Are the gods present?

“After he has lunched on his God on Sunday, / You should worship his turd on Monday.” So the French Huguenot polemical poet Agrippa d’Aubigné mocked the Catholic Eucharist. Early Protestants felt and feigned horror at the idea that Catholics believed that they chewed, swallowed, and digested the very body of Jesus Christ. They were [Read More…]

Biographies Full of Females

Who’s significant? As Chris Gehrz discussed in a recent post, his students — and most publishers — think that a “biography is a book written about a significant individuals.” Most of those individuals happen to be men in positions of political power. Presidents, kings, businessmen, and a few religious leaders thrown into the mix. This [Read More…]

The Desecration of Indian Corpses

In February 1850, Mormon settlers began a brief but bloody campaign against several bands of Ute Indians in Utah Valley. On February 13, the Mormons captured a group of Indians, promising them their lives and safety. They lied. “[W]e shall deal with them in the most summary manner as soon as another day favors us [Read More…]

John Knox and His Women

Jane Dawson begins and ends her biography of John Knox with touching, familial scenes. The first is the 1557 baptism of Knox’s son Nathaniel in Geneva. Dawson writes that “Knox was standing beneath the pulpit proudly cradling his newborn son in his arms.” Knox stood next to his ministerial friend William Whittingham. A second friend, [Read More…]

Christ Our Morning Star

Adapted from the Anxious Bench archives: My local Presbyterian church has a “Longest Night” service shortly before Christmas, recognizing that even as we celebrate the light that shines in the darkness, many of us experience considerable darkness in our lives. Perhaps we sense such darkness as we contemplate yet another year marred by terrorism and war, but [Read More…]

Augustine and Thanksgiving

In Augustine’s Confessions, at the end of a discussion of infancy and childhood, there is a beautiful passage about thankfulness. [Note the quotations that follow are from Maria Boulding’s translation]. Much of Book I baffles contemporary readers, who think that Augustine is rather too hard on himself and others. Augustine insists that the “only innocent feature [Read More…]

Trumpocalypse

Around eighteen years ago, my wife and I drove out into the countryside beyond Louisville to find somewhere quaint to attend church one Sunday morning. It’s not hard to find quaint churches nearly anywhere in rural America and certainly not in Kentucky. We found a Reformed Baptist church. It was God’s will that we did [Read More…]

Election Day Reading Material from The Anxious Bench

Whether you want to read more about the 2016 election – or find something to distract you today… Here are some of our most popular posts from the summer and fall. [Read more…]

Alienated and Ambivalent Evangelical Scholars

Along with several of my co-bloggers, last week I was at the Conference on Faith and History. It’s one of a select number of academic conferences that brims with passion. Attendees go the panels, listen to presentations, and talk about them. All great fun. Jay Green, the CFH’s incoming president, spoke on Friday night on [Read More…]

Latter-day Saints and the Anointing of Jesus

My co-blogger Philip Jenkins is in the midst of a fascinating series of posts (most recently, here) related to the four gospel accounts of a woman anointing Jesus. In Luke’s gospel and also in John’s, a woman (Mary of Bethany, in John’s gospel) anoints Jesus’s feet and then wipes them with her hair. While writing [Read More…]