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Publisher's Summary

In this highly accessible discussion, Bart Ehrman examines the most recent textual and archaeological sources for the life of Jesus, along with the history of first-century Palestine, drawing a fascinating portrait of the man and his teachings.

Ehrman shows us what historians have long known about the Gospels and the man who stands behind them. Through a careful evaluation of the New Testament (and other surviving sources, including the more recently discovered Gospels of Thomas and Peter), Ehrman proposes that Jesus can be best understood as an apocalyptic prophet - a man convinced that the world would end dramatically within the lifetime of his apostles and that a new kingdom would be created on Earth.

According to Ehrman, Jesus's belief in a coming apocalypse and his expectation of an utter reversal in the world's social organization not only underscores the radicalism of his teachings but also sheds light on both the appeal of his message to society's outcasts and the threat he posed to Jerusalem's established leadership.

©1999 Oxford University Press, Inc. (P)2019 Tantor

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  • Charles Wheeler
  • 2021-07-23

Less than perfection

As a longtime Bart Ehrman fan who loves his body of work - which is usually honest to the bone - I have to pick a bone with this one. First a compliment - the reader was much easier to listen to than Bart - with more pleasing and less preachey voice. However brother Ehrman comes across as a humbled employee - who after speaking honestly but painfully in previous books - has been chastened by evangelical Christians - and now has produced an apologetic - to orthodox Christianity - to save his teaching job at the University. Substandard for beloved Bart.

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  • Jeremy
  • 2020-03-14

Ehrman distills the St. Nicholas from our culture’s Santa Claus

Paradigm shifting, though entirely consistent with biblical text, Ehrman patiently guides us through what the New Testament actually says about Jesus. His textual analysis approach to understanding scripture should be foundational in Sunday Schools.

4 people found this helpful

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  • KrisS
  • 2021-06-14

boring

This book was a disappointment to listen to. Perhaps it was the scholarly approach....statements were frequently followed by recitations of bible verse origin, something that would've been better as footnotes rather than read in the actual text. This interrupted the flow and made the book tedious to listen to.

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  • RGO
  • 2019-11-25

I must read for those whose wanting to expand their insight from a single perspective (devotional) to include historical

Another fantastic and illuminating read from the incomparable Dr. Bart Ehrman!

First a warning!

To all who the diehard - slightest of true-believers, including, those who consider themselves “open-minded.” (Actually, it’s those who are truly “actively” open-minded would purchase this book to begin with.... nonetheless.)

This book may cause a large amount of “cognitive dissonance.”

Regardless of the undeniable, messy and inconvenient historical evidence. Ehrman argues against the billion+ individuals who live inside the Christian paradigm— notwithstanding, as he states in another book, the very foundation of the entire “western culture.”

So understand your personality type when diving into the real world and scholars like Bart Ehrman.

And remember the intensity of the discomfort is relative to the individual. People who are flexible enough to adjust their thoughts or live with “gray areas” may not have a strong response when they notice the discrepancies. While others may experience it more intensely or frequently if they have a high need for consistency in their lives. (I see those as a broad brush stoke, when lumping people into groups, besides the “high demand conservative religions” it’s goes for the Trump supporters as well, it’s the same personality, again in general! We need to stop the desire to erratic the notion that everything has to be couched in “PC.” Geezzzz-us!)

Also remember why this kind of argument is so hard. 2,000+ years and over 1 billion believers, even the US official holiday is “Christmas.” (Separation of????)

It’s is a long time for anything to solidify as fact vs tradition... so one has to break free from the learned misconceptions of revisionist history and then then to break free from the cultural milieu.

For some it’s just too encompassing of a task. Just the mention of two, social & psychological; might take a life time, if ever to recover. Especially for those, who live in the “South” or “Utah.,” taking just 2 as an example. Those environments have a real cost breaking free from the “undo influence” of the unspoken yet, demanding cultural expectations place upon individuals.

Having said that... and giving away no spoilers (well I did allude to the biggest one, oops).

From the words of the ever so wise and cleaver Bart SIMPON, I publicly would like to, “... JESUS, ALLAH, BUDDHA, I LOVE YOU ALL!” and I THANK YOU ALL, and the Cosmos for BART D. EHRMAN!!

PS: join his blog... it cost next to nothing, 100% proceeds go directly to a handful of charities AND he writes 4-5 1,000 posts A WEEK! Plus, one can actually ask him questions! It’s a win-win, as Dr. Ehrman says!

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2022-04-25

Worth the read

Great introductory text, can get rather repetitive but also heavy concepts so the repetitiveness is necessary. Worth the read or listen.

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  • Brandi Taylor
  • 2021-12-20

A Phenomenal Must Read

I had been looking for a time to get questions answered I have always swished around. Raised non-denominational, then to Protestant Baptist, then converted to Roman Catholicism, I questioned differences of interpretations.

This superior writing has not only answered questions but opened my eyes and mind to be able to make my own judgment of beliefs.
The author writes in a way to inform not to criticize. I urge anyone who has questions that need to be answered to listen with an open mind. With all the conspiracy theories I hear myself in this day of time, this novel answers the questions I have always had.

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  • Brandon D Proudfoot
  • 2021-10-16

Good intro to historical look at Jesus

I’ve read a lot of Bart’s books and I find this one to be a good intro to a historical look at Jesus, but has some pieces that don’t hold up well compared to his later books or other historical books of the last 5-10 years. Overall a good intro for someone interested in the history, but I suggest moving from this to some of Ehrman’s more recent works.

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  • William A. See III
  • 2021-10-01

Good Explanation but Unpleasant Narration

Mr Ehrman explains his viewpoints very well and validates them. There is not much new material or ideas in this audiobook that is not in his other audiobooks. The narrators voicr has too much sibilance should have been filtered.

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  • Tsol75
  • 2021-09-22

the historical Jesus for beginners

if your looking to learn about the historical Jesus this is a great book. The author does a good job laying it out so a lay person can follow along. the narrator wasn't horrible enough to ruin the book.

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  • Luis
  • 2020-10-31

Another good book by Bart Ehrman

I really enjoy the history aspect of the book and how it is analyzed. It continues the theme of the other books.