Sunday, April 1, 2018

Bart Ehrman

Bart Ehrman is a distinguished professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His new book is The Triumph of Christianity: How A Forbidden Religion Swept The World. From Ehrman's Fresh Air interview with NPR's Terry Gross:

GROSS: So your book on how Christianity spread through the world begins with how you started to feel doubt about your faith when you were in college. Why start your book there, with your personal doubt when you were a young man?

EHRMAN: Yeah. I debated how to start the book. And it occurred to me that in the ancient world when Christianity was taking over the religious scene, it was destroying the other religions in its wake. And people rarely think about what that meant for the people who supported these other religions. They were seeing their religion evaporate in front of their eyes.

And I realized that I had had a similar experience, that my religion had evaporated before my eyes and had been destroyed, not by an opposing religion but by my studies, by my scholarship. And I remembered the kind of anxiety and the frustration that I felt when that was happening, and it made me think, well, that's actually probably similar to what other people were feeling in the ancient world.

GROSS: But in the ancient world, a lot of pagans converted to Christianity. So they were substituting one belief system for another, whereas you had to live with perpetual doubt.

EHRMAN: Well, that's right. And they were substituting one thing for another. But in another sense, I...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue