I indicated in my previous post that I would say a few things about each of the books that I am planning – today at least – to try to write over the next ten years or so. The very next book will be trade book on Jesus Before the Gospels, a study of what happened to the stories about Jesus as they were altered, and invented, by Christians circulating them word of mouth before the writing of the Gospels. The next book after that will be a scholarly treatment of the same thing. Or that’s the plan.
The reason I’m hedging my bet is because I never know whether there will be a scholarly book in my current research until my current research is my past research and I see whether there really is something there that I have to say to scholars, or not. At this point, even though I have a rough idea of how I want to organize a trade book, and know where I need to go in order to do all the research necessary for it, I really don’t know if there is a serious scholarly book in there or not. I *suspect* there is, but I don’t know for sure.
I have on three occasions produced both popular and scholarly books on the same topic. Maybe that will be the case here. It has happened in different ways before.
After I wrote and published my PhD dissertation on Didymus the Blind and the Text of the Gospels, I, well, had no plans of writing a trade book about it! 🙂 (And I should say, about twice a week I get an email from someone who tells me that they’ve read “all” my books. I’m always tempted to ask how they liked my book on Didymus the Blind!) In fact, at that stage of my career, in my early 30s, I had no plans AT ALL, ever, at any time, to write a trade book. I saw myself as a scholar’s scholar. I worked in a highly technical area of New Testament studies, the most technical area there is – textual criticism. And I worked in a particularly technical area even within that wider technical field, analyzing patristic citations of the New Testament. It was hard enough to explain to people what I was doing, let alone get anyone interested in it. And there was no way to make it accessible, let alone intriguing, to outsiders. It was completely an inside job.
I did see my next book as…
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