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A Plea for My Blog

It is good to see that thousands of people are reading the excerpts of my blog posts, either on the blog or on my facebook page.   I intentionally cut these excerpts off part way through, usually before I get to the most interesting and important part.  My hope is that people reading a bit of what I have to say will want then to go on and read all of what I have to say.  To do that, they (you) need to join the blog itself.   Some people inspired by these excerpts have taken the plunge.   I want to urge the rest of you to do so as well.

I post five or six times a week on the blog – usually six.  The posts are normally 800-1100 words long.   Some of them are about things that I’m thinking or writing about, or that I think are timely, interesting, or significant; others of them are in response to questions that I get.   Virtually all of them have to do with the New Testament and the history of early Christianity, from about the time of Jesus to about the time of the Council of Nicea – say 1 – 325 CE.  Hence the name of the blog: Christianity in Antiquity (the CIA).

I mean for the posts to be informative, and I try to be responsive to questions/responses that I get.   I get usually 15-20 comments a day; I allow almost all of them to go through (over 9300 of them since we started this thing in April 2012), and if they require a reply from me, I give it.  So the blog is interactive.

The blog does cost some money to join, but not a lot, and it all goes – every penny of it goes – to charities dealing with hunger and homelessness.  It costs only $24.95 for a year’s subscription.   When you think about it over the long term, that’s not much – about two bucks a month, for posts about six times a week, at about 1000 words per post.  You do the math.  It’s very good value for the money.   (You can also do a trial membership for $7.95 for three months or $3.95 for one)

The reason I started the blog in the first place, and am so committed to it virtually every day, is precisely so that I can raise money for important humanitarian work.   Hunger and homelessness are two of our most crushing social issues, ones that all of us should be concerned with.   For very little money you can contribute to a very good cause, and get such a huge benefit to boot.   I would very much like to double my readership on the blog, and so to double the amount of money I raise for the charities I support (you can see what charities I support, and why, by searching the posts for “charities” (it’s a post called “What Charities Does the Blog Support,” [sensibly enough] from April 20, 2012).

If you don’t belong yet to the blog – JOIN!!!   Really, it’s not much money – but when lots of people join, it turns into a huge amount.   And it makes good things happen for people who are in desperate need.  And you get something very good out of it yourself, in addition to the pleasure of knowing you’ve done something good.   For those of you who do belong to the blog: may your tribe increase!    In fact you can *make* it increase by urging your family members, friends, associates, colleagues, and anyone else join the blog as well.   You can also help by making a donation, of any amount; donations are completely tax deductible.

If anyone has any concerns about the blog or any suggestions to make it better, feel free to let me know!


Did Luke Originally Have Chapters 1-2?
Suffering and My Blog

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Comments

  1. Avatar
    hwl  August 4, 2013

    I support this blog 100%, it is clearly excellent value for money for the bite-sized nuggets of information. I would encourage you to continue the effort. However, I would like to understand your thought process more: while it is great value for the readers, it takes up a significant amount of your time. If instead you devoted the same amount of time to writing another trade book – which invariably are very popular and often get onto the bestseller’s lists – and then donate 100% of the proceeds to charity, would you raise more money instead?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  August 5, 2013

      Yes, I’ve thought about this. The problem is that the book market really can’t sustain more than a book about every two years from me. I could certainly write one for the amount of effort it takes to do the blog. But the market wouldn’t be able to support it. So this is plan B. (I already donate a good chunk of my royalties to charity.)

  2. Avatar
    Jim  August 4, 2013

    I’m not a business man and I couldn’t even sell Bibles to fundies if I tried. But as a personal testimony, this blog has been like sitting in one of Dr. Ehrman’s (undergraduate) classes. For me, it’s been a steal not to pay tuition fees for University level course-like information, and to know this small fee is going to charities dealing with child hunger just seals the deal for me.

  3. Avatar
    DonakdDHeacock  August 4, 2013

    Would you comment on the work of N. T & Dead Sea Scrolls thinker Barbara Thiering. I find most American Scholars wont touch her work. Why?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  August 5, 2013

      She’s just not reputable in the opinion of most scholars; it’s not just American scholars: there aren’t any scholars (anywhere) who are bona fide experts who consider her views at all viable. Doesn’t mean she’s wrong. But the alternative views are so much more persuasive that there’s not even a debate about it.

  4. Avatar
    fultonmn  August 4, 2013

    This blog has been a lot of education for very little money. And it’s been a good time! I’ve been a member for a little over a year and I’ve missed very few posts. Thanks for doing this!

  5. Avatar
    tnees  August 4, 2013

    I think I have been a member for over a year and am eager to contribute annually. I haven’t received a notice of when I should send in another annual contribution.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  August 5, 2013

      The membership is automatically renewed through your PayPal account. (To cancel, you just need to tell paypal)

  6. Avatar
    donmax  August 5, 2013

    Good luck with this. I, for one, think the blog is well worth the money.
    Try it. You’ll like it! 🙂

  7. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  August 5, 2013

    The blog is terrific! Most other such blogs have no where near 6 new entries per week nor the active responses to comments that Dr. Ehrman makes. Throw in the contribution to charity and this is even more terrific. .

  8. Brad Billips
    Brad Billips  August 5, 2013

    My suggestion would be to talk more about current news topics on the NT. For example, the news mentioned someone may have found Jesus’ cross this past week. WOW!! LOL. Members love those topics. Go back and look at your post on the dating of Jesus’ death with the Earthquake. Lots of responses. You could also talk about past things like the “Late, great, planet earth” book. Talk about the your personal reflection at that time and how some Christians reacted. Dan Brown novels, etc.

    I would want more NT textual criticism, but that’s boring to most bloggers. Hope it helps.

    P.S. Also, tell us how we could help the blog too.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  August 5, 2013

      The main way you can help — apart from giving donations if possible — is to get everyone you know to join up!

  9. Avatar
    dikelmm  August 5, 2013

    The amazing this about this blog is that you get to ask Bart the exact question that you have just like you were taking a class from him. He always gives a thoughtful answer and is never condescending, even if the question is elementary for him. I urge everyone who can, to join.

  10. Avatar
    Wilusa  August 5, 2013

    Just want to say, as a member, that I’ve found it a wonderful experience, and I’d urge non-members to join! Whether you yourself are a religious person or (like me) an agnostic, you’ll learn amazing things, and your own views will be respected.

  11. cadmium
    cadmium  August 5, 2013

    I want to thank you for making this blog! I have found it incredibly helpful in my studies as well as a resource for preparing for our Saturday night church of which I pastor. It never really ceases to amaze me how many people do not know the real history of what they believe; and it equally that when they do understand (or at least to begin to grasp the idea), their faith in what they believe is strengthened.

    Thank you again for your dedication to this blog and to writing books!

    PS – For anyone serious about Church history and their understanding of it, as well as providing real and meaningful knowledge to their congregation (if that is what you do): BUY FORGERY AND COUNTERFORGERY! It is a treasure trove of information.

  12. Avatar
    toddfrederick  August 5, 2013

    I have a question to add to your list if you think it is of an merit for discussion.

    I have been reading lately regarding the person of Jesus and came across a discussion (possibly from Marcus Borg, but I’m not sure) regarding a “pre-Easter Jesus of Nazareth and a “Post-Easter Spiritual Christ”…the same being but in different forms at different times, which is an attempt to distinguish Jesus’s humanity during his life and his divinity (spirituality) after the resurrection.

    When I read of this I thought of your up-coming book on when Jesus became God in that you seem to opt for the notion that in all sources, the resurrection seems to be the agreed point at which Jesus became divine.

    Question: Is it reasonable, considering the scriptural content, to view Jesus in these two distinct temporal forms?… a fully human Jesus of Nazareth with an Earthly agenda (a Zealot’s perspective … since I’m now reading that book) and a post-Easter Christ which Paul’s explains at great length…two distinct forms of one entity?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  August 6, 2013

      Yes, this is a very old distinction, and goes back to debates that arose in the nineteenth and then early twentieth century, as scholars opposed the Jesus of History to the Christ of Faith, some scholars (classical liberals) who argued that Christianity should be based on the man Jesus himself and his teachings, and others (e.g., the neo-orthodox) arguing that what really mattered was the Christ of faith. I think the distinction is a bit too simplified, both because we don’t have direct access to the Jesus of History, but he has to be “reconstructed” and because there were many various “Christs of faith.” But I understand the distinction and basically think it has merit.

  13. Avatar
    EricBrown  August 5, 2013

    I have a suggestion from a marketing position. It’s been so long since I joined, I cannot be sure what is like to be a “browser”, but this occurs to me it might help capture more “browsers”.

    Perhaps at least once a week, maybe you should reveal a WHOLE posting to visitors (and call this out in big letters in the list to the right of recent posts, so they can read a few if they wish). I’ve directed folks here form discussions on other blogs (like amazon book review comment sections, recently), and I wonder if the teases alone are enough to give those who don’t already know your work enough to realize how valauble/fascinating the full posts are?

    Imagine being able to read, say, the full discussion of whether Mathew was jewish, because it was an “All Read,” and then looking at the next one (whatever it was) and getting cut off in midstream. Then you’d know why you wanted to pay.

    I had little difficulty decong to join, because I was able to put the teasers in the context of two or three Teaching Compnay courses and four or five of your books, so to me it was like reading the blurb of a favorite author. Complete strangers to your work don;t have that luxury (and of course, need to get a taste that much more!)

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  August 6, 2013

      Great idea. In fact, it’s something I already do!! Once a week or so I make a post — usually one I consider more broadly interesting — open to all comers, and post it on facebook. It seems to help a lot So, obviously great minds think alike.

  14. Avatar
    mister.friendly  August 6, 2013

    I think this blog is brilliant!

    To get more people to subscribe I would suggest you release about one of your pieces each week/month into the public domain (linked to this piece I am responding to). Make sure it appears somewhere on the web where it is searchable by the search engine crawlers (preferably with keywords in the header) and encourage people with access to building websites to link to it. Automate this process as much as possible

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  August 6, 2013

      Interesting idea. I already post once a week a full and freely available post here on the blog and repeat it on Facebook. Where else would I post it if I wanted to go further?

      • Avatar
        mister.friendly  August 6, 2013

        I am not sure how this site is set up and whether its content gets logged on Google (in tech speak: is it accessible to google’s crawlers?) If it is then that is great. At that point you want other sites to link to it (this will make it appear higher in google search results). If the pages which are accessible also had a google+ like “button” that would promote it further. Do you use twitter and/or google+? Hmnmmm… I don’t mind trying to help but these questions are probably for your tech support person.

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  August 7, 2013

          OK, thanks. My tech guy, Steve Ray tells me that he already does all this and more! Thanks for the suggestions.

  15. Avatar
    Xeronimo74  August 6, 2013

    This blog is excellent indeed, obviously the result of a lot of work, and thus well worth the money. And it’s simply amazing to be able to interact with Bart personally.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  August 6, 2013

      I keep telling my wife that. 🙂

      • Avatar
        Xeronimo74  August 7, 2013

        Hehe, lol 🙂

        Bart, on an off-topic note: don’t you think that the ‘Parable of the Wedding Banquet’ proves that later authors invented parables which they then attributed to Jesus? Because the parable is full of hints to stuff that happened AFTER Jesus had died (like Jerusalem being burnt to the ground by the Romans as a divine punishment because most of the Jews’ rejected the new faith proclaimed by the followers of Jesus)!

        Why would, or how could, Jesus have told such a parable (set in the past!) before these things had happened?

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  August 7, 2013

          Certainly parables like this were *edited* at a later time! And a parable like the wise/foolish maidens (which is all about being “ready” even though the expected event has been delayed) almost certainly are products of later times.

  16. Avatar
    Atethnekos  August 7, 2013

    I think if you want to generate some buzz, Professor, you should consider writing even just a small review of Reza Aslan’s _Zealot_, which has a lot of interest right now. A little “This book is right on/way off…JOIN TO READ MORE” should catch a few fish. In general, I think you keep your eye out for when the media trends occasionally get into Early Christianity topics. A little self-promotion from you and other scholars in these cases can be a big help to those who usually only travel as far as CNN and Twitter take them.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  August 7, 2013

      My friend Dale Martin wrote a nice review in yesterday’s NY Times. I haven’t read the book.

      • Avatar
        Atethnekos  August 11, 2013

        Thank you for the citation, Professor. The other review I saw by a scholar was Anthony Le Donne’s at http://historicaljesusresearch.blogspot.ca/2013/07/a-usually-happy-fellow-reviews-aslans.html — much more negative.

      • Avatar
        AlanNagy  August 16, 2013

        I saw Reza Aslan being interviewed on Jon Stewart and although I have a lot or respect from him, he did mention in his interview something about the exodus of the Jews right after the second destruction of the temple (70 ad).

        Well, this surprised me for according to Shlomo Sand, it wasn’t a Roman practice to disperse people that they have subjugated and vanquished for they needed them to stay put and provide the soldiers with the necessities of life and getting rid of them would have left the soldiers without any provisions.

        So in fact Shlomo argues against the exodus, and so did Ben Gurion know of this reality. Shlomo adds that not only did the Jews around the time of Jesus remain in Palestine, some had even converted to Islam. He goes on to claim that most Palestinians Arabs now are closer genetically to their Jewish co-habitants than we can expect.

        When I first saw the title of Mr Aslan’s book Zealot, I thought right away about Mr Ehrman’s comment’s and critique of it. Was he really a Zealot? I prefer to think of him in the light of how he is described in Bart’s two books below. So you can expect that I will be reading Reza’s book with great interest to see how different or similar it is to the view that I already adhere to, and that is that Jesus was apocalyptic rather than zealous.

        I am currently finishing off “Jesus – Apocalyptic Prophet of the new Millennium” after having read one of the best books ever written about Jesus and the early Christians “Did Jesus Exist”, and can’t wait for the next book alluded to in the introduction of Did Jesus Exist” tentatively titles “Was Jesus God”.
        Alan Nagy

  17. Avatar
    SidneyFinehirsh  August 23, 2013

    Hi Professor Ehrman,

    I am a long-term fan of your popular books and tapes going back to Misquoting Jesus and had the pleasure of having several of them autographed at a speaking engagement that you did in New York – Bart at St. Bart’s. Even with that long history of following your ideas, I have to admit that I have just discovered your blog (thanks to Richard Carrier), which has added a new immediacy to my interaction with your scholarship and opinions. An added benefit is your personal reflections allowing a fan to know you on a more human level than is possible in your books or your recordings. (The recollection of “Jesus and My First Girlfriend” was great in that regard.)

    But the purpose of this post is not to add to the many well-deserved laudatory comments, but to take up your request for suggestions for the blog. As stated I am new to the site so I may not have discovered all the features that it contains. But with that said, I would proffer the opinion that it is well-designed, visually attractive and the type-face easy to read. However, I do find the navigation somewhat cumbersome‎. For me, at least, it is difficult to find and get to the articles I want to read. So here are some suggestions that perhaps you can discuss with your web-master Steve Ray.

    • More than anything else I would like to see more hyperlinks within articles, particularly when you reference a previous post or are discussing a series of articles on the same topic, e.g. The Book of Job posts. It would be much more reader friendly, if the reference to a previous post was a hyperlink that took you directly to that page.
    • Speaking of articles that are a series of posts on the same topic (e.g. “Patristic Evidence”), it would be useful to have the previous posts in the series appear at the beginning of the new post, again as hyperlinks allowing the reader to immediately go back to the previous articles without fumbling around the archive or list of recent posts. Hyperlinks to outside articles referenced within post would also be very useful such as the reference to Dale Martin’s review of Zealot in the NYTimes.
    • And at the end of each post, it would be nice to have a list (hyperlinks) of posts that are of similar interest:entitled “Related Topics” or something like that.
    • Providing tags of general subjects such as “Luke, Gospels, Hebrew Bible, etc.” would also be helpful. These could be accessed through the current text search option (which I discovered after some two weeks of prodding around the site) or better yet through a pull-down menu which would link to a list of posts with that tag.
    • The archive is great, but often leaves me hanging when I get into a particular month and year. At that point, I have had to click through 5-6 pages of stuff before arriving at the article I want to read. Given the similarity of some titles, I have found it necessary to know beforehand the date that post appeared to be sure I have the right one. It would be nice if the archive items took the reader to a directory of articles by title and date which could then be clicked to go to the selected article.
    • Small change complaint: Total separation of member and non-member pages. I often find that I have started reading an article only to run into a dead end because I unknowingly landed on a non-member page. Also I have noticed some non-member articles have hyperlinks to the member article but not all or not most. Putting a hyperlink into non-member articles that would take members to the full article and non-members to the join-up page which would be helpful to members and some of the best marketing I think you could do for non-members.
    • Real small-change complaint: It seems when I put in my username and hit enter, the pointer does not move to the Password field. Instead, it tells me that the password field is empty. …not a big problem, but annoying. Since I unthinkingly and automatically hit the enter key after filling in any field, I really would like a chance to put in my password before being told I’m in error.

    I hope all these suggestions are made in the (non-holy) spirit of improving the user experience of EhrmanBlog.com. I suspect that you and Steve have already considered such features but haven’t gotten around to implementing them. Or perhaps some features like these are there and I am too new to have discovered them.

    One more thing: Please keep the blog a paid membership site. Beside your charity endeavor, a paid site provides some protection from trolls. Your genial and openness response to answering member questions is one of the great pleasures of the Ehrman.blog. I would hate to see that civility of discussion ruined by all the loons that loom on the web.

    Thanks for all the work in keeping this blog going,

    Sidney Finehirsh
    Member since July 2013

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  August 23, 2013

      Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll think them over. Anything that takes much more time than I’m already devoting to this will be, uh, unlikely, I’m sorry to say. I need to clone me….

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