Thursday, March 27, 2008

Book Review: Lost Christianities

TitleLost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
AuthorBart D. Ehrman
Tagsearly christianity, sects, forgeries, scripture
Your reviewEhrman in this book writes about the broad variety of Christian viewpoints in the early centuries after the life of Jesus and the apostles. It was not until the 4th century that the books of the new Testament were finalized, and it was around the same time that what Ehrman calls the proto-orthodox views of Christian belief overcame the other views to become the orthodox Christian standard views. As the other sects of early Christianity lost out, their writings were, for the most part, lost. Over time, some of these writings have been found again, most notably with the Nag Hammadi discovery in the 1940s.

Thus a new vision of early Christianity is required, one in which there were many competing doctrines, with proponents of each having lively debates with each other, and in which each church might have its own set of works it considered sacred Scripture.

There's some unexpected humor in the work. Look at page 146-7 to find out what one early author thought was the relationship between weasels and oral sex.,

Ehrman is a decent writer, which is necessary, as he is a scholar writing about scholarly topics, which can tend to get rather dry. Yet the topic is quite fascinating, to see a new picture of a particular period that had so much influence on our world today, unfold. Recommended.
PublicationOxford University Press, USA (2005), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 320 pages
Publication date2005
ISBN0195182499 / 9780195182491

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