Christians in the Arab Gulf

I have been posting about Islamic apocalyptic mythologies that borrowed heavily from Christian precedents. That religious overlap is a lengthy and complex story. When Islam emerged in the seventh century, it did so in an Arabian world with a strong presence of both Christianity and Judaism. The politics of the region have made it difficult [Read More…]

The Hadith and the Jews

I have been discussing the Islamic Hadith, and the apocalyptic traditions found in the section on “Turmoil and Portents” in the collection Sahih Muslim, “Pertaining To Turmoil And Portents Of The Last Hour” (Kitab Al-Fitan Wa Ashrat As-Sa’Ah). Specifically, I have suggested that many of these ideas stem from Christian sources, from the late seventh [Read More…]

The Invention of God

Thomas Römer’s The Invention of God is a provocative, brilliant, and challenging book. Römer’s narrates that: – groups of people in the ancient southern Levant came to worship a storm God named Yhwh (or another close variant of that name); – that the peoples of ancient Israel and Judah worshiped Yhwh, El, and a goddess [Read More…]

The Global Context of InterVarsity and #BlackLivesMatter

Part of InterVarsity’s response to the #BlackLivesMatter controversy has been entirely predictable. In part, the organization is negotiating the intricacies of evangelical politics. A statement released on December 31, 2015, in the wake of controversy read: “InterVarsity does not endorse everything attributed to #BlackLivesMatter. For instance, we reject any call to attack or dehumanize police. [Read More…]

How Not to Market a Book

John Turner had an excellent post last week on book marketing for academics. I have also written here before about the counterintuitive art of promoting books. Many academic historians (and other professors) range somewhere between squeamish to clueless on how they might actually reach out to a general audience. But our lack of outreach often [Read More…]

Drawn to the Women Saints

“I am not Catholic, and yet I find myself drawn to the women saints,” admits Jessa Crispin in a recent New York Times op-ed.  Crispin is not alone in this fascination, nor should she be.  She touts St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) as independent woman, one engaged in meaningful work rather the traditional woman’s lot [Read More…]

Turmoil and Portents

Although the Islamic Hadith are sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, many of them probably come from some decades after his time, and they are a goldmine of information on religious debate and interchange in these years. I have been posting about one apocalyptic section of a collection that is known as the Turmoil and [Read More…]

How to Market a Book

The title of this post is as much of a question as a statement. This April, Harvard University Press is releasing The Mormon Jesus: A Biography. Instead of fashioning a “new religion,” I argue, Latter-day Saints have through their experiences, descriptions, and depictions of Jesus Christ created a movement both utterly Christian and distinctly Mormon. [Read More…]

The Thin Blue Line

A thin blue line runs through the nave of Durham Cathedral in England. Made from marble and marked with a center cross, it stretches twenty-five feet across the westernmost part of the nave. Medieval legend proclaims the line as a physical barrier protecting the sacred space of the clergy from the polluting presence of women. [Read More…]

Why I Joined Marco Rubio’s Religious Liberty Advisory Board

Many of you have heard that I have joined Senator Marco Rubio’s Religious Liberty Advisory Board. Many have congratulated me; a few have denounced me! I can imagine some readers asking, why would I join such a board for a presidential campaign? I have written often about how politics is not ultimately the answer to [Read More…]


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