My Memory Book, Ch. 4a

Chapter four of my book, tentatively entitled “False Memories and the Death of Jesus,” is where I address head-on the psychology of memory.   My principal interest, at the end of the day, involves the problems of memory, of how memories for things we experience or hear about can be frail, faulty, and even false.   That’s not to deny that most of the time our memories are pretty decent.   If they weren’t we wouldn’t be able to function, either ...

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My Memory Book, ch. 3

In my previous post I started to summarize what I will be covering in my new book, which hopefully will be published next spring, possibly under the title Jesus Before the Gospels.   After devoting the first chapter to a demonstration that everyone agrees that some early Christians were inventing stories about Jesus (as seen in the apocryphal Gospels; it should be stressed – those who read and thought about these Gospels “remembered” Jesus in light of the stories ...

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My Memory Book, chs. 1-2

So, as I mentioned in the previous post, I did not start writing my current book until I had a very full outline already in place.  With a massive outline that covers everything you want to say, the book pretty much writes itself.   Well, that’s what I tell people.  It’s not true, of course; but I have found that once all the hard work of research and outlining is finished, the writing – just for me, of course – is ...

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How I’m Writing This Book

I have been asked about how I am actually writing my book just now.   Here are some reflections.

One of the things you figure out pretty quickly when writing a book is that it never goes as planned.   Things (usually) take longer than you thought they would; or they (rarely) go faster.  For most authors, the structure of the book changes as they start writing it, and they realize that they really have to say more about this and they really ...

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Sketch of My Memory Book

Please read to the end of this post if you want to learn about a highly unusual opportunity.

I started writing my book on memory and the oral traditions about Jesus this week.   My plan was to have an intense week at it.    I’m teaching my regular two classes this term: a three-hour PhD seminar on the use of literary forgery in the early Christian tradition, and an undergraduate lecture course, Introduction to the New Testament.  So I had to do ...

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Remembering Lincoln

I thought I would take a post to give you a taste of one of my early chapters in my book on Memory.  It is in very rough draft, so don’t expect much.   But this passage deals with the topic of my last post, “collective” memory.   Here I use the example of how we remember, or misremember, the life and views of Abraham Lincoln.

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In 2014 a poll was taken of 162 members of the American Political Science Association, asking them ...

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Different Kinds of Memory

I indicated in the last post that I got interested in the study of memory for both personal and professional reasons.   Professionally, I had long been interested in the question of how eyewitnesses would have remembered the life of Jesus, and how the stories about Jesus may have been shifted and altered and invented in later times based on faulty or even false memories.  That led me to be interested in memory more broadly.

Memory is an enormous field of research, ...

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My Original Interest in Memory

When I decided no longer to do a commentary on the Gospel of Peter and other early Greek Gospel fragments it was not only because I realized that I was not up for two or three years of that particular kind of laborious detailed work.  It was also because there was another area of research that I was really, really interested in but that I knew very little about.  That was the study of memory.

I was interested in memory for ...

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My New Project on Memory

I am going to take a break from my thread that has been dealing with which books from Christian antiquity I would most like to have discovered.  I haven’t gotten very deep into the thread: basically my answers so far have been:  the lost letters of Paul, the letters of Paul’s opponents, and Q.  There are a lot more that I’d like to discuss, and will discuss relatively soon.  But for now I’m going to break off into something else, ...

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Trade Books and Scholarly Books

I indicated in my previous post that I would say a few things about each of the books that I am planning – today at least – to try to write over the next ten years or so.   The very next book will be trade book on Jesus Before the Gospels, a study of what happened to the stories about Jesus as they were altered, and invented, by Christians circulating them word of mouth before the writing of ...

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