0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.

What Is Different in My Textbook?

I have nearly finished making all the revisions for the sixth edition of my textbook, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.   It has taken me a lot longer than I thought it would, much to my chagrin.  But it is soon over.  I hope to have it sent off next week.

Several readers have asked what I’ve changed this time around.   Here is (part of) my new Preface, that explains how I originally imagined the book and what I’ve done differently in this iteration.



When I started doing research on the first edition of this textbook, twenty years ago now, I had very clear ideas about what I wanted it to be.   First and foremost, I wanted to approach the New Testament from a rigorously historical perspective.   It is not that I had any difficulties at the time, either professionally or personally, with introductions that were more geared toward theology, or exegesis, or literary criticism.   But I wanted my book to be different.   I wanted to situate the writings of the New Testament more thoroughly, than was typically done, in the historical, cultural, social, political, literary, and ideological worlds from which they emerged;  I wanted it to plow deeply to find clues not only about such traditional issues as authorship, sources, and dates, but also about what was then still a vibrant field of study, social history. I wanted to ask historical questions of the texts and of the events that they either narrated or presupposed.  I was interested in the history of the text and the formation of the canon of the New Testament.  In the historical Jesus.  In the historical Paul.  In the history of the Johannine community.  In the historical realities lying behind Matthew, and 2 Corinthians, and Revelation.

Relatedly,  I wanted the book to be…


You need to be logged in to see this part of the content. Please Login to access.

New Boxes: Oral traditions and the Dates of the Gospels
Can My Students Believe in the Inerrancy of the Bible?



  1. Avatar
    nichael  October 26, 2014

    A question I’ve wondered about:

    Do you feel that your experience with the blog (managing it; all the writing you’ve done for it; the questions you’ve answered) has change how you’ve worked on –or changes you made to– the textbook?

    (If so, would you be comfortable sharing an example?)

  2. Avatar
    Laszlo  October 27, 2014

    Great I just finished reading it…..oh well i’m sure i’ ll get more out of it the second time round with the new edition….

  3. Avatar
    Jer10  October 27, 2014

    I am interested in when historically did abortion became a Christian issue. Wikipedia cites: “as that Jewish law is most often interpreted as that an unborn child has the status of “potential human life” until the majority of the body has emerged from the mother and that life begins at birth with breath through the nostrils, based on Genesis 2:7.” Later Wikipedia discusses the Catholic Church: “The Church holds that “the first right of the human person is his life” and that life is assumed to begin at fertilization. As such, Canon 1398 provides that “a person who procures a successful abortion incurs an automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication” from the Church.” Does that mean that a Canon in 1398 AD is the first Christian condemnation, or are there earlier Orthodox Christian writings condemning abortion?

    • Bart
      Bart  October 27, 2014

      Already in the early church there appear to be condemnations of abortion (along with infanticide), e.g., in the Didache and the Letter of Barnabas.

  4. Josephsluna
    Josephsluna  October 27, 2014

    CORRECTION, Ok bart, I know you said we’ll thought out questions etc. I just have a quick question on

    Romulus and Remus they were twins ? Who did Romulus got to be, Romulus mysteriously disappeared in a storm or whirlwind.? “Romulus is claimed to have ascended to the heavens to become a god by several eye-witnesses?”
    Huh ? What does the pope know about this and the Vaticans archives ?

    • Bart
      Bart  October 27, 2014

      Yes, according to tradition (e.g., in Livy’s History of Rome) they were twins. And after his life, Romulus was worshiped as the God Quirinus. And yes, this is common knowledge.

      • Josephsluna
        Josephsluna  October 28, 2014

        OK ANOTHER QUESTION REAL QUICK. Why is zeus ( jupiter ) depicted as george washinton in our nations capital ?
        What does it represent ?

  5. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  October 27, 2014

    It is a terrific textbook and I consult it constantly after having read it all.

  6. Avatar
    mgoldsberry  October 29, 2014

    In your re-write of the Gnostic section, is the Judas of the Gospel of Judas going to be hero, villain, or something in between?

    • Bart
      Bart  October 30, 2014

      Something in between. It’s my newer perspective, based on what others have written about the problem.

  7. Avatar
    Thomasfperkins  November 8, 2014

    Dr. Ehrman
    When this is published, please include a Kindle version.

  8. Avatar
    willow  November 10, 2014

    I have finally yielded to the pressure of many reviewers, and moved the discussion of the book of Acts from its old position, immediately after the chapter on the Gospel of Luke, to follow all the chapters on the Gospels …

    Hi, Bart! Quick question: Regarding the fifth edition, would you suggest one refrain from reading the discussion on the book of Acts, then, until all of the chapters on the Gospels have been read?

You must be logged in to post a comment.