God's Ghostwriters by Candida Moss

god's ghostwriters

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 co-authors 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 ground-breaking 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.


Narrated by Elliot Chapman.