Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make It into the New Testament

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Rating: 2.5 Stars

Review:

Firstly, I do not read Ehrman's books for his opinions on Christianity. While he is a self-proclaimed agnostic, he is well-versed in Scripture. He knows what he is talking about when he he is reciting the facts of the Bible, and I appreciate that. I have learned a lot about the Bible from reading his books. But as a Christian with a faith that is growing stronger each day, I differ when it comes to many matters of opinion.

That being said, I am fascinated by the idea of how the Bible came to be what we know today, who decided what books made it and which ones didn't. I found this one interesting, but it is not necessarily what you call exciting. It presents several texts that were excluded from he New Testament, some very rightfully so. I must confess here that I skimmed the books that were clearly Gnostic.

Unfortunately some of the books are incomplete, so we do not know all their content, length, etc. Most of the time we do not even know who actually wrote the books presented. But they are interesting reads nonetheless - I especially find the book relating events of young Jesus' childhood and his exploits. It is certainly understandable that we would want to know more about Jesus as a child, or at any point in his life, really, but I think we can agree that it is likely not accurate or true.

This is not an easy read by any means - don't let my start and finish dates fool you. Some of the books are incredibly long and it difficult to discern the exact meanings. Each book is prefaced with an introduction, where and when it was found, and when historians generally believe it was written. While many times Ehrman gives a reason for why historians believe it was written at a certain time, but there are also several instances here he does not. This is troublesome, as if there is a reason historians believe it to belong to one century and not another, this should be stated.

That said, I found myself wanting to know more about the books, not just their content. Unfortunately after nearly 2,000 years, this information will likely continue to elude us.

I wavered back and forth between 2 and 3 stars. I like reading about these Scriptures because I am interested in how our Bible came to be. I don't necessarily agree with what these books say however, thus the reason for them  being excluded from the New Testament.

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