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Reading Suggestions for the New Testament: A Blast from the Past

Four years ago (June 17, 2012) I was asked about what I would suggest for serious lay folk interested in doing more in-depth reading/study of the New Testament.  Here is what I responded.  It’s a response I would stick to still today!!



I’ve enjoyed reading “Jesus Interrupted” and “Misquoting Jesus”. I am also listening to two of The Teaching Company courses you recorded – “The New Testament” and “Lost Christianities”. Here is my question: Can you suggest additional books by other authors that provide balanced information on the New Testament? Such a bibliography would be a nice addition to your web site.


Ah yes!  It’s important to hear various (balanced) views.  I tell my students this and they sometimes are surprised, since they think that I imagine that my view is the only one worth hearing!  But in my textbook on the New Testament (The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings) I provide suggestions for further reading at the end of each of the thirty chapters, for each relevant topic.  I include, in virtually every chapter, an important book that I completely disagree with.  Students, of every age, should get a range of perspective, weigh evidence, and make a decision for themselves.

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What Paul’s Conversion Meant
The Conversion of Paul



  1. talmoore
    talmoore  June 18, 2016

    Dr. Erhman, do you mind if I link your friend Dale Martin’s entire Yale NT course for your members? If one reads Dale’s book and watches this series they’ve basically taken his course! How great is that?

    • Bart
      Bart  June 18, 2016

      Pretty great!

    • Avatar
      turbopro  June 18, 2016

      Thanks. I did Prof Martin’s and other courses from YaleCourses a few years ago when they were made available to all. Christine Hayes’ “Introduction to the Old Testament,” and Shelly Kagan’s “Death” are brilliant also.

      And while we’re at it, Peter Millican’s “General Philosophy” from the University of Oxford is also great stuff.

      The Internet is a many wonderful thing.

    • Avatar
      gsillars  June 19, 2016

      Thanks for posting the link to the course. I’ve seen several of Dr. Ehrman’s courses from Great Courses series, so it will be very interesting to get another perspective.

    • Avatar
      JGonzalezGUS  June 19, 2016

      Thanks for the link. It looks very interesting. Let’s not forget that Dr. Ehrman has his own YouTube channel. I particularly love those debates!

  2. Avatar
    JGonzalezGUS  June 18, 2016

    Dr. Ehrman, I have read (actually listened to) 3 of your books: Jesus, Interrupted; God’s Problem and your latest Jesus Before the Gospels. I’m finishing (this time reading!) The New Testament, A Historical…… When I put my mind into something, in this case learning about the New Testament, I go 100%. I bought Mark, A Commentary by Adela Yarbro Collins. I’d like to ask you what you think of what appears to me ‘really scholarly’ works, specifically the Hermeneia series of books. Thanks.

    • Bart
      Bart  June 19, 2016

      Yes, Hermeneia is one of the two best scholarly resources for biblical commentaries (the other is the Anchor Bible).

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    RonaldTaska  June 18, 2016

    Readers of this website might fine Dr. Martin’s free New Testament course of interest. I took it at the “Open Yale Courses” website. The course can be found under the “religious studies” section of that website. It’s an excellent course especially when it comes to outlining differences in New Testament books about the activities of Paul.

  4. Liam Foley
    Liam Foley  June 18, 2016

    Dr. Erhman, this is an unrelated question to today’s posting but I’m not sure where to ask this. One of the topics that interest me in the study of historical biblical scholarship is examining what Jesus may have actually said and what may have been put in his mouth by the Gospel writers. This passage from the Gospel of Luke always struck me as being something that the Historical Jesus possibly never said. “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple (Lk. 14:27).”

    I think the symbolism of the cross would have been odd to the ear of the disciple listening to this. For at the time the sentence was uttered Jesus had not yet died on a cross and supposedly resurrected and therefore the cross had not yet become a symbol of obedience to God or the practice of self-denial. I don’t think the saying would’ve made any sense to the disciples listen to it.

    However, many decades after the death of Jesus on the cross this saying would make sense to the Christian community at the time. Even to today’s Christians, who are familiar with his death on the cross, they read this verse with the hindsight theology gives this saying. At the time this was allegedly uttered carrying your own cross “like Jesus did” would not have been understood by the disciples for his death on the cross had not happened yet. That is why I have doubts that the historical Jesus never said such a thing. What is your view?

    • Bart
      Bart  June 19, 2016

      Yes, your reasoning is what a lot of scholars have long thought — the verse doesn’t really make sense in the ocntext of Jesus’ public ministry (for the reasons you cite)

  5. Avatar
    rburos  June 18, 2016

    I have Dr Ehrman’s New Testament textbook, and use each chapter as an overview before working on getting through three of the books mentioned at the end of each chapter–very well worth it! I also went through a course using the book by Raymond Brown and credit it with moving me into further study. Loved it, but I’m not sure I would call it an “introduction”. . .

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    Stephen  June 18, 2016

    The current online ATLANTIC has a heckuva piece on the whole Jesus’ “wife” episode if anyone cares or remembers. A terrific bit of investigative journalism that would seem to be the last word on the subject.


    Prof Ehrman I would certainly be interested in any comments you might have on the whole matter (and what it says about your field of study) although I certainly understand if you forego the opportunity.

    • Bart
      Bart  June 19, 2016

      No additional comments. I know that the piece was enough to lead Karen King to think that it was probably a forgery, and she was the only hold-out that I knew of still.

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    marcrm68  June 18, 2016

    This has nothing to do with your post today, but I watched your debate with a certain Kyle Butt (appropriate name) on Youtube last night… It had me laughing out loud!…well done!

    • Avatar
      rburos  June 19, 2016

      I watched that too the other week. I can’t help but think he was annoyingly aggressive for a senior pastor. My favorite part was him DARING Dr Ehrman to name someone worshiped on the level of Christ. When he answered immediately with Sophia Mr Butt’s face went catatonic. (Did I just say butt and face in the same sentence?)

  8. Avatar
    JUMA  June 19, 2016

    Thx for being honest..and sharing truth. We aren’t here to take away ones faith, but to look at the information from a historical perspective.

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