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Back in Business!

Many apologies to all for the hiatus on the blog.  I wish I had a sob-story to tell to justify it (well, not really), but as I indicated yesterday, it was rather a bit of good fortune with a downside.  Every year for nineteen years now my wife Sarah and I have come to the beach with our friend Dale Martin, the New Testament scholar who introduced us just six years before that (he taught at the time at Duke; he moved on to Yale; he just retired this past year).

We are very boring at the beach.  We rent the same house (right on the beach; we often see dolphins from the deck).  We all bring our books and work all day (I get up at 6:30 and have at it!), then take a five mile walk on the beach; come home to do drinks and dinner; go to bed, and repeat every day for two weeks.

For us it’s fantastic.  We all get tons done.  No distractions.  No departmental or student obligations or worries.  Good exercise.  Good food.  Good drink.  Good companionship.  Long talks over dinner.  Hours on end to do our research.  How good can it get?

This year, though, the wi-fi was down.  Now on our fourth day, it’s up again.  So I’m back to the blog.  Enjoy!

We Do *NOT* Have a First-Century Copy of the Gospel of Mark
Technology Challenge at the Beach



  1. Avatar
    Franz Liszt  May 16, 2018

    I’m jealous Bart, that sounds incredible.

    Anyways, awhile ago I asked if you had heard about an argument regarding the ‘render unto Caesar’ episode and how it related to the dating of the Synoptics (pushing them at least behind 71, or showing that they at least had no firsthand knowledge of pre 70 Judea), and you said you hadn’t heard of it. After a bit of digging, I was able to find it again! If you’re still interested (I know I’m still interested in hearing your opinion!) I’m posting the link to the article below. It appears to me, with my layman’s knowledge, that the argument is very convincing. But I’m sure you have a lot on your plate, and relaxing at the beach sounds much better than reading about the distribution of Roman denarii in the ancient Near East, so no hard feelings if you decide to take a pass.

    Here it is: https://www.academia.edu/34194619/The_Date_of_Mark_s_Gospel_Apart_from_the_Temple_and_Rumors_of_War_The_Taxation_Episode_12_13_17_as_Evidence

    • Bart
      Bart  May 17, 2018

      Thanks! I’ve glanced at it, and it looks thoroughly competent and interesting, a new way to establish the date in a way that coincides with other indications many of us have long found convincing otherwise. (I used to date Mark to just before the War, but for years not have thought it was sometime — not long –after 70; this article provides very detailed reasoning in support). Veyr interesting.

      • Avatar
        Tony  May 17, 2018

        A very interesting analysis. It ties in well with another likely Marcan source – Josephus. “The Wars of the Jews” became available mid 70’s and thus provided for the characters of the Baptist, Pilate and Jesus of Ananias.

    • Avatar
      Pattylt  May 17, 2018

      Thank you for this question and link. I’ve always been very interested in how the dating of biblical texts are determined and found this one very well argued (from my amateur perspective). Often dating seem to have been argued as to when the scholar needed them to be written or just plain ole circular reasoning. This is one of my reasons for preferring secular scholars or at least non dogmatists!

  2. Avatar
    Tony  May 16, 2018

    “Now on our fourth day, it’s up again.”

    Jeez, I was hoping it had been on the third day….

  3. Robert
    Robert  May 17, 2018

    Has Dale fully convinced you that Jesus and his sword-bearing disciples were expecting to join the angelic forces fighting Rome in an apocalyptic Passover battle?

    “It’s making me rethink my view that Jesus was a complete pacifist,” [Ehrman] says. “And it takes a lot for me to change my views about Jesus.”



    • Bart
      Bart  May 17, 2018

      Yeah, not yet. I think there’s just too much evidence on the other side. But certainly some of his followers were in favor of violent resistance.

  4. Avatar
    jbskq5  May 17, 2018

    That’s amazing that you go to the beach annually with Dale Martin. I really enjoyed his New Testament lecture series at Yale Open Courses. In fact, it was via his use of your textbook that I first became acquainted with your work.

  5. Avatar
    mannix  May 17, 2018

    You don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to, but which beach were you at? I’ve gone to the OBX almost every year since the early 70’s and my schedule is somewhat similar…it’
    s so boring I can’t wait to go back each time.

    • Bart
      Bart  May 18, 2018

      Emerald Isle. More of a family beach, and we are off the busy section, since our main objective is not to check out all the gorgeous human beings around us….

  6. Avatar
    Jana  May 17, 2018

    I am sorry, Dr. Ehrman, I won’t be able to read blogs until my MacBook Pro receives parts from the US or replaced. *sigh*

  7. Avatar
    madmargie  May 18, 2018

    So do you think the writer just imputed that same mindset to Jesus?

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