How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee

Epigraph: 

The Originator of the heavens and the earth! How can He have a son when He has no consort, and when He has created everything and has knowledge of all things?

Such is Allah, your Lord. There is no God but He, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He is Guardian over everything.  (Al Quran 6:102-103)

Prof. Bart Ehrman

Prof. Bart Ehrman

A book by Bart D. Ehrman  (Author)

New York Times bestselling author and Bible expert Bart Ehrman reveals how Jesus’s divinity became dogma in the first few centuries of the early church.

The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. How Jesus Became God tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first.

A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman reveals how an apocalyptic prophet from the backwaters of rural Galilee crucified for crimes against the state came to be thought of as equal with the one God Almighty, Creator of all things. But how did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? In a book that took eight years to research and write, Ehrman sketches Jesus’s transformation from a human prophet to the Son of God exalted to divine status at his resurrection. Only when some of Jesus’s followers had visions of him after his death—alive again—did anyone come to think that he, the prophet from Galilee, had become God. And what they meant by that was not at all what people mean today.

Written for secular historians of religion and believers alike, How Jesus Became God will engage anyone interested in the historical developments that led to the affirmation at the heart of Christianity: Jesus was, and is, God.

Order the book in Amazon

About the author:

Bart D. Ehrman (born 5 October 1955) is an American New Testament scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ehrman is a leading New Testament scholar, having written and edited over twenty-five books, including three college textbooks. He has also achieved acclaim at the popular level, authoring fourNew York Times bestsellers. Ehrman’s work focuses on textual criticism of the New Testament, theHistorical Jesus, and the evolution of early Christianity.

20 replies

  1. JESUS IS NOT GOD, JESUS NEVER WAS GOD AND JESUS NEVER WILL BE GOD.. READ THE HOLY QURAN AT SURAH 6, AND VERSES 102 AND 103..MAY ALLAH GUIDE AND BLESS YOU ALWAYS..KWANZA ABDUL-KHALIQ …3/25/2014

  2. Zia,
    I got the book about an hour ago, that is long after you, and I have gone far beyond the introduction. To prove what I am saying, let me quote the last part of the second line at page 23 from the top “-AND A PHILOSOPHER OF HIS DAY. HIS–” (online).
    I actually do not see what all the noise is about the book. Some of Bart Erhman’s arguments thus far are the same as what you desperately tried to advance before.
    However, I AM WAITING FOR YOU. So, hurry up and finish it.

  3. Wonderful. So please show us the man-god or god-man hybrid that exists in your imagination.

    Remember, man is made of 46 chromosomes, proteins, fats and carbohydrates and more and God of Jewish tradition is beyond time, space and matter.

    You can grind the two and shake them up in your imagination, but, can you lay it out on paper or a computer screen.

  4. The first chapter of Prof. Bart Ehrman’s book actually talks about other man-god or god-man in the Roman Empire.

    He very wisely starts off with description of Apollonius of Tyana, with terminology that would make one think of Jesus, but, then breaks the suspense on the second page of the first chapter that he is actually talking about, Apollonius of Tyana.

    Read more about him:

    Apollonius of Tyana: Another man-god from the time of Jesus

  5. Zia,
    When Muhammad said in sura 2:62 that the Christians and the others will be in ‘paradise’ if they do good deeds, did he not know that the Christians believe in the Holy Trinity?
    Bert Erhman has given reasons for Augustus Caesar wanting to be believed that his father was divine. At page 45 he says:”–FROM A HUMAN AND POLITICAL POINT OF VIEW, THERE IS LITTLE QUESTION ABOUT WHY THE HEIR AND ADOPTED SON OCTAVIAN WANTED THE ROMAN PEOPLE TO AGREE THAT CAESAR WAS NOT ONLY DESCENDED FROM A DIVINE LINE, BUT HAD HIMSELF BEEN MADE A DIVINE BEING. IF JULIUS CAESAR WAS A GOD, WHAT WOULD THAT MAKE HIS SON?”
    There is no such political consideration in the case of Jesus. His earthly father had no political ambition neither did he claim to be divine.
    I find the last sentence of that paragraph curious. It says :”WHEN JESUS CAME ON THE SCENE AS A DIVINE MAN, HE AND THE EMPEROR WERE IN COMPETITION”.
    JESUS was born around 4BC and died in 30CE. Augustus died in 14CE. At that time the Romans had not yet heard of Jesus’ divinity for his ministry started three years before his death. That would have been around 27-28CE. Since Augustus died at least 13 years before the start of the Lord’s ministry, how could both of them have been in competition for divine status? When the Lord was crucified another emperor was on the Roman throne and he did not claim divinity, according to Erhman who quotes Michael Peppard as saying that only two people in the ancient world-Jesus and Augustus-“WERE ACTUALLY CALLED THE ‘SON OF GOD'”.
    When the book came out, I called ten people and asked if the knew about this ‘exciting scholarship’ by a prolific writer called Bart D. Erhman. Only one said he has heard of the name but did not remember in what connection. As far as the contemporary world is concerned, Bart Erhman still remains an unknown quantity who will be swept away like others before him in history. Our Lord reigns forever. That is why 2 billion people follow Him and about half the world have heard and will continue to hear about Him.
    I have stopped reading the book for now. That will not prevent me from responding to your comments.

  6. Namelee,

    You raise several half truths in your comment, as usual.

    Let me first respond to your bragging of two billion Christians. Please, do not forget that a lot of them are agnostic and atheist, like the writer of this book.

    Half of Europe’s population will fall in that category and a quarter of Canada and USA, especially among the younger generations.

    So, this brings me to my most dramatic, all embracing, argument:

    If the Atheists and the Christians Debate, Islam Wins!

  7. The Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, did not condone Trinity.

    The Holy Quran suggests that everyone will be judged by his or her inner truth and abilities.

    It is not possible for many simple and honest Christians, who have been indoctrinated in Christian dogma, to find and know the truth, in face of devious apologists, like yourself.

    The human condition is, as Plato would make Socrates say in the Republic (7.514a ff.), comparable to that of prisoners of an underground cave, whose unfortunate fate is to confuse reality with passing shadows created by a fire inside their miserable abode and kept in motion by clever manipulators, who in the name of politics, religion, science, and tradition control the human herd.

  8. Zia,
    At least 85% of Americans still call themselves Christians. The atheists and agnostics, like your favorite arthur, number not more than 5%. The same thing is true of Europe. Get your facts right.
    I do not go to useless links which have nothing to offer. So keep it.
    If your prophet did not condone the Trinity, why did he not simply say that anyone who does good deeds will be rewarded in paradise? The Sabaeans were not even monotheists. They worshiped the stellar deities. Muhammad would embrace them because he took the star, which symbolized one of the Sabaean deities as a symbol of his religion. That is why you have the star and the crescent, representing the moon god,another pagan deity, as your symbols.

  9. Key Findings and Statistics on Religion in America

    More than one-quarter of American adults (28%) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion – or no religion at all. If change in affiliation from one type of Protestantism to another is included, 44% of adults have either switched religious affiliation, moved from being unaffiliated with any religion to being affiliated with a particular faith, or dropped any connection to a specific religious tradition altogether.

    The survey finds that the number of people who say they are unaffiliated with any particular faith today (16.1%) is more than double the number who say they were not affiliated with any particular religion as children. Among Americans ages 18-29, one-in-four say they are not currently affiliated with any particular religion.

    The Landscape Survey confirms that the United States is on the verge of becoming a minority Protestant country; the number of Americans who report that they are members of Protestant denominations now stands at barely 51%. Moreover, the Protestant population is characterized by significant internal diversity and fragmentation, encompassing hundreds of different denominations loosely grouped around three fairly distinct religious traditions – evangelical Protestant churches (26.3% of the overall adult population), mainline Protestant churches (18.1%) and historically black Protestant churches (6.9%).

    While those Americans who are unaffiliated with any particular religion have seen the greatest growth in numbers as a result of changes in affiliation, Catholicism has experienced the greatest net losses as a result of affiliation changes. While nearly one-in-three Americans (31%) were raised in the Catholic faith, today fewer than one-in-four (24%) describe themselves as Catholic. These losses would have been even more pronounced were it not for the offsetting impact of immigration. The Landscape Survey finds that among the foreign-born adult population, Catholics outnumber Protestants by nearly a two-to-one margin (46% Catholic vs. 24% Protestant); among native-born Americans, on the other hand, the statistics show that Protestants outnumber Catholics by an even larger margin (55% Protestant vs. 21% Catholic). Immigrants are also disproportionately represented among several world religions in the U.S., including Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.

    http://religions.pewforum.org/reports

  10. Zia,
    Actually, the Pew Research Center poll gave the population of Christians in the world as 2.3 billion, which is 1/3 of the world total.
    The abc News poll of July 18, says:”EIGHTY PERCENT OF AMERICANS IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AS CHRISTIANS. MOST OF THE REST 13 PERCENT HAVE NO RELIGION. THAT LEAVES JUST 4 PERCENT OF ALL NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS COMBINED–“.
    Again, always endeavor to get your facts right.

  11. Zia,
    Correction. The abc News poll puts the figure of Christians in America as:”EIGHTY THREE PERCENT–“.
    The Pew Research Center says the Christian population of the world has increased from 600 million in 1910 to 2.3 billion as at when the poll was taken.
    That gives you food for thought.

  12. Religion in the European Union is a diverse matter with significant levels of belief in all EU member states. The largest religion in the EU is Christianity, with its largest denominations being Roman Catholicism, Protestantism (especially in the north), and Eastern Orthodoxy.[2] Smaller groups include those of Islam, Judaism, Dharmic religions, and some East Asian religions, most concentrated in Britain and France. Also present are modern revival movements of ancient pre-Christian European religion including Heathenism, Rodnovery, Romuva, Druidry.[3]

    Over the last several decades, religious practice has been on the decline in a process of secularisation.[4] Eurostat’s Eurobarometer opinion polls showed in 2010 that 49% of EU citizens did not believe in God.[5] Many countries have experienced falling church attendance and membership in recent years.[6]

    Countries with the fewest people reporting religious belief are the Czech Republic (16%), Estonia (18%), and Sweden (18%).[5] The most religious countries are Malta (94%; predominantly Roman Catholic), Cyprus (~90%; predominantly Orthodox), and Romania (~90%; predominantly Orthodox). Across the EU, belief is more common with age and is higher amongst women, those with only basic education, and those “positioning themselves on the right of the political scale (57%)”.[7]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_European_Union

  13. Here is the European Christian population country by country as posted by Wikipedia in August, 2013:
    Albania 18.0%,
    Andorra 94.0%,
    Armenia 98.7%,
    Austria 83.0%,
    Azerbaijan 4.8%,
    Belarus 59.4%,
    Belgium 64.1%,
    Bosnia & Hezi 52.0%,
    Bulgaria 84.0%,
    Croatia 92.6%,
    Cyprus 79.3%,
    Czech Rep. 11.2%,
    Denmark 83.1%,
    United Kingdom 59.3%,
    Estonia 23.9%,
    Faroe Island 94.0%,
    Finland 81.6%,
    France 63.0%,
    Georgia 88.6%,
    Germany 70.8%,
    Greece 89.5%,
    Greenland 97.3%,
    Hungary 82.7%,
    Iceland 95.0%,
    Ireland 94.1%,
    Italy 85.1%,
    Latvia 55.7%,
    Liechtenstein 99.9%,
    Switzerland 82.9%,
    Lithuania 84.9%,
    Luxemburg 70.4%,
    Macedonia 65.1%,
    Malta 97.0%,
    Moldova 97.53%,
    Monaco 86.0%,
    Montenegro 78.8%,
    Netherlands 51.2%,
    Norway 86.2%,
    Poland 94.3%,
    Portugal 94.7%,
    Russia 46.6-76%,
    San Marino 97.0%,
    Slovakia 86.5%,
    Slovenia 79.2%,
    Spain 78.6%,
    Sweden 67.2%,
    Turkey 0 .02%,
    Ukraine 83.8%.
    As at the period under review, the total Christian population of the world is given as 2,384,004,733.
    Church attendance should not be confused with adherence.
    HAVE FUN.

  14. fantastic put up, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector don’t realize this.

    You should continue your writing. I’m sure, you’ve
    a huge readers’ base already!

  15. Namelee post of 29 March:
    I do not go to useless links which have nothing to offer. So keep it.
    If your prophet did not condone the Trinity, why did he not simply say that anyone who does good deeds will be rewarded in paradise?
    ———————————–
    namelee is uninformed. It is written in good words in the Quran as follows:
    “Surely, those who have believed and those who are Jews and the Christians, and people of other faiths, whoever believes in Allah (God) and the last day and does good deeds (means he/she is gentle, peaceful), their reward is with their Lord and they shall have no fear and shall not be sorry.” Verse 2:62/63.

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