The Invention of Heaven and Hell
Henry Luce Fellowship, 2018–19
In his writing he tries to alternate between trade books for general audiences, textbooks for college students, and serious scholarship. He has written or edited thirty-two books, six of which have been on the New York Times Bestseller list. His books, along with the eight lecture courses he has produced for The Great Courses, have sold two million copies, and have been translated into twenty-seven languages.
His most recent popular book is called The Triumph of Christianity. In it he shows how Jesus’ original followers, a small group of lower-class, illiterate, day-laborers from a remote rural part of the Roman world, managed to spread their religion so extensively that by the end of the fourth century it was held by some thirty million people and became the official religion of the Roman Empire, and from there the religion of the West.
He has also recently published the sixth edition of his textbook on the New Testament, the fourth edition of the briefer version of the book, and a textbook on the entire Bible (Genesis to Revelation), all with Oxford University Press. His most recent trade book (just completed) deals with the common Christian belief of a literal heaven and hell as places of postmortem rewards and punishment. These ideas are not found in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and were not held by Jesus. So where did they come from? The book will be published by Simon & Schuster and is (tentatively) entitled “Heaven, Hell, and the Invention of the Afterlife.”
- Ehrman, Bart D. The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018.
- Ehrman, Bart D. Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
- Ehrman, Bart D. The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
- Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them). San Francisco: HarperOne, 2009.
- Ehrman, Bart D. God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question–Why We Suffer. San Francisco: HarperOne, 2008.