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Pointers For Reputable Authors?


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I'm just starting to research.  I've read "Christian Beginnings" by Geza Vermes and "Why Priests" by Garry Wills, and they were helpful.

 

It seems like there are a lot of authors who are mostly interested in attacking orthodox Christianity and making money.

 

Any pointers for reputable authors?

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Don't know if this will be helpful to you but I never have read any "atheist" or "antitheist" books. When I was de-converting, I read Christian authors and looked on Christian web sites and blogs, hoping for answers to my doubts. Those sources did far more to show me the faults and failings of the faith than I think any non-Christian source could have.

So maybe you want to try reading Phil Yancey.

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Bart Ehrman, Elaine Pagels. Robet M Price, Karen Armstrong, John Dominic Crossan, and liberal apologist Marcus Borg and Bishop John Shelby Spong. You have already noted Gary Wills.

 

I am somewhat troubled when you say, "It seems like there are a lot of authors who are mostly interested in attacking orthodox Christianity and making money." Are you honestly looking for historical accuracy or are you really looking for authors who will confirm your beliefs? Your troubling statement makes me wonder if you aren't really more interested in apologetics than history.

 

I have included two apologist in my list because they both write from a historically accurate biblical context. In other words they don't fudge when it comes to what is authenticated historical fact as apposed to religious myth. They are the only two apologist I've encountered that do that. I don't agree with all of their conclusions but they are at least honest when it comes to the historical aspects of their faith.

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Don't know if this will be helpful to you but I never have read any "atheist" or "antitheist" books. When I was de-converting, I read Christian authors and looked on Christian web sites and blogs, hoping for answers to my doubts. Those sources did far more to show me the faults and failings of the faith than I think any non-Christian source could have.

So maybe you want to try reading Phil Yancey.

 

Thanks.  I'll check out Phil Yancey's books.  I'm not sure what I'm looking for exactly.

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A reputable author is one you agree with.

 

 

Bart Ehrman, Elaine Pagels. Robet M Price, Karen Armstrong, John Dominic Crossan, and liberal apologist Marcus Borg and Bishop John Shelby Spong. You have already noted Gary Wills.

 

I am somewhat troubled when you say, "It seems like there are a lot of authors who are mostly interested in attacking orthodox Christianity and making money." Are you honestly looking for historical accuracy or are you really looking for authors who will confirm your beliefs? Your troubling statement makes me wonder if you aren't really more interested in apologetics than history.

 

I have included two apologist in my list because they both write from a historically accurate biblical context. In other words they don't fudge when it comes to what is authenticated historical fact as apposed to religious myth. They are the only two apologist I've encountered that do that. I don't agree with all of their conclusions but they are at least honest when it comes to the historical aspects of their faith.

 

Thanks.  My concern is that Bart Ehrman seems to have a low opinion of some of the other authors in this field (such as Robert M. Price) - e.g. the mythical Jesus topic.  I think there is a large market right now for these types of books and an incentive for irresponsible scholarship.  As I've browsed amazon, many of the titles seem sensationalistic.  I was comfortable with Geza Vermes and Gary Wills, because they seemed dispassionate.

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I am not sure what you are looking for either, but I have to recommend a book I found about 6-9 months ago.  It's called "Why I Believed" by Kenneth Daniels.  For me, this is a fantastic book.  The middle chapters get a little tedious as there are alot of quotes from other books, but the first few chapters and the last few chapters were my favorite.  Ken's writing style is very humble, sincere and honest.  I could really relate to this book and I wish all my Christian friends would read it so they could understand where I am at right now.  But, as usual, almost all my Christian friends have no room in their brain to even simply consider an alternate view.  I think this book is $.99 on nook or kindle, and you can buy a paper copy for under $10 I think.  I believe there is even a free version of this book you can read online.  Hope that helps.

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I don't believe there is any such thing as a completely unbiased author/scholar. Every human being has a number of preconceptions, but those predispositions change over time with exposure to new information.

 

At one time in my life I wouldn’t have read anything of a religious nature that wasn’t written by a Christian. Now I would be leery of reading anything of a religious nature written by a born again Christian. What changed? I was exposed to new information.

 

The fact that scholars often disagree doesn't necessarily mean they have a low opinion of other scholars that have come to a different conclusion. That is just the nature of the beast.

 

Disagreement among scholars is quite common because they are not dealing with absolutes. Historical scholars tender their findings and opinions in degrees of probability; because it is virtually impossible to find three independent reliable sources that would be able to corroborate almost any ancient writing as being authentic.  

 

Apologists aren’t any different. They tend to have numerous disagreements when it comes to interpreting the Bible.  Maybe that’s why more than 34,000 versions of Christianity have been identified. Religion, by its very nature, tends to strongly resist certainty. Instead of stating their beliefs in degrees of probability Christians state their doctrines and traditions in terms of faith. That approach has proven to effectively squelch opposing viewpoints.

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I am not sure what you are looking for either, but I have to recommend a book I found about 6-9 months ago.  It's called "Why I Believed" by Kenneth Daniels.  For me, this is a fantastic book.  The middle chapters get a little tedious as there are alot of quotes from other books, but the first few chapters and the last few chapters were my favorite.  Ken's writing style is very humble, sincere and honest.  I could really relate to this book and I wish all my Christian friends would read it so they could understand where I am at right now.  But, as usual, almost all my Christian friends have no room in their brain to even simply consider an alternate view.  I think this book is $.99 on nook or kindle, and you can buy a paper copy for under $10 I think.  I believe there is even a free version of this book you can read online.  Hope that helps.

 

Thanks.  I have it on my wishlist.  :)

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I don't believe there is any such thing as a completely unbiased author/scholar. Every human being has a number of preconceptions, but those predispositions change over time with exposure to new information.

 

At one time in my life I wouldn’t have read anything of a religious nature that wasn’t written by a Christian. Now I would be leery of reading anything of a religious nature written by a born again Christian. What changed? I was exposed to new information.

 

The fact that scholars often disagree doesn't necessarily mean they have a low opinion of other scholars that have come to a different conclusion. That is just the nature of the beast.

 

Disagreement among scholars is quite common because they are not dealing with absolutes. Historical scholars tender their findings and opinions in degrees of probability; because it is virtually impossible to find three independent reliable sources that would be able to corroborate almost any ancient writing as being authentic.  

 

Apologists aren’t any different. They tend to have numerous disagreements when it comes to interpreting the Bible.  Maybe that’s why more than 34,000 versions of Christianity have been identified. Religion, by its very nature, tends to strongly resist certainty. Instead of stating their beliefs in degrees of probability Christians state their doctrines and traditions in terms of faith. That approach has proven to effectively squelch opposing viewpoints.

 

I agree with that.  I guess I will start with Bart Ehrman, because he seems to be the ring leader. ;)

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Don't know if this will be helpful to you but I never have read any "atheist" or "antitheist" books. When I was de-converting, I read Christian authors and looked on Christian web sites and blogs, hoping for answers to my doubts. Those sources did far more to show me the faults and failings of the faith than I think any non-Christian source could have.

So maybe you want to try reading Phil Yancey.

 

Thanks.  I'll check out Phil Yancey's books.  I'm not sure what I'm looking for exactly.

 

I agree with leopardus. While Phillip Yancey is unapologetically Christian, he is not afraid to just admit that he doesn't know. He isn't afraid to tackle subjects that are difficult and he at least tries to be open to different things. He is sometimes too Christian, but all in all, I enjoy his take on things and how he draws conclusions and just his writing style.

I also read Ken Daniels book and it was one of the catalysts that started me on this journey towards finding out the truth. I recommend it.

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John Loftus, Robert M Price, Valerie Tarico, Richard Carrier and Hector Avalos have been some of my favorites. 

 

Edit: Also, Victor Stenger

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John Loftus, Robert M Price, Valerie Tarico, Richard Carrier and Hector Avalos have been some of my favorites. 

 

Edit: Also, Victor Stenger

 

Thanks, I've got them on my wish list now.  "The Outsiders Test of Faith" by Loftus looked interesting.

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Don't know if this will be helpful to you but I never have read any "atheist" or "antitheist" books. When I was de-converting, I read Christian authors and looked on Christian web sites and blogs, hoping for answers to my doubts. Those sources did far more to show me the faults and failings of the faith than I think any non-Christian source could have.

So maybe you want to try reading Phil Yancey.

 

Thanks.  I'll check out Phil Yancey's books.  I'm not sure what I'm looking for exactly.

 

I agree with leopardus. While Phillip Yancey is unapologetically Christian, he is not afraid to just admit that he doesn't know. He isn't afraid to tackle subjects that are difficult and he at least tries to be open to different things. He is sometimes too Christian, but all in all, I enjoy his take on things and how he draws conclusions and just his writing style.

I also read Ken Daniels book and it was one of the catalysts that started me on this journey towards finding out the truth. I recommend it.

 

Some of his titles do look interesting like "Soul Survivor" (explaining why he is still a Christian).

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