Penance in a White Sheet

John Doyle, 1839 Lithograph

While rereading Edmund Morgan’s magisterial American Slavery, American Freedom, I was struck by his discussion of public penance performed by early Virginian fornicators and adulterers: The courts, for example, prescribed penances for couples who appeared with children too soon after marriage, requiring them to appear at church the next Sunday dressed in white robes and [Read More...]

The Historian and Imago Dei

Two weeks ago I wrote in this space about the relationship between the historians work and the reality of human sin.  This week, I want to focus on the historian’s work as it relates to the Judeo-Christian belief in Imago Dei.  Those committed to the Judeo-Christian tradition believe that God has created humans beings.  In [Read More...]

Where Was California at the First Thanksgiving?

This summer our family traveled to southern California, a first trip to San Diego.  Our children clambered through tide pools on Point Loma peninsula at the Cabrillo monument.  This National Park honors Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the first European to alight in 1542 on the west coast of what is now the United States of America. [Read More...]


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