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Religion, Ehrman And Crossam Essay

1287 words - 5 pages

The more we delve into history, examine our past, and study ourselves, the more we realize that our heritage is more complex than the universe itself. Although religion is tied into history more than history itself, it is very interesting to see how two scholars examine the past and question the validity of what so many believe today. The views of both authors, Ehrman and Crossan, are similar in their approach to Paul and his writings. Both authors agree that there is a lot of contradiction that goes inline with the fact that the New Testament is not a historical account of events. Ehrman concentrates on the truths and contradictions found within the writings by Paul, while Crossan looks at the big picture and asks why Paul wrote certain things the way that he did. In other words, Crossan takes the Titanic and looks and why it's sinking while Ehrman looks and how certain parts are broken, it seems that he does not know about the iceberg sometimes.Ehrman undoubtedly gives Paul a lot of recognition; he starts out by stating that "next to Jesus himself, the apostle Paul was arguably the most important person in early Christianity." (285) Besides the fact that nearly half the New Testament books claim to be written by Paul, "...the Acts of the Apostles, sketches a history of early Christianity with Paul as the principal character." (285) Ehrman goes on to say that Paul's major contribution to early Christianity was the fact that he "...emphasized that faith in Jesus as the messiah who died for sins and was raised from the dead was not to be restricted to those who were Jews." (286)Ehrman then steps onto a different ledge and begins to take apart the writings from Paul. He begins with Paul's letter to the Galatians and the book of Acts; both talking about Paul's trip to Jerusalem. In one instance (The Acts) Paul claims to have gone to Jerusalem, after Jesus' apparition, and in the letter Paul states that he did not go. Ehrman explains his reasoning for the contradiction, and states that Paul's lie in this case would have been "bold-faced." (289) In another example Ehrman talks about Paul's views on pagans and their understanding of God; it is clear that Paul is again contradicting himself. In the letter to the Romans Paul states that pagans are "...not ignorant of the one true God...[and] the worship of idols is said to be a willful act of disobedience." (289) In the Acts, however, Paul claims that the pagans' ignorance of the one true God is what keeps them from being "willfully disobedient to Him." (289)Crossan, on the other hand, being a historical and anthropological buff views Paul and the spread of early Christianity from a viewfinder that can deeply offend some Christian Fundamentalists. He has an amazing ability to sort through the inaccuracies and additions of early writings and come out with the truth that really needs to be considered.Crossan begins by mentioning two historical accounts, one from a Roman Jew - Flavius Josephus, and one from...

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