RaveThe Washington Independent Review of Books... will rankle his longtime fundamentalist Christian antagonists and amuse his typically liberal and secularist devotees ... a hell of a ride (yes, pun intended) both for those well-versed in the relevant literature and those coming to the subject for the first time ... Despite his qualifications, Ehrman’s reading of Paul falls into the hackneyed habit of opposing Paul’s message of faith (as cognitive assent to doctrine about Jesus of Nazareth) to Jesus’ teachings about the kingdom of God, a habit endemic to Paul scholarship in generations past ... Today, scholars have largely moved beyond this false dichotomy. Ehrman also seems overly eager to divide Luke’s views from Paul’s on the nature of the resurrected body of Jesus, a reading that likely creates more problems than it solves. Thankfully, Ehrman rarely falters otherwise, and the rest of the journey is not only instructive, but downright fun ... masterful ... a tour de force: erudite, provocative, and often fun. But many of Ehrman’s readers will experience his attempt at consolation as simply unbelievable.
RaveWashington Independent Review of Books\"To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism is Douthat’s latest tactical maneuver in his running battle with Catholic theological liberalism. The format he chose was not that of a treatise, but something closer to his wheelhouse: a pot-boiler of a history that examines a growing ecclesial crisis precipitated by a pope who — quietly, tactfully, cunningly — seems to be contravening church teaching ... One does not have to share Douthat’s theological commitments to sympathize. Everyone who orients their life toward something beyond themselves will feel in their gut his anxious love for his church ... For Catholic and non-Catholic readers alike, that will undoubtedly be the most striking and disturbing aspect of To Change the Church: Douthat’s ringing, clear case that the destination should, in fact, be the latter.\