July 9, 2019

David Blight’s biography of Frederick Douglass inspires Chris to consider the history of self-taught Americans. Read more

July 8, 2019

I posted recently on the subject of apostasy, abandoning the faith, or defecting from it. I offer one unusual case study here, which comes from a period where we have very few sources for Christian history, but which remains little known to non-specialists. (I originally discussed this case some years ago). Around the 160s, the Greek satirist Lucian posted on the life and times of one Peregrinus (c.90-165), whom he depicted as a rogue and confidence trickster of dubious sanity…. Read more

July 6, 2019

Beth’s and Chris’ parents share reflections on visiting world war battlefields in Flanders, the Somme, and Normandy. Read more

July 5, 2019

I have been posting about apostasy, the act of deserting a faith, whether voluntarily or under coercion. But apostasy could be public, while people held on to other views in secret. This is an ancient issue in the Christian story, and so are the attendant issues of discipline and theology. The New Testament includes several passages demanding the open proclamation of faith, at whatever cost. As Jesus warned, anyone who failed to acknowledge him in this world could expect no… Read more

July 4, 2019

On the day Americans commemorate their separation from Great Britain, why not spend some time thinking about the time the English themselves abolished monarchy and beheaded their king? In his Radical Parliamentarians and the English Civil War, David Como’s “chief goal … is to help explain how the English Civil War metamorphosed into an English Revolution.” His subjects are those “supporters of parliament who championed the most exalted notions of parliamentary authority,” those who became the fiercest opponents of the… Read more

July 3, 2019

Historian Skip Elliott contemplates a lifetime of observing prejudices and racism in the United States, both South and North, and in Russia. Read more

July 2, 2019

Ahead of America’s national holiday, Chris considers the patriotism of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who said that the “best friend of a nation is he who most faithfully rebukes her for her sins.” Read more

July 1, 2019

Rachel Held Evans and Marie Kondo, Pete Buttigieg and the National Prayer Breakfast, patriarchy and sexuality: just some of the topics that caught our readers’ attention in the first half of 2019. Read more

July 1, 2019

Book Review of Daniel Philpott, Religious Freedom in Islam: The Fate of a Universal Human Right in the Muslim World Today (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019). After revoking the Edict of Nantes in 1685, and with it the civil and religious liberties that the law had afforded Protestants in his realm, Louis XIV boasted that France had become the most intolerant land in Europe. At the time, intolerance was seen as a political virtue—akin today to the notion of “zero… Read more

June 29, 2019

I’m putting the finishing touches on a history of Plymouth Colony and have been thinking through a cluster of issues regarding names. In a draft of my manuscript, I referred to the seventeenth-century Pokanoket sachems as Massasoit, Wamsutta (son of Massasoit), and Philip (son of Massasoit). These individuals lived at Sowams and then Mount Hope (present-day Warren and Bristol, Rhode Island, respectively), and they exercised regional leadership over many Wampanoag communities in what is now southeastern Massachusetts. The first of… Read more

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