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Fresh Air with Terry Gross and the Dish Book Club with Andrew Sullivan

I mentioned in an earlier post that the only way a trade book begins to sell well is if it gets media attention.   It is really, really hard to get media attention, and there’s very little that an author can personally do about it.  Authors have publicists (at the publisher) who try to get attention in print, radio, and TV; that’s what they do for a living, they do it all the time, they have the necessary contacts, and the know-how, and the experience, and so on.   But at the end of the day, it is always a matter of whether a journal, newspaper, radio program, TV show etc. is interested, and wants to do a piece on the book.   Every author wants a part of the action, and there’s only so much action to go around.   And sometimes, from the author’s point of view, it seems like a very frustrating crapshoot indeed.

With that said, I’m happy to announce that I have recorded an interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, which will be airing tomorrow (on I suppose all NPR stations), Monday April 7.   This is one of the really big gigs – arguably the most important radio show one can do.   There’s a HUGE listening audience and the publicity that it brings the book is fantastic.  I’m very, very pleased, and am hopeful, as well, that this bit of publicity will translate into more media attention.  If it does, then we’re in great shape.  If not, well, we’ve done our best.

Terry Gross is absolutely spectacular as an interviewer, as those of you who have ever listened to her shows know.   She personally reads the book in depth and comes up with her own insightful questions about it.  She lets the author talk, but directs the conversation in interesting and helpful ways.   She pursues the most intriguing angles, and knows what is worth talking about and what to skip over.   And she’s very pleasant to speak with.  I think she brings out the best in her interviewees.

This will be the sixth time I’ve done Fresh Air, and I’ve very much enjoyed it every time.   It always *sounds* like she is speaking with the guest face-to-face, but as with just about every radio show I do (not all) it is in fact done by cable hook-up.  I did the interview from Chapel Hill, the WUNC radio station, while she and her crew were in Philadelphia.   I’ve never actually met her in the flesh.

Anyway, I hope you can listen in to the show, and that you tell others about it as well, to help get the word out there.   And I hope I don’t sound like a blubbering idiot.   When I left the interview, I wasn’t so sure…..

I’m also extremely pleased to announce that Andrew Sullivan has resurrected, so to say, his book club and has chosen my book to be the first one discussed on it.  If you don’t know who he is – look him up, he’s quite a public figure.  And the “Dish” Book Club is a fantastic undertaking.   .   For more information on it:  http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/category/book-club/?orderby=date&order=ASC      Something like a million people are connected with Sullivan’s blog, he tells me.  The way the book club works is that people are urged to read the book over the course of three weeks; they then have a week in which they go back and forth about it on the blog; and after that Sullivan does a podcast with the author about issues that have been raised.

This too is obviously a big deal.

I’m hoping that between these two media moments we’ll see the sales of the book kick-started, and see what goes from there.   Again, if nothing else happens, it won’t be for lack of trying.  As with lots of life, one can only to one’s best and hope for good things…..

Media: How Jesus became God – Ehrman vs Gathercole Pt 2
Women at the Tomb



  1. Avatar
    Billypaul49  April 6, 2014

    Did you mean the 7th or 8th for Fresh Air?

  2. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  April 7, 2014

    This is terrific news and I look forward to hearing the interview tomorrow night. I have heard you interviewed on Fresh Air before and it went quite well. I also have read some of Andrew Sullivan’s articles, but did not realize that he has a book club. That sounds quite interesting.
    By the way, if you see the “God’s Not Dead” movie, you get the added bonus of seeing and hearing the Newsboys band. I know, I know, I made your day, Look them up on Wikipedia if you have not heard of them.

  3. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  April 7, 2014

    WUNC radio airs Fresh Air at 7:00 PM on Mondays.

  4. Avatar
    shakespeare66  April 7, 2014

    Looking forward to the interview tomorrow on NPR. I hope it went well for you. I am just receiving the book tomorrow from Amazon.com

    • Avatar
      shakespeare66  April 7, 2014

      I just read that Fresh Air reaches 4.4 million listeners. That is a large audience, but a mostly Christian one.

      • Bart Ehrman
        Bart Ehrman  April 7, 2014

        I don’t think the listenership is particularly Christian — at least no more Christian than the general population….

  5. Avatar
    gavriel  April 7, 2014

    Alas, in Europe (at least from the UK division of Amazon), your book is still not available, delivery date is said to be at the end of May (despite my pre-order half a year ago) , while the US division is already selling used copies. Annoying. So my curiosity has surrendered to the Kindle edition.

  6. Brad Billips
    Brad Billips  April 7, 2014

    Good for you Dr. Ehrman. I am very happy for you! Can’t wait to listen.

    I just listened to both parts of the Unbelievable podcast. Great debate. Just the tone you like to hear from scholars. I learned a lot.

  7. TracyCramer
    TracyCramer  April 7, 2014

    I have not listened to all of them, so maybe some are not Fresh Air, but you have been on NPR 7 times! Check it out:

  8. Avatar
    fmurphy925  April 7, 2014

    Bart, you should also try to get on The Bob Edwards show, a satellite NPR show that airs 5 days a week. I heard him interview Candida Moss on his show about a month ago. She was discussing her latest book “The Myth of Persecution.” He is also an excellent interviewer. After his show, I always feel that I know the person and his/her subject matter so much better. BTW, I’m reading your latest book now. Fascinating. Good work.

  9. JDTabor
    JDTabor  April 7, 2014

    This is fantastic Bart. I have tried many times and failed. Please remember me when you come into your Kingdom! And BTW, how did Michael Bird & Co. get a book out refuting yours hardly before yours hit the bookstands! This is nuts! Just goes to show how much a “threat” they consider you, or, more likely, they want to ride on these broad tails…

    • JDTabor
      JDTabor  April 7, 2014

      Listening now! Very good, very clear…fantastic interview so far.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  April 7, 2014


      Yes, we let them see the manuscript in advance at their request. Another response book was written (an e book) by someone who hadn’t seen a single word of the book!

    • Avatar
      willow  April 9, 2014

      My beloved, James! It’s good to see you here!

    • Avatar
      Rosekeister  April 12, 2014

      Recently I noticed “The Lost Gospel” by Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson which includes a quote from you describing it as a significant work on early Christianity. Are you able to tell us more about what manuscript they found in the British Library? I’ve wondered before if more early Syriac Christian documents could be discovered but I was thinking in terms of Muslim libraries that were built in previously Nestorian Christian areas.

      • Bart Ehrman
        Bart Ehrman  April 13, 2014

        Really??? I don’t recall reading it, let alone commenting on it. Are you sure?

        • Avatar
          Rosekeister  April 14, 2014

          Sorry about that. I thought that reply was going to James Tabor. I was wondering what Syriac document Barrie Wilson found.

  10. Avatar
    JudithW.Coyle  April 7, 2014

    Dr. Ehrman,

    It is a great book !


  11. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  April 7, 2014

    After tonight, readers can Google “Fresh Air” to listen to the program.

    Readers might also want to know that the “Noah” movie has good and bad features (a lot of violence), but is only slightly related to the Biblical account. The movie ends with an interesting moral dilemma for Noah, but that dilemma has very little to do with the Biblical account. Obviously, since Noah says very little in the Bible, a lot has to be added to keep this from being a “silent” movie, but don’t go with the intention of learning something Biblical. It is mainly an ordinary action movie complete with villains and monsters.

    • Avatar
      Xeronimo74  April 21, 2014

      It portrays the violence of that alleged global Holocaust, caused by BibleGod, quite well though.

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    JTShaw  April 8, 2014

    Very much enjoyed your interview on Fresh Air last night. I delayed listening to a baseball game just for you, that’s how much I appreciate your work! 🙂

    Thanks much for noting “Jesus of Montreal” as your favorite film. I was enthralled when I first saw it at an art house theater so many years ago (1989?). I’m grateful that I acquired a DVD copy several years ago.

  13. Avatar
    Steefen  April 8, 2014

    Last Friday, on the Octavius Caeasar thread, I submitted a post (which you didn’t approve) which implied one of my angles to reading How Jesus Became God was via Halle Berry’s Sybil movie, Frankie & Alice. When someone develops multiple personalities which possess an individual, can that person be healed via exorcism? In the case of the beautifully-faced Halle Berry, the character she played developed one of her personalities via a traged. If the character’s upbringing was heavily relgious, the multiple personality subconsciously created could have been a religious personality, demon or possibly angelic (we don’t hear of those cases needing exorcisms).

    In the New Testament, we have a demoniac or a legitimate demon declaring Jesus as a well-known-in-the-spiritual-world, divine being.

    In an earlier post, you said Jesus was not God until after the resurrection. My Friday post and today’s post represents Roman Catholics and those who do hold to a view of reality that there are not only human souls, but entities of light and darkness. Some of the entities may just be personifications of astrological powers; but, without getting too in depth, the Bible puts forth the existence of demons, and many of us hold to its veracity. If while possing a young man, Legion says we know you and you have authority over us; and if Jesus says the authority by which he removes demons is God, then devout believers who strive to be like Jesus as disciples and Paul strove to be like Jesus, exorcising demons themselves, we devout believers recognize Jesus’ placement in the hierarchy of the divine.

    Second, if a Roman soldier says “Truly, he was the Son of God” at his crucifixion, then Jesus became God when all the weather activity upon his death inspired the Roman soldier to make his declaration before, as you say, Paul mythologized Jesus and before the Gospel of John mythologized Jesus.

    My third reason for wanting to read your book is to contemplate whether or not Josephus gave us the Testimonium Flavianum but in the words immediately following does he qualify it by saying on the third day, all who were devout to the notion of a man-god received the man-god’s confession: I am no god.

    Fourth, I’m hoping you address how anyone can become a Jewish man-god when many, from 66-73 C.E., had reason to take an atheist stand against a Jewish man-god given the destruction of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple. Do you address “Notion of God rising from the ashes?”

    Thank you.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  April 8, 2014

      I have approved all of your posts, to my knowledge. But I’m afraid I can’t interact much with very long questions or comments. Just not enough hours in the day!

      • Avatar
        Rosekeister  April 12, 2014

        I was interested in the above post because I have been thinking about conservative scholarship in general lately between Washington Nationals games (which is why I know JTShaw wasn’t just joking in his post). Do you think the problem with the more extreme conservative Biblical scholarship is the premise that if you can prove enough Biblical statements to be true that it will in some way validate the 1st century mid-east mythology that is the background of the writers-a personal God, the overarching theme of salvation, the heavenly host, the demons, the plan to send his Son to die in our place?

  14. Robertus
    Robertus  April 13, 2014

    Terry Gross is great. I loved her interview with Bill O’Reilly, where he became so upset he walked off the set. Sweet little Terry Gross! It was a travesty that the NPR ombudsman sided with O’Reilly.

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