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Heaven and Hell: Press Release!!

I am happy to say as that we move toward publication of my book, my publisher has just issued a press release to announce that it’s coming soon.  The release includes several endorsements by experts, which are always gratifying to see, and brief comments taken from the early reviews done by journals that announce and evaluate forthcoming books to booksellers, bookstores, and publishers.   It’s a a nice release, I think.  Here ’tis.



News from Simon & Schuster

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
Publicity Contact: Cat Boyd
(212) 698-7183 /

From the New York Times Bestselling Author of
Misquoting Jesus and The Triumph of Christianity


A History of the Afterlife

Bart D. Ehrman

 Simon & Schuster | March 31, 2020 | $28 | Hardcover | 9781501136733

“Ehrman’s twin strengths are deep knowledge and an accessible style.
This displays both in spades.”
— Booklist

“Ehrman’s eloquent understanding of how death is viewed through many spiritual traditions is scintillating, fresh, and will appeal to scholars and lay readers alike.”
— Publisher’s Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“A readable book of popular Christianity.”
— Kirkus Reviews 

“Expect delightful, informative examinations of ancient ideas about heaven and hell; ideas that have evolved as human needs and desires have also evolved.”
— Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

 “Ehrman writes like a storyteller, and he rivals Dante’s Virgil as a
guide into mysterious realms.”
 Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration 

“Provocative, personal, and packed with fascinating details. Ehrman’s lively tour of Greek philosophy, early Jewish sources, the Gospels, Paul’s letters, Revelation, and later Christian notions of eternal reward and everlasting torment educates, entertains, and for those concerned about the afterlife, ultimately consoles.”
Amy-Jill Levine, Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Vanderbilt University

“There’s no one I’d rather read on what Christians believe, and why they believe it, than Bart Ehrman. This is a wise and fascinating book.”
 Tom Bissell, author of Apostle

According to a recent Pew Research poll, 72% of Americans believe in a literal heaven and 58% in a literal hell.  This is also a world-wide phenomenon: there are over two billion Christians who follow Jesus, and most believe that because of their faith, they will have a glorious afterlife. Whether believers or not, nearly everyone wonders about what, if anything, comes after death, and speculation continues to feature in popular culture, like in the recently concluded and critically acclaimed ‘The Good Place.” In HEAVEN AND HELL, Ehrman investigates the powerful instincts that gave rise to the common ideas of heaven and hell and that help them endure. He comes to surprising and unexpected conclusions: neither place of the afterlife was taught in the Old Testament or even in the teachings of Jesus himself.

From the Epic of Gilgamesh to the writings of Augustine, Ehrman recounts the long history of the life after death.   In different times, places, and cultures, people held a wide variety of views, and Ehrman is adept at showing how these influenced one another and changed in response to their historical, social, and cultural situations. His driving question is why and how Christians came up with the idea that souls will experience either eternal bliss or everlasting torment – or even purgatorial pain. Ehrman shows that the historical Jesus, Paul, and the author of Revelation would have been utterly perplexed by such ideas. These ideas are later Christian developments.

Of course, Bart Ehrman can’t tell us what actually happens after we die. As a young Christian, he believed with absolute certainty in a literal heaven and a hell, and feared for his own fate after death. As an adult, Ehrman lost the comfort that came with certainty – but he eventually found it again, and explains why in the closing of this book.  HEAVEN AND HELL concludes that some of the world’s greatest thinkers, including Jesus, believed there could be something to look forward to after death, but that there is certainly nothing to fear.


Bart D. Ehrman is a leading authority on the New Testament and the history of early Christianity, and the author or editor of more than thirty books, including the New York Times bestsellers Misquoting Jesus, How Jesus Became God, and The Triumph of Christianity. A Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he has created eight popular audio and video courses for The Great Courses. He has been featured in Time, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post, and has appeared on NBC, CNN, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, BBC, and NPR. His most recent book is Heaven and Hell.

HEAVEN AND HELL: A History of the Afterlife
Bart D. Ehrman
On Sale March 31, 2020
$28.00 Hardcover
ISBN: 9781501136733
E-Book ISBN: 9781501136757

Cat Boyd / 212-698-7183 / Cat.Boyd@simonandschuster.com

Brief Video Promotion of Heaven and Hell
A “Newly Discovered” “Gospel”: Was Jesus Married with Children?



  1. Avatar
    RICHWEN90  February 12, 2020

    I’ve got it on order already and am really looking forward to this one. Given the topic it could be a blockbuster– if it isn’t I would be very surprised!

  2. Avatar
    pstrst@pacbell.net  February 12, 2020


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    fishician  February 12, 2020

    Really looking forward to another great read, especially on this topic! I think one of the oddest beliefs people have about the afterlife is that our past loved ones are looking down at us. Maybe some people find that comforting for some reason but I find it terribly creepy!

  4. Avatar
    NancyGKnapp  February 12, 2020

    I can hardly wait to get this book in my hands. – pre-ordered it from Amazon months ago.

  5. Avatar
    darren  February 12, 2020

    Really, really looking forward to reading this one!

  6. kt@rg.no
    kt@rg.no  February 12, 2020

    ,,,,,,,hope your sales numbers will grow like the Heaven/Kingdom of God do, if one believe the Gospel of Luke 🙂 ,,,from the smallest mustard seed to the largest tree. Hope it will be a succeess like most of what you work on 🙂

    Kjell Tidslevold

  7. Avatar
    brenmcg  February 12, 2020

    Congrats on the new book!

    Do you still get nervous about the reaction to a new publication or have you just been through it all enough times now?

    • Bart
      Bart  February 14, 2020

      I’d say anxious. One always wants a lot of readers — otherwise no one would write!

    • Avatar
      doug  February 14, 2020

      When I would give a public talk, I would hand out rotten tomatoes to the audience. That way, they wouldn’t throw rocks ; )

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    chixter  February 12, 2020

    Man I cannot wait to read this!!!!! Thanking you in advance Bart.

  9. Robert
    Robert  February 12, 2020

    “Ehrman … rivals Dante’s Virgil as as a
    guide into mysterious realms.”

    Wow! Henceforth, shall you be known as ‘Beatrice’!

    • Bart
      Bart  February 14, 2020

      Yeah, my wife Sarah has given me a VERY hard time about it.

  10. Avatar
    flshrP  February 13, 2020

    Batten down the hatches. I anticipate that this will be by far your most controversial trade book. The blowback should be monumental.

    Showing how the fantasies of immortality and an eternal afterlife are totally man-made inventions will be super disturbing to the true believers who dread the idea of non-existence after death and live in fear of eternal punishment for their (non-existent) immortal souls. You will cause these indoctrinated individuals to begin to doubt their core beliefs and that will infuriate them.

    • Avatar
      Pattycake1974  February 14, 2020

      I certainly don’t see it that way.

  11. Avatar
    paulfchristus  February 13, 2020

    The post about the historical creation of Heaven and Hell are great. I have already pre-ordered the book and looking forward to reading it. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

  12. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  February 13, 2020

    How exciting for you. Congratulations! I certainly agree that your twin strengths are “deep knowledge” and “accessible style.”

  13. Avatar
    tskorick  February 13, 2020

    This is pretty exciting even to watch from the stands, from when you first talked about the idea on this blog through commentary on your research, and now the publication date is nearing. Cool!

  14. Avatar
    Randybessinger  February 14, 2020

    Preordered the Audible version. Did you pick the reader for the book or is that done by publisher (or Audible)?

    • Bart
      Bart  February 16, 2020

      Audible did it. Last week they had me read the Preface for it though.

  15. Avatar
    eminentlaw  February 14, 2020

    Interesting to see endorsement from Brian McLaren. Are you and he friends?

  16. Avatar
    ddorner  February 16, 2020

    Can’t wait to read this!

  17. Avatar
    Bewilderbeast  February 22, 2020

    “Expect delightful, informative examinations of ancient ideas about heaven and hell; ideas that have evolved as human needs and desires have also evolved.”
    — Phew!! So there IS wifi . . .

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