On Being Just a Textual Critic

I’ve decided to address a question about my own academic life in this week’s Readers’ Mailbag.  It involves an issue that comes up a lot, but not in this form.

 

QUESTION:

Is there a story (post) about your move from textual criticism to other things?

 

RESPONSE:

I can’t remember if there is (though I’m sure someone will tell me!).  But I would like to say something about it, since it is an issue that seems to come up a good deal, not usually from ...

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How Does A Book Actually Get Published?

I will be sending the very final manuscript of my book Heaven, Hell, and the Invention of the Afterlife off to my editor at Simon & Schuster tomorrow (I still don’t know what the actual title will be).  As is always the case, it has been a very long haul, and I want to explain how publishing a trade book like this for a general audience “works” and “happens” since most people who’ve never done it have no idea, or ...

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If Jesus Wasn’t God, Was He Necessarily Either a Calloused Liar or a Raving Lunatic?

This is my my last of three blasts-from-the-pasts dealing with fundamentalist, or conservative evangelical, forms of Christianity, this time addressing the claims often made (first by C.S. Lewis, who was decidedly *NOT* a fundamentalist) that since Jesus called himself God, he either was a bald-faced liar, a raving lunatic, or the Lord of the universe.  No other option.  Or … is there?

 

QUESTION:

Do you think Jesus was a great moral teacher?  If you think this is the case would you mind blogging ...

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The Dangers of Fundamentalism

I’m out of town for a long weekend and so away from my books, and have decided to re-post some particularly intriguing (IMHO) posts from many years ago.  Here’s a hot one.

 

QUESTION:

You note that fundamentalism is dangerous and harmful. How do you define fundamentalism and why do you think it’s dangerous?

 

RESPONSE:

There are of course actual definitions of “fundamentalism” that you can find in scholarship on religion, but I sense that you’re asking more for a rough-and-ready description. Years ago I ...

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Christmas Reflection 2018

I have always loved Christmas.  But looking back over my life, it is interesting to think about what, exactly, I have loved about it.  Like every middle-class first-world child, I suppose, when I was very young I liked all the excitement around presents – the anticipation, the tree, the night before, the excitement of the morning, the happiness of the giving but especially – of course! – the receiving!

Starting about when I was in junior high I started really appreciating ...

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Last Minute Christmas Presents!!

I’m desperately searching for the final small but precious present for my beloved Sarah.  Today’s the day!  And it occurred to me: maybe you’re in the same boat.  What’s that final coup de grace?

Here’s an idea.  Why not give that loved one, or even friendly acquaintance — family member, friend, neighbor, co-worker, mail delivery person, dentist, vet, kid’s teacher, whomever! — a GIFT SUBSCRIPTION to the BART EHRMAN BLOG?  Surely you know someone who could benefit/would enjoy a free year ...

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Seriously. How Many People in Antiquity Could Write?

I have received some push-back from readers who object to my view that Simon Peter, Jesus’ disciple, a fisherman from rural Galilee whose native language was Aramaic, living among lower-class people who spoke Aramaic, almost certainly could not have written a highly stylized and sophisticated Greek treatise such as we find in the book of 1 Peter.   My sense is that I will never convince anyone who thinks that it is simply “common sense” that of course he could learn ...

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Thanksgiving Musings 2018

Some musings on this Thanksgiving, 2018.

To be honest, like so many others, I find it much easier to be thankful when I have a lot to be thankful for.  I suppose being a truly thankful person would entail being thankful even when most of life was very hard and difficult.   I’ve had times like that in my life, and at least as I recall, even then I found things to be thankful for – a loving family and the possibility, ...

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Question: How Do I Read Books?

    Here is a question I get asked regularly, and I”ve just now seen I answered it on the blog many years ago.  Worth answering it again!  How do I read books?  This is what I said in 2012 and it’s still true in 2018!

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QUESTION:

How do you go about reading books? Which methods do you use in order to read as much as possibile? How do make plans how much to read? ...

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A Very Perplexing Question

As many of you know I am on sabbatical this year at the National Humanities.   This gives me a year off from teaching duties in order to focus on my research for my next book.   I am not working on a trade book for a general audience, but a scholarly monograph meant for academics in the field of Early Christian studies.   I’ve talked about the book before on the blog, but want to say a few more things about it ...

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