“Psychedelic Christians”: The Legacy of the Jesus People

I recently had the pleasure of reading Larry Eskridge’s remarkable God’s Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America (Oxford, 2013). [Full disclosure: Larry is a good friend and fellow Carolinian - though of the North Carolina variety - who has occasionally given me barbecue advice.] This book is the epitome of definitive, with rich, entertaining [Read More...]

ON FEEDING THE TROLLS

Today’s blog is about blogging. If you blog on religious topics, you know that there are a couple of issues that are guaranteed to set at least some commenters off into paroxysms of rage. On a site like this, Islam and Mormonism are two prime detonators. I’m open to very wide ranging discussions on anything [Read More...]

Luther and the Word of God

Martin Luther did not want to preach in Wittenberg’s city church. The year was — most likely — 1513. Luther later commented that he “was chosen against my will to preach here.” He was afraid of what he considered a great responsibility. “I shall not live a quarter-year,” he feared. Germany is currently just more [Read More...]

Blue Crabs and Evangelicals – Part 1

Bulletin of the Evangelical Theological Society

Next month, the sixty-fifth meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) will convene in Baltimore, Maryland.  In between eating blue crabs and searching for book deals, members will present papers, discuss present and future projects, catch up with colleagues, and network with other evangelicals.  Although the society maintains a pronounced focus on Bible and theology, a [Read More...]

Interpreting Demonic Possession

My graduate course recently read Brian Levack’s The Devil Within: Possession and Exorcism in the Christian West (Yale, 2013). Levack, the author of a number of important books on witchcraft and possession in early modern Europe, notes from the outset that “demonic possession is a methodological landmine for historians.” That’s the truth! It is relatively easy [Read More...]

THE VERY PLACE WHERE IT HAPPENED

I recently described the powerful medieval theme of rooting the events of the New Testament in the places and objects of the Old. I cited for instance the Syriac writer Solomon of Basra around 1220, and what we can only call a complex mythological system: As to the tree upon which our Redeemer was crucified, [Read More...]

THE BIBLE’S DEEP HISTORY

I have been spending a lot of time recently with the apocryphal texts of the Old Testament, the pseudepigrapha. This material can become obsessive! Through much of Christian history, the relationship between Old and New Testaments was very different from how most would imagine it today. Modern believers certainly see foretastes or prophecies of Christ [Read More...]

The Issue of our Day

This week I read a news article that broke my heart and called me to repentance. In the midst of the fight over the budget and debt ceiling, in the midst of the ongoing saga of the “Bling-Bling Bishop” in Germany, and in the midst of football season, most of us (myself included) have been [Read More...]

Slavery: America’s Original Sin?

[This week's post is from my archives at Patheos.] The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has a touring exhibit entitled “Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty.” At the front of the Smithsonian display stands a life-size statue of Jefferson, backed by a panel listing the known names of about 600 slaves who worked for Jefferson [Read More...]

ARTEMISIA COMES TO CHICAGO

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Some months back I described how the Bible’s Deuterocanonical books had inspired so many artists through the centuries. I particularly mentioned the wonderful Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1656), who among other things was celebrated for her gory portrayals of Judith beheading the enemy general Holofernes. The Wall Street Journal recently did a piece on a [Read More...]


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