Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are

Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are

by Bart D. Ehrman

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062012616
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/22/2011
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Bart D. Ehrman is the author of more than twenty books, including the New York Times bestselling Misquoting Jesus and God's Problem. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the Bible and the life of Jesus. He has been featured in Time and has appeared on Dateline NBC, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, the History Channel, major NPR shows, and other top media outlets. He lives in Durham, N.C.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Facing the Truth 1

1 A World of Deceptions and Forgeries 13

2 Forgeries in the Name of Peter 43

3 Forgeries in the Name of Paul 79

4 Alternatives to Lies and Deceptions 115

5 Forgeries in Conflicts with Jews and Pagans 143

6 Forgeries in Conflicts with False Teachers 179

7 False Attributions, Fabrications, and Falsifications: Phenomena Related to Forgery 219

8 Forgeries, Lies, Deceptions, and the Writings of the New Testament 251

Notes 267

Index 293

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Forged 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
M_L_Gooch_SPHR More than 1 year ago
As a dyed in the wool believer in a creator, I have read all of Bart Ehrman's books. I find them fascinating and enlightening. This creation of his called Forged is one of his best. Not only it is a great `connect the dots' tome, the reasoning behind is theories is very compelling. To believe that authorities would lie to us and try to spin the truth so we adhere to a certain view continues to this day. Politics is the latest and greatest example. Why so many people believe that every single word in the NT is directly from God is astounding. This thinking not only belittles the scholars and believers that adhere to the belief that the NT came directly from God, but more importantly it belittles our creator. Ehrman does a fantastic job of writing of producing work that is several things rolled into one. For a beginning, it is historical, that is, a history lesson in and of itself. As a scholarly work I find it very well researched. Finally I find it an excellent example of critical thinking. The funny thing is that Ehrman has created his own cottage industry of publications that attempt to dispel his writings. While I can't say I have read all of them, I have read a good many. They do a good job of countering each of Ehrman's assessments. Taken together, the reader comes out at the end a much more knowledgeable person. I highly recommend this book. I think it would serve the reader well to look at some of the other books that counter his claims. A well-rounded reader is always a benefit to society at large. Michael L. Gooch, Author of Wingtips with Spurs
PrairieBison More than 1 year ago
I thought this was an excellent depiction of the struggling Church at the beginning of the Christian era. If you've ever wondered why there seemed to be so many conflicting statements between verses of books ostensibly by the same author then this book helps explain how that could have happened. Those who still believe of the infallibility of scripture will have a difficult time reading that Paul only authored about half the books that are generally ascribed to him of that there were no works by the actual disciples in the New Testament. So, who really wrote the books in which are the words so many try to live by? The answer may surprise you. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book uncovers the contradictions, errors, and plain old lies found in the bible with devastating logic and accuracy. A must read for anyone who wants to know the truth about religion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book. It paints a good picture of the literary climate during the times when the gospels were written. It offers a fair and balanced view of the bible's authors for the general reader, with copious notes for those desiring further study. I have already ordered three more of Ehrman's books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of several books by the author on the subject of the accuracy, consistency and writing of the New Testament. I generally enjoy them though I don't agree with all of his interpretations. What I like is that he gives facts that let the reader interpret things differently. In this book the part I liked best was the part about the epistles since it had more new information for me than the stuff about the gospels.
ShoshannaNC More than 1 year ago
Interesting, with some information worth following up on. I don't just 'believe' stuff like this - have to check it out for myself. But the author offers some good places to look and some thought-provoking things to think about. I've read some of his other works and have found that he tends to think along a straight line, so he misses some things. But he seems to be well-intentioned and not trying to dissuade people from their faith.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a Christian i was really impressed with the book. It was an eye opener. I remember finding questionable scriptures and interpretations when in my teens. I was a ardent researcher and saw many contradictions. I will now read his next book on the subject.
True54Blue on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I've given this book one star because it doesn't even attempt to prove its subtitle. First, the majority of the material referred to was never considered part of the Bible and mostly comes from centuries later. Second, there isn't even any mention that the authors claimed to be writing in the name of God - even in the case of the New Testament writings that he rejects the authors don't claim divine authority in the sense of an Old Testament prophet. Third, if the Bible's authors aren't who we think they are, is that their fault or ours? The gospels never claim to have been written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John so they certainly can't be forged. Given the title one would expect Ehrman to engage in interaction with other scholars showing why Peter didn't write 'his' letters, etc. However, he just refers to the general consensus of 'critical scholars' who presumably are those he is in agreement with. I guess those who accept Peter's authorship would be too conservative and those who reject Paul's authorship of Galatians, i.e. reject more than Ehrman, would be considered hypercritical.
Overall I also found the book poorly structured. The material is arranged categorically by reputed author. So Peter's biblical epistles are in the same chapter with gnostic documents from centuries later, etc. This really confuses the issue and combines material written across hundreds of years for very different purposes.
The purpose of this book would seem to be cast aspersion on the New Testament by demonstrating that its authors knowingly 'forged'='lied' by using someone else's name in order to convince others that their view of the Truth was the right one. I think a better title for this book would be "Forged: Writing in the Name of an Apostle - Why It is Always Wrong to Use Someone's Name, Even if We Think It's for a Good Cause."
LancasterWays on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Note: I am not a scholar of the New Testament or early Christianity. Nor am I in any way invested in the "truth" of the Gospel. This review is written from the perspective of an interested amateur.Ehrman, in Forged, argues that the Gospels, among other New Testament and ancient Christian texts, are forgeries. Simply put, the Gospels were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; nor were certain of the epistles attributed to Paul really authored by the apostle. Rather, these texts were written by other Christians using the names of their more famous counterparts in order to "prove" the "truth" of their historical or theological beliefs. I don't take issue with Ehrman's claims; I think it unlikely that the Gospels were written by the disciples/apostles (I am not an expert with the terminology) to whom they're attributed. Jesus' earliest followers, after all, were socioeconomically similar to himself: Illiterate Jewish peasants. They lacked the knowledge necessary to produce sophisticated texts in Greek. (Ehrman notes that the Gospels themselves were at first anonymous, but attributes that to the fact that the authors were known to the communities for which they were writing. Thus, when other names were falsely attributed to the Gospels, it was for the purpose of deception: To lend further authority to the viewpoints espoused by them.)What is problematic for me is Ehrman's methodology. Ehrman's argument is based almost exclusively on textual analysis. (As are most works in the social sciences and humanities.) That in and of itself is not a problem. When Ehrman points out that a text couldn't have been written by an author because that author was almost certainly dead by the time it was written, I accept that. Likewise with the argument regarding the illiteracy of their supposed authors. I have trouble accepting Ehrman's other arguments: Evidence that texts are forged is to be found in their style and viewpoints.I have no knowledge of Greek, but I am leery of his use of "style" of evidence of forgery. Certainly in can be done. But arguing that a particular book is a forgery because it doesn't match the style of other books known to be by an author (e.g., Paul), or part of a book, a few verses, for instance, are forged because they don't match the style of the rest of the book, is more difficult for me to accept. People are inconsistent. Styles change. An author writing one text now and another ten years from now might appear to be a different author. Or, as Ehrman himself notes, scribes sometimes altered texts. Is it not possible that the copies of the texts we have are so altered? That they added bits and pieces and their own flourishes to the texts with which they worked?Ehrman repeatedly states that forgery was frowned upon in the ancient world. He bases that on the statements of elite ancient authors. Presumably they spoke so vociferously against forging because it happened all the time. Who did most of the writing? Scribes. Is it possible, then, that the people doing the copying had a different view of their interaction with the text? What was the intellectual and moral world of the scribe? It is impossible to know.Ehrman cites a study that concluded one of Paul's epistles was forged based on a word-for-word statistical comparison of all of the letters known to be by Paul. The conclusion: So many words are different in this one letter that it almost certainly wasn't written by the apostle. I find this an intriguing method, and the findings are compelling. (More compelling, to me, than readers saying styles don't match.) But what is the degree of difference among texts by other known authors? Have similar studies been done on Cicero or other ancients for whom we have a sizable corpus of written work? Such a task should be easy enough with the help of a computer. If no similar studies have been done, then we are taking this argument out of context, and without that context, how can we be confident in it?Ehrman likewise cite
Zylphan on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I enjoyed this book. I always learn so much from his books.
adpaton on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Most people accept that the New Testament was not necessarily written by the apostles but what makes university professor and former fundamental Christian Bart Ehrman¿s book Forged so engaging is the entertaining quality of his writing. Pseudo epigraphy refers to works written under a false name: this consists of wrongly attributed anonymous writings, and to deliberate forgeries: it is to the later category Ehrman relegates the letters credited to Peter, whom he claims was illiterate. He also claims six of the epistles of St Paul are forgeries and that despite it being proved fraudulent, the Catholic Church still uses the First Book of Timothy as the scriptural basis for her exclusion of women from the priesthood. A somewhat controversial but really interesting read.
DSeanW on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Find Ehrman consistently thoughtful and persuasive across all of his books I have read - this one is no exception.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very repetitive, a little boring
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Gale_Tenney More than 1 year ago
What I liked about the book was it gave me facts I could use in talking with my "the Bible is innerrant" friends to show that the Bible does indeed have errors and it does indeed contrdict itself. That is what makes the Bible believable. If it had no errors, then it would not be an authentic book. That is why I believe the Bible to contain the word of God. Inerrantists must not allow the Bible to be a human book, because then they would not know where the errors began and where they ended, and then they trully would be in a hell of a mess. Gale Tenney
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