Jewish-Christian Disputations in the Middle Ages

Although they were infrequent affairs, formal debates between Christians and Jews sometimes took place in the Middle Ages—even if the deck was often stacked against the Jews. For a research project, I have been reading about two of these: the Paris Disputation of 1240 and the Barcelona Disputation of 1263. The former took place at [Read More…]

Remembering the Armenian Genocide

In the middle of World War I, hundreds of thousands of Armenians died in the first genocide of the 20th century. But some survived — including the grandmother of Chris’ pastor and co-author. [Read more…]

Of Slavs, Slaves, Vikings, and Genetics

I recently had a DNA test to help trace my ancestry, and the result surprised me. The larger story might shed light on one of the grimmest and most forgotten horrors of European history, an era of brutal slave trading. By way of background, my known genealogy is very straightforward indeed. It shows close to [Read More…]

Please Stop Talking About “The Mother of All Bombs”

Last Thursday the United States military dropped a bomb on ISIS targets in eastern Afghanistan. Not just any bomb: the largest non-nuclear bomb in America’s arsenal, the 21,000-pound GBU-43/B, also known as the MOAB—a Massive Ordinance Air Blast. Apparently also known as “the Mother of All Bombs.” And just like that, the media is abuzz [Read More…]

Are Women Human in Christian Academia?

Recently, Karen Swallow Prior spoke out against the “Billy Graham rule”–married men distancing themselves from women to avoid temptation and the appearance of evil. For those of you who missed Prior’s article, she eloquently argued that good moral character is better than rigid behavioral rules. As she writes, “Virtue ethics relies on moral character that is [Read More…]

“Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest”

The murky history and theological power of one of the most familiar, mundane, and meaningful prayers in Christianity. [Read more…]

And Battles Long Ago

I have often posted on themes of history, memory, and forgetting, and some recent news stories brought that home to me powerfully – especially on all we have forgotten beyond hope of recovery. This issue of lost worldly glories seems appropriate for the Easter season. Earlier this year, Egyptian archaeologists made a spectacular find, a [Read More…]

Lost Christian Nubia

A spectacular recent find in northern Africa throws new light on early church history, but at the same time it also points to the existence of a vast and forgotten Christian kingdom, and just how the faith – or indeed, any religion – fades and dies. The story makes for highly appropriate reading in the [Read More…]

The End of Silence

Shusaku Endo’s Silence is a very grim novel, as is the much-discussed recent film adaptation by Martin Scorsese. It is Japan, roughly 1639. After decades of fruitful missionary work begun by Francis Xavier in 1549, decades of bitter persecution have followed. There are still many Christians in Japan, but they are hidden. Some Portuguese Jesuits have [Read More…]

Academic Freedom, Christian Higher Education, and the History of Sexuality

Guest blogger AnneMarie Kooistra reflects on teaching the history of sexuality as a professor at a Christian liberal arts university. [Read more…]