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Publisher's Summary

While most people think that the 27 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 easy-listening translations of many noncanonical 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. Listeners 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 against sexual love, even within marriage, on the grounds that physical intimacy leads to damnation.

In all, the anthology includes 15 Gospels, five non-canonical Acts of the Apostles, 13 Epistles, a number of Apocalypses and Secret Books, and several Canon lists. Ehrman has included a general introduction, plus brief introductions to each piece. This important anthology gives listeners a vivid picture of the range of beliefs that battled each other in the first centuries of the Christian era.

©2003 Oxford University Press, Inc. (P)2021 Upfront Books

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  • Stephen P Bielski
  • 31-05-2021

Great book destroyed by horrific narration.

This book is typical of Ehrman’s output. It reads more like a text book and covers a lot of ground fairly quickly. It isn’t a devotional book. This book does a lot of quoting and comparing of extra biblical texts.

The narrator, for some reason, feels the need to put on a weirdly breathy, high pitched, pious-sounding voice every time he’s quoting a passage. And there are a LOT of passages quoted. It makes it very difficult to concentrate on what’s being said. It’s as if Mr. Clement is reading Bible stories to a Sunday School class.

I have almost every Ehrman book available on Audible and not one of those narrators felt the need to add pious sounding drama to the book. It’s a damn shame this book couldn’t get the same treatment. I will end up buying this book and reading it for myself, without Mr. Clements dramatic help.

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