forbidden books

Is it permitted to read a book about talmudic history which offers the scholarly, aka non torah approach, to Torah min haShamayim?

Surely not.

Why would it be not permitted. Doesn’t Perkei Avot say who is wise One who learns from everyone?

Why would seeing another point of view that may not agree with the point of view you hold to be true be forbidden?

Is it because it may challenge what you believe and make you be forced to think about a different perspective… But isn’t that what gemara study does… Teach you how to think so you can use your brain and learn different perspectives and unify them as one. If you truly are grounded in your beliefs what’s wrong with ready a schoalry book by someone who doesn’t hold the same views as you.

I understand where you are coming from but try to view it this way.
The crux of question was …is it permitted to read a a forbidden book? The answer was…Surely not.
Now, please replace the word read with any other forbidden action. Is it permitted to taste non kosher to fully appreciate the beauty of kosher? How about other illicit licentious Torah prohibitions, just of course so that you may challenge yourself to fully appreciate that which Hashem has given you? Answers to all- Surely not. One’s mind should not be misconstrued to be different than any other organ in the body. If the Torah directs us that it be free and clear of prohibited items, we must rise to the occasion and adhere to its wishes.
As to your question form Pirkei Avot, the Tanna was not referring to words of heresy.


Does this also apply to holy books of other religions (not religions of Avodah Zarah) if the goal is to understand other peoples, and you know you will not be lead astray?

I am curious to hear the position of the Rav on this matter

Correct. They are all forbidden.