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...]

Wisdom and Apocalyptic

I posted about the rise of apocalyptic literature, and the theory that it evolved from the prophecy that we know from the Old Testament. For over a century, though, there has been a rival theory to explain apocalyptic, which suggests that its real origins lie in Wisdom literature rather than prophecy. Understanding this debate helps [Read More...]

The Age of Permanent Jihad?

British media recently presented two unrelated columns that, each in its own way, raised alarming questions about religious violence and religious politics. Putting the two reports together frames some political dilemmas that are going to be with us for years, possibly decades, into the future. The first was a Daily Telegraph piece about the various [Read More...]

The End of Prophecy

If you open the Old Testament at random, the chances are that you will find yourself reading in one or other of the prophets. Those prophets, who worked chiefly between the eighth century BC and the sixth, were clearly a major feature of Israelite religion, and they have been exhaustively studied. In recent years, a [Read More...]

Race and American Christianity

Jesus and I were the only white people in the room. After my freshman year of college, I spent the summer on an uncompensated internship in the Washington, DC, area. (The experience gave me a lasting desire to be compensated for work performed). The internship did come with one perk — free housing in a [Read More...]

The American Exceptionalisms of Foner and the Cheneys

I’m pleased to present a guest post by John Wilsey, an assistant professor of history and Christian apologetics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of the forthcoming American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea, which will be published by InterVarsity Press Academic. I had the privilege of reading [Read More...]

How to Write an Excellent Statement of Purpose for Graduate Applications

Fall is the time for students to put together their applications for graduate school. Many of these applications require an enigmatic-sounding “statement of purpose.” With due regard for differences between disciplines, here are the top three mistakes in statements of purpose by graduate applicants: 1) Failing to be specific enough. “I am interested in the [Read More...]