Because Ideas Matter...
The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences presents
Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the
Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them)
by Bart D. Ehrman, Harper Collins, 2009
Reviewed by James F. McGrath
In his latest book, Bart Ehrman seeks to
introduce a wider audience to important aspects of the New
Testament. The historical-critical approach Ehrman outlines is
familiar to Biblical scholars, and common knowledge to anyone who
had studied in a mainline seminary in the past half century or so,
but beyond such circles is often unfamiliar, as pastors often do
not pass on this information, for whatever reason.
Ehrman tells how he entered seminary as a conservative
Christian, ready to resist the attacks he expected liberal scholars
to wage against the Bible. Instead, he discovered that this
scholarly way of viewing the Bible in fact made better sense of,
and did more justice to, what one actually finds in the Bible.
Over the course of the book's chapters, Ehrman discusses topics
such as: the diversity of views found in the New Testament about
Jesus, the Law, and other matters; the process of defining what
works would be included in the Bible; the authorship of the New
Testament writings; and what historians can and cannot tell us
I highly recommend Ehrman's book as a readable overview
presenting information about early Christianity that ought by now
to have become common knowledge. Perhaps most importantly, Jesus,
Interrupted demonstrates that everyone who appeals to the Bible in
support of their views is engaged in "picking and choosing" - even
(perhaps especially) those who most firmly deny that they are doing
- James F. McGrath is associate professor of religion at Butler
University. He blogs at Exploring Our Matrix, where you can find
(among other things) a longer version of this review.