BY SCHISMS RENT ASUNDER

Over the past twenty years, I have taught an introductory World Religions survey course. Obviously, it’s difficult to say too much about these diverse traditions in such a limited time, but I usually find myself stressing one theme in particular. As you look at the different faiths, they have many divisions and competing schools of [Read More...]

An Interview with Philip Jenkins on The Great and Holy War

My Baylor colleague and fellow Anxious Bench blogger Philip Jenkins is Distinguished Professor of History and Co-Director of the Program on Historical Studies of Religion at Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion. He is the author of many books, including The Lost History of Christianity, Jesus Wars, and The Next Christendom. He has published articles and op-ed pieces [Read More...]

THE GREAT AND HOLY WAR

9780062105097

Not long since, I posted about my current book project on the First World War, and especially its supernatural and apocalyptic dimensions. That grew out of a long-standing fascination with the period roughly between 1890-1920, and a host of writers I loved – from Conrad, Joyce and Kipling through Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood, Jack [Read More...]

WALKING ON THE WATER

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I recently posted on Jesus’s Resurrection appearance in John 21, where the disciples meet him at the Sea of Galilee. I argued that this scene, or something like it, was the very oldest version of the Resurrection story as it would have been known, for instance, to Paul around 50AD, and that it long predated [Read More...]

MERCY – SHUT UP!

corpusms201f1r

Easter is a time for sober reflection on matters of death and Resurrection, and not, one would think, an occasion for humor. Throughout history, though, some Christians at least – including major cultural figures – have so relished the news of Christ’s triumph that they cannot contain their glee in declaring the good news. Without [Read More...]

MARK’S ENDING

The final chapter of John’s gospel reports the risen Christ meeting his disciples at the Sea of Galilee. I suggested that this might in fact have been the oldest version of the Resurrection story, predating the more famous encounter of Jesus and Mary Magdalene in the Jerusalem garden. Some scholars have also raised the possibility [Read More...]

THE EMPTY TOMB

Marco_Basaiti_-_Resurrection_of_Christ_-_WGA01398

Beyond debate, the Christian church was founded on Christ’s Resurrection. What can surprise though is how interpretations of that event differ even within the New Testament itself. As I think over these ideas, I’d like to state an issue, and ask for a response. And I really am asking: this is not a rhetorical question. [Read More...]

THEY GATHERED AROUND A COAL FIRE

6a41b6f19863251e4670ec1e7a0b323e

In this coming Easter season, I will be thinking of coal fires, anthrax, and anthracite. The coal fires, especially, are critical to our understanding of the New Testament accounts of the Resurrection. Like all good fires, they shed light – specifically, on how the Gospel of John was composed and edited. Let me explain those [Read More...]

THE CHASM OF HISTORY

When scholars look at the Bible, or any other ancient religious work, they are well used to the idea of traditions and legends building up over time, as stories are retold. The assumption is that, the further we stand from a historical event, the more embellished it becomes, and that is generally a reasonable statement.  [Read More...]

COUNTING THE WAYS

sigliki-roman-road-071

Early Christians referred to their movement as The Way, Hodos. No later than the early second century, the converts’ manual that we call the Didache, the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, began by declaring that “There are two Ways [Hodoi], one of Life and one of Death, and there is a great difference between the [Read More...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X