Bart Ehrman has a new book due out in March titled, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee (New York: HarperOne, 2014). I blogged about it earlier here. The blurb for the book on Amazon.com reads:
New York Times bestselling author and Bible expert Bart Ehrman reveals how Jesus’s divinity became dogma in the first few centuries of the early church. The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. How Jesus Became God tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first. A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman reveals 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. But how did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? In a book that took eight years to research and write, 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. 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.
I’ve read a pre-pub manuscript of the book, but for various reasons, I cannot talk about or comment upon the contents. What I can say is that I’ve teamed up with Craig Evans, Simon Gathercole, Chris Tilling, and Charles Hill to bring you a book length response to Ehrman’s work that will be simultaneously released. It is called:
How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature – A Response to Bart Ehrman (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014).
Cover is not ready yet, but its coming! Here’s the blurb:
In his recent book How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher From Galilee(March 2014) historian Bart Ehrman explores a claim that resides at the heart of the Christian faith— that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. According to Ehrman though, this is not what the original disciples believed about Jesus, nor what Jesus claimed about himself. The first book length response to this latest challenge to Christianity from Ehrman, How God Became Jesus features the work of five internationally recognized biblical scholars. While subjecting his claims to critical scrutiny, they offer a better, historically informed account of why the Galilean preacher from Nazareth came to be hailed as “the Lord Jesus Christ.” Namely, they contend, the exalted place of Jesus in belief and worship is clearly evident in the earliest Christian sources, shortly following his death, and was not simply the invention of the church centuries later.
Should be due out in late February or early March.
Let me say folks, that this is going to be an awesome debate with some big issues in Christian origins being contested. We cover material ranging from the historical Jesus to the Jesus of Nicea. There’s Jewish intermediary figures, Jesus’ self-understanding, the historicity of the resurrection, interpreting Philippians 2:5-11, heaps on church fathers, and more!
Be sure to pre-order and beat the rush.