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How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee

HarperCollins / 2014 / Hardcover

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A non-Christian perspective on the history of Jesus

In a book that took eight years to research and write, historian and Bible scholar Bart D. Ehrman explores how an apocalyptic prophet from rural Galilee crucified for crimes against the state came to be thought of as equal with the one God Almighty Creator of all things.

Ehrman sketches Jesus's transformation from a human prophet to the Son of God exalted to divine status at his resurrection. According to his research, it was only when some of Jesus's followers had visions of him alive again after his death did anyone come to think that he, the prophet from Galilee, had become God. And what they meant by that was not at all what people mean today.

As a historian - not a believer - Ehrman answers the questions: How did this transformation of Jesus occur? How did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? The dramatic shifts throughout history reveal not only why Jesus's followers began to claim he was God, but also how they came to understand this claim in so many different ways.

Written for secular historians of religion and believers alike, How Jesus Became God will engage anyone interested in conversations concerning historical developments that led to the affirmation at the heart of Christianity: Jesus was, and is, God.

The publisher allowed Evangelical New Testament scholars Michael Bird, Craig Evans, Simon Gathercole, Charles Hill, and Chris Tilling to read Ehrman's manuscript in order to write a thoughtful and reasoned response, How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus' Divine Nature.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 272
Vendor: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 X 0.93 (inches)
ISBN: 0061778184
ISBN-13: 9780061778186
Availability: In Stock

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Author Bio

Bart D. Ehrman is one of the most renowned and controversial Bible scholars in the world today. He is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is the author of more than twenty books, including the New York Times bestsellers How Jesus Became God; Misquoting Jesus; God’s Problem; Jesus, Interrupted; and Forged. He has appeared on Dateline NBC, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, History, and top NPR programs, as well as been featured in TIME, the New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and other publications. He lives in Durham, North Carolina. Visit the author online at www.bartdehrman.com.

Endorsements

How Jesus Became God makes the most astonishing and complex topic in the history of Christianity accessible to every reader, and offers a clear and balanced discussion of how various Christians and non-Christians see Jesus.
-Elaine Pagels,
Princeton University

In this lively and provocative book, Ehrman gives a nuanced and wide-ranging discussion of early Christian Christology. Tracing the developing understanding of Jesus, Ehrman shows his skills as an interpreter of both biblical and nonbiblical texts. This is an important, accessible work by a scholar of the first rank.
-Michael Coogan,
Harvard Divinity School

Ehrman writes with vigor and clarity, but above all with intellectual honesty. He demystifies a subject on which biblical scholars too often equivocate. Both believers and non-believers can learn much from this book.
-John J. Collins,
Yale University

How did ancient monotheism allow the One God to have a 'son'? Bart Ehrman tells this story, introducing the reader to a Jewish world thick with angels, cosmic powers, and numberless semi-divinities. How Jesus Became God provides a lively overview of Nicea's prequel.
-Paula Fredriksen,
The Hebrew University

Editorial Reviews

“Ehrman’s book raises questions that should interest us all... [and] represents a genuine conversation among informed scholars.”
“Bart Ehrman has made a career of zeroing in on some of the most difficult questions at the intersection of faith and history.”

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