Author(s): Bart D. Ehrman
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.
"An illuminating book." Noel Rooney, Fortean Times
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