Progressive Spirit Interview

On March 27, 2016, I had an interview with John Shuck for the Progressive Spirit Podcast.  Progressive Spirit (formerly Religion For Life) is an exciting and intelligent program about Spirituality and Social Justice. The program is a production of KBOO Community Radio in Portland, Oregon. John interviewed me about his new book Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior.  In the book as many of you know, I look at ...

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My Book Sales and the “Relatives” of Paul: Weekly Reader’s Mailbag March 25, 2016

For this week’s Readers Mailbag I have two questions, one about the sales of my new book and one about the apostle Paul (the meaning of a particularly important verse).  If you have a question you would like me to address, simply ask it here!



Are you pleased with how Jesus Before the Gospels is selling? The reviews are great. I’m enjoying reading it, myself.



Thanks for asking!  Yes, there are some reviewers who seem to “get” what the book ...

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Buy New Book & Get Any Previous HarperOne Book for 50% OFF

In my latest book, Jesus Before the Gospels,  I examine the oral tradition and its role in shaping the New Testament stories about Jesus—and ultimately our understanding of Christianity. For a limited time, if you purchase Jesus Before the Gospels, you can get any of my other HarperOne bestselling books for 50% OFF plus FREE shipping. Offer expires 3/15/2016… Yes, you have only ONE WEEK to take advantage of this exclusive offer.

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Irritating Amazon Reviews

OK, to start off with, I have to admit that my skin is not as thick as I would like it to be.  And because of that, I really should not read reviews of my books on Amazon.  It is, to say the least, highly aggravating.  As on the Internet generally, people can say what they want and there is no mechanism (well, no effective mechanism) for making sure they say things that are true, right, or responsible.   So why ...

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The Triumphal Entry as a Distorted Memory

In my previous post I provided an excerpt from Jesus Before the Gospels where I summarized the New Testament accounts of Jesus’ “Triumphal Entry.”  Here is the second part of that two-part post, another excerpt, where I call this tradition into question, arguing that it cannot be right historically and that it must, therefore, represent a distorted memory.

It is important to recall that “memory” is not simply a recollection of what we ourselves experienced (what you had for dinner last ...

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The Memory of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry

Two chapters of my book Jesus Before the Gospels involve discussions of “distorted memories” – that is, recollections of events from Jesus life that appear not to represent what actually happened.  One of the chapters deals with events leading up to Jesus’ death (the most remembered part of his life), the other with his public ministry.  Just to give a taste of how I proceed in these chapters, I will excerpt here my discussion of the Triumphal Entry.  The discussion ...

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Weekly Readers’ Mailbag: March 4, 2016

Time for the Weekly Readers’ Mailbag.  This week I will be dealing with three questions that have come in about my books and writing habits.  If you have any questions you would like me to address in this format, go ahead and ask!



Which of your books didn’t do well? I’ve often guessed that your least-selling trade book would be either



The reader who asked this question was referring to my comment that I’ve now written seven books with my ...

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My First Interview on Jesus Before the Gospels

Here is the first interview I have done for Jesus Before the Gospels, for the American Freethought Podcast, hosted by John C. Snider & David Driscoll (on March 1st, 2016).  American Freethought is meant to serve freethinkers of every stripe: atheists, agnostics, skeptics, secular humanists, brights, rationalists, or whatever.

In the interview we talk about what research on memory–how it’s formed, how it’s recalled, how it can change when transmitted from person to person, and how it can be ...

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Jesus Before the Gospels in Relation to My Other Books

Jesus Before the Gospels is now the seventh book I’ve published with HarperOne; two of the others have also involved issues related to historical problems posed by the New Testament Gospels.  And so I have been asked recently a very fair question: how does this book differ from the others I’ve written?

The short answer is that it is dealing with a completely different topic.   But to explain that at greater length, I should explain what the others focused on.  First, ...

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My New Book! (In Context of My Others)

.   O frabjous day!  Callooh, callay!   I’m chortling in my joy.    My new book came out today:  Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented their Stories of the Savior.  It is available now, as we speak!  Many, many thanks to everyone on the blog who has commented on various posts that I’ve done related to the book, and especially to those blog members who actually read the book in advance and made comments on it.  ...

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