Relatively Faithful up to date book review: Jesus, Interrupted by Bart Ehrman

This is the first book review I'm writing for TheOoze Viral Bloggers network, which is meant to make you want to read this book, or not, I'm not sure. I hadn't heard of Bart D. Ehrman before TheOoze sent me the book, but he's a well-known former Evangelical-turned-agnostic Scholar who's been writing lately about the Bible, suffering, losing faith, etc. Ehrman is ambitious in this one - he wrote a clear and accessible outline of the basics of scholarly consensus on what the Bible actually is, with the hope that Christians (conservative and liberal) will read it and take it seriously. I for one hope he's right.

As someone with six years of formal biblical studies and theological education, I'm not really his target audience (the average '(wo)man in the pew'), and folks with a similar background might get a little bit bored with the book. However, for the average aspiring Honest Christian I think this will be really helpful. There's a growing impulse, I think, towards spiritual and theological honesty in the face of criticism being leveled at Christianity by historians, scientists, talk-show hosts and so forth, and Ehrman's book is an ideal introduction to the criticisms put forward by those who study the Bible in a scholarly (rather than devotional) manner. Most of his friends, students and colleagues are committed Christians, and he's obviously not trying to destroy anyone's faith - he just wants folks to understand what most respected scholars are saying about the Bible. As he notes, that message somehow hasn't effectively filtered down from Seminary professors to church leaders to their congregations (Pastors are too (patronizingly) scared that their parishioners can't handle the truth?), so somebody has to speak up. Ehrman's work might shock Biblicists, but for those of us willing to step back, take a deep breath and face the facts, it offers an accessible and sympathetically communicated introduction to the questions and contradictions that the Bible presents us with.

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