This past Friday I went up to NYC to meet with my editor, and the marketing team, at my new publisher Simon & Schuster, both to discuss the next book coming out in September AND to talk (with my editor herself) about the possible new book, the one I am tentatively calling The Invention of the Afterlife (dealing with the question of where the widespread views of heaven and hell come from, especially since they are not actually what the Old Testament, Jesus, or the NT writers actually taught).  This was kind of a first pitch, to get them interested.

They are indeed interested, and so now the next step for me will be to write a prospectus to get them to agree formally and finally.  I want to do this now, so I don’t spend months reading about the topic – both ancient writings that deal with the afterlife and modern scholarship on the matter – only to find out that this will *not* be my next book.   Just to write the prospectus I still will have to do a lot more reading, but not MASSIVE amounts of reading.  Once we’ve agreed to the book, then we move to the very big pile of books.

As I think I have mentioned on the blog, this is a very different book for me in one obvious respect.  For (nearly) all of my other books, I have tried to find something about the Bible, the life of Jesus, or the history of the early church that would be interesting to a general reader.  USUALLY this reader has been someone already interested in the Bible or early Christianity.  For people like that, what can I write about that would be especially interesting?

This book is different because …

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