Guest Post! Joel Marcus on His New Book on the John the Baptist

Many readers of the blog will already be familiar with my long-time friend and colleague from Duke, Joel Marcus, one of the top New Testament scholars in America (or anywhere else, for that matter).   Joel and I have known each other for over thirty years — since he started teaching at Princeton Theological Seminary, soon after I finished my PhD there.   He is especially well known for his massive and learned two-volume commentary on the Gospel of Mark for the ...

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My Pod Cast Interview with Sam Harris

On May 1, 2018 I was interviewed by Sam Harris for his podcast “Waking Up.”  Ostensibly the interview was to be about my book “The Triumph of Christianity: How A Forbidden Religion Swept the World” but we covered a wide range of topics, from my autobiography to numerous substantive issues, including the nature of miracles, the composition of the New Testament, the resurrection of Jesus, the question of heaven and hell, the book of Revelation, the End Times, contradictions in the ...

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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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