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The New Testament

Discover how historical research can illuminate the New Testament in this riveting course that combines biblical scholarship, archaeology, and literary analysis.
The New Testament is rated 3.8 out of 5 by 311.
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Rated 1 out of 5 by from Undermine an Entire Religion Based on Skepticism An atheist teaches a religious course? Yeah that was a genius idea. Undermining a religion and promoting it as the truth is not what classifies as an academic analysis. Taking an independent review from a religious and atheistic perspective would be a more useful approach. His subjective analysis of how Christianity and how it came to be should not be taught as factual truths. There are skeptics about the moon landing and of even 9/11, but that doesn’t mean that these event never occurred. As he himself states we don’t know when theses events occurred, so how is it that they are mere fiction? How about a different perspective @thegreatcourses ?
Date published: 2024-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from New Testament I tried exploring the first course of the Bible “ The Old Testament “, and just unable to continue after 3 lectures. I was leery to start this course fearing the same reaction of professor bouncing around and not maintaining focus on main topic for the lesson thus creating the big question “what are we talking about”. Frustration made me drop the course The New Testament presentation was a brilliant refreshing change. I thoroughly enjoyed each lesson and highly motivated to continue the exploration. I found professor Erhman to be passionate about subject matter mindful to hold a neutral position…I never had the feeling he was skewed toward one belief or theory or another regarding the Bible or theological beliefs. He was skillful to explain differences between literary vs historical data. I was impressed with his manner of an ancient idea by comparing it to today’s world, actions language context. A couple things Professor seemed unsure about I did some research: Lecture 12: Professor asked question: “Why did Jesus go to get baptized by John the Baptist…of alll people….” Then described John’s less then admirable qualities. I would suggest that perhaps a) it was a great venue for Jesus to show the people that He was a humble man …”.just a guy like all of you”…simple living, no pomp, no jewels, no retinue. Also b) could have also been because John was cousin to Jesus. (NKJV Luke 1:36 says Mary, Jesus’s mother, was ‘relative’ to Elizabeth -John the Baptist mother) , and (KJV Luke 1:36 says Mary, Jesus’s mother was cousin to Elizabeth- John the Baptist mother) Maybe it was just cool to have your cuz baptize you. In te later lecturers about Paul…Professor posed statement “ We don’t know much about Paul…we know he was from Tarsus…beyond that we no little else” (paraphrase) I wondered if anyone researched where Paul came from….when he was Saul. So I found this: in 1 Samuel 9:1-5….a man of Benjamin named Kish his son named Saul. 1 Samuel: 10:26 And Saul also went home to Gibran (of Benjamin). Acts: 13: 21. Lastly, Professor expressed he didn’t know what event occurred to cause Sauls’ conversion …to becoming a Christian and witness proclaiming the glory of God…..to becoming Paul. Acts: 9: 3-19. Then from Paul’s own mouth: Acts 26: 12-18. (NKJV). Please forgive if some of my input seems confused: I’m deaf and the closed captioning constantly cuts off during the lectures, so I’m missing portions of material that may have addressed the points I’ve mentioned above. I’m doing the best I can w what I have to work with. Don’t we all ? Happy learning everyone
Date published: 2024-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Course worth viewing twice I attended 3 years of religious study before my Lutheran confirmation but now believe (after attending this course) that many of those lessons were deceptive. For example, why do all copies of the New Testament place the Gospels first when they were written after the letters of St Paul? And why are there so many factual differences between the four Gospels? Anyway, physicist Richard Feynman once said that all really good books should be read twice. I suggest that person any who refers to themselves as "Christian" should watch these videos twice because if you are going to believe in something, then you had better know all the facts.
Date published: 2023-11-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Whack job that started off "factual" This class seeks to discredit the new testament in sneaky and methodical fashion. Sneaky in that he seems to draw from "facts". These "facts" then are molded together with his perspective. Buyer beware, this is not a study for the true believer!!!
Date published: 2023-04-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Terrible atheist presentation of the New Testament Terrible atheist presentation of the New Testament. Stay away from it if you are a faithful believer.
Date published: 2023-03-30
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Should be titled "Discrediting the New Testament" This course was not at all what I thought it would be. Before you buy this course do a background check on the lecturer. He is a self-proclaimed agnostic atheist who has made a career out of discrediting the New Testament. This course is not so much about the content of the New Testament as it is a concerted attempt to point out every discrepancy, real or imagined. The lecturer appears to think he is always right and often presents current scholarly consensus as fact (it wasn't that long ago that the scholarly consensus was that the earth was the center of the universe). The tone of the course is that of a communist describing capitalism. I'm at a loss as to why this guy was selected to teach a course on the New Testament but I suspect he volunteered to do it.
Date published: 2023-03-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Too much unsupported speculation He expounds his speculation of how the bible was written with little or no real supporting evidence. To be fair, I only watched about 3 lectures and couldn't bring myself to watch more.
Date published: 2023-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting Critique But Should Have Been Longer While some fascinating themes are explored in this course (more on that below), unfortunately, these studies came at the expense of not spending enough time studying the actual contents of the books themselves as literary pieces and their historical significance. My biggest critique of this course is it is too short. It easily could have been 36-48 lectures long to ensure each book is given fair literary treatment. The good: 1- Insightful descriptions of how there are inconsistencies between accounts of specific events told in different gospels as well as between events told in the Book of Acts and how Paul describes those events in his own writings 2- Uncovering the historical Jesus and the teachings and actions are likely most historically accurate (Lectures 10-12) 3- Lecture 5- The mystery of who Jesus actually is (Gospel of Mark) 4- Lecture 18- Comparing the theology of Jesus vs. Paul vs. James 5- Lecture 23- De-mystifying and understanding the Book of Revelation in its own historical context 6- Lecture 24- The study of textual analysis to identify where the scribes have made mistakes while creating their copies and to determine just how accurate the manuscripts are that we have The critique: More time should have been spent on studying the contents of the books of the New Testament themselves as literary pieces and their historical significance: 1- Professor Ehrman veers off at times from focusing on the writings themselves to trying to show that there were multiple Christian sects in the first century AD (in fact he states that is one of the course’s overarching questions at the beginning of lecture 18---didn’t realize that since it isn’t in the course description or title name) 2- The three-lecture jaunt on the historical Jesus was very interesting but took time away from deeper analysis of the books themselves and what the authors were trying to convey 3- One lecture on the Book of Acts does not seem sufficient: there are so many events and themes in the book which could have been explored further for deeper meaning: from Peter’s battle with Simon Magus to Paul’s journeys and shipwreck 4- While 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, and Hebrews is discussed in some length, very little is said of the content of some of the other letters of the New Testament (James, 2 Thessalonians, Colossians, Ephesians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and 1 Peter) and 9 others aren’t examined at all I have listened to 6 courses by Professor Ehrman and thoroughly enjoy listening to him and his insights. I just wish this course would have been extended to cover more of the writings themselves. 36-48 lectures would allow him to focus on both the contents of the books and cover his main themes. Still these 24 lessons are worth the highest of ratings for taking me on an intellectual journey that was enlightening and entertaining. Suggestion to others: if you have already listened to some of the professor's other courses you will find a number of his theories and same discussions repeated here (well technically vice versa since I believe this is his first series for TGC...called The Teaching Company at the time). But if this is your first foray into Professor Ehrman's work....enjoy the expedition and be prepared for tremendous insights. My knowledge of Christianity has been exponentially increased spending some time with him.
Date published: 2023-02-16
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Overview

Whether you consider it a book of faith or a cultural artifact, the New Testament is among the most significant writings that the world has ever known. This course sheds the light of purely historical research on the New Testament-its form, the methods of its composition, its authors and their original audiences, and the larger historical context. Mindful of the limitations imposed by the available historical evidence and methods, Professor Bart. D. Ehrman brings impressive expertise to the task of reconstructing the life of Jesus and the early Christian community.

About

Bart D. Ehrman

After his crucifixion, Jesus' disciples came to believe he'd been raised from the dead and made a divine being. What had seemed like defeat became for them the ultimate cosmic victory.

INSTITUTION

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Dr. Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his undergraduate work at Wheaton College and earned his M.Div. and Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. Professor Ehrman has written or edited 27 books, including four best sellers on The New York Times list: Misquoting Jesus: The Story behind Who Changed the Bible and Why; God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question-Why We Suffer; Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know about Them);and Forged: Writing in the Name of God-Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. Professor Ehrman also served as president of the Society of Biblical Literature, Southeastern Region; book review editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature; editor of the Scholars' Press monograph series The New Testament in the Greek Fathers;and coeditor-in-chief for the journal Vigiliae Christianae. Professor Ehrman received the John William Pope Center Spirit of Inquiry Award, the UNC Students' Undergraduate Teaching Award, the Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty, and the Bowman and Gordon Gray Professorship (awarded for excellence in undergraduate teaching).

By This Professor

How Jesus Became God
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The New Testament
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Lost Christianities: Christian Scriptures and the Battles over Authentication
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The Triumph of Christianity
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The New Testament

Trailer

The Early Christians and Their Literature

01: The Early Christians and Their Literature

In our strictly historical study of the New Testament, our overarching questions will include: Who were the actual authors? To whom did they write?

32 min
The Greco-Roman Context

02: The Greco-Roman Context

Why must anyone who hopes to interpret the New Testament understand its historical context? What was the religious environment of the Greco-Roman world like? How was ancient paganism different from what people today think of as religion?

31 min
Ancient Judaism

03: Ancient Judaism

Judaism, into which Jesus was born, was like other religions of the Greco-Roman world in some respects, but very different in others. At the time of Jesus, it had several sects. Many Jews embraced apocalyptic ideas, maintaining that God would soon intervene in history, crushing evil and bringing about his kingdom on Earth.

31 min
The Earliest Traditions About Jesus

04: The Earliest Traditions About Jesus

Even though the earliest traditions about Jesus go back to eyewitnesses, the Gospels were not written down for several decades. Why do scholars think that during this period, some traditions about Jesus came to be modified or even created?

31 min
Mark-Jesus the Suffering Son of God

05: Mark-Jesus the Suffering Son of God

Mark is the shortest and oldest of the four Gospels. Its unknown author had access to oral traditions about Jesus. Mark orders these traditions into a portrait of Jesus as the authoritative but almost universally misunderstood Messiah and Son of God, whose mission is to suffer and die for the sins of the world.

31 min
Matthew-Jesus the Jewish Messiah

06: Matthew-Jesus the Jewish Messiah

Because Matthew, Mark, and Luke share so many of the same stories, they are often called the "Synoptic" Gospels. Their similarities are usually taken to mean that one, Mark, served as a source for the other two. One of the ways to study Matthew and Luke is to compare them to Mark, looking for evidence of modifications. Matthew in particular stresses Jesus' Jewish identity and his relatio...

31 min
Luke-Jesus the Savior of the World

07: Luke-Jesus the Savior of the World

Luke emphasizes Jesus as a Jewish prophet. Jesus knows that it is God's plan for his salvation to go out to the whole world, and hence does not predict the imminent end of the age. The message of salvation must first go out to the Gentiles, which will take time. Since the church will be in the world for a long haul, Luke puts a special stress on Jesus' "social" message of compassion for ...

31 min
John-Jesus the Man from Heaven

08: John-Jesus the Man from Heaven

In John's strikingly singular account, Jesus' own identity is the core issue. Rather than simply being a misunderstood representative of God's will, or a rejected prophet, or a Jewish messiah sent from the Jewish God in fulfillment of the Jewish scriptures, John's Jesus is himself divine, equal with God, an incarnation of God's own Word through which he created the universe.

31 min
Noncanonical Gospels

09: Noncanonical Gospels

More than 20 Gospels survive that did not make it into the New Testament. Most are highly legendary and use earlier written accounts as sources. They can be categorized as either narrative or "sayings" Gospels. In this lecture, you will examine examples of each, including one that is among the most exciting archaeological finds of modern times: the "Gnostic" Gospel of Thomas un...

31 min
The Historical Jesus-Sources and Problems

10: The Historical Jesus-Sources and Problems

In this lecture, you move beyond a discussion of the early Christian Gospels as literary texts, each with a distinctive portrayal of Jesus, to consider their value as historical sources. How can sources that appear to contain discrepancies and that have their own theological agendas be used to achieve a historical reconstruction of the life of the man who stands behind them all?

30 min
The Historical Jesus-Solutions and Methods

11: The Historical Jesus-Solutions and Methods

What criteria do scholars use to determine which surviving traditions about Jesus preserve historically reliable information? This lecture explores these criteria at greater length, explaining the logic behind each and exploring several examples of how they can be applied.

31 min
Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet

12: Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet

Why does careful research indicate that the historical Jesus is best understood as a 1st-century Jewish apocalpyticist? What are the beliefs that fit under the rubric "apocalypticist," and how do the words and deeds of Jesus reveal his relationship to them?

31 min
The Acts of the Apostles

13: The Acts of the Apostles

Written by the evangelist Luke, Acts narrates the growth and spread of the church, starting from just after Jesus' ascension. In this lecture we will explore this narrative, examine the historical accuracy of some of its accounts, and discuss Luke's perspective.

31 min
Paul-The Man, the Mission, and the Modus Operandi

14: Paul-The Man, the Mission, and the Modus Operandi

Apart from Jesus, the most important figure in early Christianity was the apostle Paul. For various reasons, a clear picture of his life and teachings is elusive. Yet a careful reading of his letters and the book of Acts reveals significant information about the life and work of this highly religious Pharisaic Jew who became a Christian missionary, intent on spreading the Gospel among the Gentiles...

31 min
Paul and the Crises of His Churches-First Corinthians

15: Paul and the Crises of His Churches-First Corinthians

Why can we take Paul's first letter to the Christians at Corinth as representative of all his writings? What are the problems besetting this community of believers? What is the Apostle's impassioned response?

31 min
Pauline Ethics

16: Pauline Ethics

Paul's writings are pervaded by a concern for upright, moral living. He believes that even the Gentiles should strive to follow the ethical laws of the Jewish Scriptures, especially the command of Leviticus 19:18 that one should love one's neighbor as oneself. Given Paul's teaching that salvation cannot be gained through observance of God's law, does his ethical concern represent a paradox? Finall...

30 min
Paul's Letter to the Romans

17: Paul's Letter to the Romans

What is unique about the letter to the Romans? What are the two different models of salvation through Christ that Paul propounds here? And what part does God's revealed law, given to the Jews and preserved by them in the Hebrew Bible, play in God's ultimate plan of redemption?

31 min
Paul, Jesus, and James

18: Paul, Jesus, and James

In previous lectures we have examined the teachings of the historical Jesus and the theological views of the apostle Paul. In this lecture we will compare what we have found, adding the views of the apostle James to gain a rounded sense of the diversity of early Christian beliefs.

31 min
The Deutero-Pauline Epistles

19: The Deutero-Pauline Epistles

This lecture considers some of the Deutero-Pauline epistles, so called because scholars accord them a secondary place within the Pauline corpus. Writing in someone else's name was a well-known practice in the ancient world, and could be a good strategy for getting one's work read. In this lecture, most of our attention will focus on Ephesians, which speaks eloquently of the unity of Jew and Gentil...

30 min
The Pastoral Epistles

20: The Pastoral Epistles

What makes the letters 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus pastoral epistles? Why are scholars convinced that Paul himself could not have written them?

31 min
The Book of Hebrews and the Rise of Christian Anti-Semitism

21: The Book of Hebrews and the Rise of Christian Anti-Semitism

Did you know that the so-called epistle to the Hebrews is neither an epistle nor addressed to the Hebrews? To whom is it addressed, then, and for what purpose? Why does it teach what it does about the superiority of Christianity to Judaism, and why did the early Christians include it in the canon?

31 min
First Peter and the Persecution of the Early Christians

22: First Peter and the Persecution of the Early Christians

This lecture briefly discusses 1 Peter and its teachings on suffering for the faith. Then it explores more broadly the issue of persecution in early Christianity. What was the status of Christianity under the Roman empire? Why were there outbreaks of persecution against Christians, and how systematic were the abuses inflicted on followers of Christ?

31 min
The Book of Revelation

23: The Book of Revelation

The Revelation of John is probably the most fascinating book in the New Testament, and almost certainly the most widely misunderstood. This lecture explores apocalyptic writing as a symbol-rich literary form, and argues that this particular Christian apocalypse is best read within its own historical context of religious persecution under the Roman Empire.

31 min
Do We Have the Original New Testament?

24: Do We Have the Original New Testament?

No original manuscript of any book in the New Testament appears to have survived. There are thousands of handwritten copies in Greek, but most date from centuries after the originals, no two match completely, and all are filled with mistakes.

30 min

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