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Half of New Testament forged, Bible scholar says
May 13th, 2011
11:47 AM ET

Half of New Testament forged, Bible scholar says

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - A frail man sits in chains inside a dank, cold prison cell. He has escaped death before but now realizes that his execution is drawing near.

“I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come,” the man –the Apostle Paul - says in the Bible's 2 Timothy. “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”

The passage is one of the most dramatic scenes in the New Testament. Paul, the most prolific New Testament author, is saying goodbye from a Roman prison cell before being beheaded. His goodbye veers from loneliness to defiance and, finally, to joy.

There’s one just one problem - Paul didn’t write those words. In fact, virtually half the New Testament was written by impostors taking on the names of apostles like Paul. At least according to Bart D. Ehrman, a renowned biblical scholar, who makes the charges in his new book “Forged.

“There were a lot of people in the ancient world who thought that lying could serve a greater good,” says Ehrman, an expert on ancient biblical manuscripts.In “Forged,” Ehrman claims that:

* At least 11 of the 27 New Testament books are forgeries.

* The New Testament books attributed to Jesus’ disciples could not have been written by them because they were illiterate.

* Many of the New Testament’s forgeries were manufactured by early Christian leaders trying to settle theological feuds.

Were Jesus’ disciples ‘illiterate peasants?'

Ehrman’s book, like many of his previous ones, is already generating backlash. Ben Witherington, a New Testament scholar, has written a lengthy online critique of “Forged.”

Witherington calls Ehrman’s book “Gullible Travels, for it reveals over and over again the willingness of people to believe even outrageous things.”

All of the New Testament books, with the exception of 2 Peter, can be traced back to a very small group of literate Christians, some of whom were eyewitnesses to the lives of Jesus and Paul, Witherington says.

“Forged” also underestimates the considerable role scribes played in transcribing documents during the earliest days of Christianity, Witherington  says.

Even if Paul didn’t write the second book of Timothy, he would have dictated it to a scribe for posterity, he says.

“When you have a trusted colleague or co-worker who knows the mind of Paul, there was no problem in antiquity with that trusted co-worker hearing Paul’s last testimony in prison,” he says. “This is not forgery. This is the last will and testament of someone who is dying.”

Ehrman doesn’t confine his critique to Paul’s letters. He challenges the authenticity of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John. He says that none were written by Jesus' disciplies, citing two reasons.

He says none of the earliest gospels revealed the names of its authors, and that their current names were later added by scribes.

Ehrman also says that two of Jesus’ original disciples, John and Peter, could not have written the books attributed to them in the New Testament because they were illiterate.

“According to Acts 4:13, both Peter and his companion John, also a fisherman, were agrammatoi, a Greek word that literally means ‘unlettered,’ that is, ‘illiterate,’ ’’ he writes.

Will the real Paul stand up?

Ehrman reserves most of his scrutiny for the writings of Paul, which make up the bulk of the New Testament. He says that only about half of the New Testament letters attributed to Paul - 7 of 13 - were actually written by him.

Paul's remaining books are forgeries, Ehrman says. His proof: inconsistencies in the language, choice of words and blatant contradiction in doctrine.

For example, Ehrman says the book of Ephesians doesn’t conform to Paul’s distinctive Greek writing style. He says Paul wrote in short, pointed sentences while Ephesians is full of long Greek sentences (the opening sentence of thanksgiving in Ephesians unfurls a sentence that winds through 12 verses, he says).

“There’s nothing wrong with extremely long sentences in Greek; it just isn’t the way Paul wrote. It’s like Mark Twain and William Faulkner; they both wrote correctly, but you would never mistake the one for the other,” Ehrman writes.

The scholar also points to a famous passage in 1 Corinthians in which Paul is recorded as saying that women should be “silent” in churches and that “if they wish to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home.”

Only three chapters earlier, in the same book, Paul is urging women who pray and prophesy in church to cover their heads with veils, Ehrman says: “If they were allowed to speak in chapter 11, how could they be told not to speak in chapter 14?”

Why people forged

Forgers often did their work because they were trying to settle early church disputes, Ehrman says. The early church was embroiled in conflict - people argued over the treatment of women,  leadership and relations between masters and slaves, he says.

“There was competition among different groups of Christians about what to believe and each of these groups wanted to  have authority to back up their views,” he says. “If you were a nobody, you wouldn’t sign your own name to your treatise. You would sign Peter or John.”

So people claiming to be Peter and John - and all sorts of people who claimed to know Jesus - went into publishing overdrive. Ehrman estimates that there were about 100 forgeries created in the name of Jesus’ inner-circle during the first four centuries of the church.

Witherington concedes that fabrications and forgeries floated around the earliest Christian communities.

But he doesn’t accept the notion that Peter, for example, could not have been literate because he was a fisherman.

“Fisherman had to do business. Guess what? That involves writing, contracts and signed documents,” he said in an interview.

Witherington says people will gravitate toward Ehrman’s work because the media loves sensationalism.

“We live in a Jesus-haunted culture that’s biblically illiterate,” he says. “Almost anything can pass for historical information… A book liked ‘Forged’ can unsettle people who have no third or fourth opinions to draw upon.”

Ehrman, of course, has another point of view.

“Forged” will help people accept something that it took him a long time to accept, says the author, a former fundamentalist who is now an agnostic.

The New Testament wasn’t written by the finger of God, he says - it has human fingerprints all over its pages.

“I’m not saying people should throw it out or it’s not theologically fruitful,” Ehrman says. “I’m saying that by realizing it contains so many forgeries, it shows that it’s a very human book, down to the fact that some authors lied about who they were.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Culture wars • Faith

soundoff (2,204 Responses)
  1. Nate

    Wait what if this guys book, was forged. Its like a dream inside a dream.

    May 13, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  2. Nonimus

    Obviously none of it was forged!!

    No metal. No forge needed.

    May 13, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  3. Michael

    This is what happens when fundamentalists have children.

    May 13, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  4. rich

    1/2 forged and 90% myth.

    May 13, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You non-believers want to believe it is fiction because you don't want to give up your sinful natures.

      Amen.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Anna2Infinity

      "You non-believers want to believe it is fiction because you don't want to give up your sinful natures."
      You want to believe it's the truth so you personally have a vehicle to condemn others who don't think like you do.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Artist

      HeavenSent

      You non-believers want to believe it is fiction because you don't want to give up your sinful natures.

      Amen.
      ------------
      One person's sin is another just living life. I don't subject myself to 2000-5000 year old writings of men. the best day in my life is when I rid myself of usless guilt. Treat others as you want to be treated, very simple.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Molly

      "Treat others as you want to be treated, very simple."

      Now you are starting to sound like Jesus.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Artist

      Molly

      "Treat others as you want to be treated, very simple."

      Now you are starting to sound like Jesus.
      --------------
      Please tell me you don't think the bible was the first to teach this concept? I never said the writings in the bible were bad or not wise. I just do nto accept it as the Word of God. It is the word of man. It should be viewed as inspirational persey but not binding.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • El Kababa

      I was very disappointed when, after reading the New Testament through for the third time, I finally concluded that was nonsense. I had believed that I was immortal but then I realized that I would die just like every other living thing. I thought there was a cosmic big brother up there looking after me, thinking about me, listening to my thoughts, and deciding if my prayers.

      I hated to give Christianity up. It was the same with Santa Claus.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Are there any forged not bibles? Are there any difference to what they call for? What is the use of letting the people down with their books if found not possible to scrutinize and segregate the false from the truth as back as to when was written in first language of Jesus then in Hebrew then in Greek before finally became English or Arabic?? the truth only is to remain and maintain no matter whom ever wrote it, but the false has to go no matter whom ever wrote it...!? Can that be achieved and if not then it is rather good to stop this issue that achieve nothing to people other than hurt and harm...!

    May 13, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Artist

      What the h ll are you trying to say?????????

      May 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Muneef

      Artist.

      Think you are right this would be totally impossible...sorry for being too optimistic...we have no choice but to follow the generations before us whether they forged or not...because even if you try to seek use of your mind and logic to follow what you think might be right they will say you can not "Cherry Pick" but rather take it as a Lump whether contains the Whole Truth or Mixed with the False Truth....! Better than Luring Tumult among faith...!

      May 13, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  6. El Kababa

    There have been a number of Christianities, not one.

    During his lifetime, Jesus imagined that God would destroy the monarchy, expel the Romans, and rule Israel. That would be heaven. Jesus was just a guy, not a god. Jesus was not a Christian. He was a Jew and never anticipated founding a new, non-Jewish belief system. Christianity was invented after his death.

    After Jesus was executed, his followers invented Christianity 1.0, which consisted of waiting for Jesus to return real soon. The Christian teaching of love and kindness was an interim teaching just to keep early Christians cooperating with each other until Jesus returned – something every Christian expected to happen in his or her lifetime. There was no Bible.

    After three centures of Jesus being a no-show, Constantine invented Christianity 2.0, which consisted of being a member of the Catholic Church and going to heaven when you died. Faithful Catholics marched from cradle to coffin under the watchful and benevolent eye of the Church’s leadership. Constantine ordered the assembly of a Bible.

    Martin Luther invented Christianity 3.0, with the Protestant Reformation, which consisted of being a good person and doing good deeds so as to earn your membership in Heaven. Protestantism was a big improvement over Christianity 2.0.

    Modern televangelists and Evangelicals have invented Christianity 4.0, which consists of little more than dialing a toll-free number with one hand while holding your Master Card in the other. Most modern con-artists carry a Bible in one hand.

    May 13, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • El Kababa

      Also, Jesus was a raisin.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Artist

      You forgot Christianity 5.0...god sent HeavenSent. Her friends can even tell you this.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Happy Birthday Artist. From that bad person you so despise.

      Amen.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Artist

      HeavenSent

      Happy Birthday Artist. From that bad person you so despise.

      Amen.
      ====================
      Thank you... 🙂 I don't dispise you. The only people I dispise are Barney and clowns. I hate that purple freak and clowns just simply creep me out.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Sorry but incorrect. The Jews were looking for a political messiah. There were looking for someone to overthrow the Romans. Jesus came to establish a spiritual kingdom. In fact the only time Jesus even addressed the Roman government was in a conversation with Jewish leaders. Render unto God what is God's and render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. It was about paying taxes and that is all!

      As far as Martin Luther goes. He preached Salvation through faith and not works. Nothing mentioned about being good person or doing good deeds. While good to be good and do good things, it is not good enough to get to Heaven, by themselves.

      As far as you last thought I must state in the case of SOME TV preachers, I agree with you!

      May 13, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  7. manyfaucets

    I was talking to god yesterday and he told me that none of this made up stuff was his idea. He said that it is all a fabrication and that he is considering filing a libel suit for defamation. He also asked me not to call him again as his number is on the "do not call list". To put the whole thing to rest, he said that he did create the universe but that once he planted that "seed", so to speak, it was on its own and that since the initial breaking of symmetry he has had nothing to do with it. "Now please leave me alone and stop blaming me for all your problems. Everything you need to know about the creation is there for the finding if you are willing to accept the answer when it is revealed. Goodbye." were his last words.

    May 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • El Kababa

      Heretic!

      The Truth is that God created the universe about ten seconds ago. He created the earth ten seconds ago with us on it, dinosaur fossils in the rocks (dinosaurs never exiisted). He created you and me ten seconds ago with all of our memories stored in our brains as if they had actually happened – but they never did. He created airplanes in flight filled with people only ten seconds ago. And he created me, typing this last sentence to my post as if I had already typed the first few senteces already.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • El Kababa

      And it was God who made those typos. I am only responsible for the last sentence. I didn't exist beforehand.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  8. scratphd

    Professor Erhman is correct. Everything else pales in contrast to this point. Even Mr. Witherington arguments are more of apologetics than scholarship. I find it interesting that people fail to understand the who,what, where and when of the bible.

    May 13, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  9. Artist

    airwx

    @ Artist.... glad to see you ....while you may think you are "having fun" remember there are others in the world who would call your pattern of behavior a form of cy-ber bul-lying.....You can lambast me all day I know you well enough to spar with you, but others aren't so thick skinned
    ------
    I see your point. Maybe this could be a learning opportunity or a "get to know Artist day"

    May 13, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Artist

      I am in rare form today. It is my birthday. 🙂

      May 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Really? Happy birthday. I hope you didn't mind me piggy backing on your humor! Gotta laugh sometime!

      May 13, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Artist

      Steve (the real one)

      Really? Happy birthday. I hope you didn't mind me piggy backing on your humor! Gotta laugh sometime!
      ------
      Its a party in here. Lets all get nek ed and slap the crap out of each other!

      May 13, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Artisit....And a very merry unbirthday to you, To me? To you!!!!!!!

      May 13, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Artist
      Its a party in here. Lets all get nek ed and slap the crap out of each other!
      ----------
      I'll pass on the nakedness. Besides I slap better fully clothed, which of course would include metal gloves.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  10. Artist

    Steve (the real one)

    I'm sorry artist, "pimp slip" was not neccessary. I retract that and instead add "Three stooges slap". Now I feel better!
    --------------–
    ah bub bub bub bub lol

    May 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  11. Elizabeth

    All this really tells us is that the New Testament should not be used to negate or override the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament.

    May 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • YaThink

      Wow, so you can't eat shellfish, wear clothes of different fibers, own slaves, etc...etc...

      You were joking right?

      May 13, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  12. Joe

    I don't recall anywhere that god commanded a bible be written. It's a collection of human stories and letters about god, many of which were directed to individuals or groups. After 2 thousand years it's impossible to verify anything. I mean some people can't even agreed that Bin Laden is dead. And that wouldn't matter if his body was hung on a lamppost with DNA proof hanging around his neck. Some people have no faith and some people will never believe anything.

    May 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  13. 1thinker

    TheRationale - Thank you for saying it!

    May 13, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  14. Laura

    I was taught in Catholic high school that most of the NT was written a couple hundred years after Jesus' death, by people who were followers of the original apostles and disciples. This isn't really new information and I don't see why people are in such a huff about it.

    May 13, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Liutgard

      Agreed. Scholars are pretty much in agreement (other than the outlying fundies) that the gospels were written over the end of the 1st c and well into the 2nd c. Unless the Apostles had VERY exceptional lifespans, their authorship has to be in question.

      I understand that much of Paul's writings have similar dating problems.

      The books as we know them were called canon at the Council of Nicaea- in the 4th century. That is to say, a group of men sat down and decided which books were official, which books were Apocrypha, and which books should be thrown out completely. Long after Paul's time. The 'scriptures' referred to in 1 Timothy were the Hebrew scriptures, not the New Testament.

      This is history, not faith.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Sally

      I've heard the same thing. I was also taught in Catholic school that creationism was just a story in the bible and not really how the earth was created.

      May 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • John

      Because this is a direct blow to their ability to use "if you don't do this you will go to HELLLL!!!" as a club to beat people with. Especially for the various Protestant faiths such as the Baptists who rejected all everything but the Bible as the basis for their "moral authority". We're talking something that always triggers an extreme reaction – a threat to the power of a group of people. That always brings out the worst in people; Caesar was killed partially because he represented a direct threat to the power of the Roman nobility, the Knights Templar were attacked with the blessing of the very Church they had fought and died to protect and further the ambitions of, hundreds of people in China were killed because they represented a threat to the absolute power of the elite of the Communist Party there. Since western republics tend to take a very dim of view of people killing others to protect their power, those who feel threatened by this sort of thing replace physical violence for verbal abuse and what is effectively cyber-bullying.

      May 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  15. Andrew

    This is an old argument that is not new to our time. We are told that 'All scripture is God-breathed" in 2nd Timothy 3:16. It always comes down to faith. Do you choose to believe? Some will, and, regrettably, some will not. The refutation of scripture utlimately becomes a denial of the existence of God. Science and religion do not contradict each other and both rely on a "rational" faith, interestingly enough. Hawkings said that the best we can have is "partial theories" as we can never know the whole truth. (Socrates said the same thing.) And Paul said we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Oddly similar I think.

    May 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "Paul said we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ."
      How is that similar to what you say Hawkings and Socrates said?

      May 13, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Shamrock6

      "The refutation of scripture utlimately becomes a denial of the existence of God." One of the most fallacious statements ever uttered and quite insulting actually.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Anna2Infinity

      "Science and religion do not contradict each other and both rely on a "rational" faith, interestingly enough."
      That's not true. If scientific proof is based on faith then why didn't your doctor lay hands on your your last visit? Quit trying to equate solipsistic wish thinking to the scientific method.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Andrew

      The similarity between what Socrates and Hawkings have with Paul, is that, ultimately, all things rely on faith. Atomic theory, evolutionary theory, Big Bang theory, etc they are all theories because we can never really know if they are true. That is what Hawkings and Socrates (and others to be sure) were saying. Just like we can not rationally prove the existence of God (and there are actually several pretty good proofs), you cannot prove that atoms exist. From a philosophical perspective, we simply have a theory that fits the facts. More specifically to the topic at hand, it takes faith to be an atheist. It is just faith that God doesn't exist. In the end, it is really about whether we want to believe or not.

      May 13, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Andrew

      When one buys a lawn mower, they are given an instructional manual. Do you really think that our God, who loves us so much, would not have given us the same? Faith in Christ cannot be seperated from the scriptures. If you choose to believe in Christ, but deny the scriptures then you are writing your own gospel. Effectively making you your own God. And isn't that the core problem? Christian faith cannot be seperated from the scriptures. To do so it to deny God, and be your own God.

      May 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Andrew

      Cogito ergo sum, huh? I think that my doctor would probably lay hands on me if he thought it might heal me. The point has been missed. Science relies on a rational faith as nothing can ever truly be said to exist. To make a bold statement, science presumes the existence of matter. Science requires faith in the existence of atoms or evolution or Big Bang, etc. Pick a "theory" and replace the word "faith" and the difference is simply how one approaches it. Now I am not a science basher, I lean towards the Big Bang, find atomic theory amazing, and love quantim mechanics. Science and religion approach issues in certain way, but their root basis is a presumption that something exists. God has given is this big universe to discover and explore and understand, personally I think our love of that knowledge is a reflection of Him in us. And I am not sure your reference to solipsism is applicable. I think we need a different forum than these blogs to discuss that. 🙂

      May 13, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  16. Theo

    "Is it consistent with God's character?"

    That's exactly the point it's a fictional character in a book and nothing more.

    May 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Joe

      Lol – fictional character? Really? Believe it or not Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed etc were actual people. What you believe beyond that is up to you. But history records that these people did exist.
      Even Santa Claus is based on St Nicolas, who was a real person.

      Quit spreading uninformed radical atheist messages.

      May 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Theo

      "Quit spreading uninformed radical atheist messages."

      Are you really that stupid? Read what I wrote again. It's says God, moron.

      May 13, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Stevie7

      The original post never said that jesus didn't exist. Just that god doesn't.

      May 13, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Hitch

      joe,
      joe,

      That the said people actually existed or not isn't the same as if they actually said what they're purported to have said, or done what others claimed they did. Did mohammed really fly on a winged horse into the sky? Was buddah really born of a virgin? Did jesus really walk on water and raise from the dead? Each is questionable in its own defined under Hume’s critique on miracles & mostly only those who believe in any aspect of them do so b/c of the affinity one has to it b/c it’s their particular faith.
      Your articulation of st nick becoming the fabled santa clause serves my point. Originally it was based off a mortal, who over time became wrapped in various supernatural claims that he can see you when you’re sleeping or awake, good or bad, can encircle the earth & visit all the worlds children in a single night, etc. etc. Cultures/religions have a way of artificially elevating such characters.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Anna2Infinity

      "Quit spreading uninformed radical atheist messages."
      Even if he said Jesus didn't exist that wouldn't be radical. There is no definitive proof of Jesus' existence. That also wouldn't necessarily be an Atheist viewpoint. I could hold that opinion still be an Christian.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Shamrock6

      Buddha was a real person huh? Ok.....sure. When did Buddha live? Where did he live? Give me the lowdown on Buddha the real person. Can't wait for this one. Oh....what I meant was (after going to wikipedia).......

      May 13, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  17. The Veteran

    Here's the problem that I have with his whole point: It does not matter who wrote them. What matters is what they said. Is it consistent with God's character?

    May 13, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • manyfaucets

      I was talking to god yesterday and he told me that none of this made up stuff was his idea. He said that it is all a fabrication and that he is considering filing a libel suit for defamation. He also asked me not to call him again as his number is on the "do not call list". To put the whole thing to rest, he said that he did create the universe but that once he planted that "seed", so to speak, it was on its own and that since the initial breaking of symmetry he has had nothing to do with it. "Now please leave me alone and stop blaming me for all your problems. Everything you need to know about the creation is there for the finding if you are willing to accept the answer when it is revealed. Goodbye." were his last words.

      May 13, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Since the only notion we have of god's character is the bible, how could we ever know? It's like saying the bible is true because the bible says so.

      May 13, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Ron

      @Stevie7,

      I agree with what you said. While not Christian, one thing I've always thought was that people define what God is and what god is not based on the bible or what they understand of the bible. To me, God or honestly, the Gods, are far bigger than any book can describe or contain. I think that one problem of the bible has always been people can only see God from the supposed words of men, from ancient times.
      From what this article talks about is something I've always thought about the bible.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • ZappoHisbane

      @manyfaucets

      I thought God's final words to His creation were "We apologise for the inconvenience."

      May 13, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  18. Ron

    “There were a lot of people in the ancient world who thought that lying could serve a greater good,” says Ehrman
    I'm not terribly surprised as I've generally thought this about the bible. In the creation of the bible, those men picked and chose what books to be included based on the idea the men wanted it to say in support of their religion. Justification for lying is still used in Christianity but lets face it, lying is used by religions, religious people and non-religious people, groups, governments, etc., all the time.

    May 13, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  19. TheRationale

    Witherington calls Ehrman’s book “Gullible Travels, for it reveals over and over again the willingness of people to believe even outrageous things.”

    Perhaps the single most ironic statement ever written.

    May 13, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Eric

      You mean like the son of God and a virgin birth...... Exactly what I thought when I read that statement.

      May 13, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Brian

      This is exactly what I was thinking. How can a people be narrow-minded to not notice the fallacy in what they are saying?

      May 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  20. Objectivetruth

    It seems that Ehrman's speculations are just that. Besides if Jesus' disciples were illiterate, how could they have forged the Gospels and Paul's writings? I think its also surprising to note that Luke writes more than Paul does–the Gospel of Luke and his book of Acts accounts for more pages than Paul's writings.

    May 13, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • The Veteran

      Many of Paul's writings were letters. So they were not intended to be books.

      May 13, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • civiloutside

      "Besides if Jesus' disciples were illiterate, how could they have forged the Gospels and Paul's writings?"

      The author doesn't claim that all of Jesus' disciples were illiterate. He claims that some specific disciples were illiterate, and therefore the books supposedly written by the illiterate ones were actually written by someone else.

      May 13, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Reuben Kincaid

      Facts and reason have no impact on religious people, civiloutside.

      May 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @ObjectiveTruth,
      What civiloutside said.
      Also, he wasn't claiming the disciples were forgers, if they had written them then it wouldn't have been forgery.

      May 13, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.