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Some Academic Good News

I’d like to take time out to do a post on what is happening in my personal academic life just now, which involves some good news.  First, some background.

As you probably know, the life of the professional academic is highly unusual – bizarre when you think about it.  Here I am, a 62-year old, who organizes his entire life around semesters.  Really?  Shouldn’t that have stopped, like, 40 years ago?  Yeah, well, for most of us.  But not us professorial scholar types.

In my experience lots of people outside the academy have a bit of trouble understanding what it means to be a research scholar-professor, especially at a major research university.  You get the entire summer off from teaching?  Your semesters are only 15 weeks long?   What do you do with the other 22 weeks?  And you teach only two courses a semester?  What’s that take, an hour a day?   Wish I had a job like that!

Right, well, I’ll admit it’s a fantastic job.  But it’s not because of all the time off.  Like many of you …

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  1. Avatar
    francis  April 18, 2018

    Dr Ehrman
    I am 69 and retired. Why not join me.

    • Bart
      Bart  April 20, 2018

      Maybe when I’m 69! We’ll see!

      • Avatar
        llamensdor  April 28, 2018

        In a recent edition of Time Magazine, they named the 100 most influential people in America. If they didn’t detest religion so much, you would be on that list. Congratulations on your awesome achievement. The equivalent would be winning the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in the same year. Of course it’s not too late for that–you have many years of major accomplishment ahead of you.

  2. NulliusInVerba
    NulliusInVerba  April 18, 2018

    BIG congrats!

  3. Avatar
    gbsinkers  April 18, 2018


  4. Avatar
    Judith  April 18, 2018

    Whew!!! At the end of this post, you still had not said you were giving up the blog though we wonder how you will be able to do it all. Am thrilled for you, Dr. Ehrman, but even more than that, glad we might continue having you with us, too.

    • Avatar
      Ccalletta  April 20, 2018

      No, the blog could potentially serve as a place to brainstorm and work things out and bounce ideas off of people… maybe. There are good reasons to keep the blog going in fact ….anyway congratulations you really scored, Bart….it’s like you won the lottery academically good for you enjoy and do good work!

  5. Avatar
    flshrP  April 18, 2018

    Congrats. Pulling down a pair of simultaneous fellowships is awesome.

  6. Avatar
    ask21771  April 18, 2018

    Is eternal torment in hell biblical?

    • Bart
      Bart  April 20, 2018

      Well, it kinda depends on what you mean. There is the lake of fire in Revelation, for example. But different authors had different views.

  7. Avatar
    Hon Wai  April 18, 2018

    I think academics at leading universities are amazing people, in terms of their dedication to their job. One thing I never quite figure out is what motivates them to keep producing prodigious amount of time-consuming research when they already have full professorship and have already established themselves as leading experts in their field. There is no further promotion to gain and minimal salary increases if any.

    • Bart
      Bart  April 20, 2018

      We get tenure because we have a passion for what we do; and once we have tenure, we (well lots of us) continue to have that passion.

  8. Avatar
    Adam0685  April 18, 2018

    Congrats, this is also great news for the world of scholarship!

    If you are required to teach in your second year, I bet it would be nice to teach a grad course that is related to the research you are doing…

  9. Avatar
    thelad2  April 18, 2018

    A major whoo-hoo to you, sir. In addition to your studies, perhaps you will now be able to devote a wee bit of time to sampling some of the many new single malt scotches on the market. May I suggest anything from Kilchoman.

  10. Avatar
    Travis  April 18, 2018

    Congratulations, and well deserved!

  11. Avatar
    ask21771  April 18, 2018

    I’m struggling with an issue please help, Josephus states that the Jews burried people who were cruicified, in the gospels Jesus was burried, the rule of Occam’s razor says the simplest explanation is often the right one, so isn’t the simplest explanation is Jesus was burried because Josephus said the Jews burried the crucified?

  12. Avatar
    snaetzker  April 18, 2018

    Sounds great Dr. Ehrman! Congratulations on winning those fellowships, and the world awaits your next magnum opus!

  13. Avatar
    Nichrob  April 18, 2018

    Congratulations..!! And, Wow..!!

  14. Avatar
    Nichrob  April 18, 2018

    After reading your new book, I am now reading The Source by James Michener (which means it’s a long read). Loved your book! I had to post Mitchner’s summation as to why Christianity took over the world….

    “In two thousand six hundred years Judaism had been able to accept only two changes, the Talmud and the Kabbala, whereas Christianity, with masterful resiliency, had spunoff a dozen staggering modifications whenever the spirit of the times demanded: trinitarianism, transubstantiation, the infallibility of the Pope, the near-deification of Mary. There lay the difference between the two religions; there lay the explanation of why Christianity had conquered the world while Judaism remained the intransigent, primordial religion of the few.”

    • Avatar
      Eric  April 20, 2018


      One might also say:

      Why is it that the Jews, displaced and dispersed, have managed to maintain a recognizable shared identity after nearly 2000 years, whereas many Christian nations (as in peoples) can longer be found among the peoples of the Earth? Where are the Vandals, the Ostrogoth, the Gauls? The Nabateans? The Kievian Rus? Their descendants are among us, but their “nations” are not. (Again, I am not speaking of nation-states in either case).

      Perhaps “intransigence” has had remarkable outcomes, too.

      • Avatar
        godspell  April 22, 2018

        Tribal identities were replaced by religious and national identities, for the most part. Jewish identity has never stopped evolving (and has many fissures in it), but the main thing that held the Jews together was the Torah–and persecution.

        If the genes survive, you might argue nothing else matters. Maybe the Jews just developed a sense of nationality earlier than most other peoples, and held to it, even when scattered through the diaspora.

        There are many other ancient sources of group identity, but usually rooted in a place. And of course, a large percentage of modern Jews have returned to that place.

        We’re really not all that different from each other.

        Most of all in that none of us seem to learn from our mistakes very well.

    • Avatar
      llamensdor  April 28, 2018

      I had forgotten that Michener was an anti-semite. I wonder what he would think today of Israel, this tiny country, which has nurtured so many Nobel Prize winners in so many different fields. Primordial, indeed!

  15. Avatar
    godspell  April 19, 2018

    This seems like objectively good news, as opposed to ‘theoretical or hypothetical; not practical, realistic, or directly useful.’ So I’ll assume you were using a different meaning of ‘academic.’ 😉

  16. Avatar
    Kwolck  April 19, 2018

    Whatever you do, you are a daily inspiration to me. I have always wanted to become an academic student at Chapel Hill. In New Jersey at 57 with no retirement in sight, unlikely. But your books and lectures endure , and when i do retire, I am going to find a way to teach and share what you and your colleagues have taught me

  17. Avatar
    BartyD4all  April 19, 2018

    Congratulations Dr Ehrman. Well deserved on both honors.

  18. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  April 19, 2018

    Wow! Thanks for sharing this and you, my friend, have earned it. I keep saying you have a “gift” and indeed you do and you have worked very hard to develop and use that “gift.” Not everyone can hit a golf ball 300 yards even if they work at it constantly. You have done this and done it over and over again. It takes both work and a “gift.” For those of us who have struggled with trying to find a place to learn this stuff, you have been very, very helpful. Congratulations and thanks.

    Who are the other two religious scholars chosen?

    • Bart
      Bart  April 20, 2018

      I’m afraid they were two people I wasn’t familiar with. Years ago playing with my 22-year-old son I hit a 310 yard drive and was gloating about it, until he said “About time…” 🙂

  19. Avatar
    forthfading  April 19, 2018

    Dr. Ehrman,

    I would like your suggestion.

    Is there a particular graduate program you would recommend for a layperson that wants a “good” education concerning the history of Christianity or related field?

    This would just be for personal enjoyment and reflection. I not asking a recommendation on which school to attend, because I know of no better school than UNC! Go Tar Heels!! But I am asking what program would be good (i.e. MA in Religion, MA in Christian Studies, etc). Would an online format be okay?

    I am a high school history teacher, so I am in a totally different field, but close enough to make great use of the education. Thanks


    • Bart
      Bart  April 20, 2018

      For most people with long-hour day jobs, the very best option is simply to take courses online. I don’t know about graduate level courses, but they must be out there. As to what program — it depends completely on what you’re interested in: religion as a phenomenon? religion in America? religions arund the world? Asian religions? History of Christianity? Monotheisms of the west? History of Early Christianity? Biblical studies? Etc etc. Figure out what you want to know about, and go from there. (Another choice for good basic information is to get the relevant courses from The Great Courses)

      • Avatar
        forthfading  April 20, 2018

        Thank so much! I have all your Great Course lectures! They are fantastic!!


  20. Avatar
    nbraith1975  April 19, 2018

    Have you ever considered a book on the “apostle” Paul? I have read so many conflicting things regarding his “identity” as a pharisee and how his teachings conflicted with those of Jesus and especially how his letters (authentic or not) came to be canonized as “god’s word.” The fact that much of what is known today as evangelical Christianity doctrine is based on his writings makes an accurate historical look at Paul seem necessary.

    I know you have blogged a lot about Paul, but a complete book would be great.

    • Bart
      Bart  April 20, 2018

      I devote six full chapters to him in my book Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene. There wouldn’t be a whole lot more for me to say….

    • Avatar
      Ryan  April 20, 2018

      Hello. I am just now finishing a new book by Paula Fredrikson titled, simply, ‘Paul’. I can’t recommend it enough.


      • Avatar
        Ryan  April 22, 2018

        Sorry, the full title is “Paul: the Pagans’ Apostle”. The spine of the book just says ‘Paul’.

        I would be very interested in Dr. Ehrman’s opinion of this book if he ever reads it. It painted a much different Paul than what I had and what I think many here might have. It is a very learned book (hah, and half of the book consists of end notes). Fascinating!

        • Avatar
          gmmarcum  April 26, 2018

          Ryan, I would like to also hear Bart’s thoughts, but reading some of their works together gives me plenty to ponder. I figure Bart would more likely have the time to answer specific questions directed to the differences found in what he and she have written about Paul. I am not there yet myself, but I’m working on it. I know this doesn’t answer your question, but I also read (and enjoyed) Paula Fredrikson’s book “Paul: The Pagans’ Apostle” after I saw that Dr. Ehrman recommended her in general on this blog. Tonight, I noticed Bart (above) references his six chapters “Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene”. I read his “Triumph” and there is a chapter on Paul there as well. I mention this because I also read Paula’s earlier book “From Jesus to Christ” after I read Bart’s book “How Jesus Became God”. After I read those two closely together I got a sense of why he recommends her work. They compliment each other. I am currently in the middle of Bart’s “The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot”, but after reading your comment, I intend to get to those 6 chapters in “Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene” next and then go revisit Paula’s Paul book.

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