Other Reformations

We usually refer to “the Reformation” as if the European movement of the sixteenth century was a unique phenomenon. As I have suggested, though, events fitting this model quite well have occurred repeatedly through history, both within Judaism and Christianity. What other examples might we cite? Looking globally, a Western reader might be surprised how [Read More...]

Rome, for Protestants

Most people today ooh-and-aah when they experience or envision a trip to Rome. It was not always so. Until the era of modern tourism, trips to Rome were rare, undertaken only by the wealthy. For devout Protestants, encountering Catholicism’s Eternal City could often induce more revulsion than admiration. Prior to Italian unification in the 1860s-1870s, [Read More...]

Luther and the Word of God

Martin Luther did not want to preach in Wittenberg’s city church. The year was — most likely — 1513. Luther later commented that he “was chosen against my will to preach here.” He was afraid of what he considered a great responsibility. “I shall not live a quarter-year,” he feared. Germany is currently just more [Read More...]

Whither Luther?

Hilary Sherratt, an alumnae of Gordon College and a guest blogger for this post, was a participant on Professor Tal Howard’s recent trip to sites of the Protestant Reformation in Germany.  His own reflections on this trip appeared in an earlier blog, “The Incombustible Martin Luther.” Whither Martin Luther? Whither Christian Unity? – Ecumenical Purpose [Read More...]



In a number of recent posts, I have argued that long after the time of Constantine, Christians around the world continued to use and cherish alternative scriptures, some teaching ideas far removed from the established churches. Having said that, a time did come when many of those texts really were suppressed, more thoroughly than the [Read More...]



From earliest times, Christians have produced an abundance of alternative or pseudo-gospels, usually with a view to giving a scriptural basis to some particular doctrine. On occasion, though, we find anti-gospels, versions of the familiar narrative intended to challenge or disprove mainstream Christian assumptions. Muslims, for instance, have long favored the Gospel of Barnabas, in [Read More...]


Unless you have been living in a very remote Appalachian cave, you will know that the European economy is in deep trouble. The basic problem is that countries with widely divergent economies have formed a common currency zone, and that the resulting strains are threatening to destroy the euro, possibly taking the global banking economy [Read More...]

Luther, Cranach, and Me

cranach altar

I became a historian through the Bible and the Reformation. For starters, at a certain point in my youth, reading the historical books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Joshua through Esther) and the Gospels plus Acts was my way of making church services pass by more quickly. The narratives about the past were usually considerably [Read More...]