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Are You Interested in an End-of-the-Year Donation Opportunity? Blog Challenge Grants!!

Many of you are now thinking about your end-of-the-year giving plans.  Here’s an option I would like to ask you to consider. The Blog has received two challenge grants that between them total $25,000.  That is to say, to meet the challenge, we need to raise $25,000 ourselves.  When/if we do so: whammo – that’s $50k. The funds must come in, or be pledged, by December 31.  For us to meet the goal we will need lots of small donations (a dollar counts!), a number of good-sized donations (pick an amount), and several very sizeable donations. One of the reasons I’m *especially* keen on this opportunity is this.  As of now we have distributed $425,000 to our charities THIS YEAR.  That is by far the best we have ever done.  Last year was our record year, with a total for the year of $340,000.  But now we are close to a ratherremarkable milestone:  $500,000 in one year.   Them’s newsworthy numbers.  I’d LOVE to be able to do it.  And oh boy would our charities love [...]

2022-12-09T18:10:57-05:00December 9th, 2022|Public Forum|

Is It A Sin To Be Transgender? Platinum guest post by Douglas Wadeson MD

Fellow Platinum Blog member Doug Wadeson, MD, is not afraid to take on the difficult questions.   Here's one I've never thought of posting on!  And one that is as important as it is interesting. As you know, these guest posts are by Platinum members for Platinum members; and occasionally we vote on one to be posted to the entire blog.  If you too want to come up with one -- go for it! But for now, here's Doug's post on transexualism and the Bible.  He will be happy to respond to your comments. ****************************** I recently read of a horrible incident in which a political candidate in Santa Rosa county, Florida, suggested that doctors who assisted with gender reassignment of young people should be hung from trees.[1]  Reportedly this comment was greeted with applause from the audience rather than outrage.  Applause for the suggestion of lynching someone?  Seriously?  Unfortunately, the negative, even hateful attitude toward transgender people and gender reassignment often comes from those claiming to be Bible-believing Christians.  Does the Bible say that having gender [...]

2022-11-28T15:33:09-05:00December 9th, 2022|Sex and Sexuality in the Bible|

Can Christianity Be Seen as “Objective” Truth? Modern and Ancient Views.

In a previous post I pointed out that for over the past century modern evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity has been unusually focused on knowing the “objective” truths that can be “proved” about Christianity.  In recent times, some have argued evangelical Christianity has become far more focused on social and cultural issues than theological doctrines (when someone says that this is not the evangelical Christianity your grandfather knew, they are apparently talking about me….).  And I think that’s true.  But even so, apologetics is still BIG in that tradition, and it is almost always based on objective evaluation of the truth. One could argue that this evangelical obsession with religious truth was matched by the commitment to truth in the earliest years of Christianity.  Historically, this is one of the features of Christianity that made it distinctive among the religions of antiquity. Most people today don’t realize that ancient religions were almost never interested in “true beliefs.”  Pagan religions – by which I mean the polytheistic religions of the vast majority of people in the ancient [...]

The Other Virgin Births in Antiquity

On December 14 I will be giving a one-off remote lecture, with Q&A, called "The Other Virgin Births in Antiquity."  This will not be connected with the blog per se, but with my other venture in which I produce online courses and lectures (BEPS: Bart Ehrman Professional Services).  You can learn about the lecture here: Jesus is decidedly conceived by a virgin in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  This is better called a "virginal conception" -- and in my course I'll explain the difference between the ideas of virginal conception; virgin birth; perpetual virginity; and immaculate conception.  All very different ideas! BUT, for the sake of convenience, I'll simply refer to Jesus'  conception and birth as "the virgin birth." Since, oh, I don't know, the 19th century I guess, there have been people who have claimed that virgin births were common in the ancient world.  You find that claim widely today still among those who call themselves "mythicists" -- those who think Jesus didn't exist but was just a myth.  One of the most common [...]

2022-11-27T16:58:03-05:00December 7th, 2022|Greco-Roman Religions and Culture, Historical Jesus|

Our Platinum Webinar: The Infancy Gospels!

Dear Platinum Members, Remember (or if you didn't hear about it the first time, then "member!"):  We have our December webinar THIS THURSDAY, Dec. 8, at 8:00 pm ET. I've decided to do something related to Christmas but in an indirect way, a talk on the apocryphal Infancy Gospels.  Or at least two of them:  The Infancy Gospel of Thomas (not to be confused with the Coptic Gospel of Thomas), which tells tales of the mischievous Jesus from ages 5-12, allegedly written by his brother Thomas; and the Proto-Gospel of James, which tells stories about Jesus' *mother* and her miraculous birth and life, to explain why she was fit to bear the Son of God, allegedly written by his brother James. These are two impeccable authorities: Jesus' own brothers.  What could go wrong? I hope you can come.  I'll give the talk and then have Q&A.  CAn't wait! Here’s the link: Any questions or concerns, let me know!

2022-12-06T20:34:40-05:00December 6th, 2022|Public Forum|

Is Judaism Legalistic? Misunderstanding the Law of Moses

In my upcoming course "Finding Moses" I'll be discussing the final four books of the Pentateuch (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) (for more information, see:  Finding Moses – Online Course Covering the Historicity of the Pentateuch - Bart D. Ehrman - New Testament Scholar, Speaker, and Consultant ( Apart from the opening chapters of Exodus, these books are not well known to most Christians, even those on fairly good terms with the New Testament.  I've known many a reader who was determined to read the entire Bible from beginning to end, but who quit early into Leviticus.  In part that's because these books are both hard to understand and difficult to see as interesting when not explained.  A huge chunk of them is made up of the laws given to Moses (almost the entire second half of Exodus, all of Leviticus, a good chunk of Numbers, and most of Deuteronomy).  How can reading a bunch of antiquated laws be interesting? Of course, many (MANY!) Christians just love to cherry pick these laws in order to [...]

2022-11-27T16:45:46-05:00December 6th, 2022|Hebrew Bible/Old Testament|

Is The Exodus a Myth?

In my upcoming course on Finding Moses I will be discussing some of the most important features of the foundation of Judaism -- in particular, the Exodus and the giving of the Jewish Law, both connected directly in the Hebrew Bible with Moses (8 lectures, given live with Q&A on Dec. 10 and 11: Finding Moses – Online Course Covering the Historicity of the Pentateuch - Bart D. Ehrman - New Testament Scholar, Speaker, and Consultant ( These are hugely important events for all of world history (without them, we wouldn't have Judaism, Christianity, or Islam: so imagine what the world would be like otherwise!).  And it is very much worth studying what we know about them, both as literary narratives of the Hebrew Bible and in relation to what actually happened historically. I'm giving here just a taste of the sorts of things I'll be covering in the course.  One key question for historians, of course, is "what really happened"? (There are lots of other questions and issues too -- we'll be covering a [...]

2022-11-27T16:38:37-05:00December 4th, 2022|Hebrew Bible/Old Testament|

Are There Contradictions in the Pentateuch?

Yesterday I began a short thread dealing with problems in the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament, as a kind of foreshadowing of the sorts of things I'll be covering in my online course of eight lectures, that I'll be giving live, with Q&A, on December 10-11; again, if you're interested, you can find out about the course here:  Finding Moses – Online Course Covering the Historicity of the Pentateuch - Bart D. Ehrman - New Testament Scholar, Speaker, and Consultant ( The course will be a followup to my earlier one on Genesis (called "In the Beginning").  Many of the same problems that I have discussed on the blog and in my course about Genesis apply to the other books of the Pentateuch as well.  For many of us, some of the most interesting ones involve contradictions among the various narratives. I talk about that a bit in my book The Bible: A Historical and Literary Introduction.   Here's some of what I deal with there, edited here and there [...]

2022-11-27T19:15:59-05:00December 3rd, 2022|Hebrew Bible/Old Testament|

Other Virgin Births In Antiquity! A New Online Lecture, with Q&A

I am happy to announce that I will be presenting and recording a Chrismas-season lecture "Other Virgin Births in Antiquity," on December 14, 8:00-9:30 ET.  The lecture is not connected with the blog per se, except in sofar as y'all as blog members may well be particularly interested. You can find out about it, along with other lectures and courses that are available here: Online Courses by Dr. Bart Ehrman (10% Off First Order): This is how I'm describing the lecture in my announcement of the course in other venues. *************** Other Virgin Births in Antiquity Bart D. Ehrman Jesus of Nazareth was not the only miracle-working Son of God known to the ancient world.  Others were also said to heal the sick, cast out demons, control the weather, raise the dead, and ascend to heaven. But were any of these others born of a virgin? Search the Internet and you’ll find a definitive answer: Yes.  But ask an expert who has actually studied the ancient sources and …  and what will you learn? That [...]

2022-12-02T10:01:44-05:00December 2nd, 2022|Public Forum|

Do We Have the Original Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)?

On December 10 and 11 I will be giving my eight-lecture remote course on "Finding Moses: What Scholars Know about the Exodus and the Jewish Law."  This was supposed to happen a month earlier, but life got in the way and we had to postpone it.  The course is not connected to the blog per se, it is part of my other outreach program the Bart Ehrman Professional Services (BEPS), which hosts public courses and lectures.  To find out about the course and others like it, here's the address: Online Courses by Dr. Bart Ehrman (10% Off First Order) The course is one of a long series that I've started on the entire Bible, both Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) and NT.   My expertise, of course, is mainly NT and early Christianity; but all the way back in graduate school (about the time the book of Isaiah was written) my secondary field of training was Hebrew Bible, and I taught Introduction to Hebrew Bible at both Rutgers and UNC. Some years ago when I [...]

2022-11-27T15:54:21-05:00December 1st, 2022|Hebrew Bible/Old Testament|
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