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Why Paul Was Persecuted (Or Claimed He Was). Platinum Guest Post by Daniel Kohanski

I am pleased to publish this new Platinum post by Dan Kohanski, on an intriguing and important topic for understanding both the life (and writings) of Paul and the earliest history of the Christian movement. This post is by a Platinum member for other Platinum members.  You too can make a post like this.  Interested?  Just write something up and send it along.  It doesn't need to be high level scholarship.  Just write up your views about something and get some feedback from others! In the meantime, Dan will be willing to address your feedback on this one. ****************************** (This article is based on research I’ve been doing for my new book, A God of Our Invention: How Religion Shaped the Western World, to be published in early 2023 by Apocryphile  Press.)[1] The claim that opposition is persecution is one that occurs throughout the history of Christianity. The last of Matthew’s beatitudes promises that those “who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (Matt. 5:10) will be rewarded in heaven. The First Letter of Peter reassures its [...]

2022-09-22T10:10:57-04:00September 23rd, 2022|Paul and His Letters, Public Forum|

Our Next Platinum Webinar! Tuesday September 27

We have scheduled our next Platinum-Only Webinar for Tuesday  September 27!  I hope you can make it: it's a hot topic.  (If you can't make it, we'll be recording it and sending it out) (In fact, we'll be doing that even if you *can* make it)   Topic:  The Birth of the Trinity Issue:  Most people don't actually know what the doctrine of the Trinity is (it's not just that there is a Father, Son, and Holy Spirit...); fewer still have a good sense of where it came from, why it developed, and how.  After this webinar, you will! Time:  7:30 - 9:00 pm Eastern Time.     Link: https://unc.zoom.us/j/97931736337?pwd=b0JmTlYvK3dmZ3dxK3haWWdSS2cxQT09 Meeting ID: 979 3173 6337 Passcode: 691689 Hope to see you there! = Bart

2022-09-20T16:13:56-04:00September 20th, 2022|Public Forum|

September Gold Q&A

Dear Gold Members, Here we go!  Time for our monthly Gold Q&A.   Have a question?  Go for it.  It can be anything related to the blog. To enter your question on to the list: send it to Diane at [email protected] The DEADLINE for your question is this Saturday, September 24 midnight (whenever midnight is where you live).   I will record the session soon thereafter and we'll get it released by Sept. 29 or so. Questions that are relatively short (a sentence or two) are more likely to be chosen.  And feel free to come up with a stumper!   Bart  

2022-09-20T16:12:54-04:00September 20th, 2022|Public Forum|

Why Even Conservative Christians Should Accept Evolution: Blog Anniversary Guest Post by Michael Shermer (part 2)

For several months now I have been posting Guest Posts that were generoulsly provided by others in honor of the blog's tenth anniversary.  These posts have been wide-ranging in their content and the intriguing , each pbased on the posters' unique backgrounds and expertise.  This now is the final one in the series, the second of two posts by Michael Shermer, to continue what he was saying in his post of Sept. 3. This one is particularly significant.  Why is it in conservative Christians' (and everyone else's) own best interest to accept evolution as a reality of the past?   He makes some compelling points.  Read and see! ************************* To counter the doubts I mentioned in my previous post, I argue that, in fact, Christians and conservatives should accept the theory of evolution for at least eight reasons (again, for brevity, truncated here): Evolution happened. The theory describing how evolution happened is one of the most well-founded in all of science. Christians and conservatives embrace the value of truth-seeking as much as non-Christians and liberals do, [...]

2022-08-28T13:09:45-04:00September 8th, 2022|Public Forum|

I’m Thinking about Starting a Podcast. Your Opinion?

I am thinking about starting a Podcast and would like your opinion.  This would be *different* from the Ehrman Blog podcast that we’ve had for years (and is now in hiatus as we redesign it) and, of course, from the audio versions of the blog already made available to gold and platinum members.  It would not be connected with the blog per se – though hopefully it would draw attention to and attract new members to the blog  It would instead be my own thing for the Bart Ehrman Professional Services, the site where I host my online courses, push my books, and offer consultation services (www.bartehrman.com)  But I mention it to you, my blog readers, because among the members of the human race, you are the ones who most follow my work, and I would welcome your advice. For years people have urged me to do a Podcast, and I’ve always thought – Whoa!  Way too much work!   But now I’m thinkin’: Hey, why not join the 21st century?  If the goals of my [...]

2022-08-28T12:34:45-04:00September 6th, 2022|Public Forum|

Why Christians and Conservatives Should Accept Evolution: Blog Anniversary Guest Post by Michael Shermer (part 1)

I have been publishing guest posts in celebration of the blog's tenth anniversary, and am pleased to conclude the series now with two posts by Michael Shermer, whom many of you will know from his writings and media appearances discussing (especially) religion and science.  Michael was a one-time committed fundamentalist turned outspoken skeptic.   Here is the first of his two-parter, on an issue of particular cultural and religious importance. US public acceptance of evolution is growing but is still low compared to other countries. Why? Religion and politics. Here's why that need not be. As a career-long student of the century-long evolution-creationism debate I was encouraged to read the results of a new study on “Public Acceptance and Rejection of Evolution in the United States, 1985-2020” by Jon Miller, Eugenie Scott, Mark Ackerman, and Belén Laspra, published in the journal Public Understanding of Science. “Using data from a series of national surveys collected over the last 35 years, we find that the level of public acceptance of evolution has increased in the last decade after [...]

2022-09-08T10:39:43-04:00September 3rd, 2022|Public Forum|

Vote on your favorite Platinum Post: The Next Round!

Dear Platinum members, It's time again again for you to vote on one of our Platinum guest posts, to see which one will be posted on the blog at large.  Take a look.  It's a wide range and all very interesting.   To vote, just send a quick note to Diane at [email protected]  Your deadline:  this coming Tuesday, 9/6/2022 midnight your time. And remember — you’re always welcome to submit a post yourself.  Is there anything connected to the blog that strikes your fancy that you’d like others to read about?  Any ideas/thoughts you’d like to have disseminated and discussed?  Here’s your chance.  It doesn't have to be highly learned and informed -- just something you'd like some feed back on .  If you're interesetd, just zap me a note -- or send me a post! June 24, 2022  Onan the Barbarian: How an obscure Bible character affected reproductive rights.  Douglas Wadeson July 2, 2022 Which James in Galatians? Gregory Hartzler-Miller July 8, 2022 A Major Forgery in the Hebrew Bible? Dennis J. Folds August 22, [...]

2022-09-01T18:27:30-04:00September 1st, 2022|Public Forum|

Are You Interested in Volunteering for the Blog??

WE NEED BLOG VOLUNTEERS! You may know – but probably don’t! – that we have a dozen or so people who volunteer to do various things that have to be done for our blog to work (e.g., help with finances/taxes/etc; read audio posts for Gold members; run the Bart Ehrman Blog Podcast; run the Blog Forum; do social media; and more). Now some new needs have arisen, and I need some more volunteers.  Interested?  Do you have a few hours a week (amount TBD) to pitch in to help us as we grow, develop, and (we hope) improve? Here are the three tasks we need help with:   Re-categorizing Posts As you know, the blog has been going for over ten years now; I post five times a week (counting those by guest scholars) and have done so for our entire history.  We currently have over 3000 posts, all of them available in our archives. It is relatively easy to search the archives for posts, either by looking up each category and going through the [...]

2022-08-25T18:38:12-04:00August 26th, 2022|Public Forum|

How Evangelical Apologists Are Changing Their Arguments: Anniversary Guest Post: Kurt Jaros

I continue here with my string of guest posts written by scholars in honor of the blog's tenth anniversary.  Here is a post from Kurt Jaros, an evangelical Christian theologian and apologist, in which he explains how apologetics -- the intellectual defense of the claims of the Christian faith -- has grown and changed over the years, to represent something different today from, well, when I was involved with it in my younger days. I imagine the post will elicit a response!  Kurt will be happy to address your comments. ****************************** The Growing Landscape of Christian Apologetics   When did Jesus cleanse the Temple? In the Synoptics, this event occurs toward the end of his ministry (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-17, Luke 19: 45-46), and serves as a catalyst for his enemies to have him arrested (Matthew 21:15, 23, & 45, Mark 11:18, Luke 19:47-48). In the Gospel of John, the event occurs early on in Jesus’s ministry (John 2:14). One common approach to answering the question is to harmonize the two descriptions into a fuller, [...]

2022-08-18T11:49:55-04:00August 25th, 2022|Public Forum|

Why Did Christians Even Need a Canon of Scripture?

In my previous posts on how we got the canon of the New Testament I’ve discussed several books allegedly written by Peter – one that got into the New Testament (2 Peter); one that came close to getting in (the Apocalypse of Peter – the one that gives Peter’s first-hand description of heaven and hell; NOT the “Coptic” Gnostic one that I discussed last week in two posts); one that was thought by some proto-orthodox Christians (but maybe not many) as having a rightful place (the Gospel of Peter); and one that really never had much of a chance (Peter’s letter to James). I can now set forth an overview of what I plan to cover in my book on the canon – when I eventually write it -- and the conclusions I will draw under a series of interrelated rubrics.   These can be imagined as chapter divisions, to come after an introduction that explains the importance of the question of how we got the canon, how it has become such a pressing question for [...]

Reminder: Ask Me Anything! Tomorrow! (Wed. Aug. 17).

Have you signed up yet?  See the annoucement below.  I hope you can come! ******************* We will be holding a blog fundraiser, donations voluntary, on Wednesday August 17, 8:00 - 9:15 PM Eastern Time.   It will be an Ask Bart Anything.  Any question on any topic is welcome.  If I am unable to answer, I won't.  I can only think of a few things I'd be unwilling to answer, and I'm not going to tell you what they are. We are raising money for the people suffering in Ukraine, and will split the proceeds between two of our charities: Doctors without Borders and CARE.   We are asking for voluntary donations of $30.  We would LOVE it if you could give more for this worthy cause.  Anyone who comes up with $30,000, I'll buy you a Happy Meal.  But if you can't afford $30, or can't afford anything, we completely understand.  Give what you can, if you can, and come anyway!  All are welcome. I will personally match the amount of donations we bring in up [...]

2022-08-16T07:51:53-04:00August 16th, 2022|Public Forum|

Critical Scholarship from a Sophisticated Faith Perspective. Blog Anniversary Guest Post by Judy Yates Siker

This incredibly thoughtful guest contribution by Judy Yates Siker is part of an ongoing series I'm posting in honor of the tenth anniversary of the blog.   All the guest posts in the series are by serious scholars who have provided us with us with guest posts before, over the years; one of the striking features of these posts, as a group, is just now different they are in perspective and insight. I've known Judy well for thirty-three yeas, since she entered the UNC PhD program in New Testament Studies (in the field of Ancient Mediterranean Religions) 1989.  While doing her degree and then afterwards Judy taught at an intriguing range of schools to very different groups of students: Meredith College; American Baptist Seminary of the West, Loyola Marymount University, and San Francisco Theological Seminary -- where she eventually became Vice President. All these years Judy has long been one of my closest and dearest friends.  She is an ordained Presbyterian minister, active in church ministry now that she's retired from teaching, and living in Raleigh [...]

2022-08-01T09:54:37-04:00August 13th, 2022|Public Forum, Reflections and Ruminations|

August Gold Q&A

Dear Gold Members, Yet again, it's time for our monthly Gold Q&A.   Have a question?  Ask it!  It can be anything related to the blog. To enter your question on to the list: send it to Diane at [email protected] The DEADLINE for your question is this Sunday, August 14 midnight (whenever midnight is where you live).   I will record the session soon thereafter and, if all goes to plan (does it ever?) have it released by August 18. Questions that are relatively short (a sentence or two) are more likely to be chosen; and feel free to trip me up!   Bart  

2022-08-10T15:28:57-04:00August 10th, 2022|Public Forum|

Ask Me Anything! Mark Your Calendar.

We will be holding a blog fundraiser, donations voluntary, on Wednesday August 17, 8:00 - 9:15 PM Eastern Time.   It will be an Ask Bart Anything.  Any question on any topic is welcome.  If I am unable to answer, I won't.  I can only think of a few things I'd be unwilling to answer, and I'm not going to tell you what they are. We are raising money for the people suffering in Ukraine, and will split the proceeds between two of our charities: Doctors without Borders and CARE.   We are asking for voluntary donations of $30.  We would LOVE it if you could give more for this worthy cause.  Anyone who comes up with $30,000, I'll buy you a Happy Meal.  But if you can't afford $30, or can't afford anything, we completely understand.  Give what you can, if you can, and come anyway!  All are welcome. I will personally match the amount of donations we bring in up to $5000. Moreover, if there are any individual donations over $1000, I will be happy [...]

2022-08-09T18:09:16-04:00August 9th, 2022|Public Forum|

Reading Genesis—Are You Lost in Translation? Anniversary Guest Post by James Tabor

Several scholar-friends and colleagues graciously have written guest posts for the blog to celebrate our tenth anniversary.  I am posting one a week and we will gather all of them together down the line to make them available as a group.  This week's contribution comes from James Tabor, retired Professor of Christian Origins and Bible from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (a scholar many of you will know) who has written a large number of popular books, along with serious scholarship, and most recently his own fresh translation of the book of Genesis. This post is especially interesting: James deals with problems of translating the Hebrew Bible that I bet you don't even realize are problems. ****************************** What is the best-known verse in the Bible—one that millions could quote immediately by heart? Christians might say John 3:16—after all, one even sees placards and signs reading “John 3:16” at sporting stadiums! But I think the very first verse of the Bible—Genesis 1:1—most likely would win the universal familiarity content: In the beginning God created the [...]

2022-08-08T10:06:43-04:00August 6th, 2022|Public Forum|

A Writing of Peter that *Barely* Got Into the New Testament

  In my previous posts I’ve talked about writings that claimed to be written by Peter, the closest disciple to Jesus – a Gospel, and Apocalypse, and an Epistle . These are not the only Petrine writings floating around in the early church.  Among other things, we have two other (different) apocalypses, one of them unusually fascinating that was discovered only in 1945 (a Gnostic writing). None of these was actually written by Peter, and I don’t think there’s a biblical scholar on the planet who seriously thinks it was.  It appears that writing books in the name of Peter was something of a cottage industry in early Christianity. That should give us pause.  There are two books that also claim to be written by Peter that actually are in the New Testament.  If we know that such pseudepigrapha were floating around, on what grounds should we think these two were authentic? Of all the books of the NT that have been thought to be forged – written by an author falsely claiming to be [...]

2022-07-25T17:09:11-04:00August 4th, 2022|Public Forum|

A Letter from Peter to James … Against Paul!

I have been discussing my thoughts about a future book on the canon of the New Testament for a broad reading audience, a book that explains why we got our 27 books, why other books didn’t get in, who made the decisions, on what grounds, and when.  To introduce some of these issues I’ve already discussed two books that claimed to be written by the apostle Peter (but weren’t), the Apocalypse and the Gospel of Peter.  Neither of them made it into the NT, obviously, but both were thought by some Christian leaders to be bona fide texts of Scripture. That may be true for the third example I’ll be giving here (of a book allegedly written by Peter), but in this case it is difficult to know if anyone took it as inspired Scripture.  Whether they did or not, it never really had much of a chance to make it in.  Even so, it’s a fascinating book whose author almost certainly wanted it to be granted apostolic and canonical authority.  It is a letter [...]

2022-07-25T17:03:45-04:00August 3rd, 2022|Public Forum|

Anyone in/around Asheville NC in August?

BE Bloggers! I'm going to be in the Asheville NC area (Waynesville, actually) August 9-28 or so.  I'm out there a good bit, but not usually for this amount of time.  If any of you are in the area, let me know: if there are a few of you, maybe we could work out a blog dinner.   It would be for blog members only; each person would pay for him/herself; and we would spend an evening engaged in interesting discourse! Let me know -- not here but on my private email -- and we'll see what, if anything, can happen!  [email protected]     

2022-08-02T11:12:42-04:00August 1st, 2022|Public Forum|

Reminder about My Gospels Course This Weekend

This is a reminder (or a minder, if you missed it the first time) that I will be doing an eight-lecture online course this coming weekend, four lectures on on Saturday and four on Sunday, with Q&A following each, on the four canonical Gospels. Here was the original announcement from a couple of weeks ago. ******************************   I am pleased to announce that I will be doing another online course, the second in the series: How Scholars Read the Bible.  The first, if you recall, was a six-lecture course on Genesis.  This one will be an eight-lecture course called:  The Unknown Gospels:  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. As with all the courses I do online, this one will NOT be in connection with the blog per se – it is part of my separate venture (Bart Ehrman Professional Services) that you can find at my personal website http://www.bartehrman.com.   I am announcing it here on the blog because I know some of blog members will be interested (and some would be rather aggravated if I [...]

2022-08-02T11:10:07-04:00August 1st, 2022|Public Forum|
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