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Date Posted:14/08/2010 2:26 PMCopy HTML

Here's a very good book that I just finished while on holidays in Australia. It is written by one of my heroes of Biblical scholarship, Bart D. Ehrman. Don't be put off by the fact that he's a Biblical scholar, it is very readable and entirely fascinating.



From Publishers Weekly

What if Marcion's canon-which consisted only of Luke's Gospel and Paul's letters, entirely omitting the Old Testament-had become Christianity's canon? What if the Ebionites-who believed Jesus was completely human and not divine-had ruled the day as the Orthodox Christian party? What if various early Christian writings, such as the Gospel of Thomas or the Secret Gospel of Mark, had been allowed into the canonical New Testament? Ehrman (The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture), a professor of religion at UNC Chapel Hill, offers answers to these and other questions in this book, which rehearses the now-familiar story of the tremendous diversity of early Christianity and its eventual suppression by a powerful "proto-orthodox" faction. The proto-orthodox Christians won out over many other groups, and bequeathed to us the four Gospels, a church hierarchy, a set of practices and beliefs, and doctrines such as the Trinity. Ehrman eloquently characterizes some of the movements and Scriptures that were lost, such as the Ebionites and the Secret Gospel of Mark, as he outlines the many strands of Christianity that competed for attention in the second and third centuries. He issues an important reminder that there was no such thing as a monolithic Christian orthodoxy before the fourth century. While Ehrman sometimes raises interesting questions (e.g., are Paul's writings sympathetic to women?), his book covers territory already well-explored by others (Gregory Riley, The River of God; Elaine Pagels, Beyond Belief), generating few fresh or provocative insights.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:14/08/2010 2:31 PMCopy HTML

And then the companion book is a collection of apocryphal (i.e. extra-Biblical) gospels, epistles and writings of the New Testament era, early church era and then some. Most of the translations are again by Biblical scholar, Bart D. Ehrman, but not all.



Product Description

While most people think that the twenty-seven books of the New Testament are the only sacred writings of the early Christians, this is not at all the case. A companion volume to Bart Ehrman's Lost Christianities, this book offers an anthology of up-to-date and readable translations of many non-canonical writings from the first centuries after Christ--texts that have been for the most part lost or neglected for almost two millennia. Here is an array of remarkably varied writings from early Christian groups whose visions of Jesus differ dramatically from our contemporary understanding. Readers will find Gospels supposedly authored by the apostle Philip, James the brother of Jesus, Mary Magdalen, and others. There are Acts originally ascribed to John and to Thecla, Paul's female companion; there are Epistles allegedly written by Paul to the Roman philosopher Seneca. And there is an apocalypse by Simon Peter that offers a guided tour of the afterlife, both the glorious ecstasies of the saints and the horrendous torments of the damned, and an Epistle by Titus, a companion of Paul, which argues page after page against sexual love, even within marriage, on the grounds that physical intimacy leads to damnation. In all, the anthology includes fifteen Gospels, five non-canonical Acts of the Apostles, thirteen Epistles, a number of Apocalypes and Secret Books, and several Canon lists. Ehrman has included a general introduction, plus brief introductions to each piece. This important anthology gives readers a vivid picture of the range of beliefs that battled each other in the first centuries of the Christian era.
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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:26/08/2010 2:49 AMCopy HTML

Good morning, all.

It's probably appropriate that I respond to this post of Troy's, given that the majority of people here aren't likely to be aware of the underlying issues and/or the history behind this stuff. To begin with I'll state upfront that I own, and have read, the majority of Bart Erhman's books. Erhman is a credentialed New Testament textual critic, one who was formerly an evangelical Christian, but who no longer considers himself to be either evangelical or Christian. Importantly, Bart Ehrman is intentional in his writing of popular (rather than academic) works that seek to criticise historic Christianity, and he frequently appeals to his text critical theories to bolster his anti-Christian claims. However, what he doesn't publicise is the fact that a majority of qualified and recognised NT textual critics the world over, of every theological stripe, disagree with Dr Ehrman regarding the relationship of his text critical claims to his anti-Christian conclusions.

(note: I have edited the above comments to remove the questionable percentage, whilst retaining the fact that the overwhelming majority of NT text critics do not support Dr Ehrman's linkages between the data that textual criticism legitimately provides, and the spurious inferences that follow regarding the state of early Christianity)

There are several very good and inexpensive books that have been written to address these sorts of claims. One that I'd like to recommend today, which was written by two scholars who are experts in the field is called, "The Heresy of Orthodoxy", by Andreas Kostenberger and Mike Kruger (published by Crossway). It'll set you back the princely sum of about $20.00 from Koorong. What's so good about this book is that in addition to addressing and refuting Dr Ehrman's recasting of the "Bauer Hypothesis", it also addresses a lot of the recent, novel and "scholarly" claims that underpin such nonsense as Dan Brown's "the Da Vinci Code". Furthermore this book was written in such a way that anyone who can read a newspaper editorial would be able to grasp the historical facts that often get lost in the over-promoted unhistorical fictions.

I strongly recommend it.

Blessings,

Ian
email: didaktikon@gmail.com
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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:26/08/2010 7:54 AMCopy HTML

Reply to Didaktikon

I can't help but reply to this nonsensical biased drivel coming from someone who claims to be the expert.

However, what he doesn't publicise is the fact that about 95% of qualified and recognised NT textual critics the world over, of every theological stripe, disagree with him regarding the relationship of his text critical claims to his anti-Christian conclusions!

Pure bullshit!  95%?  And where'd you pull that number from?  You got access to some stats? Quote your source!

Why don't you be more honest and just admit the reality which is that 100% of the scholars who agree with you disagree with Ehrman.

Put bluntly, he's out on a limb, all alone in his views!

Again, bullshit.  Pure drivel.

Have you read the book? No? Well I have.

Read it and then come back to me with your POV. Don't just read reviews and pretend you've read the book.

Troy




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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:26/08/2010 10:13 AMCopy HTML

Troy,

There are several issues that I don't believe you have fully considered. First, I'm not ignorant of Dr Ehrman's methods, theses or his approach to NT textual criticism. For the past six years the theory and practice of NT textual criticism has been the focus of my research, which has resulted in me presenting papers on NT text critical issues at theological conferences (the most recent being two years ago when I addressed the text critical issues underpinning the debate on the gender and identity of the apostle Junia(s), of Romans 16 fame). Second, Dr Ehrman's views have been consistently rebutted by his peers, text critics who work at the same level of professional competence as he. Consequently there are numerous reviews of, and rebuttals to, his promotion of the "Bauer Hypothesis" published in text critical and biblical studies journals, symposia outcomes, monographs, κ.τ.λ. The story is simply not as "one-sided" as Dr Ehrman presents.

Dr Bart Ehrman is a senior NT scholar and textual critic. He has done much to present NT text critical methods and findings to non-scholarly audiences, and for this he should be commended. I, too, have benefited from his scholarship. However, Dr Ehrman has a decided tendency towards attempting to stretch text-critical conclusions to fit theories that the evidence simply does not address. Consequently, when he speaks to text critical issues he is often, although not always, a reliable guide. But when he attempts to speak to the history of Christian origins, specifically to notions of putative orthodoxy versus heresy, he is anything but.

(note: I have edited the above response to remove unnecessary ad hom argumentation)

Ian

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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:28/08/2010 11:47 AMCopy HTML

 Troy

Get used to disappointment - Man in Black, The Princess Bride

*Post of a personal nature have been deleted from this thread

This little moderator will be keeping a closer eye on this forum in the future with a zero tolerance for discussions that focus on the personal details of posters rather than the issues being discussed. ALL SHOULD feel free to discuss the issues, but personal attacks will no longer get any rope.
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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:22/09/2010 11:07 AMCopy HTML

"Get used to disappointment"

Yep - like a forum that's just for jesus freaks. Such a shame - it was interesting for a while. Now it's just a pissing competition for experts in mythology. Sorry theology.
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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:22/09/2010 1:09 PMCopy HTML

Certainly can't please 'em all! But we do give options and alternatives...

For those that can't get their heads around theology, I made 'cartoons' :P (see links at the page footer).

For those that want to chat to Troy, see his 'prophesy' blog by clicking on the banner also below.

For those that want to follow the hijinx that follows Ian and the Jesus Freaks and Geeks, stay tuned here. He's available to be called names or rebutted - preferably the latter for the sake of conversation. But really, just because Troy didn't want to play doesn't mean others can't have a go at debunking our favourite theologist's beliefs.

I'm not supposed to be on the net atm... and I just got sprung. Sigh. Ian, I noticed an incorrectly placed apostrophe in your work recently. That's about all I've got.
[LINK SiteName=Mothrust: Movies and Modern Myth Target=_blank]http://aintchristian.blogspot.com.au/[/LINK] Be nice, for everyone that you meet is fighting a harder battle - Anita Roddick
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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:22/09/2010 1:09 PMCopy HTML

Recovery from Revival without the incessant theological ramblings:
http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au/forums/index.php

Threads: 6,536, Posts: 125,887, Members: 1,325

Brainfood. Get some.
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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:22/09/2010 1:12 PMCopy HTML

But I do love those cartoons - I watched all of them - bravo!
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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:22/09/2010 1:39 PMCopy HTML

Thanks. They are pretty damn good. Really really good! I'm surprised that after all the views they've had on Youtube that there are no comments. I thought there'd be at least one 'harumph' by now from some offended uptight Tongues-ter. Slightly disappointed. I'm sure they're given the contempt and disdain that they would feel such 'attacks' deserve.

I'm really tempted to do a new series in the 'Theist vs. Atheist' theme, but it's hard to do such things when you sit on the fence with it all. There's definitely a lot of possibilities for material when it comes to pointing and laughing at Pentecostalism and the Fundamentalist types of Whacky Christianity. I'll quit while I'm ahead with the Revival animations I think. Oh, and of course, the idea of a Troy meets Ian cartoon is a fun idea... but not gonna happen :D
[LINK SiteName=Mothrust: Movies and Modern Myth Target=_blank]http://aintchristian.blogspot.com.au/[/LINK] Be nice, for everyone that you meet is fighting a harder battle - Anita Roddick
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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:22/09/2010 9:55 PMCopy HTML

Good morning, friend.

Recovery from Revival without the incessant theological ramblings ... Brainfood. Get some. Interesting to be sure, but: (1) I doubt that too many Revivalists who would be seeking redemption/recovery would be particularly interested in leaping in that direction straight away. Revivalists are people who believe in the existence of God, after all. (2) Why would one wish to go from theological 'ramblings' to atheological 'ramblings'? Both require that intangible element of faith, after all. (3) Use of the word 'brainfood' implies material that sustains critical and intelligent thinking. Are you sure you used the correct word, in your description of the atheist forum?

It's been my experience of people who promote atheism that they are, by-and-large philosophically a rather simplistic and naive lot. If you believe differently; if you believe the atheistic hype has merit for recovering Revivalists, then please raise your points and test your theories here.

Blessings,

Ian 

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:22/09/2010 11:35 PMCopy HTML

Good morning, Pete.

Ian, I noticed an incorrectly placed apostrophe in your work recently. That's about all I've got. Ya reckon? Where?

Blessings, ya big noob!

Ian

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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:23/09/2010 2:36 AMCopy HTML

Hi Moth,

Before you move away from the Revivalist theme I have a suggestion which I think might make an interesting animation.

During my early years in RCI a little story used to circulate about a chance encounter of an RCIer with Bob Hawke (of ACTU fame and before he became PM) sitting side by side on a plane flight.  The RCIer of course grasped the opportunity to give Bob a "jolly good witness" during the flight and the story went that Bob was quite receptive to the "watering" (no expletives out of the side of his mouth) and very interested in what the RCIer had to say. 

RCIers telling the story were ever hopeful that Bob would always remember that meeting in the air and the wonderful witness he was given and that he would eventually be "pricked in his heart" to "come along" to RCI as the word never goes out void.

Just thought the subjects could be skillfully woven into a good cartoon.  I enjoy your creativity.

Epi



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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:23/09/2010 2:53 AMCopy HTML

Moth

That story circulated a long time ago and just thinking back I'm almost certain that the RCIer with Bob Hawke was Lloyd himself.

Epi
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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:23/09/2010 4:40 AMCopy HTML

Hi, Epi.

It all sounds a wee bit apocryphal to me. You know the old: "Our head pastor witnessed to Royalty/Heads of State/noted political figures, sportsmen, etc; and they seemed very interested", blah, blah, blah. When reviewed against any credible measure, Revivalism hasn't been particularly successful at attracting many 'notables' into the fold. The message Revivalism promotes is simply too bizarre, the social dysfunction they propagate too abhorrent, and the people who do the leading too ignorant.

But claims like the one you mentioned make for a really nice story, just like the: "I picked up a hitch-hiking angel once!" fiction that does the rounds every few years ;oP

Blessings,

Ian

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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:23/09/2010 8:37 AMCopy HTML

Reply to Moth: quote" Ian, I noticed an incorrectly placed apostrophe in your work recently. That's about all I've got."
I think such uncalled for, vicious attacks on Ian need to be backed up with evidence. :-)
¡uıɐƃɐ ʎɐqǝ ɯoɹɟ pɹɐoqʎǝʞ ɐ ƃuıʎnq ɹǝʌǝu
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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:23/09/2010 8:59 AMCopy HTML

I remember a similar rumour whilst I attended GRC, was that Prince Charles was "witnessed" to by a current member while he was at Geelong Grammar School as part of his education. I think it was a Lilly S' (God rest her soul!) if memory serves me.
Also a Honnie Van de Bosch (or similar) a celebrity who was Graham Kennedy's assistant on his show 'In Melbourne Tonight' at the time. I can confirm that, as I was at the meeting when she was baptised. Never saw or heard of her after that. Gosh, that's showing up my age, hey?

Ralph H
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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:23/09/2010 9:17 AMCopy HTML

Ian,

The lore of the people speak of the great witnesses which were almost successful.

Epi

ps
Hey Ralph that's mighty funny because I remember hearing that Prince Charles was witnessed to by the RCI.  I wonder what Mummy would say if Charles embraced Revivalism.
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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:23/09/2010 9:24 AMCopy HTML

Hi, Epi.

Well I'm not really sure how one can judge an "almost successful witness" a victory! smiley9

Blessings,

Ian

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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:23/09/2010 9:37 AMCopy HTML

Reply to Epios

Hey Ralph that's mighty funny because I remember hearing that Prince Charles was witnessed to by the RCI.  I wonder what Mummy would say if Charles embraced Revivalism.

Hi Epi,

That may be correct also, as GRC and RCI perhaps before the split. Would have to check the dates.

Ralph
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Re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Date Posted:23/09/2010 11:04 AMCopy HTML

 Ralph and Epi- I believe that it was Miss Foster (Fossie) (may have been someone else) who witnessed to Prince Charles.

It was during his Timbertop days. 

That's what probably drove him to drink the revolting eggy alcoholic drink (can't remember the name) when he was here.

Whoever it was, was connected to the Geelong Grammar School somehow. Cook, cleaner,matron.

It WAS before the split, so both groups can claim they were responsible, BUT it was someone who went with Noel when the split occurred. 

Does that mean that he HAS more claim to fame than RCI?

I wonder how many 'wacky' letters the Queen gets. I know she got one from me.

How stupid, I'm sure the Queen KNOWS her own lineage and doesn't need people pointing out a Royal Davidic Line. 

I still have the big fold out chart.

Life without the GRC Pty Ltd. BLISS and not so 'wacky'. 

Glad smiley11


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