By Bart D. Ehrman
"Arguably the main virtue of the early Christian literature," writes Bart Ehrman, "is the measure to which it was once forged." The Homilies and Recognitions of Clement; Paul's letters to and from Seneca; Gospels by means of Peter, Thomas, and Philip; Jesus' correspondence with Abgar, letters by means of Peter and Paul within the New Testament--all forgeries. to quote quite a few examples.
Forgery and Counterforgery is the 1st entire research of early Christian pseudepigrapha ever produced in English. In it, Ehrman argues that old critics--pagan, Jewish, and Christian--understood fake authorial claims to be a sort of literary deceit, and hence forgeries. Ehrman considers the level of the phenomenon, the "intention" and motivations of old Greek, Roman, and Jewish forgers, and reactions to their paintings as soon as detected. He additionally assesses the factors historical critics utilized to show forgeries and the ideas forgers used to prevent detection. With the broader practices of the traditional international as backdrop, Ehrman then makes a speciality of early Christian polemics, as a number of Christian authors cast records so as to lend their principles a veneer of authority in literary battles waged with pagans, Jews, and, most significantly, with each other in internecine disputes over doctrine and perform. In a few situations a forger directed his paintings opposed to perspectives present in one other forgery, growing thereby a "counter-forgery." Ehrman's review of polemical forgeries begins with these of the hot testomony (nearly half whose books make a fake authorial declare) up in the course of the Pseudo-Ignatian epistles and the Apostolic Constitutions on the finish of the fourth century.
Shining mild on a big yet missed characteristic of the early Christian international, Forgery and Counterforgery explores the prospective motivations of the deceivers who produced those writings, situating their perform inside historic Christian discourses on mendacity and deceit.