Scholarly books available for free online


UPDATE: Since originally posting this thread, the collection has grown from 30 to 180+ scholarly volumes freely available in PDF (yes, really). See this comment of mine in the thread where I list some of this stuff out.

Recently as I’ve been looking around, I’ve been finding more and more books of biblical scholarship freely available online. This is something that is really great but not many people know about it, and so I wanted to try to disseminate the word a little more.

Larry Hurtado is one of the most important modern scholars in biblical scholarship, contributing thoroughly to how Jesus was taken and understood in earliest Christian devotion. Two of his books are available for free, in their entirety online, one click away. All 700+ pages of Hurtado’s Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity is available here. Tryggve Mettinger’s The Riddle of Resurrection can be downloaded here in seconds (especially good since its out of print now). Bart Ehrman has like 4 of his books freely available online in PDF, such as his The Gospel of Judas Iscariot (my favorite book of his) and his Truth and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code. These books I’ve noted are all scholarly books. And there are other authors whose works are available a click away, such as works of C.S. Lewis, Gannar Samuelsson, Elaine Pagels, etc. This is very important for those who do not have spare money to buy these books themselves and yet want to know about important scholarship. The only reason why I was able to begin reading scholarship in the first place is through my introduction to these publicaly available novelties. On my blog, I’ve started compiling the books I know of available online (scroll to the bottom section of the page). Do you guys know of any other books available online a click away for free? Do you guys think we need more of this stuff?

(RiderOnTheClouds) #2


Do you find Mettinger’s thesis on the dying-and-rising God convincing? Especially considering how it is a fringe position in modern academia.

I personally would concede that there ‘were’ examples of dying-and-rising gods. Osiris, Baal and Tammuz are probably the best examples I can think of.

But the likelihood of any of them influencing the story of Jesus seems highly unlikely. Osiris’ death and resurrection is too different to that of Jesus. Tammuz is ruled out by the scholarship of Amar Annus, which shows that Second Temple Jewish literature was heavily polemical against Babylonian paganism. The notion of a long dead Ugaritic cult having any influence on 1st century Jews is absurd.

(Juan Romero) #3

Thanks. I already had Lord Jesus Christ, but I was looking for some others.


Osiris never underwent a resurrection. Bart Ehrman explains this one pretty clearly.

I have not read Mettinger’s book so I cannot comment on whether or not I think it’s correct or not, but it is in fact a tiny minority. But I am well aware as well that Mettinger specifically says that none of what he’s supposedly found had any influence on the Christians, and so there’s really no debate on this issue anyways.

I’m unaware of the ‘examples’ of Baal and Tammuz, but you should probably get your information on these two from scholars rather than nonsense online.


BTW since writing that, I’ve found two more of Hurtado’s books freely available online. Here ya go:

At the Origins of Christian Worship (1999)

The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins (2006)

(Juan Romero) #6

Thanks a lot!


No problemo! I’d hate to shamelessly plug, but you can find some more of these books online that I’ve compiled on my blog (scroll down) :slight_smile:

(RiderOnTheClouds) #8

Do you know if the Unseen Realm can be found anywhere online?

(Christy Hemphill) #9

You could get it with a free trial of Scribd.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #10

I have scribd, I can’t find it there though.

edit: found it.


Update: The collection has now exceeded 180 pdfs of scholarly books freely available online (when I first made this thread, I think the number was like 30). Here are some selections that I think will be useful for any historical understanding of the period of the New and Old Testaments and anything to do with Christianity. Just click on the link and you’ll have full access:

Background of Christianity/Judaism/Everything in between:
A Companion to the Ancient Near East (2005)
A Companion to the Roman Empire (2006, 700+ pages)
A Companion to Greek Religion (2007)
The Babylonian World (2007, 600+ pages)
The Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Vol 1-2 (2nd ed., 2011, 800+ pages with entries from everything from Augustine to Gregory the Great to the patristics, etc)
The World of the New Testament: Cultural, Social and Historical Contexts (2013, 600+ pages)

Dead Sea Scrolls:
The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible (2012)
The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012)

Ancient Rome:
Nero (1997)
Religions of Rome, Volume 1, Volume 2
Constantine and the Christian Empire (2004)
Caesar: Life of a Colossus (2006, the link takes a bit of time to load)
The Ruling Class of Judea: The Origins of the Jewish Revolt Against Rome A.D. 66-70 (1987)

Routledge History of Philosophy, all 10 volumes (1993-1997, download link available)
A History of Natural Philosophy: From the Ancient World to the Nineteenth Century (2007)
The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Philosophy (2003)

Other stuff:
Asherah: Goddesses in Ugarit, Israel and the Old Testament (1997)
Women and Marriage in Paul and his Early Interpreters (2005)
Q, the Earliest Gospel An Introduction to the Original Stories and Sayings of Jesus (2008)
Thomas Aquinas: A Very Short Introduction (2009)

And … more. I’ve got like 11 volumes of Bart Ehrman, 7 of N.T. Wright, and a ton of other stuff. I just thought I’d share it. I’d highly recommend people getting these volumes or bookmarking the pae, it wasn’t easy to put together and too few people have adequate access to scholarship and therefore bluster the facts all the time. I’d wonder if BioLogos could ever create such a library where they gather all these scholarly books into some sort of library? I know that there are several books that I’ve had to either look past because of the sheer enormity of the collection as it is, such as older works by E.P. Sanders, Karen King’s original book on the Gospel of Mary Magdalene (the manuscript has essentially since been shown to be a forgery), etc.

(Juan Romero) #13

Fantastic! Thanks!