HarperOne… Bart Ehrman’s Partner in Publishing

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Building on this rich tradition, HarperOne strives to be the preeminent publisher of the most important books across the full spectrum of religion, spirituality, and personal growth. Its hope is to add to the wealth of the world’s wisdom by stirring the waters of reflection on the primary questions of life, while respecting all traditions. HarperOne supports Bart Ehrman in this large vision.

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HarperOne Publishes Bart Ehrman’s Latest Book: “Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior”

Many believe that the Gospel stories of Jesus are based on eyewitness testimony and are therefore historically reliable. Now, for the first time, a scholar of the New Testament, New York Times bestselling author Bart D. Ehrman (Misquoting Jesus; and Jesus, Interrupted), surveys research from the fields of psychology, anthropology, and sociology to explore how oral traditions and group memories really work and questions how reliable the Gospels can be.

Focusing on the decades-long gap between when Jesus lived and when these documents about him began to appear, Ehrman looks to these varied disciplines to see what they can tell us about how the New Testament developed. In the book, Ehrman examines:

  • How cultural anthropologists studied the oral traditions of Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Ghana to reveal how stories always change as they are passed along.
  • How psychologists have discovered the routine phenomena of “false memories” and how strongly people contend that these false memories really happened.
  • How modern legal scholars and psychologists have shown how unreliable eyewitness testimonies really are, with people regularly distorting what they experienced.
  • How sociologists have shown that a group’s collective memory is strongly shaped by the issues and concerns of the remembering community just as much by the events themselves

Jesus Before the Gospels is a compelling narrative that not only demonstrates Ehrman’s deep knowledge and meticulous scholarship, but also challenges the historical accuracy of the Gospels and what they tell us about the historical Jesus, the way we read and think about these sacred texts, and how we view history.

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