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OK, apologies to all 29,475 of you who noticed that I said “astrology” instead of “astronomy” yesterday, and that I dated the earth — not the universe –at 13.8 billion years old.   Mistakes noted!

It was a long day: ten hours of writing and editing, and then the blog.  Yuk!   But, well, at least I know that lots of you were paying attention.   I won’t post your comments if they simply were making corrections this time around…..

I am nearing the finish line with the draft of the book.   I’ve written all ten chapters and the Preface, and edited it all once.   Now I’m working on the second time through, editing, adding footnotes, improving style, polishing, and so on.   On Monday I’ll be sending it to four very sharp colleagues in the field: they’ve agreed to read it and make comments on everything from substance to style.  I HATE this part of it, because I always want anything I write to be perfect, and it never is, and people notice, and I have a thin skin about such things.  But I HAVE to show it to colleagues and friends so that they’re the ones who catch mistakes (instead of 12,475 readers).

So I’ve asked them to get comments back to me in a month.   Then I’ll revise it further based on what they say.  Give it a final read through, and send it in.

Not sure how many of you are aware: it typically takes a year to get a book published once it is in the publishers hand.   That’s true for just about every kind of book I’ve ever done: scholarly monograph, college textbook, or trade book.   It’s *possible* for a publisher to move much faster, but to do so they have to cut corners and push something else that is in queue out of the way.   So usually it’s a year.  That means this book, even though I’m nearly done now, won’t be published probably until next April.  

In the meantime I’ll be moving on to the next thing, which is a scholarly commentary on the early non-canonical Gospel fragments, including the Gospel of Peter, Papyrus Egerton 2, and a bunch of ones you’ve probably never heard of!   That one will be hard work, but I like to alternate between doing the popular book (my current project), the college textbook (the most recently finished book, My Intro to the Bible), and the scholarly book.

Off to Israel
Back to School: Graduate Studies



  1. Avatar
    toddfrederick  April 26, 2013

    You’ve got a life to live and you’re human…it sounds like you don’t even have time for your family. I’m very thankful that you have this blog, and if you only posted something once in a while I’d be happy. You need to take some time off, and I thank you so very much for sharing your thoughts with us.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  April 27, 2013

      Thanks for your concern. But doing a lot with my family these days! Taking my son out for his 31st birthday tonight. I’m way too young for this….

  2. Avatar
    philologue  April 27, 2013

    If you want a random layperson to read it and give feedback on whether it’s accessible enough to non-scholarly types like myself hehe, I’d be happy to volunteer my services. I have no doubt you’ve done another fantastic job, and I’m disappointed that it’ll be a whole other year before it’s published!

  3. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  April 27, 2013

    1. You don’t strike me as being one having a “thin” skin because you are able to put up with much more than your share of conservative criticism. You have to have a very “thick” skin in order to do that.
    2. Do you have any thoughts about the topic of your next popular book? Do you think it might be time to summarize your entire approach to” Reading the Bible” explaining why the Bible cannot be interpreted as being inerrant? This would involve the discussion of how the books got selected for the Bible and what got left out (“Lost Scriptures”), the differences in different ancient texts (Codex Sinaticus, Codex Vaticanus) as you discuss in “Misquoting Jesus,” Bible contradictions as you discuss in “Jesus Interrupted,” the translation problems, the attribution of authorship problems that you discuss in “Fraud,” and the effects on the Bible of the ancient culture of Biblical times as you discuss in “Lost Christianities” and “How Jesus Became God.”

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  April 27, 2013

      Yup, I have my next several popular books lined up already in my head, and one in a contract. I’ll lay them out in a post soon.

      • Avatar
        RonaldTaska  April 28, 2013

        You are really incredible! Most of us lucky if we are able to write just one book and get it published in a lifetime.

  4. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  April 27, 2013

    P.S. The working title of such a summary “popular book” could be “Is the Bible the Word of God?”

  5. Avatar
    Pat Ferguson  April 27, 2013

    😀 Seems like you have a bunch of readers who are willing to do your proof reading for free.

    Free is good! 🙂

  6. Avatar
    Wilusa  April 27, 2013

    Still thinking about the Resurrection (which I don’t believe in), and the “empty tomb” and Joseph of Arimathea (elements of the story I always have tended to believe in)… I’m currently reading your book “God’s Problem,” with your explanation of how early Christians interpreted Second Isaiah 53 as predicting Jesus’s death and Resurrection. I can accept their having invented details of what happened to Jesus that seemed to match what was in Second Isaiah.

    But…the part about the “suffering servant” having a “tomb with the rich,” and its having inspired the story of Joseph of Arimathea? The Wikipedia article on Joseph of Arimathea gives three versions (from different ancient texts or translations) of the complete sentence that includes something like that. They’re all very different; and none of the three sentences seems to make sense. (Translators, perhaps even in ancient times, not having understood some idiom?) Could the passage really have meant that the wicked were to blame for the (imagined) victim’s need of burial, the rich to blame for his death? Whatever it meant, I find it hard to believe something so incoherent could have inspired the Joseph of Arimathea story.

  7. Avatar
    Wilusa  April 27, 2013

    An afterthought, also about the “Old Testament”: Am I correct in understanding that in the original Hebrew of those “Books,” the text was crammed together with no spaces between words? That in itself, coupled with variant spellings, could have led to errors in translation…

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  April 27, 2013

      Yes, that’s true for all ancient writings. I don’t think it has affected modern translators much though.

  8. Avatar
    sebmooc  April 27, 2013

    Great to hear the book is nearing completion, Bravo. Perhaps, you read the news story of the parents in Pennsylvania who lost their second child due to literalist beliefs about the evils of standard medical care. What a shame! Bart, your books help to refute such ignorance.

  9. Avatar
    billgraham1961  April 28, 2013

    That’s pretty funny, Bart. It just makes you human like the rest of us and it means you’re not an elitist!

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