Slings, Arrows and Shakespeare

As you will assuredly have noticed by now, this year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 1616 (April 23, in fact, which was also his birthday). I have nothing to add to all the high scholarship provoked by the commemoration, but it does give me an opportunity to share my enthusiasm for one [Read More…]

What’s in a Name?

While he tends his father-in-law’s sheep, as recorded in the Book of Exodus, Moses sees “the angel of the LORD … in a flame of fire out of a bush,” which burns but is not consumed. When Moses looks at the Bush, God calls to him, orders him to remove his shoes, announces himself as [Read More…]

The Value of Failure in Graduate School

My husband suggested once that I have lunch with a friend. She was a graduate student, and struggling in the program. “Did you tell her I almost quit?” I asked. “Oh, yeah,” my husband said. “That is why I thought you should talk with her.” Graduate school is one of the hardest things I have ever [Read More…]

The GOP Race: Is Ted Cruz Our Best Option?

When we were in St. Andrews, Scotland for the Spring 2015 semester, I remember our Baptist church there praying for parliamentary elections. The implicit message of the prayers was, “Lord, we have no obvious options here. Please help us to know how to vote.” I have been having the same feeling about the GOP race [Read More…]

The Myth of the Mythical Jesus

In debates about Christian origins, one tiresome canard is going to come up sporadically, and usually, it’s not worth wasting time on. As I have seen it surface a few times of late, let’s deal with the point here. Briefly, if you are discussing Jesus of Nazareth, you can make any argument you choose to [Read More…]

The Martyresses

I have often blogged about paintings or illustrations, which are excellent ways of illuminating historical attitudes, particularly in matters of religion. Today, I want to do that again but in an unusual way, without actually reproducing the painting directly, and for once, that’s not just about copyright concerns. Aside from its value as a historical [Read More…]

When the Mormon Jesus Was Married

It is a staple of anti-Mormon literature (and evangelical countercult literature more generally) that the Mormon Jesus is not the Christian Jesus. One subject that repeatedly surfaces in such arguments is that nineteenth-century Mormon leaders believed that Jesus married, married more than once, and had children. As the film The God Makers explains, “Mormon apostle Orson Pratt [Read More…]

The Evangelical Onion

If you haven’t run across the Babylon Bee yet, check it out. It’s the evangelical version of the satirical online news source The Onion, and it’s made a big splash. In its first three weeks, the Bee has scored more than one million page views. Even the Washington Post has noticed, last week running a [Read More…]

Culture-Changing Christians

Back in 2012, when Mitt Romney lost the presidential election, many disappointed supporters – including a number of evangelicals – suggested that his defeat spoke to an American culture in decline. For politics to change, they say, culture must change. Glenn Beck, for example, tweeted that “the time for politics is over. I’m doubling down [Read More…]

1916 and Jewish History

The centennial of the First World War means that we have plenty of grim events to commemorate, and none more so than in this present year. 1916 was the point at which the war moved into the full-scale industrial mass production of death. We are already reading the accounts of the horrors of Verdun and [Read More…]


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