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This is a tough book to review. I have rated it highly based on the quality of the production and authorship. It is engaging and appears to be well researched. I did not enjoy this book, however, for the light it has shined on the holiest books in Christianity and the doubt it has cast on my faith.
After completing "Forged," I have to say it has had a significant impact on my faith. The direction of that impact is toward doubt. How deep and how wide the impact will be in the end remains to be seen.
If you accept Ehrman's research and conclusions, then it could make you question every word of the New Testament. "Misquoting Jesus" revealed that there are errors in the Bible. "Forged" takes that even further in saying that many of the books are not written by the men they are attributed to commonly or, in some cases, not even written in the correct century.
Every Christian's faith is different, I know, and you could simply conclude that my faith was already weak. I won't argue otherwise, but I will suggest that if you are looking for a book that will strengthen your faith in God or the Bible, then this is not the best choice.
The question I am left with is whether it's better to believe the Bible is divinely inspired and without error or to accept that man's touch has tainted it? If you choose the latter, then my experience has been that it's a slippery slope.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful
The first 4 chapters of this book are pretty dry stuff. They justify Ehrman's argument that the term "forgery" applies to these early Christian authors, who were writing with definite intent to impersonate the Apostles and other revered figures in Christianity.
And, I think he's right. It does make a difference that, however well-meaning and self-convinced, these authors had agendas which would have been incomprehensible to (and in many cases, contrary to the beliefs of) the people they pretended to be. It's important that we recognize the motives of scribes who were trying not only to reassure and strengthen their Christian followers in an age of persecution, but also to appease and recruit Gentiles into a religion which was becoming increasingly divided from the Jewish tradition.
Yes, there's a lot of repetition here. But this is vital stuff for Bible study. Most of us, even non-literalists, never get such information from our churches. Being aware of this context for early Christian writings helps in understanding the many contradictions and problems in the Bible and other early Christian works.
Probably, alas, this book will have no effect whatever on those with total conviction that the Bible is the absolute and literal word of God. But, for the rest of us, it helps in a personal understanding of the Bible and, hopefully, will also aide in group approaches toward teaching Bible studies, especially to the young!
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
Another Bart Ehrman book I've thoroughly enjoyed. I learned plenty along the way and enjoyed the writing and presentation style. I got slightly frustrated with the repetition of certain points and phrases, sometimes word-for-word, particularly in the first half of the book. I also felt that the author slightly over-played some of his arguments and played down (though didn't ignore) one or two more credible counter-arguments, but perhaps that's always going to be the case (and is probably more true for other authors who stick to a far more conservative line!). Nonetheless, I was hooked through to the end. Now it'll no doubt be another all-too-long wait for his next book!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Excellent content and narration. Very enlightening and informative. As with all of Prof. Ehrmans books and lectures, could not stop listening.