Jesus is one of the few people whose biographies have the ability to spark intense passion and heated controversy. Now, in this highly accessible exploration into Jesus' life, Bart Ehrman reviews the latest textual and archeological research as well as the history of first-century Palestine, drawing a fascinating portrait of the man and his teachings. In this sharply written and persuasive book, Ehrman suggests that the apocalyptic fervor that perpetually grips large segments of society is nothing new. Indeed, history's many doomsayers, including those today who are frantic about the new millennium, are close in spirit and thinking to Jesus, who waited in vain for the imminent arrival of a new, peaceful kingdom.
In this highly accessible discussion, Bart Ehrman examines the most recent textual and archaeological sources for the life of Jesus, along with the history of first-century Palestine, drawing a fascinating portrait of the man and his teachings.
Ehrman shows us what historians have long known about the Gospels and the man who stands behind them. Through a careful evaluation of the New Testament (and other surviving sources, including the more recently discovered Gospels of Thomas and Peter), Ehrman proposes that Jesus can be best understood as an apocalyptic prophet--a man convinced that the world would end dramatically within the lifetime of his apostles and that a new kingdom would be created on earth. According to Ehrman, Jesus' belief in a coming apocalypse and his expectation of an utter reversal in the world's social organization not only underscores the radicalism of his teachings but also sheds light on both the appeal of his message to society's outcasts and the threat he posed to Jerusalem's established leadership.
Bart D. Ehrman is Bowman and Gordon Gray Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the author of many books, including The New Testament: A Historical Introduction and The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture.