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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 goes to one place or the other.  I will be arguing that this is not a view taught in the Old Testament or by Jesus himself.  So why did it become the dominant view?  Throughout history, the vast majority of Christians believed it; even today, 72% of Americans believe in a literal heaven and 58% in a literal hell.  So where did it come from?

The book is virtually finished.  I’m doing the final edits now – today in fact, barring natural disaster (such as, well, a visit from Florence).   I will be sending it out to a number of scholar-friends who have graciously agreed to read it – scholars in Ancient Near East (I’m dealing with Gilgamesh), Greek and Roman Religion, Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Early Christianity.   And … possibly you!

This is where opportunity is knocking.  I would like to use this moment to raise some extra funds for the blog.

So here’s the (possible) deal.   I will give anyone who is willing to donate $1000 to the blog  the opportunity to read my draft of the book and make comments on it.  I will then consider the comments as I make further revisions, prior to submitting the book to my publisher.  (I did this with my last book if you recall; and I found it extremely useful.)   If you do this, I will acknowledge you by name in the Acknowledgements in the book.

This is a win-win-win situation, if you have the funds that make it possible.  You get to see the book before it goes into production; I get the benefits of your insights; and most important, we raise more money for the charities that the blog supports.  No one loses!

So, are you interested?   I would get the book to you electronically in the next day or so, barring Hurricane-induced-computer-failure, and I would like your comments back to me in a month at the latest.   All it would take would be a donation on your part in advance.

Everyone who is interested, let me know, not here by way of a comment on the blog, but in a personal email, to behrman@email.unc.edu.  Everyone who is not interested, well, you’ll need to wait sixteen months or so before you see the book in published form!   And hopefully none of us will be a seasoned expert on the afterlife by then!

Writing a Historical-Critical Textbook that Isn’t *Critical*
Looking for Feedback on My Views about Jesus and the Afterlife



  1. talmoore
    talmoore  September 14, 2018

    Boy, this is really tempting. But something tells me, Dr. Ehrman, that you would seriously dread the avalanche of comments and critiques I would likely unload. I mean, I can just imagine the sigh you let out every time you see my comments on the blog. Now imagine that magnified by 50.

  2. Avatar
    DavidNeale  September 14, 2018

    Sadly I don’t have a thousand dollars to spare. Income tax liabilities and so on. But I look forward to reading the book when published.

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    dankoh  September 15, 2018

    Suggestion for a title: The Theory and Practice of Hell.

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    KNewton1  September 16, 2018

    I visited a non-denominational church recently and the preacher mentioned a concept I’ve never heard of before. Will your book address the 3 Heavens or the 3 Heavenly Realms?

    • Bart
      Bart  September 16, 2018

      In 2 Corinthians Paul mentions going to the third heaven. The layered heavens can be found in a number of ancient soruces. Sometimes there are three, or seven, or twelve, etc.

      • Avatar
        SidDhartha1953  September 16, 2018

        So 7th heaven may be really great or just above average , depending on your pov. And maybe Paul was trying not to seem too boastful by saying he made itonly to level 3.

        • Bart
          Bart  September 17, 2018

          Some thought there was only one heaven, others three, etc. Nothing suggests Paul thought there were more than three; he went straight to the top.

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    Apologeticz  September 17, 2018

    Is this offer still available? I have $1,000 to spare, and I would love to read the draft.

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    darren  September 17, 2018

    I also don’t have $1K, but here are some other suggested titles: ‘Burning for the Truth: the story of Heaven and Hell,’ ‘What the Hell?’, ‘Where in Heaven did we get Hell?’ ‘Hell on Earth: a true story.’
    Yeah, I’ll keep my day job.

    • Bart
      Bart  September 17, 2018

      I actually like that first one! But yes, keep the job. Always the best policy!

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    rburos  September 17, 2018

    Of course if you would let me read it without paying $1000 I would be very happy, and my happiness would make my mom very happy too. That way you could help out two people for the price of zero!

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    mkahn1977  September 19, 2018

    I’m afraid to even ask my wife about donating that amount! Self-preservation is kicking in here.

    One wish/suggestion for your future books- can they have a separate bibliography from the endnotes?

    • Bart
      Bart  September 19, 2018

      Some of my older ones do, but I guess it’s a bit unusual for trade books.

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    The Agnostic Christian  November 28, 2018

    On recommendation you gave in a post a while back I ordered The Birth of Purgatory by Jacques Le Goff. It arrived yesterday. I look forward to getting into it as I find the development of doctrine to be an interesting subject in general.

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