Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bart Ehrman's new book




Last month, Dr. Bart Ehrman's much anticipated book, Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics, was released by Oxford University Press. The following is the publisher's "Description":

"Arguably the most distinctive feature of the early Christian literature," writes Bart Ehrman, "is the degree to which it was forged." The Homilies and Recognitions of Clement; Paul's letters to and from Seneca; Gospels by Peter, Thomas, and Philip; Jesus' correspondence with Abgar, letters by Peter and Paul in the New Testament--all forgeries. To cite just a few examples.

Forgery and Counterforgery is the first comprehensive study of early Christian pseudepigrapha ever produced in English. In it, Ehrman argues that ancient critics--pagan, Jewish, and Christian--understood false authorial claims to be a form of literary deceit, and thus forgeries. Ehrman considers the extent of the phenomenon, the "intention" and motivations of ancient Greek, Roman, and Jewish forgers, and reactions to their work once detected. He also assesses the criteria ancient critics applied to expose forgeries and the techniques forgers used to avoid detection. With the wider practices of the ancient world as backdrop, Ehrman then focuses on early Christian polemics, as various Christian authors forged documents in order to lend their ideas a veneer of authority in literary battles waged with pagans, Jews, and, most importantly, with one another in internecine disputes over doctrine and practice. In some instances a forger directed his work against views found in another forgery, creating thereby a "counter-forgery." Ehrman's evaluation of polemical forgeries starts with those of the New Testament (nearly half of whose books make a false authorial claim) up through the Pseudo-Ignatian epistles and the Apostolic Constitutions at the end of the fourth century.

Shining light on an important but overlooked feature of the early Christian world, Forgery and Counterforgery explores the possible motivations of the deceivers who produced these writings, situating their practice within ancient Christian discourses on lying and deceit. (LINK)


I have the book on order, but given the fact that we are in the 'holiday season', I have no idea when the book will arrive. However, even though I have yet to read Ehrman's book, a gent I have respect for (Dr. Tim Henderson) has already offered a valuable critique on one of the topics of the book. The following are the links to his three installments:





Grace and peace,

David

11 comments:

Drake Shelton said...

Looking to see your comments on the Ignatian forgeries.

徐马可 said...

David,

Sean Gerety at Facebook quoted one section out of Ignatius's Ephesians Chapter 7, in which our Saviour is called agenetos.

In the larger manuscripts, it is never this case, there were mentioned two Physicians, one agenetos, one begotten.

I also noted several places throughout Ephesians where you have such problem. I tend to think the shorter ones are touched by later hand while the larger are the geniune.

I have read article about it that in Eusibius and Jerome's quoting, it is the larger being quoted but not the shorter.

Thanks,

Mark

徐马可 said...

Here are the sections I was talking about.

Smaller:
There is one physician, both fleshly and spiritual; made and not made (in Sean Gerety's version, unbegotten that is agenetos); God incarnate, true life in death, both of Mary and of God: first passible, then impassible; even Jesus Christ our Lord.

Larger:
But our physician is the only True God, Unbegotten and Inaccessible; the Lord of the Universe; the Father and Begetter of the only Begotten Son. We have also a physician, our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son, and the Word before the World began: who afterward become man of the Virgin Mary. For the Word was made Flesh. Being incorporeal, he was in a body; being impassible, he waws in a passible body; being immortal, he was in a mortal body; being life, he was liable to corruption; that he might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them; and that he might cure them when they were diseased with impiety and wicked lusts.

With also the two Greek texts
Primitive Christianity Revived Vol. I, Ignatius - William Whiston. Page 123.

David Waltz said...

Hi Mark,

Thanks much for responding; you wrote:

==Sean Gerety at Facebook quoted one section out of Ignatius's Ephesians Chapter 7, in which our Saviour is called agenetos.==

Me: I am beginning to think that anything Sean G. posts is suspect (his recent response to me in the combox of his latest thread is appalling). As for the passage from Ignatius' epistle to the Ephesians, chapter 7, the term he used in the shorter version is agennētos (ὰγέννητος), and not agenētos (ὰγένητος), which in and of itself is important. Be that as it may, if taken literally (see Prestige, God In Patristic Thought, pp. 37-54 for the early use of these terms) Ignatius is odds with pretty much every other CF and the Nicene Creed, wherein the affirmation of the of the begotteness of the Son is so clearly affirmed.

==In the larger manuscripts, it is never this case, there were mentioned two Physicians, one agenetos, one begotten.

I also noted several places throughout Ephesians where you have such problem. I tend to think the shorter ones are touched by later hand while the larger are the geniune.

I have read article about it that in Eusibius and Jerome's quoting, it is the larger being quoted but not the shorter.==

Me: Very interesting Mark. I am looking forward to seeing what Ehrman has to say about the Ignatian epistles.


Grace and peace,

David

徐马可 said...

David,

When I get done my psalms project next month, I would like to spend some time vindicating all the quotes from Clarke and Whiston's works and to put a table of such quotes in word file.

I also noted one interesting thing, a baptist brethen who is interested or strongly leaning toward full preterism mentioned about a section in Ignatius's Magnesians, saying those who waited for Him were raised from the dead when he came. Such notion is not found in the larger manuscript.

Best regards,

Mark



徐马可 said...

Magnesians Chapter 9

Smaller:

How shall we be able to live different from Him (viz. Christ); whose disciples the very prophets themselves being, did by the Spirit expect Him as their master.And therefore, he whom they justly waited for, being come, raised them up from the dead.

So many full preterist Christians said the resurrection is past.

Larger:

How shall we be able to live without him, as for their Teacher, and expected him as their Lord, and their Saviour, saying, He will come and save us. Let us not therefore any longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner, and please our selves in days of rest.

Primitive Christianity Revived Vol. I page 180, 181

Lvka said...

(a)genetos means (un)created. Christ is one, being both created (per His human nature) and uncreated (per His divine nature) at the same time.

To my knowledge and recollection, there was no difference between the two words (with one and two N's) before Nicaea, as Damascene testifies in his Dogmatic. Both words could mean both things, as is evident from both the LXX and the Greek NT.

David Waltz said...

Hi Lvka,

Yesterday, you posted:

==(a)genetos means (un)created. Christ is one, being both created (per His human nature) and uncreated (per His divine nature) at the same time.

To my knowledge and recollection, there was no difference between the two words (with one and two N's) before Nicaea, as Damascene testifies in his Dogmatic. Both words could mean both things, as is evident from both the LXX and the Greek NT.==

Yes, there was 'confusion' concerning the use of agennētos (ὰγέννητος), and agenētos (ὰγένητος) among the pre-Nicene Fathers, which continued among some CFs even after Nicaea.

But, with that said, the point I wanted to make was that the orthodox Church Fathers clearly affirmed the begotteness of the Son and the non-begotteness of the Father.


Grace and peace,

David

Max said...

Hi David,

Kind of offtopic, but do you know where I can buy bound volumes of the Greek fathers like Migne's patrology, or something else with the original Greek? You seem to know where to get those kinds of things. But I know not.

Thx,
-Max

David Waltz said...

Hi Max,

The few bound volumes of Migne's Patrologiae that I own I bought directly from Brepols—the following is a link to their site, with the volumes and prices currently in stock:

Brepols link

Bookfinder.com has a number of the volumes listed (mostly used):

Bookfinder.com - Patrologiae search

Perhaps you already know this, but pretty much all of Migne's volumes are available online for free in PDF format:

Patrologia Graeca

Patrologia Latina


Sincerely hope that I have been of some assistance...


Grace and peace,

David

Max said...

Thanks, I can't stand reading things on the computer! I want those books because I'm learning Greek and need some extra-biblical literature to study. But those books look expensive.