Bart C. Ehrman is a highly respected historian who was once a protestant clergyman who became an agnostic when he saw what biblical scholars consider the numerous errors, inconsistencies, forgeries, and deceits in the New Testament. He offers readers in “Forged” a view of the conclusion of biblical scholars that none of the New Testament documents were revealed to people by God and virtually all were not written by the person who tradition or the document itself claims authored it.

Thus, the four gospels Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John were not written by these people. Their name were attached to the documents to give the documents an appearance of truth and importance. Also, the New Testament contains fictions about Paul, the founder of Christianity. Additionally, all of the New Testament documents, even those written by Paul, were composed decades after the death of Jesus by people who never met Jesus, generally individuals who did not speak the same language Jesus spoke, Aramaic, but Greek. Furthermore, the New Testament is filled with imaginary legends that are not in all the gospels. They are radically different when more than one gospel has the same legend. The ancestors of Jesus, for example, are only mentioned in two of the four gospels and the lists are different. Ehrman describes more of the forgers’ techniques for readers.

One of the reason for the introduction of falsehood and forgery was based on good but misguided intentions, to inspire hope in the forgers’ readers who suffered from what appeared to be a world swirling out of control due to illnesses, poverty, famines, wars, epidemics, and natural disasters.

Still another prompter for the writings and claims was the forgers’ misplaced piety to persuade the masses to believe what they, the forgers, but not the authorities named, felt must be believed.

Ehrman submits that another stimulant toward the sham was that the early Christians felt shunned, abhorred, and beleaguered and wrote imaginary ideas about a powerful Jesus to embolden them while belittling other faiths: “The ultimate goal of the church was to establish itself as true and, of course, to show that all other religions were, as a consequence, false. So once more we have one of the great ironies of the early Christian religion: some of its leading spokespersons appear to have no qualms about lying in order to promote the faith, to practice deception in order to establish the truth.”