Sex & Sexism in Ancient Rome (Video)

Clipped photo of an actual ancient Roman silver dinner cup depicting in elegantly realistic relief a well built man lifting a boy lover up and having anal sex with him in the air. The cup shows all genitalia and the whole act, but because the internet is a prude, I have cut the image off just above that part.My talk for PolyColumbus last month has now made it to YouTube! It is age restricted due to its sexual content. A transcript is underway. I will add a link for that to this post (and announce it in comments, so if you want, subscribe to comments below to be alerted when that happens). But you can read the bullets (not quite a transcript), and for those who want to study further, I have provided my bibliography. Note also that this event was co-sponsored by the Humanist Community of Central Ohio and PolyColumbus, and a talk on this subject might never have happened but for them.

The full title of the talk is “Sex and Sexism in Ancient Rome: Crossroads of Sexual Freedom & State Oppression,” and the official talk description is:
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Typos List for On the Historicity of Jesus

I will update this page as I find more. But over the past year I and readers have caught dozens of typos in On the Historicity of Jesus that slipped through even our excessive editorial process (a common experience I find). Some of these may require corrections to the indexes as well (e.g. the scripture index). Please email me any you have caught that aren’t already listed here. Sorted here by page and then paragraph and/or line number (or note number):

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Blog Comments Now Close after Six Days

It’s come time. I’m so cumulatively busy with all my work and life things, I can no longer find time to moderate comments on my blog beyond a fraction. I have struggled to keep up with the most recent and important ones, but I still have a backlog of nearly four hundred uncleared comments on various blog posts from last year. I hope to get to those eventually, since I consider them grandfathered in, although I might not answer them, for want of time.

Years ago I switched to full moderation. No comments ever post until I’ve seen and approved them. That has been extraordinarily effective at cutting down trolls to a tiny fraction, and even forcing them to start acting more like real people, in order to ensure their comments will ever post. Most importantly, it has driven away almost everyone who only wanted to graffiti my wall and became outraged that their Very Important Words will not be seen by anyone for days and days (and will only ever appear with my reply instantly attached, a fact for which I was accused of censorship, to the laughter of many).

I also don’t want to call upon unpaid labor to “hire” comment moderators to take over the task. I’m not a strong believer in unpaid labor. And I don’t earn enough to pay someone else what this job would deserve.

So, my only remaining option is to close down comments threads after a short time. I have thus revised my standing Comments Policy to say the following:

Comments Now Close after Six Days. Because I no longer have time to keep up with endless discussions in comments, I have had to set a fixed end-date on accepting comments at all. For now I am siding with Fake God on this one: after the sixth day, we rest. If you have something terribly important to send me after that, email me. Do not expect a reply. I receive a huge volume of email. I can only respond to a fraction of it. But I will at least see it. If it’s a valuable correction or piece of information, I will thank you. If it’s insulting, I will share it with my girlfriends, and we will laugh at you.

I have accordingly removed the grandfather clause of past yore (as now being rendered obsolete by this new rule) and renumerated the remaining blog rules. All else remains unchanged.

The Will of God: 24 Evil Old Testament Verses: Available Again!

My article on The Will of God: 24 Evil Old Testament Verses is now available again for viewing. Among much else. Apparently Google changed a setting on us without telling us and the companion site to the book The Christian Delusion has been inaccessible for almost a year. And we didn’t know, because Google didn’t change the setting for everyone, so it appeared to work fine for some people, including us. It took until now to find out. But that’s fixed. We set the setting back. So now if you’ve been trying to access it (as apparently hundreds of people were), you can. Merry Post Christmas!

Not at Skepticon — So Looking for a Gig!

I won’t be on the roster for Skepticon this year. Which means I have nothing scheduled for November, and I’m looking for an event to do then. So are you in a group, maybe one a long way from Skepticon and thus whose members usually don’t get to go, who’d like to have me out as a speaker around that time? My requirements aren’t too demanding (details here), and if you coordinate with other groups for multiple events or a mini-tour, you can get a discount.

It occurs to me that not everyone might know my basic requirements for speaking (not everyone has read that last link), and I am looking for events in any month of this year or next (although most of this year is booked, I have a few openings here and there, besides all of November).

So here is an excerpt from my booking page:

… For any speaking engagement I require expenses, a $250 honorarium, and (usually) an opportunity to sell my books at your event. If you want to do a teleconference, I charge only $150 (per hour), and no expenses. But even for having me appear in person, normally the only expenses you have to cover are transportation and lodging.

The largest expense is always transportation. I live in California … The lowest expense is often lodging, as I actually prefer to stay as the guest of a local freethinker … all I need is a warm bed and a hot shower. …

Consider teaming up several organizations for a single joint event, or more. I am willing to stay several days for multiple events. You will have to board me for those extra nights, and I charge only $50 for each additional debate or speaking engagement, but informal events are free (e.g. dinner parties, meet-and-greets, etc.). Just feed me copious amounts of alcohol. To give you an idea, I once spoke at a university, the costs of which were split three ways by the campus freethought group and two different academic departments that were interested in the subject of my talk. On another occasion I spoke to two separate atheist community groups in cities near each other, a volunteer driving me between them, and the two groups split my honorarium and airfare. So feel free to be creative. My time is flexible.

Interested? Shoot me an email.

Progress Report for My Project Donors

Cover of Richard Carrier's book On the Historicity of Jesus. Medieval icon image of Jesus holding a codex, on a plain brown background, title above in white text, author below in white text.Six years ago I put out a call for benefactors to fund a research and writing project to help me cancel my student debt. I said I’d do whatever my donors asked for. You unanimously said: the historicity of Jesus. For that project I raised $20,000, with the generous help of Atheists United (which made it possible for each offer of support to be a deductible charitable donation). It led to the production of Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus. And now the project has reached it’s completion, with the publication of On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt (that link will be updated when it becomes available on Amazon).

To all my donors: Thank you so much for helping fund my research and writing of both books. This will finally bring to completion a years long project. And now, it’s done! The publisher has informed me that On the Historicity of Jesus has been printed and will begin shipping in a few weeks. It may appear on Amazon within a month. So if you don’t want to wait a month or two more, you can buy (pre-order) direct from the publisher and get your copy within a few weeks I expect (although see my caveats about that here), otherwise you can wait for it to become available on Amazon, to see if Amazon offers a better deal.

To all my donors who did not receive my email earlier this week: Many of you did not respond to my last progress report, in which I asked about relief from my final obligations owing to the high cost of stock from an academic publisher. If you donated at a level high enough to earn a promise of free copies, please email me right away and let me know if you still want to receive your free copies, and if you want only one or two (or more, if you were owed more), and what address I should send them to (and whether they should be signed). The less you ask for, of course, the less I suffer financially. Because, this being an academic press, the wholesale author price even for softcover (which is certainly all I can afford) is enormous ($24.50…that’s not the list price, that’s what I have to pay). So I would greatly appreciate a reduced request. Some donors were incredibly kind enough to waive their free copies altogether. That was a great help. Note that I will also only be receiving my own stock a month from now. So if you are claiming free copies, they might not arrive to your address until the end of August.

Whatever you decide, thank you again for all your support. These books would not have been written but for it. This is what private patronage can accomplish, in an age when academics is largely controlled by universities.