Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend

Paperback | March 24, 2008

byBart D Ehrman

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Bart Ehrman, author of the highly popular books Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code, Lost Christianities, and the New York Times bestseller Misquoting Jesus, here takes readers on another engaging tour of the early Christian church, illuminating the lives of Jesus' most intriguingfollowers: Simon Peter, the Apostle Paul, and Mary Magdalene. What does the Bible tell us about each of these key followers of Christ? What legends have sprung up about them in the centuries after their deaths? Was Paul bow-legged and bald? Was Peter crucified upside down? Was Mary Magdalene a prostitute? In this lively work, Ehrman separates fact fromfiction, presenting complicated historical issues in a clear and informative way and relating vivid anecdotes culled from the traditions of these three followers. He notes, for instance, that there is no evidence to suggest that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute (this legend can be traced to a sermonpreached by Gregory the Great five centuries after her death), and little reason to think that she was married to Jesus. Similarly, there is no historical evidence for the well-known tale that Peter was crucified upside down. A serious book but vibrantly written and leavened with many colorful stories, Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene will appeal to anyone curious about the early Christian church and the lives of these important figures. "An informed but breezy look at the myths surrounding Jesus' most influential followers.... This book contains valuable historical scholarship. It also encourages readers to approach the Scriptures with fresh and enlightened eyes." --Christian Science Monitor

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Bart Ehrman, author of the highly popular books Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code, Lost Christianities, and the New York Times bestseller Misquoting Jesus, here takes readers on another engaging tour of the early Christian church, illuminating the lives of Jesus' most intriguingfollowers: Simon Peter, the Apostle Paul, and Mary Ma...

Bart Ehrman chairs the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One of the major public experts on early Christianity, Jesus, and the New Testament, he has appeared on NBCs Dateline, AandE, the History Channel, CNN, and a number of nationally syndicated NPR programs, and has taped several hig...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9.2 × 6.1 × 1 inPublished:March 24, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195343506

ISBN - 13:9780195343502

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"An informed but breezy look at the myths surrounding Jesus' most influential followers.... This book contains valuable historical scholarship. It also encourages readers to approach the Scriptures with fresh and enlightened eyes."--Christian Science Monitor"With penetrating insight, backed up by first class scholarship and communicated in comprehensible English, Bart Ehrman examines in a new light the interpretive process that gathered around Jesus and his followers both before and after the gospels were written. In so doing he opens new wide vistasinto the origins of Christianity and sets the stage for a dramatic rethinking of the Christian creeds. It is a terrific book for open minds seeking truth in ancient religious formulas, but a frightening book for those who think they already possess infallible or inert truth." --John Shelby Spong, author of The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible's Terrible Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love, and Bishop, The Episcopal Church"Bart Ehrman has done it again! He has marvelously succeeded in producing a riveting but historically credible account of three of the most important early followers of Jesus, shedding important new light on the very foundations of early Christianity. Ehrman is a master at telling his story, atseparating fact from fiction, and carefully weighing all the evidence. He has done more than any scholar of our time to share the fascinating results of responsible historical investigations with the wider public." --James D. Tabor, author of The Jesus Dynasty: A New Historical Investigation ofJesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth ofChristianity"Drawing widely from history, scripture and extra-biblical writings, he studies the many stories of the lives of the first-century 'Peter, Paul and Mary, ' arguing that inclusion of some accounts in the canon should not elevate these texts above the others, some of which were accepted early on by thechurch but later excluded from the canon. As with his other works, Ehrman presents his case clearly and succinctly."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)"Provides intriguing information on these New Testament personages. One will read accounts, for instance, in which Peter brings a smoked tuna back to life and in which Mary Magdalene travels to France to become an early missionary. Both stories are fictional but, Ehrman emphasizes, help showsomething of the ideas present in the early church period."--Library Journal"Bart Ehrman offers a startlingly fresh look at three of the prime early followers of Jesus--startling in its emperor's-new-clothes intelligence and Ehrman's envigorating dare for his readers to confront him with the fact that he's often skating merrily on thin ice, but ice all the same. I read himalways with addictive pleasure in his brilliance and his generous-hearted eagerness to tell us all he knows, which is very much indeed."--Reynolds Price, author of The Good Priest's Son: A Novel, A Serious Way or Wondering: The Ethics of Jesus Imagined, and Kate Vaiden