Few biographical subjects spark passions as intensely as do interpretations of the life of Jesus. In this highly accessible book, Bart Ehrman reviews the latest textual and archaeological research into Jesus’s life and the history of first-century Palestine, and draws a fascinating, controversial portrait of the man and his teachings.
Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium seeks to show general readers what historians have long known about the Gospels and the man who stands behind them. Through a careful evaluation of the New Testament Gospels and other surviving sources, including the more recently discovered Gospels of Thomas and Peter, Ehrman proposes that Jesus can best be understood as an apocalyptic prophet, a man convinced that the world would end dramatically within his lifetime, and that a new kingdom would be created on earth — a just and peaceful kingdom ruled by a benevolent God. According to Ehrman, Jesus’s belief in a coming apocalypse and his expectation of an utter reversal in the world’s social organization underscores not only the radicalism of his teachings, but also sheds light on both the appeal of his message to society’s outcasts and the threat he posed to the established leadership in Jerusalem.
In this sharply-written and persuasive book, Ehrman suggests that the apocalyptic fervor that perpetually grips large segments of society is nothing new. Indeed, history’s many doomsayers, including those today who are frantic about the approaching millennium, are close in spirit and thinking to Jesus, who waited in vain for the imminent arrival of a new kingdom of peace.