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My Smithsonian Seminar: This Saturday!!

Do you know about the Smithsonian Associates?  It's a great organization that, among other things, puts on lectures and day-long seminars by scholars and experts in all sorts of areas, including religion.  For years and years they were live events in Washington D.C. as part of the Smithsonian (on the Mall); for the past year or so they have been remote Zoom events.  In some ways, these Zoom events are even better: you can come without flying to D.C.! I will be doing an event this Saturday, May 1.  It's an all-day affair with four hour-long lectures and Q&A after each.   The topic is "Four Controversies in Early Christianity." Are you interested in getting a ticket?  Check it out.  Below is a description of my talks -- three of which I've never given before and a fourth that I've never given publicly before! And here is the link to the registration page, to purchase tickets and register: https://smithsonianassociates.org/ticketing/tickets/more-great-controversies-in-early-christianity-bart-ehrman-ponders-four-new-questions   Another Four Controversies in Early Christianity Bart D. Ehrman   Numerous significant issues were debated by [...]

2021-04-27T17:25:21-04:00April 27th, 2021|Public Forum|

Live Chance to Ask Me Anything! This Sunday!

This Sunday (5/2/21) 3:00-4:15 pm I will be holding a live ABA (“Ask Bart Anything”).  It will be over Zoom and will be open to anyone on the planet who wants to come. The format: I will take live questions both orally and through chats.  The questions can be on ANY topic that anyone is interested in.  If it is something I don’t know anything about (i.e.,  most things) or that I would rather not talk about (that little incident when I was 16….) I’ll just say so.  I will get through as many questions as I can, answering easy ones briefly and taking as long as I need to deal with more complicated ones.  My only request will be that questions are direct questions, not lectures, sermons, admonitions, condemnations, expositions of one’s favorite views, or statements of one’s opinions so the rest of the world can hear and convert. Interested?   There is no need to register, no obligation of any kind.   And no cost.  Free to all.  BUT: If you you are willing and [...]

2021-04-27T16:25:27-04:00April 27th, 2021|Public Forum|

Volunteer Needed to Read Audio Posts!

I need a volunteer!! As you know, we produce audio versions of every post that appears on the blog, available to members who subscribe at the Gold and Platinum tiers. We have two volunteers who take turns, on alternating weeks, to read the posts: John Paul Middleworth has been reading away, post after post; since we began this audio venture; over the past few months, his colleague-volunteer has been Sam Devis.  I’m very sorry to report that Sam needs to move on to other things.  He will be sorely missed.  And now we need a replacement. The task obviously requires the ability to read clearly and well and the time to do it – five posts every other week.   It does not require much technological skill or expertise.  Ben Porter, our expert in all things technical is already doing that. (In case you wondered, these audios do not compete with those recorded by our other stalwart audio volunteer,  John Mueller, who since 2017 has produced the weekly Bart Ehrman Podcast.  If you don’t know about [...]

2021-04-28T18:02:10-04:00April 26th, 2021|Public Forum|

Did Paul the Pharisee Learn about Christianity from his Relative, the Apostle Junia? Guest Post by James McGrath

Last week Prof. James McGrath, PhD in New Testament studies and long-time member of the blog, provided us a humorous guest post "50 Ways to Forge A Gospel."  And now he turns serious.  James has just published a book What Jesus Learned From Women, and one of the women he discusses is Junia, mentioned by Paul in Romans 16:7.  Paul calls her his "relative."  And says she was one of the foremost apostles. In this post James discusses an intriguing hypothesis that I had never heard before -- mainly because he just came up with it while writing his book.  It's not only highly provocative but also ... well, possible!  Read and see what you think.  James will be happy to respond to comments. ****************************** Seeking the Historical Jesus Through Women’s Eyes I’m delighted to have been invited by Bart Ehrman to offer a guest post on his blog. Bart and I share an array of interests in common, most if not all of them tied to Jesus in some way. Both of us care quite [...]

2021-04-26T21:46:32-04:00April 22nd, 2021|Public Forum|

Paul’s Community at Corinth

    By far Paul's fullest discussion of the Spirit in the life of the Christian community comes to us in 1 Corinthians 12-14.  To make sense of that discussion, I need to say something about the letter of 1 Corinthians in general, and the community to which it is addressed. Here is the introduction to the letter I give in my textbook, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (Oxford University Press): **************************** Corinth was a large and prosperous city south of Thessalonica, in the Roman province of Achaia, of which it was the capital. Located on the isthmus dividing the northern and southern parts of modern-day Greece, it was a major center of trade and communication, served by two major ports within walking distance. The city was destroyed in 146 b.c.e. by the Romans but was refounded a century later as a Roman colony. In Paul’s time, it was a cosmopolitan place, the home of a wide range of religious and philosophical movements. Corinth is perhaps best remembered today [...]

2021-04-26T13:04:03-04:00April 16th, 2021|Public Forum|

Fifty Ways to Forge a Gospel

      You may already know New Testament scholar and blog member James McGrath.  James is the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, with many academic interests similar to mine.  Six years ago we were both at a conference at York University (Toronto) that was dealing with ancient Christian apocrypha.  I gave a talk on pseudepigraphy in the antiquity, in which I argued that it was not an acceptable practice to write a text claiming to be a famous person (when you were someone else).  In the modern world we call that a "forgery"; I argued that in the ancient world they also used negative terms for it and consistently disparaged the practice (contrary to what you often hear).      After my talk, James happened to be sitting across from me, and he suggested that one could write a (Paul Simon imitation) song "Fifty Ways to Forge a Gospel."  I laughed and didn't think he was serious.  He was.  And he did.  And now he's not [...]

2021-04-15T14:43:11-04:00April 14th, 2021|Public Forum|

What Is “When Belief Dies” (by Sam Devis): Guest Post by … Sam Devis!

My previous post was an interview with Sam Devis for his podcast "When Belief Dies."  Sam is an active volunteer on the blog and has an interesting background.  I thought it would be interesting to have him write up an explanation of why he does this podcast, where it comes from, and how he personally relates to it.  As you can no doubt guess, he is indeed one for whom belief has died. Here is what he has to say: *******************************   Bart has asked me to share a bit of my story in the hope that it casts a useful light on what I post on my blog, and why I started my podcast ‘When Belief Dies’.  Essentially, I want to have honest conversations on faith, religion and life. It kind of seems ironic to me that I am going to do this, as I am not sure I know ‘who I am’ most of the time. I will do my best to tell my story well. I was raised in a Christian family. [...]

2021-03-24T17:36:07-04:00April 6th, 2021|Public Forum|

A Probing Interview on “When Belief Dies Podcast”

One of the readers for the audio versions of my daily blog posts is Sam Devis, who also runs a podcast called "When Belief Dies," dealing with lots of intriguing issues connected with "faith, religion, and life."  Check out the podcast site (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/when-belief-dies/id1516058806) ; he's had some terrific guests on, and is an extremely thoughtful interviewer. Sam asked me to do an interview, and I thought that the questions and issues were particularly penetrating.  See what you think.  Here it is.

2021-04-01T11:35:22-04:00April 1st, 2021|Bart’s Biography, Public Forum|

Did Marcion Know the Gospels or Not??

I've said something about Marcion's canon of Scripture in the past couple of posts, and last time I did that -- many years ago -- some people got confused.  The issue has to do with what at first seems a different issue.  Did the apostle Paul  (during his ministry) know about the Gospels?  My answer to that is no, he probably did not.  Especially since, well, he was writing before they were written!  And he shows no knowledge of any written Gospel (even of ones we don't have.) But then when I say elsewhere that Marcion promoted only Paul's "gospel."  Uh...? Here's the original question and my response. Question: You wrote: “The apostle Paul – well-connected and well-traveled and familiar with lots of churches – shows no knowledge that such a thing as Gospels exist.” I should have asked you about this earlier. I was surprised when, back in a post on Marcion, you said the other “gospel” Paul talked about was “a version of our Gospel of Luke.” Would you explain? RESPONSE: OK, so [...]

2021-03-16T12:14:00-04:00March 24th, 2021|Public Forum|

More on Marcion’s Theology

Yesterday I mentioned Marcion as one of the prime early Christian thinkers who argued that Jesus was so much divine he was not at all human.  I have decided that I need to provide more background to make sense of the particular way he appears to have come to that conclusion, by discussing in a bit greater depth his overall theological views, so far as we can know them. I did that before on the blog many years ago.  Here I do it again! Marcion was active in the 130s and 140s; he came to Rome to become part of the Christian community there in 139; he apparently was booted out about five years later when the church leaders found his forcefully-proclaimed views unacceptable.  He then went around Asia Minor (whence he originally came, from Sinope on the southern coast of the Black Sea) establishing churches.  He held popular views that attracted lots of followers. Marcion and his followers believed that Jesus -- whom they considered their Lord and Savior -- was not connected with [...]

2021-03-26T19:07:51-04:00March 23rd, 2021|Public Forum|

Announcing the Ehrman Blog Newsletter – Please Check Your Email!

Today, I'm excited to announce the launch of the Ehrman Blog Newsletter - and want to be sure that you're getting it! The first email went out on Saturday, so if you didn't receive it, please read the following: What is the Ehrman Blog Newsletter? A regular, new email I'll be sending - at least weekly - which will include: A recap of the week's new articles on the Blog Announcements Notice about all my public lectures, debates, and interviews and more! Who is it for? The newsletter is for anyone interested in keeping up to date with me and the Blog, whether you're a member or non-member. Note to Blog Members: You should already be on my email list and should have received an email from me on Saturday.  If you're a Blog Member and didn't receive it, I'll tell you what to do below. Note to Non-Members: If you're not a member but are interested in keeping up to date with all the important goings on at the Ehrman Blog, please click here [...]

2021-03-17T19:08:45-04:00March 17th, 2021|Public Forum|

Two Live Lectures, Sunday March 21: The Death of Jesus and the Life of Paul.

This Sunday, March 21, I will be giving TWO live Zoom lectures for anyone who wants to come.  They will be recorded for my undergraduate course on the New Testament and there will be a 30-minute Q & A to follow the second one. There is no charge per se, but I would like to ask for a donation to the blog in exchange, if you can see your way clear to do it.  If not, that’s fine – we all have our circumstances!  But one of the main reasons I’m doing these lectures is to raise money for the Food Bank of North Carolina; as with all food banks right now, it is in desperate need.  Your donation is completely tax deductible. To make a donation now, go to the blog home page and scroll to the bottom to find the blue "One-time Donation" button. Here is the info you need: Time: Sunday, March 14, 2:00 pm  and 3:15 pm (EST) The Lectures will last about 50 minutes, with Q&A to follow the second. First [...]

2021-03-17T21:00:11-04:00March 17th, 2021|Public Forum|

How to Make Sense of (or at least Peace with) What’s Strange in the Bible: Guest Post by Kristin Swenson

Three weeks ago we had a guest post by Kristin Swenson about her new book A Most Peculiar Book: The Inherent Strangeness of the Bible.  Here's the link if you haven't read it yet:  https://ehrmanblog.org/an-intriguing-but-most-peculiar-book-guest-post-by-kristin-swenson/  Her post raised a lot of interest, and so now we are fortunate to have her back for a second, related post. Kristen has PhD in biblical studies from Boston University and is an associate professor of religious studies (affiliate) at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has written other books as well, including God of Earth: Discovering a Radically Ecological Christianity and Bible Babel: Making Sense of the Most Talked About Book of All Time. ********************************** One of the things about writing is how frequently the process of writing itself reveals something new. In the case of A Most Peculiar Book, I set out to discuss some of the Bible's many weirdnesses. It quickly became clear that the topic has two, general parts – what's weird about the Bible, and what's weird in it. So that's how I continued (and what [...]

2021-03-08T14:57:22-05:00March 14th, 2021|Book Discussions, Public Forum|

Two More Live Lectures on Sunday, one of them very strange….

This Sunday, March 14,  I will be giving TWO live Zoom lectures (not one) for anyone who wants to come.  They will be recorded for my undergraduate course on the New Testament and there will be a 30-minute Q & A to follow the second one.  Please NOTE the time; the first is at 2:00 p.m., second at 3:15 p.m. EST.   When I say "lectures" with one of the two I'm using the term loosely, as you'll see below. There is no charge per se, but I would like to ask for a donation to the blog in exchange, if you can see your way clear to do it.  If not, that’s fine – we all have our circumstances!  But one of the main reasons I’m doing these lectures is to raise money for the Food Bank of North Carolina; as with all food banks right now, it is in desperate need.  Your donation is completely tax deductible. Here is the info you need: Time: Sunday, March 14, 2:00 pm  and 3:15 (EST) The Lectures [...]

2021-03-12T12:40:44-05:00March 12th, 2021|Public Forum|

TWO Live Lectures This Sunday (We’ve Changed The Plan…)! How Do We Know about the Historical Jesus? and Jesus, The Apocalyptic Prophet

APOLOGIES for the earlier post.  It was mistaken.  Can you imagine?  Here is the true, infallible, inerrant information!  At last, you may say.... This Sunday, March 7,  I will be giving  TWO live Zoom lectures (not one) for anyone who wants to come.  They will be recorded for my undergraduate course on the New Testament and there will be a 30-minute Q & A to follow the second one.  Please NOTE the time; the first is at 2:00 p.m., second at 3:15 p.m. EST There is no charge per se, but I would like to ask for a donation to the blog in exchange, if you can see your way clear to do it.  If not, that’s fine – we all have our circumstances!  But one of the main reasons I’m doing these lectures is to raise money for the Food Bank of North Carolina; as with all food banks right now, it is in desperate need.  Your donation is completely tax deductible. Here is the info you need: Time: Sunday, March 7, 2:00 pm  [...]

2021-03-03T18:19:48-05:00March 3rd, 2021|Public Forum|
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