Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bart Ehrman

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There is ONE good thing about being stuck in bed (I have a pinched nerve in my back and it's accompanied by very painful leg cramping), and that's the excellent video viewing time and book reading time I have. I have read through several of those excellent books on my table that I haven't had time for and I've been watching some great stuff on Netflix. I've watched the entire third season of Orange is the New Black.

Today is the crown. A couple of weeks ago on my show The Secular Parents, we had an episode on deconversion where a lovely guest on the show named Lori McFarlane told me about a book that she read by Bart Ehrman. I'd heard of Bart Ehrman of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, for years but hadn't read anything by him. I'm finally reading him and I need more! His books are fairly dense and intellectual (at least Lost Scriptures: Books that Did not Make it into the New Testament is).

I'm beginning to think that Bart Ehrman is one of the most important philosopher, Biblical scholars of our time. I deeply appreciate his adherence to historical accuracy and validity in the over twenty-five books he has written during his study of religion. I've read many books that seek to understand and explore historical accuracy and inaccuracy in Christian tradition and this one that I am reading, Lost Scriptures, is among my favorites so far. I'm a sucker for source documents, context, precedent, and history.

I also recommend reading books by Karen Armstrong, Richard Carrier, and David Fitzgerald if you are doing a study of a contextual bible. It looks like Karen Armstrong has a newer book out that I haven't read yet called Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence. But I might just read Misquoting Jesus, then onto Jesus, Interrupted by Bart Ehrman next and keep on reading until I've had enough!

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:
Sex, God, and Shame
Are You a Courageous Believer?
It Takes More Faith to be an Atheist


  1. 'Misquoting Jesus' is somehow the only Ehrman book that I've read so far, which I bought and first read a few years after the onset of the slow-moving snowball that has been my longer-than-necessary path to atheism- back when I still considered myself a Christian, but had recently admitted that I didn't believe in the bible... to my formerly very friendly youth pastor, who had been trying to pressure me into a leadership role at church, where I was subsequently "politely" asked to quit the worship team after my fortuitous revelation, and blurting out a few unanswerable questions asked both in earnest and in flustered defense of my stance, and his niceness (and the friendliness and trust of my youth group peers) abruptly ended. Pretty typical behavior from other deconversion stories I've since heard. So, after some time of frustration and angst over the hypocrisy of the church teachings, and incredulity that I was the only one out of my church leaders and friends willing to question obvious moral problems and holes in those teachings, I began searching for some background information on the topic, and kind of stumbled upon 'Misquoting Jesus'. It was fascinating, and rather enlightening with the way Ehrman laid out the historical context of how much these "holy scriptures" have been endlessly altered over so many centuries, and for such varying reasons (largely word of mouth stories finally penned after generations of retelling, ineptly novice translations, butchering/misconstruing of content to fit sociopolitical agendas, more bad translating, etc.). Thought provoking and eye opening stuff. I loved this book, and would happily read as much of Ehrman's work as I can get my hands on. It's historically accurate, intellectually interesting without being either overly complicated or condescending, and 'Misquoting' in particular, is an especially validating read for anyone new to the wtf factor of actually critically thinking about the sketchier (ie. most) aspects of christian teachings and their supposedly sacred religious text. I highly recommend this one- the book, and the author.

  2. Also- sorry to hear about your injury, and I hope you feel better soon! ♡

  3. Misquoting Jesus and How Jesus Became God are so incredibly informative and interesting. Definitely not the things they taught us in Sunday School!


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