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…]

Billy Sunday vs. Kaiser Wilhelm the Mephistopheles

As the U.S. enters the centenary of its entry into World War I, a look back at war’s staunchest advocate among Christian fundamentalists: baseball player-turned-evangelist Billy Sunday. [Read more…]

Mea Culpa: On Charles Marsh’s Biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Between my own blog, this one, and a couple others, I’ve written about 1,500 posts in the last six years. I try to do it well, with a less formal tone and much greater pace than typical academic writing but still reflecting a reasonably careful degree of prior research. But I’m afraid that my haste sometimes leads me [Read More…]

Adam and Eve Are Not Dead

Bruce Feiler has put Adam and Eve back in vogue with his book The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us, reading that couple’s story as a classic–no, as the classic love story.  For Feiler it is not just classic but useful, the pair as role models for relationships today.  He thinks theirs is a [Read More…]

The Christian History of “Pagan” Easter

This is a slightly updated post from my Anxious Bench archives. Happy Easter! I bought Easter candy for my students. It was a mistake. Although the students made a valiant effort to eat as much as possible, they left a few Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs (a particular weakness of mine) in the candy basket. Needless [Read More…]

A New Movie on Dietrich Bonhoeffer

How you can purchase or screen Come Before Winter, a new docudrama on the last days of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. [Read more…]

American Violence: Honor and the American Difference

At the turn of the twentieth century, the United States was an exceptionally violent country, which really stood alone among advanced nations. I have been trying to account for this American Difference. As an illustration, let me take a series of events that occurred in the late 1890s, and which actually happened about a block [Read More…]