How Does A Book Become A Bestseller? Readers’ Mailbag April 21, 2017

In this week’s Mailbag I deal with a question about how a book written for a popular audience becomes a bestseller, specifically with regard to Misquoting Jesus, my book that has sold the best of all by far.

 

QUESTION:

In your previous answer to me you indicated that what makes a bestseller, in the end of the day, is massive media attention.  My question now is what sparks this attention. In other words, why, out of all your books, did Misquoting ...

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Responses to Misquoting Jesus: Readers’ Mailbag

As I understand the question in this Readers’ Mailbag, it is about why my claims about scribes who changed the texts they were copying are so controversial, with some (conservative evangelical) scholars claiming that I overemphasize the differences in our New Testament manuscripts.  Here is the question:

 

QUESTION

I was wondering how textual critics can even know how the text of the New Testament probably wasn’t corrupted a lot as you would say. What would make it probable?
RESPONSE:

One of the most ...

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Misquoting Jesus Interview C-SPAN

Here’s an old interview, way back in October 15, 2006, on my book, “Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why.”   The Interview was done in Bryant Park in New York City during the New York Times Great Read in the park, with C-SPAN2 Book TV.  (Ten years ago now!  See what a Spring Chicken I look???  Ah to be young again….)

Please adjust gear icon for pseudo high-definition.

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Bruce Metzger and My Loss of Faith: A Blast from the Past

    I mentioned my mentor, Bruce Metzger, in a recent post.  In this blast from the past, I reprint a post I did almost exactly four years ago, in response to a question that I was then asked about how Metzger, a devoted Christian and minister of the church, responded to the fact that I (one of his closest students) lost my faith.   The question generated a series of posts on related topics, but here is the ...

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Authors Who “Just Want to Sell Books”

Sometimes I hear someone criticize me, or another author, by saying “he just wants to sell books.”     That has always struck me as a very strange thing to say.   Of course I want to sell books.  Why else would I write books?   Would I want to write books so no one would read them?  Has there ever been an author on the face of the planet who wanted to write a book that would not be read?

What people actually *mean*by ...

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Misquoting Jesus Interview on WPSU

On March 15, 2007, I had an interview with Patty Satalia for a Pennsylvania State University on Demand Program called “Pennsylvania Inside Out,” on my book “Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why” .

In the interview I discuss how the modern Bible was shaped by mistakes and intentional alterations that were made by early scribes who copied the texts. I also explain how realizing this led me to shift my way of thinking about the Bible.

We also ...

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Who Changed the Bible and Why? Diane Rehm Show

When my book Misquoting Jesus came out, I had a number of radio and television interviews, including this — one of my favorites, on the The Diane Rehm Show (December 5, 2005).  The show is produced at WAMU 88.5 and distributed by National Public Radio, NPR Worldwide, and SIRIUS satellite radio. This episode was called “Who Changed the Bible and Why?”

In the interview I talk about how scribes copying the NT made both mistakes and intentional changes, and how some of these ...

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Titles for Trade Books, Like Misquoting Jesus

In my previous post I discussed the strategies behind giving a title to a scholarly book.   When it comes to trade books, written for popular audiences, it is a different ballgame altogether.   Whereas scholarly books are meant to sound erudite and learned, or if  they are meant to be “clever” then only clever to those on the academic inside who catch the allusions, trade books are meant to be witty and intriguing for a general reader, and a sign that ...

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National Cathedral Lecture – Misquoting Jesus

Here is a version of my lecture “Misquoting Jesus.”   Some of you have seen a different version of the lecture (I’m sure I’ve posted one!); I’m particularly fond of this particular one, both because of its setting in the Washington National Cathedral and because, well, I just think I was on better form than usual.   The lecture was given on Feb. 6, 2007.

 

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Video: Misquoting Jesus

I have decided to add a new feature to my blog.   There have been a number of video’s recorded of my lectures and interviews, and I thought it might be interesting to post these on occasion here on the blog combined with my added comments.

My most successful popular book so far has been Misquoting Jesus.   After it was out for a while and finally “took off,” I got asked to give a bunch of lectures on the topic. ...

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