Learn the Basics of New Testament Scholarship & How to Make Good Use of It

By popular demand! I am teaching again my online course, Introduction to Biblical Scholarship on the New Testament. This is for anyone who wants to be better equipped to debate the Bible or understand the Bible. You will learn in it a lot of useful and surprising facts and skills (more on that below).

So if this is something that interests you, click above to register. And if you know anyone who you think would love to take a brief, affordable course like this, let them know about it!

The only required course text (which students should purchase as soon as possible) is my  anthology Hitler Homer Bible Christ (available there in print or kindle). We will use its contents as springboards for learning and discussing all manner of issues related to textual, historical, and literary analysis in New Testament studies. All other course materials (articles and/or video lectures) will be provided for free, including research papers by various scholars we’ll discuss, and excerpts from critical scholarly editions of the Bible in the original Greek (no prior knowledge of Greek will be required), public online tools, and other readings and resources.

Starting October 1 (2015).

So what exactly will be covered?

Official Course Description:

[Read more…]

In Which James McGrath Reveals That He Is a Fundamentalist Who Has Never Read Any Contemporary Scholarship in His Field

The title of this article is a joke. Sort of. But maybe not as much as you think. As I’ll show. Because James McGrath has added another entry to his bizarrely uninformed critique of On the Historicity of Jesus, and this time is the most dishonest of the bunch. For to get the result he wants, he has to essentially become a Christian fundamentalist, denying there is any mythmaking in the Gospels at all, and reject all non-fundamentalist scholarship of the last fifteen years.

I kid you not.

[Read more…]

Looking for a Literary Agent

Cover image for Audible edition of On the Historicity of Jesus written and narrated by Richard Carrier.Anyone with connections, please do inquire:

I want to produce a mass market book summarizing the conclusions and findings of On the Historicity of Jesus, with a major publisher, one that works often with expanding into foreign language markets. I have been asked by fans throughout Spanish speaking countries especially. But it’s impossible to get a Spanish language publisher on board with something as enormous and footnotey as OHJ. A shorter, popular market book, however, would definitely appeal (I already have translators lined up). And if it meets with success in the English language market, then we can indeed push for a Spanish edition, and maybe others.

But major publishers will only field queries submitted by literary agents.

So if this is to happen, I need a literary agent.

Know any? Who’d be interested? Send them my way.

In case it needs to be said, I do quite well by myself, in my niche market. I have a decent bio and cv. I have published with a mainstream publishing company (one title of my own with Prometheus books, plus several anthologies; they distribute through Random House), another with a major academic publisher (the University of Sheffield), and have also successfully sold over twenty thousand books entirely on my own (through AuthorHouse, Lulu, and CreateSpace). I have sold all my titles (six so far) successfully as well in Kindle format, and Audio format (through Pitchstone). I’m an accomplished and capable writer. I can produce a good, entertaining popular market abridgement of OHJ without difficulty. I just need a reason to.

OHJ itself, BTW, has already sold over 4000 copies in just a single year. And that’s a 700 page academic monstrosity dense with footnotes. Imagine the potential of a shorter, tighter, mass market edition!

If I can’t find an agent, this idea will simply remain shelved until I do, since I can’t justify the expense in time working on it without that step at least in the works. This is due to how the publishing industry works, sadly. I have other projects I’ll devote my time to instead. But this dream of mine I’ll keep alive until someone comes along who wants to take a chance on it.

Initial business inquiries should be made by email. This includes emailing me the contact info of literary agents whom you think might be interested in this, and thus to whom I could send a query letter. But it can’t just be random agents you picked out of a guide. There has to be noticeable reason they would take on an unusual project like this.

My DragonCon Schedule (Including a Talk on Ancient Technology!)

Dragon Con logo, a yellow dragon outline on a blue ball, with the title arced across the front, photo of crowds behind.I’ll be on some panels. I’ll be in the parade. I’ll be selling and signing my books (briefly). But above all, I’ll be speaking on the topic of ancient Roman technology, and why the scientific and industrial revolutions did not occur then. The full DragonCon schedule is now available here. There’s an amazingly huge amount of cool stuff. Competing with which is my sad little self at four points this weekend:

Friday September 4

Skeptrack Kick-off 2015 : “A panel of some of our skeptic guests discussing who skeptics are & some of their passions” will include James Randi, Margaret Downey, Nick Eftimiades, Ian Harris, Steve Hill, Leighann Lord, and me. Friday at 10am (204–207 Hilton).

More About…Richard Carrier : A professional life dedicated to researching the history of religion & antiquity. Friday at 11:30am (204–207 Hilton). So, right after the first panel, it’s more about me, and a chance to buy my books and get them signed or inscribed or what have you. I’ll have some supply of On the Historicity of Jesus and Hitler Homer Bible Christ.

Saturday September 5

The DragonCon Parade : From 10am until 11 or 11:30 or something is the big parade through town. There will be many far more fabulously costumed folks than me. But I will be representing the Syrian skeptic and wit Lucian of Samosata, alongside people representing many other famous skeptics throughout history. We will be in the tenth slot this year, so pretty close to the front. After that, we’ll be talking about who we represented on a podcast.

Real Steampunk: How Ancient Roman Tech [Can Inspire] Writers & Designers : Then at 2:30pm (204–207 Hilton), “The Greco-Roman world had computers, vending machines, steam-powered automation…But why no industrial revolution?” I’ll discuss their achievements, how scholarship has radically changed our understanding of ancient tech in the last twenty or so years, and what I think is the most likely explanations for why the scientific and industrial revolutions didn’t take place then, even though they had everything in place, and were very close to it. I have a new slideshow built just for the purpose!

(Somewhere during the weekend I might also be in one of the autograph tracks for an hour. Check the schedule Friday to find out.)

Lots more is going on not just throughout DragonCon, but even just in the Skeptics Fan Track (Skeptrack). For just that line-up alone, see here.

Anyone who wants to buy a book from me but misses the Friday morning window, just email me or message me on Facebook (my settings are public, so anyone can) before 5pm on any day of the con. I’ll check all messages by 6pm, and get back to coordinate with anyone who asks (if you leave your cell number for texting, I’ll use that).


P.S. And for those who are in or near Pennsylvania, don’t forget, I’ll also be at PASTAHCon in Harrisburg the following weekend! That’s just two weeks away.

Moral Reasoning Course + Bonus Option!

Not only can you join my science & philosophy of moral reasoning course this week (and if you haven’t already, check it out and give it a shot! … or please spread the word to anyone else who might be interested!), but there is now a bonus option you can choose if you want: special live interactive video conferencing.

On Wednesday (16 September 10pm-11pm East Coast time), Sunday (20 September 5pm-6pm East Coast time), and Saturday (26 September 6pm-7pm East Coast time), you can participate in a live video conference with me (and possibly other students) to ask more questions about the course and interact directly. The registration costs more for that feature, but it covers both those live encounters and the whole course.

You can also still take the course without the live video events for the regular rate instead. I’d love to see more students this month! You’ll find the readings and opportunity for productive forum discussion with an expert (and other students) quite valuable and rewarding.

Appearing in Raleigh…to Talk about Hitler!

I’ll be in town for two events at least. First, on Monday, September 21, I’ll be discussing my field-changing work on the fabricated and distorted Hitler quotes from the English edition of the infamous Table TalkI will also be speaking at UNC Greensboro before that on Friday the 18th, but that event is still in development.

First Details Here ] [ Second Details TBA ]

The Monday event starts at 6:30pm at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh (and is sponsored by the Triangle Freethought Society) on 3313 Wade Ave in Raleigh (North Carolina, 27607).

I will be selling and signing my books afterward, particularly Hitler Homer Bible Christ, which contains the peer reviewed paper in question as well as updated notes on what is happening now because of my article.

Talk description:

Hitler Was No Atheist: From Dr. Carrier’s peer reviewed article in German Studies Review exposing the only existing English translation of the infamous Table Talk as largely a fraud which resulted in this alleged eyewitness source to the statements of Adolf Hitler, often used by Christians to prove Hitler is an atheist, to be used with greater caution. And now this article has inspired a professor in Sweden to go on a quest for the truth behind the whole document that is starting to sound like a fiction novel. Learn about all of this, and the distortions in the Christian quotes you find everywhere on the Internet that make Hitler seem like the atheist he was not, in this exciting talk!

Help Make Recovering from Religion Succeed

The nonprofit that helps people recover from religion and religious abuse, providing hotlines, support groups, and secular therapy referrals—Recovering from Religion—is experiencing such demand that it needs to launch as a professional operation with paid staff, starting with a resource director, whose job will be to secure more funding in a steadier way for the organization’s operation.

This is how any group needs to start out if it wants to make a larger impact. Check out their case for this, and if you think it’s a good idea, provide them with some donor support. RfR’s executive director Sarah Morehead has a neat deal worked out with Neil Carter to make this happen.

And (or at the very least!) spread the word, so more people can have the chance to consider helping this happen!

I think it’s something that needs to happen, and the world would be a better place if it did. So give it a lookover and some thought.

Moral Reasoning Course: Learn the Science & Philosophy of Being a Better Person

Logo for Partners for Secular Activism. The letters PSA in blue, in an art decco font, over a light grey watermark of a compass pointing near to north, all on a white backround.Written from Puerto Rico today, as a tropical storm bears down on us: Come join my online course on moral reasoning! It starts next week. It goes a month. Study and participate at your own pace and on your own time. We don’t just cover the basic philosophy of morality and moral reasoning and why be moral and so on. We also cover what the sciences have discovered about all this. Which is more than you might think! Register now.

And don’t forget to order the required course text (in print or digital), Personality, Identity, and Character (eds. Darcia Narvaez and Daniel Lapsley). I recommend saving money: you can just rent that book on kindle, or buy the kindle edition or a used print copy. All other materials will be provided at no extra cost.


Why take this course?

As I wrote for this course last year, a course that is now tied for my second favorite (I offer it roughly once a year):

[Read more…]