How Jesus Became God

How Jesus Became God

The Exaltation of A Jewish Preacher From Galilee

eBook - 2014
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In a book that took eight years to research and write, leading Bible scholar Bart D. Ehrman explores how an apocalyptic prophet from the backwaters of rural Galilee crucified for crimes against the state came to be thought of as equal with the one God Almighty Creator of all things. Ehrman sketches Jesus's transformation from a human prophet to the Son of God exalted to divine status at his resurrection. Only when some of Jesus's followers had visions of him after his death--alive again--did anyone come to think that he, the prophet from Galilee, had become God. And what they meant by that was not at all what people mean today. As a historian--not a believer--Ehrman answers the questions: How did this transformation of Jesus occur? How did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? The dramatic shifts throughout history reveal not only why Jesus's followers began to claim he was God, but also how they came to understand this claim in so many different ways. Written for secular historians of religion and believers alike, How Jesus Became God will engage anyone interested in the historical developments that led to the affirmation at the heart of Christianity: Jesus was, and is, God.
Publisher: New York, NY : HarperOne, 2014
ISBN: 9780062252197
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Call Number: eBook

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Feb 18, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed reading most of Ehrman’s explorations of the New Testament and its interpretation, and this was no exception. It explores the process of the change (over the first four centuries of Christianity, at least) in Jesus’s status, from exalted human to the eventual role as part of the Trinity and how that change can be traced in the writings of the church fathers. For some people, the fact that there has been any change at all will be a surprise, and if your eyebrows are in your hairline you actually need to read this book.

One of the first things that Ehrman does in any of his books is draw the line between faith and what a historian can reasonably claim. He does that here as well, and is also careful to note where he is relying on secondary sources rather than primary sources. (“We know this view was at least known because this was written to oppose it” is a fairly frequent statement) and he is careful to note the context of each writing and a brief biography of the writer when he can. I really enjoy each insight into the mindsets of people living in a time that’s far removed from our own, and being reminded that people are indeed people.

The book’s thesis goes over several phases of change. The exalted human phase seems to have been very early on, perhaps the earliest. From there, different modes of understanding Jesus are carefully laid out, from modalism and Arianism to the eventual Nicene and Ephesian conferences laying out the creed many Christians still recite to this day, without really thinking that for all of these conditions to be stated in the creed, they must have been a reaction against another understanding.

I enthusiastically recommend this to everyone, history fan, Christian, or both. There’s nothing here that should be a challenge to the faithful, and the exploration of the change is an important piece of western history that is important to understand. Five of five stars.

Sep 04, 2016

Great book - Tells it like it is from the 'historical' discipline. With out the rah rah - Want to know about the Arian Controversy or what Jesus himself claimed (or was recorded) about his divinity? Read this. Good/Great read - just the history ma'am. - I'm still a Christian - Yet this book explains about the early church from the FACTS we have.


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