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Publisher's Summary

Whether taken as a book of faith or a cultural artifact, the New Testament is among the most significant writings the world has ever known, its web of meaning relied upon by virtually every major writer in the last 2,000 years. Yet the New Testament is not only one of Western civilization’s most believed books, but also one of its most widely disputed, often maligned, and least clearly understood, with a vast number of people unaware of how it was written and transmitted.
But now a distinguished religious scholar is available to help you gain a carefully reasoned understanding of not only the New Testament itself, but of the individuals and communities who created its texts.
Drawing on modern biblical scholarship, recent archaeological discoveries, and careful literary analysis - and approaching his subject purely as a historian, with belief or disbelief suspended - Professor Ehrman has crafted a series of 24 fascinating lectures that trace the history of the New Testament and the early Christian faith community. He discusses not only the 27 books included in the New Testament, but also many of the significant texts that were excluded as he addresses key historical questions around the issues of authorship, circumstance, audience, content, meaning, and historical accuracy.
"Our ultimate goal," he notes, "is to come to a fuller appreciation and understanding of these books that have made such an enormous impact on the history of Western civilization and that continue to play such an important role for people today."
©2000 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2000 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

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By Kris Heap on 03-18-15

Should have a different title

The information was great but most of the lecture was spent looking at discrepancies in what we consider the New Testament today. A better title would be "Finding the Original New Testament" or "Inconsistencies in the New Testament". All in all, it was really interesting, just not what I thought it would be.

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34 of 35 people found this review helpful


By Wurm on 10-03-13

Excellent Historical Critical Perspective

A fantastic course on New testament history conducted by Bart Ehrman. This work addresses such questions as:

Who wrote the Gospels?
When were the Gospels written?
In what order were the Gospels written?
What discrepancies are in the Gospels and why?
Who the wrote the Pauline epistles?
How can we tell who wrote these books?

Ehrman is erudite and well-regarded among Biblical scholars. This work does not disappoint and I highly recommend this and other Great Courses by Bart Ehrman.

Note: This work is from a historical-critical perspective, not a devotional perspective. It is academia, not religion.

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42 of 47 people found this review helpful

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By Jonathan on 11-23-14

Utterly Compelling

A lecture course about the New Testament may sound a bit dry, but in the hands of Professor Ehrman it is the audiobook equivalent of a page-turner. This course is history not theology and would work equally well for Christians and non-Christians. The lectures progress through the New Testament discussing the historical basis and relevance of the material; for more detail on the content I recommend looking at the Great Courses website which has a list of lecture titles. My interest in the bible is as a cultural and historical source, and I found the insights provided by these lectures absolutely fascinating. I cannot recommend this course highly enough. One final point -- there is another Great Courses lecture series called "Great Figures of the New Testament" which has a slightly different focus but if you are deciding between the two I strongly recommend Professor Ehrman's course.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful


By martin on 12-24-15

It's an atheists view

Would you try another book written by The Great Courses and Bart D. Ehrman or narrated by Professor Bart D. Ehrman?

Christians Beware: this course is given by an atheist looking to dismiss the Christian message.Professor Ehrman's atheism may distress some Christian readers but he is a respected scholar and for those with a strong faith there is some content the robust believer will find helpful. One wonders who else might be interested, in fact. Why would an agnostic or atheist waste their time on such an in-depth study of the New Testament?

Any additional comments?

Ehrman presents his own arguments clearly but does not really consider many of the alternatives to his viewpoint. He implies that Christianity chooses to overlook many of his challenges whereas they have been tackled often over the centuries. For example, Pope Benedict XVI's books 'Jesus of Nazareth' deal with the inconsistencies in the resurrection narratives. Differing accounts from various reporters are hardly proof of falsehood and who would expect the evangelists to be neutral in their portrayal of events when objectivity eludes most historians! For all but the most ardent of biblical fundamentalists this is hardly an impediment to faith.

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7 of 16 people found this review helpful

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By Amazon Customer on 04-30-17

A really fascinating series of lectures

I thought I had a handle on the New Testament. I mean the general gist of it. Was I wrong! This series provided a really interesting historical perspective of the group of documents that have come to be known as the New Testament. The presenter, prof. Bart Ehrman, made the material much more enjoyable to cover as he has quite a personable and witty character, and this manages to filter through the technology of the audio format. He was always respectful of the fact that there are many millions of people whose religious life emanates from these texts. He never disparaged or criticized Christianity as a faith. Nonetheless, there is also a lot of myth-busting going on throughout these fascinating lectures. I found the course to be empowering, interesting and beautifully crafted. Thank you Bart.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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