May 11, 2022

“Have you been to St. Thomas yet?” The question buzzed my phone. It was from one of my former students who knew I was in Salisbury. What she didn’t know was that, when I read her text, the Salisbury Cathedral spire soared above me as I sat below the glass ceiling of the refectory cafe drinking tea. In two hours I would meet the archivist to view the only copy of a Middle English sermon collection housed in the cathedral... Read more

May 10, 2022

This month The Anxious Bench celebrates its 10th anniversary by telling its own story... starting with its origins in 2012. Read more

May 9, 2022

More than usually, I am currently living in two different worlds, and traveling between them, sometimes uncomfortably. At present, like many people, I am living day by day following the news from Ukraine, the greatest moral and political conflict of our time. At the same time, I am writing my present book project, which concerns the Iconoclast controversy in the Roman/Byzantine empire in the seventh and eighth centuries. The two worlds, medieval and modern, keep bumping up against each other... Read more

May 5, 2022

Much of Christian theology and doctrine grows out of St. Paul’s letters to various congregations identified by their location, including those in Rome, Corinth, Philippi, Thessaloniki, and other places. We do not have his letters to the people of Damascus, or Caesarea, or Tyre, or Ptolemais, or plenty of other places with which he certainly had associations. Why is that? And why on earth are there no letters to the Jerusalemites? That did not mean that he was a wildly... Read more

May 4, 2022

A trip in which we interrogate our familial and religious heritage Read more

May 3, 2022

What will the end of Roe v. Wade really mean for abortion in America?  If the Supreme Court, as now expected, declares next month that there is no constitutional right to an abortion, it will be one of the most momentous events in the recent history of the court.  This will be the moment for which the pro-life movement has been eagerly awaiting for decades and about which the reproductive rights movement has issued the most dire apocalyptic warnings. Yet... Read more

May 2, 2022

  Scholars have long described the global ambitions of White Protestant American as rooted in a sense of exceptionalism animated by notions of racial and religious ascendancy. But as Stanford historian Kathryn Gin Lum argues, we cannot limit our attention to understanding how “a White American Christian superiority complex” has driven Americans to see themselves as set apart and called to be saviors of the world. We also need to understand how they viewed the people whom they endeavored to... Read more

April 28, 2022

I have invented a new discipline, the Theology of Punctuation. Some years ago, I published a book called Crucible of Faith: The Ancient Revolution That Made Our Modern Religious World, about the couple of centuries preceding Jesus’s time. One of the persistent problems I have relates to capitals and upper case letters. That may sound trivial, but it actually gets to some quite critical issues of translation and interpretation. Let me take one famous quotation from the Gospels,  concerning the... Read more

April 27, 2022

Grove City College, a small liberal arts institution in Pennsylvania, has been in the news. Its Board of Trustees recently released a report investigating allegations of “mission drift.” Because Grove City identifies as a Christian college and I am a Christian historian of religion in American higher education, I read this report with interest. But the mission drift in question turned out to be much more about the school’s political identity than its religious one. Let me explain. Grove City... Read more

April 26, 2022

As his university concludes its 150th anniversary, Chris considers how it remains — in the words of a former president — "just the same as never before." Read more

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