If you hadn’t noticed, Bart Ehrman now has a blog, of sorts: ehrmanblog.org. He also has a new popular book, on “Did Jesus Exist?”
More importantly, in the past year he and Zlatko Plese released their diglot edition of the Apocryphal Gospels (amazon.com). It is awesome, you should get a copy. Really. And in December 2012 another scholarly-level book is slated, Forgery and Counter-Forgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics (amazon.com). It is already on my Amazon wishlist. I’m sure I won’t agree with parts of it, but I can’t wait to read what he’s got to say (any early review copies available? )
Why mention all of this? I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Bart Ehrman’s books in the past. It reached its zenith at the point of the Gospel of Judas release where I wrote a post called “Bart Ehrman has Jumped the Shark.” I’ve calmed down a bit since then.
While I gratefully consume most of Ehrman’s scholar-level stuff (edition of the Apostolic Fathers, Apocryphal Gospels, translations and editions of other writings) his popular-level stuff gives me heartburn so I don’t plan on reading any of it. But not for the reason you’d think. It’s because he’s such a good writer, and I don’t like where he ends up.
Anyway, I think it was a smart move for Ehrman to start a blog. Yes, I realize he’s charging for it; but that’s OK, and the proceeds are for good causes. Still, it is a good idea. Why? Because it humanizes him. Without an online presence (beyond an author-based site to serve as marketing hub for his books), it is easy to think of him as far away and unattached to reality; he is easy to discount and write cheap shots (you know, like about him jumping a shark). But if he writes regularly (and makes stuff publicly available with some regularity) people will get a better idea of who he is, what he’s about, and why he does what he does. And that’s a good thing.
I’m looking forward to reading more from his blog (well, the publicly available stuff). And can’t wait for the book in December.
Side note: Long-time ricoblog readers know that a “Bart Ehrman” frequents the comments from time to time. If that really is Bart Ehrman, then my invitation to dinner here at my home in Bellingham (or heck, at SBL in Chicago, though I’m sure your schedule is booked) still stands.