We have a lot of new members joining us, some of them (new) paying members (Thank you very much!) and others who are taking advantage of our free two-month offer (welcome!!). We’re delighted to have you, and hope you enjoy the blog. Please spread the word!
For newcomers, some information about a couple of additional features of the blog that you may not know about (and a reminder about these for everyone else); and then a couple of notes about protocol on the blog, including a couple of changes we are implementing.
First and foremost, I want to highlight the Bart Ehrman Blog Podcast. This is an amazing production – so amazing that I wish I had something to do with it. But it wasn’t my idea, it’s not something I do, and it is absolutely fantastic.
An unusually energetic blog member came up with the idea: John P. Mueller. John dreamt up the podcast, designed it, implemented it, narrates it, produces it, and administers it. Check it out: https://ehrmanpodcast.libsyn.com/
Every week, John reads two of the blog’s posts, and it is available to everyone, both members of the blogs and those not. The original idea was to use the podcast to draw people into the blog – and it works extremely well. But lots of people *on* the blog like to hear audio versions of some of the posts. And this is the venue for that.
John reads one of my “public” posts each week (these are posts that I make available to everyone, not just blog members) AND one of the archived posts that was originally for members. It is an extremely effective tool, and you should give it a shot.
Many, many thanks to John for doing all this. It’s a labor of love, and I appreciate it very much.
Second, there is also a Blog forum that is un-moderated, and on which blog members can go back and forth with each other on any topic of their choice at their will and leisure. The idea is to do so without the Lord of the Blog looking over your shoulder the whole time. On the forum, you can do your own thing, so long as you’re polite and respectful about it. I only get involved if someone asks me to interfere, which, in living memory, has almost never happened. So take a look. From the landing page just click on Members’ Forum (it’s right next to Latest Posts).
NOW: a word about blog protocol, and a couple of new policies.
Protocol. Unlike most Internet sites, I strictly monitor the blog for relevance and mutual respect. No bad mouthing allowed! We try to respect each others’ opinions even when we heartily disagree, and so no personal attacks. (If you know me personally, you know that there are few things I enjoy more than the old Saturday Night Live “Point-Counterpoint” from the 1970s. But not on the Blog!)
I moderate all comments and accept virtually all of them. The ones I do not publish are the ones that are snarky OR irrelevant to the purpose of the blog. I also do not post purely political comments that do not closely relate to what we are meant to be talking about here – the New Testament and the history of earliest Christianity. I know it’s hard to refrain – oh boy do I know. We all have our political views. And we should all express them with conviction and passion. But, well, not on this blog. All sorts of people with all sorts of views are here, and I do not want us to alienate each other about politics when what we are supposed to be exploring is the NT and early Christianity.
NEW POLICIES. It is increasingly difficult for me to moderate the blog as a one-person show. Comments are growing in number and there are only so many minutes in a day. I wish I had more, and if anyone wants to donate a few to me, I would really appreciate it.
To make this whole thing work, here are new policies we are implementing. I don’t think they are particularly onerous, and actually may help improve the blog.
1. Each blog member is allowed to make only two comments per day (it was three) (the vast majority of members don’t make any, so this shouldn’t be that big of a deal).
2. Comments need to be limited to 200 words. I completely understand the desire for longer ones, but 200 words are normally more than enough to make a point or ask a question. I try to teach my own students CONCISION! It’s a good policy. So just be efficient with your words.
3. If you would like to ask a question in your comment, that is perfectly fine. You can do that, in fact, in a comment on *ANY* post, whether your question is related to that particular post or not. And I will continue to answer all the ones I get, even though I have to be very brief in my response. BUT, we will now limit you to one question per comment, not a string of three or four or more. We will allow one exception: it is also OK to ask a question with one follow-up depending on the answer to the first question.
4. If you have a question about a passage in the Bible (or anywhere else), please not only give the reference (chapter and verse) but *quote* it before asking your question. Otherwise other readers of your comment will not understand what you’re asking about (unless they bother to look it up, which they almost never do). Then when I respond they’ll see what I’m answering!
5. When you are responding to my response to something you said (in other words: you’ve said/asked something; I’ve responded; and you’re following up), you need to remind me (everyone) what it is I said that you are responding to. When I get a response to my response, I do not have the response in front of me that you’re responding to (see what I mean)? So if you ask a question, I respond, and in your next comment you say something like “What do you mean” (and that’s your entire comment), then I normally have no idea what you’re asking, since my response to you was one made a day or two ago! So just summarize the issue before asking / giving the follow-up.
OK, that’s it. Many thanks to all for joining up. I hope you enjoy the blog, and if you have comments/suggestions for improvement, please let me know! Happy reading, and keep safe!