Bart’s Blog

Our One-Year Anniversary!

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Today is a day of celebration.  It was one year ago today that we started the Christianity in Antiquity (CIA), The Bart Ehrman Blog.  So Happy Anniversary to us!

It has been a busy and successful year.  When I started the blog I didn’t know what to expect: whether it would be worth all the time and effort, how many posts a week I could manage to do, and at what length, how often I could review and approve comments, how many questions I could answer, how many people would be interested in joining, how much money could be raised for charity.

We now have the answers, and everything is better than I anticipated.

I had hoped to get 1000 people to join the blog, either on a trial or yearly basis, during the first year; we’ve done better than that.  Over 1300 have joined, and more join every day.   Altogether I have made nearly 300 posts (not counting the partical duplicates that I use as teasers for non-members to induce them to join), so on average just under six a week.  On average these posts run around 1000 words.   Math whiz that I am – I work all that out to mean that I’ve posted about 30,000 words this past year, on a variety of subjects.

I have been able to read and approve comments every day that I have made a post; and I believe I have answered all direct questions, except in cases where someone has asked a series of questions, especially a series of complicated questions, in one comment: that’s normally more than I can handle.   I have had to keep my responses very short (otherwise I’d be spending all day on the blog, and I do have a couple of other things to do with my life….).  But hopefully they’ve been to the point.

As everyone on the blog knows, I think, I do this for the money.  Well, sort of.  Not a dime of it lines my pocket.  I have funded the entire project myself and have not kept anything even to pay expenses.  Instead, every cent has gone to charity.   My hope at the beginning was to raise $20,000 the first year.  I actually thought that a more realistic goal was $7000 or $8000, but I wanted to be more hopeful than realistic.   And we have far surpassed even my hope.   As of today, we have raised over $37,000!   All of it has gone to charities dealing with Hunger and Homelessness.

As I indicated at the beginning, my plan was to support four charities.  In the process of making disbursements, one of these has risen high above the others to the top of the pile, because it is the one that I am personally committed to most: the Urban Ministries of Durham.   This is a terrific organization that deals with the homeless and hungry in my home town.   If anyone is interested in their brilliant work, here is the website:  http://www.umdurham.org/  The other charities that I have supported are the Food Bank of North Carolina; CARE; and Doctors without Borders.  They are all top rate.

All of the money that comes into the blog gets directed to the Bart Ehrman Foundation, a non-profit organization that I set up for the purpose; the funds are disbursed directly from there.   Please consider making a donation to the Foundation; you can do so off the blog site itself.  All donations are tax-deductible, and as I’ve indicated, they go to very good causes indeed!   Some of you have made direct donations, and I am deeply grateful.  Some of you have made extremely generous donations, and you have earned inordinate numbers of happy thoughts and eternal blessings from this humble blogger.

As to the blog itself, my sense is that the overall plan is working very well.  But if anyone has suggestions for improvement, please let me know.  There are several new features that I will try to implement in the weeks and months to come, as I try to make it better.   These include:

  • Restructuring the categories for the blog postings to make it easier to search for posts of interests.   Currently the categories are very broad based (book discussions; personal reflections; Bart answers his readers; and so on).  A better approach would be to have them categorized according to topic (such things as Historical Jesus; The Gospels; Manuscripts of the New Testament; The Resurrection Narratives; Early Christology; and so on).  But that’s going to take a lot of work to pull off, and right now I’m in the midst of writing How Jesus Became God and don’t have a minute for much of anything else.  But hopefully by early summer I will make the changes.
  • I would like to get guest bloggers contribute something once a month or so.  I had Jeff Siker do a couple of posts and respond to comments, and I thought that worked well.  Since then I’ve approached two others that I thought would be interesting but they were not able to pitch in.  But I’ll keep at it!
  • I would like to add some YouTube clips with a bit of commentary as I did for my talk on the King James Bible periodically, maybe once a month or so.

I am finding that the blog does take up a lot of my time.   This past year I have been on academic leave to write this book, and so I have been able to squeeze in the time every day.  Next year, starting at the end of August, I’m back to teaching, and I don’t know yet how that will work.  My plan for now is to try to keep up at the same pace, as I feel that if people are paying for a blog, I need to give them their money’s worth.   But as I keep realizing to my chagrin, there are only so many hours in a day!

Let me conclude by expressing my deep appreciation to Steven Ray from Indiana, who did all the work, a ton of it, to set up the site for me, who maintains it, who deals with all technical issues, and addresses all problems that members have.  If you need web support or web page design for projects of your own and media – he’s your guy! He has an outdated website he doesn’t have time to fixup due to project overflow at: www.inndesign.com

And thanks to all of you for joining the blog and participating in it.  I look forward to even better things to come.

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Discussion

  1. Yentyl  April 3, 2013

    Thank you for doing this for us. I appreciate it very much. Happy anniversary! And many more.

  2. Xeronimo74  April 3, 2013

    Congratulations Prof Ehrman! You’re really doing amazing, interesting work here. And it’s very cool that you were able to raise so much money for charity!

  3. Adam0685  April 3, 2013

    I would be more than willing to organize all your current posts by categories you want them to be in…

  4. Robertus  April 3, 2013

    “Some of you … have earned inordinate numbers of happy thoughts and eternal blessings from this humble blogger.”

    Eternal blessings? How does that compare to a plenary indulgence?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  April 4, 2013

      Eternal blessings are FAR better! Indulgences involve repentance and bad feelings. Blessings are icings on the cakes.

  5. RonaldTaska  April 3, 2013

    Wow! $37,000 is a lot of money and 1300 members are a lot of members. You have given the members much more than their money’s worth. It is such a blessing to find a place where such issues are discussed without all of the rancor and dogmatic certainty that often result when religion is discussed. The additional youtube clips and the additional posts from outside contributors are both things that I support. I will increase my contribution this year. With regard to your time, I still think you could blog less, maybe twice a week, without losing members. Most of all, just plain thanks. I also continue to get really upset when people, religious people, out in the public attack you with such vigor and intensity. Actually, you seem like an unusually decent man. Sometimes, you must feel that the honest, critical examination of “Christianity in Antiquity” is just plain more trouble than it is worth. Thanks also to Steve who has helped me a couple of times because I am a complete computer idiot. Ron

  6. billgraham1961  April 3, 2013

    Congratudagumlations! :)

  7. pnelson  April 3, 2013

    Dear Bart and follower’s of Bart’s Blog,
    This week a man who came to Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD) after living in the words and dealing with addiction and chronic homelessness, moved into his own apartment and now has the income to maintain it. He has now been sober for a year, his health care needs have been addressed and he is volunteering to help feed others who are hungry and to encourage those who are homeless. With your very generous financial support, he is one of this week’s success stories at Urban Ministries of Durham. There are many others. I can’t thank-you enough for all that you are doing to enable us to continue to support those who are hungry, homeless and in need in our community. Together, we are making a difference in many lives. As we do, many who have come for assistance are making a difference in our lives as well. Thank-you all.
    Sincerely,
    Patrice Nelson
    Executive Director, Urban Ministries of Durham
    http://www.umdurham.org

  8. hwl  April 3, 2013

    Categorising posts by topics is a great idea. Over time, different people will keep asking the same questions, so you can just direct them to an article you have already posted, ideally with a link. This would save you time a response – provided you have a quick way of identifying the link. If you can’t find the link, you can still direct the enquirer to the category to search for the post. It would be good to have a high level category and lower level subcategories, in a drill-down format.
    Creating a section with links to Youtube debates and lectures categorised by topic is also useful.

  9. Pat Ferguson  April 4, 2013

    ♪♫ Celebration time, COME ON!! ♪♫

    I appreciate and remain in awe of all you have done, are doing, and will do! PLEASE–take care of yourself and keep up your great works :)

    Regards!

  10. toddfrederick  April 4, 2013

    Thank you so much for telling about the charities you support. Very fine. I love this blog. I have learned so much and it has even strengthened my faith in a very strange way. I can discern better between history and theology (faith issues) and make wiser choices. Keep it going.

  11. Joshua150  April 4, 2013

    37k YAY!
    I have changed Credit Cards. I will be notified when it is time to renew, right?

  12. FrankBrierton  April 4, 2013

    I Salute you! (we retired military officers do that sort of thing…) and I congratulate you! I did not realize how new this all is and am excited to be in on the ground floor so to speak. (easy for me to say). I also didn’t appreciate all that is going on behind this, and I am impressed! Again – congratulations, and I am proud and happy to be part of the new covenant.

  13. Dennis  April 4, 2013

    Congrats Bart! Its been like an online university course with no term papers :-P

  14. bigefromdallas  April 4, 2013

    Congrats Bart! It’s a beautiful thing. I look forward to reading the blog every day. Well, almost every day.

  15. talitakum  April 4, 2013

    Thank you Bart, I just joined recently and I can confirm that this blog is absolutely great – far better than anything else out there! Of course what really makes the difference is your patience and the time you spend to answer to all of us, making us feeling like we’re really part of the game! A game of charity and new testament studies. A great experience. Congratulations!

  16. veryrarelystable  April 4, 2013

    Your posts are excellent. As for being a maths whiz – ahem! Check again – 300 posts at average 1,000 words each = total of 300,000 words, not 30,000 words!

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  April 4, 2013

      Oh my GOD!!! You’re right. What was I thinking? Rather, what *am* I thinking? That’s, like, two books!!

  17. mister.friendly  April 4, 2013

    Just to say thanks for the first year. I love this blog not only coz of the subject matter but also coz of what you are doing. Fully support you. 100%.

  18. johndash  April 4, 2013

    Congratulations! And Thanks!
    John Dash
    Fairport, NY

  19. Christian  April 5, 2013

    Thanks for your work on this blog and with the charities. Happy to stay tuned one more year!

  20. Ronck1  April 7, 2013

    Thanks much, Bart, for your interesting topics. I’m in a men’s group where one member is into serious literal interpretations of scriptures so many of your insights I throw out to enliven the discussion. I seriously enjoy your blogs. I often wonder where you find the time. Keep up the great work. Ron C-K, Mt. Prospect, IL

  21. HaiKarate  April 8, 2013

    Wonderful site, though I do have one bit of feedback… the Facebook tab on the right side of the page does not play well with mobile devices where screen space is limited… just FYI. When I’m reading your site on my iPhone, that tab is always covering up part of the page.

  22. brandyrose  April 9, 2013

    I’ll add my “Yay”, “Congratulations”, and “So happy to support good work and learn from you” to everyone elses :)

  23. gavm  April 14, 2013

    its a grt blog proff Erhman. keep up the good work

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