Peregrinus and Part-Time Christians

Around the 160s, the Greek satirist Lucian posted on the life and times of one Peregrinus, whom he depicted as a rogue and confidence trickster of dubious sanity. It’s a rollicking story, but one with serious implications for reading and teaching Christian history. According to Lucian’s tendentious account, Peregrinus went through multiple incarnations: as a [Read More...]

Corinthians and Communists

I posted recently on Friedrich Engels’s On the History of Early Christianity, his 1890s text that actually makes some excellent historical points about the social and political contexts of the early church. On occasion, it’s actually… well, pretty funny. As a historian, Engels had the enormous virtue of moving outside the library, to understand early [Read More...]

Christians and Communists

Engwels-in-later-life

There is an odd but very useful source on early Christianity that remains strangely unfamiliar to many historians of that topic. Even less known is the discussion by a totally unexpected nineteenth century source, which provides many insights that are still valuable. In the late second century, the pagan satirist Lucian wrote the story of [Read More...]

Martin Luther, Erich Honecker, and China’s Xi Jinping

Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece on China’s new leader Xi Jinping’s efforts to shore up party loyalty by having government officials watch a new film about the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Produced by a retired Chinese major general, the six-part documentary points a finger at Mikhail Gorbachev, not the communist system [Read More...]


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