The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings

This lucid introduction approaches the New Testament from a consistently historical and comparative perspective, emphasizing the rich diversity of the earliest Christian literature. Rather than shying away from the critical problems presented by these books, Ehrman addresses the historical and literary challenges they pose and shows why scholars continue to argue over such significant issues as how the books of the New Testament came into being, who produced them, what they mean, how they relate to contemporary Christian and non-Christian literature, and how they came to be collected into a canon of Scripture.

Distinctive to this study is its emphasis on the historical, literary, and religious milieu of the Greco-Roman world, including early Judaism. As part of its historical orientation, this text also discusses works by other Christian writers who were roughly contemporary with the New Testament, such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the letters of Ignatius. Instead of simply setting forth scholarly views without explanations, Ehrman includes the evidence that scholars have found persuasive for their views, engaging students and demonstrating why scholars have taken the positions they have. Ideal for undergraduate and seminary classes in the New Testament, biblical studies, and Christian origins, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings is an accessible, clearly written introduction that encourages students to consider the historical issues surrounding these writings. Ehrman's The New Testament and Other Early Christian Writings: A Reader serves as an ideal companion to this text. [Cover (above) from the 4th edition]

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