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The Stories We Tell: Guest Post by Robin Jones

As many of you know, a few months ago I invited my long time friend and erstwhile fellow-student at Moody Bible Institute, Robin Jones, to write a some posts for the blog.  Robin continues to be an evangelical Christian and is deeply committed to important social issues that I think just about all of us are also concerned about: hunger, homelessness, suffering, and justice. Here now is her third  and final post.  I hope you find it both interesting and inspiring: ************************   Who doesn’t love a good story? Stories embody our humanity in a way few other things do. Some of you may be familiar with the radio commentator Paul Harvey who was famous for telling how an unknown twist of fate catapulted someone into a totally different life story or created a completely unexpected conclusion. After giving the surprise ending, he would famously conclude with “and that’s the rest of the story.” While Paul Harvey was indeed a great storyteller, I propose that the master at that craft was Jesus. He told stories [...]

2021-03-01T08:39:40-05:00March 2nd, 2021|Public Forum|

In What SENSE is Jesus “God” in Matthew, Mark, and Luke? My Change of Mind

In yesterday’s post I pointed out that if one asks about an early Christian text: “Does it portray Jesus as God,” then almost always if the answer is Yes (which it usually is), it has to be qualified: “Yes, in *some sense*. “ And the question is always, in *what* sense? The reason I stress this point is that for many years – until I dug deep into research for my book How Jesus Became God – I was quite vehement, in person and in print, that the Synoptic Gospels did not portray Jesus as divine, but only the Gospel of John did. It’s true – I still think and, I suspect, always will think – that in the Gospel of John there is little doubt about the divinity of Jesus. As we have seen, the Gospel opens with the amazing poem: “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came into being through him, and apart from him nothing came into being [...]

2021-02-16T11:35:33-05:00February 28th, 2021|Canonical Gospels, Early Christian Doctrine, Public Forum|

Wanna Go to Croatia with Me?

I recently announced a tour I will be doing – Covid permitting – to Rome and Southern Italy this coming June.  (See it here, with a brochure:  https://ehrmanblog.org/interested-in-going-to-rome-with-me/)  On the tour I’ll be giving lectures and hanging out for the ten days with everyone else; it should be great fun.  For the sites we see we will have local tour guides who are flat-out experts on everything.. In this post I’m announcing a tour that will be coming directly on the heels of that one – again, Covid permitting.  It is possible to come to either one, or both.  Those who choose to do both will get a discount.   Consider it buying in bulk.  This second one will be to the Southwest coast of Croatia and nearby islands.   This is one of the most gorgeous places in the known universe, and I’m particularly excited about it, because I’ve never been there.   I’m drawn by the beauty but also by the medieval towns and, even more ancient, its  connection with some very important [...]

2021-02-24T09:57:27-05:00February 25th, 2021|Public Forum|

More Live Lectures this Sunday: The Gospel of John and Early Christian Gnosticism!

This Sunday I will be giving two more live Zoom lectures on the Gospels to anyone who wants to come. They will be recorded for my undergraduate course on the New Testament.  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. Here is the info you need: Time: Sunday, Feb. 28.  1:00 pm first lecture; 2:15 second (EST) Lectures will each last about 50 minutes. First Lecture:  Jesus as a Divine Man in the Gospel of John This lecture goes to the heart of the Gospel John and its distinctive portrayal of [...]

2021-02-24T09:13:07-05:00February 24th, 2021|Public Forum|

An Intriguing but Most Peculiar Book! Guest Post by Kristin Swenson

A new book has just come out that many of you will be very interested in.  It is called A Most Peculiar Book: The Inherent Strangeness of the Bible (Oxford University Press), by Kristin Swenson.  I did not know Kristin until I learned of the book, some months before it was published.  The publisher asked if I would write an endorsement for the cover.  I usually have to say no to this kind of request, but I read the book and thought it was terrific.  Here is what I said in my blurb: Do you think you know the Bible?  Wait till you read Kristin Swenson’s new book.  What if you don’t know the Bible at all?  Even better.  A Most Peculiar Book is a deeply informed, completely accessible, and endlessly fascinating explanation of what scholars know about the Bible and lay people, as a rule, do not.  Read this book and prepare to learn! I received my copy a couple of weeks ago and contacted Kristin to ask if she’d be interested in writing a [...]

2021-03-01T23:58:14-05:00February 24th, 2021|Book Discussions, Public Forum, Reflections and Ruminations|

The Buddhist Scriptures and the Gospel of Luke: Platinum Post by Steve Sutter

Here is a second interesting post on the relationship of the Gospel of Luke to certain passages of the Buddhist Scriptures -- for you Platinum members only! Remember, if you would like to submit a post yourself, just write it up and send it to me via email: [email protected]    We are almost at the end of the queue!  So bring 'em on! But for now, Steven's intriguing comparisons (on two rather important Gospel passages!) *************************** In the November 18, 2020 issue of the Fort Fairfield Journal, I presented a plausible case (in my opinion) that there are similarities (parallels) between selected sayings and stories in ancient Buddhist scriptures and parts of the Gospel of Luke.  Wrapping up my study project, let’s consider: (1) an additional story (The Temptation) and (2) an additional saying (The Golden Rule).   The Temptation … Paul F. Knitter, a former Roman Catholic priest, in his recent book Without Buddha I Could not be a Christian, notes (p. 106) an encounter “uncannily similar” to what Jesus experienced right before beginning [...]

2021-02-23T10:15:39-05:00February 23rd, 2021|Public Forum|

My Interview About Jesus for “The Dagger Squad”

Now HERE is an interesting interview (at least I thought it was).  Pretty unusual, in any case.  Garfield A. Reid of Dagger Squad is a lively and interesting interviewer, and the call-ins had intriguing questions. The interview was entitled  Jesus, New Testament, False Prophecies, and False Doctrines; it happened on Monday, February 8, 2021. See what you think!   Please adjust gear icon for 720p High-Definition: 

2021-02-11T18:33:32-05:00February 23rd, 2021|Public Forum, Video Media|

Interested in Going to Rome with Me?

As we are all so painfully aware, almost all travel holidays this past year were canceled.  But now many tour companies are optimistic that by late spring or early summer, with widespread vaccination internationally, travel will resume.  We will know eventually! I have been asked to do a special tour to Rome and Southern Italy, June 4-14, 2021, (THIS June!) to give lectures on the relationship of Christianity and traditional Roman religions and cultures in the early centuries CE:  “Christians and Pagans.”   I’ve agreed to do it, and will go ahead with it, of course, only if it is completely safe. The tour company, Thalassa, is terrific; it will be a small and intimate group and we will have tons of time to talk, discuss, and hang out together.   They are now accepting registrations for the trip.  Below is a poster for it, with a link for more information.  Here is part of what I say about my lectures. When Christianity arrived on the world stage in the first century AD, Rome and the [...]

2021-02-19T11:08:40-05:00February 19th, 2021|Public Forum|

Live Lectures this Sunday! Distinctive Messages of Luke and John

This Sunday I will again be giving two live Zoom lectures on the Gospels to anyone who wants to come. They will be recorded for my undergraduate course on the New Testament.  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. Here is the info you need: Time: Sunday, Feb. 21.  1:00 pm first lecture; 2:15 second (EST) Lectures will each last about 50 minutes. First Lecture:  The Alternative Perspectives of the Gospel of Luke. This lecture will show how Luke differs in significant ways from both Mark and Matthew, and will [...]

2021-02-18T21:54:53-05:00February 17th, 2021|Public Forum|

Reminder! A Live Chance to “Ask Bart Anything” (ABA) this Wednesday 2/17/2021

This Wednesday (2/17/21) 7:00-8:15 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 (quantum physics or the Ming Dynasty) 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 not cost.  Free to all.  BUT: If you you [...]

2021-02-17T15:45:58-05:00February 13th, 2021|Public Forum|

One of the Weird Events in My Life that Led Me To Be A Research Scholar

Everyone has significant events that shape their lives and lots of people have rather strange ones.  This morning I was thinking of three weird events that contributed to my becoming a research scholar.  They all happened over a four-year period, from ages 14-17.  There were: getting bored with 9th grade Latin; getting hepatitis; and going to a fundamentalist Bible college. First, the Latin.  In grade school we all took Spanish.  I wasn’t any good at it and I didn’t much like it.  I had no particular interest in languages, at all.  Then in 9th grade we had to take a language and the choices, as I recall, were Spanish, German, French, and Latin.  I was the kind of kid who liked to do things differently from everyone else; most kids were heading to Spanish, but I knew I didn’t do well there.  German and French – kind of the same thing, modern languages I wasn’t interested in.  I thought, well, Latin’s a bit unusual: maybe I’ll do that. I rather enjoyed it, but as it [...]

2021-02-03T14:47:19-05:00February 13th, 2021|Bart’s Biography, Public Forum|

Live Lecture This Sunday! Do Christians Need to Be Jews? Understanding the Gospel of Matthew.

I am now getting in the habit of doing Zoom lectures on the New Testament on Sunday afternoons; these are being recorded for my undergraduate course on the New Testament.  But all of you are invited to come this week, but because of UNC’s schedule, it will be one lecture instead of two, with Q & A to follow. 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, Feb. 14.  1:00 pm EST. Lecture will last about 50 minutes, followed by the 30 minutes of Q&A. Topic: Jesus the Jewish Messiah: Understanding the Gospel of Matthew. This [...]

2021-02-10T15:19:42-05:00February 10th, 2021|Public Forum|

The Oldest View of Christ: Found in Only One Greek Manuscript of Luke!

I’d like to address the issue of early Christology from a slightly different angle in this post. So far I have talked about how an “exaltation” Christology, in which Jesus, the man, is made the Son of God at some point of his existence can be found in various parts of the New Testament (Rom 1:3-4; speeches in Acts), and how different early Christians located that exaltation to different moments in Jesus’ existence (resurrection, baptism, birth, pre-existence). As it turns out, this view of Christology relates to an important textual variant in the Gospel of Luke. So, by way of background for anyone new to this kind of discussion. We don’t have the original copy of Luke’s Gospel (or of any other NT book) (or, actually, of any book at all from the ancient world!). What we have are copies made from copies made from copies that were made from copies. We have thousands of copies of the NT from the centuries before the invention of printing. And these thousands of copies have hundreds of [...]

Ask Bart Anything! Live Zoom Chance for you to Pick My Brain and/or Stump Me

A number of people have suggested that it might be interesting for me to hold a live “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session.  I’ve been told that the term “AMA” is copyrighted (?!) and not open for public use.   So we are going to call this an 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 (quantum physics or the Ming Dynasty) 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 [...]

2021-02-17T15:52:29-05:00February 3rd, 2021|Public Forum|

Another Two Lectures on the Gospels, Live on Sunday. Join Us!

On each of the past couple of Sunday afternoons I have given two Zoom lectures, recorded for my undergraduate course on the New Testament, and invited all of you to come.  After the second lecture we had about 30 minutes of Q&A, all very lively.  Both times went well and a good time was reportedly had by all.  But what do reporters know? I'm going to do it again this Sunday, and you are welcome to come.  There would be no charge per se, but I would like to ask for a (completely voluntary) donation to the blog. This will be Sunday, Feb. 7.  I will again give two lectures), one at 1:00 and the other at 2:15.  Each lecture will take about 40-45 minutes.  The topics this time:  "The Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Jesus the Unknown Savior"  This lecture introduces students to the problem that we do not have the original copy of Mark’s Gospel.  It appears that the final twelve verses were not originally in the account, so that it [...]

2021-02-02T17:06:14-05:00February 2nd, 2021|Canonical Gospels, Public Forum|

Do You Want to Hear Two More Lectures on the Gospels?

Last week I gave two Zoom lectures, recorded for my undergraduate course on the New Testament, and invited all of you to come.  It went extremely well and a good time was had by all.  Well, OK, a good time was had by *me*!   After the second lecture we had about 30 minutes of Q&A, all very lively. I'm going to do it again *this* Sunday.  Wanna to hear them?  Then come!  There would be no charge per se, but I would like to ask for a (completely voluntary) donation to the blog. This will be Sunday, Jan. 31..  I will give two lectures (different times this week!), one at 1:00 and the other at 2:15.  Each lecture will take about 40-45 minutes.  The topics this time:  "The Oral Traditions about Jesus Before the Gospels."  This is the most controversial talk my students have ever heard about Jesus. I explain how the stories about Jesus were circulated and came to be changed, and even invented, in the years before the Gospel writers heard them and [...]

2021-01-29T09:47:27-05:00January 28th, 2021|Public Forum|

A Recording of My Webinar on Heaven and Hell

On January 9, 2021, I did a Zoom webinar for St Luke's Episcopal Church in East Hampton NY, hosted by The Very Rev. Denis C. Brunelle on the topic: "The History of Heaven and Hell."  It was based on my recent book of a similar title. The talk was followed by Q & A, with some terrific Qs. I hope you enjoy it! Please adjust gear icon for 1080p High-Definition:

2021-01-18T09:29:56-05:00January 24th, 2021|Book Discussions, Public Forum, Video Media|

Want to Hear Me Give a Live Lecture?

Because of the crisis, I will be teaching my course, Introduction to the New Testament, remotely this semester, by recording two lectures a week, starting Sunday, for my students to listen to during the week at their convenience.  Last week for the heck of it I tried recording a lecture by myself in an empty room.  It, uh, did not go well, to say the least.  I need *someone* to talk to if I’m going to talk.   Otherwise I just stumble over my words and forget everything I’m supposed to say. I would like an audience. Which gave me an idea.  Would any of you like to hear one or more of my lectures as I record them?  There would be no charge per se, but I would like to ask for a (completely voluntary) donation to the blog. Here is what I have in mind.   We will try it out this Sunday (Jan 24) on Zoom.  I will give two lectures, one at 2:00 and the other at 3:15.  Each lecture will take about [...]

2021-01-21T16:14:19-05:00January 21st, 2021|Public Forum|

Gold Members Only Audio Q&A

Dear Gold Members, As you know, one of your perks is a monthly audio version of a Q&A, designed and created just for you.  Only those with Gold privileges can participate and benefit..  You submit the Q's and I do the A's.  Interested?   Now we are set to do the first one. I will announce later the date on which it will be available, but first we have to make it!  For that to happen we need questions.   Want to submit one? Here are the rules.  You will be allowed to submit *one* question per month.  We will collect questions until Friday January 15.   Your question can relate to anything connected to the blog.  It should be relatively concise (not a page long) and an actual question, not a comment or disquisition on a topic you want the world to consider.   You should send you question NOT to me, and NOT as a comment on this post, but to my assistant, Diane Pittman <[email protected]>; she will collect and collate them, and we will decide which [...]

2021-01-11T21:55:37-05:00January 9th, 2021|Public Forum|
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