The Early Growth of Christianity

I continue here the brief overview of the book that I’m now working on, The Triumph of Christianity.  To this point I have identified the problem that the book is trying to resolve (how Christianity grew from a small group of illiterate Jewish peasants from Galilee to becoming something like 10% of the entire Roman Empire within 300 years), some of the earlier attempts to solve the problem, and one of the fundamental issues involved, the movement from being a ...

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From Jewish Sect to Gentile Church

I have been discussing and excerpting the Prospectus I wrote this last summer on my book that I have tentatively titled, The Triumph of Christianity.  Here I discuss the beginning of the Christian mission, and how “Christianity” went from being a small Jewish sect to being a large number of gentile communities (with special emphasis on the work of Paul).

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  1. From Jew to Gentile: The Rise of Christianity (two chapters)

This section will discuss the very early years of the Christian movement ...

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Roman Religion as the Context for Christianity

I have started to indicate how I laid out my prospectus for my next book The Triumph of Christianity, as I developed the idea this past summer.  Remember: the prospectus was designed to get a publisher (or hopefully more than one) interested in publishing the book, and was based on, and presupposed, already a good bit of research.   The prospectus was to show what the book was to be about, why it is both interesting and important, and how it ...

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Older Explanations for Why Christianity Succeeded

In yesterday’s post I indicated some of the major issues involved with the question of how Christianity managed to take over the Roman Empire, as spelled out in the Prospectus that I wrote in hopes of finding a publisher interested in signing up my book   In this post I’ll give another excerpt from the Prospectus, in which I discuss some of the common answers one can find in books and articles about the matter.   How have scholars in the modern ...

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The Triumph of Christianity: The Ultimate Question

I have begun now a new thread, which I anticipate will be a rather long one, on the book I am currently working on, which I have tentatively titled (recognizing that my tentative titles rarely actually become the title!) The Triumph of Christianity.   I indicated in my previous post that I wrote up a prospectus to give to publishers in order to see if they were interested in offering a contract for the book.  The prospectus ended up being about ...

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The New Book: The Triumph of Christianity

When my agent Roger and I decided that we might want to explore the possibility of going with a different publisher, the first step was to come up with a book proposal to shop around.   For ten years or so I had been wanting to write a particular book, but had always put it off because it had seemed like such a MAJOR undertaking.   I came to think that this was the perfect time to pursue it, to propose doing ...

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Getting a Literary Agent

I am now ready to talk about how I switched trade publishers, so that now I have a two-book contract with Simon & Schuster, after being with Harper for some thirteen years.   As I mentioned in a previous note, I had a particularly close and productive relationship with my editor at Harper, Roger.   A couple of years ago, when I was just starting to work on the book that just came out (Jesus Before the Gospels), Roger called me and ...

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New Archaeological Discoveries and the Bible! Readers Mailbag April 16, 2016

Today I address two interesting questions on the weekly mailbag, one about the new archaeological discovery in Israel and the other on whether in my last book I violated my own advice about requiring only experts to write for popular audiences.  If you have a question you would like me to address, let me know!

 

QUESTION: 

Does the latest information on the discovery of written texts from before the removal of the Israelite’s to Babylon indicating a wider level of literacy ...

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Getting a First Book Published

I regularly get emails from people who want to break into publishing for the first time, who ask me “How can I get my book published?”  As I indicated in my previous posts, almost always what they have in mind is not a work of scholarship for scholars but a trade book for a general audience.     And so here is a weird fact about me: even though I have been publishing trade books for eighteen years, I’m not completely sure ...

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Who Should Write Trade Books?

Most people who contact me about a book they would like to write – or that they have written – are not talking about a work of scholarship (though some are); they are talking about a book that they would like to publish that “reaches the masses.”  They have some ideas about early Christianity, the historical Jesus, the life and writings of Paul, the Gospels, the entire Bible, or some related topic, and they would like to publish a book ...

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