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A Debate with Peter Williams on Textual Variants

To put an end to this thread on the textual variants of the New Testament, and whether they matter, and thought that it might be good to give an alternative perspective that I first posted, well, ten years ago.  Earlier than that, on January 3rd, 2009,  Peter J. Williams and I appeared as guests on  "Unbelievable," a weekly program on UK Premier Christian Radio, moderated by Justin Brierley.   For this show we discussed my book "Misquoting Jesus" (In the UK the book, for some reason, is titled is "Whose Word Is It?"). Peter Williams is a British evangelical Christian scholar -- a very smart one, who knows a *lot* about the manuscripts of the NT -- who believes in the reliability of the New Testament and that thinks that my position is too pessimistic and extreme.  He did his PhD at Cambridge.  Peter is the author of Can We Trust the Gospels? and C S Lewis vs the New Atheists. Here's our back and forth.  See what you think! Please adjust gear icon for 720p High-Definition: [...]

2024-06-13T00:34:09-04:00June 16th, 2024|New Testament Manuscripts, Public Forum, Video Media|

Jesus in Illuminated Manuscripts and Legends: Video Post

Here's something I've dug out of the archives! I was asked to speak at the Getty Museum, in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium in Los Angeles, California on Thursday, September 22, 2011 during the exhibition "In the Beginning Was the Word: Medieval Gospel Illumination." Illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages are significant for the literary texts they preserve. But they are also important, historically and culturally, for their illustrations of the life of Jesus and other figures associated with him.   These artistic representations tell tales of their own, and the visual stories are not always found in the corresponding texts. A careful examination of these images shows clearly and convincingly that medieval artists were familiar not only with the stories of the canonical Gospels but also with many noncanonical apocryphal tales of Jesus. The apocryphal stories, in some instances, were understood to be "Gospel truth" on par with accounts found in Scripture. In any event, here is the lecture that I gave: Please adjust gear icon for 720p High-Definition: Details on the "In [...]

2023-11-27T14:58:34-05:00December 7th, 2023|Christian Apocrypha, Public Forum, Video Media|

The Life of Brian and Jesus: Was Jesus Really Buried on the Day of the Crucifixion?

Here is the third and final section of the paper that I read at the Life of Brian conference.  The entire paper tried to argue that parody can be an effective historical method.  By providing a caricature of a narrative or an alleged historical event, the film was able to highlight some very important historical realia that otherwise are too easy to miss, or that have not been given enough prominence by biblical scholars and historians. This third part of my paper is the really controversial one (although part 2 raised some concerns as well!).   Here is where I argue that Jesus was not given a decent burial, and I use the film to explain why. I should say that in a few days I am going to be devoting a sustained thread to just this issue, of why I think the story of Joseph of Arimathea in the NT is legendary, that Jesus was almost certainly not given a decent burial on the day of his crucifixion.  My thread will be a response [...]

2023-07-10T21:38:09-04:00July 11th, 2023|Historical Jesus, Jesus and Film, Public Forum, Video Media|

The Life of Brian and the Historical Jesus

A couple of weeks ago we had a very fun Movie Club as a fundraiser for the blog, trying to raise funds to cover our operating expenses, since all the membership fees and any regular donations that come in go directly to our charities -- but we still have to pay our bills!  This one was on the Life of Brian.  Have you seen it?  If not, you should.  If you've seen it ten times, you should see it eleven. During our discussion of the film I pointed out that there was a conference in London some years ago to celebrate the 35th anniversary of its release -- a group of academics specializing in New Testament and/or ancient Judaism reading serious papers (often with some humor) about the relevance of their field for the film, and vice versa.  Seriously.  (John Cleese came to the conference and thought the whole thing was outrageously funny and great fun -- a group of academics discussing a film he and his Monty Python buds had come up with.  He [...]

2023-07-03T16:14:30-04:00July 8th, 2023|Historical Jesus, Jesus and Film, Public Forum, Video Media|

Don’t Wanna Be Left Behind? An Upcoming Lecture on the Rapture!

Interested in the "rapture"? Want to be sure you're not "left behind" when the Antichrist arises and all hell breaks out on earth?   Then come to my lecture:  April 15, 3:00 pm:   "Will You Be Left Behind? A History of The Rapture"  Check it out here.   Will You Be Left Behind? » Powered by ThriveCart If you don't know about the rapture, this is the lecture for you.  It's believed by many millions of Christians in our world.   If you do know about the rapture, this lecture is even more for you.  I bet you don't know where the idea came from!  (Well, some of you maybe might.) Please note: this lecture is not connected with blog per se; it is part of my enterprise of online lectures and courses for the Bart Ehrman Professional Services (BEPS; you can learn about it at my personal website: BUT: blog members can get a nice discount.  Enter the code BLOG5 for $5.00 off the purchase price ($14.95). If you can't come to the lecture itself,  you can still [...]

2023-04-10T15:07:17-04:00April 10th, 2023|Video Media|

The Book of Genesis, the White Jesus, and Debating the Resurrection: Interview with Seth Andrews

I've been doing a lot of interviews and podcasts over the past couple of months, and for my money this is absolutely one of the best, with Seth Andrews the Host of "The Thinking Atheist."   He's a terrific interviewer: intelligent, knowledgable, and gifted at directing a conversation.  We talked about all sorts of things from my views of the book of Genesis, to the white Jesus, to debating whether Jesus was raised from the dead, and on and on.  Check it out!  

2022-04-04T22:08:56-04:00April 14th, 2022|Reflections and Ruminations, Video Media|

An Intense Back and Forth on Key Issues

I recently had a very interesting interview for a podcast called "Global Skeptics."  We had only about 20 minutes and so we agreed to do it rapid-fire.  This was one of the best Bam-Bam-Bam interviews I've ever done -- great and wide-ranging questions from a variety of perspectives.    Here it is!    

2022-03-06T13:08:49-05:00March 8th, 2022|Public Forum, Video Media|

“In the Beginning” (Part 2)

In my previous post I began to summarize the lectures that are available in my course: “In the Beginning: Myth, Legend, and History in the Book of Genesis.”  If you’re interested in the course, you can learn more about it on my personal website (which is not directly connected to the blog):   Here I will give a synopsis of the final four lectures.   Lecture 3: The Ancient Tales of Genesis: Borrowings from the Wider Culture   Scholars and lay-readers alike were shocked in the mid 19th century to learn that versions of the most important stories of Genesis 1-11 were discovered in other (non-Israelite) parts of the Ancient Near East.  In fact, in many cases these other non-biblical versions can be shown to be much older than those in Genesis. There is, for example, a story of creation from ancient Canaan called the Enuma Elish, which is different in many ways from the story in Genesis 1, but with numerous similarities as well both in the overall concept and sometimes even with [...]

2022-03-06T13:08:34-05:00March 6th, 2022|Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Public Forum, Video Media|

In the Beginning: Myth, Legend, and History in the Book of Genesis (Part 1)

As I have mentioned before, I have started a small business on the side, Bart Ehrman Professional Services (BEPS).  At this point it involves booking speaking engagements, providing consultations with authors of various kinds, and online courses.  The online courses, of course, are a way of disseminating knowledge about the Bible, the historical Jesus, the history of Christianity, and so on. BEPS is a separate commercial endeavor for me and I am diligently keeping it distinct from the blog, except to announce what I’m up to there for blog members who might be interested.  You can also learn more about it on my website, This past month I produced a six-lecture course called “In the Beginning: Myth, Legend, and History in the Book of Genesis.”  This is the first of possibly many courses in a long series called “How Scholars Read the Bible.” The entire series will be devoted to showing what critical scholars think, believe, and argue about the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, but also to show why they think what [...]

2022-03-06T13:08:06-05:00March 5th, 2022|Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Public Forum, Video Media|

An Interview about Heaven and Hell: American Freethought Podcast

Here is an interview I did about a year ago on the American Freethought Podcast, hosted by John C. Snider.  The focus was on my book on heaven and hell.  Among other things it deals with key questions such as whether the Bible clearly teaches that humans have eternal souls (hey, what else could be goin' on inside me otherwise?) and that heaven and hell are literal realities.    

2021-07-12T07:05:41-04:00July 21st, 2021|Book Discussions, Public Forum, Video Media|

Where Did the Trinity Come From? The (Briefer) Video Version

Now that I've established that the earliest Christians came to think Christ was God (in some sense or other) and continued to think God was God, and yet thought there was only one God -- I am able to move into the thinking and debates based on those views that eventually led to the doctrine of the trinity.  This seems like a good time to share a video produced five years ago or so in which I talk about the issue at a speaking gig I did at the Coral Gables Congregational Church in (as one would expect!) Coral Gables, Florida.   I did this gig soon after my book was published: "How Jesus Became God."   The lecture was the third in a series I did at the church.  This was back when I did lectures in front of human beings instead of in front of  a computer screen.  Ah, the good ole days. On future posts on the blog I'll be going into considerably more detail, but this can give you the major nuts and [...]

2021-03-01T08:10:32-05:00March 9th, 2021|Early Christian Doctrine, Video Media|

My Interview About Jesus for “The Dagger Squad”

Now HERE is an interesting interview (at least I thought it was).  Pretty unusual, in any case.  Garfield A. Reid of Dagger Squad is a lively and interesting interviewer, and the call-ins had intriguing questions. The interview was entitled  Jesus, New Testament, False Prophecies, and False Doctrines; it happened on Monday, February 8, 2021. See what you think!   Please adjust gear icon for 720p High-Definition: 

2021-02-11T18:33:32-05:00February 23rd, 2021|Public Forum, Video Media|

An Unusual Podcast Interview with a Muslim about How I Debate. Check This One Out!

Very rarely do I myself find an interview that I've done very interesting -- usually because they are often on the same topics, over and over again.  And I almost *never* listen to one afterward.  This one is an exception.  Everyone has her or his preferences, but I really like this one. It is also one of the weirdest interviews I've ever done.  This guy contacted me out of the blue about a new podcast he was doing.  He lived in Chicago.  I was going to be in Chicago to give a talk at a conservative evangelical "apologetics" conference; the three other speakers were all hard-core evangelicals who believed the Bible is "inerrant," and I was speaker number 4.  That in itself was going to be a scream (it was; I had a great time).  But this guy wanted to interview me.  He was going to the conference.  And he was a Muslim. I'm thinkin': Really?!?  He asks for an interview a couple of times; I tell him I'm not sure the organizers are going [...]

2020-09-12T10:47:15-04:00September 11th, 2020|Bart's Debates, Public Forum, Video Media|

Smith-Pettit Lecture – The History of Heaven and Hell

Here is a webinar that I did on July 29th, 2020, as the Smith-Pettit lecture for the Sunstone Digital Symposium sponsored by Sunstone Education Foundation.  It was on the "History of Heaven and Hell."  It was an unusual event for me: Sunstone is an independent organization located in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Sunstone does not have any official ties to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but it does serve mainly them, bringing together traditional and non-traditional Latter-day Saints, promoting an atmosphere that seeks to value faith, intellectual, and experiential integrity. Moderating the event was Karin Franklin Peter, president of the Fifth Quorum of Seventy, who serves on the Council of Presidents of Seventy with the Community of Christ.  This is a branch of "Mormons" that split from the LDS over polygamy in the 19th century.  She received a bachelor of science in psychology and a master of arts in Christian ministry from Community of Christ Seminary at Graceland University, Independence, Missouri. I was introduced by Lindsay Hansen Park, an American Mormon feminist [...]

2020-08-21T18:56:40-04:00August 21st, 2020|Afterlife, Book Discussions, Public Forum, Video Media|

Reason and Theology – Heaven, Hell and the Afterlife

Here is the recording of an interesting on-line discussion I had on May 17, 2020 for a podcast called "Reason and Theology."  It was a rather unusual experience for me.  The three moderators were all extremely well-informed lay people who are deeply interested in and knowledgeable about Roman Catholic tradition and theology.  We talked about my book "Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife," and we got into all sorts of things that I never would have expected. The podcast generally seeks to provide a wide range of in-depth interviews on theological, philosophical, and historical matters in a way that translates to the average person, to provide a platform for charitable round table discussions between opposing perspectives, and to facilitate formal debates in order to arrive at a better understanding of the truth. I'm not sure I helped to that end, but it was an interesting and at times lively discussion.  Here it is. Please adjust gear icon for 1080p High-Definition: 

2020-07-07T18:07:30-04:00July 7th, 2020|Book Discussions, Public Forum, Video Media|

My Interview with Erstwhile-Evangelist-Now-Secular-Humanist Bart Campolo

Now this was an unusual interview!  By a namesake!  I've known about Bart Campolo for years, but mainly because of his father, Tony Campolo, a very well-known evangelical evangelist with left-leaning social and political views.  Tony, the father, has a very interesting history (see; among other things, he was a spiritual adviser to Bill Clinton.  But in some ways Bart, the son, has an even *more* interesting story.  He was raised an evangelical, and became an evangelist/missionary, but eventually left the faith and became a secular humanist -- as am I.  Bart wrote a book about it, and together they helped produce a film released a few years ago, Leaving My Father's Faith.  It's quite a story. Bart now has a secular ministry that  involves counseling people who are thinking about leaving the faith or who have already done so.  In addition, he has a weekly podcast, "Humanize Me." On May 13, 2020, he invited me to the podcast to discuss my book "Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife."  As you will [...]

2020-05-22T13:13:21-04:00May 20th, 2020|Book Discussions, Public Forum, Video Media|

Live Event on Wednesday Evening, May 6!

Join us for the third in a fascinating six-week series of virtual "book club" discussions! This week join NHC president Robert Newman and scholar Bart D. Ehrman to discuss Ehrman's book, Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 7:00 pm ET Facebook Live _________________________________________________________________ Where do our ideas about heaven and hell come from, and why do they endure? _________________________________________________________________ In clear and compelling terms, Bart D. Ehrman recounts the long history of the afterlife, from the Epic of Gilgamesh to the writings of Augustine, focusing especially on the teachings of Jesus and his early followers. He discusses ancient guided tours of heaven and hell, in which a living person observes the sublime blessings of heaven for those who are saved and the horrifying torments of hell for the damned. As a historian, Ehrman obviously cannot provide a definitive answer to the question of what happens after death, but by helping us reflect on where our ideas of the afterlife come from, he assures us that even if there [...]

2020-05-05T09:11:07-04:00May 5th, 2020|Afterlife, Book Discussions, Video Media|

Life after Death in the Bible and Beyond: Webinar with Oxford Press

On April 20, 2020, I did a webinar for Oxford University Press.   I have published three textbooks with Oxford and the textbook division has started hosting these events, principally for college and university professors and their students, but anyone is welcome to sign up and join in.   When they asked me if I'd be interested, I thought it sounded like a great idea; and when they asked what I'd like to do it on, I told them the afterlife.  Of course!  It's what I've been thinking about and doing all my research on for the last four years or so -- not what *really* happens in the afterlife (for that I would need more experience, and I'm not eager to have it at this stage of existence, since, well, it will be my last experience and I won't be able to write about it -- but about where the ideas of the afterlife came from, especially those that have been prevalent for most of the past 2000 years.  They entitled the event "Life after Death [...]

2020-05-03T10:02:19-04:00May 3rd, 2020|Book Discussions, Public Forum, Video Media|

The Not Old Better Show – Heaven and Hell Book Interview

On April 1 I did a podcast interview with Paul Vogelzang, the host of Smithsonian Associates "The Not Old Better Show," aired on Soundcloud (Washington DC). The podcast focuses on the issues or particular relevance to the 50+ crowd (nence its name) but obviously lots of the topics it hits are on the minds of everyone else as well. The interview was on my new book on Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife.   I read an excerpt from the book int he interview but mostly it's question and answer. I've done the show several times now, and have always found Paul to be an unusually perceptive and generous interviewer.  Here 'tis. Please adjust gear icon for 720p High-Definition: 

2020-04-23T21:14:18-04:00April 22nd, 2020|Book Discussions, Public Forum, Video Media|

Brief Video Promotion of Heaven and Hell

I finally have my grubby paws on a copy of my new book Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife.  Looks great, I'm really pleased.  It will not be available publicly until the publication date of March 31.  But in preparation, my publisher Simon & Schuster has had me do a brief video promotion of it, taped in their studio in New York.   In it they ask me five key questions that I address in the book (among the many many!) -- just to give a taste of the sorts of things I deal with there. Here is the promo, for your viewing interest! Please adjust gear icon for 1080p High-Definition:

2020-02-25T23:07:45-05:00February 25th, 2020|Book Discussions, Video Media|
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