Saturday, 7 April 2012

Bart Ehrman, "Truth and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code" (2004)

The subtitle of this book is: "a historian reveals what we really know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine."

I've reviewed two other Ehrman books on this blog: Forged (2011) and Jesus Interrupted (2009), and read yet more before this blog was started (such as Lost Christianities (2003), Misquoting Jesus (2005), and his commentaries on the Gospel of Judas [2006]).

Truth and Fiction... is, as the title communicates, is an attempt to clarify and challenge claims about Jesus and early Christianity offered in Dan Brown's popular fiction book The Da Vinci Code.  Brown's prefatory statement that much of what he discusses in his book is factual deserves challenge by a historian.  Ehrman is the historian to do it.  His books are readable, straight-forward, sensible, and rarely make radical claims that haven't been already made in peer-review academic literature. With the benefit of the books Ehrman has written since Truth and Fiction... , this one doesn't really offer any new material.

For those who have not read anything by Ehrman, or who would like an introduction to critical Biblical history, this is a short, easy-to-read option. I would more highly recommend some of the Ehrman's other books, such as Misquoting Jesus or Lost Christianities, however.

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