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Brief Video Promotion of Heaven and Hell

I finally have my grubby paws on a copy of my new book Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife.  Looks great, I’m really pleased.  It will not be available publicly until the publication date of March 31.  But in preparation, my publisher Simon & Schuster has had me do a brief video promotion of it, taped in their studio in New York.   In it they ask me five key questions that I address in the book (among the many many!) — just to give a taste of the sorts of things I deal with there.

Here is the promo, for your viewing interest!

Please adjust gear icon for 1080p High-Definition:

Authors and the Fiasco of Book Tours
Heaven and Hell: Press Release!!



  1. Avatar
    Hume  February 25, 2020

    What type of songs did Jesus sing? Old testament hymns?

    He’s seems like he’s like grunge rock if he were here today lol.

  2. Avatar
    toejam  February 26, 2020

    If Jesus believed that those who don’t have faith in Yahweh would ultimately be destroyed, even though such a fate is not as a bad as the idea of hell, it is still not something I find particularly “good” or “hopeful”. I believe that when you die, that’s it. Nada. Having faith in Yahweh makes no difference. I’m not particularly fond of the thought of ceasing to exist, but it is what I suspect is the case. While I’m at peace with it, I don’t find it a “good” outcome.

    • Rick
      Rick  February 28, 2020

      I bore easily. Thus I have concluded the only afterlife myth that is worth a damn is the Rainbow Bridge (see https://www.rainbowsbridge.com/poem.htm ) . Since it is grafted onto Christian hoopla That Bart explains as Greco Roman Myth it’s probably not real so here’s to a good long nap!

  3. Avatar
    Judith  February 26, 2020

    I’m concerned that book is going to be dynamite! Hope you can get yourself ready with all else you’ve got going on.

    • Bart
      Bart  February 28, 2020

      Given the news cycle, it may be a dud. Unless your name is Donald, Bernie, or Corona, it’s hard to make even a small pop….

      • Avatar
        Judith  February 28, 2020

        Dud? Not one of your books!
        Am reading The Triumph of Christianity now and it’s more than a book to me.

      • Avatar
        karen  March 14, 2020

        Haha. Perhaps the pandemic will usher in a new era of apocalyptic thinking (sigh)… and all the plagued human creatures will be overwhelmed with thoughts of heaven, hell, and the afterlife!! Or maybe their simple minds will just blank out like panicky deer in headlights. Oh well. Counting down the days in March.. 🙂

  4. tompicard
    tompicard  February 26, 2020

    about the resurrection
    Matt 12:41-42

    does that mean this generation (Jesus contemporaries) and Queen of South/ Sheba and people of Ninevah all resurrect at the same time ?

    • Bart
      Bart  February 28, 2020

      I suppose everyone does.

      • tompicard
        tompicard  February 28, 2020

        yes that is what I thought, well seems like what English translation implies

        everyone INCLUDING JESUS CONTEMPORARIES “resurrect” at the same time,

        Then if Jesus contemporaries “resurrect” (in the way you feel resurrection is/was to occur)s, that means they have died and been in graves,

        implying either

        a. they did NOT see the Kingdom of Heaven during their time on earth (but that is what Jesus appeared to be preaching), or
        b. the “resurrection” is a separate phenomena than the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven, and these events MAY not be concurrent

  5. Avatar
    rivercrowman  February 26, 2020

    Great job on the video promo! Off-topic bible question please. Could Second Isaiah 49:6 (about the Suffering Servant) have been noted by the ancient Christian authors of Matthew, Luke, and the longer ending of Mark, prompting them to include the story of Jesus’ Commissioning of the Disciples to “go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation”? … Thanks for your thoughts!

    • Bart
      Bart  February 28, 2020

      Yes, I think the world wide mission of Israel is behind teh Xn mission ultimately — but especailly in Paul

      • Avatar
        Bernice Templeman  February 28, 2020

        I have been trying to figure it out… Israel part and Rome’s part. I am out of both. There are some helpful things in each but overall I think it is too costly. The majority of jews and Roman citizens, conquered countries, etc were illiterate. My guess it was leaders using religion to rule.

        I have to read & listen to other stuff to counter most of it.

        • Avatar
          Bernice Templeman  February 28, 2020

          Hospice workers say many people see loved ones (angels) before passing. Not everyone does.

  6. Avatar
    fishician  February 26, 2020

    Good promo. Should prompt curiosity in many, which hopefully translates to book sales. Will prompt outrage in others who relish the idea of eternal torment for those not within their concept of “saved!”

  7. Avatar
    flshrP  February 26, 2020

    Well done. Should spur a lot of interest.

    What you say about Jesus’ actual teachings about death, the afterlife, and eternity just reiterates that Christianity is not the religion of Jesus. It’s a religion about Jesus, actually about a caricature of the historical Jesus.

  8. Avatar
    ddorner  February 26, 2020

    “There’s nothing to be afraid of about the afterlife, but there may be something to hope for…”

    This is wonderfully profound, optimistic, and beautiful. I’m really looking forward to this book!

  9. Avatar
    Marble13  February 26, 2020

    Just watched the video and was deeply impressed with your thoughts as I often am reading your blog articles. Continue in this work and educate us more. Have to convince my wife about buying the book for me, which she usually does in these type of matters. Hope the book sells well. Thanks

  10. Avatar
    bryon.craig  February 26, 2020

    I will be buying the book, of course, but do you cover Swedenborg’s influence that Heaven contains “degrees of Glory” on Mormonism. Was this concept adopted by any other religious groups. Thanks!

    • Bart
      Bart  February 28, 2020

      I thought about dealing with Swedenborg, but then decided not to — a bit off from the direction I decided to go. I’m not sure about his wider influence

  11. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  February 27, 2020

    Five very interesting conclusions which are quite different than what I was taught as “absolute truth” growing up in the Bible belt. I look forward to reading the book which I know took an incredible amount of research and work.

  12. tompicard
    tompicard  February 27, 2020

    in video you say
    >When Jesus talked about an AFTERLIFE, it’s not about . . .

    I can’t really remember where he talked about an afterlife much at all ,
    the only times I can really think he talked about afterlife is
    a. the resurrection discussion with the Saduccees regarding 7 brothers and their wife, and
    b. some comments about what the men of Ninevah and Queen of South are going to do in their afterlives (Matt 12:41-42)

    Are their other instances ?

    equivalently how often did he speak of an afterlife ?

    • Bart
      Bart  February 28, 2020

      Guess you’ll need to read my book. 🙂

      • tompicard
        tompicard  February 28, 2020

        planning on it

        the other instance I can think of is in Lazarus and rich guy in Luke, but you mentioned on blog you don’t think that is historical,

  13. kt@rg.no
    kt@rg.no  February 27, 2020

    A lot of years ago, I heard an interview of a rabbi (Michael Melcior) here in Norway who moved back to Istael and made a carreer ending that he was voted into the Knesset. In this long personal interview they also talked about his job as a Rabbi and his Jewish traditions and beliefs. Here he expressed some some of the differences in the scriptures we share, and he emphaziesed that in his view Christianity was a continuation, and that wen it became seperated they disconnected theself with the language, culture, the stories and how to understand them, and in his mind how they used symbols explaining the religous meaning about the story. He also claimed that the Christian literalists (I don’t see them as “fundamentalists”, but literalists) think of the stories as an attemt to collect jewish history, which he rejected. He also claimed that the stores in particular in Genesis are not to be understood literally.

    After reading more about this, their scriptures, and also the oral traditions they after the destruction of the Temple around 70 CE started to wrte a lot of the oral stories who circulated, edtiting them, and choosing what to be in their final version.. One branch of the Jewish understanding, which many orthodox Jews also claims are the original, are the esoteric/mystical version of the story. I don’t claim that this is true or not, but if this existed so early that many claim, this shed a different light of Judaism and in my mind also some of the Christian scriptures.
    What suprised me about this “version” was that the symbols and ideas are very different from how the stories was presented to me when I first heard about them, both the idea of origin, life itself, and the afterlife.

    In my opinion, it would be really interesting to know if there were some conceptual connections/continuations between the ideas the more esotreric branch of Judaism and Christianity. For me I might see a common ground, looking at the symbols used in example John, even Paul and his Christology, and perhaps the Revelation. If so, that would for sure support your book even more, where you state that the consept of Heaven and Hell are not in Judaism and what Jesus taught about.

  14. Barfo
    Barfo  February 27, 2020

    If I’m bold enough I may post your YouTube link to my Facebook page, albeit during the cocktail hour which is when I do my most arousing of curiosity postings. I have many fire and brimstone believer friends who will undoubtedly flog me senseless though. If I do, I will report back with the results.

    • Avatar
      jcalloway  March 8, 2020

      You are a brave man :). Sharing the truth…

  15. Avatar
    Niceguy  February 27, 2020

    The suffering in and around us is more proof of God’s love.
    He didn’t spare his beloved son, Jesus, and if we think we shouldn’t suffer in this life we are not worthy of a NEW GLORIFIED BODY IN HEAVEN.

  16. Avatar
    jeffmd90  February 27, 2020

    So perhaps it’s like a permanent anaesthetic.

  17. Avatar
    crt112@gmail.com  February 27, 2020

    I thought Heaven and Hell might be pre-occupations in the USA until I saw this :


    To me, they are both unknowable (and highly unlikely) so why spend time analysing them. And certianly dont make any life decisions assuming they exist.

    But I respect Bart’s plan to educate the masses.

    • Bart
      Bart  February 28, 2020

      Interesting. Wish they had been able to set that up with contrasting numbers currently in the U.S.

      • Avatar
        Duke12  February 28, 2020

        I note that the survey link includes only Eastern (or slightly east of Central) European countries. Those results don’t surprise me one bit.

  18. Avatar
    Hormiga  February 27, 2020

    You just so much look and sound like a professor!

    Which is good, especially since you are one. 🙂

  19. Avatar
    Bernice Templeman  February 28, 2020

    Great and interesting video!

    I have had some busy months. I don’t know if I have written this on this blog before: Babies and some adults are in the light and connected to heaven. Most people lose their connection sometime during childhood.
    You can reconnect.

    My mother passed to the afterlife/heaven in January. while she was in hospice, I held her hands and silently called her name and talked to her. Eventually, she heard me and responded. She passed through the connection on earth and was there for a few days before she passed.
    I related it to the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead (going forth/resurrection). I think they were explaining what they witnessed.

  20. Avatar
    Brand3000  March 4, 2020

    Dr. Ehrman,

    Do you think the resurrected Jesus (or what they thought was the resurrected Jesus) told the apostles of the parousia, or do you think it’s just something they surmised?

    • Bart
      Bart  March 6, 2020

      Do you mean historically did Jesus tell them after he was raised frmo the dead? No, of course I don’t think that, since I don’t think he was raised from the dead. Did they think they told them that. No, probably not. They believed he had been exalted and so concluded he was coming back.

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