The New Testament

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Course I looked forward everyday to a different lecture and learning more about the New Testament. The professor was very engaging, knowledgeable and presented the material in a very clear,concise way. The material was very rich and increased my understanding of the Bible.
Date published: 2020-02-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I found this course very interesting. Most important is the fact that I learned a great deal. I happy I took the course.
Date published: 2020-01-11
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Horrible intructor ! Seems unsure of material he put together. I don't like his approach to the subject matter from beginning to end. I'm looking to send it back.
Date published: 2020-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great course for understanding the New Testament I found this course informative and certainly NOT preachy. I wanted to understand the New Testament from a historical perspective, and this course was perfect for that. I appreciated that Professor Ehrman approached this from a scholarly perspective rather than one of a course in religion.
Date published: 2019-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Treatment of a Hot-Button Subject Lecture series on aspects of Christianity seem to remain very popular -- and controversial. Between the Scylla of modern skepticism and the Charybdis of those insisting on Biblical literalism and inerrancy, it must be hard to negotiate a scholarly course. I was skeptical, when I purchased this, whether I would actually find it meaningful to me or not. It turned out that I did. Parts of it were repetition for me (though if you've never taken any scholarly course on Christianity, it's all apt to be new material to you). Other parts I found novel and informative, even though I've read the Bible and taken several other courses on the New Testment and Christianity over the years. In fact, parts of this course are probably the most illuminating discussions I've listened to on the "New Testament". I found his analysis of Paul's ethics and theology particularly insightful. Without discussing his own personal beliefs, I think Professor Ehrman does an excellent job here of presenting what the authors of the books of the New Testament themselves believed, the cultural background to which they addressed their accounts, as well as how modern scholars have worked to trace out the dates and authorship of the various books. I haven't quite finished this whole series, but the 80% I have completed was already well worth the effort for me.
Date published: 2019-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The New Testament I bought this course to study along with the Education for Ministry course that I mentor and it has helped me add to the information I get from the EfM course. This is the second course I used from The Great Courses. The other was the Old Testament. Both are helpful in my studies.
Date published: 2019-08-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Well Done Video Lectures - Great SALE Price!!! I enjoyed the thoroughness of the professor in the presentations. I binge watched all 24 lectures.
Date published: 2019-08-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent professor but miss closed captions Even though I have not finished it yet, I think it is a great course, very well explained. Proffesor is excellent making you to understand the context and explaining very well everything related. It could be improved adding closed captions or subtitles to the course.
Date published: 2019-07-05
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Total waste of money! I have over fifty Great Courses videos and this is I believe my first review. If I could give this course less than one star I would. You can learn more from a Chick Publications cartoon tract than from this course. Don't waste your money.
Date published: 2019-05-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from New Testament I need close caption on and this does not have CC. I have returned the course back for my credit.
Date published: 2019-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Bart Ehrman! Getting a whole new historical perspective on the New Testament.
Date published: 2019-03-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Ok I bought this to better understand the overall development of the New Testament. It did that, but in considerably more time and effort than was necessary
Date published: 2019-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Compelling and engaging I found the lecturer to be knowledgeable, objective, and engaging. He held my interest thoughout the lectures.
Date published: 2019-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from New Testament I just got started on the course over the recent weekend. I am very happy up to this point and haven't really gotten that far into it. The instructor is laying a good background.
Date published: 2019-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Course I am finding the New Testament course fascinating. The instructor is an excellent teacher. Glad I decided to try the course.
Date published: 2019-02-17
Rated 1 out of 5 by from It’s a course that is suitable for someone who has no knowledge of the Bible but not good enough for those of us who are wanting a more in-depth course. Very disappointed
Date published: 2019-02-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointed & misled As a Bible college graduate many years ago and a person in full time ministry, I was excited for a refresher overview of the New Testament from a historical, contextual and maybe fresh viewpoint. I am open to new ideas and love learning. But I did not expect this course to actually be trying to discredit the accuracy and foundation of the Bible and who Jesus was. This is not evident or implied in the description of the course nor in Professor in Ehrman’s bio. I feel it was misleading. It caused me to look up some debates between Ehrman and other Biblical scholars, and some articles that debunk some of his theories, and many things he presents as facts that are unknown or contrary to what many other Biblical scholars have found to be true. I think you should be clear in your description of the course that Prof Ehrman is agnostic and does not believe in the God of the Bible that he is teaching about. Thank you.
Date published: 2019-02-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Full of great information This added considerably to my understanding of the culture, society and information in the New Testament
Date published: 2019-02-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great content, learned much. The content was presented in such a way that it was easy to remember. Was kind of disappointed because the lecturer's voice was hard to understand. I suffer from insomnia, so i would listen to it when i went to bed and it would put me to sleep quickly.
Date published: 2019-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very well presented by Bart Ehrman. My husband and I are very much enjoying Ehrman lectures andthey certainly are springboards for discussion!
Date published: 2019-02-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Really bad Painful. The pace is agonizingly slow. In each thirty-minute lecture one gets ten minutes of material and twenty minutes of fluff and repetition.
Date published: 2019-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent presentation I have only watch about half of the series but it is very good. Great presentation.
Date published: 2019-02-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Learning a lot of interesting information. Not sure I agree with it all but that's okay in academia.
Date published: 2019-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best answers to questions on sources Has answers to many questions on fact and most questions on sources
Date published: 2019-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Historical Aspect of New Testament This lecture focuses more on the historical aspect of the New Testament rather than the religious one. That is what separates this lecture from most of the others. I feel the lecture is presented in an unbiased, matter-of-fact style by a knowledgeable professor. Well done.
Date published: 2019-01-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Problem: I asked for this course for Christmas. I wanted CDs to play in my car and my Walkman, and to save my family money, we thought we could dowmload the course and then burn it ti blank CDs. It did not work! I don't own an MPs gadget & therefore have not been able to start The New Testament course. My family is out the cost. Ouch!
Date published: 2019-01-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not happy Received a brochure that stated I could use the discount code up to 5 times. The second time I tried to use it it was declined.
Date published: 2019-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Making the New Testament New Again This course by Bart Ehrman is a scholarly challenge to those who believe in the literal inerrancy of Scripture. I said the same thing about Professor Amy-Jill Levine’s Old Testament course, but this one will affect evangelical Christians even more profoundly if they listen to it. The Gospels, for example, are not the reliable record we would like. They were not written by eyewitnesses to the life of Jesus, son of Joseph. Instead they are collections of stories that circulated by word of mouth for a generation after the Crucifixion and were written down only after several decades. As we all know from the old telephone game, such stories will often change with each retelling. This is not to say that all the stories are untrue, but that we should be on guard against accepting them as literally true--as gospel--without asking hard questions. Furthermore, we should avoid the typical Christian interpretation that sort of mashes all four gospels together as parts of the same story and instead read each for the author’s distinct message. “Mark”—we don’t have the real name of any gospel writer—presents Jesus as a messiah who suffered rather than triumphed according Jewish expectations, while his contemporaries, including the disciples, could not understand who He was. “Matthew” stresses the Jewishness of Jesus and His mission, beginning with a genealogy that connected Him to Abraham, despite the opposition of evil Jewish scribes and Pharisees. “Luke” portrays Jesus as the savior of all mankind, not just Jews, with a genealogy connecting him to Adam. His version of the Sermon on the Mount has a stronger social message than Matthew’s. Unfortunately, Jews reject Jesus even as a boy when He speaks at the synagogue and they are already plotting to kill Him. The Gospel of “John” lacks most of the stories in the other three gospels while containing its own, especially the famous miracles of turning water into wine and raising Lazarus from the dead. While in Mark Jesus asks others to keep His miracles secret, here He uses them to prove His messiahship. Then there are other gospels that didn’t make it into the canon of the early church, which is fortunate; they were even more anti-Jewish than the ones that did. The oldest written sources for Christianity are the letters of Paul, but which ones did he really write? Scholars generally agree that he was responsible for 1 Corinthians, Romans, and Galatians, while he probably did not write Hebrews, Ephesians, Timothy and Titus. Others are debatable. Forgery was a serious problem in the ancient world, because a little-known author was easily tempted to ascribe his work to a well-known author, either to get more money or to make sure his ideas reached a wide audience. The last lecture is the most troubling of all, because it describes the many problems with our sources. We don’t have the original texts or even copies of the texts. We have copies of copies of copies of copies, etc., and as with each retelling of stories by word of mouth, there were mistakes and changes with each copying. While many of them were easily recognizable misspellings, others were deliberate alterations by copyists who wanted the text to agree with the facts as stated elsewhere in the Bible or to reflect proper church doctrine. In the Gospel of John some twelfth-century copyist inserted an entire story—the famous one about Jesus refusing to condone the stoning of an adulterous woman, which likely never happened at all. This is a disappointment to all Christians who like the way the story illustrates the superiority of mercy over the harsh letter of the law. Since there is almost no information about the historical Jesus and his early followers outside of the New Testament, one might easily despair over whether we can know anything about them, but Ehrman offers some comfort here. We can more readily trust New Testament stories where different accounts agree without being based on each other, where they fit the context of the times, and where they go against the witness’s own interest. As an example of the last point, Ehrman cites accounts that have Jesus growing up in Nazareth. In that time Nazareth was a tiny village with no religious significance; it wasn’t Jerusalem or Bethlehem, the childhood home of King David. Jesus therefore really did grow up there; in addition, he was probably born there. We can accept that Jesus really was crucified by Pontius Pilate, because the fact that He died as a criminal enemy of the Roman Empire would have been embarrassing to early Christians seeking converts among the Greeks and Romans. The same point explains why Christians were eager to shove blame onto “the” Jews. In Ehrman’s view, there really was a Jesus who provoked Pontius Pilate by preaching to fellow Jews a message of a coming apocalypse; like John the Baptist He warned that God was coming soon to judge the world, destroy the wicked, and set up a kingdom on Earth. Those who wanted the judgment to go in their favor should engage in good deeds and thoughts while avoiding bad deeds and thoughts. To Roman ears in Jerusalem during the Passover it sounded like a call to rebellion. Hence the crucifixion. To sum up, this course is fascinating. It analyzes the New Testament closely while challenging your beliefs, if you received a Christian upbringing. The next time you read the New Testament, you will find yourself reading it more carefully. I can’t offer any opinion about what the course looks like on video, since I listened to it on CD, but Ehrman’s lectures are all crisp and clear.
Date published: 2019-01-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from New Testament professor is great,and knowledgeable I am only on lecture 7 but i am learning new information and enjoying every lecture so far. I haven't started the Old Testament yet. I am using my iPad. The pause and rewind/forward are not user friendly. I opted for the download feature.
Date published: 2019-01-22
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Personal view. I was not able to get through most of the New Testament Study... out dated, and the instructor's view was not one I could get behind...
Date published: 2019-01-22
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The New Testament
Course Trailer
The Early Christians and Their Literature
1: The Early Christians and Their Literature

In our strictly historical study of the New Testament, our overarching questions will include: Who were the actual authors? To whom did they write?

32 min
The Greco-Roman Context
2: The Greco-Roman Context

Why must anyone who hopes to interpret the New Testament understand its historical context? What was the religious environment of the Greco-Roman world like? How was ancient paganism different from what people today think of as religion?

31 min
Ancient Judaism
3: Ancient Judaism

Judaism, into which Jesus was born, was like other religions of the Greco-Roman world in some respects, but very different in others. At the time of Jesus, it had several sects. Many Jews embraced apocalyptic ideas, maintaining that God would soon intervene in history, crushing evil and bringing about his kingdom on Earth.

31 min
The Earliest Traditions About Jesus
4: The Earliest Traditions About Jesus

Even though the earliest traditions about Jesus go back to eyewitnesses, the Gospels were not written down for several decades. Why do scholars think that during this period, some traditions about Jesus came to be modified or even created?

31 min
Mark-Jesus the Suffering Son of God
5: Mark-Jesus the Suffering Son of God

Mark is the shortest and oldest of the four Gospels. Its unknown author had access to oral traditions about Jesus. Mark orders these traditions into a portrait of Jesus as the authoritative but almost universally misunderstood Messiah and Son of God, whose mission is to suffer and die for the sins of the world.

31 min
Matthew-Jesus the Jewish Messiah
6: Matthew-Jesus the Jewish Messiah

Because Matthew, Mark, and Luke share so many of the same stories, they are often called the "Synoptic" Gospels. Their similarities are usually taken to mean that one, Mark, served as a source for the other two. One of the ways to study Matthew and Luke is to compare them to Mark, looking for evidence of modifications. Matthew in particular stresses Jesus' Jewish identity and his relatio...

31 min
Luke-Jesus the Savior of the World
7: Luke-Jesus the Savior of the World

Luke emphasizes Jesus as a Jewish prophet. Jesus knows that it is God's plan for his salvation to go out to the whole world, and hence does not predict the imminent end of the age. The message of salvation must first go out to the Gentiles, which will take time. Since the church will be in the world for a long haul, Luke puts a special stress on Jesus' "social" message of compassion for ...

31 min
John-Jesus the Man from Heaven
8: John-Jesus the Man from Heaven

In John's strikingly singular account, Jesus' own identity is the core issue. Rather than simply being a misunderstood representative of God's will, or a rejected prophet, or a Jewish messiah sent from the Jewish God in fulfillment of the Jewish scriptures, John's Jesus is himself divine, equal with God, an incarnation of God's own Word through which he created the universe.

31 min
Noncanonical Gospels
9: Noncanonical Gospels

More than 20 Gospels survive that did not make it into the New Testament. Most are highly legendary and use earlier written accounts as sources. They can be categorized as either narrative or "sayings" Gospels. In this lecture, you will examine examples of each, including one that is among the most exciting archaeological finds of modern times: the "Gnostic" Gospel of Thomas un...

31 min
The Historical Jesus-Sources and Problems
10: The Historical Jesus-Sources and Problems

In this lecture, you move beyond a discussion of the early Christian Gospels as literary texts, each with a distinctive portrayal of Jesus, to consider their value as historical sources. How can sources that appear to contain discrepancies and that have their own theological agendas be used to achieve a historical reconstruction of the life of the man who stands behind them all?

30 min
The Historical Jesus-Solutions and Methods
11: The Historical Jesus-Solutions and Methods

What criteria do scholars use to determine which surviving traditions about Jesus preserve historically reliable information? This lecture explores these criteria at greater length, explaining the logic behind each and exploring several examples of how they can be applied.

31 min
Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet
12: Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet

Why does careful research indicate that the historical Jesus is best understood as a 1st-century Jewish apocalpyticist? What are the beliefs that fit under the rubric "apocalypticist," and how do the words and deeds of Jesus reveal his relationship to them?

31 min
The Acts of the Apostles
13: The Acts of the Apostles

Written by the evangelist Luke, Acts narrates the growth and spread of the church, starting from just after Jesus' ascension. In this lecture we will explore this narrative, examine the historical accuracy of some of its accounts, and discuss Luke's perspective.

31 min
Paul-The Man, the Mission, and the Modus Operandi
14: Paul-The Man, the Mission, and the Modus Operandi

Apart from Jesus, the most important figure in early Christianity was the apostle Paul. For various reasons, a clear picture of his life and teachings is elusive. Yet a careful reading of his letters and the book of Acts reveals significant information about the life and work of this highly religious Pharisaic Jew who became a Christian missionary, intent on spreading the Gospel among the Gentiles...

31 min
Paul and the Crises of His Churches-First Corinthians
15: Paul and the Crises of His Churches-First Corinthians

Why can we take Paul's first letter to the Christians at Corinth as representative of all his writings? What are the problems besetting this community of believers? What is the Apostle's impassioned response?

31 min
Pauline Ethics
16: Pauline Ethics

Paul's writings are pervaded by a concern for upright, moral living. He believes that even the Gentiles should strive to follow the ethical laws of the Jewish Scriptures, especially the command of Leviticus 19:18 that one should love one's neighbor as oneself. Given Paul's teaching that salvation cannot be gained through observance of God's law, does his ethical concern represent a paradox? Finall...

30 min
Paul's Letter to the Romans
17: Paul's Letter to the Romans

What is unique about the letter to the Romans? What are the two different models of salvation through Christ that Paul propounds here? And what part does God's revealed law, given to the Jews and preserved by them in the Hebrew Bible, play in God's ultimate plan of redemption?

31 min
Paul, Jesus, and James
18: Paul, Jesus, and James

In previous lectures we have examined the teachings of the historical Jesus and the theological views of the apostle Paul. In this lecture we will compare what we have found, adding the views of the apostle James to gain a rounded sense of the diversity of early Christian beliefs.

31 min
The Deutero-Pauline Epistles
19: The Deutero-Pauline Epistles

This lecture considers some of the Deutero-Pauline epistles, so called because scholars accord them a secondary place within the Pauline corpus. Writing in someone else's name was a well-known practice in the ancient world, and could be a good strategy for getting one's work read. In this lecture, most of our attention will focus on Ephesians, which speaks eloquently of the unity of Jew and Gentil...

30 min
The Pastoral Epistles
20: The Pastoral Epistles

What makes the letters 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus pastoral epistles? Why are scholars convinced that Paul himself could not have written them?

31 min
The Book of Hebrews and the Rise of Christian Anti-Semitism
21: The Book of Hebrews and the Rise of Christian Anti-Semitism

Did you know that the so-called epistle to the Hebrews is neither an epistle nor addressed to the Hebrews? To whom is it addressed, then, and for what purpose? Why does it teach what it does about the superiority of Christianity to Judaism, and why did the early Christians include it in the canon?

31 min
First Peter and the Persecution of the Early Christians
22: First Peter and the Persecution of the Early Christians

This lecture briefly discusses 1 Peter and its teachings on suffering for the faith. Then it explores more broadly the issue of persecution in early Christianity. What was the status of Christianity under the Roman empire? Why were there outbreaks of persecution against Christians, and how systematic were the abuses inflicted on followers of Christ?

31 min
The Book of Revelation
23: The Book of Revelation

The Revelation of John is probably the most fascinating book in the New Testament, and almost certainly the most widely misunderstood. This lecture explores apocalyptic writing as a symbol-rich literary form, and argues that this particular Christian apocalypse is best read within its own historical context of religious persecution under the Roman Empire.

31 min
Do We Have the Original New Testament?
24: Do We Have the Original New Testament?

No original manuscript of any book in the New Testament appears to have survived. There are thousands of handwritten copies in Greek, but most date from centuries after the originals, no two match completely, and all are filled with mistakes.

30 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.


Princeton Theological Seminary


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).

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