Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them)

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Overview

The Human Story Behind the Divine Book

In this New York Times bestseller, leading Bible expert Bart Ehrman skillfully demonstrates that the New Testament is riddled with contradictory views about who Jesus was and the significance of his life. Ehrman reveals that many of the books were written in the names of the apostles by Christians living decades later, and that central Christian doctrines were the inventions of still later theologians. Although this has been the standard ...

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Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them)

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Overview

The Human Story Behind the Divine Book

In this New York Times bestseller, leading Bible expert Bart Ehrman skillfully demonstrates that the New Testament is riddled with contradictory views about who Jesus was and the significance of his life. Ehrman reveals that many of the books were written in the names of the apostles by Christians living decades later, and that central Christian doctrines were the inventions of still later theologians. Although this has been the standard and widespread view of scholars for two centuries, most people have never learned of it.

Jesus, Interrupted is a clear and compelling account of the central challenges we have when attempting to reconstruct the life and meaning of Jesus.

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Editorial Reviews

IndyWeek
“Ehrman’s ability to translate scholarship for a popular audience has made the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill a superstar in the publishing world”
Durham Herald-Sun
“For both scholars and the masses who read about religion, Bart D. Ehrman needs no introduction . . . He adds the personal to the scholarly for some of his works, detailing how he went from a Moody Bible Institute-educated fundamentalist evangelical to an agnostic .
Salon.com
“There’s something delicious (for nonbelievers, anyway) about the implacable, dispassionate way that Ehrman reveals how the supposedly “divine truth” of Christianity was historically constructed.”
Durham-Herald-Sun
"For both scholars and the masses who read about religion, Bart D. Ehrman needs no introduction . . . He adds the personal to the scholarly for some of his works, detailing how he went from a Moody Bible Institute-educated fundamentalist evangelical to an agnostic .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061173943
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/2/2010
  • Pages: 292
  • Sales rank: 155,524
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

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 3.5
( 125 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(43)

4 Star

(31)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(15)

1 Star

(20)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 126 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 27, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Skip this book.

    Bart Ehrman's early training was in fundamentalist Christianity in which the Bible was interpreted as completely literal. Unfortunately, he has never gotten over his early training. He takes a fine tooth comb to Bible to find the slightest discrepancies and uses them to discredit the entire Scripture. I often feel he should walk across campus to his physics department and get a general introduction to quantum mechanics. Nothing can be pinpointed precisely, not even physical matter. Even though life is full of discrepancies and things that we don't understand, it still works pretty well.
    I got frustrated with his tone as I read through the book. I feel he comes to his scholarship with a predetermined agenda to undermine the Bible and he is gleeful when he feels he has done it. I've read several of his books and he repeats the same theme over and over. I've resolved not to bother reading any of his future books.

    32 out of 59 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Important Work

    I really enjoyed Ehrman's work in Misquoting Jesus. As a firm believer, I also enjoy engaging in critical thinking. I have often struggled with Bible study and this book helps me to understand that I am not crazy in my questioning. Jesus, Interrupted expounds on the subject of what the New Testament actually is saying or not saying depending on the page you happen to be on. In addition, the scholarship contained within is not just the view of one man but rather a chorus of modern scholars, theologians and learned men.
    Some of what the reader will learn - and learn to question - is:
    . The different views of Jesus presenting in the NT.
    . The many ways of achieving salvation (which one is correct?)
    . The forged books of the NT.
    . The forged letters of Paul.
    . The different theological view of the gospels.
    . How the suffering messiah was invented.
    . Which book should we believe in determining the divinity of Jesus?
    . Where did the trinity come from?
    Anyone interested in the Bible should read this book as well as Erhman's other previously mentioned book. Together, they present a compelling account of the construction of our NT and our resulting diverse religious institutions.
    Now Erhman needs to get to work on the ancient writings of Judaism and Hinduism. If the relatively "new" New Testament is this messed up, just imagine how convoluted these much older holy scripts must be.
    I hope you find this review helpful
    Michael L. Gooch - Author of Wingtips with Spurs: Cowboy Wisdom for Today's Business Leaders.

    25 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2009

    Daring to Go Against the Flow: Bart Ehrman's Time Has Come

    I would like to start this review by addressing some of the previous negative reviews. What I noticed was that some of the reviews that I read were negative, not because of the content of the book, but because of the idea that errors or contradictions in the Bible is too hard of a pill to swallow for a lot of people. Dr. Ehrman has a lot of convincing evidence to make his case, so I think those that gave him a negative review because they have a hard time thinking outside the box of their belief system (or those individuals presenting no rational counter-argument to Dr. Ehrman's claims) is a little unfair.
    One commenter states that Dr. Ehrman shouldn't interpret that the Bible is full of errors because the differences that are seen in different books of the Bible. This commenter points out that the differences are because of the fact that there are different authors in the Bible with different perspectives. That doesn't make them wrong. An example of this thinking is portrayed as a situation where there is a car accident which is seen by different people at different positions in relationship to the accident. The thought is that even if the different people see the accident and describe what happens differently, that doesn't make the eyewitnesses wrong, it just shows different perspectives. The different view points, however, don't change the fact that an accident happened. This kind of thinking is good for situations where different explanations can co-exist. Here is another: If Mike and Todd are in a room. I can say that: (1)Mike is in the room, (2) Todd is in the room, or (3) Mike and Todd are in the room. None of the statements contradict each other. The problem that Dr. Ehrman points out is: What do you do when there are things you can't reconcile because they do contradict each other? I don't want to give away any examples because those would be spoilers. But the book is full of them. Just bear in mind that there are events in the Bible that cannot coexist because they contradict each other. You will have to read the book to find them out though.
    I write my review by trying to find evidence of the following: the author is making an argument that there are contradictions in the Bible and I want to know if he makes a strong case for that premise. In my opinion he does and I don't think he does it in a way that is out to destroy the faith of others. I think he is looking at the Bible from a historic and textual criticism point of view and stating the facts as they are laid out. Now what we have to do with this new information is determine what has meaning for us as individuals in terms of faith (and this is a very personal thing). The other thing I get out of the book is this: From my perspective, religion is the only area of life that discourages asking questions or inviting its members to come to new conclusions. Many people are afraid to ask questions or share doubts involving religion or the Bible even though such questioning might lead to greater insight or higher truths. I think that this book frees people to ask those questions.

    24 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2009

    Perfect book for it's target audience

    For anyone familiar with biblical textual criticism or with an informed interest in the never-ending debate about who the historical Jesus really was, there is not likely to be any surprises in this book. If you are very informed on the subject, you may be disappointed in how little about the actual debate is included.

    But if this is a new subject for you and you have interest this book is a good place to begin, not just for Ehrman's accessible writing style, but for his sensitivity to how personal this matter can be. He makes his own postion very clear at the beginning of the book (agnostic), but retains the understanding he first brought to the subject when a believer. I appreciated this openness as it is not always apparent in other writer's until one is into the material. If you have read any of his other books, I think the autobiographical context that form his ongoing interest in this subject and which he shares in the introduction will be familar.

    The later chapters are spot on when he takes specific care to ensure that his book should not be seen as an attack on Christianity nor on anyone's personal faith but rather be seen as an opportunity to take decades of research on the subject to cast new light on just who Christ may have been. And even more so, how this casts light on the message, or more specifically, messages of the New Testament.

    Due to the nature of the subject, this book may not be for everyone. But I don't view this as an issue with author or the book, but the inherent challenge that comes from taking a secular look into a very significant religious matter.

    18 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Verses he quotes I had never heard of in Church over a 40 year span.

    One of the most impressive parts of this book is the final chapter. Bart argues that it is not necessary to believe the Bible is inerrant to be a Believer in Christ. (Faith is the opposite of certainty.) It was the best argument for faith I have ever heard.

    I also find it amazing that there are Bible verses that certain Christians don't want to hear. I was reading two Bible verses mentioned in the book to a born again teenager and a Catholic teenager. These teens actually plugged their ears and made noises so they could not hear me quote the Bible. Amazing! They seem to believe only certain parts of the Bible should be heard even though they say it is all true and fully inspired by God.

    If you feel uncomfortable reading the book you might want to ask yourself why you feel that way. For many the discomfort comes from finding that what you have believed all your life about the certainty of the Bible is not necessarily true. However what that allows you to do is dump certainty for FAITH. You will come out feeling better in the long run.

    One last thing; this book explains the Bible in a way that now the whole Bible makes sense to me.

    13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Challenging

    The author was an evangelist, and decided to go to grad school to study religion. His growth, from religious advocate to accomplished student, makes an engaging history of ideas.

    13 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Useful Resource, even for Christian Biblical Studies Major

    In this, Bart Ehrman's most accessible book on historical criticism, the author seeks to divulge to the lay person what seminarians have known for over a century. Namely, the individual books and letters in the Bible were written by many different people, who often take very different perspectives from one another. In this book, Ehrman argues that the perspectives are not only different, but also contradictory. For instance, the gospel of Mark records Jesus suffering to carry his cross and crying out in agony as he dies "separated" from God. According to Luke's account, though, Jesus was cool and collected, thinking more of those around him than himself. The common solution to these different stories is to combine elements from all four gospels into one, thus creating a gospel story entirely unlike any of the canonical books. Ehrman chastises this approach as missing the author's original intentions. The authors of Mark and Luke (both anonymous, by the way) had reasons for showing Jesus in different lights. To ignore the differences is to miss the point of each work. To create our own story with pieces from all of them is to show disrespect to the intentions of the authors, who wrote with particular goals in mind.

    Ehrman dips into the realm of Christology by studying how different Biblical authors seem to think differently about Jesus. Is he a man who was empowered by God's Spirit, or a complete God who chose to become man? Different authors speak differently on the deity of Jesus, and it was not until centuries after the Bible was written that the Arian controversy forced Constantine and other church leaders to hold a council to reconcile different opinions about the deity of Jesus. Ehrman shows how the different views of Jesus are important to understanding each Biblical work in the way that the author intended.

    The greatest strength in this work comes in how he rarely forces his own a conclusions upon the reader--as some of his books come dangerously close to doing. If a Christian skipped past Ehrman's preface, then she or he might assume that he is a believer, instead of an agnostic. In this book, he lays out the problems and leaves it for the reader to reconcile. In this, believers and nonbelievers will be able to better understand the Bible without having to swim through a sea of biased opinions. Naturally, Ehrman is biased towards the scholarly extreme, but his treatment of the texts is incredibly fair and reasonable.

    He makes a few leaps in his conclusions, but overall, I recommend it to anyone interested in a better understanding of the New Testament. (Ehrman's Old Testament examples are weak, as he personally admits, but that is to be expected of a scholar who specializes in the NT.)

    If pastors have studied at any Biblical seminary of repute, then they will not be surprised by anything that they read in this book--they will agree with most of it, too.

    If readers have never looked at the New Testament from a historical/literary perspective, then they are in for a ride. This book introduces historical criticism to the lay person in a helpful, but often shocking way

    I loved reading Jesus Interrupted, and I continue to cite it for quick references to different themes, especially among the gospels. It will always remain in my personal library.

    Further, for anyone unfamiliar with Bart Ehrman's works, I recommend starting with this one. It is a safe segue into his more controver

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Best of Professor Ehrman's Books

    Professor Ehrman hit another home run with this book. If you are interested in knowing the truth about what the Bible actually says, this is a must read for you. If on the other hand you prefer to keep your head buried in the sand, you will not like this offering. This book is definitely for those that live in the real world not in a delusion one.

    11 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    This Needs To Be Understood

    As Dr. Ehrman points out, the average Christian does not understand what the New Testament actually is. His own roots in evangelical churches provides a sympathetic background for those who still believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. He introduces new words in his writing, but he explains them clearly, or they are clear in context. Those not familiar with what has been known and taught in seminaries for many decades may be very surprised by the information provided here. Those already familiar with this historical-critical approach will find a coherent summary of New Testament scholarship.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Historical View of the New Testament

    This eminently readable work explores the New Testament, not as a religious document, but from an historicsal perspective. Who were the writers? When did they write? What was the perspective they sought to shed upon the life of Jesus? And perhaps most importantly, who else wrote about the life of Jesus, and why were their works omitted from the New Testament?

    Ehrman is a fine writer, who examines important theological issues with an easy, graceful prose-style. One criticism: He did not need to take the time to justify his findings in light of his own agnosticism. His scholarship and fundamental honesty were more than manifest.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    The best of his books so far

    I've read five of his books, and this is the best so far. Detractors attack him for not being a True Believer, but so what ? Ehrman USES his frontal lobe instead of discarding it; and let us not forget that he is a former student at Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton, so he received the full Christian Cult Indoctrination Course well before he turned -- instead -- to the world of facts and away from the delusions of faith. No wonder the cultists detest him.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Book For Those That Want To Know The Truth!

    Of the four books, I have read by Professor Ehrman this is definitely the best. If you have any interest in knowing the truth about the Bible you will enjoy this book. If you want to keep your head buried in the sand, you would be better off not reading this offering. Those that have an open mind will find this book worth their time and money.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Ehrman pushes the lay reader to new levels of understanding

    It is obvious to the most casual reader that the Gospels don't agree on most things. However, most of us don't go to the trouble to truly analyze the differences or even contrast aned compare the agreeable portions. Here Ehrman does all of that for us in a neat package which is for the most part devoid of bias, it is just the facts type work. Mark says this, Luke says it differently, Matthew says something else again, and so on. Ehrman lays out the items in an order which is easy to digest. Very worthwhile for anyone who is curious about the Christian message and how we are supposed to understand the one who was "Christ".

    Paul Swanson
    Retired USN

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    Eye Opening

    Ehrman points out the problems with the bible, mostly in the new testament, but gently and respectfully, he's not doing a Richard Dawkins here but isn't just brushing off inconsistencies with the text either. The book has a personal, almost chatty style so it doesn't read like a textbook but there are spots he doesn't come across very clearly that are confusing. Really interesting though.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2010

    Much needed book

    Absolutely outstanding and historically accurate. As I am a former Christian believer, I found this most helpful and inspiring.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2009

    Fact-based not faith-based

    This book is a very good reason why there should be separation between church and state. I felt that it showed how religion has been used by all people to further their own agendas. This seems to have been the case from Biblical times until the present. The fact that multiple versions are given for certain events and the possible reasons for each version are detailed in this book. I found it a good extension of his prior books and well done.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2009

    Great Read

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and recommend it for anyone desiring to know the truth concerning the scriptures.

    5 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Blind Bart Deluded

    Oh yes, yes, yes. Just another garden variety unbeliever, with letters and titles to give his heretical apostasy credence. So what is new or different about yet another religious Sadducee who must interpret for you, the biblically illiterate simpleton, what is really being said by Jesus; because you are too dumb or lazy to read the Bible for yourself. Please, or what is new or different about an unbeliever or any cult doctrine which takes the status of Jesus and attempts to demote it down to a level of that which He, Jesus, ascribed for Himself. In this book, a very deluded and blind Bart reveals himself as a religious Sadducee, with arguments that attempt to spin and twist Jesus' very own teaching and words, discredit the Bible and discredit the historical basic orthodox teachings, universal in Christendom, handed down by Jesus Himself. A teenager versed in basic Christian apologetics will reveal Blind Bart Ehrman for the heretic and unbeliever he is, and his weak arguments as just this. Long after these religious spiritualists are gone and their arguments of anti- Christ doctrines pass with them. The HOLY BIBLE will continue to be the best seller of all time and Jesus as God needs no one to defend HIMSELF; unlike in false Religions who must kill you for their false gods, they are so impotent. NO, Jesus can defend Himself and he said of Himself that," if you have seen me you have seen the Father," which is to say God.


    Stop hiding Blind Bart, and come out and publicly debate your apostate "scholarly work." So that we may publicly reveal your writings and dribble for what they are, just this. No, this mans book is, is just repackaged and micro waved religious cult doctrines all dressed up in the religious language of academia. Come debate publically, and we will leave you suturing with our Sunday school teenagers, who will reveal your "research" as nothing more than repackaged cultic spiritualist dogma and doctrines.

    Save your money and read the Bible for yourself, the spin in this twisted work reveals this writer as inflicted with an axe to grind with Jesus, The Bible and 2000 years of confirmed history and it's teachings before this "scholar" was even born.

    5 out of 51 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2009

    How Horrible!

    I truley believe that this author will answer to the great Creater in Heaven for writting this book!!! I'm glad I'm not him...

    4 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2013

    I have been a christian as long as i can remember.. and I rememb

    I have been a christian as long as i can remember.. and I remember being frustrated with the bible and how many inconsistencies there were in almost every book... from one
    book to the next it made no sense. and yet no one would explain it in a satisfactory fashion. After reading his books I realize that the Bible is a collection of disparate stories that can help us understand the nature of early christianity and the beginnings of the church both by what it says and the mistakes that were made... religion is the only discipline where truth seems to be suspended and qestioning is not allowed... He doesn't try to dissuade others from their faith but rather offers on the truth for a person to make of what they will...

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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