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…]

Prophecy Without End?

When drawing the canonical limits of the Bible, Jewish sages strictly declared that the prophetic age had ended in the fifth century BC, and that the last prophets were figures like Zechariah and Malachi, whom Christians know from their own Old Testament. Henceforward, said the rabbis, Jews should seek instruction only from their learned sages. [Read More…]

Five Thoughts on Evangelical History

Nathan Finn (an occasional Anxious Bench guest blogger) recently published a review essay in Themelios on the state of “evangelical history after George Marsden.” In it, he introduces the Marsden generation of scholarship and then comments on recent books by Steven Miller, Matthew Sutton, and Molly Worthen. My first thought when reading the essay is [Read More…]

The Ex-Baptist Pastor Who Popularized Ben Franklin’s Electrical Experiments

James Delbourgo’s A Most Amazing Scene of Wonders: Electricity and Enlightenment in Early America offers a remarkable account of Ebenezer Kinnersley, a Baptist pastor who lost his Philadelphia church position due to his opposition to the Great Awakening. Kinnersley then improbably became the greatest popularizer of Ben Franklin’s discoveries in electricity. Kinnersley was born in Gloucester, England, [Read More…]


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