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1 Beaverton Religion Western- Bible History and Criticism

Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew


Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 Christianities, Bart 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.


Focusing on key historical texts, a biblical authority offers a revealing look at the early church and the intense struggle to form the canon of the New Testament. 11 halftones.

About the Author

Bart D. Ehrman is Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the author of The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings and Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Recouping Our Loses

PART ONE: Forgeries and Discoveries

Chapter Two: The Ancient Discovery of a Forgery: Serapion and the Gospel of Peter

Chapter Three: The Ancient Forgery of a Discovery: The Acts of Paul and Thecla

Chapter Four: The Discovery on an Ancient Forgery: the Coptic Gospel of Thomas

Chapter Five: The Forgery of an Ancient Discovery? Morton Smith and the Secret Gospel of Mark

PART TWO: Heresies and Orthodoxies

Chapter Six: At Polar Ends of the Spectrum: Early Christian Ebionites and Marcionites

Chapter Seven: Christians "In the Know": The Worlds of Early Christian Gnosticism

Chapter Eight: On the Road to Nicea: The Broad Swath of Proto-Orthodox Christianity

PART THREE: Winners and Losers

Chapter Nine: The Quest for Orthodoxy

Chapter Ten: The Arsenal of the Conflicts: Polemical Treatises and Personal Slurs

Chapter Eleven: Additional Weapons in the Proto-Orthodox Arsenal: Forgeries and Falsifications

Chapter Twelve: The Invention of Scripture: The Formation of the Proto-Orthodox New Testament

Chapter Thirteen: Winners, Losers, and the Question of Tolerance

Product Details

Ehrman, Bart D
Oxford University Press, USA
Ehrman, Bart D.
null, Bart D
Church History
Christianity - History - General
Biblical Studies - Bible Study Guides
Theology | History of Christianity | Early Church
Religion and Theology | History of Christianity | Early Church
Church history - Pr
Heresies, Christian -- History.
Religion & Theology | History of Christianity
Christianity-Church History General
Religion & Theology | History of Christianity | Early Church
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
12 illus.
6.1 x 9.2 x 1 in 1 lb

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Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew Used Trade Paper
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"Synopsis" by , Focusing on key historical texts, a biblical authority offers a revealing look at the early church and the intense struggle to form the canon of the New Testament. 11 halftones.

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