Free Memberships for Those Who Need Them!

Thanks to the incredible generosity of members of the blog, I am happy to announce that again this year there are a limited number of free one-year memberships available.   These have been donated for a single purpose: to allow those who cannot afford the annual membership fee to participate on the blog for a year.   I will assign these memberships strictly on the honor system: if you truly cannot afford the membership fee, but very much want to have full ...

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Another Chance: Donating Free Memberships

In years past, when I’ve solicited donations to provide free year-long blog memberships to people in need, who really would love to be on the blog but simply cannot afford it because of personal circumstances, I’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.  For one reason or another that has not happened as much this year.  There have been a number of you who have donated, and for that I’m deeply, deeply grateful.  But the numbers are serious down – ...

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Gift Memberships 2018!

It is already December (sigh….) and we are now blasting from one holiday to the next.  For the occasion, I want to open up a holiday giving option that can help out people who really want to be on the blog but cannot afford the membership fees.

As many of you know, for the past five of years, thanks to a number of generous donors, we pulled this off in a big way.  It has happened in two stages.   It started ...

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Interested in Taking a Trip With Me to Greece and Turkey?

I have just finalized the deal.  I will be giving lectures on an amazing trip to Greece and Turkey this coming June, 2019, with a company called Thalassa Journeys.  The theme is centered around the journeys of the apostle Paul, and is called “St. Paul in the World of Late Antiquity: Civilizations and Faiths in Transition.”

For the trip we go to some of the key places in Paul’s missionary work:  Thessaloniki, Philippi, Ephesus (staying on the Isle of Samos!), Patmos ...

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Blog Dinner! Denver, November 15

On November 15 I will be in Denver in order to give a talk (the following morning) at the Biblical Archaeology Society Fest (see https://travelstudy.bib-arch.org/seminars/21st-annual-bible-and-archaeology-fest).   Would anyone be interested in joining a “Blog Dinner” that evening (Thursday November 15)?  It would be a chance to get to know each other and talk about matters of mutual interest.

The only requirements for attendance would be that (a) you be a blog member; (b) you pay your own way – both getting to the ...

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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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Opening for Dinner in Durham

As you may remember, I am hosting a dinner for a few members of the blog on my home turf, in Durham NC, on Monday Sept. 24.   One of the people who had originally planned on coming has had a conflict and has to back out.  So I have one more opening at the table.  If you are interested in coming — the first to respond gets the seat!  Please contact me not here on the blog, but via email ...

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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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Proselytizing on the Blog

Dear Members of the Blog,

We have had a long-standing policy on the blog – going back to its inception – of avoiding any kind of proselytizing activity that promotes or urges (on others) particular religious views of any kind.  Some comments I receive are borderline, and it is hard to know where the *hard* line actually ought to be.  But I’m afraid I have grown lax in the enforcement of the rule.  It is perfectly fine on occasion for you ...

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