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How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee
     

How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee

3.9 17
by Bart D. Ehrman
 

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New York Times bestselling author and Bible expert Bart Ehrman reveals how Jesus’s divinity became dogma in the first few centuries of the early church.

The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what

Overview

New York Times bestselling author and Bible expert Bart Ehrman reveals how Jesus’s divinity became dogma in the first few centuries of the early church.

The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. How Jesus Became God tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first.

A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman reveals how an apocalyptic prophet from the backwaters of rural Galilee crucified for crimes against the state came to be thought of as equal with the one God Almighty, Creator of all things. But how did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? In a book that took eight years to research and write, Ehrman sketches Jesus’s transformation from a human prophet to the Son of God exalted to divine status at his resurrection. Only when some of Jesus’s followers had visions of him after his death—alive again—did anyone come to think that he, the prophet from Galilee, had become God. And what they meant by that was not at all what people mean today.

Written for secular historians of religion and believers alike, How Jesus Became God will engage anyone interested in the historical developments that led to the affirmation at the heart of Christianity: Jesus was, and is, God.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“Ehrman writes very personally, especially in the beginning, and this approach draws the reader into a subject that is littered with curves and contradictions... This fascinating discussion will engage—and provoke—a wide audience.”
Harvey Cox
“This careful book starts where the ‘historical Jesus’ accounts ends and lays outhow this absorbing story continued for centuries. Candid and direct, it unfoldswhat often seem to be the unnecessarily complicated controversies that dividedearly Christians in a fair and understandable manner.”
Christian Century
“Ehrman’s book raises questions that should interest us all... [and] represents a genuine conversation among informed scholars.”
Boston Globe
“Bart Ehrman has made a career of zeroing in on some of the most difficult questions at the intersection of faith and history.”
Paula Fredriksen
“How did ancient monotheism allow the One God to have a ‘son’? Bart Ehrman tells this story, introducing the reader to a Jewish world thick with angels, cosmic powers, and numberless semi-divinities. How Jesus Became God provides a lively overview of Nicea’s prequel.”
Michael Coogan
“ In this lively and provocative book, Ehrman gives a nuanced and wide-ranging discussion of early Christian Christology. Tracing the developing understanding of Jesus, Ehrman shows his skills as an interpreter of both biblical and nonbiblical texts. This is an important, accessible work by a scholar of the first rank.”
Elaine Pagels
HOW JESUS BECAME GOD makes the most astonishing and complex topic in the history of Christianity accessible to every reader, and offers a clear and balanced discussion of how various Christians–and non- Christians-see Jesus.
John J. Collins
“Ehrman writes with vigor and clarity, but above all with intellectual honesty.He demystifies a subject on which biblical scholars too often equivocate. Bothbelievers and non-believers can learn much from this book.”
Publishers Weekly
02/10/2014
Challenging traditional notions about Jesus and the New Testament with biblical scholarship is something that Ehrman, professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and prolific author (Misquoting Jesus) has been doing for years. This book will likely ruffle the same feathers with its discussion of how the man from Galilee came to be seen as God. Appealing to nonexperts interested in historical questions about the development of Christianity’s central and most basic tenets, Ehrman traces ancient ideas about divinity that likely informed Jesus and his followers, through the biblical record, and into early Christianity. In the process, he shows how claims about Jesus’ divinity as it was understood by Jesus and his followers demand nuance. The material leads to some arguments from silence, but Ehrman is careful to note what we can and cannot know, especially where history leaves off and faith begins. As it makes strong scholarship on fundamental issues available to general readers, this is an important addition to the corpus of books about the historical Jesus. (Apr.)
Hollis Research Professor of Divinity at HarvardHollis Research Professor of Divinity at HarvardHarv
“This careful book starts where the ‘historical Jesus’ accounts ends and lays outhow this absorbing story continued for centuries. Candid and direct, it unfoldswhat often seem to be the unnecessarily complicated controversies that dividedearly Christians in a fair and understandable manner.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061778193
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/07/2015
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
118,475
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Bart D. Ehrman is one of the most renowned and controversial Bible scholars in the world today. He is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is the author of more than twenty books, including the New York Times bestsellers How Jesus Became God; Misquoting Jesus; God’s Problem; Jesus, Interrupted; and Forged. He has appeared on Dateline NBC, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, History, and top NPR programs, as well as been featured in TIME, the New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and other publications. He lives in Durham, North Carolina. Visit the author online at www.bartdehrman.com.

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How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Mitton More than 1 year ago
Historical Fact with Purposeful Fiction. Good Read. I’ve sat in enough churches to know that sooner or later the question will rise: “If Jesus were to walk in here right now would he recognize this place as His church?” In ‘How Jesus Became God’ Bart Ehrman argues well that the answer is no. Not because the modern church is doing it wrong but because the question is wrong. Ehrman argues that our view of Jesus is an amalgam of historical fact, purposeful fiction, and a lot of wishful thinking that would probably surprise even Jesus. During the first centuries of the Christian church there was a constant battle for the primacy of ideas. Some believed that Jesus was fully human but an excellent moral teacher. A strong argument was made that Jesus was human and adopted by God at his baptism. Gnostics argued that Jesus discovered secret knowledge that was available to anyone as a trade for mortifying the evil flesh. It surprises people today to learn that many early Christians were vehemently anti-Semitic, believing the god of the Jews to be spiteful, mean, and petty in comparison to the gentle teachings of Jesus. Ideas, beliefs, and values change over time and the church is no different. In ‘Misquoting Jesus’ Ehrman outlined a strong argument that the New Testament is to some degree a fiction: we really can’t say for sure what the autographical texts said and we have firm evidence of tinkering. The history of the church follows a parallel line. During the first century one could take their pick from various views of Jesus, the new Christian church, and its relation to other religions. As an orthodoxy emerged, competing ideas were rooted out. “Heretics’ were hunted down. False teacher run out of town. The idea that Jesus was ‘very God of very God’ became prominent and dissenters where shunned. This ‘orthodoxy’ would have surprised many early followers of Jesus. For readers of Ehrman this will be familiar ground. His writing is accessible and he notes enough references to provide plenty of research. Like the response to his other books, not everyone will be amused. His argument is historical and fact based and doesn’t settle well with current orthodoxy. It’s a good read, though, for anyone interested in early Christianity and the development of the early church. There’s lots to think about here no matter what side of the coin you enjoy. A good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Probably the definitive book on how it was men who elevated Jesus and created a church in their own image.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a long-time fan of Ehrman. When I saw this book was coming out, I couldn't wait to get it. Once again, he does not disappoint. Even though he is a self-admitted agnostic, he in no way "preaches" agnosticism.  He gives the basic facts, with some entertaining--albeit very relevant--stories from his own experience. He is a New Testament historian first and foremost, and presents his topic in a very reader-friendly way. I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the history of the early Christian movement.
GrandpaGuy More than 1 year ago
If you're into Bible history (and I am) this is another great book by one of my favorite authors. This guy knows how to employ textual criticism and other historical tools to the fullest. He deftly traces an important viewpoint from it's inception around 50 CE to the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE. Interesting quotes: "Jesus did not teach his ethics so that society could thrive for the long haul. For Jesus, there was not going to be a long haul." "He taught that much of the law could be summarized in the command to 'love our neighbor as yourself.'"
bookaholic72 More than 1 year ago
If you're interested in Biblical history, this is a must read. While I don't agree with everything Ehrman says, he makes clear and concise points. As he states, there is very little historical data, but common sense and clear reasoning makes one think about the mythology we as judeo-christians were taught.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ehrman has some valid points about the deification of Jesus. There is no Biblical evidence of Jesus being God. The author also points out the councils that attempted to codify Christianity and the creation of a catholic orthodox religion for the Roman Empire. However, Ehrman's conclusions are weak. He believes that as one part of Christianity is incorrect it must all be incorrect. The author's previous religious views were narrow minded and too inflexible to cope with his realization that Christianity isn't as fixed as he thought. If one can get over his bias of "I lost my religion so no one should believe" zeal, there a lot of history here.
FrancescaFB More than 1 year ago
The author, Bart D. Ehrman, relies heavily on historical knowledge through verifiable historical sources, and challenges the Gospel accounts of the Apostles and disciples. The Gospel stories, which originated as oral traditions and communications, were eventually written down by authors who either were the Apostles or who represented Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul. The book addresses faith, the Trinity, incarnation, the resurrection, the role of ancient Judaism, the Roman Empire, and the Sanhedrin, on the formation of the early Christian Church. Although this book does challenge many of the facts and doctrines that I have been taught from a very early age, it does not in the least challenge the teachings or my faith in Jesus Christ. Nor does it challenge the Christian Church that was founded by Him so long ago and far away. This book may have brought to light many challenges and concerns to what Christians have been taught to be true for centuries; one thing that will never be challenged is our faith in Jesus.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not a Christian, but I have read Bart's books, including his text book for undergraduate students; Bart's books are simple and enjoyable because he has mastered how to communicte his opinions, mixed with historical facts, not using the highfaluten language of erudite scholars or the sactimonious language of impious priests,
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Author Bart Ehrman, a serious academic historian of early Christian history has surpassed all his previous writings with this masterpiece, How Jesus Became God. This book is not just for Christians but for anyone interested in religious history. Ehrman takes a complex time in history and makes it understandable. For the reader, this well researched book can challenge preconceived notions. What you will read certainly was not taught in Sunday school. It takes a courageous historian to write a book like this. More so, it takes courageous students to open their minds to serious history and reasoning. This is a book to be read more then once.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An intellectual difficult to follow text.Personally ifound it hard reading especially if you had religous training.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good book for christans because it all about jesus lord and savior of the wolrd
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A book written by a man who has never met God, who has never asked Jesus to forgive his sins....has sad ...and how disappointed he will be at the end of his life .
guitaoist3 More than 1 year ago
it clearly states in the earliest bibles that jesus WAS god, no christology like his is necessary if