The Christian faith is based upon a canon of texts considered to be holy scripture. How did this canon come to be? Different factors, such as competing schools of doctrine, growing consensus, and the invention of the codex, helped shape the canon of the New Testament. Reasons for inclusion in or exclusion from the canon included apostolic authority, general acceptance, and theological appropriateness for “proto-orthodox” Christianity.
This course approaches the New Testament not as scripture, or a piece of authoritative holy writing, but as a collection of historical documents. Therefore, students are urged to leave behind their pre-conceived notions of the New Testament and read it as if they had never heard of it before. This involves understanding the historical context of the New Testament and imagining how it might appear to an ancient person.
Some interesting questions about what is in and what isn’t in the Bible here. I love that he does the exercise of what early Christianity meetings would have looked like to a person of that time period.
Featuring vibrant full color throughout, the sixth edition of Bart D. Ehrman's highly successful introduction approaches the New Testament from a consistently historical and comparative perspective, emphasizing the rich diversity of the earliest Christian literature. Distinctive to this study is its unique focus on the historical, literary, and religious milieux of the Greco-Roman world, including early Judaism. As part of its historical orientation, the book also discusses other Christian writings that were roughly contemporary with the New Testament, such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the letters of Ignatius.
An interesting looking textbook from Ehrman.
This is a recommended text for Dale Martin’s course Introduction to the New Testament History and Literature.
About the Course
This course provides a historical study of the origins of Christianity by analyzing the literature of the earliest Christian movements in historical context, concentrating on the New Testament. Although theological themes will occupy much of our attention, the course does not attempt a theological appropriation of the New Testament as scripture. Rather, the importance of the New Testament and other early Christian documents as ancient literature and as sources for historical study will be emphasized. A central organizing theme of the course will focus on the differences within early Christianity (-ies).Course Structure
This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 50 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Spring 2009. The Open Yale Courses Series. For more information about Professor Martin’s book New Testament History and Literature, http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=9780300180855 click here.
Ran across this while looking at some podcasts on another topic and it sounds like an interesting overview based on some of my previous readings of Bart Ehrman’s works. It dovetails with the recent book on archaeology and King David I’ve recently started and some conversations I’ve had recently with friends.
So far a very facile opening. Somewhat surprised to see a reference to Jesus and Paul here, but interestingly apropos.
Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia
…the high barriers to becoming a Christian had to be abolished. Circumcision and the strict food laws had to be relaxed.
Naturally, if you make it easier to be a Christian, then it will be easier to create links and grow the network
The fast-food chain's "infiltration" of New York City ignores the truth about religion in America. It also reveals an ugly narrow-mindedness.
A huge slab discovered offshore in Israel has revealed the name of the ancient prefect who ruled Judea just before the Bar Kokhba revolt.