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A Milestone on the Blog

I am happy to announce a milestone in the life of the blog.

As everyone who has been on the blog for any length of time has heard me say ad nauseum, the principal reason I started the blog, and continue to do it, is not – is decidedly not – because I feel constantly driven to post my views about the intellectual matters that are important to me:  the historical Jesus, the writings of Paul, the formation of the New Testament, the early Christian apocrypha, the Apostolic Fathers, the history of early Christianity, the manuscript tradition of the early Christian writings, etc. etc.   I started the blog, instead, as a way of raising money.   And I continue to do it in order to raise money.

I don’t mean to sound crass about it, but if it wasn’t for the money, I wouldn’t do it.  There’s no way on God’s Green Earth I would do it.   I continue to post 5-6 times a week, almost always around 1000 words per post.   That takes about an hour of my life, nearly every day.   Adding up the attendant demands of the post – answering related emails, taking care of administrative duties, and so on – I probably spend 8-9 hours a week on the blog.   That’s over 400 hours a year.  That would be 10 regular work weeks a year.   I really (REALLY) could use that time for other things.   My God, I would love to have that time to bank.   Think of all the ESPN I could watch!!!

But I don’t begrudge the time, for two reasons.   First, people seem to appreciate the blog and are glad that I’m willing to talk about all the things that we cover on it.   So it’s a public service, and I’m happy to do it for that reason.   But even more, secondly, it is because of the money.

So here’s the milestone we have recently reached.   The blog has now brought in just over $200,000 in the time of its existence.   That’s a significant chunk of change.  I think it is both amazing and fantastic – and I have all of *you* to thank!

As you know, every penny ever brought in to the blog has gone to charities dealing with hunger and homelessness.   That money has made a very big difference to the organizations we support.   The highest percentage goes to my local group The Urban Ministries of Durham, which does absolutely spectacular work in the community, not only feeding the hungry, clothing the needy, and providing emergency housing for those down on their luck, but also working to help END homeless by working to help people find permanent work and permanent housing – nearly 300 success stories just this past year.

Other money goes to the Food Bank of North Carolina (another absolutely fantastic organization) and two deservedly well-known international organizations, who are in constant and real need as they deal with mind-boggling crises around the world, CARE and Doctors without Borders.

Those of us on the sidelines stand in constant awe and admiration for the people in these groups doing the hard work.  They are models for us all, and none of us can thank them enough.

So we have passed the $200,000 mark.  When I started in on this blog just over three years ago, I didn’t know what to expect.   But I don’t think I expected that we would do this well this quickly.  Now that we have, I have very big ambitions to do very much more.   You can help.

I have as a middle-range ambition to raise $100,000 a *year* on the blog.   Last year we raised $78,000, which was a $20,000 increase over the year before.  So it is *possible* that my goal is reachable, even this year.  But it won’t happen simply on the basis of adding new members.   New members join the blog all the time, and we are highly grateful for that and hope that newcomers will like what they find and renew their subscriptions year in and year out.    Still, we need more than that.

Here are several things that you can do to help us reach my goal.  PLEASE think about taking on the challenges with me:

  • MAKE A DONATION. We have some members who give a monthly amount to the blog.   This is fantastic.   Consider doing so yourself, simply arranging to have a monthly amount come to the blog as part of your charitable giving (by clicking the appropriate tab on the home page).   Others give lump sums on occasion.  Please consider doing that as well.   The blog currently has two or three people that can be considered “major donors.”   These generously give substantial sums to keep us encouraged and keep us going.  I can’t tell you how deeply appreciative I am to them.   Please think about joining their ranks.  If you want to talk to me about it, just send me an email.
  • GIVE GIFT MEMBERSHIPS. It is easy to gift a membership to someone.  It’s a great idea.  It means getting someone something that is really valuable that isn’t something they’ll just stick in a closet and forget about, something instead that can bring meaning and interesting information regularly, all the time, into their lives.   Just click the Gift Subscriptions tab on the homepage, and follow the directions.
  • ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO JOIN. You probably have family members, friends, work associates, neighbors, email connections and others who would enjoy the blog.  Encourage them to come onto it and start enjoying the benefits.  Spread the word!
  • GIVE ME SUGGESTIONS. As always, I am open to suggestions about what to do to make the blog even better than it is.   We have made tons of improvements (to what was already a good product) since beginning over three years ago, and the blog as a result has gotten better and better.   We want it to be as good as can be.  I take all suggestions seriously, so feel free to rain them down upon me.

Let me end simply by thanking you for your involvement.   The enthusiastic reception the blog has received is in part what keeps me going.  My plan is to continue the efforts for as long as we find success.  (And as long as I have anything to say.)    If you have any questions or concerns or comments, as always, please let me know.


Google Cambridge Lecture on Forged
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  1. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  July 11, 2015

    Wow! But don’t minimize the public service of educating us. That may not be as important as the charity contributions, but it is a close second. I start each morning with a little Ehrman. My only real complaint in life is that I wish churches would add more such “history” to their teachings, but it’s not going to happen. Until churches do this, many of us are just not going to waste time going to church.

    • Avatar
      randal  July 23, 2015

      I agree completely. I don’t waste time at church either. All I ever hear doctrine and that’s frustrating. I wish Sunday school was like Dr Ehrman’s college class, I would be there every time the door was open. Heck, folks may even start calling me an “good Christian”, but that’s not going to happen. So I’ll remain a ” backslider.

      • Avatar
        RonaldTaska  July 24, 2015

        A Sunday class taught by Dr. Ehrman would be a very special experience indeed.

  2. Avatar
    madmargie  July 11, 2015

    The blog and your books are my major source of information about the very early Christian church. No one else I read seems to know as much about the subject. I consider it a valuable resource. Thank you so much for hanging in there.

  3. Avatar
    Jim  July 11, 2015

    I love your blog, refreshingly honest and well written, as are your books.

  4. Avatar
    shakespeare66  July 11, 2015

    Your efforts are truly appreciate, and it is unprecedented to have access to such a prominent scholar. Increasing my contribution was an easy decision.

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    OperaGhost  July 12, 2015

    You know this is the era when more and more people do not read detailed analysis. Many simply watch videos on youtube with an attention span of 3 minutes max. You have a youtube channel already, perhaps you can make some like 3-minute videos with catchy titles and material and put them on your channel, like you can talk about very briefly, say, why we can conclude that Jesus actually exists apart from telling from biblical material. (Titles like “Why Jesus did Exist in 30 seconds”… Sorry i cannot be of much assistance in thinking catchy titles for you, i am not a particularly creative person). Then you can make more detailed video with restricted access and post the link here in this blog OR simply answer it in the way you are writing your blog now. 3-minute youtube videos (or even 30 second promo/trailer-kind videos) would actually make it easier for your subscribers now to “share you” to more people and attract a new, perhaps younger and more video-driven, group of subscribers.

  6. Avatar
    jgranade  July 12, 2015

    Thanks for all the great content you provide Bart! I’m happy to support the charities, and I appreciate what I learn from your posts.

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    Lawyerskeptic  July 12, 2015

    April 23, 2013 blog post by Chris Hallquist (whoever that is) said the “blog for charity” idea would never work and explained “He shows no signs of having made a fully-informed strategy decision here. Instead, he looks like an old fart who doesn’t understand the internet.”
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hallq/2012/04/bart-ehrmans-blog-for-charity-concept/. You’ve already proved him wrong, but there may be a grain of truth in what he says. I do not know of anyone else who has made the idea work. When I Google “charitable blog” or “blog for charity” I find blogs about raising money for charity but no one requiring a charitable donation in order to purchase the content of the blog. Just how unique is your blog that respect? Has any blogger ever raised more money for charity, with or without advertisements? Would this milestone not be newsworthy to someone? I assume you have a publicist for your books. Might they know who would publish something on the story?

    When I Google “Bart Ehrman charity”, I find the critical blog post above, but precious little giving you any credit for your effort. French Wikipedia has an entry on your philanthropy. Wikipedia in English has no such information. Don’t be bashful. Make entry yourself, and do it right. An accurate entry in Wikipedia with a footnote link to the blog will certainly get you a few more members.

    • Bart
      Bart  July 13, 2015

      Very interesting idea. I think maybe I’ll post on it and see if someone is willing to work something up for an entry. I honestly don’t know if there are any other blogs doing this.

    • Avatar
      Adam0685  July 15, 2015

      FIY Lawyerskeptic – there was a section at English Wikipedia for Bart’s philanthropy, but it was and would be taken down since the only source that documents donations raised and how its distributed is self-sourced. Their source policy wouldn’t allow it, unless a third party verifies the information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Bart_D._Ehrman/Archive_1#Philanthropy_self-sourcing

      • Avatar
        Lawyerskeptic  July 18, 2015

        That is frustrating, but all the more reason to have someone write an article about the $200,000 milestone. Bart begins with what at least one person believes to be a flawed business model, and makes a success of it through hard work and quality product. Sounds like an interesting story to me.

  8. ZekePiestrup
    ZekePiestrup  July 12, 2015

    100k? This train is headin’ for 1 mill!

  9. Avatar
    SteveWalach  July 12, 2015

    Please do not feel obligated to write every day. It takes me a day or more to get to your posts and then more time to digest them. And when I’m not on vacation, even longer.

    As for improving the blog, your inclusion of guest posters and videos of interviews with you and features that include you have added, I think, to the blog’s variety, and my understanding.

    The interview with D.G. Martin was instructive in many ways, in particular the genuine respect each showed the other and Mr. Martin’s and your delicate handling of the personal belief question. It is clear that his Christian commitment is strongly and sincerely held. Critiques of scripture — even objective scholarly analyses — are bound to rock boats, and I thought you deftly said what you had to say without offending Mr. Martin, who, while open-minded, also made it clear his feelings could be hurt if someone showed disrespect for his religion.

    Lastly, how about posing some questions or quizzes that your readers would have to do some investigating to answer. “Testing” has become a dirty word but nothing focuses the mind like a challenge — or a competition, which ESPN viewers know full well.

    Thanks again for all you do.

  10. Avatar
    Adam0685  July 15, 2015

    A suggestion: if possible, reference (even indirectly) this blog at the back of your next book, or in the sidecover somewhere, such as: “To learn more about the author, and to connect with other readers, visit https://www.ehrmanblog.org.” This would increase traffic to the site, and awareness, and ultimately more subscribers/donations.

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