How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee [NOOK Book]

Overview

In a book that took eight years to research and write, leading Bible scholar Bart D. Ehrman explores 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.

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 ...

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

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Overview

In a book that took eight years to research and write, leading Bible scholar Bart D. Ehrman explores 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.

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.

As a historian—not a believer—Ehrman answers the questions: How did this transformation of Jesus occur? How did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? The dramatic shifts throughout history reveal not only why Jesus's followers began to claim he was God, but also how they came to understand this claim in so many different ways.

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Bart Ehrman (Misquoting Jesus; Jesus, Interrupted) has written more than a score of books about the New Testament, but his latest addresses perhaps the most important issue yet: How did Jesus become regarded as the divine Son of God? The product of eight years of research and writing, How Jesus Became God traces the process by which a crucified apocalyptic prophet became recognized as the universal savior. Ehrman's accessible, closely argued narrative is certain to be controversial and much discussed.

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.)
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.”
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.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062252197
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/25/2014
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 28,583
  • File size: 610 KB

Meet the Author

Bart D. Ehrman is one of the most renowned and controversial Bible scholars in the world today. A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, his work continues to drive debate among supporters and detractors alike. Ehrman 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 bestselling Misquoting Jesus; God's Problem; Jesus, Interrupted; and Forged. Ehrman has appeared on Dateline NBC, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, the History Channel, and top NPR programs, and he has been featured in Time, the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and more.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 28, 2014

    Historical Fact with Purposeful Fiction. Good Read. I¿ve sat in

    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.

    27 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2014

    Bart scores again

    Probably the definitive book on how it was men who elevated Jesus and created a church in their own image.

    16 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2014

    I am a long-time fan of Ehrman. When I saw this book was coming

    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.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2014

    Recommended

    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.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    If you're into Bible history (and I am) this is another great bo

    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.'"

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2014

    A book written by a man who has never met God, who has never ask

    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 .

    4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2014

    Valid points

    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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2014

    Intellectual pablum

    An intellectual difficult to follow text.Personally ifound it hard reading especially if you had religous training.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    it clearly states in the earliest bibles that jesus WAS god, no

    it clearly states in the earliest bibles that jesus WAS god, no christology like his is necessary if 

    1 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2014

    Darius

    Take it all in.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2014

    Jess

    Coughs and gasps for air as it hits the back of my throat

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2014

    A book to be read more then once

    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.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2014

    Isaiah is a christan

    This is a good book for christans because it all about jesus lord and savior of the wolrd

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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