Does Christian Liberal Arts Education Have a Future?

A month ago, the board of Sweet Briar College announced that the school, which has educated women in a single-sex environment for over 100 years, would close after the 2014-15 academic year.  The announcement by the school’s board sent waves through national news cycle.  The Diane Rehm Show, which is always a good measure of hot topic [Read More...]

The Counterintuitive Art of Promoting Books

Everyone seemingly wants to be an author, and most authors want to promote their books. We want to sell copies, of course, but we also want to promote the ideas within our books. The best piece of advice I can offer regarding book promotion is that if you wait until your book is published to [Read More...]

Messiahs at Qumran

Messianic visions became central to Jewish thought during the second century BC, and the Dead Sea Scrolls produced abundant evidence of the power and diversity of those approaches. The Scrolls are usually associated with a Jewish sect tied to the Essenes and to Enochic traditions, which was deeply at odds with the Maccabean/Hasmonean ruling family. [Read More...]

Making the Messiah

The figure of the Messiah has been critical to both Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. Christians, by definition, are followers of the Messiah. In tracing the origin of this idea, though, we must draw a distinction between eschatological hopes of a glorious coming age, and the individual figure of the messiah, the Davidic king. In the [Read More...]

Mormons, Race, and Slavery

Reeve

In the middle of 1870, Scipio Africanus Kenner feared losing the girl he loved. For some time, he had been courting Isabel Park with her family’s encouragement. Then, suddenly, Park’s mother cooled on the match and asked Kenner never to visit the home again. Park, however, did not stop seeing Kenner. According to Kenner, Agnes [Read More...]

Beyond Playboy: The Inner Life of Jimmy Carter

In 1976 Playboy magazine conducted its infamous interview of Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter. The interview nearly cost Carter the election. Secular pundits mocked his confession of “adultery in my heart.” Conservative Christians not only disagreed with his use of the word screw but objected that Carter would grant the salacious magazine an interview in [Read More...]

Can Evangelicals Become More Likeable?

Over at the New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof – one of America’s most open-minded liberal writers – says that secular left-wingers need to admit that many evangelical Christians do a great deal of good in the world, often at great personal expense and risk. He profiles the courageous work of Dr. Stephen Foster, who has [Read More...]

Messiahs by the Sackful

Some timely thoughts for Holy Week! In Jesus Christ Superstar, a mocking Pilate complains that “You Jews produce messiahs by the sackful!” Most popular histories take it for granted that Jewish thought was dominated by the eager expectation of a messiah, who would be an individual man, and the main debate concerned the nature of [Read More...]

The Deist Revolution

I echo pretty much everything my colleague Tommy Kidd wrote in his recent column What is Deism?, but I would add a footnote. Perhaps the most important contribution the Deists made to religious thought was in terms of understanding the Bible, and in sparking the movement that became known as higher criticism. So much “higher” [Read More...]

Hunting Heretics

Epiphanius-Kosovo

The heresiography (or heresiology) is something of a dying genre among Christians today. For centuries, though, heresiography was a staple of Christian literature, as those who contended for their understanding of orthodoxy theology catalogued the theological sins of others. To give a recent example, through at least most of the twentieth century, conservative Protestants in [Read More...]


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