The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings / Edition 4

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Featuring vibrant full color throughout, this new edition of Bart Ehrman's highly successful introduction approaches the New Testament from a consistently historical and comparative perspective, emphasizing the rich diversity of the earliest Christian literature. Rather than shying away from the critical problems presented by these books, Ehrman addresses the historical and literary challenges they pose, showing why scholars continue to argue over such significant issues as how the books of the New Testament came into being, when they were written (and by whom), what they mean, how they relate to contemporary Christian and non-Christian literature, and how they came to be collected into the canon of scripture that we now call the New Testament. Distinctive to this study is its unique focus on the historical, literary, and religious milieux of the Greco-Roman world, including early Judaism. As part of its historical orientation, the book also discusses works by other Christian writers who were roughly contemporary with the New Testament, such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the letters of Ignatius. The text is enhanced by maps, timelines, an extensive text box program, and more than one hundred photos.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The overall quality of this text is far superior to others of the same genre on the market today. Its biggest advantage is its readability. Bart Ehrman has done a masterful job at developing what at times are the most arcane issues of early Christian textual studies in such an inviting and clear manner that he's able to not only keep students' interest, but also present the arguments in a clear, concise, and highly logical manner. Of special interest are the boxes, which have provided some of the best discussions for my students."—George Heyman, St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry

"Outstanding. This is the only book that students have told me they like."—Kenneth Atkinson, University of Northern Iowa

"From cover to cover, this book is packed with rich information. It's also a strength that Ehrman chooses a different methodological approach for each of the gospels as an illustration of the variety of ways that scholars can read a text. I have used this book for a long time and will continue to do so indefinitely."—Zeba A. Crook, Carleton University

"The text makes a special effort to acquaint students with recent developments in New Testament scholarship and offers responsible appraisals of scholarly opinions. I like very much the 'What to Expect' and 'At a Glance' features, which must be a great help to students in grasping major points."—Bradley Nystrom, California State University, Sacramento

"The presentation, especially the many boxes and the glossary of terms, is wonderful for students to grasp the vast project that any introduction to the New Testament entails. The book's pedagogical devices are generally outstanding and extremely helpful to students."—Robert A. Ludwig, Loyola University Chicago

"I especially like the approach of introducing critical methods for reading the Bible by demonstrating various methods along the way, reinforcing and reviewing by returning to a few methods in different chapters."—Janet Everhart, Simpson College

"When I first encountered this text, I felt that it was exactly the book I needed for the course. Ehrman writes with an admirable clarity and straightforwardness appropriate to his audience. He's clearly a good teacher and his classroom experience is constantly evident in his writing and general presentation."—Michael O'Connell, University of California, Santa Barbara

"The overall quality is excellent. The appearance of the word 'historical' in the title gets to the heart of the matter; the text is unapologetically historical and critical in focus. This is a major strength for a textbook that will be used in a state university context. The book is also very reader-friendly. The pedagogical devices are great and the overall design and layout is outstanding."—Mark D. Given, Missouri State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195322590
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/6/2007
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 592
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has published numerous books and articles, including The Apocryphal Gospels: Texts and Translations (OUP, 2011); A Brief Introduction to the New Testament, Second Edition (OUP, 2010); and Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew (OUP, 2005).

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Table of Contents

Maps, Time Lines, and Diagrams
Preface to the Third Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition
Notes on Suggestions for Further Reading
Master Time Line
1 What is the New Testament? The Early Christians and their Literature
2 The World of Early Christian Traditions
3 The Traditions of Jesus in their Greco-Roman Context
4 The Christian Gospels: A Literary and Historical Introduction
5 Jesus, the Suffering Son of God: The Gospel According to Mark
6 The Synoptic Problem and its Significance for Interpretation
7 Jesus, the Jewish Messiah: the Gospel According to Matthew
8 Jesus, the Savior of the World: the Gospel According to Luke
9 Luke's Second Volume: the Acts of the Apostles
10 Jesus, the Man Sent From Heaven: the Gospel According to John
11 From John's Jesus to the Gnostic Christ: the Johannine Epistles and Beyond
12 Jesus From Different Perspectives: Other Gospels in Early Christianity
13 The Historical Jesus: Sources, Problems, and Methods
14 Excursus: the Historian and the Problem of Miracle
15 Jesus in Context
16 Jesus, the Apocalyptic Prophet
17 From Jesus to the Gospels
18 Paul the Apostle: The Man and His Mission
19 Paul and His Apostolic Mission: 1 Thessalonians as a Test Case
20 Paul and the Crises of His Churches: 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galations, Philippians, and Philemon
21 The Gospel According to Paul: the Letter to the Romans
22 Does the Tradition Miscarry? Paul in Relation to Jesus, Thecla, and Theudas
23 In the Wake of the Apostle: the Deutero-Pauline and Pastoral Epistles
24 From Paul's Female Colleagues to the Pastor's Intimidated Women: the Oppression of Women in Early Christianity
25 Christians and Jews: Hebrews, Barnabas, and Later Anti-Jewish Literature
26 Christians and Pagans: 1 Peter, the Letters of Ignatius, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, and Later Apologetic Literature
27 Christians and Christians: James, the Didache, Polycarp, 1 Clement, Jude, and 2 Peter
28 Christians and the Cosmos: the Revelation of John, the Shepherd of Hermas, and the Apocalypse of Peter
29 Epilogue: Do We Have the Original New Testament?
Glossary of Terms
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2000

    An Outstanding College Textbook

    Since reading this textbook, I can only say that my years of study of the New Testament have been greatly enhanced by the easy to read chapters all of which have added to my knowledge of the history of the New Testament. This not a book of doctrine, but a book which leads the reader to consider historical evidence as found in extant documents, and to evaluate them in light of their historical settings. This textbook could be a valuable addition to Evangelical and Mormon libraries. Other Christians may find it useful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2003

    Highly readable and insightful introduction to the New Testament.

    This book is a gem. It is written with such clarity that there are few spots where the author's intent is hard to discern. It is written from the historic, scientific point of view that eliminates the use of a 'faith position.' Dr. Ehrman rather looks at the evidence dispassionaltely and helps the reader understand what might have led to textual and historical difficulties as Christianity moved from the crucifixion to the definition of the orthodox faith. For anyone interested in the facts that surround the writing and formation of the NT as best they can be defined without the influence of a particular faith bias will find this book a must read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2002

    An Exceptional Approach to New Testament Studies

    Dr. Ehrman's book is a brilliant entry to a rich diversity of pre-Christian literatures that surrounded the writings of the New Testament. His mastery in textual criticism, he unravelled the "abyss" of how the New Testament came into existence. This second expanded edition reflects, at least from my perspective, the changing atmosphere in New Testament studies. Increased attention is being given to history and the importance of Gnosticism for understanding Jesus and the Christian movment in the early centuries. He also gave an expert glare at the origins of Christianity. I strongly recommend this book to first time students of Biblical studies and History of Christian origins.

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    Posted April 25, 2009

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    Posted December 4, 2009

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