In this book Bart Ehrman deals with the three followers of Jesus who are arguably the most significant and intriguing: Peter, his closest disciple: Paul his most important apostle; and Mary Magdalene, his most prominent female follower. What do the New Testament and other, non-canonical texts tell us about each of them? What legends developed about them? What can we say about them as historical figures? In a separate section on each, Ehrman lays out what is fact and what is fiction and how we know. Ehrman deals with complex historical issues in clear and informative ways, explaining anecdotes culled from the traditions of these three followers of Jesus. In this way, he explains what we can know about each of these figures as real historical people, and what legends sprang up about them in the centuries after their deaths.
Bart Ehrman chairs the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One of the major public experts on early Christianity, Jesus, and the New Testament, he is very well known in his field and to a general audience through his books Lost Christianities, LostScriptures, and Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code. He has appeared on A&E, the History Channel, CNN, and other TV and radio shows, and has taped several highly popular lecture series for "TheTeaching Company."