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.



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



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?



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.



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



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!



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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