Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew by Bart D. Ehrman

Well, this one sat on the nightstand for a long time, but it’s actually a really accessible book on the subject of Gnostic Christianities, although I must say for an outstanding introduction to Gnostic Christianity, someone would be best off to begin with Elaine Pagels’ most excellent, The Gnostic Gospels. However, Ehrman’s book is very readable and he takes time to explain unfamiliar concepts within the text in a very comprehensible way. For example, he explains that docetism “. . . was the view that Jesus was not really a flesh-and-blood human but only “appeared” to be so (the Greek word for “appear” or “seem” is doceo, hence the terms docetic/docetism).” He examines the earliest forms of Christianity and provides a compelling lineage of Christian philosophy from its Jewish roots through the development of the orthodox Christian philosophies. I especially enjoyed learning about Christian Ebionites and the Marcionites, two groups I had never heard of prior to reading this book, and even more interesting was the war of texts between the Gnostic Christians and the Orthodox Christians to establish Christian doctrine.

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