God’s Ghostwriters

By Candida Moss

‘Monumental and eye-opening’ Reza Aslan

From an award-winning biblical scholar, the untold story of how enslaved people created, gave meaning to, and spread the word of the New Testament, shaping the very foundations of Christianity in ways both subtle and profound.

For the past two thousand years, Christian tradition, scholarship, and pop culture has credited the authorship of the New Testament to a select group of men: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul. But the truth is that these individuals did not write alone. In some meaningful ways they did not write at all.

Hidden behind these named and sainted individuals are a cluster of enslaved coauthors and collaborators, almost all of whom go uncredited. They were responsible for producing the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament. They took dictation, sometimes editorialising in the process, and polished and refined the final manuscripts. When the Christian message began to move independently from the first apostles it was enslaved missionaries who undertook the dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean and along dusty Roman roads to move Christianity from Jerusalem and the Levant to Rome, Spain, North Africa and Egypt. Finally, when these texts were read aloud to new audiences of curious potential converts, it was educated and trained enslaved workers who performed them – deciding whether a statement was sincere or sarcastic; a throwaway remark or something central to be emphasised. Their influence in the spread of Christianity and making of the Bible was enormous, yet their role has been almost entirely overlooked until now.

Filled with profound revelations for reading and understanding the gospels themselves, God’s Ghostwriters is a groundbreaking and rigorously researched book about how enslaved people shaped the Bible, and with it all of Christianity. It’s also an intimate portrait of lives not often considered by history, and a reckoning with the motives and methods of the early Christians as they spread their message across the ancient world.

Format: ebook
Release Date: 26 Mar 2024
Pages: None
ISBN: 978-0-00-861219-1
Candida Moss is Edward Cadbury Chair of Theology at the University of Birmingham, prior to which she taught for almost a decade at the University of Notre Dame. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Oxford and a MA and PhD from Yale University.The award-winning author or co-author of seven books, she has also served as Papal News Commentator for CBS News and writes a column for The Daily Beast. She has written for and had her work reported on in the New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post, Guardian, New Scientist, BBC.com, CNN.com, POLITICO, Huffington Post, Newsweek, Daily Mail, and Le Monde.In addition to regularly commenting on religious affairs for CBS, Dr Moss has also served as an on-air expert for CNN and Fox News, and appeared in documentaries for CNN, NBC, National Geographic, History Channel, Discovery Channel and the BBC. She lives in New York.

‘At once eminently readable and rigorously researched, God’s Ghostwriters cements Candida Moss as the most compelling voice in Biblical scholarship. The role of enslaved people in the writing and dissemination of the gospels has been ignored for far too long' New York Times bestselling author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth -

”'A fascinating and beautifully written book. Candida Moss makes the invisible hands that wrote the Bible visible. She writes with a depth of scholarship and a lightness of touch that make this book both powerful and compelling” - Catherine Nixey, author of The Darkening Age

”'A lucid, convincing, and deceptively transgressive book, God’s Ghostwriters gives the unfree a rightful place in history” - Rev. Jarel Robinson-Brown, author of Black, Gay, British, Christian, Queer

”'Brimming with learning and buzzing with contemporary urgency… At once provocative and humane, it tells a very different version of the story of early Christianity to the one most of us grew up with” - Tim Whitmarsh, author of Battling the Gods and Regius Professor of Greek at the University of Cambridge

”'Thought-provoking, intensely interesting, and immensely readable” - Eric Cline, Bestselling author of 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed

”'God's Ghostwriters is a work of historical, theological, and literary scholarship that will hold your attention like a well-crafted novel” - Brian D. McLaren, author of Do I Stay Christian?

Praise for Candida Moss -

”'Delightfully accessible yet based on prodigious scholarship, deeply serious, yet entertaining and enlightening” - Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church at Oxford University and author of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

”'Important and fascinating” - Archbishop Desmond Tutu