This book often plays a "what if" game. What if the Gnostics or the dualists or the Marcionites or the Ebionites won out? This question, perhaps the most essential question, is one Ehrman seems to regard as unimportant. He explores why the so-called proto-orthodox "won" out, offering reasons that range from geography to forgery and slander, but he does not spend much time asking whether their theology is more accurate, more true, than the theology on offer by the other "varieties" of Christianity. Is it likely that a sect teaching that the God of the Old Testament is evil has grasped a true representation of the 1st century Jew Jesus? Is it likely that a sect teaching there are twelve gods has grasped a true representation of the 1st century monotheist Jesus?
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The Proto-Prthodox Christians Won
Dimensions: 9. 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? 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.
Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
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