A Fascinating Book About The Resurrection of Bad Theories

Andreas Kostenberger and Michael Kruger have presented to the Christian world a fascinating account, and rebuttal, of an old idea that seems to keep rearing its ugly head.  In The Heresy of Orthodoxy:  How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity the authors address the Bauer thesis and its more recent adoption by New Testament textal critic and media favorite Bart Ehrman.  The Bauer thesis, first articulated by Walter Bauer (the famed lexicographer) in the 1940s (and subsequently refuted), argued that early Christianity was originally a congeries of contradictory factions, and that what is now called orthodoxy arose later (in the church at Rome) and suppressed the original (and undoubtedly wonderfully diffuse and dynamic) diversity.  In other words, the early church included groups later labeled heretical (e.g., Gnostics) but that were not viewed as such initially.   Even though this thesis has been subjected to substantial criticism over the years, Ehrman has picked it up again, and–due to the pluralistic culture in which we live–the discredited theory has gained renewed traction.  Enter the new book.  This is certainly a book that scholars, ministers, church officers, and the interested layperson will want to examine.  You can buy a copy here.

2 Responses

  1. Jeff, everything old becomes new, which is why Dabney said something to the effect that each generation has to fight these things out for itself. By the way, the word you want is “diffuse,” not “defuse.”

  2. Jeffrey Charles Waddington


    Thanks for the correction! That is what I get for not running the spell check before posting.

    However, I will say that if Ehrman presses the Bauer thesis and it takes hold in the culture and the church, there may be potential explosions we will need to “defuse.”

    Thanks brother.

Leave a Reply