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Bart D. Ehrman

Bart D. Ehrman
Professor Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D., M.Div.
Born (1955-10-05) October 5, 1955
Lawrence, Kansas, United States
Nationality American
Education BA (1978), MDiv (1981), PhD (1985)
Alma mater Moody Bible Institute
Wheaton College
Princeton Theological Seminary
Employer The Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Known for New Testament authentication and textual variants, historical Jesus, early Christian writings, orthodox corruption of scripture.
Spouse(s) Sarah Beckwith
Children Kelly and Derek
Website .com.bartdehrmanwww

Bart D. Ehrman /ərmən/ (born October 5, 1955) is an 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,[1] 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. Ehrman's work focuses on textual criticism of the New Testament, the historical Jesus, and the development of early Christianity.


  • Education 1
  • Career 2
  • Works 3
  • Criticism and praise 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Ehrman grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, and attended Lawrence High School, where he was on the state champion debate team in 1973. He began studying the Bible and its original languages at Moody Bible Institute, where he earned the school's three-year diploma in 1976.[2] He is a 1978 graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, where he received his bachelor's degree. He received his PhD and M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he studied under Bruce Metzger. He received magna cum laude for both his BA in 1978 and PhD in 1985.[3]


Ehrman became an Evangelical Christian as a teenager. In his books, he recounts his youthful enthusiasm as a born-again, fundamentalist Christian, certain that God had inspired the wording of the Bible and protected its texts from all error.[2] His desire to understand the original words of the Bible led him to the study of ancient languages and also textual criticism. During his graduate studies, however, he became convinced that there are contradictions and discrepancies in the biblical manuscripts that could not be harmonized or reconciled. He remained a liberal Christian for 15 years but later became an agnostic atheist after struggling with the philosophical problems of evil and suffering.[2]

Ehrman has taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 1988, after four years of teaching at Rutgers University. At UNC he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies. He was the recipient of the 2009 J. W. Pope "Spirit of Inquiry" Teaching Award, the 1993 UNC Undergraduate Student Teaching Award, the 1994 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement, and the Bowman and Gordon Gray Award for excellence in teaching.[3]

Ehrman currently serves as co-editor of the series New Testament Tools, Studies, and Documents (E. J. Brill), co-editor-in-chief for the journal Vigiliae Christianae, and on several other editorial boards for journals and monographs. Ehrman formerly served as President of the Southeast Region of the Society of Biblical Literature, chair of the New Testament textual criticism section of the Society, book review editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature, and editor of the monograph series The New Testament in the Greek Fathers (Scholars Press).[3]

Ehrman speaks extensively throughout the United States and has participated in many public debates, including debates with William Lane Craig, Dinesh D'Souza, Mike Licona, Craig A. Evans, Daniel B. Wallace, Richard Swinburne, Peter J. Williams, James White, Darrell Bock and Michael L. Brown.

In 2006 and 2009 he appeared on The Colbert Report,[4][5] as well as The Daily Show,[6] to promote his books Misquoting Jesus, and Jesus, Interrupted (respectively).

Ehrman has appeared on the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, A&E, Dateline NBC, CNN, and NPR's Fresh Air and his writings have been featured in TIME, Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post.[7]


Ehrman has written widely on issues of New Testament and early Christianity at both an academic and popular level, with over 27 books including three college textbooks and five New York Times bestsellers: [11][12] and How Jesus Became God.[13] Much of his work is on textual criticism and the New Testament. His books have been translated into 27 languages.

In The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, Ehrman argues that there was a close relationship between the social history of early Christianity and the textual tradition of the emerging New Testament. He examines how early struggles between Christian "heresy" and "orthodoxy" affected the transmission of the documents. Ehrman is often considered a pioneer in connecting the history of the early church to textual variants within biblical manuscripts and in coining such terms as "Proto-orthodox Christianity".[14]

In Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, Ehrman argues that the historical Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher, and that imminent apocalyptic beliefs are recorded first in the earliest Christian documents (the authentic Pauline epistles, 1st Thessalonians and 1st Corinthians) and then later in Jesus' preaching in the earliest Christian gospels: the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Matthew. Paul's epistles and Jesus' preaching indicate Jesus believed the son of man would soon arrive, and all present powerful nations would fall and God's kingdom would be established on earth. The twelve disciples would each get a throne alongside the son of man and judge each of the twelve Jewish tribes ( Mt 19:28). Jesus may have come to believe he was to be the son of man, or else a gospel writer may have put those words and that idea in Jesus' mouth. The early Christians believed Jesus to be the returning son of man. There are no "end times" predicted in the latest, and last gospel, the Gospel of John,[15][16] although critics cite ( Jn 5:28-29), ( Jn 6:44), and ( Jn 14:3), among other passages, to dispute this claim.

In Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code, Ehrman expands on his list of ten historical and factual inaccuracies in Dan Brown's "page-turner" novel, previously incorporated in Dan Burstein's Secrets of the Code. In the preface of this book, Ehrman explains how both his publicist and editor for Oxford University Press suggested he write the list to help sell his book Lost Scriptures, and how the amazing success of Brown's novel inspired a further exploration of the "history" Brown cites as factual. Ehrman also narrates the audiobook (Recorded Books, 2004).

In Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman introduces New Testament textual criticism. He outlines the development of New Testament manuscripts and the process and cause of manuscript errors in the New Testament.[17][18]

In Jesus, Interrupted, he describes the progress scholars have made in understanding the Bible over the past two hundred years and the results of their study, results which are often unknown among the population at large. In doing so, he highlights the diversity of views found in the New Testament, the existence of forged books in the New Testament which were written in the names of the apostles by Christian writers who lived decades later, and the later invention of Christian doctrines—such as the suffering messiah, the divinity of Jesus, and the Trinity.[19][20]


  • Bart Ehrman's website
  • Christianity in Antiquity (CIA): The Bart Ehrman Blog
  • Faculty page, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • A Q&A session with Ehrman
  • Interview with Bart Ehrman on "God's Problem" by
  • Bart Ehrman's page at The Teaching Company

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Ehrman, Bart D.. Misquoting Jesus, HarperSanFrancisco. 2005. ISBN 0-06-073817-0
  3. ^ a b c Official website Bart Ehrman – Biography
  4. ^ "Bart Ehrman". The Colbert Report. June 20, 2006. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Bart Ehrman". The Colbert Report. April 9, 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Bart Ehrman". The Daily Show. March 14, 2006. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Dwight Garner (April 2, 2006). "Inside the List: The Agnostic". The New York Times. Retrieved October 22, 2013. 
  9. ^ Jennifer Schuessler (March 19, 2009). "Inside the List: Honest to Jesus". The New York Times. Retrieved October 22, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Best Sellers: Hardcover Nonfiction (March 9, 2008)". The New York Times. March 9, 2008. Retrieved October 22, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Best Sellers: Hardcover Nonfiction: Sunday, April 10th 2011". The New York Times. April 10, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2013. 
  12. ^ Official website Bart Ehrman – Main Page
  13. ^ Cowles, Gregory (April 13, 2014). "Best Sellers: Hardcover Nonfiction (April 13, 2014)". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  14. ^ Collins, Raymond F. "The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture". Journal of Early Christian Studies. 
  15. ^ Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium by Bart D. Ehrman (September 23, 1999) ISBN 0195124731 Oxford Univ Press pages
  16. ^ "Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium". Publisher's Weekly. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ Garner, Dwight (April 2, 2006). "Inside the List". New York Times. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  18. ^ Gross, Terry. "'"Bart Ehrman's 'Misquoting Jesus. NPR. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  19. ^ Barlow, Rich (May 6, 2009). "Book review: Turning a critical eye to the Bible". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  20. ^ Blake, John (May 15, 2009). "Former fundamentalist 'debunks' Bible". CNN. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Half of New Testament forged, Bible scholar says". CNN. May 13, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-17.  CNN book review article summarizing Ehrman's claim that much of the New Testament was written as a forgery.
  22. ^ "Forgery and Counterforgery. The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics". Oxford University Press. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  23. ^ Ehrman, Bart D. (2013-03-20). "Did Jesus Exist?". (The Huffington Post). Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  24. ^ "How Jesus Became God". NPR. Retrieved July 14, 2014. 
  25. ^ a b c d
  26. ^  
  27. ^ Chatraw, Josh (2011). "Disunity and Diversity: The Biblical of Bart Ehrman" (PDF).  
  28. ^
  29. ^ Louis Markos (October 28, 2014). "Ehrman Errant". Retrieved June 18, 2015. 


  • Didymus the Blind and the Text of the Gospels (The New Testament in the Greek Fathers; No. 1).  
  • The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis.  
  • The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament.  
  • After the New Testament: A Reader in Early Christianity.  
  • Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium.  
  • Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament.  
  • The New Testament and Other Early Christian Writings: A Reader.  
  • The Apostolic Fathers: Volume I. I Clement. II Clement. Ignatius. Polycarp. Didache.  
  • The Apostolic Fathers: Volume II. Epistle of Barnabas. Papias and Quadratus. Epistle to Diognetus. The Shepherd of Hermas.  
  • Ehrman, Bart; Jacobs, Andrew S. (2003). Christianity in Late Antiquity, 300-450 C.E.: A Reader.  
  • The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.  
  • Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew.  
  • A Brief Introduction to the New Testament.  
  • Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code: A Historian Reveals What We Really Know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine.  
  • Metzger, Bruce M.; Ehrman, Bart (2005). The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration.  
  • Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend.  
  • The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot: A New Look at Betrayer and Betrayed.  
  • God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question – Why We Suffer.  
  • Ehrman, Bart; Pleše, Zlatko (2011). The Apocryphal Gospels: Texts and Translations.  
  • Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics.  
  • The Bible: A Historical and Literary Introduction.  
  • The Other Gospels: Accounts of Jesus from Outside the New Testament.  
  • How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee.  
  • Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior (Hardback).  


Louis Markos has said Ehrman overstates the extent and importance of textual variants in the New Testament manuscripts, and that Erhman's "claim that the biblical canon was assembled for political reasons is equally unfounded." [29]

Michael D. Coogan described Ehrman as "a scholar of the first rank."[28]

Andreas J. Köstenberger, Darrell L. Bock and Josh D. Chatraw have criticized Ehrman for the way he cites the "modern scholarly consensus" in support of his claims: "It is only by defining scholarship on his own terms and by excluding scholars who disagree with him that Ehrman is able to imply that he is supported by all other scholarship."[26] Elsewhere, Chatraw suggests Ehrman writes "with a charismatic and appealing style" for a lay audience, but argues that "Ehrman represents a segment of biblical scholarship which he often implies is the only legitimate brand of scholarship, and he rarely exposes lay readers to the best arguments of opposing views."[27]

Daniel Wallace, while critical of some of Ehrman's conclusions, has praised Ehrman as "one of North America’s leading textual critics."[25] Wallace argues, however, that Ehrman sometimes "overstates his case by assuming that his view is certainly correct."[25] For example, Wallace asserts that Ehrman himself acknowledges the vast majority of textual variants are minor, but his popular writing and speaking sometimes makes the sheer number of them appear to be a major problem for getting to the original New Testament text.[25] In addition, Wallace claims that some of his grammatical analysis is incorrect.[25]

Criticism and praise

2014 saw the publication of How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee which examines the historical Jesus, who according to Ehrman neither thought of himself as God nor claimed to be God, and how he came to be thought of as the incarnation of God himself.[24]

In 2012, Ehrman published Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, defending the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth in contrast to the mythicist theory that Jesus is an entirely mythical or fictitious being.[23]


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