Step back to Christianity's first three centuries to see how it transitioned from the religion of Jesus to a religion about Jesus. How did a single group from among many win the struggle for dominance to establish the beliefs central to the faith, rewrite the history of Christianity's internal conflicts, and produce a canon of sacred texts - the New Testament - that supported its own views?
These 24 lectures provide a fresh and provocative perspective on how a movement of perhaps only 20 lower-class followers of a Jewish apocalyptic preacher crucified as an enemy of the state grew to include nearly four million adherents in only 300 years. Professor Ehrman looks at the faith's beginnings, starting with the historical Jesus, Jewish-Christian relations, the way Paul and other Christians spread the new faith, hostility to the Christian mission, internal struggles within the faith, and the formation of traditional Christianity as we know it today.
Christianity argued its ancient roots by retaining the Jewish scriptures and arguing that it was, in fact, the fulfillment of what those scriptures had promised. Throughout these lectures, Professor Ehrman challenges old misconceptions and offers fresh perspectives on aspects of Christianity and its roots that many of us might have thought we already understood. By offering you a scholar's perspective on the origins of what Professor Ehrman describes as the most important institution in Western civilization, this engaging course will increase your understanding of Christianity today.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2004 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2004 The Great Courses
I have not read the print version but I suspect that some of the courses benefit from being in print
Yes very much so and I already have many of them on my list
This course contains many fascinating insights into the early Christian community and is an ideal starting point for the amateur student of the early church. However, about three quarters of the way into the course the emphasis changed from the development of the Christian community in its social and economic context to a very detailed examination of the canon. While a detailed examination of proto-orthodoxy is doubtless essential it seemed to come at the expense of a detailed exposition of the philosophical and social needs that this new religion served in the context of the world that existed at the height of the Roman Empire. The final chapter provides a clumsy end point and I felt that there should have been 4 or 5 more lectures looking in greater detail and demographics and the dialogue between sophisticated pagan philosophies and Christianity,At the very end the speaker seemed to out himself as a person of faith and this seems to have created some blind spots and a certain sense of bias. As it happens I then started another course in this series entitled The fall of the Pagans and the Origins of Medieval Christianity By Professor Kenneth Hart and this latter series works as a perfect follow-on to this course. I highly recommend buying them together and listening to this one before Professor Hart's course.
"An Objective History of Early Christianity"
This course is not a devotional course. It is not intended necessarily for Christians, but for those who are interested in the history of Christianity. This is not Christianity from a theological perspective. In other words, this is education. It is not a course on faith.
Professor Ehrman is an erudite scholar on the Bible and the history of Christianity. If you wish to receive an objective education on the subject, this course is appropriate for you.
"Ideas, not people"
Bart Ehrman is spot on as usual. The advantage of listening to his lectures rather than to someone else narrating his book is hearing the author's own voice. Ehrman is enthusiastic and engaging; he sounds like he's speaking off the cuff rather than reading a script; and he's able to present complex material in a clear and systematic way. It's important to note, however, that this lecture series is a history of early Christian IDEAS rather than early Christian people. There are a number of people discussed, of course - people like Tertullian, Ignatius, and Origen - but the lectures are far more topical than chronological.
"Excellent historical analysis"
A subject that is hard to find in a strictly historical framework. Very informative. Recommend for Christians and religious scholars.
"Informative, but Biased."
There is quite a bit of interesting information that anyone with an interest in history or religion should consider, but it is quite obvious what the lecturer's religious opinions are based on his lectures.
The lectures should be more neutral in regards to religious opinions. Dr. Ehrman doesn't explicitly state his beliefs, but they are definitely implied throughout the course.
If the story is about Christianity, I would assume Jesus. There are other interesting players in the lecture.
As I said, the lecture was informative and I don't have regrets with the purchase.
Dr. Ehrman is knowledgeable and a wonderful speaker, but I think speakers on religious of political topics should do as much as they can to remain neutral for lecturing purposes. Unfortunately, I did come across conflicts in his statements between this lecture and "The Greatest Controversies of Early Christian History."
I enjoyed listening and learning about early Christianity from a non Christian prospective. at the same time I was taking another course on the same material from a Christian perspective so I could see the over laps of history from both views. I would recommend it to someone who wants to know a bit about the early church but is willing to do extra research.
this book provides an extensive overview on the early history of Christianity and how it evolved into its former today
"These are the best informational courses."
love these course lectures. you learn more than you ever will on your own. I find myself sitting at the computer outlining the lectures for future review. AWESOME! INVALUABLE!
"Bart Ehrman Does it Again!"
This was impossible to put down. I listened to almost the entire lecture in one sitting. Lots of substance. Of course, what else can you expect from the great Dr. Ehrman?
"Great information and important history"
Couldn't put it down. Thanks for this. A good complement to the books by Bart Ehrman that I have enjoyed.
"Great book! I would like to see others like it."
Scholarship needs to put more time into sharing their knowledge with lay people & congregations!
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