Egypt’s Diaspora

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Although the third century BC is a shadowy time in Jewish history, both faith and people were being transformed in multiple ways. I recently lamented how little we know of the Jewish world in Palestine at this time, but of course revolutionary developments were occurring elsewhere, in the emerging Diaspora. Two developments in this era [Read More...]

The Missing Century

I am in search of a missing century. As I recently described, the second century BC was an incredibly fertile time for Jewish culture and religion, with emerging ideas about Judgment and the afterlife, angels and demons, and a major outpouring of writings. From a Christian perspective, we are looking at the essential prehistory of [Read More...]

MASONS AND MUSLIMS

zColonial Possessions in 1900

I have recently been posting on the astonishingly widespread influence of Freemasonry both in Anglo-American culture, and in Continental Europe. But that global influence went even further, into some regions and contexts that today seem almost incredible. To illustrate this, I turn to the origins of modern Islamic thought. At the end of the nineteenth [Read More...]

ENOCH ABIDES

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Although the Book of Enoch was highly regarded in the early Christian church, it fell out of favor by the fourth century. From the ninth century, it virtually disappeared from European churches at least, and the text would be lost for a millennium. But the work proved surprisingly durable. Centuries after it was denounced by [Read More...]

LOSING ENOCH

The scriptures attributed to the Biblical figure of Enoch commanded immense respect in the early Christian church, but by the ninth century or so, these had largely vanished from use, in Europe at least. Not only were they treated with less respect, but they effectively disappeared. Why and how did this happen? What does this [Read More...]

THE MYSTERY OF ENOCH

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And Enoch walked with God and then he was gone, for God took him. I am investigating a mysterious disappearance. As I am a mere academic, there’s no actual blood involved, but it’s still a puzzling case. Briefly, I am trying to explain why the Book of Enoch vanished as thoroughly as it did, and [Read More...]

PETER’S APOCALYPSE

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At some point in the ninth century, a Christian monk was buried at Akhmim, in Egypt, ancient Panopolis. Portions of several books were laid alongside him, perhaps because they were his particular favorites in life, or else because their visions of the heavenly realms were so appropriate to his passing from this world. This was [Read More...]

THE HOLY FAMILY IN EGYPT

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As will be obvious from my recent posts, I am very interested in Egypt’s role in Christian history. For years though, when I read material about this or talked to people, I always glided over one topic that had little appeal for me, and I now think I was wrong to do so. It really [Read More...]

THE FATE OF THE PATRIARCHS

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Once upon a time, the Alexandrian Patriarch Mark was visiting a provincial Egyptian city called Agharwah (Aghra). “And the clergy came out to meet him according to the custom, that they might chant before him, with a body of the laity, chief men and leaders of the people; and he blessed them and prayed for [Read More...]

SHENOUTE AND THE GNOSTICS

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I described the Egyptian monk Shenoute and his fierce wars for orthodoxy in the fourth and fifth centuries. If we look at his struggles against Egypt’s still continuing Gnostic movement, it helps us understand the context of many of the key books and documents that have surfaced in modern times, revolutionzing our understanding of early [Read More...]


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