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FORGED

WRITING IN THE NAME OF GOD--WHY THE BIBLE'S AUTHORS ARE NOT WHO WE THINK THEY ARE

Gloves-are-off review of New Testament authorship.

Could much of the New Testament be a forgery?

Acclaimed biblical scholar Ehrman (Religious Studies/Univ. of North Carolina; Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible, 2010, etc.) critically examines the authorship of the books of the New Testament, a debate that has continued for the past two centuries. Here the author adds a level of condemnation that past scholars have been loath to use. Calling any epistles written falsely in another’s name “forgeries,” Ehrman steps away from academic niceties and convoluted explanations. The author attacks the conventional wisdom that writing in another’s name was accepted and even seen as an honor in the ancient world. He also counters wide-spread theories used to explain differences in style and word choice, such as that of the use of secretaries. However, he is careful to separate instances of what he terms forgery from other cases in which authorship is in question, such as the four Gospels, in which authorship was ascribed by later readers and not claimed erroneously by the original writer. Ehrman also discusses elements other than the New Testament, including early letters, gospels and other writings that never made it into the Christian canon. His overarching conclusion is condemning: “There were numerous ways to lie in and through literature in antiquity, and some Christians took advantage of the full panoply in their efforts to promote their view of the faith.” Though many of Ehrman’s theories are not new, his approach will be controversial. For example, many readers will find it hard to accept the writer of Acts as being “spectacularly successful” at deception.

Gloves-are-off review of New Testament authorship.

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-201261-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperOne

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS

AND OTHER ESSAYS

This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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