Bart Ehrman: Why Study the New Testament?

Bart Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (Oxford University Press, 2016), 1.

Arguably the most important reason for studying the New Testament – especially from a historical point of view – is because of its importance for the history of Western civilization. The dominant religion of Europe and the New World for the past two thousand years has been Christianity. This religion continues to assert an enormous influence on our form of culture. This is true not only on the individual level, as people are guided in their thoughts, beliefs, and actions by what they learn in this religion. It is true on the broadest historical scale imaginable. Christianity has had the single greatest impact on Western civilization of any religion, ideology, or worldview, whether looked at culturally, socially, politically, or economically.

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