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The Sixth Anniversary of the Blog!

Today marks the sixth-year anniversary of the blog.  It’s hard to believe, but, well, it’s been six years today.  Time to look back and see how we’re doing and look forward to figure out what we can do better. So, first, to start in terms of raw numbers.   In terms of posts, I’ve added them up and it turns out I have made 275 over the past year.   That’s about 5.3 per week – so basically five with some extras thrown in now and then.  That’s the pace that feels about right to me.  It gives people a lot of bang for their buck, but it gives me a couple of days a week when I can luxuriate in knowing I don’t need to work on the blog.  Good all around. Total numbers since starting six years ago: 1739 blog posts.  That’s 5.6+ per week, so I’ve slowed down a bit, but I don’t plan on slowing down any more.   Some of those 1739 are repeats: over the past couple of years I’ve started reposting [...]

2018-04-04T13:46:39-04:00April 4th, 2018|Public Forum|

Making the Bestseller List

As many of you know, I made an appearance on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross a couple of weeks ago.  I had mentioned in an earlier post that the only way it is humanly possible for a book to become a bestseller is by having some media attention paid to it – a herculean task, especially these days, over the past two years, when the national media wants to talk about nothing but That One Thing. Fresh Air has millions of listeners, though, and I was very fortunate to be on it.  The results were fantastic, as I’ve indicated before.  And a new indication has just appeared.   Triumph of Christianity  has made it on the New York Times Bestseller this week, coming in at #11 on the list of Hardback Non-Fiction. That’s a big deal for me.   There are something like 600 books that get published every day.  To  be on this list is special.  I don’t expect the book to stay on for more than a week, but still, it is a milestone. There [...]

2020-04-03T10:43:30-04:00April 3rd, 2018|Book Discussions, Public Forum, Spread of Christianity|

Did Jesus Teach About Purgatory?

The topic I’m dealing with on this destined-to-be-a-very-long thread seems to me to be particularly important.  Most of my scholarship is of interest mainly to people concerned about the life and teachings of Jesus, the New Testament, the history of Christianity, and so on; but this is of interest to *all* of us.  What happens when we die?  Or more specifically, what happens to *me* when I die? My current discussion of purgatory may be of little interest to people, until they think about it for a second.  Do most people have to go through horrible suffering after death, even if they are not destined for the eternal flames of hell?   I for one don’t look forward to getting a tooth ache or ending up in the hospital.  What if there are years, decades, centuries of physical torment ahead for me?   Shouldn’t I want to know about that and, well, make some preparations? But it’s a topic most of us don’t think about.  Those of us raised in a Protestant tradition simply don’t buy it [...]

2020-04-03T01:29:07-04:00April 2nd, 2018|Afterlife, Historical Jesus|

An Easter Reflection 2018

It is highly ironic, but relatively easy, for a historian to argue that Jesus himself did not start Christianity.  Christianity, at its heart, is the belief that Jesus’ death and resurrection brought about salvation, and that believing in his death and resurrection will make a person right with God, both now and in the afterlife.  Historical scholarship since the nineteenth century has marshaled massive evidence that this is not at all what Jesus himself preached. Yes, it is true that in the Gospels themselves Jesus talks about his coming death and resurrection.  And in the last of the Gospels written, John, his message is all about how faith in him can bring eternal life (a message oddly missing in the three earlier Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke). These canonical accounts of Jesus’ words were written four, five, or six decades after his death by people who did not know him who were living in different countries, and who were not even speaking his own language.  They themselves acquired their accounts of Jesus’ words from [...]

2022-03-31T17:59:30-04:00April 1st, 2018|Public Forum, Reflections and Ruminations|
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