Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Important News

A brief report on four developments of note for all my fans and friends:

1. Blogger now lets me add a widget for Followers (a new feature explained here). I've added it down the right margin, just below the Subject Index. It will show the avatar and link to the profiles of anyone on Blogger who joins my "followers" list (which means people who follow my blog, not my international coven of cultists). Just click "Follow this blog" to join.

2. Since I have now graduated, my Columbia University home page will eventually cease to exist (as will my old CU email address). So I have bought my own domain and set up a permanent official website at Some Canadian businessman owns the .com domain even though he isn't doing anything with it (at least not yet), and he never replied to my request to buy it from him (
and I have no international coven of cultists to cast dark magicks on him). But no matter. The new .info domain is fine. With a simple redesign, the new site is much updated from my old "Office" pages at CU. So go explore a bit if your keen. If you have any links to any of my personal pages, just replace the old domain in the URL with, and leave any file names and subdirectories the same.

3. About a year ago I agreed to begin a formal online debate with theology scholar Jake O'Connell this very month. I'm behind in my other work so ordinarily I wouldn't undertake this or any other task, but this was a prior obligation that's been planned for some time (complete with genuine Ph.D.'s as official judges). In any event it should prove interesting. The topic is whether Paul believed Jesus rose from the dead by swapping bodies rather than rising in the same body he was buried in (the thesis of my most detailed chapter in The Empty Tomb). This debate repeats the format of my Carrier-Wanchick Debate (on naturalism vs. theism). Our joint statements are now up, along with our bios and those of the judges. Our opening statements will go up in a couple of weeks, then it will be 2-3 weeks between entries until we're done, then the judges will weigh in. I'll announce this debate on my blog again when the whole thing is completed. But you can take a look now at: On Paul's Theory of Resurrection: The Carrier-O'Connell Debate (2008).

4. My book On the Historicity of Jesus Christ is making exciting progress (I'm very happy with it so far--it will be unlike any book you've read on the subject before), but taking longer than I predicted. I will produce a formal progress report for all donors who asked to receive a pre-publication draft (which they will also get later) and email that before the end of this month, so you can see what I've done so far and what's ahead. This will be for your eyes only, a privilege for donating to the work. But I'll also blog some highlights for everyone around the same time, even if only to share my grief. New Testament studies is in a worse state than I thought, a fact that standard references often whitewash (out of their own desperation, I suspect), and trying to untangle that mess is what's slowed me down.

Ironically, though, I already have too much and not enough--I've accumulated these past months more material than I can use for the book, yet important gaps remain in specific places where further fact-checking is needed, so I have to accumulate yet more, while cutting the fat from the rest. It's that fact-checking, though, that's uncovered some messy skeletons in the closet of New Testament studies, and I'm buried in skeletons enough as it is. But I'll say more in my next report.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

No Need to Believe

P1 = I do not need to believe in God. I only need (at the very most) to live up to my own expectations of others, being in myself what I would want from anyone else.

This premise is necessarily true, if the following premises are undeniable. And they are. The following premises consist of two kinds: those that are necessarily true (as logically necessary truths, they cannot be denied by any consistent person) and those that are very certainly true (since the evidence I have for them is overwhelming and thus beyond any reasonable denial). The latter will be printed in bold (blue if they are facts I know first-hand and green if they are public facts anyone can confirm). If these premises are as true for you as they are for me, then you must also agree that P1 is necessarily true.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Vote Vetrazzo

Please vote Vetrazzo. Huh? I'll explain in a bit.