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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. Edmund Smith

    This is just Thomas Paine's 'Age Of Reason' recycled. Paine proved the New Testament was a bunch of forgeries 200 years ago. I hope Dr. Ehrman gives credit to Paine.

    June 4, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  2. Argle Bargle

    Sounds like Bart D. Ehrman, a renowned biblical scholar (laughing), must have a book to sell. This is about as believable as Sarah Palin being smart or politicians being honest.

    June 4, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  3. BRANTICUS

    Oh, we aren't really here and the sky is green. Believe me because I'm a scholar just trying to get a movie and book deal.

    June 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      I'd say that the probability of us not being here is greater than that of some god "creating" the universe as depicted in the bible...

      June 4, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  4. JulieK

    The writings in the New Testament were included in the canon because they were useful to the early church in helping them understand the Triune God: Creator, Savior and Spirit. The authors' names on the books were not as important as what they said and the faith that they helped to shape in the early church. (I guess their teachers didn't care about full citations in their papers-lol). Scholars have known or speculated for a LONG time that not all the books were actually written by the authors that are named–this is not new. But does that fact make the books any less inspired or relevant or useful for shaping faith? No. Scripture is still primarily understood as God's Word, not Paul's or Peter's or Luke's or anyone else's. This book is just an attempt to sensationalize what has already been known or suspected for quite awhile.

    June 4, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • atomD21

      The media will have a field day with it, but I think this book was written with good motivations. It says he used to be a fundamentalist. Well, the big selling point there is that every word in the Bible is factual and to be taken literally, ignoring that even they pick and choose the verses to interpret in a way to support their beliefs. I use to believe exactly the same thing. Until I read the Bible. The whole Bible. So very much of it is poetry and parables to illustrate points that the whole thing cannot be taken literally. The point of the Bible is not to be a science text or ammunition to use against other people. It is a book to teach us how to live in this world and do the most good while we're here. The sooner we all realize it, the sooner we can get past our religiosity and get down to working together with everyone to fix this place we helped break.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  5. Buzz

    No suprises here.

    June 4, 2011 at 1:01 am |
  6. Muneef

    [48:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

    [48:1] We have bestowed upon you (O Messenger) a great victory.

    [48:2] Whereby GOD forgives your past sins, as well as future sins, and perfects His blessings upon you, and guides you in a straight path.

    [48:3] Additionally, GOD will support you with an unwavering support.

    [48:4] He is the One who places contentment into the hearts of believers to augment more faith, in addition to their faith. To GOD belongs all forces of the heavens and the earth. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise.

    [48:5] He will certainly admit the believing men and women into gardens with flowing streams, wherein they abide forever. He will remit their sins. This is, in the sight of GOD, a great triumph.

    [48:6] And He will requite the hypocrite men and women and the idol worshipping men and women, for they have harbored evil thoughts about GOD. Their evil will backfire against them. For GOD is angry with them, condemns them, and has prepared for them Gehenna. What a miserable destiny!

    [48:7] To GOD belongs all the forces in the heavens and the earth. GOD is Almighty, Most Wise.

    [48:8] We have sent you as a witness, a bearer of good news, and a warner.

    [48:9] That you people may believe in GOD and His messenger, and reverence Him, and observe Him, and glorify Him, day and night.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • BRANTICUS

      Hello, Taqqueah (is that how you spell the word where Muslims are permitted to lie to us before the great Jihad?)

      June 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Muneef

      Brad.

      Actually I became to know about this word in these blogs only....as it seems that this word is not of Sunni Origin and used mostly by Shiaa and am not aware of it's rules of use....
      A lie is a lie what ever the excuse is and she is found in all people of all faiths or non faiths....

      Lying in Islam

      Like most religions, Islam in general, forbids lying. The Quran says, "Truly Allah guides not one who transgresses and lies." Surah 40:28. In the Hadith, Mohammed was also quoted as saying, "Be honest because honesty leads to goodness, and goodness leads to Paradise. Beware of falsehood because it leads to immorality, and immorality leads to Hell."

      However, unlike most religions, within Islam there are certain provisions under which lying is not simply tolerated, but actually encouraged. The book "The spirit of Islam," by the Muslim scholar, Afif A. Tabbarah was written to promote Islam. On page 247, Tabbarah stated: "Lying is not always bad, to be sure; there are times when telling a lie is more profitable and better for the general welfare, and for the settlement of conciliation among people, than telling the truth. To this effect, the Prophet says: 'He is not a false person who (through lies) settles conciliation among people, supports good or says what is good."
      http://www.islamreview.com/articles/lying.shtml

      June 4, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  7. Cleo

    I don't know about the rest of you but I would rather believe and find out there is no God than not believe and find out that there is!

    June 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Muneef

      Not been clear whether you think there is God or there isn't...in both cases most will require from you a proof which you can not prove...or convince.... That's why it is called faith because in both cases you either believe or disbelieve in the unseen and in the unknown...rejecting the ancient prophets and their holy books....

      June 3, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • BRANTICUS

      Great point!

      June 4, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Magic

      Cleo,

      Then you'd better believe in *every* one of the over 10,000 gods dreamed up by folks thus far... and worship each one according to their wishes. Some of them are very jealous and possessive and vengeful, so you really do have a problem there.

      Look up Pascal's Wager and its refutations if you *really* care.

      June 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • felixblock

      Pascal's bet

      June 4, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • felixblock

      Pascal's bet says the same in other words

      June 4, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  8. TRH

    ALL religion is silly nonsense.

    June 3, 2011 at 6:35 am |
    • Muneef

      What has made a sa-v-age mankind become as so called human which is so much different from the animal kingdom of flesh and blood ??
      Why still so people at very re-mo-te areas far from any civil-iz-ations are more sa-v-age than animals? What made the difference ?

      June 3, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Sean

      iPhones?

      June 12, 2011 at 3:39 am |
  9. Muneef

    [3:7] He sent down to you this scripture, containing straightforward verses – which cons-t-itute the essence of the scripture – as well as multiple-meaning or allegorical verses. Those who harbor doubts in their hearts will pursue the multiple-meaning verses to create confusion, and to extricate a certain meaning. None knows the true meaning thereof except GOD and those well founded in knowledge. They say, "We believe in this – all of it comes from our Lord." Only those who possess intelligence will take heed.

    [3:8] "Our Lord, let not our hearts waver, now that You have guided us. Shower us with Your mercy; You are the Grantor.

    [3:9] "Our Lord, You will surely gather the people on a day that is inevitable. GOD never breaks a promise."
    ------

    [16:125] You shall invite to the path of your Lord with wisdom and kind enlightenment, and debate with them in the best possible manner. Your Lord knows best who has strayed from His path, and He knows best who are the guided ones.
    -----–

    June 2, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • John

      The bible is a child book said Einstein, he was right...of course its forged, who can believe those stories. Propaganda to serve the church. That is all.

      June 2, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Muneef

      John.
      Do think he said any thing about to Quran??

      June 2, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Muneef

      John .
      http://alberteinstein.ro/blog/some-miracles-of-the-quran-6/

      June 2, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • David Israel

      I am NEVER amazed when anyone says that "I don't beleive..." because believing is given by the Holy Spirit which they are most certainly without. The Bible is foolishness to those that consider themselves wise. (That is a Bible verse by the way.) 1 Co 1:18-25, 1 Co 2:14

      June 3, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Muneef

      Those who disbelieve are as good as dead (they live in some imaginary world they created and believed in).

      June 3, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • BRANTICUS

      Thank you for sharing your peaceful part of the Quran. Why dont you read part of the Haddith and share some Sharia Law while you're at it.

      June 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Muneef

      Bran.
      Am not much aware of Hadith nor Sharia Laws....my real love is for Quran and following any thing else could lead astray from God words of the Quran....
      But allow me to ask are you so bitter from Islam/Muslims or are you just writing with out thought?

      June 4, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
  10. Muneef

    [5:48] Then we revealed to you this scripture, truthfully, confirming previous scriptures, and superseding them. You shall rule among them in accordance with GOD's revelations, and do not follow their wishes if they differ from the truth that came to you. For each of you, we have decreed laws and different rites. Had GOD willed, He could have made you one congregation. But He thus puts you to the test through the revelations He has given each of you. You shall compete in righteousness. To GOD is your final destiny – all of you – then He will inform you of everything you had disputed.

    [5:49] You shall rule among them in accordance with GOD's revelations to you. Do not follow their wishes, and beware lest they divert you from some of GOD's revelations to you. If they turn away, then know that GOD wills to punish them for some of their sins. Indeed, many people are wicked.

    [5:50] Is it the law of the days of ignorance that they seek to uphold? Whose law is better than GOD's for those who have attained certainty?
    -------

    June 2, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • BRANTICUS

      would you please read the part where your god tells you to kill Christians and Jews in Surah 5 and Siurah 9 please oh please?

      June 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Muneef

      Bran.

      Oh,I see, now I know.... Any way not sure if any mentioned in sura 5 and 9 since no verse number you gave....but Quran told us that we all have our Holy Books and our Paths for which we will be judged and disputes explained.... But it also told us that we are to stand up and defend our rights and freedom of belief against any that fights against our freedoms of belief....

      June 4, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • Muneef

      Bran.

      Rules of War*
      [2:190] You may fight in the cause of GOD against those who attack you, but do not aggress. GOD does not love the aggressors.

      [2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers.

      [2:192] If they refrain, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

      [2:193] You may also fight them to eliminate oppression, and to worship GOD freely. If they refrain, you shall not aggress; aggression is permitted only against the aggressors.

      June 4, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • Muneef

      (MUST READ) A Modern Culture of Insults
      Some people are disposed to be rude and abrasive. They speak harsh words that show no strength of argument or evidence, but are full of insults and abuse.

      The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Those who habitually curse will not be among the intercessors and witnesses on the Day of Judgment." [Sahîh Muslim]

      Likewise, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "A believer is neither a habitual curser nor a habitual accuser. He is not vile nor is he obscene." [Sunan al-Tirmidhî]

      Anyone who loves the Prophet (peace be upon him) and wishes to be gathered in his company on the Day of Judgment should follow his good example. This means that he should safeguard his tongue from uttering anything other than what is good. The Prophet's advice was that "…whoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day should say something good or remain silent." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

      May Allah have mercy on a person who either says something good and earns a reward or keeps quiet and thereby remains safe.

      There is nothing wrong with people disagreeing and arguing with each other, especially in these troubled and confusing times. However, the way to handle disagreements is with lucid arguments and temperate speech. A person's mode of discussion should show the purity of his intentions, the strength of his intellect, and the nobility of his character.
      More at;
      http://forums.islamicawakening.com/f20/must-read-a-modern-culture-of-insults-10464/

      June 4, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
  11. Mike Alcorn

    Just because this person calls themselves a scholar doesn't mean he is right! There is no way that Gods word was forged. The more people try to discredit God, His word and that Jesus is the messiah... the more they will prove the bible right! Praise to Jesus!

    June 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Artist

      Mike Alcorn

      Just because this person calls themselves a scholar doesn't mean he is right! There is no way that Gods word was forged.
      -------

      And what is this based on????? Are we just to accept your "no way"?

      June 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Cleo

      And what ARTIST?
      Are we to just accept YOUR way?

      June 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Artist

      Cleo, tell me what my way is?

      June 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Russ

      Artist: do you apply that same skepticism to your own opinions?

      June 4, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  12. Bob

    Half of the New Testament is forged pfft yea and i am Barrack Obama shame that religion is always under attack!

    June 2, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  13. Nadine D.

    I bet this guy is Jewish, which explains everything. Jews never accepted Jesus. I just could not believe until now, some Jews still retains some animosity towards Jesus maybe because Jesus showed the Pharisees how far their religious practices have strayed from God's original mandate in their sorry faces. I attacking the writings about Jesus is one way of showing this animosity.

    June 2, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • atomD21

      You need to be careful with views like that. Quite a few Jews did not accept Jesus, but that's no surprise when you realize that they were waiting for the Messiah to come in and stomp the Romans, not preach love and acceptance. Is it any different than what most Christians preach now, with Jesus coming back to save all of us good pew sitters and wipe out the dirty sinful world? We have failed to learn from history and are now repeating it. I believe Jesus will return, but not to teach atheists and muslims a lesson. From what I read, God is more interested in reconciling the entire world. That includes atheists, buddhists, muslims, jews (Jesus was Jewish, BTW), and everyone else.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  14. jay shelley

    Jesus walks into a hotel, hands the manager 3 nails and asks, "Can you put me up for the night?" Clearly, the christian resurrection is a fairy story. What really happened? Jesus had to have been pretty vigorous, so it is likely he hung on (literally) for 2 or 3 days after crucifixion. Smart Jews, the greatest storytellers of all time, embellished the tale by turning his slow death into a resurrection. Social scientists compare the jesus fairy tale to other mythic heroes who come back from the dead: Hercules, Perseus, Shiva, and Quetozocoatl. They were just as real to the people who inveted them.

    June 2, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • atomD21

      Do you know how people who were crucified died? The extension of the arms didn't allow your chest to expand, thus you suffocated. No matter how vigorous he may have been, there is no way anyone could hold on for two to three days like that. Beside, if he had held on for too long, the Roman guards would have finished him off. Regardless of whether you believe in the resurrection or not, staying alive two ot three days on a cross just didn't happen.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  15. redvers1899

    Arguing the cryptic passages in the bible is just as productive as arguing the cryptic passages in Alice in Wonderland. Hope you all feel extremely pious wasting away the hours of your existence debating the unknown and unprovable. This is what govts want their peasant underlings to do, be caught up in inanities, (whether it be discussing religion or discussing why Kim Kardashian's butt is so big), so they aren't aware of their tightly controlled existence.

    June 1, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • Sam McInroy

      Not SO beeg, ees it? Think not.

      June 1, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  16. Grace

    This article is basically trash, but for different reasons than other commenters are pointing out. The general consensus of biblical scholars say that the first of the gospels to be written, Mark's, wasn't written down until around 70 AD. John wasn't written until around 100 AD. Even Christian bible scholars accept these dates; while believing that the scriptures are still the inspired word of God. A lot of books were written by followers. Remember also that the early Christians thought the world was going to end within their lifetime. It was only as they realized that it wasn't gonna happen that it became important to establish a written record.

    June 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • jay shelley

      Jesus walks into a hotel, hands the manager 3 nails and asks, "Can you put me up for the night?"

      June 2, 2011 at 9:48 am |
  17. David

    Witherington calls Ehrman’s book “Gullible Travels, for it reveals over and over again the willingness of people to believe even outrageous things.”
    Sounds like Christianity to me! Does he even think about what he is saying and how it applies to his belief of outrageous stories?

    June 1, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  18. GhettoRanger

    So the author is agnostic and says the New Testament is full of forgeries but not a word about the Old Testament? Hmmm curious don't you think? Is the Old Testament the word of God and the New Testament the work of a bunch of dedicated liars? Is that the point this guy is trying to make?

    June 1, 2011 at 5:58 am |
    • Maggie

      It probably has more to do with there being more evidence and materials from the new testament times than old testament on which to found an argument one way or the other.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • felixblock

      Some one should read Robert Graves's The nazarene Gospel, King jesus and the Hebrew Myths. After that speak.

      June 4, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
  19. Claire

    Of course all of the books of the Bible were written by men after-the-fact. But fundamentalist interpretations all are incorrect. Language tools, such as allegory and metaphor, flourished and were used to impart knowledge and doctrine. And power-seekers used the means available to them to spread their own versions of biblical history that supported their cultural biases. It's good to see writers like Spong and Ehrman help people to gain a better understanding about sacred writings of Christianity. Of course the ideologues will criticize such writings–it forces them to question their own assumptions and makes it more difficult to use such writings to control people.

    June 1, 2011 at 4:17 am |
  20. boomer

    Dr. Ehrman is an excellent and entertaining writer, but doesn't present a fair and balanced look at the issue. Here are the main arguments against his position:
    1. Absolutely no one in the first four centuries alleged that any of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) were forged. Augustine wrote around the 4th century that even the enemies of Christianity accepted the authorship of the Gospels.
    2. The early enemies of Christianity, such as Celsus,Hierocles, Porphryr and Julian the apostate, actually unanimously accepted the authorship of all of the Gospels.
    3. Celsus, one of the first anti-christian apologists in the late 2nd century, actually did question the authorship of the book of Daniel but never questioned the authorship of any book in the New Testament.
    4. The early Christian writers, such as Papias, Polycarp, Ignatius, Iraneus, Justin Martyr, unanimously accepted the authorship of the Gospels. Given that they each viewed the Gospels as holy Scripture and were martyred for their faith, it is difficult to believe that they would gullibly accept false attributuion of such foundational works without satisfying themselves that the claimed authorship was accurate.
    5. No one, Christian or enemy, ever presented any evidence of an alternative author of any of the Gospels.
    6. The early Christian church diligently sought out forgeries and rejected them, even pious frauds. It was never acceptable to falsely attribute a literary work, even when the motives were good. See Tertullian's works and his commentary on the apocryphal Acts of Paul.
    7. The authors throughout the various books of the New Testament specifically warn against taking heed of any forgery or any work falsely claiming to be written by them.
    8. Ancient Jewish literature and tradition indicates that anyone thought to be a false teacher would be investigated thoroughly and have witnesses sought against them in order to expose them. The silence of any accusations that the authors of the books of the New Testament were falsely attributed argues that the results of this investigation revealed that the books were truthfully attributed.
    9. There is absolutely no evidence in the writings of the early Christian church questioning the attribution of the Gospels. In other matters of dispute in the early chruch, there is a clear record of such disputes.
    10. Nobody for almost 19 centuries questioned the authorship of the Gospels. It wasn't until the late 19th century that "higher critics" determined that the internal writing style of the Gospels yielded the conclusion that they were 2nd century forgeries.
    11. The vast majority of New Testament scholars defined in any objective manner (as opposed to defining "scholar" as only someone who agrees with Dr. Ehrman's position) , such as possessing a doctorate in history or New Testament studies, rejects the position that any of the New Testament books were forged. Don't take my word for it. Dr. Ehrman himself, in a radio interview with the Society of Evangelical Textual Criticism, admitted his view is in the minority, claiming that the majority of scholars (as defined above) are tainted because they are believing evangelicals.

    I understand that Dr. Ehrman has an axe to grind and a position to advance. However, it's important to read his book with this in mind, rather than believing it to be an objective dissertation on the subject.

    June 1, 2011 at 1:50 am |
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