Book review of Bart Ehrman’s latest book “Forged” by Mike Licona

Mike sent me the review, and I printed it out, but Stand to Reason posted on it first, with quotations. (Melinda wrote the post)


Here are some highlights from Mike Licona’s review of Ehrman’s new book Forged.  Ehrman’s book contends that some of the New Testament books are forgeries.  These include Acts, the two Epsitles bearing Peter’s name, and six of Paul’s Epistles.

The gist of Licona’s assessment is that Ehrman repeatedly brings up partial information and dismisses arguments that disagree far too quickly.

Ehrman appear[s] to take a different approach, assuming all of the 27 are guilty of false attribution until nearly unimpeachable evidence to the contrary can be presented.  Evidence of this approach can be seen when the evidence for traditional authorship is dismissed too quickly or when arguments against the tradition authorship are strikingly weak….Unfortunately, because many of Ehrman’s readers will go no further than reading Forged, they will fall prey to some very poor arguments….

An example of partial information that ends up misleading:

In chapter five, Ehrman turns to some of the motive behind ancient forgeries.  In the cases presented in this chapter, the Christians were responding to their conflicts with Jews and pagans.  After discussing some of the literature he writes, “the authors intended to deceive their readers, and their readers were all too easily deceived” (159). Although Ehrman is correct, it is likewise noteworthy that none of the literature he cites became canonical.  Ehrman fails to mention that….

…In a book where he is identifying deceit, it’s ironic that Ehrman himself engages in misleading his readers.  In a technical sense, he’s correct: the reason we have the present literature in the New Testament is because a theologically orthodox group won the theology war.  However, the impression Ehrman leaves his readers is that the only things distinguishing the literature that made it into the New Testament from the literature that did not is the results of a vote….

But sometimes the winners deserve to win [for historical reasons]….

Read the rest. Mike Licona is my favorite resurrection scholar.

You can also watch the most recent debate between Bart Ehrman and Mike Licona here.

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