The Perfect Religious President

There are so many discussions swirling around evangelicals’ best choice for president that it makes your head spin. To make sense of it all, I offer five qualities of the perfect religious president. –The perfect religious president should have an active faith that is detached (or as detached as it ever can be) from their [Read More…]

Why Gorgias Matters

This post concerns a wonderful and too-little known resource for Christian history. If you are a specialist in these specific areas, you will be baffled that anyone could make such an obvious point As such specialists are quite rare, I hope that others might find the information of use. In the first millennium (and more) [Read More…]

Evangelicals Will Vote Trump

On Tuesday, Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. endorsed Donald Trump. A NBC news poll released that same day found that Trump was the preferred choice of a plurality of evangelical voters nationwide. At first glance, Trump should be doing poorly among evangelical voters. He has no obvious track record of churchgoing, piety, or evangelical [Read More…]

A Whale of a Tale: A Pastor’s Guide to Historical Research, Part II

In 1891, the British whaling ship Star of the East was slammed by the tale of a harpooned sperm whale somewhere near the Falkland Islands. Two of the sailors, including a man named James Bartley, fell over board. The whale soon died from the harpoons and the sailors, unable to find their capsized crewmates, began [Read More…]

How Much Do You Need To Read Before Writing?

A reader and friend asked me recently about a key issue in the writing process: I feel like I need to read everything, then write, and even then, I’m unsure of when to have outlined and when to have allowed my new research to impact whatever working outline I may have going. I would love [Read More…]

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…]