Forged is a book written by the noted biblical scholar Bart D. Ehrman. Although it has long been recognised that numerous Epistles of the New Testament bear names of authors who are unlikely to have written them, traditional Christian teaching has been that it was an accepted practice in antiquity for a writer to attribute his work to a well-known figure from the past, or a teacher who has greatly influenced him. Forged demonstrates that this is incorrect and the practice would have been condemned as dishonest by all authorities in antiquity. Falsely attributed writings are often referred to as "pseudepigraphs" but Ehrman maintains that the more honest term is "forgery". The book posits that 11 or more books out of the 27 books of the Christian New Testament canon were written as forgeries. In his book, Ehrman points out numerous inconsistencies which he finds within the New Testament which appear to support many of his claims, such as the fact that in Acts 4:13 the statement is made that both Peter and John were illiterate, yet in later years entire books of the Bible were then alleged to have been written by them.
Books of the New Testament identified as forgeries by Ehrman
- Acts of the Apostles, written to deceive the reader into the belief that the author was a companion of Paul
- First Epistle of Peter
- Second Epistle of Peter
- Epistle of James
- Epistle of Jude
- Second Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians
- First Epistle of Paul to Timothy
- Second Epistle of Paul to Timothy
- Epistle of Paul to Titus
- Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians
- Epistle of Paul to the Colossians
In addition to the eleven books of the New Testament Ehrman identifies as forgeries, there are nine originally anonymous New Testament texts that had names of apostles ascribed to them later and are falsely attributed. These are not forgeries since the texts are anonymous but have had false authors ascribed to them by others.
- Gospel of Matthew
- Gospel of Mark
- Gospel of Luke
- Gospel of John
- Acts of the Apostles (a special case since it is an anonymous text but falsely claims to have been written by an unnamed companion of Paul. It is therefore both a forgery and a work falsely attributed to Luke).
- First Epistle of John
- Second Epistle of John
- Third Epistle of John
- Bart D. Ehrman, author
- Misquoting Jesus, a New York Times bestseller by Ehrman
- Jesus, Interrupted, another New York Times bestseller by Ehrman
- "Half of New Testament forged, Bible scholar says". CNN. 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-17. CNN book review article summarizing Ehrman's claim that much of the New Testament was written as a forgery.