Forgery and Counter Forgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics

Overview

"Arguably the most distinctive feature of the early Christian literature," writes Bart Ehrman, "is the degree to which it was forged." The Homilies and Recognitions of Clement; Paul's letters to and from Seneca; Gospels by Peter, Thomas, and Philip; Jesus' correspondence with Abgar, letters by Peter and Paul in the New Testament—all forgeries. To cite just a few examples.

Forgery and Counterforgery is the first comprehensive study of early Christian pseudepigrapha ever produced in English. In it, Ehrman argues ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (13) from $29.65   
  • New (10) from $35.20   
  • Used (3) from $29.65   
Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$14.99
BN.com price
(Save 44%)$26.99 List Price

Overview

"Arguably the most distinctive feature of the early Christian literature," writes Bart Ehrman, "is the degree to which it was forged." The Homilies and Recognitions of Clement; Paul's letters to and from Seneca; Gospels by Peter, Thomas, and Philip; Jesus' correspondence with Abgar, letters by Peter and Paul in the New Testament—all forgeries. To cite just a few examples.

Forgery and Counterforgery is the first comprehensive study of early Christian pseudepigrapha ever produced in English. In it, Ehrman argues that ancient critics—pagan, Jewish, and Christian—understood false authorial claims to be a form of literary deceit, and thus forgeries. Ehrman considers the extent of the phenomenon, the "intention" and motivations of ancient Greek, Roman, and Jewish forgers, and reactions to their work once detected. He also assesses the criteria ancient critics applied to expose forgeries and the techniques forgers used to avoid detection. With the wider practices of the ancient world as backdrop, Ehrman then focuses on early Christian polemics, as various Christian authors forged documents in order to lend their ideas a veneer of authority in literary battles waged with pagans, Jews, and, most importantly, with one another in internecine disputes over doctrine and practice. In some instances a forger directed his work against views found in another forgery, creating thereby a "counter-forgery." Ehrman's evaluation of polemical forgeries starts with those of the New Testament (nearly half of whose books make a false authorial claim) up through the Pseudo-Ignatian epistles and the Apostolic Constitutions at the end of the fourth century.

Shining light on an important but overlooked feature of the early Christian world, Forgery and Counterforgery explores the possible motivations of the deceivers who produced these writings, situating their practice within ancient Christian discourses on lying and deceit.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[An] engrossing and learned analysis of early Christian literature, both within and beyond the covers of the Bible...A text that will have a material effect on the future of a faith that is currently experiencing one of its most interesting and fruitful phases of transformation. Few books have so effectively challenged the basis of scriptural authority in Christianity." --London Review of Books

"Impressive and wide-ranging." --Marginalia

"This comprehensive study is a valuable addition to the field of scriptural literary criticism and will be very useful to researchers and lay readers in that field. It is both an insightful study of the use and usefulness of forgeries in polemics during the first four centuries of Christianity, and a near encyclopedic survey of the forged texts themselves." -- Library Journal

"The book is excellent. It will make an enormous impact on the field of New Testament studies and also studies of pseudepigraphy in the ancient world. ... The book will make a huge contribution to the field. There are comparable books in German, but this one goes beyond them all. And it will be the only thing of its kind in English."
--Dale B. Martin, Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University

"The book tackles an important subject--the nature of ancient Christian pseudepigraphy--and makes a significant contribution to it.... The author's contribution lies in updating Speyer's thesis that pseudepigraphy was usually, on the contrary, an attempt to deceive, and in establishing this thesis in a comprehensive English-language monograph. The greatest strength of the book is its comprehensiveness."
--Joel Marcus, Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Duke Divinity School

"Examining over fifty examples of early Christian forgery and their polemical contexts, Ehrman uncovers the varied motives that prompted ancient Christian authors intentionally to deceive their readers. Whether these authors forged their works to support or critique the Apostle Paul, to oppose or celebrate "the flesh", to promote their own views of doctrine and church leadership, or to defend Christianity against hostile critics, the sheer magnitude of early Christian forgery startles the modern reader. Ehrman demolishes the claim that forgery was an acceptable literary practice in Greco-Roman antiquity, as well as scholars' attempts to "explain away" its prevalence in early Christianity. Ehrman's remarkable and comprehensive account of a misunderstood practice is unparalleled in English-language scholarship."--Elizabeth A. Clark, John Carlisle Kilgo Professor of Religion and Professor of History, Duke University

"With Forgery and Counter-forgery, Bart Ehrman has decisively undermined the view that the early Christian pseudepigraphic writings are something other than forgeries. These works, however well-intentioned, were, quite simply, "bastards" and were viewed as such whenever their false authorial claims were discovered. Based in flawed or faulty scholarship, modern attempts to excuse the New Testament forgeries are therefore misplaced, revealing the longings of contemporary readers for secure canonical authorities capable of defending their own points of view. This deeply engaging, carefully documented and thought-provoking exposé of ancient forgery is required reading for anyone interested in understanding how, and why, so many Christian writers sought to pass off their works as the products of named authorities when they so obviously were not. Thoroughly convincing."--Jennifer Knust, Boston University

"The quality is very high; it is very thorough and well-researched. ... Ehrman has produced a learned and engaging survey of early Christian controversial literature from the vantage point of authorial identity and rhetorical deceit, asking why Christians lied about themselves when writing polemical works and why scholars are so resistant to acknowledging their forgeries. ... There is no other major scholarly study in English that tackles this subject with such thoroughness, and its usefulness to students of early Christian literature will be undeniable. ... There is no comparable work in English on forgery. ... I also think general readers will pick it up and find it fascinating. ... The prose is solid, the arguments are clear and effective, and the significance of this study is undeniable."
--Andrew Jacobs, Associate Professor and Chair of Religious Studies at Scripps College

Library Journal
Many early Christian writers sought to increase the influence of their works by falsely attributing them to well-known figures (or to eyewitnesses of events). Ehrman (James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why) examines a wide array of texts (including several canonical New Testament books) that make explicit or implicit false claims of authorship. He examines how these intentional deceptions were used to enhance arguments against contrary views, many of which were also based on forgeries. His treatment is scholarly and thorough, including detailed notes and frequent discussions of earlier and ongoing debates. VERDICT This comprehensive study is a valuable addition to the field of scriptural literary criticism and will be very useful to researchers and lay readers in that field. It is both an insightful study of the use and usefulness of forgeries in polemics during the first four centuries of Christianity, and a near encyclopedic survey of the forged texts themselves.—Fred Poling, Long Beach City Coll. Lib., CA
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199928033
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/14/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 624
  • Sales rank: 548,612
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Widely recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on the New Testament and early Christianity, he has lectured at major universities throughout North America and has been featured on CNN, BBC, the History Channel, National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, A&E, major PBS stations, and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He is the author of the New York Times best-selling book Misquoting Jesus.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Chapter One: Introduction

PART ONE: FORGERY IN THE GRECO-ROMAN WORLD

Chapter Two: Forgers, Critics, and Deceived Deceivers
Chapter Three: Terms and Taxonomies
Chapter Four: Forgery in Antiquity: Aspects of the Broader Phenomenon
Chapter Five: Forgery in Antiquity: Motives, Techniques, Intentions, Justifications, and Criteria of Detection

PART TWO: FORGERY IN EARLY CHRISTIAN POLEMICS

Chapter Six: Introduction to Forgery and Counter-forgery in Early Christian Polemics
Chapter Seven: Early Pauline Forgeries Dealing with Eschatology
Chapter Eight: Later Forgeries Dealing with Eschatology
Chapter Nine: Forgeries in Support of Paul and His Authority
Chapter Ten: Forgeries in Opposition to Paul and His Message
Chapter Eleven: Anti-Jewish Forgeries
Chapter Twelve: Forgeries involving Church Organization and Leadership
Chapter Thirteen: Forgeries involving Debates over the Flesh
Chapter Fourteen: Forgeries Arising from Later Theological Controversies
Chapter Fifteen: Apologetic Forgeries
Chapter Sixteen: Lies and Deception In the Cause of Truth

Bibliography

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)