Christmaker Official Release Day!

Christmaker Official Release Day! June 11, 2024

Today is the day that Christmaker: A Life of John the Baptist is officially released meaning that it will do things like appearing on the shelf in local bookstores. Some readers of my blog placed advance orders and got their books before today. If that’s you, please don’t ignore this post! This post includes some things that all of my blog readers can do to make this special day a huge success.

  • If you haven’t bought the book yet, please buy it today. Official release day sales count a lot in they eyes of algorithms.
  • If you have read the book, post a review online on a site like or Goodreads. Even just ranking it (hopefully with five stars) is a huge help if you haven’t time to write something.
  • Ask your local public library to get a copy.
  • Ask your local bookstore if they have it in stock. If you spot a copy in your local bookstore, take a photo and share it on social media.
  • Tell your friends about it.
  • Reshare one or more of the links or images about the book that I have posted on social media.

Note that there are many things you can do, such as recommend Christmaker to your local library, that cost you nothing and require just a few minutes of your time.

Thank you in advance for your support and encouragement. I know that many readers of books assume that the process of books being written and received well happens irrespective of what they do, and that authors would find it strange and awkward to hear from a reader. The truth is that authors depend on readers for encouragement and ultimately it is what readers say to others publicly and privately that decides whether a book is well received and becomes widely read. What you do genuinely makes a difference!

Thus if you’ve read Christmaker, in addition to reviewing it I hope you’ll comment here and let me know what you thought of it, and if you have any follow-up questions as a result of reading it.

I’ve been delighted by the level of excitement online about this book, and the enthusiasm from those who’ve read it because they pre-ordered as well as the enthusiasm of those who’ve been looking forward to the book’s publication. There are already reviews on Goodreads and they are all positive.  Bob Cornwall concludes, “This is really good!” David Tate describes it as “A fascinating, interesting and enlightening look into the life and influence of John the Baptist.” He concludes his review, “Highly recommended deservedly so. I will return to this book again.”

Today reviews have begun to appear on as well. Will Berger writes, “I preordered so I could read it as soon as possible. Every expectation was met and exceeded. I have devoted much of my life’s reading to reading good scholarship on the historical Jesus and trying to translate it to a church audience. Christmaker brings something genuinely new to the conversation, both in gaining a picture of John the Baptist along with new insight on his disciple, Jesus. Engagingly written, each chapter builds on the previous chapter to give a clear and, for me, a historically plausible picture which is enlightening and even exciting. A true gift.” Take a look to see what he and other readers have to say.

Where else can you find out more about Christmaker: A Life of John the Baptist if you’re still trying to decide whether you should buy it? There’s an interview on the Eerdmans blog, a piece I wrote for Ancient Jew Review, and a threepart guest series on Bart Ehrman’s blog. There are also many earlier things about this project online, including posts on my blog ReligionProf and an article in The Spectator.

Below are some video and audio podcasts as well as text interviews and articles. Let’s start with my appearance on the Data Over Dogma podcast:


A delightful Bible and Beyond discussion:

History Valley:

It Means What It Means podcast:

Voices In My Head:

Elsewhere on the web:

Interview with the Author—James F. McGrath

James McGrath to deliver address to Macquarie University

And for anyone who missed the theme song…

If you live in or near Sydney Australia, please come hear my talk at Macquarie University on July 18th!

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