The book Lost Christianities written by Bart Ehrman is aimed at discussing the early development of this religion. In particular, the author focuses on those movements and texts that were either excluded from the canon or even called heretical. This book is important because it refutes some of the common stereotypes people can have about Christianity.
For instance, in the opinion of many people, the early followers of Jesus immediately recognized his divinity. In turn, Bart Ehrman illustrates that such an assumption is not inaccurate. Apart from that, this scholar illustrates the diversity of this religion at the time when it was not centralized. Finally, the author shows how the New Testament was formed.
To a great extent, this book is a compilation of different texts that had to meet certain ideological standards. Bart Ehrman explains this issue in great detail. This is why this academic work should be overlooked. On the whole, this book can enable the readers to learn more about the early history of Christianity. This is one of the main points that can be made.
First of all, Bart Ehrman mentions a variety of texts that were not incorporated into the New Testament. For example, one can mention the Gospel of Mary, the Secret Gospel of Mark, Apocalypses of Paul, and many other manuscripts that are not widely known even to people who practice Christianity (Ehrman 15). They are not officially recognized by modern religious organizations.
Some of these manuscripts are only mentioned in other sources, and there are only some excerpts of these gospels. Bart Ehrman discusses the reasons why they could be excluded. At first, the author speaks about the importance of forgery in the ancient world. Many of the texts that were excluded from the New Testament were believed to be forgeries (Ehrman 9).
In many cases, these accusations could be justified because there were many pseudonymous epistles. In other words, there were many authors who could have written letters and attributed them to the famous followers of Jesus, for instance, Paul or Peter. Nevertheless, it is possible that some of these texts were excluded only because they contradicted the beliefs of people.
For instance, the Gospel of Nicodemus describes Jesus descent into Hades. Yet, this Gospel can draw connections between Christianity and at that time (Ehrman 27). Moreover, the Gospel of Mary might not be included because at that moment, the role of women could be deliberately reduced. These examples are important because they suggest that early Christians did not always agree on the canonical texts that had to be studied by the followers of Jesus.
This is one of the main issues that Bart Ehrman identifies in his book. In my opinion, the discussion of this question is important because it shows how Christianity evolved in the first three centuries of the Common Era. Additionally, this book can tell readers why some texts were not incorporated into the New Testament. Overall, the historical period described by the author shaped further development of this religion.
Apart from that, in this book, the author demonstrates that the traditions of the antiquity affected the practices and beliefs of early Christians. According to a popular belief, they were opposed to such an ideology as paganism it implied the existence of many deities. However, this argument is not quite accurate.
For instance, there were followers of Jesus who believed that the world had been created by some ignorant deity and this had been the main cause of suffering (Ehrman 2). This from the principles of monotheism according to which God is an omnipotent and benevolent being. Furthermore, there were Christian churches that accepted the idea of several gods (Ehrman 135).
This situation can be partly explained by the fact many Gentiles attempted to reconcile their previous beliefs with the . This is why the representatives of these churches combined the teachings of Jesus with the paganism. This is one of the main arguments that can put forward. This detail is not usually discussed by modern theologians who describe Christianity as a monotheistic tradition.
This perception does not really reflect the evidence available to historians. This issue should be taken into account by people who study the history of Christianity. Apart from that, Bart Ehrmans book demonstrates that the followers of Jesus Christ did not have the same view on this person and his activities. For instance, some of them did not believe that his death was essential for peoples salvation and absolution of their sins (Ehrman 96).
After the fourth century of the Common Era, such a view was already viewed as a heresy. More importantly, individuals could simply be afraid of expression such opinions, because this statement could result in severe prosecution or even death. This is one of the issues that is often overlooked by modern Christian theologians. Similarly, many of the early Christians did not recognize the divinity of Jesus.
Bart Ehrman shows that this issue was debated by early followers of Jesus. Overall, this diversity can be explained by the fact that early Christian churches were represented by people who belonged to different cultures or tradition. Therefore, they could have taken different approaches to the interpretation of Jesus teaching. This is one of the main details that can be identified. Again, the New Testament does not include this worldviews.
Additionally, Christian could disagree on social principles that could govern the relations of people in the community. For instance, one should look at the gender roles and the position of women. Some groups believed that women had to . In the Middle Ages, the women could be described only as imperfect men (Ehrman 64).
In the following centuries, such arguments laid the foundations of the social order in which males had to play the most prominent roles. This is why it is often argued that Christianity legitimized sexism. Nevertheless, historical evidence indicates that in many early Christian communities, women could act as leaders. Moreover, in many cases, Christian preachers stressed that the followers of Jesus should focus on gender distinctions (Ehrman 38).
This is another point that should be taken into account. It seems that this argument is also worth attention because Christianity is often associated with misogyny, but people often overlook several important factors that influenced the development of this religion. First of all, this the prevalent culture of the ancient word, and it did not empower women.
Moreover, the evolution of this religion was a series of conflicts and compromises. The canonical version of this teaching did not necessarily reflect the opinion of people who laid the foundations of this religion. Bart Ehrman raises readers awareness about this issue, and this knowledge can be of great values for the readers.
Overall, Bart Ehrman illustrates that the early Christian movements were not unanimous in their interpretation of this religion. To some degree, this situation can be explained by the fact that these churches were not centralized. Moreover, they did not have an opportunity to communicate with one another. This is one of the reasons why the author uses such a word as Christianities while describing the development of this religion at its early stages.
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