The Historical Adam

Books & Culture recently hosted a symposium on the “historical [or not] Adam,” organized by Karl Giberson and John Wilson. Eight participants posted brief essays on the subject, followed by a round of responses. Here are some highlights from each: Peter Enns, Eastern University: “the modern study of the ancient world of the Bible has [Read More…]

Outsourcing Death and Dying in America

This marks my last regularly-scheduled post for the Anxious Bench as the demands of my new position at Hannibal-LaGrange University dictate a reprieve from writing deadlines.  It seems fitting that a fitting bookend would be my first official Anxious Bench post as a regular contributor.  So from the archive, here is “Outsourcing Death and Dying [Read More…]

Should We Elect a Muslim President?

Ben Carson stirred up the latest Republican primary tempest this weekend when he volunteered the opinion that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” What should we make of this statement? First, it speaks to a pervasive religious ignorance in our political culture, of which Carson is hardly the [Read More…]

Zechariah and Revelation

I have been writing about the Old Testament book of Zechariah and where it stands in relation to the apocalyptic tradition, no less than to prophecy. Zechariah – and especially the final chapters, Deutero-Zechariah – were a huge influence on apocalyptic, and that is nowhere more clear than in the New Testament Book of Revelation. [Read More…]

Zechariah’s Apocalypse

I have posted a few times on the Old Testament Book of Zechariah, and especially its final chapters, which are known as Second or Deutero-Zechariah. The text is a huge influence on the gospels, and arguably on Jesus’s own circle. But Zechariah as a whole also stands in a very unusual and significant relationship to [Read More…]

Liberty and Civility

Earlier this week, Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke to 12,000 students at Virginia’s Liberty University. Sanders’s visit provided some of the more substantive political theater in the 2016 campaign thus far. The self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” proved himself a bit more facile with the Bible than the Donald, and he received a [Read More…]

Nightmare at Wheaton: Wes Craven Encounters the Fundamentalist Harvard

Imagine Wes Craven, the Hollywood provocateur who died last week, as a student at Wheaton College in the 1960s. This was a Wheaton that was easily as pietistic and fundamentalist as it was evangelical. President Raymond Edman, a gentle devotional writer, died while delivering a chapel sermon entitled “In the Presence of the King.” His [Read More…]

Why Are Academic Books So Expensive?

[Today’s post is taken from one of my author newsletters. It is a question that comes up so often that I thought I would share it here.] Many an academic author has had the experience of proudly announcing the publication of his or her new book, only to have someone ask “Why is it so [Read More…]

The Popes and America

Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on the Pope in America: Implications, Collaborations, Challenges. Read other perspectives here. In September 22-27, Pope Francis will visit the United States, making stops in Washington, New York, and Philadelphia. Most discussion in anticipation has focused on the Pope’s attendance at the World Meeting [Read More…]

Flying Pigs and Abominable Beasts

Over the past few months, I have done quite a few posts on pseudo-history and pseudo-archaeology. Without revisiting those topics in any detail, here are a couple of relevant items I recently enjoyed. One is an older (2013) book that was recently reissued, and beautifully reviewed by Wheaton’s Robert Bishop in Books and Culture (Paywall [Read More…]


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