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8908Re: "The Lost Gospels"

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  • lady_caritas
    Jan 2, 2004
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      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Gerry" <gerryhsp@y...> wrote:
      >
      > In his book, After the New Testament, he defines "orthodox" in the
      general introduction, but while also using terms there
      like "heterodox" and "heretics," these aren't clarified until several
      chapters into the text. That's especially odd since the ungainly
      term "heresiologists" is also explained in the introduction, but by
      neglecting to elaborate on "heresy" itself, readers who may be
      newcomers to the subject may be left to conclude that every reference
      to these dissenting groups carries the popular implication that the
      adherents believed "incorrectly," even "wickedly."
      >
      > Yet another example from the same book comes in the introduction
      when Ehrman describes the chapter on the development of church
      offices. Each chapter gets a one-paragraph overview, but while he
      presents a clearly "historical" perspective in some of these, this
      particular instance really caught my attention:
      >
      > Just as the canon of Scripture came to be discussed and,
      eventually, settled in order to help define and shape the nature
      of "orthodox" Christianity, so too there was a movement to solidify
      and structure the organization of the church, in part to
      prevent "heretics" from acquiring any kind of foothold within it.
      Early in the second century, there were calls for a rigid church
      structure that could bring order out of chaos in the early Christian
      communities and so guarantee the preservation and perpetuation of the
      true religion . . . . [emphasis added] (pg. 5)
      >
      > By using certain labels within quotation marks, the author appears
      to be speaking from a historical perspective, but he would have
      better maintained that position if he had similarly treated the
      phrase "true religion." If I were truly suspicious of him, I might
      add that he perhaps has a penchant for the conventional Christian
      view, but again, this is not what comes across in the gist of his
      writing.
      >
      > In another book, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, Ehrman shows
      how Scripture was manipulated to more concretely represent the manner
      in which the orthodox already interpreted the sacredly held writings.
      Now, this may be a really sad example, Cari, but I'm curious to see
      if this comment strikes you the same way:
      >
      > My thesis can be stated simply: scribes occasionally altered the
      words of their sacred texts to make them more patently orthodox and
      to prevent their misuse by Christians who espoused aberrant views.
      (pg. xi)
      >
      > Okay, I'm probably quibbling on this one, but "aberrant" just
      seemed a bit harsh. LOL Oddly enough, in the most recently published
      of his books cited thus far, the author deftly addresses my miniscule
      concern in his introduction to Lost Scriptures:
      >
      > Historians today realize that it is over-simplified to say that
      these alternative theologies are aberrations because they are not
      represented in the New Testament. For the New Testament itself is the
      collection of books that emerged from the conflict, the group of
      books advocated by the side of the disputes that eventually
      established itself as dominant and handed the books down to posterity
      as "the" Christian Scriptures. [emphasis Ehrman's] (pg. 2)
      >>



      Gerry, you're probably asking the wrong person because I can remember
      a few incidents when I was very young that make me twinge when
      hearing terms like the "true religion" and "aberrant."

      Now, surely, my playmate down the street wouldn't have known a term
      like "aberrant" at her young age, but she certainly didn't mince her
      words when indicating she nonetheless had a clear idea of the meaning
      behind this term. I wasn't a member of her "true religion" and since
      I also didn't know the catechism, I was going to hell, you see.
      Yes, those were her words. I was truly straying from what she had
      been taught was the "true" path.

      And, I've been doing my darnedest to keep straying from such mean-
      spirited opinions ever since... ;-)

      It's very possible that Dr. Ehrman was speaking only contextually
      from what would be an orthodox viewpoint in particular instances, but
      it would be helpful to clarify this to avoid confusion. Since we see
      him later addressing this particular word, "aberrant," perhaps
      someone did bring this to his attention or perhaps he even caught
      this himself. Nonetheless, in the same work _Lost Scriptures_, you
      mentioned earlier that he equated "heresy" with "false belief."
      Hopefully, in the future he'll continue to shed light on the context
      of a few questionable terms.

      On the whole though, you seem to *not* find his writing showing
      a "penchant for the conventional Christian view." I'll be interested
      to see what your impressions are when you have a chance to hear Dr.
      Ehrman in person at the upcoming seminar.


      Cari
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