In my last post I started explaining how I came to work on issues of memory. My plan had been something else, to write a detailed commentary on the Gospel of Peter and other early Greek Gospel fragments. I had been committed to do this for years, with a book contract with Fortress Press for their commentary series that is called Hermeneia.
Just by way of background: when I was just out of graduate school, I vowed to myself that there were three kinds of books I would never, ever write. I would never write a textbook. I would never write a book on the historical Jesus. And I would never write a commentary. The reason for each was that there simply were too many of each kind of book out there already, and I simply didn’t want to tread where so many others had trod.
So much for my vows. I did end up writing a textbook on the NT. That wasn’t my idea; my publisher twisted my arm and I agreed, and I am SO glad I did. In one sense it really made my career and opened up to me the possibility of writing books for someone other than the six technical scholars in my sub-speciality who really care. And then my editor convinced me to write a book on the historical Jesus. And I am SO glad he did. Even though it wasn’t my best-selling book, it got me to start thinking about what it means to write for a general audience instead of for scholars. And that has obviously made the most enormous difference in my life.
But I wanted to hold firm. No commentaries. There are so many…
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