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Summary

Whether taken as a book of faith or a cultural artifact, the New Testament is among the most significant writings the world has ever known, its web of meaning relied upon by virtually every major writer in the last 2,000 years. Yet the New Testament is not only one of Western civilization’s most believed books, but also one of its most widely disputed, often maligned, and least clearly understood, with a vast number of people unaware of how it was written and transmitted.

But now a distinguished religious scholar is available to help you gain a carefully reasoned understanding of not only the New Testament itself, but of the individuals and communities who created its texts.

Drawing on modern biblical scholarship, recent archaeological discoveries, and careful literary analysis - and approaching his subject purely as a historian, with belief or disbelief suspended - Professor Ehrman has crafted a series of 24 fascinating lectures that trace the history of the New Testament and the early Christian faith community. He discusses not only the 27 books included in the New Testament, but also many of the significant texts that were excluded as he addresses key historical questions around the issues of authorship, circumstance, audience, content, meaning, and historical accuracy.

"Our ultimate goal," he notes, "is to come to a fuller appreciation and understanding of these books that have made such an enormous impact on the history of Western civilization and that continue to play such an important role for people today."

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2000 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2000 The Great Courses

What listeners say about The New Testament

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Utterly Compelling

A lecture course about the New Testament may sound a bit dry, but in the hands of Professor Ehrman it is the audiobook equivalent of a page-turner. This course is history not theology and would work equally well for Christians and non-Christians. The lectures progress through the New Testament discussing the historical basis and relevance of the material; for more detail on the content I recommend looking at the Great Courses website which has a list of lecture titles. My interest in the bible is as a cultural and historical source, and I found the insights provided by these lectures absolutely fascinating. I cannot recommend this course highly enough. One final point -- there is another Great Courses lecture series called "Great Figures of the New Testament" which has a slightly different focus but if you are deciding between the two I strongly recommend Professor Ehrman's course.

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Excellent

Pragmatic, reasonable, well delivered, enjoyed it a lot

Makes me want to read more about this and Im atheist



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Well presented

Scholarly examination of the New Testament. Presented in an easy listening manner. Well worth the listen.


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prospective

educational thought provoking
interesting good 👍 listening 👌 looks at new testament in a different light

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Bart Erhman

Loved it. it was clear and concise as well as extremely informative. Very happy to recommend this book/lecture.

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Fascinating and Educational

I bought this after reading Ehrman's recent book, "The Triumph of Christianity", and really enjoyed his unique perspective. Every lecture on this course was packed full of information, but never felt over-loaded. I have a library full of Great Courses audiobooks, and this is among the best!
Would highly recommend!

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Interesting

I did think this was a book not a lecture series. But I really enjoyed this format.
The information was presented in a clear and understandable manner.
I learnt a lot of new information and a different way to look at the new testament.

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It's an atheists view

Would you try another book written by The Great Courses and Bart D. Ehrman or narrated by Professor Bart D. Ehrman?

Christians Beware: this course is given by an atheist looking to dismiss the Christian message.Professor Ehrman's atheism may distress some Christian readers but he is a respected scholar and for those with a strong faith there is some content the robust believer will find helpful. One wonders who else might be interested, in fact. Why would an agnostic or atheist waste their time on such an in-depth study of the New Testament?

Any additional comments?

Ehrman presents his own arguments clearly but does not really consider many of the alternatives to his viewpoint. He implies that Christianity chooses to overlook many of his challenges whereas they have been tackled often over the centuries. For example, Pope Benedict XVI's books 'Jesus of Nazareth' deal with the inconsistencies in the resurrection narratives. Differing accounts from various reporters are hardly proof of falsehood and who would expect the evangelists to be neutral in their portrayal of events when objectivity eludes most historians! For all but the most ardent of biblical fundamentalists this is hardly an impediment to faith.

26 people found this helpful

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Brilliant and often surprising

Having read other works by Ehrman, I was happy to know this set of lectures was I completely hands, and Ehrman does a fine job in de!ivering a historically critical account.

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Superb and accessible survey of the new testament

One of my favourite great courses (I've listened to about 10). Bart Ehrmann is a wonderful guide, engaging and accessible. The course is pitched at the perfect level, so that you don't need any specialist understanding of the bible to reap its many rewards.
It's stuffed with both interesting nuggets such as who the number 666 was referring to in the book of revelations, as well as profound insights like the assessment of Jesus probably having been an apocalyptic preacher.
Would highly recommend to anyone with an interest in the new testament.

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  • Nancy
  • 02-03-19

I wasn't even interested...

I thought I should listen to this book, since my brother married a very religious woman. I was brought up Catholic, but still knew very little about The New Testament and wasn't even sure if I was interested. This book was fascinating, the teacher had a great delivery. I read the PDF to my Mother who was amazed at the content. Well worth listening to. I think almost anybody would find this course really interesting and well worth their time.

75 people found this helpful

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  • RGO
  • 27-07-19

A rigorously and down to earth summation of what we know from a historical perspective...

This is a great course for those just beginning and wanting a historical/Literary criticism of what we know today from scholars. NOT THEOLOGIANS, APOLOGISTS OR DEVOTIONAL INTERPRETATION.

I find it interesting how those who only want the “truth” to be their truth, write comments that try to undermine or discredit scholars like Ehrman, yet their criticism only reflects their ignorance.

Ehrman goes out of his way many times to reiterate that his perspective and objective is from a historical/literary criticism point of view.

He is a master teacher and a voice that should be upheld and included in any study of the Christian sacred texts.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Wurm
  • 03-10-13

Excellent Historical Critical Perspective

A fantastic course on New testament history conducted by Bart Ehrman. This work addresses such questions as:

Who wrote the Gospels?
When were the Gospels written?
In what order were the Gospels written?
What discrepancies are in the Gospels and why?
Who the wrote the Pauline epistles?
How can we tell who wrote these books?

Ehrman is erudite and well-regarded among Biblical scholars. This work does not disappoint and I highly recommend this and other Great Courses by Bart Ehrman.

Note: This work is from a historical-critical perspective, not a devotional perspective. It is academia, not religion.

136 people found this helpful

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  • Des W
  • 31-08-19

Excellent!!!

Just a wonderful HISTORIC review of the new testament. Finished the lecture and immediately started the journey again. Can not recommend this enough, Bart Ehrman lays out a very concise historic view that is so clear anyone can get on board.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Antonio M.
  • 23-09-19

great overview of new testament

Keeping in mind that the author is agnostic, the arguments are always consequencial and well exposed. Many common sense ideas about new testament are dissected, still a good completion that is missing would be a recap of the teachings of Jesus that are supposed to be filologically reliable.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Perfectly Imperfect
  • 01-09-20

Absolute waste of time...save your money!

This supposed expert is completely clueless and presents only fringe, unverified theories...no actual facts! It is obvious that this 'professor' has an agenda and it is not an unbiased presentation of the New Testament nor to provide any facts supporting the veracity of the amazing works in the New Testament. The professor states that Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah or the way to God... obviously, he does not understand John 14. He claims that many books written by Paul are forgeries because of his use of different words. He completely ignores the fact that the New Testament was actually written down closer to actual events than any major document we have from antiquity. This professor plays the part of a Pharisee very well! He also claims that Paul probably did not know anything about Jesus and that possibly there are two religions, Jesus Christianity and Paul's Christianity. He claims Jesus said we are saved by works and followed the Jewish traditions only! I will certainly concede that there are unknowns in the New Testament but this was a complete set of ridiculous claims. This was supposed to look at the New Testament from a historical perspective. The professor belittles Like and does not even mention the fact that Luke was the ONLY historical source about an entirely lost civilization (Hittites) until they were rediscovered in the early 1900s. I feel strongly that the only goal is this book was to promote doubt and lead students away from anything other than thinking the New Testament was total fiction.

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  • Paul
  • 02-07-19

Skimps on Evidentiary Support at Logic's Expense

I love the Great Courses, but this one doesn't work. He breezes through arguments in a way that creates logical weak spots unnecessarily. It may be that there is more support for the claims, but it's not provided, so as an intro course or one designed to fill in your gaps, it's unsatisfying.

For example, he argued that there isn't any evidence that Luke wrote Acts because the part in Acts where he speaks in the first person was probably just copied directly from something Luke actually write. But he gives no evidence for assuming some other Luke document is out there in the face of Occam's razor suggesting the more direct conclusion---that the author was speaking in the first person because he was the author.

Likewise, he argues that the synoptic gospels don't corroborate each other because they all arise from a single source, known as Q. This is a common belief in the field, but the only evidence he gives the listener for the existence of Q is how closely the three books align. So his argument is essentially that the three books don't corroborate each of because they corroborate each other so closely that there is probably some other document out there they source from. Again, that's fine, but without providing additional evidence for Q to exist, it doesn't survive Occam's razor and is likely to strike listeners as unsatisfying.

If you want a more rigorous and only slightly more lengthy study, I recommend NT Wright's biography of Paul. It gives you a better view of the historical Jesus, historical Paul and analysis of the Epistles.

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  • Kris Heap
  • 18-03-15

Should have a different title

The information was great but most of the lecture was spent looking at discrepancies in what we consider the New Testament today. A better title would be "Finding the Original New Testament" or "Inconsistencies in the New Testament". All in all, it was really interesting, just not what I thought it would be.

117 people found this helpful

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  • Kelly
  • 18-02-15

Very interesting!

The narrator does a fantastic job of addressing a controversial subject with care. Keep in mind that this is a historical discussion of the New Testament, not a theological discussion.

28 people found this helpful

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  • Tad Davis
  • 13-01-17

Incisive

Bart Ehrman is my favorite writer on New Testament topics, and fortunately he is also an engaging teacher. The result here is a first-rate introduction to the history and content of the New Testament. Of particular interest are his account of the four gospels and his interpretation of Revelation (which he sets firmly in the context of Roman history). I've read a lot on this subject over the years, but Ehrman always manages to surprise me with new information or incisive analysis. Depending on what you're looking for, this may be an excellent addition to your library; but you should note that Ehrman is writing as an historian, and his approach is more skeptical than some people of faith will be comfortable with.

28 people found this helpful