The New Edition of My New Testament Textbook

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have finished editing my textbook on the New Testament for its seventh edition (title still:  The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings).   The book was first published in 1997 and has always been designed for college/university students taking a one-semester course on the New Testament.  In it I do not presuppose any knowledge of the topic, but begin at ground zero.

When I started doing research on the first ...

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How I Take Notes on What I Read for a Trade Book

Now that I have finished writing the draft of my book on the afterlife – which I’m tentatively titling “Heaven, Hell, and the Invention of the Afterlife  (that will be the title until my publisher changes it!!) – I have received several questions from blog members about aspects of the writing itself.  One reader wanted to know how I keep track of all the things that I read in preparation for writing a book like this (or like anything else).  ...

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Writing a Historical-Critical Textbook that Isn’t *Critical*

Now that I’ve finished the draft of my book on the afterlife, and am waiting for readers’ comments, I am turning to a revision of my textbook: The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.  It was first published in 1997 and this will be the seventh edition.

It’s hard writing a decent textbook (and not so hard to write a lousy one).   A constant struggle.  In breezing through blog posts of years gone by, I’ve seen that ...

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Opportunity Knocking: A Chance to Read a Draft of My Book

Here’s a unique opportunity.

Well, it’s not unique because it’s one you’ve had before.  But you get it now again!

As most of you probably know, I’m now finishing up my book on the afterlife.   The title won’t be decided for a very long time, but at this point ’m rather liking “Heaven, Hell, and the Invention of the Afterlife.”   The basic question I address is where the widespread views of heaven and hell came from, that when you die your soul ...

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Looking for Feedback on My Views about Jesus and the Afterlife

I am now editing my book on the afterlife, and there are a few controversial theses in it.  One of them involves the views of Jesus.   I’d like to know what you think of my argument, and to see if you find it convincing or not.  If not, I’d like to know why.   Here is a rough idea of what I’m planning to say (until you instruct  me otherwise!)

First, Jesus did not think the coming kingdom of God (soon to ...

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Progress Report on the Afterlife

It is a good time for me to give an update on my progress on my trade book that deals with the early history of heaven and hell.   I have not decided on a title yet – that won’t come until much further down the line, after it is actually finished and ready to head to press.  At that time, my publisher, my agent, and I will all toss about ideas for titles that are both the catchiest we can ...

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The Core of My Dissertation on The Gospel Quotations of Didymus the Blind

Here is the second of three posts on how Bruce Metzger directed my rather technical dissertation on the Gospel quotations of the fourth-century church father Didymus the Blind, from six years ago on the blog.

THIS IS A CONTINUATION OF MY POSTS OF MY RELATIONSHIP WITH BRUCE METZGER, MY MENTOR

As I started thinking about how to write up this second post on my dissertation (the first post was posted some days ago), I remembered one of my clearest ...

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Finishing my Work on the Afterlife

I am now virtually finished with all my research for my book on the afterlife, and after mopping up a few loose ends, I should be able to start writing next week.  It’s been a two-year adventure so far.

I always find it amazing how much you can learn in two years of intense research on a topic that you already know (or think you know) a good deal about.   The way I can check on how much I’ve progressed is ...

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How I Write: The Crucial Phase

I have a very distinctive way of writing books, even though every time I write one, I think it’s the only sensible way to do it.  For years I’ve encouraged my students to do it this way when they write their dissertations, and I’ve talked to friends and colleagues about it, subtly (well, sometimes not so subtly) suggesting they do it.  And so far, after writing books for over thirty years, I’ve not convinced a single person to do it ...

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How Does an Author Write a Trade Book? Phase 2.

On and off I have been talking about the process I take for writing a book, and will continue that conversation here in this post, to explain where I am just now – a very good place indeed – on my book on the origins of the Christian understandings of the afterlife.

In my previous posts I talked about how I go about doing my reading for a book, and what I said there certainly applies here.  I’ve read hundreds of ...

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