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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Evaluating the Views of Walter Bauer

In my last two posts I talked about the relationship of orthodoxy and heresy in early Christianity.   The standard view, held for many many centuries, goes back to the Church History  of the fourth-century church father Eusebius, who argued that orthodoxy represented the original views of Jesus and his disciples, and heresies were corruptions of that truth by willful, mean-spirited, wicked, and demon inspired teachers who wanted to lead others astray.

In 1934 Walter Bauer challenged that view in ...

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A Radically Different View of Orthodoxy and Heresy

In my last post I started discussing the terms “orthodoxy” and “heresy,” pointing out that their traditional/etymological meanings are not very helpful for historians.   “Orthodoxy” literally means the “right belief” about God, Christ, the world and so.   That means it is a theological term about religious truth.   But historians are not theologians who can tell you what is theologically true; they are scholars who try to establish what happened in the past.  And so how can a historian, acting as ...

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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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The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library

In this thread on the discovery of ancient Christian texts, I have mentioned the serendipitous discovery of both the Nag Hammadi Library in Egypt and the Dead Sea Scrolls in what is now Israel.   It might be useful for me to say something about both of these discoveries.  In this post and the next I will talk about the Nag Hammadi Library.  I have taken this discussion from my New Testament textbook.

But let me reproduce the discussion with a warning.  ...

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How Are Manuscripts Discovered

PLEASE NOTE: I am incommunicado for a few days on a gulet in the Aegean Sea on the west coast of Turkey. I have asked Steven, our blog support, to add some posts for me in my absence; I prepared these in advance knowing I would be out of reach. Here is one of them. I’m afraid I will not be able to respond to comments on the next few posts until I return to some form of ...

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York Symposium on Early Christian Apocrypha

 

I thought some of you might be interested to know about a symposium focusing on early Christian apocrypha that will be taking place in the fall.  The schedule for the event has just been sent.  If any of you is near there, you should think about going!  It looks terrific.   It is being organized principally by Tony Burke, along with Brent Landau; they are two very active scholars in the field of apocrypha studies.

 

Here’s what the lineup looks like.

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BBC Clip on “The Lost Gospels”

On Tuesday the 21st, September 2010, BBC FOUR aired “The Lost Gospels.”   I was one of the talking heads.  The presenter was an interesting fellow, an Anglican priest Pete Owen Jones. The show included several on-location discourses.  They flew me to Egypt for the taping.   Some of it was done near the village of Nag Hammadi, at the spot where the so-called “Nag Hammadi Library” was discovered in 1945.  The fourteen books found in a jar in this ...

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