Bart Ehrman, author of the highly popular books Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code, Lost Christianities, and the New York Times bestseller Misquoting Jesus, here takes readers on another engaging tour of the early Christian church, illuminating the lives of Jesus' most intriguing followers: Simon Peter, the Apostle Paul, and Mary Magdalene.
What does the Bible tell us about each of these key followers of Christ? What legends have sprung up about them in the centuries after their deaths? Was Paul bow-legged and bald? Was Peter crucified upside down? Was Mary Magdalene a prostitute? In this lively work, Ehrman separates fact from fiction, presenting complicated historical issues in a clear and informative way and relating vivid anecdotes culled from the traditions of these three followers. He notes, for instance, that there is no evidence to suggest that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute (this legend can be traced to a sermon preached by Gregory the Great five centuries after her death), and little reason to think that she was married to Jesus. Similarly, there is no historical evidence for the well-known tale that Peter was crucified upside down.
A serious book but vibrantly written and leavened with many colorful stories, Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene will appeal to anyone curious about the early Christian church and the lives of these important figures.
"An informed but breezy look at the myths surrounding Jesus' most influential followers.... This book contains valuable historical scholarship. It also encourages readers to approach the Scriptures with fresh and enlightened eyes."
--Christian Science Monitor