A Faith of Trust, Allegiance, and Loyalty (August 13, 2016) - Skeptics ridicule the truth of the Christian message because of the discontinuity they see between Christian belief and behavior. They may have a point. Modern Christianity seems grounded in cognitive experience, more or less anchored by formal theologies expressing ethics governing what we think and how we behave. The problem is that what we think… Continue reading A Faith of Trust, Allegiance, and Loyalty
A Little Less Greek (February 14, 2016) - On a recent foray into a used book store I stumbled over an excellent flyover of Roman history.  During my reading I was intrigued by the settlement of a political conflict in the Roman republic of the fourth and fifth centuries BC.  During that period a power struggle ensued between the hereditary aristocracy and the… Continue reading A Little Less Greek
Alexamenos Graffito Abusing Tacitus (January 9, 2016) - Lots of people throw around quotations attributed to ancient authors.  Last year I read the Annals and Histories by Tacitus.  Since then I’ve found writers who seem to have reason to beat up on him.  But not everyone who refers to ancient authors actually reads the works they use and abuse.  The early Christian writer… Continue reading Abusing Tacitus
(Mis)reading the New Testament (and other ancient texts) (October 3, 2015) - Protestants have been dividing from one another pretty much continuously since Luther’s excommunication.  Before your next disagreement with another Christian I would like to suggest trying an experiment: Pick an issue over which Christians divide. It doesn’t matter which one. Pick a book of the New Testament that contains verses addressing your view of the… Continue reading (Mis)reading the New Testament (and other ancient texts)
Calling in the Romans (August 15, 2015) - In the middle third century a Church council assembled at Antioch and deposed the local bishop, Paul of Samosata. Paul appears to have taught that Christ was a mere man infused with the divine, a view at odds with the dominant consensus about Jesus’ pre-existence. Unfortunately for the council Paul held a government position and… Continue reading Calling in the Romans
Jewish Names in the Gospel Accounts, and Roman Historical Context (June 14, 2015) - Anyone thrashing about over the origins of New Testament texts and how we read them ought to pick up a copy of Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, by New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham. The book provides an analysis of oral tradition, first century personal names, and literary evidence relevant to the Gospel accounts. The analysis is… Continue reading Jewish Names in the Gospel Accounts, and Roman Historical Context
Writing Without Spaces (November 11, 2014) - I’ve been reading The Shallows, a book by Nicolas Carr in which he argues that the Internet and devices which provide access to it are essentially rewiring the way we think. What we’ve discovered in the last few decades is that the brain is very malleable and responsive to changes in how we interact with… Continue reading Writing Without Spaces