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Personal Reflections Page

I have decided to include a new category on my blog (available for members only) for personal reflections. This will give me a chance to talk about things that are happening in my life. Most of the time there will be a close, or, well, more-or-less close, tie in to the themes of the rest of the blog: the study of Christianity in Antiquity. But these comments will be more personal in nature.

At this point, I’m imagining it to have more of an “extended-twitter” feel to it. I can understand that some people may simply not be interested. To those people, let me say: Don’t read these posts!

For anyone who is interested, feel free to ask me about anything I post, and I will be happy to elaborate.

Personal Reflections: At the Beach
Undergraduate Courses (2): Introduction to the New Testament (Part 2)



  1. Avatar
    Adam  May 25, 2012

    What football teams do you cheer for?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 25, 2012

      Ah — good question. But one I’ll simply answer here. For years: the Colts. Now: Go Broncos! (Though I like the Pats and the Packers too)

      • Avatar
        RyanBrown  May 25, 2012

        I am a lifelong Broncos fan. And now I am very excited! Can’t wait to see what Peyton can do! I’ll pretend I didn’t read the parenthetical.

      • Avatar
        Freddie  May 29, 2012

        For years I’ve followed the Browns through thick and thin. Lately, it’s mostly been thin, and you can’t watch many Browns games in Arizona, where I live, without buying an expensive cable package. Since the whole “bounty” thing, I’ve re-evaluated my liking for professional football, and wonder if I can ever watch a pro game again.

  2. Avatar
    Mikail78  May 25, 2012

    Bart, I think this is a good idea. We love to hear and see the scholarly side of you, but it’s also cool to get a glimpse of what’s going on in the rest of your life and your hobbies.

    In addition to being quite the intellectual, you seem like a really cool guy that I’d like to have a beer with. I’m looking forward to the personal reflections page. I’m curious about what kind of music you like. You’re not a Metallica fan by any chance, are you? 🙂

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 25, 2012

      I’m afraid I’m not. My music tastes may seem kind of bland: old 70s light rock; folk; some country (Carrie Underwood; Dixie Chicks kinds of things); and especially classical.

  3. Avatar
    JordanDay  May 25, 2012

    We are VERY interested.

  4. Avatar
    proveit  May 25, 2012

    Hi Bart,
    Would you please explain more on the differences between Biblical history and theology? Is it difficult as an historian to keep these separate in your personal beliefs? Also, I would like to know your thoughts on apologetics.

    I don’t know if this is the place on your blog you want to discuss this, but I didn’t have any better idea for where I may ask.

    Do you like college football? (Go Spartans!)

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 26, 2012

      Yup, but I root for the Heels. 🙁

      I’ll be happy to answer your question! But I’ll do it on the blog.

  5. Avatar
    Paul  May 25, 2012

    Three unrelated and broad questions:

    Have you read any of Frank Schaeffer’s books? If so, what’s your opinion- in general terms.

    Also, how do you like spending your “spare” time? Do you have hobbies?

    Are you interested in the East Asia (China, Japan, Korea) and/or have you traveled to any of these countries; and if so, what are your impressions? Your work (understandably) almost never mentions this part of the world.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 26, 2012

      Do you mean Frankie (as opposed to Francis)? No, haven’t readhis work, though I’ve been interested in knowing about his, uh, shifts. I was a bit fan of his father’s before I went through my graduate training and realized that he probably was not the intellectual superstar that I had assumed. Now I think that he probably didn’t really know what he was talking about.

      Spare time. I like to work out, watch sports, read novels, walk my dog, and most especially spend time with Sarah! We like hiking, cooking and eating good food and drinking good wine! (I used to play a lot of sports — raquetball, golf, tennis; but I’ve given it all up, both because of injuries and because I just don’t have the time I used to have.)

      I’m afraid my focus has been almost entirely on Europe and the Middle East, for a variety of reasons, both academic and personal (my roots and interests).

  6. Avatar
    Pat Ferguson  May 25, 2012

    I attempted sharing my theology-related thoughts on Twitter some time back and learned, real quick, just how many biblical “experts” exist in our world. Nonetheless, I look forward to reading your reflections. 🙂

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 26, 2012

      Yes indeed! They really do!

    • Avatar
      DMiller5842  May 27, 2012

      I am afraid to share any of my thoughts on Facebook or Twitter because of all the Biblical Experts in my family and close friends!

  7. Avatar
    Colm Flanagan  May 26, 2012

    I don’t know if you agree but I am very persuaded by this notion of Jesus as original thinker and philosopher suggested by Don Cupitt. It explains what caught the imagination of the earliest Christians and seems to hold water when stripping away all of the miracles and supernatural events created by the New Testament writers.

    • Avatar
      DMiller5842  May 27, 2012

      Thomas Jefferson cut and pasted to produce his own Bible doing just that. I got a copyof the Jefferson Bible from the local library to confirm what he cut. The Jefferson Bible begins with the birth (minus the virgin and all the wise men) and ends with the burial of Jesus. Jefferson says of his own work that he was trying to separate the diamonds from the dung. The problem is that I don’t think he went far enough and once you accept that the dung is there – made up- it is a small step to conclude that it is all made up. I just bought Bart’s book Did Jesus Exist? because I want to see the historical proof he spoke of in the short video.

  8. Avatar
    KingFleck  May 26, 2012

    Really enjoying the blog. I just started my own at work. Now, I suspect that you were at least subconsciously inspirational. Someone asked me a question about something, and I thought why not answer it for the whole team and whoever else might be interested.

    I lead a team of people who support our operations with something called kaizen. It is a strategy for Evidence based problem solving, based on the scientific method. I am not a scholar or a scientist, but I imagine we experience many of the same challenges. People seem more likely to guess their way through it, rather than search for evidence.

    In other words, keep it coming.

  9. Avatar
    cerbaz  May 26, 2012

    Why do I need to pay to read your blog, I rather my husband not see this on my credit card or his. I understand that you are raising money for a charity, however, this does exclude some of us readers. I have bought some of your books.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 26, 2012

      I’m sorry you aren’t able to pay. All the money does go to charity, and it’s the reason I’m doing the blog. If I didn’t charge for access, instead of raising $6000 so far for hunger and homelessness, my guess is that I would have raised $60! But I will keep making some of my posts available to the public. I hope you can get something out of them!

  10. Avatar
    agnossi  May 26, 2012

    Professor Ehrman,
    I am particularly interested in why you have chosen to call yourself an “agnostic”.
    Do you refer to yourself as an agnostic in an epistemological sense (as per philosopher David Hume), or is your use of the term more indicative of your method of approach to certain problems ( as, say, Thomas Huxley), or in some other sense?
    Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day(s) to maintain this blog.
    Paul Louden
    Richmond, VA

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 26, 2012

      I am referring simply to theological epistemology. I don’t believe in the Judeo-Christian God. But is there some kind of greater force/spiritual being in the universe. I don’t know! (And, in my opinion, neither does anyone else.) Does that answer your question?

      • Avatar
        DMiller5842  May 27, 2012

        Right there with you. Thanks to you, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson and even though you don’t see eye to eye with her Acharya S to some extent. Recovering Baptist

  11. Avatar
    rsaeedi  May 26, 2012

    I do not have a question, but I just want to say that I really admire your work and your honesty.

  12. Avatar
    ZachET  May 28, 2012

    Dr Ehrman

    I’m just wondering which you think is more biblical – Calvinism or Arminianism, and when you were a christian which one where you?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 29, 2012

      I don’t think either is “biblical.” They are both based on interpretations of the Bible, but neither view can be found in the Bible. I was a fairly hard-core calvinist as a believer.

      • Avatar
        Helwys12  March 9, 2013

        re: Calvinism vs. Arminianism

        Would you please elaborate? I’m especially curious how forged NT books might’ve shaped this whole debate, and whether such sophisticated theological concepts were even contemplated by proto-orthodox Christians. If that’s not something you want to get into on the blog, might you please suggest books that cover these issues?

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  March 9, 2013

          Sorry — I don’t know the context of your remark. What would you like me to elaborate?

          • Avatar
            Helwys12  March 10, 2013

            I was asking you to elaborate on your answer to ZachET’s question about whether Calvinism or Arminiansim is more “biblical”

            On 5/29/12 you wrote: “I don’t think either is “biblical.” They are both based on interpretations of the Bible, but neither view can be found in the Bible.”


          • Bart Ehrman
            Bart Ehrman  March 11, 2013

            Ah. My point is that both Calvinists and Arminians maintain(ed) that their views can be found throughout the Bible. That would be a decision for a theologian, not for a historian (like me)!

  13. Avatar
    Freddie  May 29, 2012

    I know your field is New Testament and Christian origins, but since you said you are currrently reading the Hebrew Scriptures, do you have a favorite scholar in that area? For me, Brueggemann is a no-brainer as #1, but do you favor any others?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 29, 2012

      I have lots! It depends if you mean for a popular audience or for scholars. For popular audiences I like Richard Friedman. For scholars, I like Israel Finkelstein. For more or less cross-overs I like William Dever and, well, lots of others. My favorite *textbook* authors are John Collins and Michael Coogan.

  14. Avatar
    ZachET  June 5, 2012

    Dr Ehrman

    What do you make of the Ehrman Project and could you possibly, in a future blog, respond to some of their criticisms


    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  June 5, 2012

      I’d be happy to respond to any specific criticisms leveled against my views from there, if you want to mention any. Maybe I’ll post a blog on the phenomenon (“The Ehrman Project”) itself at some point soon.

      • Avatar
        ZachET  June 5, 2012

        Well, your views on the discrepancies between what day Jesus was crucified on was commented on (I think the video itself would be better to explain)


        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  June 6, 2012

          I’m happy to address a specific question about the discrepancies (if you want to explain the problem you, or someone else, has with their existence)!

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