Best christian church history books according to redditors

We found 3,880 Reddit comments discussing the best christian church history books. We ranked the 1,095 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top Reddit comments about Christian Church History:

u/dudedoesnotabide · 352 pointsr/worldnews

As someone who dated the daughter of one of Exxon's top advisers from the 50s-60s* who was also probably very high up in the most powerful fundamentalist christian political cult in the US, yes, they are the definition of evil. I also started my environmental engineering career fighting against Exxon in litigation. They are some of the nastiest motherfuckers in the O&G industry, I have poured through thousands of pages of discovery of internal emails as support for the cases I worked on.

EDIT: Since people are asking, here is the beginning of your rabbit hole adventure into the most powerful fundamentalist Christian political cult in the United States:

Yeah, his name was Paul Temple, he died a couple years ago. I guess he was with Exxon from 1954 to 1961. Here's his wikipedia:

>From 1954 to 1961 he was an international petroleum concessions negotiator for Exxon.

>He helps fund The Fellowship Foundation, a U.S.-based religious and political organization founded in 1935 by Methodist minister Abraham Vereide.[5][6] Paul N. Temple was an insider "core member" of the Fellowship Foundation and/or Institute for Christian Leadership since the 1940s.

And here's the link to the book that was written about the "Fellowship Foundation."

Here's a fun NPR story on it:

If you want to go down a rabbit hole, they organize the National Prayer Breakfast every year, which all the most powerful politicians and business leaders attend...

Here's the Wiki for the "Foundation":

>D. Michael Lindsay, a former Rice University sociologist who studies the evangelical movement, said "there is no other organization like the Fellowship, especially among religious groups, in terms of its access or clout among the country's leadership."[13] He also reported that lawmakers mentioned the Fellowship more than any other organization when asked to name a ministry with the most influence on their faith.[2] Lindsay interviewed 360 evangelical elites, among whom "One in three mentioned [Doug] Coe or the Fellowship as an important influence."[13] Lindsay reported that it "has relationships with pretty much every world leader—good and bad—and there are not many organizations in the world that can claim that."

>Rob Schenck, founder of the Washington, D.C. ministry Faith and Action in the Nation's Capital, described the Family's influence as "off the charts" in comparison with other fundamentalist groups, specifically compared to Focus on the Family, Pat Robertson, Gary Bauer, Traditional Values Coalition, and Prison Fellowship.[16] (These last two are associated with the Family: Traditional Values Coalition uses their C Street House[16] and Prison Fellowship was founded by Charles Colson.) Schenck also says that "the mystique of the Fellowship" has helped it "gain entree into almost impossible places in the capital."

>Former Senate Prayer Group member and current Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has described Fellowship members' method of operation: "Typically, one person grows desirous of pursuing an action"—a piece of legislation, a diplomatic strategy—"and the others pull in behind."[25] Brownback has often joined with fellow Family members in pursuing legislation. For example, in 1999 he joined together with fellow Family members, Senators Strom Thurmond and Don Nickles to demand a criminal investigation of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and in 2005 Brownback joined with Fellowship member Sen. Tom Coburn to promote the Houses of Worship Act.

You want to learn about where Christian fundamentalist conservatism in the US comes from? Start with the Fellowship.

And yes, I dated his daughter for over 2 years and we almost ended up engaged. I am glad that did not happen.

EDIT2: Fun fact: Hillary Clinton is an esteemed member:

>Through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the Fellowship. Her collaborations with right-wingers such as Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) grow in part from that connection. “A lot of evangelicals would see that as just cynical exploitation,” says the Reverend Rob Schenck, a former leader of the militant anti-abortion group Operation Rescue who now ministers to decision makers in Washington. “I don’t….there is a real good that is infected in people when they are around Jesus talk, and open Bibles, and prayer.”

>When Clinton first came to Washington in 1993, one of her first steps was to join a Bible study group. For the next eight years, she regularly met with a Christian “cell” whose members included Susan Baker, wife of Bush consigliere James Baker; Joanne Kemp, wife of conservative icon Jack Kemp; Eileen Bakke, wife of Dennis Bakke, a leader in the anti-union Christian management movement; and Grace Nelson, the wife of Senator Bill Nelson, a conservative Florida Democrat.

>Clinton’s prayer group was part of the Fellowship (or “the Family”), a network of sex-segregated cells of political, business, and military leaders dedicated to “spiritual war” on behalf of Christ, many of them recruited at the Fellowship’s only public event, the annual National Prayer Breakfast. (Aside from the breakfast, the group has “made a fetish of being invisible,” former Republican Senator William Armstrong has said.) The Fellowship believes that the elite win power by the will of God, who uses them for his purposes. Its mission is to help the powerful understand their role in God’s plan.

u/dasdaddas · 150 pointsr/todayilearned

You should read Going Clear as a companion piece. Holy shit was LRH ever a crazy asshole...

scamming the navy because he was injured in the Pacific front (he never did shit)

dropping depth charges on a log he thought was a u-boat when he finally got a command

beating the shit out of all of his wives

stealing his infant daughter from his (bigamous marriage) wife and running off to Cuba to hide (basically keeping the child in a cage)

becoming convinced SMERSH (yeah from James Bond) was out to get him (also that SMERSH was run by psychiatrists)

locking kids in the anchor compartment of his boat for days on end when they pissed him off

I could keep going forever, I highly recommend the book. The Master was far too kind to him if Going Clear is any indication.

u/themambowizard · 111 pointsr/The_Donald

Anyone looking for some good (i.e. un-cucked) reading on the subject of the Crusades by an actual historian, check out:

u/Irish_Whiskey · 101 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

> By "historical relevance" I simply mean that the four gospels were written by four different men and that each writing was independent of the other one.


Written by different people or groups? Sure. Independent of each other? Not even close. They were written by people over the span of decades who were quite familiar with the earlier sources of oral and written gospels, and included the same sorts of mistakes you'd expect people who were inventing and adding details to early stories to make.

Wiki is a good start, and there are a number of books on the topic that detail what we know of who wrote them, and how they were written.

> Yet, if history suggests that well intending men wrote the four gospels and there are four different stories that are all essentially the same then what am I to believe?

First, whoever said they were well-intending other than themselves? Second, these gospels definitely weren't written by the actual apostles themselves. Except for Paul's letters, all evidence is to the contrary. John, Matthew and others were written decades later by Greeks who made all sorts of mistakes about Hebrew culture, and some parts are written in Greek language not attributable to poor farmers and fisherman. Third, let's not forget there aren't four gospels, but forty, most of which the church left out and the remainders rewritten and selected to conform, which they still fail to do. The other gospels, which includes stories of Jesus not being the son of God, and his playing with dragons and killing people, were used to form some other religions, which weren't lucky enough to take over the Roman Empire and use it's power to spread a centralized message from Rome with a sword.

Finally, what are you to believe? The same thing you might believe about even better sources and 'reliable' books such as the Quran and Book of Mormon. That people wrote these stories based in part on some real events, but included all sorts of supernatural claims for obvious political/religious reasons in addition to the mistakes humans regularly make in attributing supernatural powers to events and people.

That's the thing. We have people in large numbers today claiming that such magical events occur, such as yogi's with millions of followers in India swearing to their miracles, and we don't take them seriously. There was no more reason to believe the gospels then, than there is to believe L. Ron Hubbard now. It's not even necessary to show all the evidence that large parts of the gospels were invented, none except parts of Paul were written by the person themselves, and most of the rest likely wasn't based on original oral testimony. All that's needed is to point out that confirming every piece of testimony as authentic still leaves it in a far worse evidentiary position than cults we laugh at regularly.


Someone comes up to you, and says that a dozen people started a group promising that their leader is the son of God, he's here to bring a few chosen people to paradise, and all you need to do is accept him as master and symbolically eat his flesh and blood and live with him on his communistical compound giving up all your possessions while cutting off ties to any doubting family members, and if you doubt him, you get an eternal torture chamber he just invented. Oh, and the leader died a while ago and so have his followers even though he promised the end of the world would happen in their lifetime. What you have doubts? Well four of these people are confirmed to exist and we know their stories! Surely that should remove any doubts as to them making things up! What you noticed that they contradict history books and each other regularly? Err... ignore that, all the stuff involving zombies, water-walking and demons jumping into pigs is still totally reliable.

u/TooManyInLitter · 81 pointsr/DebateReligion

How about the evolution of Yahweh/Allah as a second-tier God in a large henotheistic polytheism into a straight monotheism where there is only one God, where that God is Yahweh/Allah?

Here are some references on the growth of monotheistic Yahwehism from a historical polytheistic foundation to the development of the henotheism/monolatry, and then monotheism of early Biblical Israelites:

u/jasoncaspian · 80 pointsr/AskHistorians

Short Answer: Truthfully, we are not sure at all. We are actually pretty unsure of where/how the historical Jesus was executed and what happened after his death.

Long answer: In order to answer your specific question, we need to ask, if Jesus was crucified, what happened to his body? And, what do we historically know about the sequence of events that happened after his death.

This has been the subject of historiographical debates over the last two decades. Consensus wise, most Early Christian historians believe that Jesus of Nazareth was most likely executed by the state, and because the Roman state's typical form for punishment was crucifixion, this is most likely what happened to him. The area near Golgotha is a place known to have done execution, but so were other areas around Jerusalem.

Many historians lean on the side of John Dominic Crossan who has argued that in all likelihood he was executed and thrown into a mass grave. This is outlined in Bart Ehrman's How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee and I think it was The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant John Dominic Crossan's “The Dogs Beneath the Cross,” chap. 6 in Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. The reason for our uncertainty is that secondary characters of antiquity are increasingly difficult to find out key aspects of their life, especially when their biographers were not witnesses and lived decades after the character's death.

Your question about the Tomb is even more difficult because the story as described in the Gospels is troublesome. None of them pass our tests for historical certainty, including the Criterion of dissimilarity and Criterion of multiple attestation. What do I mean by this? The stories don't actually match up. This is a problem for historians since every single resurrection narrative are completely different. A good example can be found if you ask what did they find at the tomb the morning of the third day? In Mark 16:5 it's One Young Man in Matthew 28:5 it's One Angel, in Luke 24:4 it's Two men, in John 20:12 - they don't find anyone there the first time they visit the tomb. This goes for every other detail in these narratives. Historians like Crossan and Ehrman both have also argued that the purpose of Roman Execution was to desecrate the body of the person being punished, thus allowing it it a burial in a tomb is highly unlikely (but not implausible).

So about that church in particular, no, the likelihood that he was executed and buried near that church is unlikely because we know nothing reliable about his death. It was picked up as the cites of both places for non historical reasons in the 4th century.

Edit: corrected a book title.

u/vfr · 77 pointsr/atheism

That search is what made me atheist. The truth is that there is no true history of the bible. It's long lost, a mystery. For instance, we have no idea who wrote the gospels.. .totally anonymous. We don't know who wrote the OT... At best we know Paul's letters and a few other books, and we know when certain things were added or changed (for instance the famous John 3:16 was added by a monk later on).

If you want some insight into the history of Christianity, here are some links. It's a messy world filled with 2000 years of apologetics muddying the waters. (specifically this one: Examining the Existence of a Historical Jesus: ) (responsible for converting most of Europe... by the sword. Dealth penalty for having any pagan items, sacked whole villages, etc). more:

Now, if you want some good books... I recommend:

Any other questions?

u/parlokin · 71 pointsr/television

"Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief" by Lawrence Wright. Here's an amazon link.

u/shadowboxer47 · 67 pointsr/atheism

This is a rather long story, but I will try to make it short and sweet.

It started when I was, without warning and explanation, kicked out of my Church. I received a call the day after my first child was born telling me I was no longer welcome. To this day I do not know the reason, but I suspect personal vendettas. I found myself without a job and entered a crises of faith. This emotional blow started my path on what I would consider an intellectual journey.

After a few months, my wife and new child eventually found a few new churches to attend. I was looking for a new preaching job. I eventually moved several states away and decided to take a break for a bit and get a job in the "real" world. I still taught classes, preached occasionally, and even door-knocked, but it was the last time I was on church payroll. (God, you should hear the audio of my teachings. Talk about FUBAR.)

Eventually, my views became more and more "liberal' as I did more reading on scriptural interpretation. I began looking into Messianic Judaism and eventually came to realize that Jesus' supposed purpose was redundant. The forgiveness of sins were possible to the Jews even without sacrifice, and to Gentiles by living noble lives. What, then, was the purpose of the Christ? It seemed to me to make salvation infinitely more difficult... doesn't sound like something a loving god would do.

I started to search the Old Testament much closer and discovered several things. There are actually very, very few prophesies that can be ascribed to Jesus, and most of these are clear forgeries. For instance, the death of Jesus is never actually prophesied in the Old Testament. Something was amiss, and I started deep studies in textual criticism. I began to suspect the New Testament wasn't inspired and starting studying actual Judaism.

Around this time, I started reading the book, Misquoting Jesus and my eyes were opened. I was dumbfounded and started doing much deeper study. I concluded that the New Testament (and later the whole Bible) was simply a set of old documents. Certainly not inspired and certainly not perfect.

What was even more confusing is that many Christian professors/scholars knew this, but were still believers. This was completely nonsensical to me. In my mind, the inspiration of the scriptures were a critical corner stone of Christianity. If the witness wasn't infallible, than the entire religion fell apart like a house of cards. If god could raise Jesus from the dead, how much easier would it be to protect the evidence? If god couldn't perform that simple feat, then... well... FAIL.

At this point, I still believed in a god, and was very, very confused. I started studying other religions in depth. I bought dozens and dozens of books. The more I read, the more I realized a very profound, albeit simple, truth: virtually all religious people, deep in their heart, really believe they're right. How was I supposed to know which god to follow?

I then decided to go even further out of my box, and study evolution, from an "insiders" perspective. I probably have every single creationist / anti-evolutionist book in existence, but I figured if I had gotten Christianity wrong, and I was deceived, it could very well be possible that I didn't know jack shit about evolution--which turned out to be the case.

As soon as I understood the "miracle" of evolution, I instantly realized god was a fabrication; a lie. Reading The God Delusion put the final nail on the coffin. (Dawkins is my hero. I wish I could shake that man's hand. I felt he has saved my life. This man truly does great work. Whereas before I had a complete disdain for science, mathematics, etc., I now became eager to learn everything I could. Whole new worlds were opened up, and I wanted to know how everything worked. I mean, who knew nature was so cool?!)

TL;DR Damn, nature; you're awesome.

u/DirectlyDisturbed · 46 pointsr/Documentaries

Great documentary but I also highly recommend the book

It's phenomenally well-written and a brilliant read

u/[deleted] · 43 pointsr/atheism

This post is misleading.

Ehrman recently wrote a book called "Did Jesus Exist?" where he argues that Jesus most definitely did exist--an opinion that almost all classicists share.

In the talk you took this from-- I believe this is it--he is questioning the idea that the gospels have been accurately preserved down through the centuries.

It's not a misquote, but this excerpt takes Ehrman's actual point totally out of context, and transforms it into one suggesting that he is contradicting another of his arguments. Perhaps this was not your intent-- but if you weren't trying to do this, I don't know why you'd feel the need to quote Ehrman about a simple fact.

u/HaiKarate · 40 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliot Freeman -- breaks down the composition of the first five books of the Bible, and why it seems a little funky to the average reader (hint: multiple authors and editing for each book).

The Bible Unearthed -- One of the top archaeologists in Israel today demonstrates why the foundational stories of the Bible can't be literally true.

A History of God -- Explains the known history behind the idea of the god of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and how that idea evolved from polytheistic roots.

The above three books would represent where most Bible scholars are on the issue of the historical authenticity of the Bible's stories.

u/BranchDavidian · 34 pointsr/Christianity

It's funny that the number one reason given for why Jesus didn't really exist is just a quote from Bart Ehrman, who had to write a book about Jesus existing to try and put an end to this growing trend in pseudo-history that says he didn't.

u/0x7fff5fbff690 · 34 pointsr/movies

This is the best book I've read on Scientology: — it gives you an overview of the history, the biography of L. Ron Hubbard, the beginnings, the big moments in Scientology, the core beliefs. Absolutely fascinating, and a pretty riveting read.

u/chodeboi · 33 pointsr/politics
u/wdr1 · 30 pointsr/todayilearned

> anyone who is bigoted towards islam almost certainly doesn't realize they are essentially the only reason we still have access to the knowledge of the greeks.

That's really, really reaching.

And at least give some credit to the Irish too.

u/jony4real · 27 pointsr/badhistory

There's no kind of history I would never read or never put on my bookshelf, but I tend to be turned off by history that believes in Progress^TM or History^TM itself as more of a force within history rather than just a way to describe the past. Especially if it's dumbed down and aimed at the public, like that one book How the Irish Saved Civilization. That doesn't mean people who believe in Progress are stupid or even wrong, it's just personally I don't like hearing about it in my history. Why put your energy into learning about this vaguely-defined, self-centered idea when you could be learning tons of details about people and eras you'd never thought were important before, like in this book which I love?

u/Bilbo_Fraggins · 26 pointsr/atheism

That's why I think it's important to use one ranked by inanity. Choosing only the strongest problems keeps the fallacy of composition at bay. What tends to happen is the person can easily rationalize and dismiss one of your claims, and then use this to poison the well, saying all of them are suspect.

It's often better to only bring up the big problems than mix big and little problems together, for this reason.

My favorites:
Paul both went to see the disciples immediately and didn't go see them for 3 years.

Another great one is how Judas apparently hung himself, then bought a potters field with the money he returned to the priests, where he proceded to trip and disembowel himself.

Ain't that some shit.

Still, nothing is less believable than the ark narrative and the global flood, where water covers all-mountains under all-heaven after falling from the sky and coming up from the waters under the earth. The whole thing takes a whole year(or so, the narrative is hard to piece together), leaving absolutely no geologic evidence. Then the animals somehow return to where they should be biogeographically, and the pyramids that were already built didn't get water inside, etc.

Also, despite this the flood magically does not melt the ice cores that go back 800,000 years. The evidence against the flood is overwhelming, and even that page only scratches the surface.

Biblical literalism dies at the flood narrative. It simply must be, at best, metaphorical. Maybe your church accepts the flood as metaphorical, in which case the NT arguments above are some of the better ones.

I'd also say the biblical contradictions aren't the worst problems Christianity has to face up to. Much worse are the problem of inconsistent revelation, the lack of an historical Adam, the evidence of archaeology and higher criticism.

u/edric_o · 23 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Welcome! We believe that the Orthodox Church is the original Church founded by Jesus Christ, yes. The best way to get a good idea of what Orthodoxy is about is to visit a local parish near you, but here are some books that I would recommend:

The Orthodox Church

The Orthodox Way

Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy

Know the Faith

On the topic of visiting a local parish - do you live in the US? If so, there is a great online search engine to help you locate nearby Orthodox churches.

u/GOB_Farnsworth · 21 pointsr/latterdaysaints

The ancient Semitic pantheon (which included 70 sons of El, including Baal) was widely believed in across the region. What made Judaism unique was its eventual push toward monotheism, although traces of the old pantheon are still in the Hebrew Bible.

Mark Smith has put out some good scholarship on the topic:

Asherah was originally a wife of the father God El, although later Yahweh was brought in (possibly from contact with Edom) and El and Yahweh were eventually merged.

This interesting convergence tends to be brought up in apologetic literature but I haven't seen it from church leaders. The Deuteronomic Reforms removed "pagan" altars and gods from Hebrew worship, including the worship of Asherah. Is it the LDS position that those reforms were correct? Incorrect? Somewhere in between? There isn't an official position as far as I know, but if Asherah is to be associated with Heavenly Mother it might be necessary to take one.

It's an interesting area of LDS theology that hasn't really been explored much.

u/WalkingHumble · 21 pointsr/Christianity

Non-religious academics

u/sneakyuntiedsneakers · 20 pointsr/excatholic

>I think the evidence firmly points to the person of Jesus having existed and when you couple this with the fact that the apostles did not recant their faith, it makes a promising case that the Resurrection was genuine.

You need to develop a standard for evaluating claims. And the standard needs to be something you can honestly live with.

There are many, many supernatural claims out there. Mohammed, for example: There are Muslims who argue just as effectively for the veracity of Mohammed's miracles as do Christians with respect to Jesus' resurrection. The same goes for many other religions that we still live with today -- and countless more that have died off over the centuries.

If your belief in a supernatural event is satisfied by ancient second-hand accounts of uneducated people who've never been exposed to science, then you need to apply that belief even-handedly, without respect to your upbringing, cultural experiences, and so on. But, of course, if you do that, you'll find yourself believing in contradictory dogma.

There's a better option: Simply put, Jesus existed. He clearly had an impact. He was tried and executed for that impact. Myths about him (including his resurrection) also developed as a result of that impact. Human beings see patterns, conspiracies, miracles, divine intervention, and divine damnation where none exist. It's a constant in the human experience. We see it historically, with, for example, the myths about Jesus. We see it today, with myths about Q-Anon, crisis actors at Sandy Hook, Obama's birth certificates, and so on. There is something about our brains that invents realities that never existed.

The specific details -- the precise, exact manner in which this one specific miracle developed and grew, is a subject of some study (I'll cite one great book below) but we'll never know the exact truth of how this myth got started. However, the absence of absolute certainty as to development of a myth doesn't mean that you have to believe the myth. If you did, you'd be forced to believe in all kinds of contradictory nonsense.

For an empirical look at Jesus' life and the development of the myths around him, check out Bart Erhman's How Jesus Became God. Erhman is a highly-respected biblical scholar and author of a number of textbooks, a few of which I read ages ago when I was a Religious Studies university student.

u/WastedP0tential · 20 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

You wanted to be part of the intelligentsia, but throughout your philosophical journey, you always based your convictions only on authority and tradition instead of on evidence and arguments. Don't you realize that this is the epitome of anti – intellectualism?

It is correct that the New Atheists aren't the pinnacle of atheistic thought and didn't contribute many new ideas to the academic debate of atheism vs. theism or religion. But this was never their goal, and it is also unnecessary, since the academic debate is already over for many decades. If you want to know why the arguments for theism are all complete nonsense and not taken seriously anymore, why Christianity is wrong just about everything and why apologists like Craig are dishonest charlatans who make a living out of fooling people, your reading list shouldn't be New Atheists, but rather something like this:

Colin Howson – Objecting to God

George H. Smith – Atheism: The Case Against God

Graham Oppy – Arguing about Gods

Graham Oppy – The Best Argument Against God

Herman Philipse – God in the Age of Science

J. L. Mackie – The Miracle of Theism

J. L. Schellenberg – The Wisdom to Doubt

Jordan Sobel – Logic and Theism

Nicholas Everitt – The Non-Existence of God

Richard Gale – On the Nature and Existence of God

Robin Le Poidevin – Arguing for Atheism

Stewart Elliott Guthrie – Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion

Theodore Drange – Nonbelief & Evil

[Avigor Shinan – From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths and Legends] (

Bart Ehrman – The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings

Bart Ehrman – Jesus, Interrupted

Bart Ehrman – Misquoting Jesus

Burton L. Mack – Who Wrote the New Testament?

Helmut Koester – Ancient Christian Gospels

John Barton, John Muddiman – The Oxford Bible Commentary

John Dominic Crossan – Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography

Karen Armstrong – A History of God

Mark Smith – The Early History of God

Randel McCraw Helms – Who Wrote the Gospels?

Richard Elliott Friedman – Who Wrote the Bible?

Robert Bellah – Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age

Robert Walter Funk – The Gospel of Jesus

u/rebellion117 · 20 pointsr/AskHistorians

The Gospel of Judas gets a good deal of action in academic circles devoted to the study of ancient Christianity, as /u/anoldhope mentions. (Take a look around JSTOR or Google Scholar, for instance.) In fact, it gets just as much scholarly attention as any of the many other ancient, non-canonical gospels.

As for GosJudas' lack of "impact" in modern religious practice, that depends on several factors. (N.B.: I am a Christianity scholar, so I will limit my discussion to modern Christianity.)

In Christianity, the focus has historically been placed on the canonical New Testament, and any books outside that canon were treated with scorn and condemnation.

Many modern Christians (specifically those from conservative traditions) maintain the same scorn towards these other Christian texts. Other modern Christians (usually, those who are more progressive) do not actually feel any animosity towards ancient, non-canonical Christian literature, but still neglect it, because of the longstanding focus on the canonical NT. Finally, a somewhat smaller portion of modern Christianity actively embraces non-canonical literature (as exemplified by the New New Testament.)

Further reading:

-On the varieties of ancient Christianity, see Bart Ehrman's books Lost Christianities and Lost Scriptures.

-For a conservative Christian reaction to the Gospel of Judas, which typifies the tradition's views on non-canonical gospels in general, see Albert Mohler's blog post, "From Traitor to Hero? Responding to 'The Gospel of Judas.'"

EDIT: Fixed a typo.

u/scrutinizer80 · 19 pointsr/Anglicanism

There's "Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years" by Diarmaid MacCulloch.

u/Under_the_Volcano · 18 pointsr/badhistory

I was interested enough to pull-up the book on Amazon. Holy shit, are there a lot of terrible, xenophobic, ill-informed 1-star reviews.

A handful of the crazy:

>Let's get one thing clear right off the bat. First-century Palestinian Jews underwent rather serious training and were anything but illiterate. Their literacy in fact far surpassed that of the average American high school student of the 21st century.


>Ask yourself, who was most threatened by the popularity of Jesus : Pontius Pilate or Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin? Follow the money. Where did the thirty pieces of silver given to Judas come from? Caiaphas


>At the Great Judgement of God, we shall find out one day how the Lord & Savior & Creator Jesus Christ rates this book. I will not be surprised if we learn that Satan (the great deceiver, the Devil) has written this book of lies himself.


>This book is a book of lies written with intent to undermine and to foster the Islamic claim that Jesus was just another man, and there is no god but Allat, the moon god.


>This guy should go back to sand land and let us enjoy looking at girls in bikinis. I borrowed the book and threw up all over it half way through.

u/weshallrise · 18 pointsr/atheism

In addition, the article is misleading. In writing the article, Valerie Tarico tries to make the claim that the idea disputing the existence of a historical Jesus includes scholars that have written whole books arguing against this very idea! Her very first argument, in fact, does this very thing:

> 1. No first century secular evidence whatsoever exists to support the actuality of Yeshua ben Yosef. ...

She goes on to give a lengthy quote from Bart Ehrman going on about the lack of Pagan sources for the existence of Jesus. While Professor Ehrman does indeed say these things, he goes on to say that there is little written evidence of most of the people who lived in the ancient world and this, in and of itself, does not prove or disprove anyone's existence. (see Bart Ehrman, "Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth")

Clearly, this is another attempt to make an unaccepted and unscholarly opinion look more mainstream than it actually is.

u/The_Scarlet_Sickle · 18 pointsr/television

Anyone who has read Going Clear and Beyond Belief has been wondering where the FUCK have the Feds been on this? It's LONG overdue to raid their compounds. To hell with the Judicial nightmare that waits. Justice is supposed to be blind, not turning a blind eye ...

u/Johnlongsilver · 18 pointsr/history

Huh? The consensus among historians that the Exodus is a myth is pretty overwhelming. Even Israeli historians agree. Not everything that doesn't fit Jewish religious narrative is "anti-semitic".

u/samreay · 17 pointsr/DebateReligion

Sure, so apart from a lack of reason to accept those extraordinary claims I listed before, I would also defend the statement that we have firm evidence that Christianity is a human invention, a simple product of human culture.

This should not be too outlandish a claim, as even Christians can probably agree that most of the worlds religions are creations of our changing society (after all, Christians probably would disagree that Hinduism, paganism, Nordic, Hellenistic, aboriginal religions were divinely inspired/authored).

By looking back into the origins of Christianity, and the origins of the Judaic system from which it is derived, we can very clearly see changes in religious deities and stories, as the religion began incorporating myths from surrounding areas and as general patterns of beliefs changed. From what we can currently understand, it appears the the origin of Christianity started as a polytheistic pantheon with at least Yahweh, El, Baal and Asherah. It then moved slowly from polytheism to henotheism to monaltry to monotheism, as was relatively common in the Axial Age.

All of this points to the religion not representative of singular divine inspiration, and instead being representative of being a product of human culture, changing along with society.

This is a rather large topic of course, and if you want further reading, I recommend:

u/BEER_ME_THAT_BAGEL · 17 pointsr/AskHistorians

The book 'Zealot' by Reza Aslan has a chunk of it devoted to the decades before and after his life including several other people who gathered followers and claimed to be the "Messiah"

u/deakannoying · 16 pointsr/Catholicism

> hard from an intellectual point of view

I'm sorry, I had to snicker when I read this. There is no other organization that has more intellectual underpinnings than the Catholic Church.

If you are having problems reconciling Scripture (exegetically or hermeneutically), you need to start reading academic books, such as those by Brown, Meier, Gonzalez, and Martos, just to name a few.

Helpful for me was Thomism and modern Thomists such as Feser.

u/sharplikeginsu · 15 pointsr/TrueAtheism

As you've already found, evidence that conflicts with people's worldviews is hard for them to accept. (A high-end case of Confirmation Bias). They will reject the source on whatever grounds they can find. And if it's a source that's effectively been a burr under a lot of Christian's saddles, they will find a lot of people giving putting fuel on the "don't trust that source/evidence" fire.

One of the angles I like to discuss with people is how likely it is that the majority of the old testament is mythical. If you haven't read it, check out The Bible Unearthed. It provides a large volume of explicit evidence (from missing evidence of settlements, to place names that are clearly out of time, to the counter-evidence for where 'Israel' really came from, etc.) which shows that massive chunks of the OT are entirely mythical. (Not all, but significant portions.) If the premises are true it becomes very hard to decide what 'truth value' the remaining text has. Why would you depend on it as a guide for how to be saved (or for anything other than ancient literature) if it's inaccurate in profound ways?

I linked to Amazon, because you can check out the 1-star reviews, and the comment replies to them. You can see that, predictably, people claim these findings have been 'debunked' and 'discredited' and that the author is 'not a scholar' and 'not an archaeologist.' But none of them actually provide any evidence that it's the case, and the sorts of counter-authorities they quote are theologists, not archaeologists, or archaeologists who are explicitly and openly religiously biased in their searches.

u/mistiklest · 15 pointsr/Christianity

> I come from a very rural area of England but in my town alone we have an Anglican (High Church) church, a Catholic church, a Methodist church, a Baptist church, an Eastern Orthodox church, potentially some others I do not know about, and also there is a society of friends here.

Why not visit them all?

> However Works of Mercy are also an important part of the Catholic Church, so that point alone doesn't really help me decide, even though to me it's important that I am involved with a church which values Works of Mercy.

Works of Mercy should be something all Christians agree is important!

> The biggest issue in choosing which church to go to is that because I was not brought up religious at all and my family are so anti-religious I really don't know much about it, and have not explored my faith at all with anyone else so don't really know how I stand on a lot of the important divides between the denominations.

I suppose step one is learning what all these different groups teach, then. This is a surprisingly good introduction. For something more in depth, Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years is very good. If you really want to go in depth, A History of Doctrine (this is volume one of five) is pretty much comprehensive.

Of course, you shouldn't just sit in your house reading books. Get up and go visit all those churches you've mentioned. Speak with the priest/pastor/minister and ask them your questions about their church and it's teachings!

u/rriggs · 14 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I'd recommend Lost Christianities: The Battles For Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew by Bart D. Ehrman. It gives a great overview of the first couple of centuries of the xtian faith from a historical perspective.

u/missshrimptoast · 14 pointsr/TrueAtheism

There are two that I quite enjoyed. One is right up your alley, the other less so.

First one I recommend is "Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists". I found it to be well-written, sincere, and remarkably intense.

Second is "Lost Christianities", which is more a historical text than an atheist one. This one delves into the almost innumerable versions of Christianity vying for dominance following the alleged death of Jesus. It's written from the perspective of a Christian who wanted to learn more about his faith, and was overwhelmed and shocked at the sheer amount of differences and digressions he discovered.

Happy reading.

u/stickman393 · 14 pointsr/atheism

"if you think about it".

Please don't. Instead, do some actual research. There are many good texts out there about the origins of the Jesus mythology.

I enjoyed this one:

u/unsubinator · 13 pointsr/TrueChristian

>in the opinion of modern scholars

In the opinion of some modern scholars. The opinions to which you give voice are hardly universal and they're trending toward a minority among contemporary scholars. Such views were much more widely held at the beginning of the 20th Century, for instance, than they are today.

Among the scholars to which you can refer to good scholarship and a less Modernist point of view are N.T. Wright and Scott Hahn. Both are (as far as I know) well regarded scholars of the Bible. There are others but those are the two that spring to mind.

>the disciples didn't really believe Jesus was God (if he existed)

I think this is false on the face of it, and even Bart Ehrman concludes that it was their belief in the resurrection that convinced Jesus' disciples that Jesus was God in the years immediately following the crucifixion. See here for a radio interview with Ehrman about his book, How Jesus Became God.

Ehrman courted the disfavor of his atheist admirers in one of his other recent books, where he took aim at the Jesus mythicists, arguing that Jesus was definitely an historical character.

Again, I would refer you to N.T. Wright and his works on the historicity of the Bible.

> the Bible is a collage of stolen myths

Once again, this is just flatly false and is only believed by the most extreme "scholars" in the Jesus Mythicist camp (as far as I know).

>My second question: is there a term for someone who studies Biblical topics in general? As in one who studies ancient near-east cultures, comparative mythology, languages, Biblical source documents, Jewish literature, archaeology, and other "Biblical Humanities"? That's what I like.

I don't know about a "term", but check out Scott Hahn, the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, this book (if you can find it), and especially (for this question), I would recommend John Walton and his books, The Lost World of Genesis One and Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible.

u/bee_vo · 13 pointsr/exmormon

The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities of Ancient Israel by Mark S. Smith is a fantastic book with (too many?) references that really paints the picture of Judeo-Christian God as just another iron age mythology, no different than any other.

Edit: link

u/NukeThePope · 13 pointsr/TrueAtheism

In how many ways are you wrong?

  1. You've chosen to sequester yourself in some self-selected echo chamber where new information cannot reach you, you complain that there is no new information. There is a lively, ongoing discussion between (some few, admittedly) scholars and historians insisting on a more rigorous treatment of the available sources and a mainstream ol' boys' club loudly insisting that they're right because they say so. Shots have been fired: Bart Ehrman (a scholar, though not of history) has published what he considers conclusive, satisfying evidence for historicity, and badly embarrassed himself in the attempt. As a champion for historicity, supposedly drawing on the best authorities, Ehrman failed. Richard Carrier (a real historian), meanwhile, has assembled what will probably be this century's strongest exposition of mythicism, by applying rigorous analysis to all relevant sources - something that historians have thus far not bothered to do. But you're unaware of this because you've chosen to shut out information you don't agree with.
  2. Not every subscriber to religious or atheist fora is a historian. But it's disingenuous of you to conclude that all of these subscribers are ignorant laypeople who have no business talking about subjects not in their line of academic specialty. It's also condescendingly elitist.
  3. Your claim that it's foolish to try to argue for or against the historicity of Jesus is utterly mistaken. Like the Theory of Evolution, if this were not an important topic in the discourse of modern societies, we wouldn't be seeing so much embittered intellectual and ideological warfare over it. The ToE conclusively sinks various of the claims of the Bible, or at least relegates them to metaphor; similarly, convincing evidence of the non-existence of Jesus would shake popular belief in Christianity at least as much as did the work of Galileo and Darwin. Maybe such evidence can't be assembled, and maybe it will always fail to reach some arbitrarily high standard of certainty. But your attempt to censor the discussion, if successful, could only assure us of staying ignorant.

    You're in no position to call other people fools.
u/swedishtaco · 12 pointsr/Christianity

It's not Christians saying this.

It's historians, the qualified professionals in the area.

I'm not sure what you mean by historical science, but the claim the Jesus existed is supported by the vast majority of historians.

The evidence is complicated, so if you're interested in the subject, you will need to do some reading.

I recommend this book:

u/Brian · 12 pointsr/DebateReligion

I remember this being used on usenet back in the day, so I think it dates to at least to the 90's.

Starting there, the oldest I found with a quick bit of googling on groups was 1990 (though, as always, people tend to use these in different ways) which references this book, published 1974, which according to this review does seem to use that definition.

u/301ss · 12 pointsr/politics

This isn't unique to Bannon btw. Of course it extends to the aids he's elevated from Stephen Miller to Sara Hahn.

But it's much bigger than Bannon. Pence, Sessions, Conway, Betsy Devos, and others have all evinced key elements of this ethnonationalist, Christian Dominionist, Clash of Civs ideology.

One center of this group in politics is organized by the CNP, which has included Conway and Bannon in the past. However, it's extremely secretive.

>The CNP is not controversial so much for the conservatives who dominate it — activists of the religious right and the so-called “culture wars,” along with a smattering of wealthy financiers, Congressional operatives, right-wing consultants and Tea Party operatives — as for the many real extremists who are included.

>They include people like Michael Peroutka, a neo-Confederate who for years was on the board of the white supremacist League of the South; Jerome Corsi, a strident Obama “birther” and the propagandist hit man responsible for the “Swift boating” of John Kerry; Joseph Farah, who runs the wildly conspiracist “news” operation known as WorldNetDaily; Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel leader who has worked to re-criminalize gay sex; Philip Zodhaites, another anti-gay activist who is charged with helping a self-described former lesbian who kidnapped her daughter from her former partner and fled the country; and a large number of other similar characters.

>As the SPLC noted when it published the 2014 directory in May of this year, the CNP has every right to keep its membership secret. But, as the SPLC wrote then, “it also provides an important venue in which relatively mainstream conservatives meet and very possibly are influenced by real extremists, people who regularly defame LGBT people with utter falsehoods, describe Latino immigrants as a dangerous group of rapists and disease-carriers, engage in the kind of wild-eyed conspiracy theorizing for which the John Birch Society is famous, and even suggest that certain people should be stoned to death in line with Old Testament law.”

If you're interested in reading more about this strain of politics in the US gov, you can also check out The Family by Jeff Sharlet.

u/mothman83 · 12 pointsr/TrueAtheism

No it is not. This view is generally seen as discredited.

Having said that there are many many MANY figures in mideastern mythology that were killed and resurrected. So while it is not at all accurate to say that this aspect of the jesus story was merely plagiarized from egyptian mythology, it WOULD be accurate to say that the theme of being killed and then resurrected was a common theme in mideastern mythology at the time. jesus was hardly the only godman to arise in the first century A.D

I would deeply recommend EVERYTHING by Bart Ehrman but especially in this particular case How Jesus became God, the exhaltation of a jewish prophet in which Dr Ehrman discusses how one of the literally DOZENS of apocalyptic preachers wandering around Jerusalem in 30 A.D had a mythology of divinity attached to him later on. Suffice to say that it was common for, for example, emperors to become " gods" after their deaths. Jesus was hardly the only person to become a god after death in the roman empire in the first century.

( Fun Fact: If jesus came back to Earth today the number one thing that would shock him would be that... the EARTH STILL EXISTED. Jesus was convinced that the earth would be destroyed within a human lifetime.the bible expressly attributes this belief to jesus in Matthew 16:28 Sure Christian apolgists now spin this as some kind of methaphor, but when you place jesus within his hsitorical context and realize that apocalyptic beliefs where everywhere in israel in the first century ad and that there where maybe twenty other guys preaching the imminent destruction of the world right there in the same city, then it becomes clear that jesus meant it literally. Anyone listening to him at the time( if he indeed said these words) would have ABSOLUTELY thought he meant them literally.

Tl;Dr: using the bible itself and the historical context of his time and place, Jesus was certain that the world would end at the latest 1900 years ago. )

u/NumberMuncher · 12 pointsr/atheism

Going Clear is a great book. Good winter time reading.

u/heavyweather77 · 12 pointsr/todayilearned

By all means, everyone should read Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright. It's incredibly well-researched and beautifully written by one of the greatest journalists of our time, and it is the most calmly, elegantly damning indictment of scientology (and all manipulative cult-like thinking) that I can imagine. The HBO documentary is great too, but the book is on another level.

Fortunately, works like this and others that are coming out are doing some serious damage to Scientology, and they seem to be kind of on the rout as an organization. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.

u/neonoir · 11 pointsr/ShitPoliticsSays

Anyone who wants a fairly short, fun-to-read book about how the Church kept literacy and the written heritage of Greece and Rome alive during the Dark Ages should read "How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe". It's a tremendously inspiring and uplifting true story about people persevering as their world collapsed around them - great for these black-pilled times. There's an Audible version, too.

u/Pertinax126 · 11 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

If you're genuinely interested, I recommend either The Origin of Satan by Elaine Pagels. Or if you want something a little less dry and academic, then check out A History of the Devil by Gerald Messadie.

But briefly, I would say that the "Christian cults got the notion that he's the 'enemy of God'" through the New Testament. 2 Corinthians 11 and Mark 3:25 are two quick examples of this.

u/seagoonie · 11 pointsr/spirituality

Here's a list of books I've read that have had a big impact on my journey.

First and foremost tho, you should learn to meditate. That's the most instrumental part of any spiritual path.

 Ram Dass – “Be Here Now” - - Possibly the most important book in the list – was the biggest impact in my life.  Fuses Western and Eastern religions/ideas. Kinda whacky to read, but definitely #1

Ram Dass - “Journey Of Awakening” - - Another Ram Dass book - once I got more into Transcendental Meditation and wanted to learn other ways/types of meditation, this helped out.

 Clifford Pickover – “Sex, Drugs, Einstein & Elves…” - - Somewhat random, frantic book – explores lots of ideas – planted a lot of seeds in my head that I followed up on in most of the books below

 Daniel Pinchbeck – “Breaking Open the Head” - - First book I read to explore impact of psychedelics on our brains

 Jeremy Narby – “Cosmic Serpent” - - Got into this book from the above, explores Ayahuasca deeper and relevancy of serpent symbolism in our society and DNA

 Robert Forte – “Entheogens and the Future of Religion” - - Collection of essays and speeches from scientists, religious leaders, etc., about the use of psychedelics (referred to as Entheogens) as the catalyst for religion/spirituality

 Clark Strand – “Waking up to the Dark” - - Explores human’s addiction to artificial light, also gets into femininity of religion as balance to masculine ideas in our society

 Lee Bolman – “Leading with Soul” - - Discusses using spirituality to foster a better, more supportive and creative workplace – pivotal in my honesty/openness approach when chatting about life with coworkers

 Eben Alexander – “Proof of Heaven” - - A neurophysicist discusses his near death experience and his transformation from non-believer to believer (title is a little click-baity, but very insightful book.  His descriptions of his experience align very similarly to deep meditations I’ve had)

 Indries Shah – “Thinkers of the East” - - A collection of parables and stories from Islamic scholars.  Got turned onto Islamic writings after my trip through Pakistan, this book is great for structure around our whole spiritual “journey”

 Whitley Strieber – “The Key: A True Encounter” - - A man’s recollection of a conversation with a spiritual creature visiting him in a hotel room.  Sort of out there, easy to dismiss, but the topics are pretty solid

 Mary Scott – “Kundalini in the Physical World” - - Very dense, very difficult scientific book exploring Hinduism and metaphysics (wouldn’t recommend this for light reading, definitely something you’d want to save for later in your “journey”)

 Hermann Hesse – “Siddartha” - – Short novel about a spiritual journey, coming of age type book.  Beautifully written, very enjoyable.

Reza Aslan - “Zealot” - - Talks about the historical Jesus - helped me reconnect with Christianity in a way I didn’t have before

Reza Aslan - “No god but God” - - Same as above, but in terms of Mohammad and Islam.  I’m starting to try to integrate the “truths” of our religions to try and form my own understanding

Thich Nhat Hanh - “Silence” - - Hanh’s a Vietnamese Buddhist monk - in this book he writes a lot about finding the beauty in silence, turning off the voice in our heads and lives, and living in peace.

Paulo Coelho - “The Alchemist” - - Sort of a modern day exploration of “the path” similar to “Siddhartha.”  Very easy and a joy to read, good concepts of what it means to be on a “path”

Carlos Castaneda - "The Teachings of Don Juan" - The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge - Started exploring more into shamanism and indigenous spiritual work; this book was a great intro and written in an entertaining and accessible way. 

Jean-Yves Leloup - “The Gospel of Mary” - - The book that finally opened my eyes to the potentiality of the teachings of Christ.  This book, combined with the one below, have been truly transformative in my belief system and accepting humanity and the power of love beyond what I’ve found so far in my journey.

Jean-Yves Leloup - “The Gospel of Philip” - - Really begins to dissect and dive into the metaphysical teachings of Christ, exploring the concept of marriage, human union and sexuality, and the power contained within.  This book, combined with the one above, have radically changed my perception of The Church as dissimilar and antithetical to what Christ actually taught.

Ram Dass - “Be Love Now” - - A follow-up to “Be Here Now” - gets more into the esoteric side of things, his relationship with his Guru, enlightenment, enlightened beings, etc.

Riane Eisler - “The Chalice and the Blade” - - An anthropoligical book analyzing the dominative vs cooperative models in the history and pre-history of society and how our roots have been co-opted and rewritten by the dominative model to entrap society into accepting a false truth of violence and dominance as “the way it is”

u/MgFeSi · 11 pointsr/Christianity

> wild discrepancies in the NT

I'm reading The Story of Christianity right now by Justo Gonzalez. He addresses this in particular. It reminded me we need to understand that these discrepancies were not recently figured out. In fact, the discrepancies were discussed and debated all across the church, from Gaul to Egypt. But the strong conviction that the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) were genuine and could be verified trumped any discrepancy. In other words, the church elders included them in some respects because of their differences.

I'm reminded that these men and women, or even the diabolical old men church manipulators-tricksters/saints had every opportunity and plenty of time to change the NT to explicitly suit their purposes. I mean, why not take the differing genealogies and birth accounts and make them match. Revisionist history wasn't uncommon at all. Why leave all those discrepancies when you can edit it up nice and tidy? I'm convinced it's one reason: they had to protect the integrity of the accounts passed down to them.

I know this doesn't necessarily help you in your current situation. I've been where you are often in my life, been a believer for 25 years. Christianity is sometimes a long plodding in the same direction, sometimes it's being so on fire that folks come from miles just to watch you burn.

As far as the OT goes, I'm right there with you. I don't even feign to grasp the multifaceted character of God recounted through those centuries.

u/tikael · 11 pointsr/atheism

>the Bible is authenticated by many things. In a word, it is a collection of historical documents that chronicle historical events. The only reason to believe that their recordings are less than factual is if one begins from the standpoint that only things that can be explained by science are possible.

Actually, no.

It would be biased to assume naturalism over supernaturalism, which sciences such as biology and physics do assume (for good reason). But the science of history does not make that assumption. You might consider reading The God Debates by John Shook as he actually covers that exact point in great detail.

The fact is that even people who started out wanting to prove the bible as factually correct have been forced to come to the conclusion that many of its historical claims are proven wrong not just by the science of history but also by other fields of science. For example, if we all descended from the handful of people on Noahs ark (who were all closely related anyway) then we would expect to see those markers in our genes. We do not however, and the level of diversity in human genes confirms our evolutionary view that humans have a mitochondrial eve around 200,000 years ago. Sure, the religious could say that god simply inserted the extra diversity in there but then you get into omphalism and many are wary to believe in a god who sets out to deceive them. Every time you have to invoke the supernatural in order to justify your worldview inevitably involves special pleading.

>By style, cross-referencing, and archaeology, the Bible appears to be recording historical events. The authenticity of the Bible is an entire field of study, and by far the Bible is the most deeply studied text in the world.

The bible is not even internally consistent, you could do a quick Google search for contradictions in the bible and you will find this list pretty quickly. But suppose the bible was internally consistent, and it can be safe to do so without ceding any argumentative ground since internal consistency does not alone determine whether a book is true, you say that the bible can be cross referenced with other sources but you don't provide examples. So lets take a minute to examine some of the inconsistencies with other sources.

In the bible Jesus is born during a census (the census is the reason for Joseph and Mary to be in Bethlehem), the only trouble is that the census does not appear to take place in any other records. At least, not in the form or at the time the bible claims it does. The bible seems to imply that Joseph must return to his ancestral home (Joseph was of the line of David and Bethlehem is the city of David.). To put this simply, the Romans did not require that someone go to the birth city of an ancestor 20-40 generations ago (the discrepancy is due to differing accounts of David's lineage between Matthew and Luke), to require this of someone would be utter chaos.

That is just one of the problems the bible faces. As pointed out elsewhere other big thorns in the side of using the bible as a historical account are the origin of languages, the exodus (or to a larger degree Jews being slaves in Egypt at all), and the global flood. There is no evidence to support the biblical accounts of these things. I recommend reading The Bible Unearthed. It is written by two Jewish archaeologists so they certainly do not set out to disprove the bible, but given the evidence they find they simply must come to the conclusion that it cannot be used as a historical text.

u/markevens · 11 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Mark Smith has some good texts on the topic.

This is a book of his written more for the layman

And this is a book of his written more for the serious student.

I would highly recommend watching the semester of Yale videos on Intro to the Hebrew Bible with Christine Hayes

u/BugeyeContinuum · 11 pointsr/cringe

Looked for it on Amazon and it has 93 1-star reviews. There are very few 2/3/4 star reviews and that makes it really obvious. Ugh :\

u/Knodiferous · 11 pointsr/TrueAtheism

There is nothing, because there is fucking nothing, nothing, nothing at all, period, zip, zero zilch. There's no books about a guy named jesus who lived at that time. There's no books about jesus that aren't based on the bible. Nothing was written about jesus while he was alive. He is not mentioned.

Nobody can prove jesus existed. Nobody can prove he didn't. Nobody can prove he was based on a real character. Nobody can prove a fucking single thing, period, at all, period. End of conversation.

Many historians agree that the character written about in the books of the new testament probably grew from legends and fables based on a real itinerant apocalyptic preacher. They come to these conclusions based on comparative analysis of the books of the new testament, and their conclusions are not solid, but are merely what they think is most likely.

If you want some scholarship, this book might be interesting

u/jimbotheconflictor · 10 pointsr/NetflixBestOf

One of my favorite animated movies. Folks who enjoy this might also enjoy Thomas Cahill's How the Irish Saved Civilization which explores the impact of Irish monastic traditions on the preservation of knowledge through the dark ages. You also get some cool background on St Patrick and his struggle with the cult of Crom Cruach a prominently featured character in The Secret of Kells.

How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe (The Hinges of History)

u/australiancatholic · 10 pointsr/Christianity

There are several very famous Catholic apologists who converted after reading about Church history and reading the works of the Church Fathers. Peter Kreeft is one such person. Scott Hahn is another (although his main impetus was finding Catholic doctrines in scripture rather than from reading the fathers).

There is a book called "Surprised by Truth" edited by Patrick Madrid which features the stories of 11 or so evangelicals who became Catholics and several of them had reading the fathers as a turning point.

Jimmy Akin has a book called The Fathers know best which could be a very good introduction (I haven't read but I very much appreciate Jimmy Akin's apologetic efforts, he has a very gentle and patient persona with a thorough and systematic approach).

Pope Benedict XVI spent a few years of his papacy talking about a different church father every Wednesday and he walked his way through all the major fathers from the late 1st century (Clement of Rome) to the 12th century (Peter Lombard). Ignatius Press has compiled all these talks into two volumes. Church Fathers: From Clement of Rome to Augustine and Church Fathers and Teachers: From Saint Leo the Great to Peter Lombard.

I have read Benedict's introductions to the fathers and I enjoyed them immensely. He doesn't supply many quotations from them but he does give you an overview of their life and times, the focus of their theological works, and the significance of their works for us today. I profited a lot from reading them.

There is a work called The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the face of God by Robert Louis Wilken which is also a very useful overview of Christian theology in the first 7 centuries. His focus is less on the individual personalities of the fathers but more on the current of their thought and the intellectual climate that it was developing in. He covers liturgy, doctrinal development, Christology, faith and reason, interpretation of scripture, moral theology, arts and literature and a bunch of other stuff if I remember rightly. I profited from this book even more than the Pope Benedict ones I reckon.

u/ziddina · 10 pointsr/exjw

Might want to take a look at the "Names of God" bible, esp. the one on biblegateway:

>When Elyon gave nations their land,
when he divided the descendants of Adam,
he set up borders for the tribes
corresponding to the number of the sons of Israel.

>9 But Yahweh’s people were his property.
Jacob was his own possession.

El Elyon is a totally different deity from Yahweh.


>Recent archaeological, biblical, and extrabiblical research has led scholars working in the area of the origins of Israelite religion to assert rather boldly and confidently that the original god of Israel was in fact the Canaanite deity El.1 Just exactly how has this come about you ask?

>First, the name Israel is not a Yahwistic name. El is the name of the deity invoked in the name Israel, which translates: “May El persevere.”2 This suggests that El was seen as the chief god in the formative years of Israel’s religious practices. In fact, the etiological story explaining the origin of the name Israel occurs in Genesis 35:9-15, where Jacob obtains this name through the blessing of El Shaddai, that is “El of the Mountain.”


>...Some scholars who have used the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint to reconstruct the authentic version of the verse say that “children of Israel” was stuck in as a replacement for “sons of El.” With that lost phrase restored, a verse that was cryptic suddenly makes sense: El—the most high god, Elyon—divided the world’s people into ethnic groups and gave one group to each of his sons. And Yahweh, one of those sons, was given the people of Jacob. Apparently at this point in Israelite history (and there’s no telling how long ago this story originated) Yahweh isn’t God, but just a god—and a son of God, one among many.


>Before El's revelation with the name of Yahweh, it is said in Genesis 14:18–20 that Abraham accepted the blessing of El, when Melchizedek, the king of Salem and high priest of its deity El Elyon blessed him.[24] One scholarly position is that the identification of Yahweh with Ēl is late, that Yahweh was earlier thought of as only one of many gods, and not normally identified with Ēl. Another is that in much of the Hebrew Bible the name El is an alternate name for Yahweh, but in the Elohist and Priestly traditions it is conceived as an earlier name than Yahweh...

>In some places, especially in Psalm 29, Yahweh is clearly envisioned as a storm god, something not true of Ēl so far as we know (although true of his son, Ba'al Hadad)....

>According to The Oxford Companion to World Mythology,

>It seems almost certain that the God of the Jews evolved gradually from the Canaanite El, who was in all likelihood the 'God of Abraham'... If El was the high God of Abraham—Elohim, the prototype of Yahveh—Asherah was his wife, and there are archaeological indications that she was perceived as such before she was in effect 'divorced' in the context of emerging Judaism of the 7th century BCE.

You might want to read:

I found that book to be well-written, & prefer it over Armstrong's "A History of God" - she incorrectly refers to the history of Judaism as being 4,000 years old (in the title), whereas the oldest bit of the bible in existence is only around 3,000 years old.

[edit to toss in links to a few relevant, older comments]

u/The_Real_Johnny_Utah · 9 pointsr/atheism

Want to have an educated opinion on this matter?

Read Zealot, a fine example of the differences of Jesus of Nazareth, a freedom fighting rebel of sorts, fighting against the tyranny of Rome - to the Jesus Christ figure of Religious folk lore.

Truly a good read in all honesty.

u/redpocketknife · 9 pointsr/netflix

Read the book.

It's much easier to believe. The author stumbled on this connection as a reporter in the late 80s and the experience changed his entire worldview.

Here's another book he wrote at the time.

You can probably find these in your local library. They are absolutely worth reading.

u/Diabolico · 9 pointsr/atheism

Allow me to spam you with a link:

Good read for everyone, atheist and theist alike, so long as you aren't a literalist (or especially if you are).

u/StabbyDMcStabberson · 9 pointsr/CringeAnarchy

> Muslim "apostates"

Guess we're gonna have to start with basic vocabulary here. An apostate is someone who followed a religion and then left it. Medieval Christians wouldn't consider Muslims apostates.

Here, take a look at a different view of the Crusades.

u/SickSalamander · 9 pointsr/atheism

Bart Erhman wrote a great book on the subject: Did Jesus Exist:The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.

Tl;dr - Maybe/probably

He never makes an absolute proclamation either way, but presents evidence from both sides. There are several secular sources that mention his existence. Jesus existing as a person is certainly not out of the realm of possibility. But we can be sure, if he did exist, he wasn't a god.

u/irondeepbicycle · 9 pointsr/DebateReligion

Pet peeve. Citing a scholarly consensus is an argument from expert testimony, not from authority. The argument from authority is a poorly understood fallacy, and is asserted many times when it isn't applicable.

And yes, there's quite a bit of work into the field. I'd recommend Bart Ehrman's Did Jesus Exist for an easy, good overview of the historical arguments (worth mentioning that Ehrman is an agnostic). This Wiki article isn't bad either.

I don't really see the point in going into this in great detail. It gets rehashed in /r/DebateReligion from time to time, and IMO the Sam Harris acolytes around here already have their mind made up.

u/WG55 · 9 pointsr/Christianity

I suggest you read Bart Ehrman: Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. He an atheist and scholar who is upset that his fellow atheists can be so credulous as to believe Jesus never existed.

At least read the introduction with the "Look Inside!" feature.

u/IWannaFuckEllenPage · 9 pointsr/rage

Here's the rest of the reviews if you want to rage some more:

Keep in mind that there are more 1-star reviews than 5-star reviews, despite the fact that a lot of the 5-star reviews are under Amazon Verified Purchase (which means they've actually bought and read the book, while the same seems to be absent with the 1-star reviews. I wonder why?

And sorry for the massive amounts of jpeg, but it's a 1400x5750 image.

u/rainer511 · 9 pointsr/Christianity

Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch. Content wise I think this is more or less what you're looking for, but it is a bit dry.

Alternatively, The Teaching Company offers a variety of lectures by Bart Ehrman. This one, "From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity", is particularly good. They're easy to digest, but it's a bit pricey. If you search around online you may be able to find places to access it for free.

u/derDrache · 9 pointsr/Christianity

I remember really liking Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch. I've only read through the Reformation (which isn't even halfway, somehow), but that could have been a book on its own. He does a reasonably good job of talking about Christianity everywhere, not just in the former Western Roman empire, which was one of my disappointments with the much-touted Story of Christianity by Justo Gonzalez, who spends a rather meager chapter on Eastern Christianity in the first volume (Early Church to Reformation).

Eventually, I really want to read The Church in History, a series on Church History written from the Eastern perspective.

u/JustinJamm · 9 pointsr/dadjokes

Also low literacy rates across Europa in general.

Irish monk missionaries going back through Europe establishing monasteries to teach people to read is basically what got Europe back out of that.

Here's how the Irish saved civilization.

u/GoAskAlice · 9 pointsr/fatpeoplestories

I seriously went to my actual computer to look this up, you beat me to posting the link.

It kind of makes sense, but if you're gonna believe shit like that, then why not go one step further and realize that dating systems are all arbitrary to begin with? The current year is based off some bullshit from the Nicean Council, who had no idea when Christ was born. The Chinese have a different system entirely.

To say that centuries just didn't happen, how ridiculous. I want to whack Meatball upside the head with a copy of "How the Irish Saved Civilization".

u/blackstar9000 · 9 pointsr/atheism

John is the most emphatic about blaming the Jews. Matthew and Luke tend to spread the blame between the Jews and the Romans. Mark gives nearly all of the credit to the Romans. Essentially, the later the gospel was written, the more likely it is to excuse Pilate and the Romans for their part and to provide more reason to blame the Jews.

Most of this information, btw, comes from Elaine Pagels' [The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans, and Heretics][1] and, to a lesser degree, Harold Bloom's Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine. Pagels attributes the shift to the changing fortunes of the Jews in Imperial Rome and the growing rift between Judaism and Christianity.


u/7billionpeepsalready · 9 pointsr/religiousfruitcake

Here's a couple books you could start with your research. I know one is expensive, but it's a required book for some class so price is ridiculous. I found them at my library and also there are .pdf if you look.

Plato and the creation of the Hebrew Bible

Ceasar's Messiah

The Bible unearthed

Have fun, man.

u/agnosgnosia · 8 pointsr/atheism

It's been a constant evolution. There's been misinterpretations, outright lies due to greed (the whole paying to get into heaven shit), etc. What a lot of christians fail to understand is that Jesus' and Paul's teachings were more in line with Judaism than any christian denomination today.

Most of the new testament doesn't even say that Jesus was a deity. It just says he was a really great guy, e.g. the messiah. Messiah is just the greek version of the hebrew word mashiach. Mashiach, the original Hebrew, meant 'god's anointed one', and there have been several messiahs. King David was a messiah.

Paul was not a christian

How Jesus became god

u/FredJoness · 8 pointsr/TrueAtheism

It is hard to find work that can be considered completely non-biased. If it's written by a Christian it can always be considered biased one way, and if written by a non-Christian it can be considered biased the other way.

Bart Ehrman, an agnostic, has written a book on this subject and made audiotapes. He argues that Jesus did exist, although he did not closely resemble the Jesus described in the Gospels. They can be found in libraries.

Richard Carrier is one of the major arguers for the case that Jesus never existed.

u/kerowack · 8 pointsr/atheism
u/Athegnostistian · 8 pointsr/atheism

I've read a book written by Jewish archeologists about the archeological evidence for events from the Old Testament. Turns out that King David and King Salomo were most likely real historical figures, while of course retrospectively vastly overrated and glorified.

But the stories about the Israelites being slaves in Egypt, the exodus, the “heroic” conquest of Kanaan etc. were only invented hundreds of years later.

Maybe a good gift for the person in question? ;)

u/witchdoc86 · 8 pointsr/exchristian

Mark S Smith - The Early History of God
(warning - a bit more scholarly than the other more populist books below)

Avigdor Shinan - From Gods to God

The Bible Unearthed - Israel Finkelstein

Who Wrote the Bible, and The Exodus - Richard Friedman

u/ben_heath_ · 8 pointsr/exjw

The Bible Unearthed by Finkelstein and Silberman

u/saqwarrior · 8 pointsr/politics

Is this the book you're talking about? The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

At first I thought you were referring to Dominion Theology, and then I thought you might be talking about the Council for National Policy. How many of these fucking Christian shadow organizations are there influencing our country?

Our society is fucked.

EDIT: a brief description of the book:

> Checking in on a friend's brother at Ivenwald, a Washington-based fundamentalist group living communally in Arlington, Va., religion and journalism scholar Sharlet finds a sect whose members refer to Manhattan's Ground Zero as "the ruins of secularism"; intrigued, Sharlet accepts on a whim an invitation to stay at Ivenwald. He's shocked to find himself in the stronghold of a widespread "invisible" network, organized into cells much like Ivenwald, and populated by elite, politically ambitious fundamentalists; Sharlet is present when a leader tells a dozen men living there, "You guys are here to learn how to rule the world." As it turns out, the Family was established in 1935 to oppose FDR's New Deal and the spread of trade unions; since then, it has organized well-attended weekly prayer meetings for members of Congress and annual National Prayer Breakfasts attended by every president since Eisenhower. Further, the Family's international reach ("almost impossible to overstate") has "forged relationships between the U.S. government and some of the most oppressive regimes in the world." In the years since his first encounter, Sharlet has done extensive research, and his thorough account of the Family's life and times is a chilling expose.

NPR's Terry Gross did an interview with Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Political Reach of 'The Family'

This article from Truthout goes into The Family's (aka "The Fellowship") activities, including their influence in Uganda:

> Most vivid is Sharlet's focus on the Fellowship's activities in Uganda, where, in 2009, a bill was introduced into the Ugandan Parliament that would condemn to death individuals convicted of "aggravated homosexuality," which includes "simply sex, more than once," and three years in prison "for failure to report a homosexual within twenty-four hours of learning of his or her crime."
Sharlet draws links between the Family and evangelical church leaders and politicians championing the bill in Uganda (including David Bahati, who introduced the legislation into Parliament); the Family has donated millions of dollars to Uganda for "leadership development" - more, writes Sharlet, than it has invested in any other foreign country.

u/UnableFaithlessness · 8 pointsr/DebateReligion

> So this hinges on what your definition of “God” is. If God is a collection of attributes (the entire collection being termed his “nature”, or his “God-ness”) and Jesus shares completely in all that particular collection of attributes then we can properly call him “God”. If the Father shares equally in all those attributes of “God-ness” then he is also “God”. These attributes are such things as being creator, uncreated, unlimited, eternal, almighty, lord, etc.

That's impossible. One of those attributes is indivisible unity: "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One" (Deut. 6:4). There cannot be a separate person that is also God.

Jesus is very clearly depicted as a separate person in the CNT (e.x. by praying to God, by saying that God has forsaken him, etc.). This means Jesus does not participate in the divine attribute of indivisible unity - and thus cannot be God.

A being that shares in some of the divine attributes but not all of them cannot be called "God."

>Firstly, I argue that there are attributes which the “Persons” of God have which we do not consider part of the core collection of attributes which we understand to constitute “God-ness”. These are separate attributes to that “nature” of God, and therefore, as separate attributes, we ascribe them not to the “nature” of “God”, but to the “nature” of one of the "Persons".

That would be well argued if indivisible unity weren't a core attribute of the "nature" of "God." The whole idea of separate "Persons" that participate in God requires abandoning that core theological claim.

At most charitable to the CNT: Jesus was some kind of angelic being. This is what Bart Ehrman argued the earliest Christians believed (see How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from the Galilee). Ehrman even argues that Paul believed this.

u/Quadell · 8 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

The trouble is, there wasn't any orthodox strain of Christianity at the time. Orthodoxy was invented later. In the 2nd century there were lots of (relatively small) Jesus groups presenting a wide array of beliefs that only started to resolve themselves into an orthodox creed after Constantine.

If you want to learn about what early Christian groups were like, and how orthodox ideas formed, you could try Snyder's Ante Pacem, Davidson's Birth of the Church, or Ehrman's How Jesus Became God. Davidson prefers to present orthodox ideas as appearing relatively early, while Ehrman emphasizes the late arrivals, and I haven't actually read Ante Pacem yet (though it's been recommended to me by multiple people).

u/johnnytoomuch · 8 pointsr/Catacombs

"The Orthodox Church" By Kallistos Ware. A very readable and comprehensive book by a well respected convert now bishop.

Byzantine Theology by John Meyendorff. He is one of the greatest contemporary Orthodox theologians.

The Way of the Pilgrim Author unknown. This is a classic of Eastern Christian spirituality that brings many people into the Orthodox way.

Hope these help!

u/superherowithnopower · 8 pointsr/Christianity

For Orthodoxy, you could read Fr. Thomas Hopko's The Orthodox Faith (also called the "Rainbow Series" because the 4 books are published in differently-colored covers). You can buy them, but the text is also on the OCA website here: The Orthodox Faith

It's a general overview of the doctrine and life of the Orthodox Church.

There's also The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way by Metropolitan Kallistos (Timothy) Ware. These are pretty commonly suggested to a person interested in learning about the Church.

In addition, though, to reading, I would suggest actually attending services at the various churches you're considering. Between the time I left the Southern Baptists and the time I joined the Eastern Orthodox Church, I visited around a number of places and did a good bit of reading and discussing.

In the end, though, I think experiencing Orthodox worship was at least as important to my decision to become Orthodox as my reading was. For me, Orthodoxy just seemed real; there was just something there in the Orthodox services that I didn't sense anywhere else.

u/Lanlosa · 8 pointsr/Christianity

Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

Very thorough, written from a secular perspective, but with respect for Christianity.

u/Lolawola · 8 pointsr/Catholicism

Well the first thing that happens in the book of Acts is Peter quotes “let another take his office” and they replaced Judas effectively setting up the replacing of when one dies another would take over.

Have you read the writings of the early Church fathers? They are those who immediately succeeded and learned from the apostles and even lived with them. Like Ignatius of Antioch lived with and learned from the apostle John. It may help clarify a lot you have questions on. An excellent place to begin is with this book as it’s divided up into the different categories of beliefs the Church has and always has had.

u/Bedurndurn · 7 pointsr/atheism


Mark 16 New International Version (NIV)


1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.

2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb

3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.

5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.

7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.[a]

Ending at Mark 16:8 doesn't skip the resurrection.

You seem like you're on some Dan Brown bullshit kick at the moment. Maybe read an actual historian like Bart Ehrman? Try How Jesus Became God : the Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee.

u/SyntheticSylence · 7 pointsr/Christianity

What Astrokiwi says. Also, Paul's letters come first, and they don't have a hint of making something up. Take a look at Galatians where we find off the cuff remarks about James the Brother of Jesus and Cephas. This means he expects whoever he's writing to to know these people. If it was a concerted effort to make up some dude, it wouldn't be written that way.

Bart Erhman, no friend to orthodoxy, just wrote a book Did Jesus Exist? where he goes over all the evidence with a fine toothed comb. I recommend that if you want to have a taste of what historical studies say about Jesus.

Just because the Gospels say Jesus walked on water, doesn't mean we can't believe them when they said he existed.

u/evilmaniacal · 7 pointsr/TrueAtheism

You may be interested in Bart Ehrman's book Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, in which the author concludes that yeah, he probably existed. You may also be interested in this (still ongoing) series of blog posts reviewing the book, which does a nice job pulling out relevant quotes

u/MegaTrain · 7 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Well, historicity has always been the default assumption, so there are plenty of papers operating under that idea, but I think it would be accurate to say that there aren't any recent^1
peer-reviewed^2 works that really take on the modern scholarly^3 mythicist theory.


^1 Carrier's recently published books are based on extensive research inspired largely by Earl Doherty's 2000 book: The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? Challenging the Existence of an Historical Jesus. Written by someone outside academia, this book didn't originally attract serious scholarly attention, so it is has only been the last couple of years that these ideas are being given serious consideration.

^2 Ehrman's book, Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, regardless of whether you agree with its arguments, is written as an accessible overview, not an exhaustive scholarly response to Carrier. In fact, it was published before Carrier's main work on the subject, "On the Historicity of Jesus".

^3 There are plenty of bad mythicist theories that have been thoroughly debunked, like the Zeitgeist movie or Joseph Atwill's weird idea that the Romans conspired to invent Jesus. A big part of Carrier's frustration is getting people to even consider his serious work among all the crackpots.

u/GallifreyGhost · 7 pointsr/exmormon

The myths that grew up about him are an amalgamation of previously existing myths. He, the human man, existed. This is the view of virtually all historians (e.g. scholars) who study this period.

Here is a popular work written by someone who is in no way sympathetic to Christianity: Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth

u/Samantha_Cruz · 7 pointsr/atheism

You can get a decent high level overview from [the article on the Ancient Canaanite religion from wikipedia] (

An extensive review of the Canaanite religion is available in "Canaanite Myths and Legends"

a shorter review of the topic is available in "The Ancient Canaanites: A Captivating Guide to the Canaanite Civilization That Dominated the Land of Canaan Before the Ancient Israelites"

another good (and extensive) overview of how the Canaanite religion shaped early Judaism "The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel"

u/Dr-Wonderful · 7 pointsr/Reformed

Any standard work on the subject, whether literary or archeological, would point away from the basic framework of your interpretation. (The best evidence, of course, is always the Bible, properly interpreted in its context, itself).

The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts

The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel (The Biblical Resource Series)

Stories from Ancient Canaan, Second Edition

The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures

The Oxford Handbook of the Abrahamic Religions (Oxford Handbooks)

History of Religious Ideas, Volume 1: From the Stone Age to the Eleusinian Mysteries

Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide (Harvard University Press Reference Library)

None of these propose an exact duplicate of this simplistic model, but they triangulate to something very similar.

u/desu_desu · 7 pointsr/politics


When you trace that history back, you see it starts about 400 years after Christ. It was passed on as (many conflicting) oral histories until it was finally written down, then it was mutated further through countless transcription errors and arbitrary edits according to various agendas, and then.......

You know, just read this:

Even if you get down to the reality of what anyone REALLY said, that proves absolutely zero about its supernatural quality. They're still just words and stories. A 2,000 year heritage makes it no more legitimate, in terms of being "the word of god" than a 150 year heritage. Sorry to burst your bubble, but being really, really old does not make it any kind of authority.

u/chewblacca681 · 7 pointsr/Reformed

First of all, check out Rodney Stark's God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades for a friendly historical take on the crusades.

I think when studying the crusades relationship with Christianity we need to remember a few key things: "the crusaders" were a very diverse group with diverse motivations, values, and understandings; religion was a language of politics during their time; and many religious expressions were largely cultural. Keeping those things in mind, and the historical context of the crusades, should help provide a balance when analyzing the crusaders actions and claims.

>So if these crusaders and templars weren’t Christians, then who was?

Well, if we were to even assume that all of the crusaders were not Christian we'd still have many other people and groups to examine.

Also, Bernard of Clairvaux was a major figure in pushing the crusades and even the Templars but Calvin and Luther both looked to him favourably, even when it came to faith and justification.


You seem to be talking about the crusades to the Levant. If you want to see something even more messed up, check out the the Northern crusades. Staight up brutal empire building done in the name of Mary - even still I think there's reasonable hope that some invovled were Christians in error.

u/GregoryNonDiologist · 7 pointsr/Christianity

Acts and then Eusebius' Church History. Covers from Christ to Constantine. Written in the 4th century (300's).

There is also a nice Penguin Classic version.

After that (or perhaps in place of Eusebius), I recommend the history sections of Kallistos Ware's The Orthodox Church - also a Penguin edition. As a former Roman Catholic (now Orthodox), I found his treatment of the pre-Schism history fairly objective (he himself converted from Anglicanism) and very readable.

u/shady_mcgee · 7 pointsr/history

Most of my knowledge comes from Misquoting Jesus, and Lost Christianities and a bit of resultant self study. Unfortunately my copies are out on loan right now so I can't pull out and direct examples. In lieu of that I did find some examples of changes/omissions between different branches of copies.

There's an entire field of study which seeks to discern the original from all of the different copies. It's my understanding that the result of this work has been the elimination of most of the copy errors which occurred after ~300AD or so, but as /u/TheIceCreamPirate states, we don't have any complete copies, and very few fragments, of the gospels prior to then, so any errors which would have been introduced prior to that time are hidden from us.

u/Trexdacy · 7 pointsr/history

How the Irish Saved Civilization is a good read for a look at Ireland from roughly the fall of the Western Roman Empire through the so-called "Dark Ages".

The Tain (or Tain Bo Cualnge) is an ancient Irish myth about a battle that came about as a result of a cattle raid. It's talked about a fair amount in How the Irish Saved Civilization.

One side note: I've read How the Irish Saved Civilization, but I have not read the linked version of The Tain.

u/captainhaddock · 7 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

The big names would have to include OT scholars like Thomas L. Thompson, Niels Peter Lemche, Thomas Römer, Philip R. Davies, and John Van Seters, as well as archaeologists like William Dever and Israel Finkelstein. The top books on their respective Amazon pages are all very well-known works.

The best go-to book for beginners is probably The Bible Unearthed by Finkelstein and Silberman. Another interesting one that takes you through biblical history via two perspectives (religious tradition and historical evidence) is Israel's History and the History of Israel by Mario Liverani.

u/Malphayden · 6 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

First off, Welcome! You are a special snowflake, and don't let anyone tell you different! Also, I love cream cheese brownies and wine. Something in common already :). Secondly, I'm a catechumen (officially in the process of joining the Church) so take anything I say with a grain of salt as I'm definitely still learning. Other more experience Ortho folks will chime in I'm sure.

Having already attended some services with the intention of continuing I'd say you've got the right idea. Others here, like myself, experienced Orthodoxy first in books. It can be easy to read and read while never going to see and experience for yourself. So, good on ya.

If you're interested in supplementing what you're learning in the services and conversations with the priest, there are lots of good books and web resources. A couple books I’d recommend would be “The Orthodox Way” by bishop Kallistos Ware and “The Orthodox Church” by the same author. The first book deals more with Orthodox spirituality and the second starts off with some history in the first half and teaching/doctrine in the second half. Search through this sub-forum and you’ll find a lot of great questions/answers and links to some great articles.

I’m also a big fan of this blog by Fr. Stephen Freeman.
Feel free to ask any questions you have, there are some really great people in the sub-reddit that will be glad to help you out.

ps...My wife's interest in Orthodoxy isn't at the same place as mine. In my opinion it's best not to rush them or try to crame Orthodoxy down their throats in our new found enthusiasm. Pray for them, be patient and trust God to work on her heart is His own timing :)

u/stayhungrystayfree · 6 pointsr/AskHistorians

It's actually really interesting that you state that location and time frame because that's probably where Christian communities had the least interaction after the Destruction of the Temple in 66 CE.

Diarmaidd MacCulloch's Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years is a great reference and a really easy read. It's a big ol' tome, but he sections it really well. His take is that during the first Jewish revolt in 66 the early Christian Jews fled Jerusalem since they didn't have as much of a stake in Jewish Nationalism. After that point they never really returned to Jerusalem until communities like St. Jerome's monastery moved in in the 4th century. (There was a small community there. Jerome's emigration from Rome to Jerusalem was seen as a major imposition by the then Bishop of Jerusalem.)

Anyways, back to the main question. Before around 40 CE the two communities were fairly indistinguishable. The Synagogues served as the locus of both Christian and Jewish religious life. This makes more sense if we think of the Synagogue less as a specific place with a specific congregation and more as a "community center." It was (like its name suggests) a gathering place for study and discussion. The book of Acts (which covers a timeframe from around 36-60 CE.) frequently shows this not going well. In Acts 7 Stephen (regarded by the Church as the first Martyr) preaches in the Synagogue of the Freedmen and almost immediately afterwards they stone him. We can't take that as a broad-spectrum statement on how relationships were across all communities, but it was certainly something that effected early Christian communities. Acts records Paul frequently speaking in Synagogues and it doesn't always end badly. Acts 17 is a microchosm of mixed responses, and that's probably a fair way to look at the whole situation, it was a mixed bag.

By the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 its pretty clear that we're talking about two separate communities doing two separate things with a general disregard for one another. By this point the Christian communities are starting to form distinctive forms of worship and self governance.

To see what Christians thought about Jews in the 2nd Century I'd highly recommend reading Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho. Its written in the form of a classical dialogue with a straw-man interlocutor but its a fair assessment of what Christians thought of Jews in the 2nd century.

Hope that helps.

Edit: I should say that most of what I was talking about Geographically was happening in Asia Minor and Southern Greece. Also, I don't mean to give the impression of taking Scripture as purely historical fact, but I think its a fair way to get a feel for what early Christian Communities thought about the situation, which is more helpful for your question anyway.

I'm vaguely familiar with some references to early Christianity in the Talmud, I'd be really interested to hear about this from the perspective of a Diaspora Scholar.

u/Agrona · 6 pointsr/Christianity

>Any good places to get an unbiased look into the history of the world's largest religion?

If you're (really) serious about the broader scope of this question, Christianity: The First 3000 Years comes highly recommended. It's pretty hefty though. Like, don't drop it on pets or small children.

u/ohgobwhatisthis · 6 pointsr/badhistory
u/bitter_cynical_angry · 6 pointsr/science

Check out How the Irish Saved Civilization, about this very subject. Very interesting book.

u/Ike_hike · 6 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

If you want to read extra-biblical sources, you can start with something like Old Testament Parallels., which has excerpts arranged by their possible similarity with the OT canon. For more comprehensive coverage, look at Outside the Bible (3 vols).

Heiser has his defenders on here, but from a historian's perspective my view is that his approach to those ancient texts has been unduly shaped by his theological agenda. You can compare his approach with the work of some others, including David Penchansky, Twilight of the Gods, Mark Smith, The Early History of God, Elaine Pagels, The Origin of Satan, Adam Kotsko's The Prince of This World, and Thomas Römer, The Invention of God.

On Enoch and the Apocalyptic tradition in particular, look at John Collins's The Apocalptic Imagination, and Anathea Portier-Young, Apocalypse Against Empire.

Now that I type this out, these would make a kick-butt course syllabus. Hmmm...

u/otiac1 · 6 pointsr/Catholicism

Our last three Popes. Sorry, but I love that photo, and couldn't help but include it after reading of your affinity for Pope Francis.

Unfortunately, it is getting late and I won't be able to answer as fully as I would like (hopefully another with more time and knowledge can chime in!). As you asked for resources, an easy-to-read book that tackles some of the common misconceptions about the office of the Papacy is Patrick Coffin's Pope Fiction. A great resource on the early Church is Jimmy Akin's The Fathers Know Best, which has a section devoted to the Church and the Pope.

One of the earliest examples of a Pope exercising extraordinary authority (typically, a Bishop is called an ordinary, as he has ordinary jurisdiction over his particular church, ie, his diocese) is with Pope St Clement intervening in the affairs of the Corinthians in the 1st Century. His epistle was read in Corinth and was, as I understand it, instrumental in ending the abuses taking place there (this would have been extremely unusual, for the Bishop of Rome to interfere in another church's affairs, unless he had the authority to do so). I would start there, and begin contrasting the relationship between the Bishop of Rome and the universal church against that of the Patriarch of Constantinople, and all the other Patriarchs of the major sees within each national Orthodox religion... though eventually Constantinople would come to be seen as the Greek counterweight to Roman power, the cause was secular in nature, not ecclesiastical.

u/OmegaPraetor · 6 pointsr/Catholicism

First of all, welcome back, brother. I am especially touched that your fiancée would even suggest to find a Catholic Church. (As an aside, you're not a convert; you're a revert since you're already baptized into the Church. I thought maybe you'd appreciate that factoid.)


>I am looking for information about your Church, whatever you think is important to know.

There is a lot to know and many here would recommend a million and one things to study, especially since it sounds like you enjoy a good intellectual pursuit. I'm not going to discount others' recommendations, but I do want to highlight one thing: learn more about Jesus first. Find out what He taught, who He is, what His disciples and closest friends said about Him, what the Old Testament said about Him, etc. To that end...


>I am looking for recommendations for a Catholic-approved version of the Bible, geared towards someone who appreciates philosophy and prefers something close to the original translations, or the most accepted by the Church.

First thing to note, all Catholic Bibles have 72 books. Protestants have 66. If you can't get a hold of a Catholic Bible, a Protestant one will do for now until you do get around to buying a Catholic one. Now, as for Catholic Bibles, if you speak/read Latin you can't go wrong with the Vulgate Bible. It's a Bible that was translated by St. Jerome who was fluent in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin; he had the original manuscripts -- some of which are lost to us today -- so his translations are widely accepted as authentic and faithful.

There's also the English version of the Vulgate Bible known as the Douay-Rheims. It's an almost word-for-word translation of the Latin so the English will sound archaic to our modern ears. It's not as frustrating as, say, reading Shakespeare but it's pretty close. I personally prefer (and currently use) a Douay-Rheims Bible that has the Clementina Vulgata beside it. It's essentially Latin and English side by side. You can find one here.

If want one with plain English, the New American Bible Revised Edition would suffice. (If you use this website, let me know. I have a discount code from my last purchase.)


>I know nothing of the culture or norms of the Church, or what to expect as a new member.

One major rule to remember is that you can't receive Holy Communion until after you've gone to Confession. Given your situation, I would recommend setting up an appointment with a parish priest so he can give his full attention to you and your needs.


>I do not know how to introduce myself to the congregation

There's usually no need to introduce yourself to the congregation since parishes tend to be big. If you would like to formally introduce yourself, however, give the parish priest a call and set up a meeting with him. It would also be a great chance to speak with him about your situation and get some pastoral guidance.


>or tell a good Catholic church from a lesser one

Many here would recommend a more traditional parish. If that's not available, I'd say any Catholic church would do. If you're unsure about a particular church's standing, just give us the details on this sub. I'm sure someone here would be able to double check for you.


>I know nothing of the Saints or the miracles, or what has been confirmed by the Church and what hasn't.

These are things you can learn later on. Focus on Jesus first. Rebuild your relationship with Him. Start with the basics; if you don't, you might burn yourself out. There is A LOT to learn about the Faith. Some say it's a lifelong endeavour. :P


>I am also looking for a reading list to explore Catholic philosophy beyond those you typically encounter in standard philosophical reading, such as Aquinas or Pascal.

Hmmm... this depends on what sorts of things interest you. A good one that lightly touches on philosophy is Socrates Meets Jesus by Peter Kreeft (anything by this guy is pretty good, by the way).

A book that may be more pressing to your current situation is Why Be Catholic? by Patrick Madrid and Abraham Skorka, Why We're Catholic by Trent Horn, as well as Why I am a Catholic by Brandon Vogt. (They might need to work on a more original title, though :P) Since you have an Evangelical background, Crossing the Tiber by Steve Ray might be helpful (although it can be a bit dry; also, it mostly deals with the Church's teaching on Baptism and the Eucharist) as well as Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn.

You can never go wrong with classics such as a collection of C. S. Lewis' works, The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton, and Confessions by St. Augustine.

If you want a historical examination of Jesus and the Early Church, a good place to start is The Case for Christ by Brant Pitre, The History of the Church: From Christ to Constantine by St. Eusebius, and The Fathers Know Best by Jimmy Akin. I'd like to thrown in Jesus, Peter, and the Keys by Scott Butler, Norman Dahlgren, and David J. Hess. This last one pertains to the Catholic claim regarding the papacy (and which I think is one of the strongest arguments in favour of the Catholic Church being the original one that the Lord founded).

Finally, there are YouTube channels you can follow/binge watch such as Bishop Robert Barron and Ascension Presents. Also, an amazing video about the Catholic Faith is a series made by Bishop Barron when he was "just" a priest called Catholicism.

I'm sorry if that's overwhelming but you raised some good questions. :P Anyway, I imagine it may be a lot right now so take it slowly, don't dive in through all of it at once. Find a local Catholic church, call up the priest, set up a meeting, then take it from there. And remember, you can always pray; God's always willing to talk with you.

u/The_New_34 · 6 pointsr/Christianity

Someone needs to read The Fathers Know Best

u/fatherlearningtolove · 6 pointsr/Christianity

I can't watch the youtube video right now, but I can guess what it's about. I wrote a few things about an alternate view to the "sola scriptura inerrancy" view - here, here, and here. As to doubting whether Jesus even existed - I'd suggest you read a couple books on that. You might want to check out Bart Ehrman, yourself - he is an agnostic and definitely doesn't pull his punches when it comes to challenging dogma, but nevertheless he thinks it's a bit ridiculous to say Jesus never existed. And one thing I've seen him point out in an interview (which I'm having difficulty locating right now - sorry, maybe I'll try again later) was that there's more "evidence" for Jesus' existence than for other historical figures that we have no problem with such as Hannibal or even Pontius Pilate. Here is an article Ehrman wrote about this, but you might want to check out his book Did Jesus Exist?. Also, I'd recommend the following:

The Meaning of Jesus (Two Views)

The Historical Jesus: Five Views

u/N8theGr8 · 6 pointsr/AskHistorians

You can remove the ref= and everything after it on Amazon links to have a cleaner URL. Example:

> It was picked up as the cites of both places for non historical reasons in the 4th century.

What were the reasons? Was it political or religiously motivated?

u/ukulelefan · 6 pointsr/exchristian

I didn't leave God. I just slowly came to the realization that the bible wasn't true. About two years ago, I went to a series of talks led by Tim Keller (yes, that famous Christian pastor with NY Times bestselling books) discussing reasons for believing. I went with a friend fully intending on bolstering my faith. I think I went to most of the talks and it had the opposite effect. I realized that what Keller was using as evidence of the divine was nonexistent and flimsy at best. I also made the realization here that just because someone has a PhD. and is a so-called expert on a subject doesn't mean he is right about it.

Anyway some seekers groups spun off these talks and I joined one. Every week we would gather together and discuss all of the questions people have when it comes to God: the problem of evil, the problem of suffering, science and the bible, etc., etc. The group was led by Christians and, of course, the intent was to convert. (I just want to note here that I met some great people through this. I didn't have any traumatic experiences with other Christians unlike other people in this sub). Anyway, these discussions just raised more issues with the bible and got me thinking more and more about it. I just began to realize how absurd the claims of the bible were.

Finally, I started reading Bart Ehrman. He is a professor at UNC and a former bible-believing Christian, who went to seminary. I read one of his books [How Jesus Became God] ( and it was eye-opening. I also started reading material from other skeptics. From that I learned that the Gospels do not agree with one another. In fact, they differ in the details of their stories. For instance, the Gospels disagree on how Judas died. Second, the stories in the Gospels were transmitted orally for years until they were finally written down in Greek. They were not written by eyewitnesses! As someone who's played the telephone game you know that stories change as they are relayed from one person to the next. I finally made the realization that the idea of Jesus grew until we have what we have today in the Christian church.

There are a lot of other things I am leaving out, but that's the gist. I urge you to do more research on this topic and read what non-Christians have to say about the bible. You might be surprised by what you learn. I know I was.

u/Khufuu · 6 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Anything by Bart Erhman, including How Jesus Became God

u/Chiropx · 6 pointsr/Christianity

Justo Gonzalez has a [two volume history of Christianity] (, the first covers up to the reformation. Its a pretty good overview, and covers the councils and other key events well.

u/Ibrey · 6 pointsr/Christianity

The Christ Myth is a book from 1910 that argues that the Jesus of the gospels is just a made-up character based on other mythical gods and heroes, and that there is no historical person behind it. This hypothesis is really out of date, and not defended by anyone in academia today. A good book debunking this by a respected mainstream historian, who isn't even a Christian (and therefore can't be accused of a religious bias), is Did Jesus Exist? by Bart Ehrman.

The End of Faith and The God Delusion are basically empty rhetoric. The Last Superstition is a book by a Christian philosopher rebutting their arguments with the same harsh and satirical tone they take towards religion, but with rather more intellectual substance.

u/nocoolnametom · 6 pointsr/exmormon

The story of Jesus? Water into wine, resurrection, walking on water? Nope.

Do I think it's silly and frankly stupid to pin a historical theory of nonexistence purely on the lack of primary sources? Yep. Do I get into a tiff with people here on /r/exmormon about this every couple months or so? Yep. Is Zeitgeist a terrible movie because it sounds smart and well-founded but is nothing better than the crap usually found on the "History" Channel? Yep. Is the Jesus Myth Hypothesis (no historical individual known as Jesus of Nazareth existed and the Christ mythos that built up was fully imported from traditions outside of Christianity) a real historical theory with serious historians behind it? Yes. Is it currently a minority theory? Yes.

For those who want to talk about this realistically, please get your information from more than YouTube videos or popular documentaries. The issue of where the Christ mythos came from has been debated for centuries and is still unresolved, but there are accepted ways of doing historical research that have arisen in the past few hundred years because they work. Simply parroting somebody who says "There's no mention of Jesus in contemporary records, ergo no historical existence" isn't going to get you very far when talking to real historians of any stripe.

This book is a collection of essays by some of the current leading experts on this issue and includes an essay from one of the few respected historians who promotes the Jesus Myth Hypothesis, Dr. Robert Price, and defends it far more ably than what you usually find floating around on the Internet.

Also, Dr. Bart Ehrman, who is pretty much the biblical studies equivalent of Grant Palmer (ie, while he's a respected researcher and authority, his best skill is in distilling existing research for popular consumption) has recently released his own rebuttal to much of the Jesus Myth arguments.

For me personally, the reason I feel that Jesus of Nazareth was a real individual comes from a careful analysis of early Christian works (the Gospels and the genuine Epistles of Paul, especially Galatians) using them against each other to discern where they have overlap that they would probably have rather not had (usually called the Criterion of Embarrassment). There are many such tools used by historians in biblical and other non-religious historical studies to try and determine facts from biased historical sources through contextual analysis and such secondary research.

Let me put it another way: how many of us feel that every single prophet in the Old Testament, including the folk heroes of Elijah and Elisha, were similarly non-existent? David? Solomon? Do you think that a real box was carried around by ancient Jews and was placed in their temple at Jerusalem? Do you think there was a temple at Jerusalem before some Jews returned from Babylon? A tent that it was patterned on located at Shiloh? Could you describe it's size and layout? Because there's no proof for any of these items at all (well, the Babylonians prided themselves on destroying Jerusalem with its temple, but that's the only external mention of it), and I think most of us would probably be very comfortable with the idea that some actual historical figures and things existed (probably vastly different in real life from how they were remembered). Why should Jesus (a figure with far less time from when his own followers felt he lived and when they started writing their own stories about him) be any different?

u/godmakesmesad · 6 pointsr/Christianity

Which makes it even more scary we got those Seven Mountain Dominionist types in with Trump who love the idea of a theocratic kingdom. For information read this book:

u/Otiac · 6 pointsr/Catholicism
u/ikonoclasm · 6 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Read How Jesus Became God. That's the history of early Christianity, how Jesus went from a preacher to the figurehead of Christianity. It's not what most people would think.

u/Warbane · 6 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel by Mark S. Smith is a good resource. Densely references primary sources but still accessible to an interested non-academic audience.

u/US_Hiker · 5 pointsr/Christianity

OT: Most things after the Exile are pretty accurate. Prior to the exile, there's lots of factual details, but many of the grand narratives aren't factual. This isn't necessarily shocking, because the OT isn't a history book.

I recommend highly this book for the actual archaeology community's view on the issue.

u/MarcoVincenzo · 5 pointsr/atheism

No one seems to have mentioned it yet, but Neil Silberman and Israel Finkelstein devote quite a few pages to this topic in their book The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts. The entire book is excellent and well worth reading.

u/legofranak · 5 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

If you're very new to OT biblical analysis, as a fellow lay person, and even though it's not intended to be a 2 Kings analysis per se, I highly recommend Finkelstein and Silberman's The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts.

2 Kings is sort of the linchpin for OT biblical archaeology. Virtually all the OT texts preceding 2 Kings appear to have been written (or at least redacted) at some point during the periods of the monarchies we read about in 2 Kings. So when reading this text in particular, you have to come at it with two questions in mind:

  1. What events written here actually happened (or at least sort of happened like the way they're told here)?
  2. Who wrote this, and when?

    These topics are typically in tension when you're trying to analyze the texts using the modern textual-archaeological hybrid approach. What we know from the archaeological record may suggest a reason that a story was told in a certain way--emphasis on one person may mean that the story was told by a political or social supported of that person's family. And what we read in the texts can help us fit pieces of the archaeological record together, or even fill holes. As you can imagine, some people give more credence to the biblical record as a factual record, while others sort of acknowledge it only when it coincides with the archaeology. But even those folks will then still try to fit the author into the historical context, again basing their understanding of the author's context on the archaeological record.

    In 2 Kings especially, this tension plays with what you're reading, because the historical context of the author is much closer to the context of the story itself (at least more closely than, say, the context of the author/redactor of Judges vis a vis the context of Judges). It makes it a little difficult to know where to begin; that's certainly something I encountered when I started learning about this kind of textual analysis. What I liked about Finkelstein and Silverman's book is that it does a bit of both: there is a broad, comprehensive historical context for what we know happened, and what may-or-may-not have happened, for the stories relayed in 2 Kings (especially the latter end of it), with a constant referencing back to the archaeology that supports what we know (and don't). And then there is discussion of the context and motivations of the author(s) of the texts, fitting those people (whoever they were) into the political and social movements of the time. It's a juggling act, but for me the narrative of this book was strong enough to carry me through, and allow for understanding how both biblical text and biblical author fit into their times.

    The caveat to this recommendation is that you should know at the outset that Finkelstein's views are by no means universally accepted. He is an ardent minimalist, and his evolving views of the origins of Benjamin and Judah and on what facts the Saul-David stories were based on have continued to be challenged. But as an introduction to the major topics affecting the study of that period, and of the major texts written in and/or about that period (primarily 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles), I found this book to be engaging and educating.
u/LettmypeopleGo · 5 pointsr/exjw

My younger teenage self liked this one: King Arthur by Roger Lancelyn Green. I simultaeously found this book and a tape of Led Zeppelin's greatest hits. They synced up incredibly well. "Battle of Evermore" especially, although Lord of the Rings probably fits that song best.

What kind of books are you interested in?

An idea! -> You might get some awesome ideas and do some great exJW awareness by posting this question over at /r/books. Explaining you were in a religion that controlled what you could read and think...the members over there might get a kick out of helping you with suggestions!

[edit] Oooh, you wanted useful books. Sorry. I think I badly wanted to reread the King Arthur book (just watched Excaliber again on HBO/Netflix), so I didn't pay attention to the word "useful". Sorry!

The Bible Unearthed was fascinating.

u/LadyAtheist · 5 pointsr/atheism

I recommend The Bible Unearthed for a history of the writing of the Old Testament, based on archaeology:

u/haroldhelicopter · 5 pointsr/exchristian

If you are interested in a arcaological perspective on where Judah/Israel really came from etc, I cannot recommend "The Bible Unearthed" enough! Its a a real eye opener and a fascinating read on some real history.

u/devnull5475 · 5 pointsr/Christianity

> think of them?

That they were rejected for good reasons.

> changed your view of Christianity?

Well, together with other discussions of complexity of history of Christianity, the story of various rejected texts helps one appreciate that it's, well, a complicated history.

u/bitjazzy · 5 pointsr/todayilearned

Worth checking out: Lost Christianities.

u/CaptainJaneyway0 · 5 pointsr/Wicca

I'd encourage them to look up the history of the pentacle, and where else it can be found outside of Wicca/Witchcraft. For example, the shape is a representation of Venus' orbit as viewed from Earth. I reckon it gets its cultural and religious significance originally from astronomy and study of geometry.

Also, you can explain that when Christians sought to take over Pagan cultures, they demonised a lot of their traditions and branded them as demonic. Is the devil horned because Christians decided that anyone worshipping the Pagan Horned God was worshipping the devil? This book might be a good resource.

u/watts99 · 5 pointsr/atheism

Bart Ehrman's book convinces me he was.

From Wikipedia:
> American New Testament scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a leading scholar in his field, having written and edited over 25 books, including three college textbooks, and has also achieved acclaim at the popular level, authoring five New York Times bestsellers.

He's also freely admitted transforming from an Evangelical Christian to a liberal Christian to an agnostic during the course of his studies, so I trust him as an objective commentator as well as an expert on the subject.

Plus, the book's a pretty interesting read.

u/NomadicVagabond · 5 pointsr/religion

First of all, can I just say how much I love giving and receiving book recommendations? I was a religious studies major in college (and was even a T.A. in the World Religions class) so, this is right up my alley. So, I'm just going to take a seat in front of my book cases...


  1. A History of God by Karen Armstrong

  2. The Great Transformation by Karen Armstrong

  3. Myths: gods, heroes, and saviors by Leonard Biallas (highly recommended)

  4. Natural History of Religion by David Hume

  5. Beyond Tolerance by Gustav Niebuhr

  6. Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel (very highly recommended, completely shaped my view on pluralism and interfaith dialogue)

  7. The Evolution of God by Robert Wright


  8. Tales of the End by David L. Barr

  9. The Historical Jesus by John Dominic Crossan

  10. Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography by John Dominic Crossan

  11. The Birth of Christianity by John Dominic Crossan

  12. Who Wrote the New Testament? by Burton Mack

  13. Jesus in America by Richard Wightman Fox

  14. The Five Gospels by Robert Funk, Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar (highly recommended)

  15. Remedial Christianity by Paul Alan Laughlin


  16. The Jewish Mystical Tradition by Ben Zion Bokser

  17. Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliot Friedman


  18. Muhammad by Karen Armstrong

  19. No God but God by Reza Aslan

  20. Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations by Michael Sells


  21. Buddha by Karen Armstrong

  22. Entering the Stream ed. Samuel Bercholz & Sherab Chodzin Kohn

  23. The Life of Milarepa translated by Lobsang P. Lhalungpa

  24. Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism by John Powers

  25. Zen Flesh, Zen Bones compiled by Paul Reps (a classic in Western approached to Buddhism)

  26. Buddhist Thought by Paul Williams (if you're at all interested in Buddhist doctrine and philosophy, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not reading this book)


  27. The Essential Chuang Tzu trans. by Sam Hamill & J.P. Seaton


  28. Atheism by Julian Baggini

  29. The Future of an Illusion by Sigmund Freud

  30. Doubt: A History by Jennifer Michael Hecht

  31. When Atheism Becomes Religion by Chris Hedges

  32. Atheism: The Case Against God by George H. Smith
u/ThaneToblerone · 5 pointsr/Christianity

Justo Gonzalez's two volume The Story of Christianity is one of the best I've run into. Gonzalez is an excellent scholar of Christianity and furthermore was the youngest person to ever earn a PhD in Historical Theology from Yale when he got his.

Volume I

Volume II

u/The_Hero_of_Canton · 5 pointsr/Catacombs

/u/unheeding has made an excellent suggestion. I really like how Macullough weaves in the Israelite history as essential to understanding the Christian history. If I might widen the variety here, however, if by only a little bit:

Justo Gonzalez is fantastic. He has a two volume, recently re-edited series on the history of Christianity called The Story of Christianity. Here's Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

Gonzalez also has a short book that focuses on the history of Christianity through the development of doctrines called A Concise History of Christian Doctrine which, as far as I can gather is a much condensed version of the another three volume set that I've never read. Gonzalez is fun, approachable, and honestly a really good read.

I am also in the middle of Christianity: A Social and Cultural History and it is quite good so far, though I've not gotten into it quite so much as Gonzalez.

I am also in the middle of an Old Testament history book for my Hebrew Bible course called Understanding the Old Testament which has a really exciting philosophy of doing history and I'm really into it. This book has me at least as excited as Gonzalez, but Anderson's approach is a very responsible one which still evokes power and mystery revolving around the development of the Hebrew canon as well as those things that we simply cannot know, even if we can try to take a really good shot at it.

I hope this helps.

u/mavnorman · 5 pointsr/atheism

He's a scholar, and you probably find his arguments in detail in his book about the topic.

u/kent_eh · 5 pointsr/atheism

This CNN article?

More reading on the subject at Wikipedia

Also, Ehrman's book that the CNN article mentions.

u/spartacus007 · 5 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Bart Ehrman's newest book might be another to add to the list. Obviously, the historical existence of Jesus is a matter of legitimate historical debate.

u/Ohthere530 · 5 pointsr/atheism

I found Richard Carrier's book to be much more credible than Ehrman's.

I was biased against Carrier, because I found him to be an annoying and repetitive writer. I liked Ehrman. He is a friendly writer, easy to follow, and hoped that I would get serious academic arguments against the "mythical jesus" view.

Despite my bias, Carrier beat Ehrman hands down. I was disappointed with Ehrman. I found that many of his arguments just made no sense. (I'm not a historian, but as an ex-programmer, I am well acquainted with basic logic.)

I do not consider it proven that Jesus was mythical. Not at all. But after Carrier, I also don't consider it proven that he did exist. All my adult life I took the exact same position as OP, that Jesus didn't perform any miracles, but I just assumed that he existed. Now I'm agnostic on Jesus. (But still atheistic on God. :-)

I would love to see a serious and scholarly attempt to refute Carrier.

u/chimchar66 · 5 pointsr/dankchristianmemes

[Misquoting Jesus]( Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why by Bart Ehrman is a great place to start. It's a great introduction to the field of studying the changes of the Bible throughout the centuries (I don't remember the concise Greek name). It's a fascinating read.

u/I_Skullfuck_Children · 5 pointsr/atheism

Oh don't act like you don't do it too! ;)

If you have a bit of trouble accepting the bible as mythology, I also recommend this video series. It's about one christian guy's deconversion process over a few years. It is quite good as it's from a christian perspective (it resonated with me for that reason).

Deconversion Series

And this book.

There really is a "click" in your brain at some point where you realize that the bible can't possibly be true and you feel really stupid for ever believing it... but then you realize that just because the bible is totally and utterly an idea gone mad, that there still might be "something" out there in this universe... and that's fine. I have no problem with deists, it's really the only honest theistic position.

u/lowlevelguy · 5 pointsr/atheism

Yes yes, the Church and religion weren't to blame, it was the Secularists all along.

This from the author that credits Christianity with:

Justifications for the Crusades

Freedom, Capitalism and Western Success

Science and the end of slavery

And authored a book titled Wayward Shepherds: Prejudice and the Protestant Clergy I am sure a balanced view of schism in the Christian churches.

u/Tinkeringhalo10 · 4 pointsr/conspiracy
u/tldr · 4 pointsr/atheism

Definitely Bart Ehrman. "Misquoting Jesus" is his most popular work:

u/A_Wellesley · 4 pointsr/Christianity

If you're genuinely curious, grab a copy of Metropolitan Ware's The Orthodox Church. It's an AWESOME intro to the history, theology, and practices of Christian Orthodoxy. Also, if there's an Orthodox parish nearby, contact the priest and show up for Liturgy one Sunday! Just by being there, you'll learn and experience a lot. Just be sure to do some cursory research before you do! Eastern Christian worship can be a bit of a culture shock for a Western Christian.

u/PatricioINTP · 4 pointsr/Christianity

While I am a Protestant, this book…

… does contain a good summary of the early years up to and including the Great Schism. Another book I recommend that is more recent and deals with the time the Catholic Church lost a great deal of political power is…

… though it is also focused on Italy Unification. Historically they are linked. Most of my other knowledge comes from general research study to (horribly condensed) films like Luther, so I am anxious to see what others might say.

u/NotADialogist · 4 pointsr/Christianity

The simplest answer is that the Roman Catholic doctrine of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son directly contradicts what Christ Himself taught: But when the Comforter is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, Who proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me (John 15:26). Who proceeds from the Father is what was affirmed verbatim in the Creed adopted at the 2nd Ecumenical Council in 381: τὸ ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον. The Church Fathers later agreed (at the 3rd Ecumenical Council) that no change of any kind was to be introduced into this Creed. Kallistos Ware, in The Orthodox Church, describes how a modification to what was accepted at the 2nd Ecumenical council came to propagate in the west:

"Originally the Creed ran: ‘I believe… in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and together glorified.’ This, the original form, is recited unchanged by the east to this day. But the west inserted an extra phrase ‘and from the Son’ (in Latin, Filioque), so that the Creed now reads ‘who proceeds from the Father and the Son’. It is not certain when and where this addition was first made, but it seems to have originated in Spain, as a safeguard against Arianism. At any rate the Spanish Church interpolated the Filioque at the third Council of Toledo (589), if not before. From Spain the addition spread to France and thence to Germany, where it was welcomed by Charlemagne and adopted at the semi-Iconoclast Council of Frankfort (794). It was writers at Charlemagne's court who first made the Filioque into an issue of controversy, accusing the Greeks of heresy because they recited the Creed in its original form. But Rome, with typical conservatism, continued to use the Creed without the Filioque until the start of the eleventh century. In 808 Pope Leo III wrote in a letter to Charlemagne that, although he himself believed the Filioque to be doctrinally sound, yet he considered it a mistake to tamper with the wording of the Creed. Leo deliberately had the Creed, without the Filioque, inscribed on silver plaques and set up in St Peter's. For the time being Rome acted as a mediator between the Franks and Byzantium."

The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity (pp.50-51)

u/petitjacques · 4 pointsr/Christianity

Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch is supposed to be very good - I haven't read it yet but plan to. The author is a Professor of History of the Church at Oxford.

There's also a DVD series narrated (and written?) by him on the same topic.

u/atheistcoffee · 4 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years is an in depth look. Christopher Hitchens recommended it just before he died; and I own it... it's very good.

u/wizzlesplizzle · 4 pointsr/books

My favorite was Going Clear by Lawrence Wright. I picked it up after reading The Looming Tower (Pulitzer winner), also by Wright.

I thought it was really interesting, there was quite a bit of material on belief systems, and why people look to join groups, that wasn't specific to scientology.

u/exjentric · 4 pointsr/IrishHistory

If you want some basic Medieval Irish history, How the Irish Saved Civilization is a great starting off point. Seamus MacManus' Story of the Irish Race is a tad dull, but it delves into the mythology, legends, and folktales.

u/MoonPoint · 4 pointsr/atheism

On a similar note, if you are interested in how the concept of Satan has evolved during Christianity's history, see The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans, and Heretics.

> In the Hebrew Bible, as in mainstream Judaism to this day, Satan never appears as Western Christendom has come to know him, as the leader of an ‘evil empire,’ an army of hostile spirits who make war on God and humankind alike. As he first appears in the Hebrew Bible, Satan is not necessarily evil, much less opposed to God. On the contrary, he appears in the book of Numbers and in Job as one of God’s obedient servants – a messenger, or angel, a word that translates the Hebrew term for messenger (mal’ak) into Greek (angelos). In Hebrew, the angels were called ‘sons of God’ (bene’elohim), and where envisioned as the hierarchical ranks of a great army, or the staff of a royal court.
>In biblical sources the Hebrew term the satan describes an adversarial role. It is not the name of a particular character. Although Hebrew storytellers as early as the sixth century B.C.E. occasionally introduced a supernatural character whom they called the satan, what they meant was any one of the angels sent by God for the specific purpose of blocking or obstructing human activity. The root stn means ‘one who opposes, obstructs, or acts as adversary.’ (The Greek term diablos, later translated ‘devil,’ literally means ‘one who throws something across one’s path.’)
>The satan’s presence in a story could help account for unexpected obstacles or reversals of fortune. … Some, however, also invoke this supernatural character, the satan, who, by God’s own order or permision, blocks or opposes human plans and desires. But this messenger is not necessarily malevolent. God sends him, like the angel of death, to perform a specific task, although one that human beings may not appreciate… Thus the satan may simply have been sent by the Lord to protect a person from worse harm” (Pagels 39-40).

u/YoungModern · 4 pointsr/exmormon

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why by Bart D. Ehrman -this is the place to start with New Testament history

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts by Israel Finkelstein & Neil Asher Silberman

u/jesusonadinosaur · 4 pointsr/DebateAChristian

>The only thing that they've conceded to is that there is not enough significant proof that it happened for it to be considered a historical event, which is far different than saying that it did not happen, or claiming that there is proof that it did not happen.

No. This isn't remotely true. The consensus (due to the postitive evidence against, not just the complete and utter lack of evidence, even where evidence should be expected) is that it did not happen. Not just that there is no evidence.

"William Dever, an archaeologist normally associated with the more conservative end of Syro-Palestinian archaeology, has labeled the question of the historicity of Exodus “dead.” Israeli archaeologist Ze'ev Herzog provides the current consensus view on the historicity of the Exodus: “The Israelites never were in Egypt. They never came from abroad. This whole chain is broken. It is not a historical one. It is a later legendary reconstruction—made in the seventh century [BCE]—of a history that never happened.”[4]""

"The consensus among biblical scholars today is that there was never any exodus of the proportions described in the Bible,[14] and that the story is best seen as theology, a story illustrating how the God of Israel acted to save and strengthen his chosen people, and not as history.[5] "

There is a great book on the subject

u/AngelOfLight · 4 pointsr/exjw

There are a number of Sumerian and Babylonian sacred texts here. In particular, the enuma elish has some interesting parallels to Genesis. One in particular - the creation of the world was the work of one god (marduk), but the creation of man was a joint effort between all the gods (the Sumerian creation myth is similar). Have a look at Genesis 1, and note where the text switches from singular to plural. Also - according to Mesopotamian mythology, humans were created to do the work that the gods were tired of doing. Thus they were expected to work the fields and engage in general labor. Have a look at Genesis 2:15 for a parallel.

I recommend these books for a deeper study:

Stories from Ancient Canaan

The Early History of God

The Origins of Biblical Monotheism

The Evolution of God

u/the_real_jones · 4 pointsr/Christianity

Shirley C. Guthrie's Christian Doctrine, Revised Edition is a fairly accessible, and broad introduction to systematic theology.

As for church history I think Justo L. Gonzalez's The Story of Christianity is a great overview.

u/DogmAttack · 4 pointsr/atheism

>Please describe the evidence.

Let me be clear about one thing off the bat. While I studied religion, Christianity, and the Bible in college (a very, very liberal one), I am not a historian or archaeologist by trade.

That said, you seem to be implying that I personally must produce expert-level evidence on the spot, or that somehow the widely accepted historical consensus on Jesus' existence is bullshit. That's not an intellectually honest way to try to win an argument.

Also, your tone is extremely aggressive. You have no idea who I am. I am not a Biblical fundamentalist, which seems to be what you're implying here:

>... and dont just say "the bible is the evidence, because othewise nobody would make up the gospel stories."

First, if you did even the smallest amount of research on your own (LMGTFY), you'd know the "Christ myth" theory is robustly rejected by scholars in the fields of history, archaeology, and (yes) religious studies. It is a fringe theory supported by fringe thinkers. It doesn't stand up to the intellectual scrutiny of the scholarly historical community, nor that which /r/atheism purports to apply to all other topics.

Second, you could fill a book with an answer to your question. Someone has.

In case you're wondering, Bart Ehrman is an agnostic and does not identify as a Christian.

He's also at odds with the Jesus Seminar over elements of the historical Jesus' teachings. While the Seminar believes the historical Jesus never made any Messianic or eschatological claims (being a later addition to his teachings), Ehrman believes Jesus was much more eccentric and believed the end of the world was imminent, and that he would play a key role in it.

Point is: Ehrman's not soft on this stuff. You can hear more about it from him in this recent NPR interview.

u/iadnm · 4 pointsr/ENLIGHTENEDCENTRISM

Christianity wasn't legalized until 313 C.E. and it didn't become the State Religion until 380 C.E. we can reasonably declare 380 C.E. as the beginning of the Catholic church. Before 313 Christians were persecuted throughout the empire. Also, did you even read the second link?

>The Short answer is no: Tacitus is not the only or main reason why modern historians (whether Atheist, Agnostic, or Christian) believe the historical Jesus existed. I am going to copy and paste my answer from a previous post and also suggest that if you want in depth answers into what evidence we have for the Historical Jesus to read one of these two books:
>Ehrman, Bart: Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth
>Crossan, John Dominic: The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant Ehrman is a very vocal Agnostic (borderline Atheist) and Crossan is a Christian, just to give you both sides of the coin. I recommend Ehrman because he's one of the most engaging historians on this topic, period.
>Why do historians overwhelmingly agree that Jesus was historically a real person?
>First, we need to address one key issue that most people don't understand, so people on both sides of this argument like to take certain things out of context. It needs to be known that we have practically no primary sources for many secondary (non-monarchs or major political figures) characters in antiquity. This is what the historical Jesus was (a secondary character in his day). If we simply say "we have no archeological evidence, so he doesn't exist" then we need to say that Aristotle and Socrates did not exist because, like Jesus' story, we are left with written accounts that have been repeatedly copied through various generations.
>Now when it comes to the historical Jesus (and what we know of him) well it's simple in a few ways. The first, is that although the gospels and other New Testament books were all written decades after Jesus died (however Paul started writing between 45-49 CE), they are independently attested. Yes, from a historical perspective (and personally for myself since I am agnostic) the miracles and resurrection are considered embellishments to help encourage early people convert to this new Jewish sect.
>What does this mean
>Now although much of this information cannot be relied upon for historical purposes, some of it can pass the test of historical plausibility. What do I mean by that? Well, every historian, when examining evidence, has a set of criteria they must use when comparing written accounts of any event. Part of doing this, is taking these four accounts, and cross examining with each other and seeing if any of the minor details (things that lack religious implications that would be less likely for people to make up) correspond to most or all of the documents. What you'll find is that many of these minor details correspond consistently in ways that you wouldn't expect-- this is something you almost never see with mythical figures.
>You'll also see that the early Gospel writers likely had to create explanations for certain things about Jesus because his name was likely somewhat known around the time of his death. I'll give a brief example:
>Two of the gospels deal with the birth of Jesus. Without going into too much detail, it's easy to make the argument that both Matthew and Luke did not get their information for this narrative from the same source. They are constantly at odds with each other over many specific areas of this story (example: in Matthew, Mary and Joseph already lived in bethlehem and then had to move to Egypt and then, years later, move to Nazareth. In Luke, Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth, traveled to Bethlehem for a theoretical tax registration, waited there for 32 days after Jesus was born, and then returned immediately to Nazareth).
>Most historians believe it is likely that both of them made up nearly all (if not all) of the parts to their stories because they were trying to fulfill the prophecies from the Old Testament. See, in the book of Micah, it was predicted that a savior would be born in the city of David (Bethlehem), so these writers wanted to make sure that Jesus fulfilled this prophecy. But wait, they had a real issue to deal with. It was probably well-known that Jesus was from some small town called Nazareth, thus he didn't fulfill that part of the prophecy. So, to deal with this, early gospel writers created these narratives to explain how this person from Nazareth could have still been from the city of David.
>If Jesus was a mythological figure that sprung up out of thin air, there would be no reason to say he was from Nazareth, they would have said he was from Bethlehem and just left it at that. This is what we typically see for made up figures. Keep in mind that this is one of dozens of examples where the writers did this to meet personal agendas of their time.
>What historians also find is that it is nearly impossible for a sect or cult to immediately spring up without a founding figure. After Jesus' death, the remaining followers were probably a group of people of about 20-30 people, and it expanded rather quickly -- probably hitting the hundreds within the decade after his death and by 50 CE, they had spread throughout the Roman Empire. Most scholars believe that the book of Mark, written between 65-70 CE, was actually written in the city of Rome for a local church there. This type of growth and expansion is, by historical standards, incredibly fast. The rapid rate of growth suggests, for historians, that a real figure of Jesus existed, had a few followers who immediately disbanded after his death. Yet, for those whom remained, they started preaching about his life and resurrection, which was likely very enticing for their day.
>I hope this gave you a glimpse into the answer for this. If you'd like more examples I can provide them.
>Addendum I wanted to add one more thing that I forgot to mention in my original post, and it's something that I find to be extremely important but is often overlooked. Tacitus is often identified as the first Roman to discuss or mention the historical Jesus or his followers which is actually not correct. The first mention of Christians actually comes several years earlier, around the year 112 CE (although I've read one scholar claim it was maybe even during the decade before that) by a Roman governor. Here's an excerpt from another Ehrman book on the topic:
>"The author, Pliny the Younger, was a governor of a Roman province. In a letter that he wrote to his emperor, Trajan, he indicates that there was a group of people called Christians who were meeting illegally; he wants to know how to handle the situation. These people, he tells the emperor, “worship Christ as a God.” That’s all he says about Jesus. It’s not much to go on if you want to know anything about the historical Jesus." -- Ehrman, Bart D Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them) HarperCollins. (2009-02-20) pp. 149
>As Ehrman points out, it's not much to go off of, but it is important that we have multiply attested sources talking about the rapidly growing Christian base at this time.

u/Beaus-and-Eros · 4 pointsr/COMPLETEANARCHY

The theory about there being no direct historical figure behind Jesus is a pretty interesting one but is much more of a fringe idea in historical circles. If you're interested in reading up on it at all, here's a pretty good book on the subject

u/silouan · 4 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Outsider recommended The Orthodox Church which covers the history and beliefs of Orthodoxy. (Well, when I say it like that, it sounds pretty boring - it's not.)

Along with that, I'd recommend The Orthodox Way by the same author. it's meant to give a view into how Orthodox Christians do "spirituality."

u/BraveryDave · 4 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

The standard historical introduction is The Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware).

A good theological/spirituality introduction is The Orthodox Way, also by Met. Kallistos.

u/ForkMeVeryMuch · 4 pointsr/Christianity

>I need to start reading books again instead of comments.

No argument there.

George H Smith, Atheism: The Case Against God

u/mediainfidel · 3 pointsr/DebateAChristian

>> “Elyon”, translated “the Most High”, is probably a separate god from “Yahweh”
> Why?

You act as if Basilides has simply pulled all this out of thin air, as if no biblical scholar in their right mind would think Yahweh was originally one of many sons of El in the ancient pantheon. But this theory is not as off-the-wall as some believers might think.

While such an idea might seem outrageous to you as a believer, try to withold your contempt based on unwarranted certainty. There's a whole world out there beyond the believers perspective. Embrace it.

u/matttk · 3 pointsr/europe

Part of it is an obsession with nationalism. How do you say you're different than a Serb? Oh yeah, you're Catholic. It's sad though that people continue to brainwash their children instead of giving them a free choice to decide what they want to believe.

Does anyone really think the average person would believe in Jesus if they only found out about him in their adult life? The story is ridiculous and almost everything in those books is provably false. (yes, there was an historical Jesus)

u/LAKingsDave · 3 pointsr/hockey

I'm reading Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

It's not a religious book, even though it would appear to be. It's a historic look at Jesus' life, written by an Islamic dude.

It's been pretty good. But I wouldn't say it's great just because it seem like the author has to come to a lot of conclusions based on lack of evidence from Jesus' time. Interesting for sure though.

u/Odontodactyllus · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

The author makes a real attempt to portray Jesus as he would have been historically. Worth reading!

u/bearparts · 3 pointsr/exmormon

Jesus Christ didn't exist. However he is based on an historical character or is a composite of several individuals living approximately at that time in similar geographic locations. He certainly wouldn't have been known as Jesus Christ, and many of the acts described in the bible didn't actually happen. You can think of it in similar terms as story about a guy named Dave, that is based on the story of a guy name Steve. Steve, the historical character lived in Salt Lake City and so did the mythical Dave. Both of them were described as being Rabbi's who were born in the same decade.

If you want to understand what mainstream historians believe about the historical Jesus of Nazareth I recommend this book.

Edit: Essentially Jesus Christ is an idea personified in human form.

u/musicman99 · 3 pointsr/exmormon

This scholar argues Jesus was a purely mythical character (like Zeus or Osiris) who was later placed in a historical context decades after the fact:

On the other hand, this other scholar argues for the historicity of Jesus (that he actually was a person), and postulates what the real Jesus actually taught (VERY different from the modern Christian message!)

Scholarship right now seems to be split between these two camps.

u/Flocculencio · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

Reza Aslan's Zealot gives a good overview of this, or for a (much) longer read Diarmaid McCullogh's Christianity. The short answer is that the difference between the proto-Christians and the other followers of Messianic Jewish preachers was that the Christians had Paul who reworked the message to be inclusive of Gentiles. This changed Christianity from just another wild Jewish fringe sect to a contender for the hearts and minds of people who perhaps were not quite fulfilled by the existing social structure (for example, women- it's quite notable just how many women actually are referred to in Acts of the Apostles cited as prominent members of the early church, considering that this was a society in which women were almost totally sidelined from the mainstream)

u/TextofReason · 3 pointsr/news

Not necessary. The book's Amazon rating is testament to the effectiveness of the segment!

Get your copy here!

u/Sengura · 3 pointsr/cringepics

Funny thing is, Jesus was never in school. He, like most Jews living in what is now Palestine, was an uneducated illiterate.


u/gustieboarder · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

This book might be worth a read, saw it from a post in /r/atheism yesterday.

"Zealot" by Reza Aslan takes a historical look at Jesus. The author is a Muslim professor (used to be a Christian), who has been researching the historical life of Jesus for some twenty years.

Zealot on Amazon

Link to article with video of Reza in an interview with Fox News

Link to original post from /r/atheism

u/franks-and-beans · 3 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Can you recommend a specific work by him? I'm particularly interested in the various gods worshiped in Palestine and and how they relate to YHWH. Like this one?

u/rmkelly1 · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

Christianity: The First 3,000 Years has a lot to say on this topic. The text is scrupulously footnoted and written by an academic but it is intended for general readership.

u/tbown · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Henry Chadwick's The Early Church is very good, I think it's considered a classic.

Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years is very good, heavily footnoted with references on where to read more.

Frances M. Young's From Nicaea to Chalcedon: A Guide to the Literature and Its Background I've heard is good, although it may be more geared more towards scholars than you'd like.

Also heard Ramsay MacMullen's Christianizing the Roman Empire: A.D. 100-400 is good.

u/Rage_Blackout · 3 pointsr/PoliticalHumor

Early Christianity was still pretty focused on egalitarian and communitarian principles. Once the Roman elite began adopting it, however, they had to find loopholes that allowed for Christians to be rich while their neighbors were poor. They made all manner of justifications (e.g. rich people are stewards of the poor like Adam was to the animals in the Garden of Eden, or the poor are necessary because they allow for others to act charitably and thus express their Christianity). Their mental gymnastics are pretty mind-boggling.

Source: Diarmid McCulloch's Christianity: The First 3000 Years.

u/XenophonRex · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity: The First 3000 Years was pretty thorough and well written imho.

It starts with the understood origins of the Jewish faith to show its evolution into Christianity, thus the 3000 years.

Amazon link

The 1 star reviews are pretty wonderful if you have a moment to read some of them.

u/Notmyaltaccount12345 · 3 pointsr/churchofchrist

Posting a comment to someone else as top-level, because the original isn’t appearing:

>However, your full disclosure makes it seem like you are posting with a prerogative being a non-Christian in a Christian sub.

I don't think that's the right word you were trying to use, but I think I get what you are trying to say: An agenda, if you will? I'd say that's actually a pretty fair assessment. If you check my post history, you'll come to an understanding rather quickly on my feelings towards the CoC in general. In a broader sense, my "agenda" is to shed some light on the simplified, white-washed history the church sets itself upon, but more specifically calling out legalistic, fundamentalist beliefs and behaviors for what they are.

>I would encourage you to use sources to back up your claims.

Well, then. Sources incoming.

>If you Google “early church used musical instruments” the first few sources I clicked on said the early church did not use instrumental music. I challenge you to do the same and see for yourself instead of taking my word on it.

A challenge? Are you making an assumption that I am unfamiliar with how to perform research? I will point out: simply taking the first couple links' "word for it" is a poor way to research. For example, performing this search of yours results in the the entire first page being nothing but christian news articles or apologetic pages, neither of which approach things from a critical, scholarly perspective. Secondly, I'd like to point out that very little is known about music in the first century, especially among the Jews and Christians, because so much was either never written down or has been lost to the ages. What you'll find, however, is that the use of music was on the tongues of several church fathers. These church fathers made mention of separating themselves from ancient Jewish traditions as well as from pagan practices...these arguments, however, appear to be of man-made opinion, do they not? Here are some sources:

  • LINK - Here is a Master's dissertation by (now) Dr. Jade Weimer. This dissertation explores the Jewish and Pagan roots of instruments used for both liturgical purposes and in idol-worship and describes in detail the factors associated with the early churches' departure from instrumental usage. One thing to point out here is that early Christianity was primarily comprised of former pagans, who had grown up worshiping many gods in various ways. The early church didn't divorce themselves from instruments because God wished for it to be so, but because the leaders in the church wished to separate themselves from their former pagan, idol-worshiping practices.

  • LINK - Here is another Master's dissertation with a similar outline

  • LINK - Here is a research paper detailing, specifically, the church father's thoughts on instrumental music.

  • LINK - Here is a book that covers the pre-Christian musical practices of ancient Israel. This should provide an expanded background on the truncated backgrounds detailed in the first two papers.

    I located these by using simple keyword searches on Google Scholar and SagePub. I'm sure I could find more resources, given more time. If you'd like to read the texts associated with the cited 1st century sources in the above papers, you can find a catalog of nearly everything HERE.

    Edit: clarity

    Edit 2: missed a point:

    >Secondly, no one should think the Old Testament is an apostasy.

    That's not what I meant; apologies for not being clear enough. When I say the NT was all that was and that anything else was apostasy, what I was referring to was not the OT, but to the multiple Christian groups that were coming about and evolving in the 1st century. For example, the only thing we knew about the Gnostics was the polemics against them by other ancient writers. That is, until the 1940's when the Nag Hammadi library was discovered. In fact, there were many Christian sects that were in existence in the first century, from the Essenes, to the Gnostics (although, this is really a compilation of many different groups that all kind-of based their understanding of Christianity and Jesus on the Platonic thought prevalent during the Hellenistic period), the Maniches, etc. A good synopsis of these can be located in Bart Ehrman's book, Lost Christianities. Bart also has a Great Courses class on audible under the same title; the course text can be found HERE. So when I say that all else is apostasy, what I mean is that holding to such a strict adherence to "NT-only Christianity" ignores much of the history on the how and why those letters were chosen, how and why the orthodoxy that "won" among the other sects, etc. This in itself is a huge topic and has been covered time and again by modern scholarship, however, if you'd like me to point you in a direction I can recommend some readings.

    Edit 3: it appears I've been reported or something, so this comment isn't showing up. Sweet

    One more edit to address this point:

    >However, I think the goal is to match the Church how it was in the beginning as closely as possible.

    I actually don't think this is as clear of a picture as some would describe. With the "commands, examples and necessary inferences" mantra, a majority of the 5 acts of worship are built upon inference only. For example:

  • Singing
    • The verses often cited for this are Eph. 5:19 and Col 3:16. In their contexts, neither of these are in reference to a worship setting, as they are both in reference to holy living.
    • There's also 1 Cor 14, which is nearly entirely dedicated to speaking in tongues, however v. 15 is sandwiched in the middle that says "sing with understanding". The greater context of this reveals, however, that one should be singing in an intelligible language, not in a tongue no one understands.
  • Giving
    • The primary verse for this is 1 Cor 16:2, which states "On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made." What the context reveals is that Paul is collecting funds to give to the brethren in Jerusalem, which is the finale of his journey. He even asks the congregation to write letters that he will give along with the monetary gift (v3). So, again, there is no command here, but yet another inference.

      I'm sure I could go on, but 2 is enough for now (and I'm running late on some plan's I've made). When approached critically, what we find is that "matching the church of the first century" is a little harder to do than what is proposed. One can infer, sure! One can infer many things about the practices of the early church, but there is no clear biblical picture painted on the topic at all. We do have an extra-biblical text that outlines some practices within the church, The Didache, and this is dated somewhere between 50-120 AD, so it could be rather early, around Paul's writings, or it could be much later...but it outlines in quite a bit of detail on what could be considered "acts of worship."
u/Good_For_Us · 3 pointsr/samharris

Great write up. His books are excellent.

I'd like to hear them discuss belief in general. I also really liked Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

u/admorobo · 3 pointsr/ifyoulikeblank

Going Clear and The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright.

u/Oni0n · 3 pointsr/OutOfTheLoop

There is a tell all book written by a former Scientologist called Going Clear.

u/mhornberger · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

Well yes, Joseph Smith was hated as a con-man, and actually killed by an angry mob. Many religions started in very shady circumstances. It's an interesting field to read about. I recently finished Going Clear, about Scientology. The documentary is also fantastic, though the book of course has much more detail. Under the Banner of Heaven touches on the early history of Mormonism, and is a great book. I'm sure there are more authoritative books on Mormonism, but Krakauer is a great writer and that happens to be the book I read.

Good luck in getting religious believers to see the beginnings of their own religion in modern-day prophets. Generally they just don't look too closely at the beginnings of their religion, or if they do, they write off the weird or disreputable parts as people trying to slander the truth. Religion has ample coping mechanisms, and digging critically into the darker bits will get you shunned by your faith community.

u/callmeprufrock · 3 pointsr/IAmA

Many of these questions are addressed in the amazing book Going Clear by Lawrence Wright. It's incredibly well-researched and well-written, and while it focuses on LRH, it gets into Miscavige's leadership and the modern church as well.

u/InterPunct · 3 pointsr/entertainment

Read this book, HBO is making a documentary of it. IMO people can believe whatever they want, but this organization is run by thugs :

u/MoonChild02 · 3 pointsr/todayilearned

It's How the Scots Invented the Modern World. Similar titles include How the Irish Saved Civilization, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, and Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America. None of them are by the same author, but they're all interesting historical books with similar titles (How some great culture did great things that built what we have now), none the less.

I would love to find similar titles about other countries, cultures, and civilizations. They're always so interesting!

u/madman1969 · 3 pointsr/politics
u/MaxChaplin · 3 pointsr/RedditDayOf

Though the day is over, here's some of the folklore in the film. (source: TV Tropes)

  • Pangur Bán is named after the oldest surviving poem in the Irish language. Written by... a young monk in the margins of his study, about his pet cat.
  • "Aisling" (pronounced like "Ashley", which is a modernized version) is an Irish girl's name meaning "dream" or "vision", but it's also the name of a genre of Irish poetry. In these poems, a woman appears as the Anthropomorphic Personification of Ireland and speaks about the country's troubles, followed by a prediction of a better future. The writers for the movie decided to play with the concept by making the female figure a mischievous little girl instead of a serious older woman.
  • Aisling's opening monologue is based on another very old Irish poem called "The Song of Tuan Mac Cairill", one of the Tuatha De Danann who survived among humans by taking on the forms of a salmon, a deer and a wolf, rather like we see Aisling doing.
  • Aisling didn't enter the tower on herself because, according to old folk stories, fairies, demons and other ungodly beings are unable to enter churches.
  • The presence of the international monks in Kells might be an allusion to the hypothesis that the Irish have saved civilization in the middle ages.
u/LegalAction · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

You're thinking of this book, How the Irish Saved Civilization? I read it a long time ago, and while I liked it then (I was going through my Irish American phase), I'm not thrilled with it now. It's very Western centered.

First of all, plenty of people following Peter Brown challenge the notion of a collapse of the Western Empire. The "barbarian" states often had strong connections to the Emperor in Constantinople (the Vandals in N. Africa are a good example, minting coins in the name of the emperor - of course this was probably a convenient fiction for both sides, but still, plenty of Roman culture continued on for quite a while)

Second, they did a terrible job of saving a lot of it. Greek became almost extinct in the west. I think the first school of Greek in Italy popped up only in the 1300s? And a lot of Greek texts were preserved in Constantinople. I don't think they had any Plato in the west, and only Aristotle through Arabic translations done in Spain. As for Latin, there were important libraries in the Vatican, Paris... I just grabbed my edition of Livy and I see manuscripts from Verona, Oxford, Rome, Leiden. Admittedly many of these are 9th and 10th century copies, but even if the archetype did only survive in Ireland, a lot of people in Europe after just a couple hundred years were interested in collecting ancient texts, had the ability on some level to read them, and the technical skill to copy them.

u/brokenearth02 · 3 pointsr/history

Link to Cahill's book, from which this is taken: [Here]( "I enjoyed it.")

u/YourFairyGodmother · 3 pointsr/atheism

The Satan we know was not in the OT. Satan as we know him is an invention of the early Xians.

u/DeadnamingMissDaisy · 3 pointsr/nottheonion

Well, since you've made a massive edit, allow me to correct your error.

Yes, there are numerous examples of the iron age bible lifting wholesale bits of poetry from bronze age Ba'al texts. One example is the famous "lift up your heads, oh gods" which became, nonsensically, "lift up your heads, oh gates" in Psalm 24:7. (Hint: gates don't have heads, at least not the ones in ancient west semitic cities)

This is clear example of outright theft by hebrew priests.

It doesn't mean that the Canaanite god Hadad was ever syncretized with Yahweh. We do know that El was, however.


The Early History Of God by Mark S Smith

Stories from Ancient Canaan, Second Edition edited by by Michael D. Coogan and Mark S. Smith

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts by Neil Asher Silberman

u/darksmiles22 · 3 pointsr/atheism

Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus, Karen Armstrong's A History of God abbreviated in part of Evid3nc3's youtube deconversion series though with a few unfounded theological assumptions according to this guy, and Wikipedia articles on the documentary hypothesis and historical Jesus are all good.

P.S. It looks like I am late to the Ehrman and Armstrong parade :(

u/guyanonymous · 3 pointsr/skeptic

This is a fairly interesting book that examines the 'errors' in the bible from the mistranslations to the purposeful changes.

u/Glaxnor · 3 pointsr/

>I find it strange that John, probably the most famous of the four gospels, would be considered apocryphal by anyone.

If you're interested, I suggest reading Misquoting Jesus, by Bart Ehrman. Meanwhile, I'll give you his brief summary of this particular item:

>Despite the brilliance of this story, its captivating quality, and its inherent intrigue, there is one other enormous problem that it poses. As it turns out, it was not originally in the Gospel of John. In fact, it was not originally part of any of the Gospels. It was added later by scribes.

>How do we know this? In fact, scholars who work on the manuscript tradition have no doubts about this particular case. Later in this book we will be examining in greater depth the kinds of evidence that scholars adduce for making judgments of this sort. Here I can simply point out a few basic facts that have proved convincing to nearly all scholars of every persuasion: the story is not found in our oldest and best manuscripts of the Gospel of John; its writing style is very different from what we find in the rest of John (including the stories immediately before and after); and it includes a large number of words and phrases that are otherwise alien to the Gospel. The conclusion is unavoidable: this passage was not originally part of the Gospel.

u/tripleatheist · 3 pointsr/DebateAChristian

> Where's this evidence of it being edited?

If you would do some research as opposed to simply asserting the Christian party line, you'd find that the Bible has a marked tendency to change over time along with the political and theological pressures of the time. Ehrman, who you've referenced elsewhere, spends some time in Misquoting Jesus considering the Comma Johanneum, for example.

tl;dr - the Bible isn't some monolithic, unbiased source of truth. It's just as much a part of the game of telephone that is Christianity as are the testimonies of personal experience and anecdotal miracle accounts.

u/Petey · 3 pointsr/

Actually it's beyond dispute.

u/XandarsMeteor · 3 pointsr/exchristian

I'm in the process of finishing up the final pages of Bart Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus".

Depending on what sort of "evidence" your gf is open to, this is a great book for pointing out the fallacy of a divinely-inspired New Testament. It's not a giant list of verses that have been altered, omitted, added, etc (like I had sort of wished), but it's a great smack-in-the-face book without being loaded with "religion is horrible" statements (which I feel turn a lot of people off to being open to the rest of the message).

Good luck!

u/SovietChef · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

God's Battalions by Rodney Stark is an easy work. He's not a historian, but he compiles the work of others, though sometimes this leads him to broader conclusions than are appropriate (like the difference in armament between Crusaders and those they fought) but I found it an interesting book.

u/bunker_man · 3 pointsr/im14andthisisdeep

Early church fathers from the year 150 aren't really relevant, since by that time plenty of people did think jesus was god. That might seem close to the time of christ, but for an unorganized early religion, a century is a long time.

As far as those quotes, you took them directly from a propaganda site that is trying to convince you of something. Most aren't real historical evidence that he was seen as god. I'll skip the john verses since the book of john was written later after theological changes, but the others in order:

>“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[a] (which means “God with us”).

Nothing about this says he is god. The idea that someone represents someone's presence is a common religious trope.

>28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[b]

This is misleading when taken out of context, since in the verses before this he was talking about jesus. So "he" here just refers to jesus again. It only looks like "he" means god when taken out of context.

>Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised![a] Amen.

You run into an error here when reading translations by people who are reading their theology into it. Remember that in the original language this would have been more ambiguous punctuation-wiise. The original language says ὧν οἱ πατέρες καὶ ἐξ ὧν ὁ Χριστὸς τὸ κατὰ σάρκα ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων θεὸς εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας ἀμήν. And here, the final part can be read as "god who is over all be praised." It only looks like jesus is being called god if you assume that it is one continuous line.

>24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

This says that christ embodies the power of god. But that is not a statement that he is god. Again, a figure embodying the properties or authority of another is a common trope in religion. Especially via greek influence.

>4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

This ties to the above. You should be starting to see a pattern now. Saying that someone represents the authority of god doesn't mean they are god themself. You should notice something else here. None of these verses are saying he literally -is- god. They all say he indirectly represents or embodies the nature of god. So you can actually start to see what happened just from this. The earliest written texts don't say he is god. But they ascribe him special importance of representing god's natures manifested to humanity. Over time, later people were clearly worshiping jesus, and the original meaning was obscured so the idea that he was literally god was seen as necessary to preserve the claim of monotheism.

>who, being in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.

And this verse is very damning. Because it clearly ascribes him an embodiment of god's properties, yet also makes it clear that he is not equal to god, nor did he say he was. Note that your later view that it would be odd for it to word things this way or conflate god and man can't be read into a text that was radical for the time, and before those theologies even existed.

>15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

This one is even more damning because it explicitly calls jesus a created being. "creation" might be ambiguous to later readers, but it clearly delineates created things. And this shows how many of these early christians saw him. Many thought that he was a unique created being who is second only to god, and kind of divine in his own right. But even here there is no implication of him being equal to god. Only that he is a medium through which god's powers manifest.

>13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God, and our Savior Jesus Christ

This is another one people twist based on punctuation. If you are reading it in a language without punctuation you can think it is delineating god and jesus as one, when in actuality it is listing two beings.

>3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Note here the son and god are being delineated as two different things.

>Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God, and our Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:

Again, punctuation ambiguity. If you list two names together like this you can read it as if it is two names for one being.

But again notice something here. 1: none of these verses clearly and unambiguously say jesus is god. 2: There is no indication of any new radical understanding of god as a multi-person thing. 3: jesus is presented as a bridge between man and god. Why would he need to be represented in this way if he was god himself? 4: the book of john is the first beginnings of him seemingly conflated with the father, but even there he is not presented as equal. The book of john was also written after these other texts. The early ones take great pains to try to say he was the messiah. Why then do none of them come out and say he is god? Indirect things you can vaguely interpret as saying that don't really count, since they wouldn't have presumed the audience knew who jesus was. So they would need to be clear.

Only in the gospel of john is Jesus depicted as God. In the other gospels, and the writings of paul he is not. And this isn't something that slipped their minds either. They didn't say so because they didn't think so, and him being so wasn't the content of christianity at the time.

Note that even in john, there is no trinitarianism. Jesus is considered a lesser sub aspect of god, who is kind of god, but not the fullness of god.

Note that at different times jesus says the father is superior. Disavows omniscience. Says that he is capable of learning. Is called the first creation. Says he is not all good like the father. Calls the father his own god, specifying a lower position, and disavowing full godhood, etc. To the majority of biblical writers Jesus is not god at all. In john he is depicted as kind of god in an emanationist way. He is not the godhead, but an intermediary lesser part of god in between god and humanity.

But here's a book:

This is really not controversial among historians at all. There is no evidence that any christians saw jesus as literally the same being as the father for quite a lot of decades after his death. Trinitarianism as an idea only shows up around 120 ad, and the first writings on it very definitely were proto versions of the later idea.

u/otakuman · 3 pointsr/atheism

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman.

Bart D. Ehrman's books are pretty good regarding the New Testament, but for the Old Testament, this book is exactly what you need.

EDIT: It tells you about the most recent archaeological excavations in Jerusalem, Megiddo, The Sinai desert, and what they've found (or not found).

Did you know, for example, that in the supposed times of Moses, the egyptians had outposts in Canaan? They were a pretty powerful empire, and their territory extended to what we know as Galilee. Of course, this changed with the collapse of the bronze age civilization, with the invation of mediterranean pirates - then things start to get interesting.

u/metanat · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

I got kind of lazy with the links, but anyways here is my collection of Christianity related books, links etc.


u/jebei · 3 pointsr/atheism

I've had a similar obsession with the bible over the years. It made no sense to me when I was part of a church but everything opened up once I realized it's one of the best insights we have into the ancient mind and I find it fun to read now.

The top response to this post says the god of the Old Testament is the same as the god of the New but that's because they are looking at it only as a religious text. Looking at it as a historical document you can clearly see a progression over time from a Polytheistic War god at the beginning who demands blood sacrifices to a Monotheistic vengeful god of a chosen few. The New Testament is clearly written with Greek/Roman influences and a kinder god that was changed in ways to better fit and grow in that society.

If you haven't read it already, a good first book on the subject is Who Wrote the Bible by Friedman. I like The Bible Unearthed by Finklestein and Ehrmann's books are good too. There are dozens of other good overviews that show the Bible's progression from ancient campfire stories to the form we see today. After reading a few, I don't see how anyone can seriously believe the Bible is the unerring word of god.

I know I'll never convince my family members that Christianity is wrong so I've focused my efforts to get them to understand the bible was written by man. Even if we grant them that a god actually spoke to Moses and Jesus is his literal son neither man wrote the words in the book. Later men took the stories and wrote them down. The books of the Torah were finalized 600+ years after Moses is supposed to have lived. The Gospels were written 50 years after Jesus is said to have died. These writers were not gods and to say they were divinely inspired is a cop-out. They interpreted what they heard but these men were also products of their times. They practiced blood sacrifice and accepted slavery nor did they have a fraction of our understanding of the world. It's why you can't take the book literally.

There may be truths in the Bible but you have to look behind the words to find them.

u/Sahqon · 3 pointsr/exchristian

Interesting history books are the Jesus Wars and The Bible Unearthed.

You could also check out r/academicbiblical for some eye-opening. They have a FAQ and links to already discussed topics.

The whole religion is enough to contradict itself, no "atheist" books required.

>I'm scared, very confused and it's all very distressing

Start with the Demon Haunted World, you said you already have that.

u/TheFlyingBastard · 3 pointsr/exjw

> I've got an aversion to ever looking up a text or grabbing a Bible

You should totally give it a try, though. If you like mythology and origin stories, it's pretty damn good if you let go of all the Christian bullshit interpretations that we have all been taught after the fact. Get some popular reading on the Bible done first, and/or follow the OpenYale courses and then re-read the Bible... just for shits and giggles.

You'll start to notice things like Yahweh truly not knowing what the fuck he's doing. Not because he's an incompetent idiot of a god, but just because he has no experience. It's really quite a cool epic, one that we have never been told right and never appreciated simply because we didn't have the context.

u/PrimusPilus · 3 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

> the Jews during Exodus left egypt supposedly around 1250 BCE

There's no historical nor archaeological evidence for a Jewish captivity in Egypt, nor for the Exodus as portrayed in the OT.

See Finkelstein & Silberman's The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts for details.

u/myusernamestaken · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Damn, 16 hours and no response, /r/trueatheism usually eats this shit up.

I don't have much to say, but i'd assume it's a fairly easy task. In The Bible Unearthed, Finkelstein and Silberman convincingly demonstrate that the entire OT is pretty much bullshit (arguing from an archaeological viewpoint).

I had thought that most scholars believed that it was written by David, Isaiah and Moses, not only the latter. The author only sources 4 academics to form his conclusion as well.

u/rookiebatman · 3 pointsr/atheism

Actually, Jericho is one of the points against the historicity of the Old Testament. They dug up the place and found no evidence of battle or conquest or walls that had ever come down.

Here are the Bible archaeology links I have. Not sure if any of them cover Jericho, but I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find on Google.

A more thorough treatment can be found in The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts.

u/This_is_Hank · 3 pointsr/atheism

The Bible Unearthed should get you started. The book by the same name mentions the gods of the Canaanites but I'm not sure it made it into this video.

And maybe Richard Carrier's Christianity without Jesus. In this talk he covers some of the earlier gods with similar attributes to Jesus, mentions how Judaism changed a bit after the Persian conquest, and again after their fall to Babylon showing how elements from foreign religions were adopted and incorporated into Judaism.

Another video that mentions the origins of Yahweh is from a really awesome video series by YouTuber Evid3nc3 A History of God for part one and here for part two. It is a synopsis of Karen Armstrong's book A History of God.

Hope these are at least in the direction you were wanting to go.

u/digifork · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

If you have issues with reading, how about listening? Lighthouse Catholic Media has 100's of talks on CD or MP3 that are about an hour each. A lot of these talks are available on You parish may have a subscription to it so you can listen to them for free.

On the topic of Church Fathers, they have this five disc set of lectures about them.

If you want a book on the Church Fathers I suggest The Fathers Know Best by Jimmy Akin or Four Witnesses by Ron Bennett.

u/DKowalsky2 · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

Every recommendation you've received so far is great. Given that you've expressed a particular interest in the Catholic view of salvation and the early Church, and have specified that you like "very accurate detail", I'm going to recommend two books for you, both by convert and Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin:

The Father's Know Best: Your Essential Guide To The Teachings Of The Early Church


The Drama Of Salvation: How God Rescues You From Your Sin And Delivers You To Eternal Life

The recommendations for Scott Hahn are great and supremely readable to just about everyone, but Jimmy is way more of a "get down in the weeds" type of apologist. You won't be wondering if there was a stone left unturned after reading.

Prayers and blessings on your journey!

u/Why_are_potatoes_ · 3 pointsr/Christianity

He's a sedevacantist, who are in schism with the Holy See and the Catholic Church. You can post in /r/Catholicism to ask them.

The most essential reason to remain Catholic is as follows: Christ founded one Church which he promised he would lead into all of the truth and would be with and protect until the end of time. The only Churches that can trace themselves back to the Apostles are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church, and the Church of the East. None of them are vaguely protestant.

Jesus did say, "For I tell you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." I'm sorry to say, but no Protestant Church can trace itself back before 1517, let alone Peter. Additionally, the gates of hell shall not prevail against it: it shall be the "Pillar and Bulwark of Truth" forever. Historically, if you look at the Early Church it is not even vaguely Protestant. Even while John was still alive, the Pope was settling disputes all the ways across the sea, there were bishops, priests, and deacons, the Mass existed (actually the Liturgy of St. James goes back to 50ish AD), and Apostolic succession was fully emphasized. Check out [this] ( book.

Jesus says "My Church"- singular. It is not a collection of many different Churches. Check [this] ( out. Trust me, I was once a Protestant.

Jesus also said, "If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector." We know the Church is a visible authority that, should you not listen to it, you suffer serious consequences.

I personally see no reason to join a Church that didn't exist until thousand of years after Christ died. You can argue over biblical interpretation all you want, but you must have some serious reason to interpret verses completely to the contrary of thousands of years of theologians, saints, and pretty much all Christians until the 16th century.

Edit: Guys, the downvote button isn't a "I disagree" button. Thank you.

u/fatpat · 3 pointsr/politics
u/Erra-Epiri · 3 pointsr/pagan

Šulmu, /u/KlingonLinux! I gotchoo on "Canaanite" and Israelite (they were more or less the "same" people religio-culturally for most of Antiquity, and definitely genetically/ethnically) and Punic/Phoenician (Iron Age Levantine ["Canaanite" and Israelite peoples and so on] peoples abroad throughout the Mediterranean as far West as Southern Spain/the island of Ibiza and North Africa) sources, awīlu.

Some necessary clarification : I routinely put "Canaanite" in scare-quotes, because there was no definitive, proto-national much less national identity for so-called "Canaanites" in the way that Israelites and Judahites eventually had by the 1st millennium BCE, and the people of Syro-Palestine during the Middle to Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age would overwhelmingly identify and operate by clan, by tribe, or by city-state before calling themselves and operating as Knaʿni (Ugaritic, meaning "people of Canaan"). "Canaanite" religious forms consonantly varied quite noticeably by city-state, in ways that, say, Egyptian ones did not, even taking into account "alternative" (but not competing) Egyptian local theologies and so on. Speaking in perhaps excessively general terms, there was a State religion overarching the regional ones in Egypt which, in effect, bound them together as a cooperative dynamic unit. "Canaan" as such had no such large-scale, cohesive "religious infrastructure" of Egypt's much less Mesopotamian Kingdoms' and Empires' like, and it didn't "help" that the exceptionally powerful Egyptian Empire of the Late Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom Periods and contemporaneous Mesopotamian and Hittite Empires were constantly vying for control of the North Sinai and Syro-Palestine. The economic centers of "Canaan" were, indeed, frequently subservient to Egypt throughout Bronze Age history, with Egyptian Kings investing governors and mayors of its own throughout "Canaanite" territories following the Thutmosid Conquest, much to the personal danger of said governors and mayors (who were neither particularly liked nor trusted by their Levantine subjects nor by Egyptian officials) and much to the cantankerous chagrin of the Levantine peoples living under Egyptian Imperial rule. Which is to say nothing of Egyptian-mandated relocations of restive Levantine people and so forth.

Furthermore, Hebrew Biblical literature intensely confuses what "Canaanite" even means in a religio-cultural sense, using the term simply to inveigh against religious beliefs and conventions, regardless of actual origin, Deuteronomic Jews did not wish to see carry over from their ancestral religion(s)/culture(s) and from neighboring religions/cultures (e.g., Mesopotamian and Egyptian religions/cultures. See Leviticus 18, Deuteronomy 7, and Ezekiel 23 as but three illustrations of the aforementioned) into newly-minted Judaism and what had then become the Israelite-Judahite "national" identities (primarily in politically-motivated defiance, it should be noted, of their later Master, the Neo-Assyrian Empire, which had made of the internally-fractured Kingdoms of Israel and Judah satellite states through rigorous opportunistic military conquest and serious economic and political strong-arming, beginning with the great and cunning King Tukultī-apil-Ešarra/"Tiglath-Pileser" III). A few scholars and especially many would-be Revivalists not academically-trained frequently, unwittingly hang their understanding of "Canaanite" upon all this confusion -- and the latter not in anything like a Jewish context nor through a Jewish hermeneutic, either, while still treating iffy Jewish accounts embedded in Scripture entirely too literally, which makes it an even more weird and defunct confusion.

Now, it's very important to form a baseline understanding of the historical circumstances of the Near East concerning "Canaan," what came out of it, its influential neighbors, and religio-cultural receptors. I know it feels like unnecessary drudgery to many people, but the religious tidbits don't make much sense and their use in/continued relevance to Modernity can't be adequately evaluated without learning and understanding their historical contexts, which is where a lot of would-be Revivalists go very wrong, in my opinion -- especially since "Canaanite" and other non-Kemetic ANE religious Revivals are still very much in their formative stages and aren't being led by people with necessary, thorough backgrounds in Ancient Near Eastern Studies. For this, I recommend beginning with Donald B. Redford's Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, Marc Van De Mieroop's A History of the Ancient Near East: ca. 3000 to 323 BC, Amanda H. Podany's Brotherhood of Kings: How International Relations Shaped the Ancient Near East, and Mark Woolmer's Ancient Phoenicia: An Introduction. They're not short texts, apart from Woolmer's that is, but they will give you a decent, fairly comprehensive understanding of the circumstances of the ANE.

Concerning "Canaanite" and Israelite, etc., religious details and developments, just about anything by Mark S. Smith, Rainer Albertz (namely, this massive text he co-authored with Rüdiger Schmitt), Daniel E. Fleming, and Dennis Pardee are quite sound.

Stories from Ancient Canaan, 2nd Edition edited by Mark S. Smith and Michael D. Coogan is probably where you're looking to start vis-a-vis "Canaanite" religion(s), as most people like to get at the mythic material first and foremost. After that, I would definitely recommend picking up The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel (Biblical Resource Series), along with Pardee's Ritual and Cult at Ugarit (Writings from the Ancient World) and Nicolas Wyatt's Religious Texts from Ugarit -- there should be a free PDF of the latter still floating around the nets somewhere.

While William Foxwell Albright has since become outdated in areas, his works are nevertheless necessary, now "classic" reads. Of particular use and importance is his Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan: An Historical Analysis of Two Contrasting Faiths

Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan by John Day and the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, Second Edition are handy, but relatively scarce and expensive.

Tryggve N. D. Mettinger is a much-beloved scholar of mine, though be aware that in The Riddle of the Resurrection: "Dying and Rising Gods" in the Ancient Near East -- one of the very few decent and comprehensive texts in ANE "comparative religious studies" -- wherein he addresses a few major Levantine Gods like Ba'l-Hadad, he unfortunately demonstrates a very poor comprehension of Greek, so if you ever pick that title up please do remember to take his interpretations in the chapter concerning the Phoenician God Melqart with a metric ton of salt.

Aaron J. Brody's Each Man Cried Out to His God: The Specialized Religion of Canaanite and Phoenician Seafarers was a short, widely-accessible, and enjoyable volume; he covers quite a few lesser-known and under-explored elements of Levantine religions therein.

It sounds like a lot, I'm sure, and there's so much more to read and discuss beyond all these, but hopefully this will provide a decent springboard for you into the crazy, wonderful world of Levantine religions.

I hope this helped, and if you need anything else on this, or concerning Mesopotamia and Egypt, feel free to ask anytime.

u/note3bp · 3 pointsr/exchristian

Anything by Robert Price or Bart Ehrman for a secular academic understanding of the Bible. Great if you're into history and ancient cultures or want to understand how Christianity came about.

u/newyne · 3 pointsr/atheism

Whoa there! This might be an unpopular opinion, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. I mean, yes, I think it's more of a problem when people claim that the Bible is perfect and literally the word of God, that there are no contradictions, etc. It's really ugly the way people use it to justify all manner of bigotry. And I do have experience there -- I went to a Southern Baptist school for 7 years.

On the other hand! As an English major and just general lover of literature, I think much of the Bible is so beautiful! The myths, the poetry... Not to mention the history. Not even necessarily the history actually written in it (though there is something to some of it), but what we can learn about who wrote it and when and why (the answer is... complicated; I highly recommend How Jesus Became God by Bart Ehrman to anyone interested in that), what they believed, how they lived... Honestly, I find it much more interesting as a human work of literature than as a holy text.

u/blue_roster_cult · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

Also, as a side-note I've also read The Historical Jesus which concludes that Jesus was thrown in a ditch like all other peasants.

And How Jesus Became God by atheist Bart Ehrman who sees the resurrection witness as nothing more that a public delusion comparable to some modern examples that he gives.

I highly recommend these as well. Though I disagree with them at some important points.

u/Parivill501 · 3 pointsr/Christianity

The Story of Christianity by Justo L. Gonzalez (It's a two volume set, link is to the first book).

u/Thunder_score · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Full-throatedly endorse Justo L. González's engaging and readable survey, The Story of Christianity.

Reviews here.

u/Atanar · 3 pointsr/de

>Du greifst nur die Talpioth Särge heraus.

Du kannst also nicht bestreiten das in deiner Liste Mist steht. Was sagt das über die Verlässlichkeit der Endaussage?
>Wieso sollten die anderen Argumente nur schlecht und nicht belastend sein?

Weil sie dem Schluss, der daraus gezogen wird, nicht entsprechen.

>Hast du belastende Argumente für diese Sichtweise oder ist es mehr ein Glaube?

Die Historisierung von mythischen Gestalten kommen in der Antike andauernd vor, siehe Äneis oder Gilgamesh. Zudem ist es aus der historischen Abfolge der NT Schriften ersichtlich das eine Historisierung erst im Verlauf der Ausbildung des Christentums zustande kam. Zudem fehlen Hinweise, die man bei einer tatsächlichen historischen Existenz Jesus erwarten würde, vollständig, währen die Hinweise, die wir haben, bestens durch die Existenz einer Gottesgestalt die historisiert wurde erklären lassen ( "Argument der besten Erklärung")
Ich würde dir ja Richard Carrier und als Gegenposition Bart Ehrmann zum Lesen empfehlen, allerdings scheint es mir dass du nichtmal das kritisch gelesen und beurteilt hast was du selbst postest.

> Und eine Abhandlung über die Augenzeugenfrage.

Was als Augenzuegenbreichte in deinen Quellen gelten, wird unter historischen Methoden als "Gerüchte" abgetan.

>Auf Wikipedia heißt es:

Ein Konsens von Forschermeinungen dient dem wissenschaftlichen Prozess, nicht als endgültige Wahrheit. Der Konsens ist in diesem Falle geprägt von nicht belastbaren Argumenten.

>There is no evidence today that the existence of Jesus was ever denied in antiquity by those who opposed Christianity

Wenn man da die Bedeutung hineinliest du du wahrscheinlich darin siehst, versteht man den Kontext von Religionen der Antike nicht. Das ist kein üblicher Kritikpunkt und ist daher auch nicht zu erwarten.

u/yfnj · 3 pointsr/atheism

Thanks, just checking whether there was something new.

Carrier talks about this in his "On the Historicity of Jesus". His claim about Tacitus is that he was probably quoting the Gospels indirectly through Pliny, so Carrier claims it might not be an independent source.

He reviews a bunch more, including Josephus, in his chapter 8 "Extrabiblical Evidence".

If I wanted to fact-check Carrier, I would start by reading both his and Ehrman's blogs when they argue with each other, and both Carrier's and Ehrman's books on the topic.

I don't have a personal opinion on the existence of Jesus either. I asked only because it would be interesting if there were an easy way to poke holes in Carrier's work, since Carrier is so thorough.

u/TheOvy · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

I'm an atheist. Jesus nonetheless probably existed, as is the historical consensus. In their field, it's analogous to denying climate change - you can do it, but everyone would be right to ignore you, and your conspiracy theories will always pale in comparison to the actual methodology of historians. If you sincerely want to learn more about how we know that Jesus likely existed, try Bart Ehrman's book:

u/Ancient_Dude · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

You would probably enjoy Did Jesus Exist? by Bart D. Ehrman.

Ehrman is a well regarded main stream expert in academic Biblical studies. He writes well and alternates between publishing articles in academic journals and publishing popular books. He has written and edited 30 books, including three college textbooks. He also authored six New York Times bestsellers. He is currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Bart Ehrman had a Christian religious conversion experience while in high school. He attended a bible college after high school then went on to University to study Christianity academically. Along the way he lost his faith because he could not square the existence of a loving God with the existence of pain in the world. He describes himself as "an agnostic with strong leanings towards atheism" but most of his family, friends and colleagues are Christian.

Modern writing on this subject began with The Quest of the Historical Jesus by Albert Schweiker in 1906. Most books about the historical Jesus usually end up concluding that (surprise!) the historical Jesus matches each author's preconception of who Jesus was.

u/larkasaur · 3 pointsr/atheism

Bart Ehrman's book Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth gives a pretty good summary of why there is such a strong consensus that Jesus existed, among the historians who study that time.

They don't throw out the New Testament as evidence, just because it was written by Christians and has miracle accounts. Historians often make use of evidence that can't be taken literally.

There's also a lot to be said about the implausibilty of the claim that Jesus didn't exist - because in that case you have a theory that a Jesus myth was created without a basis in a historical Jesus, and historians can evaluate whether that theory works. Bart Ehrman goes over that, too.

u/katapetasma · 2 pointsr/ConservativeBible

How God Became Jesus was an evangelical critique of Ehrman's How Jesus Became God.

u/SonOfRevvan · 2 pointsr/theology

IIRC it was The story of Christianity Vol 1

I know certainly that I learned it in the class wherein this was the primary textbook.

u/q203 · 2 pointsr/Christianity
  • You could start out by reading any of the topics on the theology AMAs here on Reddit.
  • Also check out /r/theology
  • There are a lot of open source education lectures on the Bible and theology on iTunes U from Harvard and Yale.

    As far as books, I recommend the following as a general introduction:

  • Faith Seeking Understanding by Daniel Migliore

    And then these if you're interested in the history of theology:

  • The Story of Christian Theology by Roger Olson
  • The Story of Christianity by Justo Gonzalez, which is more of a church history thing but of course theology is relevant within it.
u/Salty_Fetus · 2 pointsr/Christianity

The Story of Christianity by Justo Gonzalez would be a fantastic place to start. Im sure its not perfect, but I have been reading it for the past few weeks and its been great.

u/QueensStudent · 2 pointsr/Christianity

For when you get tired of heavy theology, take a look at Gonzalez's church history books. They're both thick and look scary, but they're incredibly smooth and light reading.

Here's the first, takes you all the way to the reformation:

It gives a great overview, though mostly centres on the West. The perspective helps you understand a lot of the church, why certain beliefs became so prevalent after the events of the New Testament, and is seen as a legitimate source of info by secular sources (first read the two volumes for an undergrad course). They're a ton of fun

u/mavaddat · 2 pointsr/atheism

Funny you should ask, since that is the subject of his latest book.

In short, yes, Ehrman believes that there was a first-century Jewish man named "Yeshua" (the proper English transliteration of the Aramaic ישוע, which we incorrectly call "Jesus") who made messianic claims, garnered a sizable following among his fellow Jews, and was probably crucified.

However, Ehrman has made a career out of demonstrating exactly how the New Testament is unreliable as a source of historical information (see for example, Misquoting Jesus or Jesus Interrupted).

If you're interested to learn more about his new book, here is a brief reading he did for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

For more on Ehrman's opinion on the reliability of the Gospels, see his debate with fellow New Testament scholar Craig Evans.

Hope that helps!

u/kissfan7 · 2 pointsr/atheism

I thought that the evidence that Jesus of Nazareth's life was at least similar to the Gospels was overwhelming. Still don't know if I buy the whole Jesus Myth hypothesis, but I do know the Gospels aren't as accurate as I thought they were.

And no, the Jesus myth belief is not universal even among non-theists. I still need to read up more on it, but school and work both hate me right now. I can't really state an intelligent opinion either way.

u/es-335 · 2 pointsr/history
u/TradSkeptic · 2 pointsr/exchristian

Did Jesus Exist? by Bart Ehrman is a good overview of the evidence.

u/corpsmoderne · 2 pointsr/atheism

I had this argument 1 million times now, but here we go again:

I'm an atheist and I despise Christianity probably as much as you. That being said, I don't let my ideology blur my quest of the historical truth.

While I agree that the evidences for an historical Jesus are weak, I've never encountered a decent mythicist hypothesis explaining what we know about the creation and spread of the early church. Some of these points are:

  • John the Baptist did exist
  • Peter and James the brother of Jesus existed (attested by Paul and non-christian writers), it's hard to be the brother of an invention.
  • the early church was split between a judeo-christian community (lead by James) and a pagano-christian community (maybe lead by Paul), which is very hard to explain if you believe that Paul invented everything, like a lot of mythicists do.
  • Christian groups were present in Palestine, Egypt, Anatolia, Greece and Rome as soon as 60 CE

    > a book that's been translated and rewritten several times.

    The NT is not one book but a collection of books, some of them interrelated, but the historicity of Jesus is attested by several independent sources:

  • Paul
  • Mark
  • the (hypothetical) source Q
  • John

    There is no evidence that any of these books were translated: they were all written in Greek. Some of them probably used Aramaic sources, but none of these original sources survived. Yes, most of them experienced several stages of writing.

    For a serious take on what secular historians think about this issue :

    ninja edit: as a conclusion, I respect "weak mythicists" who are just saying that we can't extract biographical information about Jesus from the NT, even if I disagree with them, but hardcore mythicists are just irrational, driven by their ideology.
u/LolaRuns · 2 pointsr/Austria

>Es ist nicht historisch gesichert, dass es diesen Jesus überhaupt gegeben hat.

Das ist eine typische völlig sinnlose Herangehensweise die auch nur für Leute die verliebt in Gedankenexperimente sind interessant ist. Bart Ehrmann (der übrigens eher aus der Skeptikerposition argumentiert) nimmt das in seinem Buch ziemlich gut auseinander. Occams Razor sagt es hat einen Jesus gegeben weil er Spuren in der Geschichte hinterlassen hat. Nur weil wir wenig sicher über sein Leben sagen können bedeutet nicht dass wir nicht ziemlich sagen können dass etwas JesusVonNazarethförmiges in dieser Zeit existiert und eine größere Menge an Menschen schwer beeindruckt hat, weswegen sie angefangen haben über ihn Bücher zu schreiben. Wir wissen über die überwältigende Mehrheit der Menschen die zu dieser Zeit gelebt haben wenig (ie jeder der nicht wichtig genug war um eine Statue von sich zu bauen oder eine Münze über sich zu drucken), das heißt nicht dass sie nicht existiert haben.

Das neue Testament ist ein historisches Dokument ihrer Zeit (= die Zeit ein wenig nach JesusVonNazareth). Nur weil sie in vielen Details unzuverlässlich ist (was übrigens Ehrmanns Lieblingsthema ist: dass die Bibel unzuverlässig ist, aber in vielen Fällen auf sehr vorhersehbare Art und Weise) ändert das nicht dass sie ein Dokument ihrer Zeit ist (er geht auch lang und breit darauf ein warum wir über viele andere Figuren die wir als historisch betrachten oft nur eine Quelle haben oder nur stark unzuverlässige Quellen, zb weil die nur von Feinden geschrieben worden sind, weil die Gruppe der die Person angehörte selbst noch keine Schrift hatte). Und dass Leute nicht ohne Grund anfangen Bücher zu schreiben und communities zu gründen => Und dass keine der Alternativthesen eine glaubwürdigere, fundiertere Erklärung liefert warum da plötzlich um diese Zeit herum Leute angefangen haben sich seltsam zu benehmen.

> Ich hab halt den Eindruck, solche Nachrichten zielen darauf ab, Gläubige Menschen zu bashen, oder harmloser ausgedrückt, sie in ihrem Glauben herauszufordern.

Hast du den Artikel überhaupt gelesen? Der tut doch eher das Gegenteil, er nimmt sich dem gängigen Vorwurf "Momo = pedo" an und erklärt basierend auf Quellen was der Kontext war und was noch in Momos Leben abging. Das meine ich mit dass es hier zwei Gruppen mit unterschiedlichen Motivationen gibt. Ich glaube nicht dass es der Sinn des verlinkten Artikels ist dass er gläubige Menschen bashen will, er wendet sich eher an/gegen Leute die das so machen indem er aufzeigt was seiner Meinung nach Fehler in deren Argumentation sind.

>Religion ist sowas widerspeuchsvolles und kompliziertes, da hilft es nicht auf Widersprüche hinzuweisen, die sind längst rationalisiert oder überhaupt nicht relevant.

Das mag so sein aber ich würde behaupten dass es erstens sehr wohl zweifelnde Menschen gibt und die wenigstens Menschen so sind dass sie nur rational oder nur emotional sind. In den meisten Menschen existiert beides und zweitens dass es in der Regel die Religionen SELBER sind die versuchen ihre eigene innere Ableitungslogik zu geben. Darum gibts ja überhaupt christliche und islamische Theologie. Was tut die denn anderes als schon seit Jahrhunderten an verschiedenen Zitaten rumzuwichsen?

u/PM_ME_GHOST_PROOF · 2 pointsr/dankchristianmemes

Ha, thanks!

I'm familiar with the debate you speak of -- but this is a different, very real, very stupid debate from people who believe Jesus didn't exist. Like I said, they're pretty much antivaxxers: they latch on to bits of misinformation which they use to argue a fringe position, and wage war on anyone who dares disagree. They've also taken over a lot of the atheist community. Here's a debate where Bart Ehrman (a Bible scholar I really like) debates mythicist Robert Price. Ehrman also wrote a whole book refuting the hypothesis. Here's another massive resource refuting mythicism from redditor and historian u/timoneill.

u/red1dragon588 · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

As a heads up, historical Jesus is a FAQ on the /r/AskHistorians wiki.

I don't have much to add, so I'm not sure if this will qualify as a top-level comment, but I hope this answers your question, as these answers are all well-written and sourced. Additionally, a book that is often recommended on this topic is Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth by Bart Ehrman.

u/Searchery · 2 pointsr/religion

>Actually, there still is no consensus in archeology if he actually existed.

That's not true. The vast majority of serious historians of ancient history agree he existed. That doesn't mean they all agree with Christian faith claims about him – there are plenty of Jewish, atheist, agnostic, etc., historians who reject Christian claims that Jesus is divine or rose from the dead, but still agree that he was a real historical person, a 1st century Jewish religious teacher who was crucified by the Romans, and the religious movement he founded evolved into historical Christianity. See, for example, Bart D. Ehrman's book "Did Jesus Exist?". (It is worth noting that Ehrman is an ex-Christian and an agnostic, but he still maintains the scholarly consensus supports Jesus' existence.)

Christ myth theory is almost entirely amateurs (or people who are experts at fields other than ancient history dabbling outside their sphere of professional competence). There are close to zero serious academic historians who support it.

>That said, the set of evidence that does most align with him probably existing has him being High Priest Yeshua of the Essenes

That's a speculative fringe theory, it isn't mainstream scholarship.

u/squonk93 · 2 pointsr/DebateAChristian

The "Jesus" of Christianity is largely fabricated, I agree.

But, reading Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth by Bart Ehrman convinced me that Jesus of Nazareth existed, taught stuff, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate.

I like what ex-Evangelical blogger Neil Carter says about the historicity of Jesus:

>When climate change deniers want to insist that our actions have no impact on global temperatures, they display a remarkable disdain for an entire discipline populated by credentialed professionals in that field who say otherwise.  It doesn’t seem to bother the deniers that they themselves have no specialization in the academic field they disparage because in any field of study there will always be at least some small contingent who go against the consensus.  The existence of those outliers is justification enough for the deniers to say, “This business is far from certain, you know.  Just look at these four people who disagree!”
>That’s how I feel when people in the skeptic community argue that Jesus never existed.  They are dismissing a large body of work for which they have insufficient appreciation, most often due to the fact that they themselves have never formally studied the subject.


Honestly, I don't remember the evidence that Bart Ehrman brought up to prove that Jesus was real. But Ehrman is an agnostic NT scholar who vociferously opposes those who deny the existence of Jesus. Most scholars agree that Jesus at least existed, and Ehrman explains why.

u/harlomcspears · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

When you say "historicity," are you talking about whether or not Jesus existed or what the historical Jesus would have been like?

Bart Ehrman, an atheist, has a book on the former that pretty well represents the consensus of historians that Jesus did, in fact, exist.

I haven't read this, but this book looks like it might be a good intro to the historical Jesus. I don't know all of the scholars on this list, but the ones I do know are good, and it shows a spectrum.

u/ckwop · 2 pointsr/atheism

Read this book. It deals with this topic in detail and it's written by an agnostic.

The overarching thesis of the book is this: Paul actually met Jesus's brother James. James must surely have known whether or not Jesus existed!! James being Jesus' brother is attested to in multiple gospels which were written by independent people.

The idea of a suffering saviour seems natural to us now only because Christianity is ubiquitous today. Back then, it was nothing short of a heresy. It is not a "natural" myth that would have been expected in a Jewish community. The messiah was meant to restore Israel through battle.

That is the book in two paragraphs. The justification for these claims is quite complex and I won't make his argument for him here. Just read the book.

u/seeing_the_light · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Well, the proof is in the pudding, not in the list of ingredients on the side of the packaging of the pudding. To me, by the time I came to the point where I was asking myself what I really believe about the Eucharist, I had for the most part already seen enough to take the word of, not only the Church, but the earliest Christians, considering that's all we have to really go on. I mean, we're not just talking about some random people here but 2nd generation Christians, those who were taught by the Apostles themselves. If that is to come under scrutiny, then why not any other number of things they tell us? Why accept Christ's divinity or the doctrine of the Trinity or the Resurrection? All these things which were taught by the Apostles.

At some point, you become convinced of not just single subject matters, but of the legitimacy of the Church as a whole, you believe in the Church - not the individuals per se, but the body of teachings, and, more importantly, the transformative power of the way of living.

I would encourage you to more fully explore the links given in the thread I linked to, there is a wealth of information there which can take several months to take in and digest. And don't get hung up on single things like this, continue to investigate the Church as a whole. Have you read this book yet? It is probably the best introduction to the Church, both theologically and socially/historically.

Peace in Christ.

u/Fuzzpufflez · 2 pointsr/Christianity

What you are seeking I think would in my opinion be found in Orthodox Christianity.

  1. We Orthodox call them Spiritual Fathers. These can be your priest, your confessor or a monk. Usually it is your priest or confessor as they will get to know you very well. The job of a spiritual Father is to help instruct and guide you on your spiritual path towards salvation. He will answer questions, offer advice with life problems and is the person you can talk to when you are troubled.
  2. We have hesychasm and prayer rules. They help bring spiritual order into our lives so that we can better live out the faith.
  3. The Orthodox teaching of hell is that at the judgement all souls (saved and unsaved) will experience God's love. A soul which has rejected God will experience God in a dreadful way entirely as a result of his own choice. God will show him his love but because he has cut off himself from him and rejected him he will not welcome that presence.
  4. The term denominations refers to all the protestant splinter groups which were created by Martin Luther 1500 years after Christ. Apart from those Christianity has many sects such as Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Copts etc. The way you would discover which is the true one is through research. Look at the Church history, which one teaches and practices the same things as the early Church? Paul told us to hold fast to the traditions we have been given. I can only instruct point you towards the Orthodox Church as we were founded by the Apostles and have kept the teachings and traditions they gave us.
  5. Prayers to saints is not a necessity, we pray to them to ask them to pray for us just like we would other Christians because God is not the god of the dead and of the living. Christ showed us that they are alive at his transfiguration.
  6. The attitude towards the different sects changes between churches. Some believe anything flies as long as your praise Jesus. Some, like us, believe that there is only one faith that we were instructed to keep, and to change it is to depart from the church.
  7. With regards to tradition, you will find its fullness in the Orthodox Church. We were instructed to keep it, and so we did.
  8. KJV is a good translation, but you can also google about which one is the best. Being translations, they all have issues. We Orthodox believe scripture should not be read alone because the reader will come to his own conclusions rather than what was given to us. Scripture is not just the written word but the overall context and teaching.
  9. At the end of all this, this is but what our church claims. You can only get to the bottom of it through research. I can point you to the Orthodox Church.

    A good book to read is this.
u/horsodox · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Welcome to the Orthodox Church by Frederica Mathewes-Green

The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware

are both good books on the subject.

I can dump a few lectures on YouTube if you want.

u/_innocent · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

They aren't Orthodox theologians, but:

  • Christianity: The First 3000 Years - can't beat this for an academic, accessible, comprehensive, and fair point of view of every corner of the Christian world in history. Literally every corner. You can skip chapters/parts that don't apply to Orthodoxy if you wish.

  • A Short History of Byzantium -
    focuses more on the Byzantine Empire and so leaves out a lot of stuff, but it does cover the Ecumenical Councils and a lot of Orthodox history. There is also a harder-to-find 3 part trilogy of this abridged book.

    Orthodox Writings:

  • Bishop Ware's The Orthodox Church has an overview, but it's pretty light.

  • Orthodox Alaska provides a historical look at the history of Orthodoxy in Alaska, which is pretty great (and super interesting).

    There are probably not many good histories of the Church by Orthodox theologians, to be honest.

u/jw101 · 2 pointsr/Christianity

I would like to suggest The Orthodox Church.

The first half of the book is about the history of the Orthodox Church from the time of Christ to the present day, it sort of picks up where the Bible leaves off.

The second half is more doctrinal, which, you can judge on it's own merits.

u/m_Th · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Mountain of Silence - by Kyriakos Markides


Fr Arseny: Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father


The Orthodox Church - Timothy Ware


Byzantine Thought and Art - Constantine Cavarnos

u/williamsates · 2 pointsr/conspiracy

>They are calling them the family even though I have been deep in this shit for years and never heard that stupid name

Thats funny, because it has been known about for years. Jeff Sharlet even wrote a couple of books about them C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy was published in 2010, and The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power was published in 2009. He wrote a famous piece in Salon about this issue in 2009 as well.

The nexus of right wing Christianity and fascism in American politics has been a running theme for decades.

u/LincolnHighwater · 2 pointsr/politics

...the family..."

As in... The Family?

u/dichosa · 2 pointsr/atheism

Does she believe in a literal bible? I really like this one: Misquoting Jesus You don't need the hardback but I was too lazy to look further.

u/Omegastar19 · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Misquoting Jesus, by professor Bart D. Erhman. Its a wonderful book that gives a solid introduction to New Testament historiography, specifically written for people who do not know a lot about it. I recommend reading it.

u/BloodSoakedDoilies · 2 pointsr/politics

WHAT??? Changing the Bible to suit the environment??? Say it ain't so!


I HIGHLY recommend the book Misquoting Jesus. After reading this scholarly analysis of the origins of the books of the Bible, you will be shocked that anyone still believes anything in that book.

u/saltedwyfe · 2 pointsr/atheism

I highly recommend Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus.

The author is a biblical scholar who started off as an evangelical christian, but realized he was an agnostic during his graduate studies.

u/KlueBat · 2 pointsr/atheism

I'm convinced his photocopier is broken.

You have no idea how dead on you are here. I'm just finishing up with a reading of Misquoting Jesus and I can say that the book we call the Bible today bares only a passing resemblance to the letters the original disciples wrote to early Christians.

So many things were changed over the years due to typos, transcription errors, good intention corrections, as well as flat out changes to match the agenda of a scribe who happened to be copying.

Read this book and you will never look at the Bible the same way again. This goes for the those who are religious as well as those whom are not.

u/Independent · 2 pointsr/history

I really like history books that don't at first seem to be history books, but are explorations of societies sometimes seen through the lens of a single important concept or product. For instance, Mark Kurlansky has several books such as Salt; A World History, Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, The Basque History of the World, Nonviolence: 25 Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea that teach more history, and more important history than is usually taught in US public schools.

History need not be rote memorization of dates and figures. It can, and should be a fun exploration of ideas and how those ideas shaped civilizations. It can also be an exploration of what did not make it into the history books as Bart Ehrman's Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament or his Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why and Elaine Pagels' The Gnostic Gospels attest.

I don't wish to come across as too glib about this, but I feel like the average person might well retain more useful knowledge reading a book like A History of the World in 6 Glasses than if they sat through a semester of freshman history as taught by most boring, lame generic high schools. I feel like often the best way to understand history is to come at it tangentially. Want to understand the US Constitution? Study the Iroquois confederacy. Want to understand the French? Study cuisine and wine. Want to understand China? Study international trade. And so it goes. Sometimes the best history lessons come about from just following another interest such as astronomy or math or cooking. Follow the path until curiosity is sated. Knowledge will accumulate that way. ;-)

u/iamazreal · 2 pointsr/IAmA

>However even when humans transcribed the Bible (Paul, Moses, Matthew, David, Solomon etc.) wouldn't that simply be inspired by God through humans?

First of all these humans typically were not the ones writing the Bible. They were orally transmitting the words to scribes. With that said, If (and I say if not really believing this to be possible) we say that these original speakers had the exact words inspired from God we are still dealing with about 1000 layers of abstraction. Firstly the scribes may have written the original words incorrectly (ok no big deal a few words were out of place or slightly different). The period for about 200-300 years directly following the death of Christ (supposedly the period when all of the books were written although we don't have hardly any fragments from these years bigger than a business card) Christians were heavily persecuted and their writings were destroyed frequently. Under this type of pressure, a huge amount of changes were likely made. So let's just say (completely implausibly at this point) that some fairly error free versions made it past all of this then the Bible as we currently know it begins to get formed. Half of the books/letters that people have been using for the past 200+ years are thrown right out of the window because they do not fall in line with the beliefs of the decision makers. Ok, let's assume that the people making the decisions about which books make it into canon are completely correct. Then they decide to translate these into latin. When they do this, they decide to use the more common newer versions of the texts rather than the older (closer the original events) versions. This is where it really starts to get rough. We currently have machines and that old adage copy of a copy. Well they had scribes and monks copying text over and over again. Not only were these scribes responsible for this, they were also life-devoted theologians. All of them having differing opinions about the meaning of some of the text. With this said many of the ancients copies read more like commentaries. I could go on and on, but it should suffice to say that the origin of the Bible is suspect at best I find it hard to believe that these processes could be inspired. This is especially troublesome for those that teach that the word for word English translation of the Bible is absolute truth

>I'm curious as to which theological courses (or articles) in particularyou studied that would put the falliability of the Bible into light?

No courses in particular. It was the books that I read that surrounded the courses that really brought it all to light. The biggest influence was learning greek and studying the origins of the gospel of John. If you want a super light summary reading that will at least give a you a glimpse into what I'm saying you may want to read misquoting Jesus

EDIT: Note that everything I said only applies to the new testament. The Old Testament is even worse in this regard, but most protestants don't care much for that half of the Bible anyway :).

u/ifihadasister · 2 pointsr/atheism

Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman.

u/harassed · 2 pointsr/atheism

I'd go get yourself a copy of "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart D. Ehrman which I think is probably the most damning indictment of the bible as "literal truth" there is. Basically, it describes the fact that there are more DIFFERENCES between different known versions and translations of the bible than there are actually words within the whole New Testament. By showing how many scholars, scribes and others have changed, reworded or added their own beliefs to the various versions of the texts over the centuries, it pretty much proves that the bible is most certainly not the inspired word of god but the flawed work of of man.

Here's a link to a talk Mr Ehrman gave:

And here's an interview on NPR:

And here's the Amazon link (which has a look inside thingy):

u/BearnardOg · 2 pointsr/atheism

Mom needs to read "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Dawkins. If she has actually unhitched her reasoning from the yoke of religion, then there is no way that she can make it through that book and still doubt that evolution is a fact - which it is.

Dad is trickier. He seems to be at the stage where he thinks "church is bad, but god is good." I was there for a long time myself. If he is a reader, maybe you could turn him on to the works of Bart Ehrman, especially "Misquoting Jesus". If you can get him in front of a computer for 90 minutes, the YouTube series "Why I am no Longer a Christian" by evid3nc3 is mind-blowingly good.

But better still, you read and watch these things and master their content. Then present the arguments to your folks because it sounds like they want to listen to you.

u/joejance · 2 pointsr/atheism

If I recall, at least 3 of the books are believed to be based on 1 original work, which itself probably post-dated the supposed existence of Jesus by many years. It has been a while since I read it, but I believe Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman discusses this.

I found this article on Wikipeida while trying to remember which books:

Sometimes it's difficult to keep track of all of this nonsense while living your life.

u/svFlo · 2 pointsr/Ateitininkai

„God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades“ Itin įtraukianti istorinė (bet ne per ilga :D ) knyga apie Pirmąjį kryžiaus žygį. Nereali istorija apie tai, kaip kryžiuočiai sugebėjo susigrąžinti Jeruzalę iš ją nusiaubusių musulmonų rankų, nepaisant daug mažesnių karinių pajėgų, Bizantijos išdavysčių ir milijono kitų nepalankių sąlygų. Griauna visus mitus apie tariamai gobšius, žiaurius ir savanaudiškus kryžiuočius. Parašyta prieinamu stiliumi, tikrai nereikės skaityti su žodynu ant kelių.

u/SpeSalvi · 2 pointsr/Catholicism
u/lakingscrzy · 2 pointsr/Catholicism
u/tuigdoilgheas · 2 pointsr/Christianity

I'm also going through all those old Will Durant history books for a nice refresher, as audiobooks, peppered liberally with readings from its sources when I'm not plugged in and listening.

u/gamegyro56 · 2 pointsr/ELINT

I'll try to give an unbiased view:

  1. Yes, before and after, as you can see here. The most famous of which is Simon bar Kochba, though he was slightly after Jesus. It is also the mainstream historical view that Jesus did not claim to be Messiah (though there are some that disagree).
    The main thing about Jesus is that, even though he was executed, his followers (mostly Peter and Mary, and Paul later) had visions of him. This allowed it to be continued after his death.
    Another major thing is that Christians (especially through Paul) reached out to Gentiles. Paul said that Gentiles did not need to conform to any Jewish law to be Christian. This made it much easier for others to convert, and in just a few hundred years, we see tons and tons of Gentile Christian writers.

  2. Christianity was known in the time, though it was a type different that what was in the west (though both types are equally old). The makeup of Arabia varied. There were Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, and Arabs. Arabs worshiped lesser divinities (that is, not the supreme God), or they were monotheistic hanifs. There were also non-Arab polytheists.
    As far as I know, Muhammad's early community was made up of mostly Arabs, and no Jews. Though he did view Jews as People of the Book (Jews were given 3 of the 4 major books in Islam: Moses, David, and Jesus). It's hard to explain why an individual Jew would convert to Islam, as religion is tied up with politics and culture. But Muhammad's early community didn't have any Jews in it (I think).

  3. As far as I know, Muhammad didn't claim to be the Messiah. In Islam, Jesus is still the Messiah. The difference is that he is not God. As for Jews and Jesus, you can read some reasons here. The Gospel writers had their own view of the prophecies. They seemed to make the story of Jesus fit into the prophecies, even if those prophecies are based on a bad translation, or even if those prophecies aren't even talking about the Messiah. There are unfulfilled prophecies. Modern Christians say they will be fulfilled when Jesus returns. This is not in the Tanakh, and Jews don't seem to believe in the Second Coming.
    The reason Jews generally don't think the Messiah went unknown is because the prophecies have some extravagant claims (as you can see in the link). The whole world will have knowledge of Yahweh and worship him.

    For question 1, you can read more in the book How Jesus Became God. For question 2, you can read more in the book No god but God.
u/w_v · 2 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

To claim that the disciples' visions were of a true miracle would fall outside the scope of what historians can say about the past. So I guess my question is: What do you mean by mass hallucination theory?

I mean, barring evidence of purposeful deception, all miraculous visions are, by definition, non-veridical when analyzed within a historical context (non-veridical being a less loaded term for hallucination.)

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines it as...

> “an experience which seems exactly like a veridical perception of an ordinary object but where there is no such object there to be perceived. Like illusions, hallucinations in this sense do not necessarily involve deception.”

Using this definition it's totally possible to talk about the real visions the disciples had of an unreal event. This is how Ehrman chose to approach the topic in his book: How Jesus Became God.

As far as problems with this approach, I guess it boils down to whether or not you think these visions had anything to do with the origin of Christianity. What's certaintly not up for (historical) debate is whether these visions were of an actual miracle—Bayesian apologetics notwithstanding.


If you're interested in visions of the recently deceased outside of an academicbiblical context, there's plenty of scholarship on bereavement visions. The author provides a generous list of suggested readings at the end.

u/AprilLudgateDwyer · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Agreed. According to Bart Erhman -- the scholar who wrote the textbook on early Christianity that Yale uses -- the "human sacrifice" angle was likely a retrofitted philosophy after it started being apparent that Jesus wasn't coming back in their lifetimes to free Judea, raise shadow ppl from the dirt, etc.

Many early Christians were satisfied that his big miracle was his spiritual resurrection. (To modernize that a bit, the first man to realize his self outside of spacetime.)

u/U53R-N4M3 · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

What is yours and other academic's take on Bart Ehrman's book: "How Jesus Became God :The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee"

What book would you recommend if I wanted a historically accurate version of Jesus's life and the foundations of Christianity?

u/Uncanevale · 2 pointsr/atheism

Read the OT, along with some history of the region before starting the NT.

A couple of good source books are "The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel" and "Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times" They cover the back story of the bible so you can understand the context better. Don't know if either are available for free though.

u/extispicy · 2 pointsr/Christianity

> Deuteronomy 16:21 just came up in my reading. Awesome.

I love it! I love seeing the connections and getting a peek behind the curtain to get a sense of what things would have meant to the original audience!

Another on-topic book that is on my wishlist is The Early History of God by Mark Smith.

For getting your feet wet in OT scholarship, the go-to references are Friedman's "Who Wrote the Bible?" (did I see someone else recommend that one?) and Kugel's "How To Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture Then and Now". Those are the only general topic books that come to mind. Scrolling through my Amazon order history, everything else seems pretty specific . . . and random. Let me know if there is a specific area you are interested in

I cannot stress enough how fantastic the Yale lectures I linked to before are. If you can sit through those 24 lectures, you will have all the background you need to explore whatever area catches your eye.

As an aside, since you say you are in an exploration phase with your faith. I would double recommend James Kugel's book above. In the epilogue he comments that he is often asked how he is able to remain a devout Orthodox Jew knowing what he knows about biblical history. He says he reads the bible as the record of an ancient people trying to understand their god and to make sense of their place in the world, and to him it doesn't matter if the stories are true because he understands they are a product of their culture. (I'm tired, does that sound preachy?)

u/wonderfuldog · 2 pointsr/atheism

I really think that The Case Against God, by George H Smith is exactly what you're looking for.

- -

A very clear and detailed summary of the arguments.

u/Valmorian · 2 pointsr/DebateAChristian

I strongly recommend the following:

As a bonus, I've found it in every library I've checked, so there's a good chance you can just check it out.

u/marc_a · 2 pointsr/atheism
u/ResidentRedneck · 2 pointsr/Christianity

>Atheism is not a religion.


>We have no doctrine.

I'm almost positive that that's not the case.

>No creed.

From PZ Myers himself.

>No hymns.

Really? Are you so very certain?

So...are you positive that atheism has not taken on all the trappings of a religion? I would say you even have apostles - Dawkins, Hitchins, Harris.

Finally - I would urge you to look up state atheism and then tell me that certain people didn't kill in the name of atheism.

u/mad_atheist · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

>I am mad at myself for not being this analytic about this earlier in my life

I had this exact feeling.

So one thing to realize is that this process takes time I mean for FSM sake u lived a lot with this Idea.keep reading whatever you do keep reading.

some sources or ideas that were helpful to me:

  • parables of Jesus
  • the history of hell
  • history before ur religion.
  • the Christ myth theory (However I do believe he existed but it lowered my certainty) and how exodus never happened look for the exodus myth
  • Commonsense atheism and proving the negative
  • talk origin and talk design are also very good sources.
  • read some books on cognitive sciences and psychology of religion , search for recommended atheism books. (understand what cognitive bias is)
  • this is the phone line u're looking for
  • read an introductory account on atheism this is one of the best books on atheism
  • find a way to express u're doubts or else u'll go crazy (at least if u're anything like me) ,blog about it or write about it , talk to s1, ask others questions.
  • listen to debates about religions.
  • think about the fact that u finally could emancipate urself from this.
  • learn a little more about other religions it helps A LOT .
  • read books by Xbelievers like John Luftus or Dan barker
  • read more I mean Way more on cosmology and physics. just search for top books on Cosmology
  • read comparative books like Karen Armstrong books and read the evolution of god
  • read Religion Explained

    keep fear away and ...good luck !

u/FatesPeak · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

One of my major sources on the historicity of Jesus is:

It really is worth reading

u/vineyardmike · 2 pointsr/exmormon

You can believe in Christ without being lds. fact over 90 percent of the people thar believe in christ are not lds.

Find some good books and explore on your own.

I really liked zealot by Reza Aslan. It's one of the few out there that is historically accurate and tries to look at the person and not the religions that formed around his legacy.

ZEALOT: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

u/emmas_revenge · 2 pointsr/exmormon
u/sixthfore · 2 pointsr/AdviceAnimals

According to the first chapter of Zealot, Jesus most likely actually didn't preach universal love and peace.

It's been a while, but something about Jesus being spun from a particularly successful religious rabble rousing celebrity (these were supposedly rather common in that time) to be a loving peaceful chap due to Roman politics and pressures / tendency to violently suppress threats to their rule.

Just my impression from one particular source of potential knowledge.

u/joenathanSD · 2 pointsr/atheism

My brother, your first two questions seem rhetorical. No I haven't spoken to him. My interest in Jesus is not based on the Biblical description of him. I've read many books about him written about him including Zealot. Have you read this one? It's solid.

u/thewhaleshark · 2 pointsr/Norse

The modernization argument is silly. Names morph constantly throughout the historical record. Are you going to say that Egil never existed because it's sometimes spelled "Egill?"

We can trace the modernization of a name back to its historical roots. That's not an issue.

Zealot provides a pretty interesting take on it, but that's just the most recent attempt at proving the historical Jesus. The broad consensus of Biblical scholars is that Jesus of Nazareth definitely existed, and that the role of Messiah was ascribed to him after his death.

The fact that the religion turned him into some mythical hero after his death is irrelevant to his actual existence. Now, was he the son of God, healing the sick and performing miracles and the pre-ordained Messiah sent to save the world? I doubt it, and there is no evidence to support that.

u/-to- · 2 pointsr/atheism

On the subject of Yeshua of Nazareth I would like to refer everyone to Reza Aslan's Zealot.

In a nutshell: Jesus existed; however he was a very minor character, a Jewish nationalist who wanted to start an armed rebellion against Rome. His rebellion was nipped in the bud as he was gathering followers. In the aftermath to his crucifixion and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, what remained of his followers gained momentum in the establishment of a reform movement among Greek-speaking Jews, then other Roman citizens. Christianism then acquired a life of its own, each generation adding to the new scriptures elements that the original first-century Palestine Jews would have found utterly alien, until it was made into a State religion.

About the link: Is it me, or do the videos have a slightly cultish tinge to them ?

u/danielxcubed · 2 pointsr/atheism

For those who may want to read the book.

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

u/W0rdN3rd · 2 pointsr/books

Just started Reza Aslan's _Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.

At page 95/216 (not counting end notes/bibliography, etc.), he's established his own credentials, set the stage with a bit of history and has begun exploring what the historical Jesus' life might have been like.

My only complaint is from an editing point of view: I'm not a fan of end notes. If something needs a bit more explanation, throw in a footnote or a parenthetical note, but don't make me keep switching back and forth. It's distracting. I've tried reading all the chapter notes after reading the chapter, before reading the chapter and while reading the chapter--it's just too distracting.

u/IC_XC_NIKA_ · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Yes, a really good read is 'The Orthodox Church' by Kallistos Ware which gives you a great overview of the History of the early church before and after the schism, focusing primary on the Eastern Churches and what was going on there rather than West. It's not exhaustive but covers all the major events and key figures, as well some chapters on Orthodox theology and spirituality, which you will find interesting, especially if you come from another tradition.

u/HitchensNippleJuice · 2 pointsr/Christianity is a pretty good go-to site for specific topics from an Orthodox perspective. Wikipedia for that matter is excellent if you want a more secular perspective.

Also, this is a great pair of books (by the same author, incidentally) on both the history and practices of the Orthodox Church. Though keep in mind they're written by an Orthodox bishop, not a secular historian.

The Orthodox Church (this one's the history book)

The Orthodox Way

I was able to find a copy of The Orthodox Church at a local library.

Also, this is a great podcast about Byzantine history. It isn't really about the Church specifically, rather the Byzantine Empire, which was intimately tied to the Eastern Orthodox Church for many many years (history's kind of a side interest of mine).

u/swinebone · 2 pointsr/Christianity

This book is seen as pretty much the gold standard when it comes to introducing the Orthodox Church. I'd also recommend the "Orthodox Study Bible."

If I recall correctly, their two primary issues with the Catholic Church was the Roman Pope's primacy and something with the Nicene Creed. They've diverged significantly since then, though. The Orthodox tend to be much more spiritual, use a lot more symbols and more incense, and a whole lot less legalistic.

u/BamaHammer · 2 pointsr/TrueChristian

Mere Christianity is excellent.

I happen to like Timothy Ware's The Orthodox Church, for obvious reasons.

u/Schmitty422 · 2 pointsr/Christianity

I've yet to read it, but Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch has been on my list for awhile. I read his book on the Reformation and thoroughly enjoyed it.

u/MotherfuckingGandhi · 2 pointsr/Christianity

You might want to read more about Eastern Orthodoxy and the Middle Eastern traditions, especially their monastic traditions. I grew up among Baptists too, and also used to think of Christianity almost entirely in terms of the narrow worldview I was raised with, which was something along the lines of "Apostolic era, martyrs, evil Catholic church, yay Protestant Reformation hurray Baptists"...

If you're interested in more info about these churches, here are their Wikipedia articles:

Eastern Orthodox

Oriental Orthodox

Church of the East

Also, if you are still interested in learning more about Christian history, I'd really recommend picking up a copy of this book from Amazon. Even though I'm not really a believer anymore, I've gained tons of understanding and respect for the depth of Christian traditions, largely as a result of this book and research I've done online.

u/wedgeomatic · 2 pointsr/Christianity

A combination of the fact that I'm a historian working on medieval Christian thought, so reading this stuff is quite literally my job, and that I'm just interested so I read a lot of stuff on the side. There are a ton of books out there, I've heard that this is very good.

u/Nicolaus_ · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Two books that I can personally vouch for:

u/she-stocks-the-night · 2 pointsr/news

Do you...not understand how history works? Are you...twelve years old?

Jesus the man's existence is fact among scholars. You gonna tell me the dinosaurs don't exist next?

u/bdwilson1000 · 2 pointsr/Antitheism

Lost Christianities by Bart Ehrman:

Click the "used" tab for a super cheap copy.

u/craklyn · 2 pointsr/politics

> I'm not arguing the whole "he was just a guy like anyone else" bit because that just reeks of religious apology.

That's what this conversation is about.

The person you responded to says "I'm pretty sure he was a real guy. No idea if he did all that coming back from the dead, but he probably did exist."

Your response begins "Actually, IIRC, the historical record is pretty vague about a guy named Jesus." So you're replying to the claim that Jesus historically existed, not to any claim of supernatural phenomena.

> There is ONE and only ONE reference to Jesus, and that's the New Testament.

The NT is a collection of documents, some independent of one another and some dependent on one another, written by different authors at different times. It is disingenuous to call it a single reference.

> Without it, Jesus is literally just a footnote, a nobody.

Jesus movements began before the books of the Bible were written. These movements grew into early "Christianties" (see and finally Christianity as we know it today. To these movements, that did not have a Bible, Jesus was not a footnote.

> We aren't arguing about an unimportant peasant living in an illiterate and barbaric time and place. We are discussing the claims of supernaturality from a religion.

If you trace this conversation back to its start, you can see we're discussing historicity.

> You would think a deity would get more attention than book 15, chapter fucking 44 of a book about faraway ROME written over a century after his death.

From this I conclude that Jesus wasn't important to people who were not involved in Jesus movements. (I am not responding to the assumption of Jesus' divinity as that is a religious question, not a historical one.)

> I'm not simply saying Jesus didn't exist, I'm wondering if he wasn't just a pauper selected by a mob to be famously misunderstood as ruler of the Universe ...

If this is what you want to discuss, the post you replied to was probably the wrong place to start the discussion.

Edit: Added the following

> As for whether or not he existed as a human being, why do we need to know more than that about him? If he isn't a deity, why should we care?

Whether or not Jesus is a deity, the religion that sprang up around the circumstances of Jesus' death remains a part of human culture to this day. According to the first google result I got when I searched, there are over 2 billion Christians alive today. Even if that figure overestimates the number, there are certainly many Christians alive today. Even if a person has no interest in religion, Christianity is a part of our shared culture.

u/bogan · 2 pointsr/history

A couple of books that discuss some of the early competing Christian groups:

  • Early Christian Heresies by Joan O' Grady.

    Some information on the book from the inside of the dust jacket:

    >Early Christian Heresies describes the events, the people, the philosophies, the cults, and the ideologies that influenced the new religion at its birth and during its growth; and it attempts to disentangle the main threads that emerge from this labyrinth of ideas, beliefs, and passions.
    >The first five centuries of Christianity are covered here because this was a fluid time when doctrines and beliefs were being formed and many important changes were taking place in the world.

  • Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew by Bart D. Ehrman, an American New Testament scholar and the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    >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. Ehrman's discussion ranges from considerations of various "lost scriptures"--including forged gospels supposedly written by Simon Peter, Jesus's closest disciple, and Judas Thomas, Jesus's alleged twin brother--to the disparate beliefs of such groups as the Jewish-Christian Ebionites, the anti-Jewish Marcionites, and various "Gnostic" sects. Ehrman examines in depth the battles that raged between "proto-orthodox Christians"--those who eventually compiled the canonical books of the New Testament and standardized Christian belief--and the groups they denounced as heretics and ultimately overcame. Scrupulously researched and lucidly written, Lost Christianities is an eye-opening account of politics, power, and the clash of ideas among Christians in the decades before one group came to see its views prevail.
u/Mmimi301 · 2 pointsr/NoStupidQuestions

This is a very good book about Scientology.

u/freezoneandproud · 2 pointsr/scientology

If you enjoyed that article -- and I agree that it is very good -- you should take the time to read the entire book that it inspired, Going Clear. As you might expect, a 500-page book has a lot more detail than an article does. (The movie is good as well, but the book is better. As is usually the case.)

I have 40 years of experience with the subject, and am fully aware of both its plusses and minuses. There's more to it than any single article can cover.

u/nufosmatic · 2 pointsr/The_Donald

The Irish fiercely defended their island against all invaders. Then Saint Patrick appeared on the scene and pacified the island. And then the same people who are being conquered by the Muslim invasion today took over their little island.

u/Girfex · 2 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

My favorite birthday, my lovely wife took me home back to Ireland and we spent two weeks there. It was amazing.

item linky!

Happy Birthday!

u/YesYesLibertarians · 2 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

> Don't tell me what I believe, thanks.

That's not a contradiction or refutation. I take it then that you consider the statement accurate? I guess I'm just confused why you would be so hesitant to admit to the exclusivity of Christian theology. In my opinion this exclusivity is an asset, not a liability.

> Go back to the OT and try to tell me that OT wasn't just as if not more fucking brutal than Islam.

Torah applies itself to a particular ethnic group and geographic area. Christian tradition says that virtually all of it is subsumed by the teachings of Christ, which are the exact opposite of brutal. If there is an equivalent in Muslim theology that mitigates the imperative to unconditional world conquest, please enlighten me.

This rising anger you feel could be a sign that somewhere in your mind you know that your position has an extremely poor defense, but you've invested too much in it to allow yourself to admit to any errors.

> I already [differentiate between a religion and a state populated by their adherents], thank you.

Yet you lay every atrocity of the Middle Ages at the feet of "Christianity" and not the various human institutions that ordered them. This is inconsistent. Besides, these guardians of civilization you speak of were responsible for possibly the bloodiest killing spree in history. We're talking "mountains made out of skulls" here, without such labor saving devices as machine guns or nerve gas. I don't think you appreciate what role Christian Irish monks had in preserving civilization. It's not as though Europe reawakened speaking Arabic and praying to Allah.

I'll ask you again to look at what fruit is borne by civilizations informed by the two religions, even assuming that the bloodlust of states is totally separate from religious motivations for both sides. Why is it that predominantly Christian nations were first to project themselves across the globe, bless humanity with industrialization, and put men on the Moon? I get that the modern middle east would not be nearly the mess it is without chaos raining down from the heavens in the form of American bombs, and yet in US-allied, prosperous and comparatively safe Saudi Arabia, they still publicly stone adulteresses.

u/eoinnll · 2 pointsr/Gunners

Here you go. It was a BBC documentary. That documentary took a lot from the RTE radio series. There is a great book on the same subject.

The documentary. There are 2 parts an hour each.

The radio series there are 12 parts half hour each. The book. All highly recommended. I love a bit of history me. Makes me pissed off I did economics first time round, but we follow the money!

u/Starfire013 · 2 pointsr/Doom

Satan being God's #1 angel is actually based on later tradition, rather than from the Bible. A lot of "facts" about Satan that we pretty much take for granted nowadays are actually tacked on over time from various other sources. It's actually a pretty interesting topic, and you can read up a little about it here, and there's a pretty good book about the subject here.

u/Guy_In_Florida · 2 pointsr/standupshots

This is an excellent study of Satan in the history of the Christian religion, and those that preceded it. I love this authors work, she has a way with history. Fun Fact, she is Hans Pagels wife. Jeff Goldblooms part in Jurassic Park was based on him. And I'm not religious, just enjoy the history of it all.

u/NervousAboutAngels · 2 pointsr/WitchesVsPatriarchy

You may also be interested in seeking out the gnostic gospels. One claims to be from Mary and provides a direct female succession. I'm not a catholic myself, but I gained that nugget of info recently while reading The Origin of Satan by Elaine Pagels. She's written a couple books on the gnostic gospels that I intend to pick up next.

u/mephistoA · 2 pointsr/DebateAChristian

actually the concept of Satan is a very late invention (post exhilic Judaism, at the earliest) whose purpose was to demonise the enemies of the jews. you can read more about it here

u/dc396 · 2 pointsr/Christianity

If you're looking for historical view, I personally like Elaine Pagels The Origin of Satan.

u/brotherwayne · 2 pointsr/politics

Epic thread discussing origin/meaning of Satan is missing this book:

(Origin of Satan, Elaine Pagels)

u/tannat · 2 pointsr/atheism

Check up exodus on wikipedia, archeology references.

Or this book:

u/czah7 · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

The books mentioned. Amazon Zombie bot should be around to reply shortly.

"The Bible Unearthed" by Israel Finkelstein.

"Jesus, Interrupted" by Bart Ehrman

"Forged" by Bart Ehrman

u/Michamus · 2 pointsr/atheism

The Bible Unearthed by Prof. Israel Finkelstein (CV)

It was the second result.

u/SayItLikeItIs · 2 pointsr/Israel

> No, it actually isn't.

Again the bald assertion devoid of evidence. "Indigenous" means "originating in an area". The Israelite ethnic identity originated in a very specific area: the north-central highlands, which is not within the modern State of Israel. We've already discussed some of the evidence, and I provide more below. If you have evidence to support a claim that the Israelite ethnic identity emerged somewhere other than the north-central highlands, or even simultaneously in the north-central highlands AND somewhere else, please provide evidence.

> Your link says "Arab (Palestinian)". Completely consistent with what I've been saying, which is that Palestinian Arabs are Arabs who live in Palestine, not different ethnically than Jordanian Arabs or Syrian Arabs.

Then why specify "Palestinian"? What the Wikipedia article actually says is that "Arab (Palestinian)" is an ethnic group. I don't really care if you call the ethnic group "Palestinian" or "Palestinian Arab" or "Arab (Palestinian)". The point is that it is a distinct ethnic group, part of but not the same as the "Arab" ethnic group.

> the Palestinian people are part of the Arab Nation

A group of people can't simultaneously have one ethnic identity and be part of a nation? Evidence please.

> I don't know enough about Russians to comment, sorry.

Do you know enough about the Jews to comment on this statement: "Jews are Semites, which means they are not a separate ethnicity from the other Semites - agreed?" I notice you conveniently skipped over that one.

> Come back when you have real evidence, not some biblethumpers.

The fact that they were biblethumpers doesn't inherently make what they say untrue. I thought it was a useful summary, but there's plenty of additional evidence.

Finkelstein and Silberman: "These [new archaeological] surveys revolutionized the study of early Israel. The discovery of the remains of a dense network of highland villages — all apparently established within the span of few generations — indicated that a dramatic social transformation had taken place in the central hill country of Canaan around 1200 BCE. There was no sign of violent invasion or even the infiltration of a clearly defined ethnic group. Instead, it seemed to be a revolution in lifestyle. In the formerly sparsely populated highlands from the Judean hills in the south to the hills of Samaria in the north, far from the Canaanite cities that were in the process of collapse and disintegration, about two-hundred fifty hilltop communities suddenly sprang up. Here were the first Israelites." (p. 107)

Apparently one of the indicators of the emergence of this new culture in the highlands was the lack of pork remains in the highlands, whereas there were a lot of pork remains in archaeological sites in other area: "Facing the “enemy” or “other” (i.e., the Philistines) who came from the southern coastal plain (and originally from the Aegean world), the highland settlers reinforced a “contrasting” identity that stressed components that were very different from those of the Philistines. Since the latter consumed pork,the Israelites made the avoidance of pork into a“flag” that was used to show how different they were."

Then there's the Egytian stele, which Wikipedia describes thus: "The name Israel first appears in the stele of the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah c. 1209 BCE, "Israel is laid waste and his seed is no more." This "Israel" was a cultural and probably political entity of the central highlands, well enough established to be perceived by the Egyptians as a possible challenge to their hegemony, but an ethnic group rather than an organised state."

Despite the above-mentioned conflict with the Philistines, there's less evidence than I expected of a violent conquest, so it's possible, despite the evidence of Procopius, that the Israelites weren't actually conquerors of the State of Israel. To me, the evidence isn't conclusive either way on the "conqueror" question - thanks for prompting me to look into this; I like to learn new things. But ALL evidence points to the Israelites originating in the highlands, which makes them not indigenous, and therefore foreign to the State of Israel.

I'm very curious what you're going to come up with to try to counter this. I'm sure you'll come up with something. What do they say about Zionists? "Using evidence like a drunk uses a lamppost: not for illumination but for support." Sigh.

> Doesn't sound much like they are willing to share.

There are other ways to share besides chopping Palestine into ethnically pure pieces. The Palestinian Arabs were quite willing to share - i.e., continue to live side-by-side with the Palestinian Jews they'd been living with for generations; they just didn't want to be dominated.

Or does "sharing" mean "not identifying your state with the majority ethnic group"? So for example, a people who were good and decent and willing to share would not refer to themselves as, say, "the Jewish state" when there was a non-Jewish minority?

I would really like to understand the different between the First-Class Land Rights of "indigenous" people and the Second-Class Land Rights of other people. All you've said is that they're "superior". What does that mean? Does a single "native" person have the right to boot out every non-native person? Or take 10%? Or what?

u/53R63 · 2 pointsr/exjw

I'm reading The Bible Unearthed at the moment. Pretty much covers the early history of ancien Israel up to the return from the Babylone. A great read so far.

u/Parley_Pratts_Kin · 2 pointsr/mormon

Read these books in this order:

  1. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Harari. Overview of the history of humanity. Fascinating.
  2. God: A Human History by Reza Aslan. Overview of the development of religion and ideas about God.
  3. The Bible Unearthed by Israel Finkelstein. Overview of the archeology of ancient Israel and historical criticism of the Old Testament.
  4. Authoring the Old Testament by David Bokovoy. Overview of textual criticism of the Old Testament.
  5. Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman. Overview of textual criticism of the New Testament.

    This mini library is a sort of behind the scenes peek into humanity, religion in general, and the Bible specifically. You’ll never look at these things the same way again.

    Now, after reading these, return and report and give us word.
u/mudgod2 · 2 pointsr/changemyview

Linking to wikipedia but it has references to the authors / historians

"On the one hand, it is not possible to write a historical biography of the Prophet without being accused of using the sources uncritically, while on the other hand, when using the sources critically, it is simply not possible to write such a biography." - Motzki

By sources he means Islamic sources.

It's like you can't accept the Bush or Trump (or Clinton) narratives as true without going to third parties / other means of verifying what happened and what's true.

Similar wikipedia link about the Exodus that links to other primary sources

Here's a book by archaeologists about the exodus

u/binkknib · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

These are a good start.

If you're up for purchasing compendiums, I recommend Fathers Know Best by Jimmy Akin. The book is written specifically to answer the question of what the early church looked like.

u/NGeX · 2 pointsr/funny

I actually went out and bought the book just because of this interview. the reviews for Zealot on Amazon. The people who gave it one star are disgusting and clearly haven't read it. Amazon needs to do what does. You should have to buy the item from Amazon in order to review it.

u/Expergiscere_homo · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Jimmy Akin has a good introduction called The Fathers Know Best, which includes topical quotations and biographical info. He's also got a companion blog here.

Though not strictly about the Fathers, The 33 Doctors of the Church is a great book of short biographies, and of course the first several Doctors of the Church are also Church Fathers.

And of course Pope Benedict XVI has written on them as well.

u/TheGreenLanyard · 2 pointsr/JusticePorn

Through the "read other people's comments" approach, it's easy to criticize someone by exclusively choosing comments that criticize them.

It's quite possible for Fox to choose only comments that were biased towards one side and never focus on any specific claims made in the content of the book.

You can find a variety of comments just by looking at Amazon book reviews:

That one would look at the wide variety of comments available on the Internet and choose comments that attack credibility through ad hominem (Aslan is Muslim, therefore his book is biased) and appeal to authority (another scholar disagrees, therefore Aslan is wrong), instead of focusing on the content of the book (e.g. why couldn't the disagreeing scholar's comment include what example claim (s)he disagrees with and why (s)he disagrees?)...they just don't make for a balanced interview.

u/warebec · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

For a look at both sides, I recommend these two books:

I say this having only read the sample of the second one. The second book seems a very good showing of the arguments against Jesus existing. I'm not sure if there is a better example of the arguments for Jesus existing.

u/WanderingCucumber · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

I can see you are searching every square inch of Google in the desperate attempt to falsify my claim.

>Gunnar Samuelsson. Author of crucifixion in antiquity.

Gunnar Samuelsson does not deny the crucifixion of Jesus. His dissertation is on the linguistic scope of the term, and its usage in ancient sources. Crucifixion, he claims, can include more than mere traditional Roman crucifixion, a claim which is certainly well accepted in the field.

>Proponents of christian myth theory (fringe yes, demonstrates scholars do reject the existence of jesus)

There are about five mythicists among the thousands of NT scholars. And not one has a teaching position at any University. Mythicism is not taken seriously in the field of NT studies. It is a debunked conspiratorial view that is devoid of any historical credibility.

>Many jewish sects which reject the new testament entirely. Mant muslim sects do to. Idk? I'm sure plenty if asian cultures reject the story as factual too.

What does that have to do with anything? I was expecting you to provide Christian denominations where the crucifixion is denied. That Muslims and (perhaps some) Jews deny the crucifixion is historically irrelevant. Muslims do not believe Jesus was crucified due to historical considerations; they believe this because the Quran, written 500 years after the fact, says he wasn't. But either way, our discussion is about the historical credibility of the crucifixion, not what some religions believe about it.

>Like what else do you want? Just google skepticism of existence of jesus and you'll find plenty of biblical scholars who doubt the authenticity of the new testament.

What do you mean by the authenticity of the New Testament mean? And what has that do with our topic? A historian need not believe that the New Testament documents are 100% reliable to believe that they contain valuable historical information.

>Richard Dawkins. Bart Erhman.

Seriously? Richard Dawkins? He's an evolutionary biologist, not a New Testament scholar. His training in the field is no more than a person off the street. And I'm glad you brought up Bart Ehrman. He is a very skeptical NT scholar and has written numerous books in attempt to discredit the Bible. Yet even he believes that Jesus existed and was crucified by Roman authorities. He recently wrote an entire book defending the existence of Jesus. In a blog entry, Ehrman wrote, "The crucifixion of Jesus by the Romans is one of the most secure facts we have about his life." (Why Was Jesus Killed?

u/ursisterstoy · 1 pointr/atheism

Well technically those records from the mid 100s are saying that christians exist, and they did. The epistles of Paul were written in the 50s, the gospel of Mark written in the 70s, Matthew and Luke written in the 80s or 90s, and John, the revelation of another John, the revelation of Peter, and the ascension of Isaiah and many other Christian stories written in the 100s to the 300s before the ecumenical councils were started in 325 when they decided to narrow down Jesus eventually settling on the trinity by the fourth ecumenical council pushing out Gnosticism like the gospel of Thomas, Marcion, and Origen as well as Aryanism, Nestorianism and other "heresies" leading to the church of the East, Coptics and other early schisms. After the next four councils they came to the idea about iconoclasm where the Eastern Orthodoxy was against the use of iconography and the Catholics stuck with icons such as the crucifix, statues of Mary, and other icons. This was all by the time of the 600s.

Soon after this time the orthodox christians, Coptics, Islam and other sects went their own ways. In Islam Jesus is the chosen human messiah but not the son of God nor was he crucified before his ascension. In some Eastern religions Jesus is sometimes seen as another transcendent beings like the Buddha and Buddha is sometimes seen as a reincarnation of Vishnu in some forms of Hinduism.

Zoroastrianism heavily influenced monotheism and the traits of the supreme god found in most abrahamic religions. It added the concept of heaven and hell. It added armageddon. Many forms of Christianity didn't start out believing in an afterlife but the Catholic concept of heaven, hell, and purgatory was under question by Martin Luther especially the concepts of the church selling something that allows them to skip purgatory and changing the message of the bible from the originally intended meaning. As a result most protestant religions don't have a complicated hierarchy with bishops, archbishops, popes, and such but they'll have a pastor and perhaps deacons and that's about it. The eastern orthodoxy has a few of their ecumenical decisions but the Catholics kept it going up until they went from 7 to 21 with 15 or 16 being related to the protestants being excommunicated and doomed to hell. In the first Vatican council (ecumenical council decision #20) the church rejects rationalism, materialism, and atheism and anything that could cause problems with the church doctrines. More recently (since the 1960s) they have gradually adjusted to science and with the removal of hell and the acceptance of evolution and the ongoing pedophilia the church is falling apart and might again break into multiple denominations.

The protestants went on another path and in the 1900s the rise of fundamental literalism led to a resurgence of young earth creationism and flat earthers while just a few decades earlier the seventh day Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah witnesses and Baha'i came out of the various religions holding fast to creationism and the existence of Jesus.

While these beliefs account for the majority of held religious beliefs (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Baha'i, Zoroastrianism) only the abrahamic religions of Christianity, Islam, and Baha'i rely on Jesus being historical. Scholars who hold these beliefs will claim they have evidence that Jesus matches their religious idea such as an empty tomb pointing to a resurrection. The scholars who try to establish historicity on either side will fall back to some random Jewish rabbi, perhaps Jesus ben Annanias or Yeshua ben Yosef who was a preacher mulch life the more established John the Baptist and like John was killed and remained dead while his followers shared their memory of him by word of mouth so that he gradually gets more and more absurd and magical by the time the gospels were written. Others will point out that Jesus was a spiritual being probably hundreds of years before the first century when Paul, Peter, Timothy, and others spoke of their visions (related to gnostic Christianity) and it was another couple decades before a Greek speaker unfamiliar with Judaism and the geography of the region wrote the gospel of Mark. Other stories were also in circulation in the following decades such as the Q document so the authors of Matthew and Luke took the various gospels at the time like Mark, Q, and possibly a couple others and combined them with the contradictory birth narratives I pointed out previously. The kept the same crucifixion but added a resurrection which was later added to mark and gave Judas different reasons for betraying Jesus. Then in the next five decades wildly different concepts of Jesus arose such as an attempt to state he was just an ordinary person that was possessed by the son of God. The gospel of John, using gospels like the gospel of Thomas and a sayings gospel was written so that he became more of a superman character. He left off the birth narrative starting with the popular baptism cult of John the Baptist and this time he wasn't turned in by Judas at all but instead told Judas and his army that he is the one they seek. After this there were various acts of the apostles and revelations about Armageddon and various apocrypha that the early church leaders decided to leave out so that they could say Jesus was born to a virgin, died by crucifixion, and had a bodily resurrection from the dead. They left behind just enough contradictions that they decided upon the trinity so that he could be an eternal being equal to the father and spirit and after the death of the son the holy spirit is released to the apostles to spread to the early church.

Basically by the 300s there was a dominant sect holding to a divine human Jesus and that was the sect that set up the early church considering everything else to be a heresy including Islam when it rose up out of Zoroastrianism and Nestorian Christianity. Throughout the middle ages they produced a lot of hoaxes like cups, foreskins, pieces of petrified wood, and a shroud. As time went on it was just assumed that Jesus was a historical figure and it was the consensus about 100 years ago. Since then the consensus has come under scrutiny so that Bart Ehrman and Richard Carrier are at the head of each side of the debate and neither of them hold fast to the gospels being reliable depictions of Jesus nor are the documents that came 100 years later saying that christians exist. There are many people holding many different religions. It doesn't automatically make their beliefs true. Josephus was tampered with by Eusebius and the rest don't really make any claims about a Jesus being real but only relaying what the christians had said about their beliefs such as a messiah who was crucified by Pontius Pilate 100 years ago. By this time everyone who could corroborate his existence had died and while he would have been still alive Philo of Alexandria wouldn't be wondering where he was and Justin Martyr wouldn't be saying that he predated the demigods that were being worshipped by at least 1500 years before Jesus was supposed to have lived.

Here are some books from both sides of the debate:

Richard Carrier:
(Jesus was probably a spiritual mythical being first and a man later)

Bart Erhman:
(Jesus was probably an ordinary man but we can figure out more about the historical Jesus)

Robert Price:
(Debunking the religious apologetics put forth by Lee Strobel)

Lee Strobel:
(Defending the divine human Jesus of Christianity)

I'll let you decide.

u/ZaoHudor · 1 pointr/atheism

Well, it's impossible to argue with someone who wants to remain ignorant. You simply have no idea what you are talking about. New Testament historiography is a disciplined academic skill, which is engaged in by atheists, agnostics, Christians, liberals, and conservatives. Each and every one of these scholars with a teaching position at a university not only believes that Jesus existed, but that many things can be known of him.

Here is a book for you:

[Did Jesus Exist, by Bart Ehrman] ( Bart Ehrman is not some trying to "push their religion". He is an agnostic who has spent most of his career criticizing biblical Christianity.

If you don't like books, then here is a short presentation of his.

A debate on the subject:

u/Friend_of_Augustine · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I'd suggest Jimmy Akins The Fathers Know Best which compiles quotes from the Church Fathers and Akins enumerates them based on subject. It's not comprehensive but it's a good start and touches on a lot of things such as doctrines and dogmas, teachings and long held Church belief like contraceptives. It's a great book if you just want to look up what the Fathers have said and it's a great apologetics tool if you want to back up your positions. Either way, I think the following three books might be more inline with what you're looking for.

  • Reading the Early Church Fathers: From the Didache to Nicaea by Jim Papandrea.

    I haven't read this one, but I do know the author and it looks like it's right up your alley. Papandrea is a Catholic professor and this book covers important documents from the Early Church period and dissects the texts and explains them to you.

  • [When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers] ( by Marcellino D'Ambrosio

    Another book that is similar to Papandrea's book.

  • Father's of the Church

    Similar in content to the last two. Worth checking out.

    And here's if you want to read the Church Fathers directly

    I've constantly heard that the Jurgens 3 volume set was one of the best physical sets to buy. It's pricey, but I do know that it's cheaper on ebay so might be worth looking for it on there. (That is assuming you're within the US)

  • Complete Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers Collection by Phillip Schaff.

    I suggest you buy it digitally for next to nothing, it's great on Kindle and works well as a more comprehensive resource for studying the Fathers. His set is also digitalized online if you'd like to read it there for free. Absolutely no difference in content. Word of caution though, Schaff translated this in the late 19th century and was a Protestant, so his commentary may not always be historically and theologically sound. He does provide an exhaustive amount of footnotes that maintain the citations the Fathers used which is a task of its own. A great resource but with certain limitations.
u/ses1 · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

No, it's more like, "I'm an historian, and the vast majority of historians, after examining the evidence, in accordance with the accepted standards, agree that Jesus existed"

And one can hardly expect Erhman to present all the evidence in a short radio spot.

But you can always check it out here

or here

or here

u/videopower · 1 pointr/videos

It looks like Fox News got some results that they wanted.

u/mycourage · 1 pointr/Christianity

Be careful! Most converts (or reverts in your case) come to Catholicism after studying the Church Fathers. You'll also notice the Church Fathers are quoted throughout the Catechism. You can also read the Catechism in a year via email from Jimmy Akin has a good book called The Fathers Know Best

Sorry to bombard you. Have a good one.

u/polychaos · 1 pointr/Catholicism

Another good choice (I've heard, never read it myself) is The Fathers Know Best by Jimmy Akin. Also, as has been mentioned, reading the writings of many of the church fathers directly isn't above most adults' abilities.

u/LurkingSoul · 1 pointr/Catholicism

Here is an article detailing several early church fathers and their thoughts on Mary.

>St. Ephraem (d.373), the great Eastern doctor and deacon, directly addresses the Blessed Virgin in several Marian sermons. Direct prayer to Mary is also found in a sermon of the great Eastern Father, St. Gregory Nazianzen (330-389). (9) By the last part of the fourth century and the beginning of the fifth, we have numerous explicit examples of direct prayer to the Mother of God, for example in the writings of St. Ambrose, as well as by St. Epiphanius. (10)
>As already referred to, the most complete ancient prayer to the Blessed Mother historically preserved is the Sub Tuum Praesidium (250 A.D.):
>We fly to your patronage,O holy Mother of God,despise not our petitionsin our necessities,but deliver us from all dangers.O ever glorious and blessed Virgin.

That prayer is what the Memorare is based on.

Here is an article on early church fathers and why they do ask saints for intercession. They talk about praying with the saints, and that it is good.

Here is an article detailing quotes demonstrating the early church fathers knew celibacy was better, especially for priests!

>St. Epiphanius
>Holy Church respects the dignity of the priesthood to such a point that she does not admit to the diaconate, the priesthood, or the episcopate, no nor even to the subdiaconate, anyone still living in marriage and begetting children. She accepts only him who if married gives up his wife or has lost her by death, especially in those places where the ecclesiastical canons are strictly attended to (Panarion [A.D. 376]).

Celibacy is better, just like Paul says.

I recommend reading more of the early church fathers to get a better understanding of why their faith and these things are so Catholic. These sites all list citations you can chase down, but maybe you would also be interested in this book and this book?

u/eastofrome · 1 pointr/Catholicism

Glory be to Jesus Christ!

Do you have any Sryiac Catholic churches in your area? Syriac, Maronite, Syro-Malankara, Chaldean Catholic, or Syro-Malabar Catholic Church? The first three are Western Syriac, the last two are Eastern Syriac, so if you know whether he is Western Rite or Eastern Rite you can find a sui iuris Catholic church of the same rite. If at all possible I would start attending Divine Liturgy there- Eastern spirituality and theology is best learned by practicing rather than just reading. And talk with the priest, he can help guide you on essential texts in the Syriac traditions.

I would suggest reading books focused on Early Christianity and the Church Fathers, the Desert Fathers, Saint Ephrem the Syrian, and St Isaac the Syrian.

Some books I know of:

u/J_U_D_G_E · 1 pointr/videos

Anyone worth their mettle in religion understands the Bible has been largely exaggerated, and people who take the bible absolutely LITERALLY are the Fake-Catholics/Christians I am talking about.

We know the Bible was pretty much curated during the council of Nicaea in 325 A.D - where due to the impending collapse of the roman empire, Italy HAD TO be converted into Catholicism, or face absolute fucking Anarchy.

So any/all accounts of God/Jesus were erased, and now we have the Divine, hence why from 12-25 years of Jesus's life are missing, and when/why all religious holidays are decided, how to pray, etc.

Also, the Church was incredibly corrupt back in the day, controlling most of the World's currency, and Fate of entire countries.

The Modern Catholic, very much differs with the whole "concept" of religion most people seem to think - when I tell them "I'm religous", we pray and do everything else, but the modern church has changed drastically, to the point that we do believe in Aliens, Accept gays into church, and Pope Francis literally appoints special council hunting pedophiles - we believe in science too, Great Men of science like Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo (who literally defied the church), Georges Lemaitre (who worked with Einstein on his relativity equation - was a priest), and Many NASA Austronauts are devout catholics.

None of them, however, claimed that - literally - God spoke to them (as these bozos claim - like a full convo), No - when "God speaks to you" literaly means you were inspired by God from someone, through something - painters call this a "Muse" in Faith, we say "God Spoke" or "God has Spoken" - as in it's God's will.

When speaking about religion, try not to look at it from the literal point of view, when God speaks, he speaks through someone, your mom, dad, whoever - you hear the right thing, and you act.

Again, when someone literally says "God Spoke to me" and they had a "Conversation about what to do" - that's when the greatest crimes in history have been commited, not because he actually TOLD YOU and you REPLIED, but because you wanted to say he Spoke to you and YOU ONLY, and people will always have an Agenda, when speaking like that, hence their plane BS.

To your last point, we do have actual historical evidence as to when Catholicism came about - Reza Azlan, has a PH.D in religion and has actually written about this -

Regardless of your beliefs, Jesus did indeed exist, and was a very prominent figure well known for prominent figure performing actual Miracles, like healing Lepers, and resurecting Lazarus (historical evidence of this is true) , and he founded his own Church through one of his Disciples - Peter (who became the first Pope Ever) around 30 AD - this is a historical fact.

We know too - Jesus was so prominent, he shows in other religious sacred texts, like Jewish, and the Quran, which his name is mentioned more times than Mohammed.

u/Pax_Christi_ · 1 pointr/Christianity

Read the church father's and become Catholic my man. There's a good book The Father's Know Best that's a great introduction to many relevant works

u/trwayblahblah · 1 pointr/exjw

Wikipedia yahweh has some info. This book has references to his historical info sources. :

u/Hraesvelg7 · 1 pointr/news
u/chipfoxx · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

> You do realize that Bible wasn't written for people that existed before it existed, right?

The bible was written by various primarily anonymous sources who borrowed from previous gods and myths (El was adopted from the Canaanites and eventually became the tribal god Yahweh). An omnipotent being should be aware of how his creation works. Am I supposed to assume he didn't care about any of the millions of people who lived 100,000 years before the bible was written? For some reason, a couple thousand years ago, he decided these people in a tiny part of the middle east are worthy of hearing from him and the rest weren't.

> It has a theme, and an intended audience.

It's audience is people and being omnipresent, you'd think he'd be able to include all of them...

> God did create mankind as they are now.

I see, so even though we've found plenty of evidence to the contrary, they aren't human all the way back through the layers, we were made in God's image as we are now. Do you think animals were made as they are now or do you think they evolved while humans did not?

u/timoneer · 1 pointr/atheism

I recommend George Smith's "Atheism: The Case Against God"

u/ChristianityBot · 1 pointr/ChristianityBot

Removed comment posted by /u/bdw9000 at 07/14/14 04:55:11:

> For a more substantive challenge, I'd recommend these:
> A specific case against believing in the resurrection (and miracles in general):
> A general case against theism/religion:

... in response to submission What's a good book promoting atheism? I've tried a few common suggestions, and they haven't impressed me. posted by /u/UnlikelySoccerStar at 06/29/14 05:47:55:

> So, I realized that all my experience with atheist apologetics so far has been in the context of Christian apologetic works. Author brings up argument A, refutes it. I'm looking to give the other sides arguments a chance on it's own terms.
> The thing is, I've tried a few already. I read a good chunk of 'God is not Great' by Christopher Hitchens and a decent chunk of "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. In both instances I gave up, because I found the arguments being presented to be easily defeated, and after a hundred pages I hadn't encountered anything new or interesting.
> So I'm asking for something a little different. I'm pretty burnt out on the whole 'New Atheism' movement, so I'd prefer a book that approaches the problem from a historical or philosophical angle.
> Thanks and hope you are all doing well.

u/unreal030 · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

Don't get The God Delusion. I seriously don't understand why people always recommend Dawkins to thiests. I think non-theists get much more out of his books.

Read this or this. I have The God Delusion and was not satisfied with it:
(Mind you this 2nd book's title is a bit hyperbolic, its rather the argument for the abrahamic religions (Xtianity/Judaism/Islam) but he goes into detail on the extent of the evidence for those vs. other religions etc.

u/Tachyx · 1 pointr/atheism

Atheism: The Case Against God by George Hamilton Smith

It was written over 30 years ago and puts to words many of my feelings better than other books I've read.

I would also add The True Believer by Eric Hoffer as it explains the nature of believers whether they believe in Christianity or Communism or whatever.

u/DidntClickGuy · 1 pointr/atheism

Sure, we'll help you with your religion homework.

>What made you initially reject the belief in any divine figure?

I didn't. I was born an atheist, and my parents had me instructed me in religion because they assumed that it was an easy way to teach me about morality. After a long, sad journey through two religions, I came across some atheist apologetics that were very convincing and difficult to ignore.

As I have gotten older, I have slowly come to realize that everyone has a different definition for what God is supposed to be, and none of them make any sense. The more I listened to people try to describe what their idea of God was supposed to be, it just seemed more silly and futile by the day. But this book right here helped a lot, too.

>Was this decision based on your experience with your prior religion (if you belonged to one)?

I belonged to two religions - closely related religions, but different. My abandonment of God was an intellectual decision, not an emotional one. But in a way, I guess you could say that my experience with religion did sort of push me away: one proved unsatisfying, and the other didn't do any better. And when a logical, philosophical approach presented itself, I found it much more fulfilling.

>Have there ever been times when you believed again temporarily? See "There are no atheists in a foxhole."

No. The arguments posited in the book I linked above are very, very convincing. While I suppose anything is possible, I just can't envision a situation in which I'd believe again. I think most people who were once believers, and become atheists for intellectual reasons, become more firm with time.

That's not to say that I am not occasionally trapped by language. I still refer to "God" in conversation in a colloquial sense (God willing, God bless you, God dammit why can't you people learn to drive), etc. It's hard to let go of those habits.

u/shouldbebabysitting · 1 pointr/todayilearned

I would suggest reading a more primary sources and less internet.

This is where I started probably before you were even born:

Dawkins reiterates Smith's agnostic vs atheist debate over 30 years later here:

This is logic and language. If you say you haven't decided on a political party you are a non-Republican. If you say you haven't decided on God you are a non-Theist. Because of history, unlike non-Republican we have a word for non-Theist called atheist.

u/princeofponies · 1 pointr/worldnews

Here's an exhaustively researched book that draws from primary sources which proves conclusively that you are wrong. It's a great read -

u/PM_ME_WEED_AND_PUSSY · 1 pointr/facepalm

Yeah, the Jesus of real life was probably a pretty cool dude. The made up god-thing Jesus that people worship fucking sucks (see also: ZEALOT (book) by Reza Aslan)

u/Homiros · 1 pointr/atheism

Reza Aslan's Zealot ( ) is a fairly good take on it. I have always thought that there is a kernel of truth in the depiction of Jesus because some of the things he supposedly said have caused so much angst to the Christian church, beginning with Paul who is the real creator of the "Christian" religion. Let's face it, there is a real tension between the basic tenets of his teachings (as set out in the sermon on the mount) and the practices of the church from early on. One of the best examples of this tension is the attack on the so-called liberation theology ( as practiced by Catholic priests in Latin America by the then Cardinal Ratzinger. All this suggests to me that there was a real person whose (non-magical) message was perverted by Paul and the later church.

u/lazyliberal · 1 pointr/atheism

There is a difference between thinking and knowing.

As an atheist, I like to base my thinking on facts and until this article, it was my understanding that Jesus did exist, recently I read: Zealot which talks about Jesus.

I feel it is important as an atheist to know the most you can about the faith you turned away from (roman catholic for me).

It is also the best path to realizing that the faith you were raise to believe is bull.

u/jettnoir · 1 pointr/conspiracy

[Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth] ( by Reza Aslan. The whole back is full of non-religious text citations.

u/Zeitfresser · 1 pointr/worldnews

The new testament is written in a way that allows for many interpretations. You would like the book Zealot a lot I think.

u/American-Negro · 1 pointr/islam

Former Christian with MA in theological studies and M.Div. I love Jesus and he is my favorite prophet of divine revelation.

Yes, there are Muslim interpretations in which Jesus has died, the most notable is here. This is not necessarily a religious book, but it is written by a Sufi Muslim who admits that Islam has traditionally got the death of Jesus wrong.

As a historic event, Jesus was crucified on Skull Rock for treason against Rome. I do know this happened, and it has nothing to do with my belief in Islam. I cannot deny this historic fact because it's the same as denying Martin Luther King was shot or Hannibal rode elephants. It's just fact to me.

Dr. Shabir Ally does a good job explaining why the idea that Jesus being substitution on the cross by someone who looks like Jesus is not really a good interpretation for that specific verse, and not necessarily suggested by the Koran here

This came up once in a thread, and there were Muslims who stated that they believed Jesus did get crucified, but survived it. It was actually an interesting discussion but the fundie brigade was downvoting like crazy.

u/_____FRESH_____ · 1 pointr/Showerthoughts

That may be the case, but you have to remember the people who "witnessed" these events first hand didn't write it down. It was verbally told from person to person. I think when you break down the day in question it's not really as special as everyone wants it to be. The entire scene in the bible where Pilot reluctantly kill Jesus over the thief Barabbas never happened. In fact Pilot killed so many jews that there are letters to Rome complaining about his rampant killings. He wouldn't have bat an eye at killing yet another jew trying to push sedition on everyone. The bible is a great book of interesting stories that like any other story told and retold has been greatly embellished and tweaked to fit the narrative of the time. It's believed the story of Pilot asking the Jews who he should kill was added because those stories were sent to Rome and were meant for the Greek romans of the time. They softened the message so Rome wouldn't come off as complete dicks.

If you haven't read it I highly recommend Zealot by Reza Aslan ( or Jesus Interrupted by Bart D. Ehrman (

Both books are great and the audio books are read by the authors.

I pulled most of my points from these books and they say it much, much better than I ever could. They both do their own translations of the original Greek texts and have help with the Aramaic translations.

u/dinozauru_fertil · 1 pointr/Romania
u/TheBlower · 1 pointr/Sikh

Cheers, thanks!

Yeah I agree 100%. There was a period of like 5 or so years where I was a full blown atheist. I don't think there is anything wrong with that perspective, but I definitely like having a very personal relationship with God, like I do now. I don't buy the whole "CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE AND MASTER PLANNER OF ALL THINGS" idea of God. The God I put credence in is more like a paternal figure that intervenes and gives you strength when you need it. Nothing more.

If you want a really good source on Jesus the man, and not Jesus Christ, then read this:

u/jester236 · 1 pointr/atheism

While I certainly agree with the sentiment of your comment a few of the details are a bit off. For instance there was a Census however Roman Law would not have required people to return to the town of their birth to take part in it. This would have taken an incredible amount of time in those days, this modification was made by the writers of the Bible to provide a reason for Jesus being born in Bethleham rather than Nazareth.

I think you'd find this book fascinating:

And seriously, don't get me wrong, not attacking you at all but I do think you'd enjoy the read.

u/cheesaye · 1 pointr/Psychonaut

Reza Aslan has a controversial new book out called Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Aslan did an ama not too long ago as well. But I heard him give an interview on Fresh Air (NPR) that you might find interesting.

He describes Jesus as a man, a great man, but his story has been greatly changed over time. Listen to the Fresh Air piece.

u/nobetteridea · 1 pointr/atheism

You and everyone who responded to you should read Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. I'm not all the way through it, but I think it does a great job explaining the politics of the time, how the writers of the gospels approached 'history' (spoiler alert, they fabricated it to define Jesus as a messiah), who the gospels intended audience was, and much more.

The author, Reza Aslan, seems to believe there was a real person, who was caught and crucified by the Romans, and uses evidence like that (as it was a specific punishment for a specific crime) to piece together who he was. Good read.

u/bullmoose_atx · 1 pointr/television

Aslan knew he was going to face an attack on his credibility rather than an attack on the points he actually made in the book. He was able to turn the tables and made the anchor look like the one with an agenda. Well done.

Edit: here is the link to his book Zealot: Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth on Amazon if you want to read it.

u/Jack_Of_All_Meds · 1 pointr/IAmA

Has anyone read the one star reviews on Amazon for this book? They're hilarious, if you want a good laugh go check it out.

u/Atheris · 1 pointr/atheism

I called it that because I didn't elaborate on the effect of the Great Awakenings. Their push back against the enlightenment I think started the ball rolling.

More recently the organized infiltration of religious fundamentalists into government positions has normalized violations of church and state. See C Street and The Family

u/carkedit · 1 pointr/AskReddit

This noir anthology kept me entertained while I was bedbound with a broken leg.

Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace. Very fun to read, funny, insightful. He was pretty great.

This book is creeeepy but fascinating.

Also, try r/books. It's what they're about over there, after all.

u/fuzzo · 1 pointr/politics

Thanks so much. I've been racking my brain for that term of weeks now. I read about the trend in I think Harpers when I was on vacation awhile back and promptly forgot the term but held on to the concept. Whew.



u/pastordan · 1 pointr/AskHistorians
u/Inanzi · 1 pointr/atheism

I've been meaning to read this book since Rachel Maddow first started talking about it. The whole thing just seems so weird to me. It just sounds like it must be a conspiracy theory, but the whole thing is just so ridiculously well documented, it's obviously the truth.

I'm really can't wrap my head around how something like this can exist.

Has anyone read this book and would you recommend it?

u/PingTiao · 1 pointr/conspiracy

The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

"Behind the scenes at every National Prayer Breakfast since 1953 has been the Family, an elite network dedicated to a religion of power for the powerful. Their goal is "Jesus plus nothing." Their method is backroom diplomacy. The Family is the startling story of how their faith—part free-market fundamentalism, part imperial ambition—has come to be interwoven with the affairs of nations around the world."

u/conspirobot · 1 pointr/conspiro

PingTiao: ^^original ^^reddit ^^link

The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

"Behind the scenes at every National Prayer Breakfast since 1953 has been the Family, an elite network dedicated to a religion of power for the powerful. Their goal is "Jesus plus nothing." Their method is backroom diplomacy. The Family is the startling story of how their faith—part free-market fundamentalism, part imperial ambition—has come to be interwoven with the affairs of nations around the world."

u/xcthulhu · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

The bible has been revised numerous times over history.

You might consider reading Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

u/AcceleratedDragon · 1 pointr/atheism

Elvis is alive! People have seen him!
Kenneth Lay is alive. He faked his death to avoid a prison sentence. He wanted his body "cremated". So they used a substitute body...riiiigt.
Do these sound stories sound logical or made up?

Coming back from the dead is the only logical explanation? I beg to differ.
Here's a few explanations.

  1. There was never any Jesus, so it never happened.
    No Roman record of his death by cruxifiction. Should be easy, look up all executions, orders of death around Passover during the reign of Pontius Pilate. 26 CE to 36 CE. Ten years, 30 days to search. Nothing found.
    How about the census that took place during Jesus' birth in Bethlehem? (During the reign of King Herod). Nothing. King Herod did a lot of crazy things (violent murderous crazy). But murdering all the young children in a town would have made the history books. It's in the bible but not in any other contemporary history (Josephus) of the time.
  2. A person named Jesus died. Someone made up the story about him rising.
  3. A person named Jesus died. Someone faked an empty tomb to make it look like came back from the dead.

    Ask your bible expert: How did Judas die? (the bible gives two different answers)
    Was Jesus born in a cave or manger?
    The accuracy argument fails under scrutiny.

    Let me guess, he thinks the King James Version of the Bible is the best version? Written in English, the same language (probably the only language) your friend speaks. Truly tis a miracle! What are the odds of all the languages on earth that existed, God hast chosen his favorite and bestest version of the bible to be the one and only bible your friend grew up reading.

    And this book should shoot holes in the "translated very precisely"

    The "and they died for what they believed in" argument is b.s. also.
    Cathars (a heretical christian sect) also died for what they believed in. In fact ALL of them died for what they believed in, no Cathars exist today. So does that make their scriptures "more accurate"? No fair weather zealots there.
u/SpecialKRJ · 1 pointr/Christianity

Exactly, and even one fuckup of a single character would mean they had to scrap the whole thing and start over.

This DID NOT carry on for long, though. You should definitely read this as it's pretty enlightening. Also never forget that Constantine basically went through it with an x-acto and played editor.

u/roadkill6 · 1 pointr/atheism

I recall reading something once about a census that was taken around 6 AD but it was an informal headcount of all of the people under the control of Augustus with the sole purpose of telling him how many people he ruled over in honor of his birthday. No taxes, no traveling, no Bethlehem. Anybody know of a source for that?

6 BC during the reign of Herod not AD during Quirinus (although the first official Roman tax census of the area was held under Quirinus) Herod did his own taxes of the Judean people and paid a tribute out of his profits to Rome. So, until Quirinus took over, the Romans had never done a tax census in Judea. There was, however, a head-count census of the whole Roman Empire conducted around 6 BC (or so I recall). It was in honor of the Emperor Augustus' birthday and had the sole purpose of showing Augustus how many people were in his empire and, therefore, how awesome he was.

I think I remembered the source. I believe that it was mentioned in the book "Misquoting Jesus". I'll have to look it up later to be sure.

u/rpeg · 1 pointr/atheism

If you're so upset about this, go read the book of which I got this information. Again, I don't cite it as gospel but it's the information I currently understand on the topic -

u/howars · 1 pointr/

I'm way late to this party, but you'll probably find this book useful:

It discusses the technique of textual criticism and how they have unearthed changes, additions and deletions in the Bible.

u/BigTimeBT · 1 pointr/atheism

Misquoting Jesus, by Bart Ehrman
If they are christian.

u/iam2bz2p · 1 pointr/atheism

Bart Ehrman is a respected historian. He believes Jesus existed. But he is very critical of the claims of the Bible.


u/aedelias · 1 pointr/atheism

First of all, it is not up to you to 'disprove' the bible, though it would be child's work to find numerous contradictions and many many flaws. HE is the one that is saying the bible is true. How does he know that it is true? Because the bible says so? This is clearly circular reasoning. You could as easily say the Qu'ran is true because the Qu'ran say it is true. The only reason he isn't saying that is because (presumably) he was brought up on Christianity and not Islam. Had he grown up in Saudi Arabia, there's a pretty damn good chance he would be a Muslim.

Now, as for disproving the bible, you could point out numerous contradictions between the bible itself, point out claims the bible makes about how the world works that are clearly flawed, or point out the great many immoral actions god takes in the bible. Now, depending on his brand of Christianity, he might come back with different arguments.

Examples: That's supposed to be interpreted differently. That verse is anecdotal. This is not meant to be taken literally. The Old Testament is to be ignored(if he does this, you can point out Matthew 5:17-20). God is mysterious and the paragon of morality, therefore everything he does is automatically moral.

It is amazing the different ways people can dismiss the gaping holes in their beliefs.

I think the most efficient way to 'disprove' the bible is to simply point out how it has changed throughout history. Remember, we didn't always have the printing press, it is a relatively new technology. The bible was copied through through humans copying it by hand... humans who of course, made a mistake here and there... and this has happened since the conception of the bible. HUNDREDS of generations, each one hand-copying the bible, making mistakes... adding things that were originally not there, or taking away some things. Not to mention translations, which created a slew of new flaws. If you want to go into detail on the history of the bible and how it has changed throughout history, read Misquoting Jesus: The story of who changed the bible and why.

In the end though, the strongest argument is that there is no reason to believe there is a god, MUCH LESS a personal god who is interested in what we do, answers prayers, sent a 'son' to sacrifice himself for humanity and demands worship.

u/zyle · 1 pointr/atheism

> I want to be more educated myself of the bible and it's testaments and chapters

I would very very strongly recommend you check out "Misquoting Jesus" from your local lib and quickly get up to speed with the blatant holes in the development of the bible. Succinct talking points like:

  • The original scribes and copiers of the NT were uneducated; they could copy and write, but did not really know how to read; hence, a whole bunch of copy errors and inconsistencies arose.

  • The original text copies of the NT were in Greek, in all caps with no punctuation or even spaces between the words! So later scribes often got confused with words like "GODISNOWHERE." Does that read "God is now here," or "God is nowhere?"

  • The "let he without sin cast the first stone" parable in John? Not there in the oldest surviving manuscripts; it was added in by scribes later on.

  • The last 12 verses in Mark where Jesus is resurrected and pays a visit to Mary and the disciples? Not there in the oldest surviving manuscripts; it was added in by scribes later on.

  • A whole bunch of errors/translations quips when translating from Greek->Latin->English over the centuries.

    The book has a lot more details. I only read the first half actually; it started to get a little too pedantic later on.
u/Cyhawk · 1 pointr/atheism

Everyone knows the story about Jesus and the woman about to be stoned by the mob. This account is only found in John 7:53-8:12. The mob asked Jesus whether they should stone the woman (the punishment required by the Old Testament) or show her mercy. Jesus doesn’t fall for this trap. Jesus allegedly states “Let the one who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her.” The crowd dissipates out of shame. Ehrman states that this brilliant story was not originally in the Gospel of John or in any of the Gospels. “It was added by later scribes.” The story is not found in “our oldest and best manuscripts of the Gospel of John. Nor does its writing style comport with the rest of John. Most serious textual critics state that this story should not be considered part of the Bible.

Thats just a quote from:

Quick review of this book:

Yes, the bible has been manipulated, entire passages are fabricated, and meanings of Joshua's Parables have been changes to fit other peoples views.

For further evidence, read about the tenants of Buddahism. The teaching of Joshua (also called at the time, The Way) are VERY similar, however subtle meanings have been changed, and changed again over the years. Be it through poor translation (have you ever seen a movie/game translated from Japanese? Yeah... those go so well) or malicious/good intent.

u/TeamOomiZoomi · 1 pointr/atheism
u/hedgeson119 · 1 pointr/atheism

This is mostly true, the exact answer is a little more in depth. Jesus (if he existed, there are many mythicists on /r/atheism) died on or about 31 - 33 AD, this is widely accepted by scholars. The 1st gospel as I remember, is Mark written not before 70 AD, some place it later, up to 40+ years later. No complete manuscripts were found until about slightly later than 300 AD. There is a considerable gap there, so we cannot compare later documents to early ones for accuracy.

All of the other gospels (at least the ones the church decided to keep in the bible) are held to merely be plagiarisms to Mark, or at least the basis of them. Scholars also widely accept that the gospels are not eyewitness accounts. This is pretty much a given since say if you were 20 years old in 30 AD, and "Mark" came to look for an eyewitness in 70 AD, chances are good, you'd be dead.

I can expand on this more, but this is mostly from memory, and not my intention to spread a miss-remembered fact or date. Most of these came from a New Testament Scholar named Bart Ehrman. I'd suggest reading his books. Here is a video of him. None of his views are radical by any stretch, he usually delivers lectures on the consensus of what what actual Biblical Scholars find accurate, believer or non-believer. There are a ton of videos of him on youtube, just search for his name.

EDIT: Here are a couple of his books: Misquoting Jesus & Jesus, Interrupted. He has a lot of books out, and some of his books he has condensed lectures of on youtube.

u/HoneyBaked · 1 pointr/atheism

Read this...

It is a nice intro to biblical inerrancy as it always helps to know as much about the source work as possible.

u/petermal67 · 1 pointr/ChristopherHitchens

Great read. I purchased this after reading the conversation:

u/HawkMage42 · 1 pointr/islam

u/irresolute_essayist · 1 pointr/Christianity

I go to Georgetown College, a small, liberal-arts college in Kentucky once associated with the Kentucky Baptist convention (but no longer).

Here's our religion department's cheesy web-page.

I was taught by this dude, Dr. Jeffery Asher, here's his little bio:

>Dr. Jeffrey R. Asher holds the B. A. from the University of Kentucky and the M. A. and Ph. D. (in Early Christian Literature) from the University of Chicago. He came to Georgetown in 2000 and is a social historian who specializes in ancient Mediterranean studies, including Christian origins, 2nd Temple Judaism, Greco-Roman religions, Greek, and ancient philosophy. He also teaches courses in religion and violence.

The class was good. He was definitely opinionated professor but don't think I just ate his opinions up at face value. Most of the books he assigned were not from his view. Here's some of the other books we read in this survey course of religious violence:

Sacred Fury by Selengut A survey of religious violence which pretty much sees religion as violent and can be pretty patronizing. It suggests "moderate" religious people reason with those prone to violence and to educate those, more "conservative", religious people who are prone to violence. It does that at the end when it speaks of its solutions for religious violence. A little patronizing.

Who Would Jesus Kill? Presents a thoroughly pacifistic understanding of Christianity. At one point it gives Franklin Graham as an example of a promoter of "Holy War". Which I disagree with. He seems more like a "just war" person to me. Not someone who wants to lop off the heads of unbelievers.

Understanding Jihad by Cooke This book, in my opinion, is REALLY good, scholarly and unbiased look at historical Jihad in Islam.

God's Battalions, Stark Stark is a little biased in his defense of the Crusaders but considering he's in the minority position it's hard to blame him. Overall, a very enjoyable book and one that puts some serious holes in the idea that the Crusades was a one-sided, senseless, war by the Christians on peaceful Muslims. Stark is a sociologist of religion.

I'll stop listing books now since they are overwhelming. Glad I could help!

I am not quite sure what an Augustinian university is, to be honest! A Catholic university built around the educational principles Augustine held? I suppose there are different types of Catholic universities (such as Jesuit, apparently Augustine, etc)?

u/nightphoto · 1 pointr/The_Donald
u/trolo-joe · 1 pointr/worldnews

You...don't know much about the Crusades, do you?

Recommended reading:

u/PlasmaBurnz · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

> But no Catholics?

Catholics work a little differently than Protestants. The opinions of individual Catholics don't determine doctrine. Yes, some Catholics thought so too, but it didn't matter. The how and in between determined by science don't really affect the faith and morals the Church rules on.

> You got a good book or other resources on this subject/notion?

Most history on the subject from the last 20 years or so would work. I know God's Battalions is one of the best researched books on the Crusades ever written.

Thomas Woods also researched a book on it and recorded a show talking about it.

u/OsmiumZulu · 1 pointr/RPChristians

I think like the parable of the weeds and wheat it is nearly impossible in many cases to distinguish real faith apart from false faith. That said, sometimes it is beyond obvious when someone does not actually possess faith.

Regarding the crusades, I do believe that true Christians were involved, at least early on during the first few. I recommend this book on the topic. I for one am glad that Europe did not fall to the Muslims back then and it was the bravery of Christian men who stopped the advance. Was it always so clear? No. War is a mess and the motives are many. Atrocities were committed on both sides. That said, I wish the common Christian man had that much courage these days rather than roll over and let the SJWs walk all over them.

u/legobis · 1 pointr/Catholicism
u/coachbradb · 1 pointr/todayilearned

This one is not awful.

Been a while since I read it. I think it talks about this.

u/BaalsOfSteel · 1 pointr/Christianity

> expanding my view and having my views challenged

Two books that come to mind -- which are accessible to a layperson like yourself -- that will help you better understand the historical context of early Christianity and how it spread:

[How Jesus Became God] ( by Bart Ehrman

[Paul: A Very Short Introduction] ( by E.P. Sanders

u/Tuna_Surprise · 1 pointr/exmormon

I got zero Mormon theology in me. Well respected biblical scholars agree - it all came later.

There would have been zero need for a the council of Nicea if it weren’t a big topic for the prior 300 years.

u/cyclops1771 · 1 pointr/worldbuilding

Read Chapter 1 of Bart Ehrman's book "How Jesus became God." It gives a good understanding of how religion and gods were perceived in a polytheistic world.

u/willun · 1 pointr/australia

Indeed. A good read is How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee which explores how gods and myths came about, merged and how, if he existed, jesus was likely some minor priest who was turned into the god of the religion. Quite an interesting read.

u/enenamas · 1 pointr/Christianity

> did Jesus ever claim to be God?

That's a complicated question.

You might be interested in these lectures on the subject.

He also wrote a book about it:

u/opinionmill · 1 pointr/exjw

If you want a complete answer, this book by Bart Ehrman is a good read. In short, no, the trinity is not in the Bible. Jesus being, in a sense, divine, is. The church needed some way of reconciling a divine Jesus with a not-Yahweh Jesus, and still be monotheists. There were a number of competing views, and the trinity won out.

u/SunAtEight · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Read How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee by Bart Ehrman if you are sincerely curious and not just attempting dawa. Bart Ehrman is a very respected scholar who has written a number of books for non-scholars and since you are from a Muslim background, all of his works in general will address the question of the textual history and development of Christian beliefs and scriptures (its "corruption"). He is now an agnostic atheist, so none of his books for a general audience will be trying to convert you to Christianity or hide uncomfortable facts about Christianity.

u/chocolatemeringue · 1 pointr/Philippines

Not intending to change your view here. Just wanted to comment on the following:

>The fact that we are judged if we don't follow God denotes that humans weren't really bestowed with freedom; our fates were already determined: follow Him or face consequences.

You might be interested in Bart Ehrman's How Jesus Became God. In one chapter of the book Erhman said that, historically, religion was never about policing people's morals in order for them to gain access to an afterlife (e.g. "be saved or be damned"). The premise of an eternal life was only an innovation that gained ground during the early years of Christianity, something which was discussed in great detail in that book.

(That, among others, is why the book was titled "How Jesus Became God" did not address the question of whether Jesus is god or not, but discusses how that came to be.)

u/BeakOfTheFinch · 1 pointr/atheism

Bart Ehrman covers the Jesus/Horus connection in his latest book. I could be the has footnotes. I'm listening to the audiobook so I can't check.

My understanding is that Zeitgeist trampled all over the truth, but some I'd the Horus/Jesus connections are still true.

u/ProblemBesucher · 1 pointr/atheism

I just quickly refer you to some sides I randomly googled - Bible Contradictions, BibViz, Bible Inconsistencies there is a lot out there really. The problem is the Bible was written by a couple of different people who didn't know each other and that 50 some years after Jesus death. I have a good book tip for you about this - it's a book by a guy who was a devoted christian himself, so he knows where you are coming from, he even studied it - he learned how the bible came to be and how contradictionary it is - he became an atheist and didn't care about hell anymore: How Jesus Became God.

If I may ask this: Have you ever read the bible from beginning to end?

u/sowelie · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

I am not confusing anything. Yes, the study of history is approached differently than the study of reoccurring phenomena. That doesn't change the fact that a miracle cannot be proven historically. Give me one example of a miracle that is accepted by modern scholarship as historically accurate. Or for that matter, why not a contemporary miracle? There are plenty of Christians who claim they are able to perform miracles, yet every time they are investigated, they are proven to either be fraudulent or simply ignorance (here's just one example

> The Bible is the best documented and most researched ancient historical text. In terms of transmission, most ancient texts only have a handful of late copies attesting them. The Bible had ten​s of thousands of mms and fragments, some dating back to the first century!

So what? Why does it matter how many times the same story is copied? That doesn't speak to whether it's true or not. Some of the most accurate historical accounts have may have only ever been written down once. We've lost countless number of accurate texts due to lack of interest. That doesn't make a difference in terms of veracity.

> and a wealth of archaeological evidence that confirms ancillary details within

Again, this is not an indicator of accuracy. There's lots of ancient texts that talk of real places and people, that are still wildly inaccurate when it comes to the actual narrative.

> In terms of concurrence, there are four first hand accounts that agree on all the salient details of Jesus life

You are completely wrong on that point. Three of the gospels don't "agree" they contain exact word for word copies. Matthew and Luke share a large amount of the exact same wording as Mark (the earliest gospel). So, at best you have 1 or 2 separate accounts (that contain many discrepancies by the way). John is so late and also so vastly different from the others also. I know it's difficult as a believer to see these things, because you want so badly for them to be true. But if you're being honest you have to look at them critically. If you truly want to learn more on this subject, I highly recommend this book: How Jesus Became God, by Bart Ehrman

> One cannot say that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, but Jesus did not live, unless one begins by rejecting the supernatural a priori.

I am not making an argument that Jesus did not live. That seems to be fairly likely. The argument is around the miracles he performed. It is widely believed Caesar crossed the Rubicon and marched on Rome because the claim is multiply attested and also is not outside the realm of possibility. However, you'd be hard pressed to find a scholar that believes any of the claims about the miracles that occurred during the many battles Caesar fought.

If we are looking at the gospels critically, in my opinion it becomes clear that Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher who believed the coming of God's judgement was imminent. These types of preachers were fairly common for that time. It just happened that Jesus was crucified in the right place and time and his message really resonated with the average Roman citizen. Obviously I'm basing this off of what I've read on the subject from critical scholars, as I'm not an expert.

You can choose to believe that he performed miracles and the was the son of God. But your claim is no more veracious than the claims of other religious people, as there is no way to discern which of these claims are historically accurate.

u/segovius · 1 pointr/Christianity

I don't see any need to 'prove' anything. My position is that God is not susceptible to proof and that religion actually teaches this.

Atheists might deny God but asking for proof is intellectually dishonest. It's like if I play Baseball and you play Football and I keep asking you to prove Football exists by showing me a Footballer getting a Home Run.

In essence they are trying to force their rules on to you rather than trying to disprove your position by your own rules - which is what they should do if they are rational. No-one would ever construct a scientific model that tried to prove something by rules that don't apply to it.

Anyway, I digress. I never read atheist books any more as I find them insulting to my intelligence but I do read a lot of theology. Actually, most problems about God have been far better addressed by theologians than atheists.

David Bentley Hart is good on Atheist 'thought'. This is a good one:

Bart Erhman is good on alternate readings of Christian scripture.

This is good too - a discussion on how atheists see the world as material 'things' and assume God does not exist because He is not material. That's the whole point though... God is NO THING

If you want a logical proof though The Kalam Cosmological Argument is probably the nearest to it and I think no atheist really wants to discuss this.

It's an early Islamic 'proof' of God which has been take up by theologian William Lane Craig. He actually has repeatedly asked Dawkins for a public debate on this but Dawkins continually refuses.

The argument is simple

  • Whatever begins to exist has a cause;
  • The universe began to exist;
  • therefore: the universe has a cause

    To falsify it the atheist would need to point to one example of an existent thing that has no cause (which actually would be God)

u/libraryspy · 1 pointr/AcademicBiblical

One I was pondering last night while frantically redditing: Since Jesus probably was not buried in a tomb after his death, how did the empty tomb theory come about? It makes a great narrative and its purpose is clear, but what's the origin?

u/getMansplained · 1 pointr/MGTOW

How did the religion spread? How did Greek mythology spread? How did Islam spread? Electricity, the steam engine, even complex crop irrigation did not even exist yet! It spread because through a bunch of ancient, uneducated people.

Good book you should read, group of scholars did their actual homework on this: How Jesus Became God

TLDR; Jesus did exist, and was hung up on a cross. However, he was hung for treason and claiming to be king of Judea, which was a Roman state. Rome said "like hell you are". Back then hanging by cross was incredibly common and crosses lined the streets into the cities to warn potential criminals not to come in.

imagine if you brought some followers to your state government and declared you were the new king of your state, then when they asked you to leave you got all preachy and a bunch of idiots started following the idea. There are more civilized punishments now, and people wouldn't be stupid enough to follow you. Remember the Gutenberg printing press was still 1500 years away when this shit happened, so the ancient old world idiots started believing he was "divine." Then the Catholic Church got power and threatened people with death if they didn't believe it. As Spain conquered Mexico, for example, they killed those who didn't convert. Mexico is now mostly catholic. That's how it spread, with lots of death in the name of god.

u/revappleby · 1 pointr/AcademicBiblical

If you are looking for a good work on the development of the church from its inception to the modern era that is approachable from a lay level, I would recommend Justo Gonzales's two-volume The Story of Christianity.

I used it in my undergrad and found it quite enjoyable.

u/jfinn1319 · 1 pointr/Christianity

>JWs have little in common with the teachings of Arius.

The heresy that Arius was guilty of was teaching that Jesus was a created being, that was subordinate in time to the Father. JWs teach that Jesus was the Archangel Michael, a created being, and are therefore guilty of the same heresy.

>The council of Nicaea brought the false teaching of the trinity doctrine.

The doctrine of the Trinity is easily recognizable in scripture if one reads what is actually written rather than deciding that they know better and just changing it. If you do some reading on the first ecumenical councils, the context in which they occurred, and what they were a response to, I think you'll find that their doctrinal determinations were appropriate and necessary to prevent further heretical teachings. I'd suggest The Story of Christianity Vol 1. The view that JWs and Mormons hold of the creeds and the ecumenical councils don't make any sense historically and only exist to reinforce non-biblical theology.

>Eventually other false teachings such as "Mary the Mother of God" crept into Christianity, none of which our first century brothers and sisters ever did.

Agree that the Marian doctrines are false, which is why I'm not a Catholic. The Reformation was an adequate response to that problem. The fact that later heresies crept into the church does not mean that the early creeds are incorrect. You'd have to actually prove that.

>Willing to change a teaching if found to be improper or unsupported by the scriptures.

Except you've re-written the scriptures to support your position and don't accept other translations as valid. That's not a good faith position, that's stacking the deck.

>Psalm 36 says Jehovah is the source of life. Jesus certainly is the way and the truth and the life. Jesus having been taught by his Father. Jehovah is the God who sent the light (truth) into the world that we might be saved.

Read what you wrote and then read Jesus' statement again. You're having to equivocate to minimize what Jesus actually calls himself in order to fit it into your theology. This is no different than when Mormons qualify God's role to being "just the God of this earth." They have to read their belief back into the text, which is exactly what you're doing here.

>Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6 which in its entirety says... “I have said, ‘You are gods, All of you are sons of the Most High. Yes, Psalm 82 is about the unjust judges of Israel. Is Jesus unjust? No. He is the Son of the "Most High God". Psalm 83:18 tells us that Jehovah (YHWH יהוה) is "The Most High God". Moses said at Deuteronomy 18:15... Jehovah your God will raise up for you from among your brothers a prophet like me. You must listen to him. The Apostle Peter confirms that this prophet was Jesus at Acts 3:22.

This doesn't remotely address my issue with how you mishandled Jesus' application of this scripture. Jesus is calling the Jews who are persecuting him unjust judges. When God is describing the judges as gods in Psalm 82, he's mocking them. Please address the issue rather than drowning it in unrelated tangents.

>The scripture never says that Jehovah "The Most High God" would become flesh.

Sure hints at it though. Emmanuel means "God with us." That a person named Emmanuel would be also be called "Wonderful, Mighty, Counsellor, and everlasting Father is what we colloquially refer to as a clue :)

>God can not die.

The eternal, unchanging, singular substance that is Yahweh? Agreed. The incarnation of that being into human flesh? That's what all of Paul's theology and Jesus' application of the tetragrammaton to himself "Before Abraham was, I AM." is pointing to. I trust them before I trust the Watchtower society.

>He sent his only-begotten son in our behalf. Jesus as an obedient son (Hebrews 5:5)

Hebrews 5 is about the role of the High Priest and the function of that role in atoning for the sins of the people. The argument in this passage is that Jesus, as the Son, is both High Priest forever, negating the need for any other intercessor, and the God to whom reconciliation must be made. He is both the priest entering the tabernacle when God traveled with Israel, and God dwelling in that tabernacle. Or, going back to the name Emmanuel and the notion of atonement being a healing of the rift between Creator and creature, God with us, at last.

>is accomplishing all the work his Father gave him to do (John 4:34).

John 4 is about Jesus establishing the importance of His mission. Building the kingdom, which he explicitly instructs the disciples to do when he tells them immediately after this that He sent them to reap, now, that for which they did not labor, is more important than anything of this world. The context in which he is explaining this is an opportunity to explain the condescension He's subjected himself to in order to bring about the Kingdom.

>John clears this debate with his words at Revelation 19:13 where Jesus is given the title "The Word of God".

How do read that as the assignment of a title? In context we're told that "he has a name that no one knows but himself" and is called instead "The Word of God." That treatment of the Name is identical to how the Israelites treated יְהוָֹה. They wouldn't say YHWH, they would say Adonai as a placeholder. Ask any Hebrew speaker today to read you the Shema, which is the most important prayer in Judaism, and they'll render it as; Shema Israel. Adonai eloheynu , Adonai ehud! "Hear, o Israel. The Lord our God (interestingly, the plural form) the Lord is one!" Even in their most important prayer, the Name is too sacred too utter.

>The personal name of the Almighty God Jehovah (YHWH יהוה) occurs in the scriptures around 7,000 times. As far as I'm concerned, every bible that has removed his name from their pages has 7,000 + mistakes.

See my comment above about the name of God. יהוה is unpronounceable in Biblical Hebrew (no vowels) and is verbalized as Adonai or Ha Shem (the Name) The closest word to these in Koine Greek is κύριος which we render as LORD in deference to the reverent handling of God's name. All those places the NWT is replacing יהוה with Jehovah are a) mocking the relationship between God and Israel, and b) doing nothing more than any other translation is doing with the word LORD, you just have less linguistic justification for it.

>Your version of John 1:1 contradicts itself and verse 2. The Word can not be with God and be God.

That's the point John is making. This is an explicit reference to the Trinity. More importantly, in every document scrap we find of John 1, from either the Alexandrian or Byzantine text types, the rendering is the same. So either you have to argue that John wrote it down wrong, or that it means something that couldn't be understood in the context of 2nd temple Jewish ideas of the nature of God. Given the reaction that the Pharisees have to Jesus when he applies the Tetragrammaton to himself later in John and, given that this is a Gospel, the purpose of which is to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom and the atonement to all mankind, it seems fairly self evident that John chose his words carefully. Especially in light of [John 1:3] where John ascribes the entirety of creation to the Word. Or [John 1:4] where he uses the language you'd referenced in Psalm 36 to attribute to Jesus what David had attributed to God alone. John pretty clearly means to indicate that the Word is YHWH.

>The created Jesus was made both Lord and Christ by God (Acts 2:36)

Lord here is κύριος, the same as every rendering of יהוה in the Septuagint. And Peter is clearly playing with the wording as he cites Psalm 110:1, with the church reacting in horror as they realized that God Himself was crucified. Remember, these were people who had all witnessed the resurrected Christ, so their reaction to this declaration is not to the idea that the Messiah had been crucified, but that the Lord had been. So horrified that all 3000 of them were baptized and repented immediately after the sermon.

You'll notice that for every scripture reference you've used there's a perfectly (I know you'll disagree) valid way to exegete the text without adding anything to it. Every verse, understood in context, does something other than what you think it's doing when you use it as a prooftext. If JW scholarship were done on the basis of what the text actually says, we'd have more common ground, but you simply can't get to the conclusions you reach without wholesale changes to the meaning of words and attributing meaning that can't be read from the text itself.


u/bravereviews · 1 pointr/Christianity
  • Justo Gonzalez ... am I right everyone??

  • Story of Christianity Volume 1:
  • Story of Christianity Volume 2:
  • Best $30-$40 you'll ever spend on books!

  • I only know because I run a book review website ... :-D
u/Jeichert183 · 1 pointr/exmormon

> Right now, I'm trying to understand, was there ever a God, a Jesus? And is anything true, what about old religions?

It is almost certain there was a man named Jesus and some of the physical events took place. Most of the events are either very embellished or completely manufactured in the centuries after. There is a very interesting book, Did Jesus Exist?, written by Bart Ehrman, the book is a fantastic exploration and investigation into the historicity of Jesus, Ehrman is agnostic and dismisses the spiritual aspect and focuses on the actual real historical question.

If you're trying to figure out the real histories of what is taught around christianity Bart Ehrman's books are an excellent place to start reading and understanding the truth behind the myths.

u/CalvinLawson · 1 pointr/atheism

> Feel free to present some.

Again, fair point! There's a couple of books that are a good introduction to the topic.

These are meant for non-specialists, but they do a decent job of summarizing the last 30 years or so. If you're interested in a more in-depth study, both books contain a large number of excellent references.

u/aikidont · 1 pointr/Christianity

Yes, I suppose everything is a matter of opinion. This just happens to be the matter of opinion by almost everyone within the field of historical-critical textual analysis, including atheist/agnostic scholars.

>I have read much to support the contrary,

If you have something compelling, I'd love to read it. The stuff by Price, Hitchens, Thompson, etc. is not compelling in the least. The mythicist argument takes so much supposition and relies on some very .. questionable assumptions. For example, arguments for textual variants without compelling reason other than it contradicts the mythicist claim, dying-rising gods cited to someone who doesn't cite any ancient texts or information, etc. The argument for historicity is simply a better explanation, fits the facts better and requires far less supposition. Bart Ehrman does a fantastic job of addressing these arguments in his most recent book Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.

As far as I know, no mythicist has published anything of any sort in any peer-reviewed journal or scholarly body. Until they do, their opinions remain a fringe minority and for good reason. So far, none of it has been able to stand up to professional scrutiny.

I can see why the position is enticing, especially to atheists with an axe to grind against religion, which seems to be exactly what is going on with these bloggers and atheists involved in the modern mythicist movement. In the end, there are many things about mainstream Christianity of almost any denomination that can take a flogging from historical-critical analysis. The historicity of Jesus is not one of them.

As for Jesus being an Essene (I think that is what you meant by Asceen?), that does not fit the profile we have. For example, the Essenes were radical in many ways, most importantly for this, they lived in seclusion (that is, avoided the impure world) whereas Jesus did the exact opposite, directly associating with those the Essenes avoided and saw as corrupt. Also, the Essenes, while radical, weren't very violent. Perhaps you're thinking of what Josephus called simply "The Fourth Philosophy?" I don't really know much about that, but as far as I know, they were in favor of violent rebellion.

I mean, all of these are compelling in their own way. Namely, that they go against established conventions. The modern understanding of Jesus, the actual person, also does that, but does it without the need for conspiracy theories, tin foil hats and information from people who can't seem to produce real scholarship on the matter.

u/sirsam · 1 pointr/Christianity

The Bible never claims that slaves built the pyramids, no Nazareth != no Jesus, and have you read Bart Ehrman's book on the subject?

u/joggle1 · 1 pointr/atheism

Bart Ehrman recently published a book named "Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth".

I haven't read it myself, perhaps there's some new information in it? He also gave an interview about it on NPR the other day.

u/k5k9 · 1 pointr/atheism

Bible scholar Bart Ehrman has written a book about this. I haven't read it yet, but I've found his other works fascinating and very well researched. Seems to me that the historicity of Jesus as an actual person is well-documented, and not just in religious texts.

u/muuh-gnu · 1 pointr/atheism

> I think some guy did die to start a movement

If you want to challenge your opinion on that diffuse gut feeling, read something from the opposing side, for example Jesus, Neither God no man by Earl Doherty. This is basically the most comprehensive overview of the mythicist argument to date. Its an page turner and eye opener.

To compare the quality of the arguments, read Did Jesus exist? by Bart Ehrman, which is basically the opposite, a comprehensive rebuttal of mythicism and overview of the historicity case.

After you've read both, make up your own mind, dont let the "scholarly consensus" impress you. But do read both.

u/Renaldo75 · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

No, I meant like this:

Nothing in that article makes me think Ehrman doesn’t believe what he’s saying.

u/honestchristian · 1 pointr/atheism
u/wtstephens · 1 pointr/atheistvids
u/daniscalifornia · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

yep, this book Did Jesus Exist is pretty convincing in terms of other historical documents that Jesus was a historical human being. Not all the stories about him are true, notably the Nicodemus "you must be born again" story -- the confusion about being born through your mother again is only true in Greek and Jesus would have spoken Aramaic so that story most certainly did not happen.

u/MagnusEsDomine · 1 pointr/tumblr

>I'm not wrong

Sure you are. 1) You think Bart Ehrman is a Jesus mythicist apparently ignorant about the fact that he wrote an entire book against the position. In what world is that not wrong? 2) The academic consensus amongst those who are actually experts on this is that Jesus of Nazareth existed. This is the academic position among scholars regardless of their particular religious position. This is the position represented at every major research university. If I'm wrong here, it's easy to prove it. Just name a single scholar of ancient history/early Christianity who teaches at a reputable university and holds to Jesus mythicism. Simple.

u/trailrider · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

EDIT: I had to submit my reply in two parts. The second is a reply to this post.

Ok, I’ve been gone since last week and got back the other day. You’re certainly getting desperate, aren’t you? Pretty much unloaded with both barrels. Well, I’m not going to address every single thing in here so please excuse that. If you want to really argue about evolution, take it up with a biologist because I’m not an SME in that area. I’ll stick with the overwhelming consensus that we evolved. If you want to argue design, no problem. I notice you’ve not addressed practically any points I’ve brought up on that subject. Like the probability of a leaf hitting me in the face decades from now or my critique of the issue’s surrounding the human body being designed. All well…let’s dive in.

> The burden of proof is actually not on me or any theist.

Nope. Not how it works. You’re the one trying to claim that a god, any god, actually exists. It’s up to you to prove it. I’m not claiming that a god doesn’t exist, only that I do not buy your claim and evidence that one does. If your spouse says that you’re cheating on them, would you not ask them what the basis of their claims were? You certainly wouldn’t buy into the notion that you have to prove that you’re NOT cheating, correct?

> There are just too many moving parts, too much complexity for there to be no designer.

This is known as the Argument from Complexity and it’s a fallacy. Again, I’m a licensed engineer and have already pointed out to you many things that do not make sense from a designing POV. Are you a design engineer?

> If you are quoting ehrman and krauss then you have not heard how unpopular they are among actual academics.

OK. Despite that I’ve not read a single story disputing them from reputable sites and the fact that they appear in numerous documentaries supporting their viewpoints; provide me evidence that they are “unpopular they are among actual academics.” Are you a professor? The only real dispute, aside from his debates with theists, that I’ve ever seen him involved in was with Richard Carrier over whether or not Jesus actually existed with Ehrman arguing that Jesus did in fact exist! Even wrote a book on the subject I’ve listened to both of them and while I’m not a mythicist, I think Ehrman’s argument is slightly stronger. That aside, the majority of biblical scholars think Jesus existed so until that changes, I’ll stick with it.

> Hilarious that you ignored what I said about Isaac, Einstien, and Galileo,

What do you mean “ignored”? I didn’t ignore it at all but pointed out the flaw in your argument. Which is BTW known as the Argument from Authority. What you’re hoping is that just because these guys are were smart, that will serve as evidence for your point. It CAN … IF they are the proper types of authority. Like say you keep coming back to design. Well, as I have pointed out, I’m a licensed engineer so I would be a good “authority” to discuss that with. However, I’m NOT a good one to reference in say opinions on cancer research. So just because these guys believed in a god, which as I pointed out in Einstien’s case is not necessarily the god you’re implying, doesn’t make your argument any stronger. Steven Hawkings DOESN’T believe in a god but I don’t reference him to make my point because what he believes about the existence of a deity is irrelevant because he’s not an expert in that area.

u/Jon_norelation_Wayne · 1 pointr/exmormon

Josephus is who is most often quoted. It was one line among many others. One of a number of others who were executed. It's not like there was one source that said a man named jesus was crucified. From all I've read it's a long document dealing executions and a bunch of other stuff and one tiny line references a jesus.

The link above is what people reference when they claim that there was AT THE VERY LEAST someone named jesus who was crucified.

John Shelby Spong talks alot about the stories in the gospels and how they correspond to the judaic liturgical calendar. So he explains why those stories may have been crafted to serve as allegories not as history.

Liberating the Gospels; reading the bible with jewish eyes-John Shelby Spong

IF you are only going to read one book about this subject this one below is the one that most directly answers this question. He's one of the most salient voices in new testament scholarship and he's atheist(since some people think that should be a qualifier here)

u/m0dernz0mbie · 1 pointr/exchristian

Bart Ehrman has a book on the subject that looks at all the evidence for Jesus existence.


u/autjtkwlowre · 1 pointr/Christianity

>The intenionally misleading term "historical Jesus" is meant to confuse who we really have evidence for. We have everyone for the person(s) Jesus is based on (whose key properties are entirely natural), but no evidence for Jesus (whose key properties are entirely supernatural).

Since you repeatedly show that you have never even bothered to so much as Google the scholarship on this issue I'm just going to give it to you.

The wikipedia page on the subject with hosts of links and quotes from historians, and textual critics:

Bart Ehrman Answering a question about this at talk:

His book on the subject:

Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth

Albert Schweitzer's book on the subject:

The Quest of the Historical Jesus

It's also one of r/Askhistorians most frequently asked questions:

u/GoMustard · 1 pointr/politics

>you imbecile

I can already tell this is going to be fun.

>Jesus has literally ZERO contemporary historical data.

That's not what you asked for. You asked for peer-reviewed arguments for the historical existence of Jesus, of which I said there are thousands, and to which I said you'd have a much more difficult time finding the opposite--- peer reviewed articles and books arguing that Jesus was entirely a myth.

>I’ll wait for those libraries of sources you have.

Where do you want to start?

Probably the best place for you to start is with Bart Ehrman, a leading scholar of on the development of Christianity, and he's also a popular skeptic speaker and writer. In addition to publishing he's written popular books about how many of the books of the Bible were forgeries, and how the belief that Jesus was divine developed in early Christianity, he also wrote an entire book laying out the widely accepted case that Jesus was likely a real historical person, written directly to skeptical lay people like yourself.

If you want a great introduction to the scholarly debate about the historical Jesus, you could start here or here. I also think Dale Allison's work is great critical look at some of the issues at work in the debate. There are lots of historical reconstructions of Jesus' life. Some of the more popular ones like Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan tend to sell books to liberal Christian audiences, so I've always thought E.P. Sanders treatment was perferable. I'll spare you the links to scholars who identify as orthodox Christians, like Luke Timothy Johnson or N.T. Wright. It sounded like you specifically wanted more scholarly sources and not popular books, so you could just look at the scholarly journal dedicated to the study of the historical Jesus. Or the Jesus Seminar. Or either of the following Introductions to the New Testament textbooks which are used in secular universities throughout the english speaking world:

Introduction to the New Testament by Mark Allen Powell

Introduction to the New Testament by Bart Ehrman

These are the ones I'm personally most familiar with. There are tons more like Geza Vermes and Amy Jill Levine I haven't read and I'm not as familiar with.

But I'm not telling you anything you wouldn't learn in any basic 101 intro to New Testament Class. The academic consensus is that regardless of what you think about him as a religious figure, it is extremely likely that there was a first century Jew named Jesus who started a faith movement that led to him being crucified. Why do scholars think this? Because by the time Paul started writing his letters 20 years later there was a growing, spreading religious movement that worship a crucified Jew named Jesus as their messiah, and given critical analysis of the texts produced by this movement, some of which are now in the New Testament, there really doesn't exist a coherent argument for the development of this movement that doesn't include the existence of a first century Jew named Jesus who was crucified.

u/p0lar_ · 1 pointr/brasil

Se é pra apelar pra vídeos aleatórios no youtube, aqui está um que diz que a Terra é plana. Tá no youtube, então claramente é verdade.

Eu teria vergonha de linkar um vídeo desses. Obviamente não vi o vídeo inteiro(pode falar o que quiser, não vou perder quase 40min vendo um vídeo que em poucos minutos percebi não ser de muita confiança), mas se quiser algo melhor que essas "apostilas" feitas pra arrancar dinheiro de ateus rebeldes que usam fedoras, aqui está um ótimo livro sobre o assunto

Não é questão de ser religioso ou não - eu nem cristão sou -, isso é história.

u/Veritas-VosLiberabit · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

It doesn't contradict:

>1. An angel rolls away the stone from the tomb before sunrise (Matthew 28:2-4). The guards are seized with fear and eventually flee.
2. Women disciples visit the tomb and discover Christ missing (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-4; Luke 24:1-3; John 20:1).
3. Mary Magdalene leaves to tell Peter and John (John 20:1-2).
4. Other women remain at the tomb; they see two angels who tell them of Christ's resurrection (Matthew 28:5-7; Mark 16:5-7; Luke 24:4-8).
5. Peter and John run to the tomb and then leave (Luke 24:12; John 20:3-10).
6. Christ's First Appearance: Mary Magdalene returns to the tomb; Christ appears to her (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18).
7. Christ's Second Appearance: Jesus appears to the other women (Mary, mother of James, Salome, and Joanna) (Matthew 28:8-10).
8. At this time, the guards report the events to the religious leaders and are bribed to lie (Matthew 28:11-15).

Moving on...

>I'm sure you've heard of the Odyssey.

The Odyssey does not include little irrelevant details like the one I have pointed out.

>Here's a fun link.

Oh, we're allowing links now?

Here's a fun one from an atheist PhD historian:

Your article excludes crucial details, for example (this is just pulling out one, there are many more errors I could if I wanted to devote the time) we know that the second reference in Josephus could not have been interpolated for the following reason:

>Since it is wholly unlikely that a Christian interpolator invented the whole story of the deposition of the High Priest just to slip in this passing reference to Jesus, Mythicists try to argue that the key words which identify which Jesus is being spoken of are interpolated. Unfortunately this argument does not work. This is because the passage is discussed no less than three times in mid-Third Century works by the Christian apologist Origen and he directly quotes the relevant section with the words “Jesus who was called the Messiah” all three times: in Contra Celsum I.4, in Contra Celsum II:13 and in Commentarium in evangelium Matthaei X.17. Each time he uses precisely the phrase we find in Josephus: αδελφος Ιησου του λεγομενου Χριστου (“the brother of that Jesus who was called Messiah”). This is significant because Origen was writing a whole generation before Christianity was in any kind of position to be tampering with texts of Josephus. If this phrase was in the passage in Origen’s time, then it was clearly original to Josephus.

If you have the time I would recommend the following book actually, it's quite good:

Ehrman is an atheist scholar.

>I can see you are prone to ad hominem attacks.

No, I'm simply pointing out that your argument is incorrect because you don't even know what Aquinas is saying. If you don't know what his argument is, then how could you know that it has been "refuted"?

I would recommend the following book which provided me the impetus to convert from atheism to Christianity, it goes over that argument specifically:

u/titan_trigger · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

Yes I am aware of Richard Carrier and Bob Price. Ask yourself why he - not originally a new testament historian - has not written a peer reviewed paper on this rather novel and contrarian view and has instead decided to publish popular books targeting an atheist/agnostic audience eager to accept this message.

As a counter can I recommend Bart Ehrman's Did Jesus Exist?, also a short video

u/Zaedert · 1 pointr/politics

CNN is not a source for textual reliability. Prof. Casey is a non-believer, but that doesn't fit your narrative.

For the record, Bart Ehrman does not disagree with me. He wrote a book defending the proposition of the historical Jesus in 2012, linked here and here is a video of him saying as much. For someone who is awfully critical of sources without reading them you do very little analysis of your own.

u/georgedean · 1 pointr/samharris

My assertion that Carrier knows what peer review actually is stands. He's described the process in writing before. What he submitted his book to is not peer review by his own definition. If you have an explanation for that other than dishonesty, I'd be interested to hear it.

As for your request, and apropos of the interview this thread is about, I would recommend Erhman's book-length treatment. If you don't have time for a book, this (peer reviewed) article will do just fine.

Also, I'm not sure you intended it, but I laughed out loud at the implication that I'm a Christian. Just for the record, it is possible to be an atheist even after admitting the fact that Jesus was a real person.

u/tuffbot324 · 1 pointr/atheistvids

That's not a position I have made and one of which I don't care to defend. If you are curious though, Bart Ehrman does have a book out called Did Jesus Exist?

There's also some scholarly subreddits that you can find that have discussed the topic as well.

u/arachnophilia · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

> Also, monolatrism was present in a number of belief systems throughout Europe and the Middle East. Its not a stepping stone to monotheism.

evidently it can be. monotheism is not necessarily the terminal state of religious evolution, and you don't necessarily have to have monotheism come from monolatrism. for instance, in greece, monotheism seems to have come from a philosophical tradition unrelated to the polytheistic/henotheistic/monolatrist cults. in egypt, monotheism very briefly existed rather suddenly when one pharaoh just rejected all the other gods, with no monolatrism in between.

however, in the ancient near east, there was already a tradition of monolatrism across just about every canaanite culture in the bronze age, with similar traditions in babylonia/sumeria/akkad. the israelites were monolatrist because the people they descended from were monolatrists.

> Now how did Judaism become monotheistic? Probably conquest and forced conversion.

that's, uh. i don't even know what you mean here. but it wasn't the answer to the question i was asking. of course there was probably some conquest involved, as one monolatrist cult became monotheist and struggled for power against the other cults. this may have happened under the reign of josiah of judah, shortly prior to the babylonian exile of 586 BCE. it's also possible that something similar happened around the return from exile a few years later, when the more persian influenced jewish aristocracy came back with some new ideas. this is the generally accepted model in academia. it's also possible that the babylonian invasion effectively eliminated the non-yahwist cults in judah. hard to say. but what nobody in academia doubts is that prior to being monotheist, the tradition that led to judaism was monolatrist, with yahweh as the patron god.

we don't doubt this because we have the stuff they wrote down about it.

> The obvious fact that they've directly stolen from their neighboring religions demonstrates the invalidity of their claims.

uh, okay. and? religious traditions borrow from others all the time. the israelites/judeans were canaanites, they have mythology similar to other canaanites, yes. not a surprise here. it's just that instead of worshiping hadad, or melqart, or hammon, whom other canaanite cultures called "baal" (lord), they worship yahweh, whom they call "adonai" (my lords).

> You continue to insinuate deeper meaning, as if the conclusions of monothiests are true and obvious, but if they are... prove it. Support your statement. Don't insinuate false knowledge.

i'm not sure what you think i'm arguing, but i suggest starting at the top again, and re-reading my posts. this time, don't assume i'm defending some particular religious tradition, and note that i say things like "we have no reason to" "take religious traditions at their word", and that i'm arguing for a relatively late shift towards monotheism around the time of persian contact.

> Prove this. Prove that they were yahwists.


>> אָנֹכִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִיךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים: לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים, עַל-פָּנָי.

>> we are yahweh your god, that brought you out of egypt, from the house of slavery. do not have yourself other gods in my presence.

the person who wrote this is a) a yahwist (see the name יְהוָה there?) and b) monolatrist (see how he says not to have other gods, rather than that there are no other gods?) this text was compiled around the time of the babylonian exile, 586 BCE, or shortly after from component sources that antedated the compilation. the components are probably in the range of 800-700 BCE for J and E, 600 BCE for D (probably written specifically for josiah), 500 BCE for P, and all over the place for R.

> You keep citing yahwist monolatrists, but that was never a thing.

they literally left us a book about yahweh and monolatrism. we know they existed.

> You're inventing history to satisfy your need for deeper meaning.

i am not!

> But it's a blatant fabrication, and when directly addressed, you simply refute a semantic misinterpretation as if that's a valid rebuttel instead of supporting your claim with evidence. All red flags.

would you rather i throw the books at you?


    > I genuinely don't understand how people can purport deeper meaning from these belief systems.

    i... really don't care? that's not what i'm trying to do here. i was trying to present a model for how persian zoroastrianism influenced early judaism-proper, but you came in an objected to the fact that used the term "monolatrist yahwist" as if such a thing didn't exist, because... you think i'm looking for some deeper meaning here? defending christianity? what? i don't think you've read my posts to carefully, and i don't think you're at all familiar with iron age ii mythologies or cultic systems...

    > The stories of the Abrahamics are shared by older polytheistc religions.

    no, older monolatrist religions. the enuma elish, for instance, from babylonia, is a monolatrist text heralding marduk above the other gods. it has some things in common with the later israelite creation myth. the canaanite baal cycle is a monolatrist text heralding baal above the other gods. it has some things in common with several later biblical texts. we generally lump "monolatrism" in with "polytheism" in some discussions, so it's unclear why you're objecting to it above as it i meant "monotheism". the ancient greeks, for instance, were generally divided into different monolatrist cults, but we consider greek mythology in general polytheistic.

    > To this day they are filled with numerous historical inaccuracies,

    it's much worse than simple inaccuracies, i assure you. much of it is outright mythology.
u/autonomousgerm · 1 pointr/atheism

Realizing that Yahweh, the god of the bible, began as the Canaanite god of war until the Israelites leveled him up to "the one true god".

From there, you begin to realize that there is an actual history to how this "god" came to be. It's quite illuminating.

Basically, reading this.

u/dostiers · 1 pointr/atheism

Ask him to explain how a "Jesus of Nazareth" could have existed given that there are no records that the place existed before around 200 CE.

Or how Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea when at the time of his supposed birth the town consisted only of the ruins of a Iron Age town uninhabited since around 1,000 BCE.

True, he might have been born in the village of Bethlehem in Galilee, but that blows the prophesy that the Messiah would be born in King David's birthplace out of the water. It also calls into question why Joseph and Mary would have gone there as Galilee wasn't under Roman control, so not subject to a Roman census. BTW-Nazareth is also in Galilee.

BTW-there is also no evidence that King David ever existed, or that there was a Kingdom of Israel. At the time he supposedly ruled Jerusalem it consisted of just 16 houses according to Israel Finkelstein, Professor of the Archaeology of Israel in the Bronze Age and Iron Ages at Tel Aviv University and Neil Asher Silberman as detailed in The Bible Unearthed.

The Bible is about as valuable a historical document as the Harry Potter books.

u/ticocowboy · 1 pointr/exmormon

This is considered the most scholarly SECULAR analysis of the historicity of the Jesus narrative. It doesn't deal with the Old Testament except in passing, but it is a very good analysis of the evidence for the historicity of the New Testament.

For the Old Testament, this one is hard to beat - and it's a real eye opener - put together by two Israeli archaeologists, and they don't hold back:

u/FacebookFelon · 1 pointr/exchristian

Start there. The bibliography is good. I have more stuff if you want

u/vaarsuv1us · 1 pointr/exchristian

'The Bible Unearthed' by Finkelstein and Silberman

u/Billmarius · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Are you claiming that Judaism arose spontaneously, out of thin air? Perhaps the Hebrews just sprang out of the ground somewhere? Are you arguing that Judaism is the first, or earliest religion? That it has no historical antecedent whatsoever? That monotheism was not, in fact, predated by polytheism? Have you conducted any research to support these claims?

The segments in my post are well-cited. Perhaps you'd like to refute the authors of the research? By all means, look up the citations and compose angry, emotionally-based retorts to this historical and archaeological research.

Educate thyself. The following works are by Israeli authors:

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts

Authors: Israel Finkelstein, Professor of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, and Neil Asher Silberman, an archaeologist, historian and contributing editor to Archaeology Magazine.

The Invention of the Jewish People

Author: Shlomo Sand, Professor of History at Tel Aviv University

The Wandering Who

Author: Isreali-born Gilad Atzmon


It is a scholarly and truly monumental work, deeply profound and, of course, controversial. (Alan Hart, British Journalist and covert diplomat in Middle East, ITN's News at 10, BBC's Panorama)

u/PM_ME_YOUR_ICONS · 1 pointr/OrthodoxChristianity

I got these:

The Orthodox Church by Kallistos Ware

The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware

The Mountain of Silence by Kyriacos C. Markides

The Sayings of the Desert Fathers

I'm still reading them but I hear that this selection will cover a lot of bases. Check eBay too, they can found pretty cheap.

u/True_Whit · 1 pointr/Christianity

I think the book that you're looking for is A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch. Slightly intimidating (it's over 1100 pages!) but it's very well written, very thorough, and written in an academic style rather than from that of a believer.

u/EleisonJoy · 1 pointr/exmormon

The late great Christopher Hitchens recommends, "Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years," by Diarmaid MacCulloch. I absolutely adore this book.

you can find it here

u/Doisha · 1 pointr/ImGoingToHellForThis

If you go by the bible, which is literally the only source you can go by for this topic (Roman/Jewish historians only offhandedly mention Jesus's existence and execution, obviously don't talk about the theology of the situation), then Jesus did fulfill the prophecies.

So far, I've explained to you that early Christianity was literally made entirely of Jews that accepted Jesus as the messiah; they followed Jewish law, kept kosher, etc. I've also explained that, in spite of the fact that being a Christian could get you killed, so converting to Christianity was dangerous to your health, it became the dominant religion in the region, and later the empire. But here's another thing: Jews had a special status for religions in the Roman empire. They did not have to bow to the emperor or acknowledge him as a god, as all other religions did, because the Romans respected that the Jewish tradition went back more than a thousand years and was older than the Roman faith. When a Jew converted to Christianity, they lost that status; Christianity had no tradition, the Romans had no respect for it. When a Christian refused to bow, they were killed. Christians were accused of being witches, cannibals, cowards, and just generally dishonorable scum.

Of course, I'm assuming you didn't read that far into the comment because no matter what I say you just repost the exact the same sentence.

Its literally impossible to prove that Jesus fulfilled the prophecy and I can't even begin to try because the only source is the Bible and I am much more of a religious historian than a theologian. But what I have told you (and you've chosen to ignore) is that Christianity went from being a small group of Jews that accepted Jesus as messiah, to a large group of Jews, to a large and persecuted minority within the Roman empire, to the largest religion in the world. The number of people that accepted Jesus as the messiah has outnumbered those that don't for around 1900 years. The Bible, which is the only source you can go by for religious information, says that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies. So the core of your argument is basically "The Bible is a giant lie" and there's not really a way that I can dispute that, nor am I going to try to.

Sorry that it took me a day to respond to you; I'm sure you were holding your breath. My phone died when I just as I finished typing this yesterday and I finally got bored enough to type it again.

Here are some sources, in case you actually are interested in the history that I've been talking about:

Diarmaid MacCulloch, Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

Any primary sources references in that book will be found in: John W. Coakley and Andrea Sterk, Readings in World Christian History, Volume 1: Earliest Christianity to 1453

Free online Bible, in many different versions including audio book

u/anathemas · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Not OP, but audible might have Elaine Pagels' The Gnostic Gospels. Some of her other books touch on Gnosticism as well.

If you like podcasts, The Secret History of Western Esotericism, has a few episodes on Gnosticism, although the whole podcast is really interesting. History of the Papacy also discusses Gnosticism in the context of the church's history. In Our Time also has an episode. Links for the others in my academic podcast/free uni class list.

You might also ask for recommendations in r/AskBibleScholars or r/academicbiblical.

Edit: just noticed you were looking for old sects in general. In that case, you'll find a lot in the list I linked — it's what got me interested in the historical criticism of Christianity in the first place. :) I'd also suggest Christianity: The First 3,000 Years. It's pretty popular, so there might be an audiobook. Iirc there's also a documentary.

u/MetaphoricallyHitler · 1 pointr/Christianity

If history's your thing, this is a good broad-scoped history of Christianity.

If you're less ambitious and just want to check out the history of the early church, this book is quite a bit shorter and very readable.

u/crudkin · 1 pointr/atheism

Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. It's a real beast, but worth every minute. It's readable and yet very well-researched. And you don't have to read it all at once if you don't want. I read it in theological school, and it helped me understand the false foundations of Christianity. On Amazon.

u/contractor_scum · 1 pointr/atheism

I think you would enjoy this book Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

Your professor probably taught a lot of what is in here, but I found it to be a fascinating read.

u/CSpilot · 1 pointr/Reformed

I haven't found anything yet that is a good in-depth narrative of the split. At a high-level, it happened over several centuries and was driven by geographic separation, linguistic and cultural differences (Greek vs. Latin), the Pope's claim to primacy, the rise of icons in the eastern church, and the western church's addition of the Filioque clause to the Nicene creed. Honestly, Wikipedia has some good stuff (search for "The Great Schism" and "Filioque") for an introduction to the issues.

The Orthodox Church touches on the issues from an eastern perspective and is a great introduction to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years is a great single-volume work covering many aspects of church history. It's a large book, but a great place to start if you're a history buff.

u/Qwill2 · 1 pointr/HistoryofIdeas

Temporarily unavailable... Are you familiar with Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, by Diarmaid MacCullogh?

u/NukesForGary · 1 pointr/Reformed

Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch

Don't let the fact that the author is a Gay, former Christian scare you. This book is one of the best books I have read in church history. It reads very nicely.

u/vinterstum · 1 pointr/Christianity

"Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years" by Diarmaid MacCulloch

This is the definitive history of the Christianity. As unbiased and authoritative as you're going to find.

u/thesunmustdie · 1 pointr/atheism

Bart Ehrman's Lost Christianies is good and scholarly:

u/ABTechie · 1 pointr/atheism

I haven't read these books, but I like their author, Bart Ehrman. I have heard several interviews with him.
Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament

u/Semie_Mosley · 1 pointr/atheism

I own both books and they are terrific. You might also consider Ehrman's Lost Christianities

u/redshrek · 1 pointr/exchristian

There is a wide variety of beliefs within christianity. For example, there are some christians that hold to trinity theology while others do no. There are some who believe that you need only grace to be saved while some others think those who will be saved through predestination while some yet believe you need works too to be save. All of these people can point to chapters and verses in the bible to support their beliefs. To quote Jeff Dee, "the bible is the big book of multiple choice."

When it comes to reading the bible, I don't know that I have the only correct approach but what I did was get some really good scholarly books and videos on the bible. Some of the things I used are:


Introduction to the Old Testament

New Testament History and Literature

Divine Inspiration and Biblical Inerrancy: The Failed Hypothesis

Matt Dillahunty's Atheist Debates Project


Lost Christianities by Bart Ehrman

The Human Faces of God by Thom Stark

The Oxford Bible Commentary


Reasonable Doubts Podcast

Thinking Atheist Podcast

u/Deradius · 1 pointr/NoStupidQuestions

I'm reading 'Going Clear' right now. I have no idea why I find it so fascinating.

u/pijinglish · 1 pointr/movies

If you're really interested, pick up a copy of Going Clear ...Hoffman's character is based on L. Ron Hubbard.

u/Giant_Robot_Birdhead · 1 pointr/Documentaries

Worth mentioning that the book goes into a lot more detail, especially with the history of the church and all of Mr. Hubbard's misadventures. Hubbard was a fascinating guy, flawed and fucked up, but he definitely makes for an interesting read.

Amazon link

u/GoogleOpenLetter · 1 pointr/atheism

Going Clear Amazon link that helps support the TYT network

If you go through this link it won't cost any extra but a small percentage will be given to The Young Turks, who are trying to get money out of politics and create a new media that actually questions government power.

Win win.

u/Stew_of_Omi · 1 pointr/todayilearned

I understand you're asking about Scientology as primarily, but you mentioned why the Catholic Church isn't being considered a cult because of actions they've committed in the past.

As for the FBI, there is some precedent to believe that Scientology are under investigation currently. That precedent being that there have been multiple investigations in the past, increased recent public scrutiny (Louis Theroux, Leah Remini) and a recent suspicious death of a Scientology member, it's kinda unlikely to believe that they aren't under investigation, albeit not publicly.

For the longest time they weren't classified as a religion until they wore down the IRS to give them the tax-exempt status of a religion. Until there is video evidence of SeaOrg members torturing and imprisoning members in which those same tortured members are willing to testify against Scientology in court and say they were held against their will, then it's going to take a domestic terror situation to make the government do something about this cult (as is the case in many countries that have their own unique cults).

Obviously you're curious for a real in depth look into Scientology and how it relates to organized religion and whatnot so here's a few book recommendations so you can go beyond Reddit where you definitely won't get the detailed look you might yearn for (BUT WITH BOOKS YOU CAN :D).

Going Clear

Bare-faced Messiah

Combatting Cult Mind Control

u/CarlvonLinne · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

A classmate of mine from LA whose parents were well-connected in the entertainment industry told me this fifteen years ago.

This book details the claims and there is a documentary of the same title as well:


u/boomboomroom · 1 pointr/politics

Actually you have to thank the Irish.

u/DanielMcLaury · 1 pointr/news

Please tell me you're kidding.

If not, let's start you out here:

u/SanFransicko · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I'm Irish, and although my family strongly identifies with our Irish roots, I've always been a bit embarrassed by the way we celebrate our alcoholism. I like my drinks too, but jokes like,
"Why did God invent whiskey?"
"So the Irish wouldn't rule the world"

It's always embarrassed me a bit. Then I read "How the Irish Saved Civilization" and it made me proud to know that the Irish really had a big role in saving western civilization from losing more of our accumulated knowledge than we already had at the end of the dark ages.

Now I love the joke:
"Do you know what I'd be if I wasn't Irish?"
"Bloody ashamed of me-self."

u/ModusMan · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Actually, according the the book "How the Irish Saved Civilisation" he was an exiled/kidnapped Welsh Prince.

u/ThisIsDave · 1 pointr/politics

In response to the headline, I thought I'd note that it's not the first time, at least according to this guy

>In this delightful and illuminating look into a crucial but little-known "hinge" of history, Thomas Cahill takes us to the "island of saints and scholars," the Ireland of St. Patrick and the Book of Kells. Here, far from the barbarian despoliation of the continent, monks and scribes laboriously, lovingly, even playfully preserved the West's written treasury. When stability returned in Europe, these Irish scholars were instrumental in spreading learning, becoming not only the conservators of civilization, but also the shapers of the medieval mind, putting their unique stamp on Western culture.

I've heard it's actually a very good book, but I haven't read it and don't know enough history to judge one way or the other.

u/Doparoo · 1 pointr/pics

There's a fun book called "How The Irish Saved Civilization"

I wonder if this is placeable in the book.

u/SporkOfThor · 1 pointr/atheism

This is a good read on how Irish monasteries kept and copied books after the fall of Rome, to be later introduced. Keep in mind many civilizations suppressed information and destroyed knowledge and the knowledgeable for political and religious reasons both, including the Chinese emperor and the Cambodians. The main goal of any society which wants to advance learning should be to not inhibit free expression, no matter how offensive, ignorant, politically incorrect, unpopular, irreligious, blasphemous, unscientific, etc. The only restraint being practices dangerous to others.

u/pentad67 · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

Not everyone agrees with Goffart, his methodology or his conclusions, but everyone has to take them into account. I personally think he is great (and I think most historians fall on the positive side), but even if I disagreed, his book would still be on my "must-read" list.

Being able to distinguish a real history book from one for a general audience is something too many academics take for granted and we forget that it's really not an obvious distinction to many people. General guidelines, definitely not to be followed 100%: is the author a working academic or is he more of a journalist looking for a good story? If not an academic, has he or she written on this area before or do they write on topics all over the map? Is the press known for academic books or popular books? (Sadly) is the book very expensive or is it actually affordable?! Mention it to an actual academic and see if he turns his nose up at it and sneers condescendingly (I'm waiting for someone to ask me about this book so I can give that response. I've been practicing my sneer in the mirror). Or, better yet, ask reddit!

u/CedarWolf · 1 pointr/AskReddit
u/Nabiiy · 1 pointr/languagelearning

>lyric poetry 30% (mainly symbolism)
art history 25% (mainly Renaissance and symbolism)
Russian literature 15%
epic poetry 10%
philosophy 10% (mainly Greeks, Spinoza, Camus, etc.)
linguistics 5%
religions 5% (mainly Christianity)

I know you didn't express any interest in it in your post, but I'm going to give my case for Irish Gaelic.

It has a solid quantity of lyric poetry, epic poetry, symbolic art history, and historical Christian documents. I believe it would engage a full 75% of your interests.

How the Irish Saved Civilisation by Thomas Cahill is a book about the Christian monks of 5th-11th century Ireland. These monks are hailed as having maintained a beacon of literacy in Dark Age Europe with their religious and historical writings.

Gaelic is also super interesting linguistically. Mordern Irish is nearly mutually intelligable with Old Irish. Far from being archaic or traditional, Gaelic is a punk rocker on the linguistics scene. It doesn't fit into your language's rat race of 'patterns', and 'rules'. Gaelic is simultaneously a graffiti language and an instrument of poetry. Ireland's poetic tradition is long and in both English and Irish.

Celtic art has quite a rich and ancient tradition. It's not the Mona Lisa or the Sistine Chapel, but prehistoric through dark age Irish/Pictish art has many subtle secrets to appreciate. We didn't really understand the knotwork until the 20th century. The symbolic meaning of carvings in pre-historic Scotland are still shrouded in mystery today.

Irish is in a revival, Ireland is beautiful, and most importantly, Irish is on Duolingo.

u/KindaRight · 1 pointr/bestof

I read a bit of it once, seemed a little...exaggerated, but it was interesting.

u/PhilipJFried · 1 pointr/exjw

You should check out a book called The Origins of Satan by Elaine Pagels.

u/diatkeon · 1 pointr/atheism

i read this ( ) in an afternoon while working in a used book store one summer. i was already an atheist, but it definitely cleared up a lot of questions about satan and hell for me. you might find it useful - even comforting.

u/Suougibma · 1 pointr/exjw

If you want something related, but not JW specific, these might interest you:

"The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans, and Heretics"


"Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are"

I found them interesting and they do tie indoctrination, particularly since JW are big on the Satan Concept and Paul's teachings, most of Paul's books of the bible were not written by Paul. I might be biased in my enjoyment of these books. I do not believe in Satan, I think it is just a boogeyman concept to instill fear. I also think Paul/Simon was a sack of shit, but it seems as though most of the books attributed to him were written in his name well after his death. None of this is groundbreaking, it is pretty well established and accepted biblical history, but it is well written and easy to follow.

u/lannister80 · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

Great book about the Christian origins of Satan, and how different he is from the Jewish Satan:

Interesting talk by the same author, 9 minutes:

u/underwear_viking · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

There are so many awesome texts out there!
I'm really partial to the character of Enoch, and the more weird, apocalyptic sorts of books. I'll throw a few of those out there for your perusing pleasure.
I'm using two Wiki links to give a general overview of the two texts I'll talk about, but please

The Book of Enoch, or First Enoch - this book is regarded as canon by Christians in Ethiopia/Eritrea, but not by other churches. I think it is particularly interesting because Enoch is taken around on a grand tour of the cosmos: he sees the world, up into the heavens, and even down to Sheol. It's pretty cool to read how people reckoned the cosmos worked back then. There are weird visions of angels, a few parables and even an astronomical calendar text thrown into the mix.

Slavonic Enoch, or, Second Enoch is unrelated to First Enoch (i.e., different author, very different date and region) but contains a lot of the same sort of stories about good old Enoch. There's also some stuff about Melchizedek, whom you probably recognize since it seems you're interested in Gnostic stuff. (the Wiki link for this one isn't as strong as the first- please check out more sources for better analysis of the text)

More information on the books of Enoch:

Detailed analysis by Andri Orlov

If you are looking for more fun Gnostic stuff to peruse, and haven't checked out Apocalyptic/Gnostic scholar Elaine Pagels yet, you're missing out:
Youtube Discussion about the Book of Revelation
I'd definitely check out her books on the Origin of Satan and Revelations

u/mindputty · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

Elaine Pagels makes a good argument in her book "The Origin of Satan" for the idea that Christians (at least the earlier ones shortly after the death of Jesus) had a very different if non-existent notion of Satan, and that they never really believed in an ultimate evil incarnate, and that if you look closely, Satan doesn't even really appear in either the old or new testaments in the way that we think of nowadays. Instead, Satan is a derivation on Shaitan, or a force of opposition (someone or something that blocks). Shaitan was an angel sent to do God's bidding in preventing someone from accomplishing what they were originally intending. Supposedly, this was to prevent humans from accomplishing goals that would ultimately lead to greater misfortune. For example, the spirit of Shaitan would be send into a donkey that would prevent that donkey from climbing the hill, where a landslide would happen. Since God knows it would happen, he sends the Shaitan to keep that human safe. Over time, this developed into "Satan", and took on a more malevolent tone. An interesting read, if you want to look into this more.

u/focused_revolution · 1 pointr/satanism

As a "theistic" Satanist (whatever the fuck that means) I would suggest acquainting yourself with the following works, which IMHO I believe are or should be of general interest to all Satanists:

  1. The Origin of Satan

  2. The Biography of Satan: Exposing the Origins of the Devil

  3. I would also suggest learning about the mythologies of all sorts of ancient peoples to gain more perspective. The Norse Eddas, Indo-Aryan scriptures like the Mahabharata and the Vedas, The Popol Vuh, hell, even the Old Testament if you haven't thoroughly read it before
u/IckyChris · 1 pointr/atheism

For a scholarly investigation into the reliability of the Old Testament, this is a really good read. The Bible Unearthed.

"In this iconoclastic and provocative work, leading scholars Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman draw on recent archaeological research to present a dramatically revised portrait of ancient Israel and its neighbors. They argue that crucial evidence (or a telling lack of evidence) at digs in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon suggests that many of the most famous stories in the Bible—the wanderings of the patriarchs, the Exodus from Egypt, Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, and David and Solomon’s vast empire—reflect the world of the later authors rather than actual historical facts. "

u/Derbedeu · 1 pointr/atheism

>Well, have you actually read War and Peace in Russian? Then your argument just fell fell apart. The nuance in good literature can have vastly different meanings, depending on the reader.

Whether someone reads it in English or Russian, the story is the same and so are the themes. They don't change just because the language is different.

>Let’s review a few reasons why that’s ridiculous! At least 194 Jews and people of half- or three-quarters-Jewish ancestry have been awarded the Nobel Prize,1 accounting for 22% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2015.

How many grew up in a shtetl? How many were religious? Why don't you have any Jewish Nobel Prize winners coming out of the pale of settlement?

Religion literally has nothing to do with intelligence, unless it is to retard it. You also seem to have an obsession with race/ethnicity, two concepts that literally don't make any sense biologically. We're all homo sapiens sapiens As Richard Feynman put it, "To select, for approbation the peculiar elements that come from some supposedly Jewish heredity is to open the door to all kinds of nonsense on racial theory."

>Shabbat, a day of rest – origin – yes, the Jews.


People today get the weekend off (i.e. two days off), weekend being a British concept. Even that has been found to be insufficient though, as 50 hour work weeks are deemed to be too much by many psychologists and sociologists and lead to a decrease in productivity.

But what does that have to do with anything though? Also, where do you see a culture that hasn't had some sort of impact one way or another? All cultures do, because that's how cultures work, they're effusive.

>Washing hands to avoid disease – a practice started a long, long time ago.

The Celts practiced the same thing, using soap. Again though, what does hygiene have to do with anything? Especially as hygiene practices varied worldwide back then.

>Biblehub is a Christian site, btw.

With translations from numerous publications that are translated by numerous philologists in turn. Besides, the other two aren't and lo and behold, their translations are the same.

>And to liken Judaism to a cult? I have no problem with what you think about Scientology and the Mormons, but you have some huge problem in your cerebral connections to associate Judaism with a cult.

How is Judaism NOT a cult? It literally started off as a cult of Yahweh. Here are some books and papers you can read on the matter:

This isn't even mentioning that Judaism today exhibits many cult characteristics. There are elitist tendencies (chosen ones); proscribed and identifiable clothing; barring of intermarriages with those outside of the group; kashrut laws encouraging members to only mingle with other in-group members; an elite class charged with authority and leadership within the group (rabbis); demands of immoral actions such as genital mutilation; a closed social system that frowns upon any deviation; end-time revelation; concept of mesirah; etc.

Judaism is a cult just as every other religion is.

>Oh, by the way, don’t bother to reply, I tire of your weak,
wandering responses,


u/nightshadetwine · 0 pointsr/occult

>Judaism didn't "merge" different gods and goddesses, they rejected them. Christianity merged them in the New Testament, but they eliminated the divinity of the goddess.

The Israelites were polytheistic at first but over time became more monotheistic. You still find traces of polytheism in the bible. In ancient Egyptian religion the creator uses the word or speech to bring everything into existence. This word or speech was called Hu by the Egyptians and was considered a deity. In Genesis you find god creating everything using the word or speech but instead of the word or speech being a god like in ancient Egyptian religion it's just Yahweh. So the Israelites just had Yahweh taking over the roles other gods had in pagan religions. Yahweh also had a Goddess consort called Asherah. This book is about the polytheism of the Israelites.

As for Mary, the idea of a mortal woman being impregnated by a god is something you find in pagan religions. It represents spirit(the god) "impregnating" matter(the woman). Gender in religion/mythology is symbolic for the two forces that the divine had to split itself into in order to "create" life.

>Divine femininity was downplayed due to the subjugation of women. Gender inequality is a feature, not a bug, of Abrahamic religion. Beginning with Adam and Eve, the Old Testament firmly established an ontological foundation for women's second class citizenship: Men were subservient to God, and women were subservient to men. The patriarchal hierarchy was upheld in the New Testament, notably by the treatment of Mary (both Theotokos and Magdalene), the exclusion of certain Gnostic gospels, and the inclusion of misogynist social commentary from Peter and others.

>I agree that the divine isn't male or female like humans. But religion is primarily a tool for social control. A rise in religiosity is always accompanied by the threat of fundamentalism, and all it takes is a couple years of violence and chaos to a century of legal and social progress. As a woman, supporting the resurgence of Christianity would make me complicit in my own dehumanization.

I completely agree with all of this.

u/Prahasaurus · 0 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I recommend reading Dr Ehrman's book which gives a good overview. That is, if you are serious about this topic.

As I've stated, while I do believe he probably existed, I don't think we'll ever be able to say one way or the other definitely. If he did exist, he came from a poor family in Nazareth, a very small village in the middle of nowhere. It's hard to get records on anyone from that time, much less a backwoods preacher with limited success.

But read Ehrman's book for a good overview of the existing evidence. Keep in mind that 99% of historians also believe Jesus did exist, and no, they are not all Christian fundamentalists. They include Jewish scholars, atheist/agnostic scholars (like Ehrman), etc.