Recent Posts

A Major Forgery in the Hebrew Bible? Platinum Guest Post by Dennis Folds

By |August 8th, 2022|Forgery in Antiquity, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament|Comments Off on A Major Forgery in the Hebrew Bible? Platinum Guest Post by Dennis Folds

I am pleased to publish this insightful and intriguing Platinum guest post by Dennis Folds, for all you fellow Platinum members.  Many of you are interested in Christian pseudepigrapha (= forgeries), especially those in the New Testament.  But what about the Old Testament?  Now *here* is a bold thesis!  Read it and remark! Remember: you too can submit a Platinum guest post.  It does not have to be sophisticated, learned, or novel.  Just write something you'd like to share with all of us, on anything at all connected to the blog and send it to me! ******************** Jeremiah Versus the [...]

Why Do Some Smart People Just Not Think?

By |August 7th, 2022|Bart's Critics, Reflections and Ruminations|31 Comments

I was recently contacted by a conservative Christian theologian who was interested in doing a public back and forth with me, not necessarily a debate but an exchange of ideas on the issue of theodicy – how to explain evil in a world over which God is sovereign. What puzzled me was his explanation for suggesting the event.  He said he had followed my work for years and had read my books, but was surprised recently to find out that the reason I no longer believed in God not “for historical reasons” but because of the problem of suffering. I [...]

Reading Genesis—Are You Lost in Translation? Anniversary Guest Post by James Tabor

By |August 6th, 2022|Public Forum|38 Comments

Several scholar-friends and colleagues graciously have written guest posts for the blog to celebrate our tenth anniversary.  I am posting one a week and we will gather all of them together down the line to make them available as a group.  This week's contribution comes from James Tabor, retired Professor of Christian Origins and Bible from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (a scholar many of you will know) who has written a large number of popular books, along with serious scholarship, and most recently his own fresh translation of the book of Genesis. This post is especially interesting: [...]

A Writing of Peter that *Barely* Got Into the New Testament

By |August 4th, 2022|Public Forum|26 Comments

  In my previous posts I’ve talked about writings that claimed to be written by Peter, the closest disciple to Jesus – a Gospel, and Apocalypse, and an Epistle . These are not the only Petrine writings floating around in the early church.  Among other things, we have two other (different) apocalypses, one of them unusually fascinating that was discovered only in 1945 (a Gnostic writing). None of these was actually written by Peter, and I don’t think there’s a biblical scholar on the planet who seriously thinks it was.  It appears that writing books in the name of Peter [...]

A Letter from Peter to James … Against Paul!

By |August 3rd, 2022|Public Forum|53 Comments

I have been discussing my thoughts about a future book on the canon of the New Testament for a broad reading audience, a book that explains why we got our 27 books, why other books didn’t get in, who made the decisions, on what grounds, and when.  To introduce some of these issues I’ve already discussed two books that claimed to be written by the apostle Peter (but weren’t), the Apocalypse and the Gospel of Peter.  Neither of them made it into the NT, obviously, but both were thought by some Christian leaders to be bona fide texts of Scripture. [...]

Why Do I “Trash” the Gospels??

By |August 2nd, 2022|Bart's Critics, Canonical Gospels|62 Comments

Every now and then I get emails from people who are, well, not exactly fans.  They have heard that I've said this that or the other thing, and have no interest at all in reading anything I've written, but genuinely want to know:  Why are you trashing the Gospels? It’s a fair question, and deserves a fair answer.  I dealt with it years ago on the blog; this is what I said then. ****************************** The short story is that I’m not *trying* to trash the Gospels.   In my view, what I’m doing is showing what the Gospels really are and [...]

Anyone in/around Asheville NC in August?

By |August 1st, 2022|Public Forum|Comments Off on Anyone in/around Asheville NC in August?

BE Bloggers! I'm going to be in the Asheville NC area (Waynesville, actually) August 9-28 or so.  I'm out there a good bit, but not usually for this amount of time.  If any of you are in the area, let me know: if there are a few of you, maybe we could work out a blog dinner.   It would be for blog members only; each person would pay for him/herself; and we would spend an evening engaged in interesting discourse! Let me know -- not here but on my private email -- and we'll see what, if anything, can happen!  [...]

Reminder about My Gospels Course This Weekend

By |August 1st, 2022|Public Forum|Comments Off on Reminder about My Gospels Course This Weekend

This is a reminder (or a minder, if you missed it the first time) that I will be doing an eight-lecture online course this coming weekend, four lectures on on Saturday and four on Sunday, with Q&A following each, on the four canonical Gospels. Here was the original announcement from a couple of weeks ago. ******************************   I am pleased to announce that I will be doing another online course, the second in the series: How Scholars Read the Bible.  The first, if you recall, was a six-lecture course on Genesis.  This one will be an eight-lecture course called:  The [...]

Another Book by “Peter” That Could Have Become Scripture

By |July 31st, 2022|Book Discussions, Christian Apocrypha|20 Comments

In this thread I’m discussing several Christian books that were considered by some early groups of believers and church leaders to be bona fide Scripture – written by apostles and inspired by God.  All of the books I’m discussing were written by authors who were claiming to be Jesus’ closest disciple, Peter.  But eventually church fathers became convinced otherwise, and the books were relegated to the trash heap of Christian curiosities. Here’s one that has become known only in modern times and that has intrigued readers – both scholars and lay folk.  What exactly did church leaders find objectionable about [...]

Does God Create People to Roast in Hell? Anniversary Guest Post by Jason Staples

By |July 30th, 2022|Paul and His Letters, Public Forum|54 Comments

I am publishing a series of guest posts that have been generously contributed to the blog in honor of our ten-year anniversary.  Each post is written by a recognized expert in our field who has previously made guest posts for us.  This one comes from Jason Staples, my erstwhile PhD student who now teaches at North Carolina State and whose (long!) dissertation has turned into TWO separate monographs, the first already published by Cambridge University Press (The Idea of Israel in Second Temple Judaism), and the other now forthcoming from Cambridge (focusing on Paul). Here, after some much-appreciated kind words, [...]

A Book That Nearly Became Scripture: The Apocalypse of Peter

By |July 28th, 2022|Book Discussions, Christian Apocrypha, Public Forum|40 Comments

As I indicated in my previous post, I’m planning to write a book (after the one on charity in early Christianity) explaining how we got the canon of the New Testament.  Who choose the books?  On what grounds?  And when? I continue the thoughts I’m laying out in my prospectus here, in the first of four case studies – a book that almost made it in.   ******************************     Four Vignettes to Explain the Issues To illustrate some of the major issues, to show how the process worked, to give a sense of the historical disputes, and to show [...]

And Then My NEXT Book Project: How Did We Get the Canon of the NT?

By |July 27th, 2022|Book Discussions, Christian Apocrypha|58 Comments

In my most recent thread I laid out my thoughts on my next book (what I *think* will be my next book) on how Christian views of charity helped revolutionize ancient (and as a consequence, modern) society. Now I will begin a series on my thoughts for my book after that.  Throughout the past ten or fifteen years I’ve always thought two books ahead; that way when I’m writing a book, in my down time I can be thinking a bit about the next one.  It’s kind of pleasant, actually, since there is no pressure on my thoughts – I [...]

Is It Even Possible to Follow Jesus’ Teaching? What Do You Think?

By |July 26th, 2022|Public Forum, Reflections and Ruminations|124 Comments

Here is a post where I raise a fundamental question that I find very hard to answer.  I will not be able to respond to all your reflections, but I will read them all and am very eager to see what you have to say. In connection with my next book I’ve been reading a lot of writings by the church fathers from the 2-5th centuries to see what they have to say about giving away wealth.  A big issue for some of these writers was whether committed Christians should give away *everything* to the poor, or rather keep most [...]

Specious Arguments for the Truth of the Bible

By |July 24th, 2022|Bart's Critics, New Testament Manuscripts|68 Comments

Professors who have taught the same subject for decades often get tired with covering the same material time after time and, as a result, answering the same questions time after time.  I've had friends who teach New Testament tell me: "If I have to teach the Synoptic Problem ONE MORE TIME I am going to SCREAM…." I've never felt that way. It's probably just a matter of personality and brain chemistry.  For me, teaching someone who doesn't know something that I’ve taught for many years just means they haven’t had the chance to learn it. It’s the same outside the [...]

Doing Critical Scholarship as a Committed Christian: Anniversary Guest Post by Jeffrey Siker

By |July 23rd, 2022|History of Biblical Scholarship, Reflections and Ruminations|26 Comments

As part of our ten -year anniversary on the blog, we requested special anniversary posts from scholars who had, over the years, made guest contributions; our instructions were that they could post on any topic of their choice for the event.  We had a gratifying number of scholar-colleagues-friends of mine graciously respond.  I'll be posting one of them a week, and then at the end figure out a way to combine them into one big kind of anniversary blog post e-book for distribution. Here is the first in line, written by one of my closest friends Jeff Siker, Professor Emeritus [...]

Did Christians Invent Hospitals?

By |July 21st, 2022|History of Christianity (100-300CE), Public Forum|54 Comments

This will be the last of my posts on this thread, connected with what I hope is my next book, that I’m calling tentatively, The Creation of Charity: How Christianity Transformed our World.  Here I talk about one of the lesser-known aspects of early Christianity – a surprising one to most people. Arguably the most important development in the Christian history of charity came in the institutionalization of giving, not on the governmental level but through extra-mural ecclesiastical organizations.  Of these, none proved more historically significant than the invention of the hospital. Most health care in the Greek and Roman worlds [...]

Were Early Christians Really Charitable? Or Was It All Talk?

By |July 20th, 2022|History of Christianity (100-300CE)|34 Comments

In this thread on “charity” in early Christianity I’ve been discussing what the Christian writers said about the importance of giving money to those in need.  But did all this preaching have any real-life effect on anything? In his classical discussion of wealth in antiquity, Paul Veyne pointed out that it is important to “distinguish carefully between the ethic that a society practices…and the ethic that this society professes.  The two ethics usually have little in common.” (Bread and Circuses, p. 25)  To this point I have been discussing early Christian rhetoric.  But what about its practice? There is solid [...]

Did Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John Write Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? Free video.

By |July 19th, 2022|Canonical Gospels|49 Comments

As you may know, I have started producing a series of online courses that consider in a systematic way how historical scholars understanding the Bible.  These are not connected with the blog, but are a separate activity I have for the Bart Ehrman Professional Services (BEPS; website: www.bartehrman.com)   In June I did a freebie as part of the series and invited all blog members to come.  Many did!   If you missed it, or would like to see it again,  just click this link! It's a 50 minute talk, with Q&A following, on one of the important issues confronting readers of [...]

Announcing a New Live Course on the Gospels! Interested?

By |July 18th, 2022|Public Forum|19 Comments

I am pleased to announce that I will be doing another online course, the second in the series: How Scholars Read the Bible.  The first, if you recall, was a six-lecture course on Genesis.  This one will be an eight-lecture course called:  The Unknown Gospels:  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. As with all the courses I do online, this one will NOT be in connection with the blog per se – it is part of my separate venture (Bart Ehrman Professional Services) that you can find at my personal website http://www.bartehrman.com.   I am announcing it here on the blog [...]

Our Platinum Webinar! Tuesday July 19.

By |July 17th, 2022|Public Forum|11 Comments

I'm looking forward to our re-rescheduled Platinum-Onlies Webinar on Tuesday!     Topic:  Peter and Paul: The Dueling Apostles     Time:  7:30 - 9:00 pm.     Link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83457463872?pwd=aGl5eHVRNURscllOdEN0SEZNdnJ2dz09 Meeting ID: 834 5746 3872 Passcode: 334283         Hope to see you there! = Bart

How Could Jesus Be BOTH Divine and Human at Once? An Intriguing Ancient View

By |July 17th, 2022|Early Christian Doctrine, Early Christian Writings (100-400 CE)|50 Comments

This now is my tenth and final April 18 anniversary post.  The blog started on April 18, 2012, and with this post I will finish all the previous posts from April 18.   This one, from 2021, is especially interesting for anyone intrigued by early Christian attempts to figure out who Christ was.  God?  Human?  Half of each?  Both at once?  How's *that* work??? ****************************** In this long thread on the Trinity I have been trying to explain how Christians came to the view that Jesus was God but that he was separate from God the Father – that both were [...]

Christians Who Reversed Jesus’ Teachings: Wealth is GOOD!

By |July 16th, 2022|Early Christian Doctrine, Early Christian Writings (100-400 CE), History of Christianity (100-300CE)|24 Comments

In this thread I’ve been giving a short history of ancient Christian views of giving to charity – a matter of real interest for the blog itself, but of bigger interest for the world at large.  Surprisingly, before Christianity started to take over the Roman world, no one apart from Jews appeared to think that the “poor” mattered enough to do much of anything to help them.  Jesus, though, as a Jew, stressed the importance of taking care of those in need.  That’s what God does and it’s what his people should do – give everything to help those without [...]

“Redemptive Gifts”: Can Giving to Charity Save Your Soul?

By |July 14th, 2022|Early Christian Doctrine, History of Christianity (100-300CE)|29 Comments

In my previous post I began to show that after Jesus’ death, his followers started to soften his message that it was necessary for his followers to give up all their material goods.  In fact, Christian leaders started seeing the virtue of wealth in their communities and began to claim that wealthy people who gave of their goods generously (without getting rid of them all) could help provide salvation for their souls. Such views become standard within the Christian tradition, creating two intriguing ironies for the religion, one related to the proclamation of Jesus during his life and other connected [...]

Rescheduled (and RE-scheduled!) Platinum Webinar July 19

By |July 13th, 2022|Canonical Gospels|Comments Off on Rescheduled (and RE-scheduled!) Platinum Webinar July 19

It's past time for another Platinum webinar; as you know, this is a four-time a year event, for Platinum Members only.  Apologies for having had to reschedule this one twice--I'll have a few words to say about that during the Zoom. Our topic is TBA. The date:  Tuesday July 19; 7:30-9:00 (EST)  No need to register; just show up. I will talk on the subject for 40-45 minutes, and then take questions for 30-35 minutes.  Interested?  It's for Platinum members only.  Here's the link:   https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83457463872?pwd=aGl5eHVRNURscllOdEN0SEZNdnJ2dz09   Meeting ID: 834 5746 3872 Passcode: 334283 One tap mobile +13017158592,,83457463872#,,,,*334283# US (Washington [...]

July Gold Q&A

By |July 13th, 2022|Public Forum|6 Comments

Dear Gold Members, These monthly Gold Q&A's have been a lot of fun to do.  Time for another one!  Have a question?  Ask it!  Anything related to the blog! To enter your question on to the list: send it to Diane at [email protected] DEADLINE for your question. Saturday July 16, midnight (whenever midnight is where you live).   I will try to get it recorded soon after that, with a goal of releasing it on or around the 20th. Sorry for the short notice.  July has been a killer--more on that another time! Questions that are relatively short (a sentence or [...]

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