Lost Christianities. The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. Bart D. Ehrman. Shows how early forms of Christianity came to be. The early Christian Church was a chaos of contending beliefs, according to Bart Ehrman, author of Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We . From Publishers Weekly. What if Marcion’s canon-which consisted only of Luke’s Gospel and Paul’s letters, entirely omitting the Old Testament-had become.

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Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? The early Christian Church was a chaos of contending beliefs.

Some groups of Christians claimed that there was not one God but two or twelve or thirty. Some believed that the world had not been created by God but by a lesser, ignorant deity. Certain sects maintained that Jesus was human but not divine, while others said he was divine but not human. In Lost ChristianitiesBart D. Ehrman offers a fascinating look at these early forms of Christianity and shows how they came to be suppressed, reformed, or forgotten.

All of these groups insisted that they upheld the teachings of Jesus and his apostles, and they all possessed writings that bore out their claims, books reputedly produced by Jesus’s own followers.

Modern archaeological work has recovered a number of key texts, and as Ehrman shows, these spectacular discoveries reveal religious diversity that says much about the ways in which history gets written by the winners. Ehrman’s discussion ranges from considerations of various “lost scriptures”–including forged gospels supposedly written by Simon Peter, Jesus’s closest disciple, and Judas Thomas, Jesus’s alleged twin brother–to the disparate beliefs of such groups as the Jewish-Christian Ebionites, the anti-Jewish Marcionites, and various “Gnostic” sects.

Ehrman examines in depth the battles that raged between “proto-orthodox Christians”–those who eventually compiled the canonical books of the New Testament and standardized Christian belief–and the groups they denounced as heretics and ultimately overcame.

Scrupulously researched and lucidly written, Lost Christianities is an eye-opening account of politics, power, and the clash of ideas among Christians in the decades before one group came to see its views prevail. Read more Read less.

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Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Jesus Before the Gospels: How Jesus Became God: Review “A fascinating look at how Christianity was molded. His balanced exposition of the Gospel of Thomas, with its careful delineation of the different materials in it, is outstanding.

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Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention new testament lost christianities early christianity bart ehrman early christian old testament gospel of thomas morton smith lost scriptures secret gospel nag hammadi gospel of mark fourth century ebionites and marcionites letter of clement never knew christian faith early church hammadi library misquoting jesus.

Showing of reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. The book was content-heavy. Sometimes books have what I call, “filler” in them that take up your time but have no meaningful content. This book had no “filler”.

It was jam-packed with information about the different sects of Christianity–Ebionites, Marcionites, Gnostics, etc It explained what each Church Father believed was the “right” way to view Jesus’ divinity and what each one of them considered heretical.

The pacing of the book was steady and maintained my interest all the way to the end. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Excellent overview of the early Cristianitiesproto-orthodox and its many heretical cousins. I think those reads assisted me in fully enjoying and understanding this book; my previous reading experiences “greased the rails” for this book. Perhaps you won’t need that assist, but I’m glad I had it. Ehrman doesn’t say it, but he certainly suggests that the following idea is true: Today, no one practices the religion practiced by Jesus, and Jesus never practiced any of the religions practiced today.

Christians today are generally clueless regards their roots, but through no fault of Ehrman’s. He cannot force people to read well-researched and authoritative texts. Score another point for Ehrman on the playing field of religious research geared toward the common man. Please write another, while I track down the dozen-or-so Ehrman books I’ve yet to read.

It’s a well written book, unbiased and doesn’t come across as trying to undermine Christianity. Instead, it gives voice to early Christian groups that were sincere and trying to understand Jesus’ messageb but who had very different interpretations than the group that formed the new testament.

I’m no longer Christian, and the book helped me to see the early Christian groups in a more understanding and positive lightas they sincerely looked to grasp and interpret the teachings associated with Jesus.

I found it very helpful to see that the interpretations and theology that’s in the new testament are just one group’s take on things. Other sincere and very sizable early Christian groups had very different interpretations based on the same teachings from Jesus. These groups were reframed by the group that won as small in size and representing some wild, heretical perspective; this book corrects this and shows the truth. It also served to resolve a question of mine with respect to the historicity of Jesus so many different and sincere groups with different interpretations and their own Scriptures make me fall squarely on the view that Jesus was a historical figure.


For any one interested in the history, authenticity of the New Testament books, this is a must reading. The author successfully makes the reading interesting and, more importantly, very readable.

There are occasions of repetitiveness but aside from that I highly recommend the book but it needs to be approached with a great deal of openness and an absolute lack of religious bias. This is not a book for the dogmatically religious person for whom any writing that deviates from a perceived perspective is, a priori, false and inaccurate.

The author gave me a wonderful sense of the inner conflicts and dynamics that early Christianity had to endure before becoming the standard and established religious dogma. It also gives an invaluable perspective on the various prejudices and struggles that religious leaders had to encounter in order to retain their views of historical truths as they interpreted the existing documents at the time.

The Christianity Battles

I personally could cyristianities put the down and was enthralled by it. Ehrman chtistianities all on even ground so that each has an equal voice, because recent discoveries such as the Dead Sea Scrolls have proven just how diverse Christian practices really were back in the first and second centuries.

This does lead to some interesting conversation, though. Small wonder that in the battle for supremacy between the various Christian branches, the claim for apostolic succession played a central role. Quickly in orthodox church tradition, our 27 books of the New Testament are all tied directly to the apostles or companions, while other Christian writings are denounced as inauthentic. So what are the repercussions of the victory of proto-orthodox Christianity?

How has our world been shaped by this? Ehrman feels the significance of this victory can scarcely be overstated. Christianity would surely have no doctrine of Christ as both fully divine and human, and of course no Trinitarian doctrine.

Lost Christianities – Bart D. Ehrman – Oxford University Press

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