The Promise of America’s Religious Colleges

As a new academic year gets underway, the writing is on the wall: higher education might well be lurching toward a period of creative destruction of the sort that has affected many other sectors of the economy in recent decades.  Mention of “the University of Phoenix” or “MOOCs” or “the Minerva Project” strikes fear in [Read More...]

THE SECRET RESURRECTION OF SALVATOR ROSA

'Pythagoras_Emerging_from_the_Underworld',_oil_on_canvas_painting_by_Salvator_Rosa

I think I’ve discovered a long-lost secret society that transmitted its religious message through coded paintings. No, I have not lost my mind, nor have I changed my last name to Brown. The main problem in studying the history of secret societies and underground ideas is that they are all so, well, secret. On the [Read More...]

FORGETTING EZRA

Latimer_Ridley_Foxe_burning

In October, 1555, the regime of Mary Tudor burned two former English bishops for their stubborn Protestant convictions. As they went to the flames, one of the martyrs, Hugh Latimer, addressed his comrade, Nicholas Ridley, in stirring terms that have inspired successive Protestant generations. He urged him, “Be of good cheer, master Ridley, and play [Read More...]

Das Buch Mormon

About a year ago, I asked for advice about how to structure a course on American evangelicalism. Many first-rate suggestions were forth-coming. This fall, I’m teaching a course on Mormonism in Heidelberg, Germany (gluecklicherweise auf Englisch, sonst waere es mir sehr peinlich). For the next year, I am residing at the Heidelberg Centre for American [Read More...]

From Graduate Student Learner to Teaching Professor

Like many professors, I work at an institution where I teach broad survey classes.   At Southwestern Seminary, this means I regularly teach the standard Church History sequence—Church History I and II—in the Master of Divinity program.  The recent addition of a B.S. in Biblical Studies at our Houston campus and in our prison extension required [Read More...]

Paleo Evangelicals and the Plight of Prisoners

It’s tough to get people to stand up for prisoners. Disproportionately poor, black, and Hispanic, America’s prisoners typically lose whatever minimal public influence they once had when they vanish into our country’s vast detention system. What’s more, they (generally) vanish by their own fault, forfeiting whatever sympathy the public might have had for them. Republicans [Read More...]

ENOCH ABIDES

negus

Although the Book of Enoch was highly regarded in the early Christian church, it fell out of favor by the fourth century. From the ninth century, it virtually disappeared from European churches at least, and the text would be lost for a millennium. But the work proved surprisingly durable. Centuries after it was denounced by [Read More...]

THE FOUR BEASTS

Peter_Paul_Rubens-Die_Vier_Evangelisten

Crowded, isn’t it? I don’t suppose the four evangelists ever met under one roof, but if that marvelous event ever occurred, it’s highly unlikely that they would have assembled like they did in this painting, by Rubens. An extra guy in the group is fine, even if he is an angel. But an ox? A [Read More...]

LOSING ENOCH

The scriptures attributed to the Biblical figure of Enoch commanded immense respect in the early Christian church, but by the ninth century or so, these had largely vanished from use, in Europe at least. Not only were they treated with less respect, but they effectively disappeared. Why and how did this happen? What does this [Read More...]

Anti-Mormon Humor

Brigham Young's Widows Mourn His Passing

It’s so easy to make fun of Mormons that The Book of Mormon: The Musical didn’t even mention polygamy. The golden plates — where are they now? The Garden of Eden — where is it? No coffee? The preceding three questions may violate the spirit of Episcopal Bishop of Utah, the Rev. Scott Hayashi’s plea [Read More...]


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