Story of the Bible

Story of the Bible
Course Trailer
Telling the Story of a Book
1: Telling the Story of a Book

The Bible is a book of stories; but the Bible as a book has a fascinating story of its own. In this lecture, we review the Bible's powerful influence throughout Western history and begin to consider the complex process by which this important text was composed....

32 min
Making TaNaK
2: Making TaNaK

We explore the contents and early formation of the Hebrew Bible (or TaNaK, an acronym derived from three ancient compositions, Torah, Nebiim, and Ketubim), and trace how this collection of ancient compositions arose from a centuries-long process of oral and written tradition....

30 min
Forms of Jewish Scripture
3: Forms of Jewish Scripture

By the 1st century B.C.E., the Jewish Bible is both a unifying symbol and an emblem of Jewish diversity as communities across the Diaspora adopt different versions of scripture....

31 min
Birth of the Christian Bible
4: Birth of the Christian Bible

As the early Christian church takes shape, members of this new sect embrace the Greek translation of the Hebrew text and quickly develop their own sacred compositions....

31 min
Formation of Jewish and Christian Canons
5: Formation of Jewish and Christian Canons

During the first centuries of the Common Era, the Jewish and Christian faiths face a similar challenge: the need for a standardized version of scripture. For the Jews, this means confirming centuries of tradition; for the Christians, it is a longer and more contentious process....

30 min
Writing and Copying Manuscripts
6: Writing and Copying Manuscripts

Although the word Bible means "the book," it is anachronistic to call it a book before the 4th century C.E. In this lecture, we explore the techniques by which biblical manuscripts were created and copied prior to the advent of print....

30 min
Imperial Sponsorship and the Bible
7: Imperial Sponsorship and the Bible

When Constantine the Great converts to Christianity in the 4th century, the new faith becomes the official religion of the Roman Empire, an event that lifts the Christian Bible to the status of imperially sanctioned text and forever changes the relationship between Christians and Jews....

30 min
Texts and Translations-The Ancient East
8: Texts and Translations-The Ancient East

The earliest translations of the Christian Bible provide a tantalizing glimpse into cultures throughout the ancient world, including the Syriac and Coptic cultures, and in many cases provides the first instances of written texts in these ancient languages....

30 min
Old Latin and the Vulgate
9: Old Latin and the Vulgate

We examine the rise of Latin translation of the Bible, culminating in the Vulgate of St. Jerome in the 4th century, and learn how these translations underscored the growing divide between the Eastern and Western churches....

30 min
Other Ancient Versions
10: Other Ancient Versions

While many early worshipers read the Christian Bible in Greek and Latin, other translations spread to every corner of the empire, including Armenia, Georgia, Ethiopia, and Arabia. We'll learn how the project of translating the Bible often led to the creation of a written alphabet for these cultures....

28 min
Monasteries and Manuscripts
11: Monasteries and Manuscripts

Throughout the Middle Ages, monasteries provide a stronghold for the production and preservation of biblical manuscripts. Monks' lives are deeply immersed in scripture, whether serving as manuscript copyists, performing the daily recitation of chants, or practicing the fine art of manuscript illumination....

29 min
Interpretation within Judaism
12: Interpretation within Judaism

Jews throughout the Diaspora continue to pursue their faith and debate the meaning of their sacred texts in strong communities of worship. This conversation appears in the development of the Talmud, a constantly evolving interpretation of how God's law should be observed, and in the work of great Jewish Bible scholars....

30 min
Interpretation in Medieval Christianity
13: Interpretation in Medieval Christianity

During the medieval period, Christianity is shaped largely by the Bible and its interpretations. "Reading the Bible" is a many-faceted experience; scripture is heard during Mass, chanted by monks, experienced in daily life through the sacraments and liturgical seasons, and (for a very few) read and interpreted directly....

31 min
The Renaissance, Printing, and the Bible
14: The Renaissance, Printing, and the Bible

With the invention of new printing technology, the Bible is more accessible to private readers. This innovation, coupled with a rebirth of interest in classical learning, leads scholars to challenge the dominance of the Latin Vulgate and develop new translations....

30 min
The Protestant Reformation and the Bible
15: The Protestant Reformation and the Bible

In breaking with the Catholic faith, Protestant reformer Martin Luther introduces a new emphasis on private reading and interpretation and a sole reliance on scripture as a guide for right living....

30 min
Translating the Bible into Modern Languages
16: Translating the Bible into Modern Languages

In the wake of the Reformation, countries across Europe forge new national and religious identities. The Bible is one of the chief battlegrounds for this struggle, as traditional texts are newly translated into vernacular languages and new canons of scripture are championed....

30 min
The First Efforts at Englishing the Bible
17: The First Efforts at Englishing the Bible

From the 14th century, translating the Bible into English appears as a way to challenge the Catholic Church and make scripture available to all. Early translators are persecuted as heretics, but "Englishing the Bible" also becomes a means for exerting political control....

30 min
The King James Version
18: The King James Version

In an attempt to standardize scripture-and, by extension, the religious and civic order in England-King James I marshals a team of scholars to produce an authoritative English text. The impact of the King James Bible is still felt today in English language and literature as well as in the church....

29 min
The Romance of Manuscripts
19: The Romance of Manuscripts

With the advent of printing, manuscripts fall into disuse until scholars begin to appreciate their historical and literary value. The result is an explosion of interest in rescuing these ancient manuscripts from oblivion....

30 min
Searching for the Critical Text
20: Searching for the Critical Text

This lecture reviews the remarkable efforts made to establish a "scholar's Bible," a critical edition synthesizing thousands of ancient manuscripts to provide a guide for readers....

31 min
The Historical-Critical Approach
21: The Historical-Critical Approach

Since the rise of the Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe, we have seen an expansion of interest in the Bible as a historical document that provides a way to reconstruct the past....

31 min
The Bible in Contemporary Judaism
22: The Bible in Contemporary Judaism

In response to challenges of the modern world, Judaism reinterprets Jewish identity through the Reform movement, Orthodoxy, Conservative Judaism, and Zionism. Cataclysmic events such as the Holocaust forever alter how modern Jews read ancient scripture....

30 min
Contemporary Christians and Their Bibles
23: Contemporary Christians and Their Bibles

While the Bible remains central to worship and theology in contemporary Christianity, it is also an arena for lively disputes. Modern Christians continue to debate the place of scripture in daily and civic life and strive for more accurate and appropriate translations of biblical texts....

30 min
The Bible's Story Continues
24: The Bible's Story Continues

The Bible has maintained its place for centuries as one of the most widely read compositions and continues to hold a special fascination for people all over the world. New technologies extend the Bible's influence even further, and translations of biblical stories into other media never fail to arouse interest and controversy....

31 min
Bart D. Ehrman

Anyone who’s interested in understanding what the words of Jesus might mean in the modern world cannot take them at face value and apply them to the present situation without seeing how that situation is different from his own.

ALMA MATER

Princeton Theological Seminary

INSTITUTION

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

About Bart D. Ehrman

Dr. Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his undergraduate work at Wheaton College and earned his M.Div. and Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. Professor Ehrman has written or edited 27 books, including four best sellers on The New York Times list: Misquoting Jesus: The Story behind Who Changed the Bible and Why; God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question-Why We Suffer; Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know about Them);and Forged: Writing in the Name of God-Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. Professor Ehrman also served as president of the Society of Biblical Literature, Southeastern Region; book review editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature; editor of the Scholars' Press monograph series The New Testament in the Greek Fathers;and coeditor-in-chief for the journal Vigiliae Christianae. Professor Ehrman received the John William Pope Center Spirit of Inquiry Award, the UNC Students' Undergraduate Teaching Award, the Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty, and the Bowman and Gordon Gray Professorship (awarded for excellence in undergraduate teaching).

Also By This Professor