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A Bart Ehrman Webinar: How We Got the New Testament!

I have decided to hold a small and intimate webinar in order to raise money for the Bart Ehrman Blog.  Every penny that the webinar brings in will go directly to two of the blog’s charities, The Food Bank of Central/Eastern North Carolina and Doctors without Borders, split equally between them.  It will be held on Sunday May 31 at 4:00 pm.  It will last for an hour and fifteen minutes.

The topic of the seminar will be “How We Got the New Testament.”  Among the topics to be covered will be: Who decided which books would be included in the New Testament?  Who gave them the authority to decide?  How did they decide?  What were their criteria?  When were their decisions finally made?  What do we know about the books that were left out?  And why didn’t these other books “make it”?

I will say at the outset, here, that the answers are not what most people seem to suppose.

In the webinar I will deliver a talk for about 40-45 minutes; the rest of the time I will entertain questions from the ten participants, on this particular topic.  We will do the webinar on Zoom.

Each of the ten participants will make a donation in advance.   Anyone on the planet is welcome to be one of the ten. In order to maximize the amount that we can raise for these important charities, the ten positions will be made available to the ten highest bidders.  Bidding will start at $100 for a spot.

From now until Thursday May 21 I will accept bids for the opportunity to participate.  BUT, there will be a second round.  Once the bids are in, I will announce what the top ten bids are and people who still want to participate can then make a second bid, until Saturday May 23 at 6:00 pm.

IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS: To put in a bid, send a private email to me at behrman@email.unc.edu.  DO NOT reply here on the blog.   For the SUBJECT LINE simply say “Bid for Webinar.”  In the text of the message, indicate how much you are willing to bid.  Once all the bids are in I will contact all bidders to indicate the level of the top ten bids for the second round, and will notify all participants of the second round whether or not they have made it “in.”

As an additional bonus, the top bidder will have an additional 30 minutes with me, one-on-one, on Zoom, following the meeting – to discuss either the topic of the webinar further or to talk about anything else she or he would like.

If you have any questions about the procedure, feel free to ask me on the blog or in a private email.

I hope we can raise a lot of money for worthy causes.  I’m looking forward to it!

My Interview with Erstwhile-Evangelist-Now-Secular-Humanist Bart Campolo
A Powerful Film and Some Raw Emotions



  1. Avatar
    Poohbear  May 17, 2020

    The books of the New Testament were largely drawn from a body of work which most Christians considered authentic. “Gospels”, like the Infancy Narrative of Thomas (where Jesus is a naughty boy casting spells) were not included because they were not only out of character to Jesus, but were traditionally considered to be fake.
    There were many letters circulating for a long time, known after their authors. Of these, the ones from the original Apostles were considered the most valuable.
    Lots in the old and new testaments were considered offensive to people – it’s a testament to the bible that the offending verses or books remained where they are (people just worked around them.)

  2. Avatar
    Judith  May 17, 2020

    May the world be as beautiful for you as you make it for others.

  3. Tuskensp
    Tuskensp  May 17, 2020

    I have lost my job recently, so I won’t be able to make a bid to join the webinar. Is there any chance you will be able to record it and post it on YouTube?

  4. Avatar
    RJTINGEY  May 17, 2020

    As much as I admire your desire to raise money for your chosen charities, the structure of this gives me pause. You are offering access to the webinar, and to your answers, to those presumably with the most disposable income to spend. And you’re offering special access to the very highest bidder. Don’t we already have too much of this in our plutocratic society?

    Wouldn’t it be fairer to offer tiers of access? Maybe set a minimum, not excessive, amount to contribute, and choose among the donors by lottery? Set aside a few places for “the widow’s mite?” Maybe offer one place to the highest bidder with the 30 minute bonus? Or some variation of this?

    • Bart
      Bart  May 18, 2020

      I appreciate your concern. We have lots of different things going on on this blog, most of them right now completely free. The point of this exercise is less to have a public webinar but to raise money for charities helping the desperate. So it may seem a bit hard-hearted, but I don’t mean it to be. I mean to raise as much money as I can for those in need. The Blog has had and will have other kinds of events as well. But thanks for your comment.

  5. Avatar
    AbdulRahman  May 17, 2020

    Dear Bart,
    Can you please record the meeting and upload it on YouTube as well?

  6. Avatar
    danahorton  May 18, 2020

    Hey, Dr. Ehrman. Is your blog site or foundation a 501c3 for this purpose? Just looking at it for tax purposes.

  7. Avatar
    holdco  May 18, 2020

    Dr. Ehrman:

    You had a lively (though polite!) exchange with William Albrecht on a recent Reason & Theology webinar, where he argued that the Book of Judith was canonical (by virtue of it being accepted in the early councils of Rome, Hippo, and Carthage, and much later being deemed canonical at Trent), and that it also presents an early idea of eternal torment, which you argued against in your book Heaven & Hell.

    It seems that the oldest Christian canons (preceding the above councils) didn’t include it, and early influential Christians considered it apocryphal, while later ones at least considered it scripture. William kept hammering on it being mentioned in the foregoing councils (though I at least don’t know that to be true), and eventually it seems you didn’t want to address the point further. Have you had any thoughts since the exchange about these issues, namely about Judith’s canonicity by virtue of its acceptance at councils, and whether it’s indeed presenting an early and widely accepted view of eternal torment?

    • Bart
      Bart  May 19, 2020

      I don’t think it’s possible to say “it was canonical,” since the question is always “for whom?” The reality is that the earliest Christian texts (say for the first three centuries) simply don’t talk about the book in those terms, even if on occasion they refer to stories found in it. The mistake is thinking that all early Christians had the same idea about what Scripture was, what canon was, what written authority from God was, and so on.

  8. Avatar
    Mariankm  May 19, 2020

    Do I understand correctly that only 10 people will be able to participate in and/or hear this discussion? I would happily donate in order to hear the webinar but I have no desire to be a participant. Thank you.

    • Bart
      Bart  May 19, 2020

      Yes, it will be limited to ten people. But the ten do not need to participate in any way: a “participant” could simply listen and not say a word, and could have a blank screen not to be seen or even to see; we could also make sure the name doesn’t appear.

      • Avatar
        Mariankm  May 20, 2020

        I believe you could further monetize this event by recording it (edited if need be) and making it available for a set amount. Thanks, Marian

  9. Avatar
    quadell  May 20, 2020

    My wife and I are fortunate to still have our jobs, and to have jobs where we are able to work from home. So we’re doing fine, and not everyone is. We look for opportunities to give back in little ways and help people who are having a harder time, and when I can do that while enjoying an interesting conversation/lecture/Q&A, what’s not to love? Thanks for doing this.

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