My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In this fascinating book, Ehrman takes a look at the historical record to explore how the understanding of Jesus went from a wandering apocalyptic preacher to God. Ehrman states from the outset that while he was a Christian and a believer once, this is no longer the case, that his interest, focus, and methodologies are strictly historical in nature. By this he means that regardless of his personal belief (or lack of), the book doesn’t set out to prove or disprove whether Jesus is God, but rather look at how the understanding of Jesus as God evolved from the time of his ministry in Israel until the Council of Nicea through the use of historical data, starting with the New Testament, and including contemporary Roman, Greek, and Jewish sources. Ehrman even takes the time to talk about what some of those methodologies are, so that the reader knows how the research has been done.
While this may seem tedious when described here, in truth it creates a great lens through which to see the evolution of this central aspect of Christianity. It helps that Ehrman is an engaging writer with a very accessible style and voice who is never condescending toward his audience whether they are non-academics or believers. How Jesus Became God is the kind of book that any lover of history, whether theist or not, can find both entertaining and educational.