Forgery and Counterforgery -- The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics by Bart D Ehrman, Oxford '13, $39.95, 628 pages, ASIN #0199928037. Index of modern scholars, index of subjects, index of ancient sources, bibliography, footnotes, unillustrated.
Religion scholar Bart Ehrman doesn't mince words. He begins his introduction by stating, "Arguably the most distinctive feature of the early Christian literature is the degree to which it was forged," even though the early Christians were supposedly devoted to the truth. "From the period of the New Testament, from which some thirty writings survive intact or in part," the author writes, "only eight go under the name of the actual author, and seven of these derive from the pen of one man."
For the purposes of his latest work, Ehrman confines his study of literary forgeries to roughly the first four centuries CE and particularly "forgeries that were engendered in the context of early Christian polemics." But the author is quick to stress that "When I call a text forged I am making a literary-historical claim about its author; I do not mean to imply any kind of value judgment concerning its content or its merit as a literary text (religious, theological, ethical, personal, or any other kind of merit.)"
Author Bart D. Ehrman, who teaches at the University of North Carolina, is one recognized as a leading authority on the New Testament and early Christianity and has written numerous books.
Bone River -- A Novel by Megan Chance, Amazon '12 paperback. 386 pages, ASIN #1612184847.
Amazon has already landed in the first rank of booksellers and distributors in the world. But never a company to let the grass grow under its feet, under its imprint, Amazon Publishing is now turning out print books, one of which crossed my desk this week. One might expect that the author of Bone River would be a neophyte, a debut novelist perhaps; in fact, this is her sixth novel, a mystery set in the Pacific Northwest in which oysters play a central role.
From the back cover, a brief excerpt:
"In the mid-19th century, Leonie Russell works alongside her husband, Junius, an oysterman in the Washington Territory. At night she continues her father's lifelong obsession -- collecting artifacts and studying the native culture that once thrived in the area.
"On her 37th birthday, Leonie discovers a mummy protruding from a riverbank -- a mummy that by all evidence shouldn't exist. As Leonie searches for clues to the mummy's origins, she begins to feel a strangely mystical connection to it. When Junius's long-lost son, Daniel, appears one day, a native elder insists that Leonie wear a special shell bracelet for protection. But protection from whom? The mummy or, perhaps, Daniel?
"Leonie has always been a good daughter, a good wife, but for the first time, these roles do not seem enough. Finding the mummy has changed everything, and now Leonie must decide if she has the courage to reject the expectations of others to be the woman she was meant to be."
Author Megan Chance, who holds a B.A. from Western Washington University, lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters.
Light & Shade -- Conversations with Jimmy Page by Brad Tolinski, Crown '12, $26, 298 pages, ASIN #0307985717. Bibliography, no index or notes, b&w images sprinkled through text.
From the book jacket:
"More than 30 years after disbanding in 1980, Led Zeppelin continues to be celebrated for its artistic achievements, broad musical influence, and commercial success. The band's notorious exploits have been chronicled in bestselling books, yet none of the indivdual members of the band has penned a memoir nor cooperated to any degree with the press or a biographer.
"In Light & Shade, Jimmy Page, the band's most reticent and inscrutable member, opens up to journalist Brad Tolinski, for the first time exploring his remarkable life and musical journey in great depth and intimate detail." The author writes that his book draws from extensive interviews conducted over the past 20 years and encompasses Page's entire career, "beginning with his early years as England's top session guitarist when he worked with artists ranging from Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, and Burt Bacharach to the Kinks, the Who, and Eric Clapton."
Brad Tolinski has been editor in chief of Guitar World, the world's bestselling magazine for musicians, for more than two decades. He has also written two deluxe-edition illustrated books.