Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 2005 - Bibles - 294 pages
The early Christian Church was a chaos of contending beliefs. Some groups of Christians claimed that there was not one God but two or twelve or thirty. Some believed that the world had not been created by God but by a lesser, ignorant deity. Certain sects maintained that Jesus was human but
not divine, while others said he was divine but not human.

In Lost Christianities, Bart D. Ehrman offers a fascinating look at these early forms of Christianity and shows how they came to be suppressed, reformed, or forgotten. All of these groups insisted that they upheld the teachings of Jesus and his apostles, and they all possessed writings that bore out
their claims, books reputedly produced by Jesus's own followers. Modern archaeological work has recovered a number of key texts, and as Ehrman shows, these spectacular discoveries reveal religious diversity that says much about the ways in which history gets written by the winners. Ehrman's
discussion ranges from considerations of various lost scriptures--including forged gospels supposedly written by Simon Peter, Jesus's closest disciple, and Judas Thomas, Jesus's alleged twin brother--to the disparate beliefs of such groups as the Jewish-Christian Ebionites, the anti-Jewish
Marcionites, and various Gnostic sects. Ehrman examines in depth the battles that raged between proto-orthodox Christians--those who eventually compiled the canonical books of the New Testament and standardized Christian belief--and the groups they denounced as heretics and ultimately overcame.

Scrupulously researched and lucidly written, Lost Christianities is an eye-opening account of politics, power, and the clash of ideas among Christians in the decades before one group came to see its views prevail.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
13
4 stars
7
3 stars
3
2 stars
1
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - booktsunami - LibraryThing

I found this book absolutely fascinating. I was long aware that the canon of the bible that is commonly used today by most Christians (certainly not all) was not settled until around the year 400. And ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ritaer - LibraryThing

Ehrman ably describes the theological issues of early Christianity--should Christians continue to follow Jewish law? should they reject Jewish law as no longer relevant? Was Jesus a human chosen by ... Read full review

All 5 reviews »

Contents

IV
9
V
13
VI
29
VII
47
VIII
67
IX
91
X
95
XI
113
XIV
163
XV
181
XVI
203
XVII
229
XVIII
247
XIX
259
XX
281
XXI
289

XII
135
XIII
159

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2005)

Bart D. Ehrman chairs the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An authority on the early Church and the life of Jesus, he has appeared on A&E, the History Channel, CNN, and other television and radio shows. He has taped several highly popular lecture series for the "Teaching Company" and is the author of The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (ThirdEdition, OUP, 2003) and Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (OUP, 1999).

Bibliographic information