“Peace I leave with you”: Christianity, History, and Nuer Culture in South Sudan

Guest blogger Noel Stringham reflects on what he has learned about Scripture, history, and peace from the Nuer people of South Sudan. [Read more…]

The Bible in Medieval Sermons: Part I for Understanding the Top Ten Bible Verses in Medieval England

My husband recently noted in his facebook series on local church highlights in Waco, TX, (yes, we live–literally–in the middle of the Fixer Upper world) how modern protestants characterize the medieval church as keeping people from the Bible. I have talked about medieval views of the Bible on this blog several times, including Banning the Bible: Did [Read More…]

Top Ten Bible Verses in Medieval England

The verses we emphasize say a lot about what we believe as Christians. So what were the top verses in medieval Christianity? [Read more…]

Where is John the Baptist’s Head?

When I ask students to read and generate questions about the Gospel of Mark, someone always asks about the beheading of John the Baptist? What sort of mother asks her daughter to ask her father for a prophet’s head? (I can also count on a question about the fig tree, for which I never have [Read More…]

An Open Letter to the ESV Translation Committee

I’m not a biblical translator, or even a biblical scholar. I’m a historian. As a historian, I was intrigued when I heard the news that “the Permanent Text of the ESV Bible” had been released. (The English Standard Version, for those not in the know, is an “essentially literal” translation of the Revised Standard Version.) [Read More…]

America’s Public Bible

Many historians have observed that early Americans lived in a culture drenched in scripture. Through the nineteenth century, Americans’ oral and written speech dripped with biblical allusions that we might miss if we are not familiar with the language of the King James Bible. We might also note that whereas Old Testament narratives and texts resonated deeply [Read More…]

The Puritan Way of Seeing Christ

Several years ago, my co-blogger Philip Jenkins penned a thoughtful post on Protestant iconoclasm, its centrality to the Reformation, and its resemblance to Muslim iconoclasm. The “stripping of the altars,” to borrow Eamon Duffy’s phrase, was — per Jenkins — “one of the greatest catastrophes that ever befell Europe.” No argument here. Still, in Deborah [Read More…]

What’s in a Name?

While he tends his father-in-law’s sheep, as recorded in the Book of Exodus, Moses sees “the angel of the LORD … in a flame of fire out of a bush,” which burns but is not consumed. When Moses looks at the Bush, God calls to him, orders him to remove his shoes, announces himself as [Read More…]

The Bible: Mass Distribution and Massive Ignorance?

Over at the Weekly Standard I reviewed John Fea’s excellent new history of the American Bible Society (ABS). At the end of the review, I reflected on the dilemma of mass Bible ownership versus declining Bible “engagement.” As the ABS observes its 200th birthday, it has become more clearly aligned with a broadly defined evangelicalism than [Read More…]

The Geneva Bible’s One Covenant of Grace

From 1560 until well into the seventeenth century, the Geneva Bible was the most widely read translation of the Christian scriptures into English. Itself building upon but surpassing the prior efforts of William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale, the Geneva Bible exerted a strong influence on the language of the King James text and through it [Read More…]