non-canonical Acts of the Apostles, thirteen Epistles, a number of Apocalypes and Secret Books, and several Canon lists. Ehrman has included a general introduction, plus brief introductions to each piece. Lost Scriptures gives readers a vivid picture of the range of beliefs that battled each other in the first centuries of the Christian era. It is an essential resource for anyone interested in the Bible or the early Church.




Jesus : Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (Hardcover)

by Bart D. Ehrman
C.S. Lewis once noted that nowhere do the Gospels say, "Jesus laughed." He's probably laughing now, if he's got access to Bart Ehrman's Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. The title doesn't even hint at the yuks that Ehrman's prose delivers, but from its very first page, Jesus will tickle your funny bone and stimulate your brain. "At last count," Ehrman begins, "there were something like 8 zillion books written about Jesus .... It's not there aren't enough books about Jesus out there. It's that there aren't enough of the right kind of book. Very, very few, in fact. I'd say about one and a half."

The right kind of book, according to Ehrman, is one that portrays Jesus roughly as Albert Schweitzer did, as a first-century Jewish apocalypticist: "This is a shorthand way of saying that Jesus fully expected that the history of the world as we know it (well, as he knew it) was going to come to a screeching halt, that God was soon going to intervene in the affairs of this world, overthrow the forces of evil in a cosmic act of judgment, destroy huge masses of humanity, and abolish existing human political and religious institutions. All this would be a prelude to the arrival of a new order on earth, the Kingdom of God." Ehrman's is a historical-Jesus book, a very smart, humble, and humorous popular summary of Christian and secular evidence of Jesus' life, work, and legacy. He believes that apocalypticism is the true core of Jesus' message, and that comfortable middle-class complacency among scholars, clergy, and laypeople has forged a counterfeit, domesticated, "ethical" Jesus to cover up their befuddlement about his misprediction of the apocalypse. The book will frustrate many readers because it offers no real guidance regarding what one should do with Jesus' apocalypticism. Its project--to prove that Jesus was wrong about the apocalypse--may even appear destructive to some. Yet the argument is convincing enough to induce among careful readers a constructive experience of confusion. Jesus makes readers ask the very question it appears to ignore, in a newly humble way: how, then, should we live? A serious matter, but considering humanity's endless string of wrong answers and infinite capacity for self-delusion, worthy of some good belly laughs, as well. --Michael Joseph Gross



Study Reads

After the New Testament : A Reader in Early Christianity (Paperback)
by Bart D. Ehrman

"Over the past century and a half, archaeological discoveries have played a significant role in our understanding of early Christianity..." (more)

Book Description
The remarkable diversity of Christianity during the formative years before the Council of Nicea has become a plain, even natural, "fact" for most ancient historians. Until now, however, there has been no sourcebook of primary texts that reveals the many varieties of Christian beliefs, practices, ethics, experiences, confrontations, and self-understandings. To help readers recognize and experience the rich diversity of the early Christian movement, After the New Testament provides a wide range of texts from the second and third centuries, both "orthodox" and "heterodox," including such works as the Apostolic Fathers, the writings of Nag Hammadi, early pseudepigrapha, martyrologies, anti-Jewish tractates, heresiologies, canon lists, church orders, liturgical texts, and theological treatises. Rather than providing only fragments of texts, this collection prints large excerpts--entire documents wherever possible--organized under social and historical rubrics.

This unique reader's concise and informative introductions and clear and up-to-date English translations make it ideal for courses on the New Testament, Christian Origins, Early Church History, or Late Antiquity. It will also be of interest to anyone--student, scholar, and general reader
alike--interested in the entire range of early Christian literature from the period after the New Testament up to the writings of the so-called father of church history, Eusebius.



The New Testament : A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (Paperback)
by Bart D. Ehrman

"This chapter is concerned with some hard but intriguing questions that many people have never thought to ask about the New Testament: Where did this..." (more)

Book Description
This new edition of Bart Ehrman's highly successful introduction approaches the New Testament from a consistently historical and comparative perspective, emphasizing the rich diversity of the earliest Christian literature. Rather than shying away from the critical problems presented by these books, Ehrman addresses the historical and literary challenges they pose and shows why scholars continue to argue over such significant issues as how the books of the New Testament came into being, what they mean, how they relate to contemporary Christian and non-Christian literature, and how they came to be collected into a canon of Scripture. Distinctive to this study is its emphasis on the historical, literary, and religious milieu of the Greco-Roman world, including early Judaism. As part of its historical orientation, this text also discusses works by other Christian writers who were roughly contemporary with the New Testament, such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the letters of Ignatius. The volume is enhanced by two color inserts, one on illuminated manuscripts and the other on archaeology.

New to this edition:
BL Additional material on archaeology, including a new eight-page color insert
BL "What to Expect" and "At a Glance" boxes that provide summaries of the material covered in each chapter
BL Several new "Something to Think About" and "Some More Information" boxes
BL More extensive treatments of Judaism and of the role of women in the history of early Christianity
BL Nine new illustrations
BL An Instructor's Manual containing chapter summaries, discussion questions, and possible examination questions

Ideal for undergraduate and seminary classes in the New Testament, Biblical Studies, and Christian Origins, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, 3/e, is an accessible, clearly written introduction that encourages students to consider the historical issues
surrounding these writings.


The Text of the New Testament : Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (Paperback)
by Bruce M. Metzger, Bart D. Ehrman

"UNTIL the invention of printing with movable type in the fifteenth century the text of the New Testament-and, indeed, the text of every ancient record-could..." (more)

Book Description
This thoroughly revised edition of Bruce M. Metzger's classic work is the most up-to-date manual available for the textual criticism of the New Testament. The Text of the New Testament, Fourth Edition, has been invigorated by the addition of Bart D. Ehrman--author of numerous best-selling books on the New Testament--as a coauthor. This revision brings the discussion of such important matters as the early Greek manuscripts and methods of textual criticism up to date, integrating recent research findings and approaches into the body of the text (as opposed to previous revisions, which compiled new material and notes into appendices). The authors also examine new areas of interest, including the use of computers in the collection and evaluation of manuscript evidence and the effects that social and ideological influences had upon the work of scribes. The standard text for courses
in biblical studies and the history of Christianity since its first publication in 1964, The Text of the New Testament is poised to become a definitive resource for a whole new generation of students.


The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture : The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament (Paperback)
by Bart D. Ehrman

"Christianity in the second and third centuries was in a remarkable state of flux..." (more)

Book Description
The victors not only write the history, they also reproduce the texts. In a study that explores the close relationship between the social history of early Christianity and the textual tradition of the emerging New Testament, Ehrman examines how early struggles between Christian "heresy" and"orthodoxy" affected the transmission of the documents over which, in part, the debates were waged. His thesis is that proto-orthodox scribes of the second and third centuries occasionally altered their sacred texts for polemical reasons--for example, to oppose adoptionists like the Ebionites, who claimed that Christ was a man but not God, or docetists like Marcion, who claimed that he was God but not a man, or Gnostics like the Ptolemaeans, who claimed that he was two beings, one divine and one human. Ehrman's thorough and incisive analysis makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the social and intellectual history of early Christianity and raises intriguing questions about the relationship of readers to their texts, especially in an age when scribes could transform the documents they reproduced to make them say what they were already thought to mean, effecting thereby the orthodox corruption of Scripture.



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