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Progress on My Book

My apologies to anyone and everyone who is not all that interested in Christology and the development of how Jesus came to be seen as God. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and I’ve been obsessed with it lately, especially here on my blog. The problem is that I’m so focused on my writing for the book, How Jesus Became God, that I don’t have energy to write about anything else at the end of the day. But it anyone has questions about any other topic that they would like me to address – or if you’ve asked me to deal with an issue before that I haven’t dealt with despite my sincere promises – let me know and I’ll do my best.

Today I’m taking a break from writing. We have family in from England and so it’s a “blow-off” few days for me. I thought I’d just say something here briefly about the progress I’ve been making on the book and reflect for a minute on the writing process itself.

So now it is virtually certain that the book will contain nine main chapters along with a Preface and a conclusion. The chapters are probably going to be entitled (these may change):

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More on Recent Manuscript Discoveries
Modern Visions of Jesus

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Comments

  1. TomTerrific  March 29, 2013

    We are looking forward to your visit to Kentucky!




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    • David Chumney  March 31, 2013

      Tom, I’m a fellow Kentuckian whose also looking forward to Bart’s upcoming visit. I’m in Lexington; where are you located?




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  2. stephena  March 29, 2013

    The subject is not at all boring and I’m glad you’re writing this book! Watched a YouTube video this week in which you discuss the subject (at Yale) and also viewed a video you gave (perhaps at the same event) about the King James Version and that, too, was fascinating.

    I’d love to have a progress report on the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” fragment, though. All I read online is that it was being bashed by lots and lots of scholars. What’s your view at this point, a year later? Have you examined it?




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  3. toddfrederick  March 29, 2013

    Be sure to get it published before Easter 2014. I’m thinking of Easter gift sales 😀

    Question: Do you ever have time for mindless fun with your family? You schedule is daunting !!

    Blessings, Todd (oh and…YES I do enjoy what you are posting).




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    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  March 30, 2013

      Oh, yes, lots of fun. The key is to block out time for work and not to let work impose itself on other time….




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  4. Mikail78  March 29, 2013

    One of the points of a blog is to post what’s on your mind. If the development of Christology has been on your mind, then it makes sense to post on it.




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  5. reedm60  March 30, 2013

    Dr Ehrman,

    Has there been any new info on Dan Wallace’s supposed 1st century fragment/manuscript or its mystery paleographer?




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  6. David Chumney  March 30, 2013

    One easy topic you could come back to from time to time would be what new writers you would recommend to blog readers. We all have our favorite authors, people whose previous books we’ve read. However, it’s not always easy to know which new writers are worth the time (and money). As a scholar who keeps up with such things, you could offer some suggestions based on what you think would be worthwhile.

    One recent book that I’ve just started reading is Candida Moss’ The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom. Moss is a professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Notre Dame, and this seems to be the “trade book” version of some of her scholarly research. Anyway, your insights about writers who might not yet be on our radar would be much appreciated.

    Also, in light of your references to the christology discussion as your current focus, perhaps other bloggers could add some additional lines to this hymn [sung to the tune of “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”]:

    Obsessive, compulsive, Bart Ehrman must write;
    This mission consumes him from morning till night….




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  7. RonaldTaska  March 30, 2013

    Thanks so much for the Christology blogs and for sharing the development of this book with us. Have a good trip to Kansas. Chapter 3 seems particularly interesting and important. Maybe you can share more of that chapter with us.




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  8. maxhirez  March 30, 2013

    “I’m sure you’re interested..”
    Actually, what are all their names, and what breed of dog?




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    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  March 30, 2013

      Tom, Perdita, and Billy (standing for William Shakespeare). Black standard poodle. No strange haircuts: abstolutely gorgeous dog.




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  9. jonney38  March 30, 2013

    I’m sure I speak for others in finding your thoughts and the development of the ideas VERY interesting.




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  10. Dr.Context  March 30, 2013

    Sometime in the future, I would like to get your take on the “missing block” of Luke. Also I wonder if it was Luke who had the missing block or possible a scribe who copied Luke and Luke’s original copy was lost. Also, I would like to hear your take on the apparent addition of the later half of Matt 28:19. I have many more but as for now, I am happy to hear about the book.




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    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  March 30, 2013

      AOK. In the meantime, it’s generally thought that Luke himself was responsible for the “great omission.” And it’s widely thought that 28:19b is actually from Matthew, but that might be wrong. It would be very interesting if it were wrong! But alas, there is no manuscript evidence to support its absence….




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  11. bobnaumann  March 30, 2013

    Good grief, what a schedule! Are you not teaching classes at UNC, or is this your sabbatical?




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    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  March 30, 2013

      Yes, I’m on leave this year. In August I return to the day job and one of my real loves, teaching.




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  12. z8000783  March 30, 2013

    “But it anyone has questions about any other topic that they would like me to address – or if you’ve asked me to deal with an issue before that I haven’t dealt with despite my sincere promises – let me know and I’ll do my best.”

    Hi Bart

    What’s the best way to ask a question not connected to a particular blog post?

    John




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    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  March 30, 2013

      Probably to send me an email, or to simply be irrelevant in a reply to a post on something else.




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  13. Barbara  March 30, 2013

    When you go to Israel, will you tell us something about that extraordinary land in your posts?




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    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  March 30, 2013

      Great idea. This will be my fourth time to Israel, and maybe my seventh time to the Middle East. I’m no expert, but I learn a lot every time.




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  14. Brad Billips
    Brad Billips  March 30, 2013

    Thanks for the posts on Jesus’ Christology. I quite enjoy them. Like everything else, everyone has their favorite gospel, or part in a movie, etc. Some like the Christology, some don’t. I guess.

    Two questions: Do you ever let a non-scholar proof-read your manuscripts? And you always dedicate a book to someone, is it going to be to the original members of this blog? That would be nice! Funny.




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    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  March 30, 2013

      The only non-experts I’ve ever had read my books in advance are family members, but it’s an interesting idea. Dedications: always fun to decide!




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      • Adam0685  March 31, 2013

        A page at the end of your tradebook bringing attention to your foundation may increase membership!




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  15. Pofarmer  March 30, 2013

    I dunno about anyone else, but I’ve personally thougnt the play by play as you go through the book has been very intriguing.




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  16. Wilusa  March 30, 2013

    I’m curious about Chapters 4 and 5, what we can and can’t know about the Resurrection! Recalling that someone asked if you agree with Dominic Crossan’s speculation that Jesus’s remains were ultimately eaten by dogs or some such, and you seemed to indicate you think it’s possible…I hope you’ll advance theories about what may have happened, and the *likelihood* of different possibilities. (For example: To believe Jesus’s disciples made off with his body so they could claim he’d been “resurrected,” we’d have to assume them morally capable of telling, and perpetuating, a whopper of a lie.)




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  17. Joshua150  March 30, 2013

    Looking forward to buying the book! Quick question. Your opinion on this book. Operation Messiah: St Paul, Roman Intelligence and the Birth of Christianity- Thijs Voskuilen (Author), Rose Mary Sheldon (Author).




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    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  March 30, 2013

      Haven’t read it!




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      • Joshua150  March 31, 2013

        Me either. Here is the amazon blurb. Your thoughts on this idea would be most welcome.
        Saul of Tarsus is one of the best known and most beloved figures of Christianity. This man, later known as St. Paul, set the tone for Christianity, including an emphasis on celibacy, the theory of divine grace and salvation, and the elimination of circumcision. It was Paul who wrote a large part of the New Testament, and who called it euangelion, “the gospel”. There is another side of Paul, however, that has been little studied and that is his connection to the Roman military establishment and its intelligence arm. While other scholars and writers have suggested the idea that Paul was cooperating with the Romans, this is the first book-length study to document it in detail. By looking at the traditional story through a new lens, some of the thorniest questions and contradictions in Paul’s life can be unravelled. How did he come to work for the Temple authorities who collaborated with the Romans? How was he able to escape from legal situations in which others would have been killed? Why were so many Jews trying to have Paul killed and to which sect did they belong? These and other mysteries will be solved as the authors follow Paul’s career and his connections to Roman intelligence.




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        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  April 1, 2013

          Well, that is certainly a novel approach to Paul! Somehow I get the feeling it will not command a lot of scholarly acclamation….




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          • Joshua150  April 2, 2013

            Thought so myself. Bit of a stretch. Wanted a scholars take in it. Thank you.




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  18. samchahal  March 30, 2013

    Hi

    You asked if there were other topics taht You could comment in,

    Well.. how about the evidence that the “miracles of Jesus” are exclusive to Yahshuah?

    I mean I happen to agree with the mythicist opinion that Jesus did not exist.

    Certainly a “Jesus” did not exist until the middle ages and its quite evident that the only evidence we have of the
    “Jesus” of the Gospels is his brother Yacov and the early Ebionite movement.

    My point is that apart from the last days of this particular “jesus” there is no evidence that he was the same guy on the rest of the story, in fact its more likely that the earlier traditions about him (apart from the baptism) are traditions passed on through oral traditions not necessarily attributed to the man from Nazareth,




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    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  March 30, 2013

      I”m not sure what you’re saying. We have Christian manuscripts that mention Jesus and his miracles from the second Christian century. How ccould it then be an invention of the Middle Ages? In any event, I think you need to read my book Did Jesus Exist? !




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      • samchahal  March 31, 2013

        Hi

        I have read that book, but the point I was trying to get across was that there is no evidence that ALL the stories attributed to Jesus in the new Testament are actually oral traditions about Jesus of Nazareth, they could also be oral traditions relating to other religious figures at the time.




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        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  April 1, 2013

          Not sure what you’re asking. Some of the stories about Jesus are indeed told of otehrs (for example, the ability to do miracles).




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      • samchahal  March 31, 2013

        regarding the middle ages I wasnt suggesting that the stories were invented in the middle ages I was saying that the translation of the name to the english “jesus” happened then.




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  19. kidlat  March 30, 2013

    Thank you for educating us on the mechanics of writing and publishing a book. Will this one have pictures, illustrations? I have a suggestion for your next “trade” book: “There’s something about Mary, the mother of Jesus”. (title from one of my fave movies). I’ve witnessed one Marian event and can’t help feeling that she has more fans than Jesus. The goddess was popular in ancient times and I think the goddess cult is still with us. There’s not enough information about Mary in the NT. Most of the stories we know about her is non-canonical but that didn’t prevent the church from elevating her to a very high status (mother of god). What do scholars think about these stories? We need an unbiased opinion about these stories.




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    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  March 30, 2013

      No pictures or illustration. There’s a lot of good books on Mary from scholars. You might try looking at the one by my friend Mary Rubin.




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      • kidlat  March 31, 2013

        Thanks but Miri Rubin is a medievalist. Maybe there really isn’t much ancient manuscripts re Mary.




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        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  April 1, 2013

          She covers the earliest period as well. I know — she had me read the chapter before it was published!




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  20. Kempster  March 31, 2013

    Another topic, if you have the time…You’ve stated that you believe Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet who fully expected the Kingdom of God to be fully realized within a short period of time. If that’s the case, what is your take on the Last Supper narratives of the synoptics? Do you think Jesus really asked those present to continue that commemoration? If he anticipated the imminent coming of the Kingdom, why bother with that?




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    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  April 1, 2013

      I don’t think that he indicated that his death would be “for” the disciples; but it’s not implausible that he saw the handwriting on the wall and realized his time was up….




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