Bart D. Ehrman
|Bart D. Ehrman|
5 October 1955 |
|Education||BA (1978), MDiv (1981), PhD (1985)|
|Alma mater||Moody Bible Institute
Princeton Theological Seminary
|Employer||The Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.|
|Known for||New Testament authentication, historical Jesus, lost gospels, early Christian writings, orthodox corruption of scripture.|
|Children||Kelly and Derek|
Bart D. Ehrman (born 1955) is an American New Testament scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ehrman is a leading New Testament scholar, and has also achieved acclaim at the popular level, authoring four New York Times bestsellers. His best-known works at the popular level are Misquoting Jesus and Jesus, Interrupted. Ehrman's work focuses on New Testament textual criticism and early Christianity.
Ehrman grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, and attended Lawrence High School, where he was on the state champion debate team in 1973. He began studying the Bible and its original languages at the Moody Bible Institute and is a 1978 graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois. He received his PhD and M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he studied under Bruce Metzger. He received magna cum laude for both his BA in 1978 and PhD in 1985.
Ehrman became an Evangelical Christian as a teen. In his books, he recounts his youthful enthusiasm as a born-again, fundamentalist Christian, certain that God had inspired the wording of the Bible and protected its texts from all error. His desire to understand the original words of the Bible led him to the study of ancient languages and to textual criticism. His graduate studies, however, eventually convinced him that one ought to acknowledge the contradictions in the biblical manuscripts rather than attempt to harmonize or reconcile discrepancies. He remained a liberal Christian for fifteen years but later became an agnostic after struggling with the philosophical problems of evil and suffering.
Ehrman was formerly the president of the Southeast Region of the Society of Biblical Literature and worked closely as an editor on a number of the Society's publications. Currently, he co-edits the series New Testament Tools and Studies. Much of Ehrman's writing concentrates on various aspects of Walter Bauer's thesis that Christianity was always diversified or at odds with itself. Ehrman is often considered a pioneer in connecting the history of the early church to textual variants within biblical manuscripts and coined the term "Proto-orthodox Christianity" to describe the Christianity that existed before theological consensus or orthodoxy was established. In his writings, Ehrman attempts to show that from the time of the Church Fathers it was those denounced as heretics (Marcion, for example) who were charged with tampering with the biblical manuscripts. Ehrman theorizes that it was actually more often the orthodox that corrupted the manuscripts, altering the text to promote particular viewpoints.
In March 2006, Ehrman joined theologian William Lane Craig in public debate on the question "Is There Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus?" on the campus of the College of the Holy Cross. In April 2008, Ehrman and evangelical New Testament scholar Daniel B. Wallace participated in a public dialogue on the textual reliability of the New Testament. In January 2009, Ehrman debated James White, Director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, an Evangelical Reformed Baptist apologist on "Did the Bible Mis-Quote Jesus?"
In 2007, Ehrman gave a speech at Stanford University in which he discussed the textual inconsistencies of the New Testament, and also took questions from the audience. He regularly conducts similar sessions through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Adventures in Ideas seminars. He has also made several guest appearances on National Public Radio (NPR) including the show Fresh Air in February 2008 to discuss his book God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question-Why We Suffer and in March 2009 to discuss his book Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them).
Ehrman has authored or contributed to more than 20 books. In 2006 and 2009 he appeared on The Colbert Report, as well as The Daily Show, to promote his books Misquoting Jesus, and Jesus, Interrupted (respectively). Professional awards received include the Students' Undergraduate Teaching Award, The Ruth and Philip Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement, and The Bowman and Gordon Gray Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Ehrman has written widely on issues of New Testament and early Christianity at both an academic and popular level, with over twenty books including three New York Times bestsellers (Misquoting Jesus, God's Problem, and Jesus, Interrupted). Much of his work is on textual criticism and the New Testament. His first book was Didymus the Blind and the Text of the Gospels (1987) followed by several books published by the Oxford University Press, including The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, and a new edition and translation of The Apostolic Fathers in the Loeb Classical Library series published by Harvard University Press. In God's Problem Ehrman discusses the problem of evil and suffering, the issue which he says led him to become agnostic. His book Jesus, Interrupted critically assesses the New Testament documents and early Christianity. In his book Forged which was released in 2011, he asserts that 11 or more books of the Christian New Testament were essentially politically expeditious forgeries, intended to advance various theological positions and were in fact not written by the authors traditionally ascribed to them.
In 1999 Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium was released as a study on the historical Jesus. Ehrman argues that the historical Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher, and that his apocalyptic beliefs are recorded in the earliest Christian documents: the Gospel of Mark and the authentic Pauline epistles. The earliest Christians believed Jesus would soon return, and their beliefs are echoed in the earliest Christian writings. In this, Ehrman follows the dominant scholarly consensus among secular scholars since Albert Schweitzer advanced a version of that thesis in 1905. In his foreword to the book, Ehrman notes that there are many popular books for the layman advancing various minority theories, such as Jesus as a wisdom-sage, shaman, magician, or even founder of a mushroom cult, but few popular books for laymen advancing the dominant scholarly consensus. This book was intended to correct that gap.
Much of Ehrman's writing has concentrated on various aspects of Walter Bauer's thesis that Christianity was always diversified or at odds with itself. Ehrman is often considered a pioneer in connecting the history of the early church to textual variants within biblical manuscripts and in coining such terms as "Proto-orthodox Christianity." Ehrman brought this counter-traditional thesis, and textual criticism in general, to the lay public through his popular-level work, Misquoting Jesus.
In 2012, Ehrman published Did Jesus Exist? defending the thesis that Jesus of Nazareth existed in contrast to the mythicist theory that Jesus is an entirely mythical or fictitious being woven whole-cloth out of legendary material. He states he expects the book to be criticized both by some atheists as well as fundamentalist Christians. In response, Richard Carrier published a lengthy criticism of the book in April 2012, particularly questioning both Ehrman's facts and methodology. Ehrman replied to Carrier's criticisms on his website, primarily defending himself against Carrier's allegations of factual errors.
- Didymus the Blind and the Text of the Gospels (The New Testament in the Greek Fathers; No. 1). Society of Biblical Literature. 1987. ISBN 1-55540-084-1.
- The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 1995. ISBN 0-8028-4824-9.
- The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament. Oxford University Press, USA. 2011 . ISBN 0-19-973978-1.
- After the New Testament: A Reader in Early Christianity. Oxford University Press, USA. 1998. ISBN 0-19-511445-0.
- Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. Oxford University Press, USA. 1999. ISBN 0-19-512474-X.
- Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament. Oxford University Press, USA. 2003. ISBN 0-19-514182-2.
- The New Testament and Other Early Christian Writings: A Reader. Oxford University Press, USA. 2003. ISBN 0-19-515464-9.
- The Apostolic Fathers: Volume I. I Clement. II Clement. Ignatius. Polycarp. Didache. Harvard University Press. 2003. ISBN 0-674-99607-0.
- The Apostolic Fathers: Volume II. Epistle of Barnabas. Papias and Quadratus. Epistle to Diognetus. The Shepherd of Hermas. Harvard University Press. 2003. ISBN 0-674-99608-9.
- Ehrman, Bart; Jacobs, Andrew S. (2003). Christianity in Late Antiquity, 300-450 C.E.: A Reader. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 0-19-515461-4.
- The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. Oxford University Press, USA. 2003. ISBN 0-19-515462-2.
- Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. Oxford University Press, USA. 2003. ISBN 0-19-514183-0.
- A Brief Introduction to the New Testament. Oxford University Press, USA. 2004. ISBN 0-19-516123-8.
- Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code: A Historian Reveals What We Really Know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine. Oxford University Press, USA. 2004. ISBN 0-19-518140-9.
- Metzger, Bruce M.; Ehrman, Bart (2005). The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 0-19-516667-1.
- Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. HarperSanFrancisco. 2005. ISBN 0-06-073817-0.
- Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend. Oxford University Press, USA. 2006. ISBN 0-19-530013-0.
- The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot: A New Look at Betrayer and Betrayed. Oxford University Press, USA. 2006. ISBN 978-0-19-531460-1.
- God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question – Why We Suffer. HarperCollins, USA. 2008. ISBN 978-0-06-117397-4.
- Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them). HarperCollins, USA. 2009. ISBN 978-0-06-117394-3.
- Forged: Writing in the Name of God—Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. HarperCollins, USA. 2011. ISBN 978-0-06-201261-6.
- Ehrman, Bart; Pleše, Zlatko (2011). The Apocryphal Gospels: Texts and Translations. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 978-0-19-973210-4.
- Did Jesus Exist?:The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. HarperCollins, USA. 2012. ISBN 978-0-06-220460-8.
- Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics. Oxford University Press, USA. 2012. ISBN 978-0-19-992803-3.
- Ehrman, Bart D.. Jesus, Interrupted, HarperCollins, 2009. ISBN 0-06-117393-2
- "The Book of Bart". The Washington Post. March 5, 2006. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
- Is There Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus? From the website for The Holy Cross Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture. Reposted on Ehrman's website.
- Scholars to debate Bible, faith Nolan, Bruce. The Times-Picayune. 2008-03-30. Accessed: 2008-03-30 Reference archived at WebCitation.org
- Bart Ehrman, God's Problem. p.4
- Ehrman on Jesus: A Failure of Facts and Logic
- Fuller Reply to Carrier
- Bart Ehrman's website
- Christianity in Antiquity (CIA): The Bart Ehrman Blog
- Faculty page, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- Stanford lecture on "Misquoting Jesus" (YouTube video)
- Ehrman on The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert
- A Q&A session with Ehrman
- Interview with Bart Ehrman on "God's Problem" by ReadTheSpirit.com
- Bart Ehrman's page at The Teaching Company