How Diverse Was Early Christianity?

In order to get to the question of what motivated my book The Orthdox Corruption of Scripture, and to explain more fully what the book was about, I have spent three posts talking about the terms “orthodoxy” and “heresy” and why they are problematic; in doing so I have been explaining both the traditional view of the relationship of orthodoxy and heresy (as found, for example, in the writings of Eusebius) and the view set forth, in opposition, ...

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What Are Orthodoxy and Heresy?

In my previous post I began to explain what I meant by the title of my 1993 book, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture.   One of the terms of the title is non-problematic:  by “Scripture” I meant specifically the writings of the New Testament.  Another term, “corruption,” is a bit trickier, and as  I indicated I was using it both in a technical sense to refer to any kind of alteration of a text by a scribe who was ...

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What is An Orthodox Corruption of Scripture?

READER’S QUESTION:

Dr. Ehrman, I do not know if others would find this interesting, but I would love to know how you developed the idea for _The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture_. How did you go about researching it? How long did it take? Is it a once in a lifetime work?

 

MY RESPONSE:

Ah, this is a great question and it will take a number of posts to lay it all out, as it is a very complicated affair.   ...

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The Contents of the Nag Hammadi Library

In my last post I gave the story typically recited by NT scholars for the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library.   As I pointed out, some scholars have doubted the story, most recently Mark Goodacre.  He has agreed to do a guest post on the blog in which he shows why this story – which  has been told by probably every NT scholar to every Introduction to NT class for undergraduates for the past thirty years! – is problematic and, ...

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Other Accounts of the Death of Judas

As I indicated in the previous post, there are two versions of the death of Judas Iscariot in the New Testament.   These versions have some striking similarities, but at the end of the day, I think they cannot really be reconciled with one another.   After the New Testament period, there were legends about Judas’s death that continued to be invented and circulated.  I discuss one of them in my college-level textbook on the New Testament, in a side-bar that I ...

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A Third View of Jesus’ Body at the Resurrection

This will be my final post on the early Christian understandings of the nature of Jesus’ resurrected body. I have tried to show that Paul believed that Jesus’ actual body came out of the tomb, but as a spiritual, immortal body – completely transformed; other Christians, including groups of Gnostics, maintained that Jesus’ spirit lived on even though his body decomposed and ceased to exist (like all other bodies) In this final post I deal with another extreme in the ...

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A Gnostic View of Jesus’ Resurrection

Yesterday, in response to a question, I discussed Paul’s view of the resurrection of Jesus. In response to several questions I was asked, let me say emphatically that YES, in my view Paul believed that Jesus corpse itself was transformed into a spiritual body. If asked, he would have said that the grave was empty. That’s how I read 1 Corinthians 15. The body that comes out of the tomb is the same body that went into the tomb, but ...

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Paul and the Resurrection of a Spiritual Body

QUESTION:

You may have gone over this before, but do you think the earliest Christians, Peter, Paul, and Mary etc. believed in the physical bodily resurrection of Jesus, or do you think they believed his “spirit” was raised from the dead? From Paul’s writing it’s hard for me to judge. I ask this because it seems easier for me to attribute the resurrection belief to “hallucinations” if they were only experiencing visions of Jesus’ spirit. Even group “hallucinations” of Jesus’ spirit ...

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Widespread Misconceptions about the Council of Nicea

One of the reasons I’m excited about doing my new course for the Teaching Company (a.k.a. The Great Courses) is that I’ll be able to devote three lectures to the Arian Controversy, the Conversion of the emperor Constantine, and the Council of Nicea (in 325 CE). It seems to me that a lot more people know about the Council of Nicea today than 20 years ago – i.e., they know that there *was* such a thing – and at the ...

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A Final Post (!) on Luke 3:22

I would like to thank all the readers who have indulged me on this rather heavy thread of posts on the text of Luke 3:22.   I certainly do not mean to provide a steady diet of hard-hitting scholarship on the blog, and I know that for some of you, this thread has been rather boring and uninteresting.   But I do think that every now and then, maybe a couple of times a year, it is good to peel back the ...

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