Jesus, The Ninth Commandment, And Objective Truth

The 2016–17 academic year has begun. It’s time for introductory and orientation lectures. Yesterday I was talking with the Ancient Church (patristics) class about the what history is or what historians do and why history is important. Americans, in particular, it seems . . . Continue reading →

The Difference Between What We Know And What We Think We Know

…much of what is commonly written on the history and development of the western liturgy is dependent upon reconstructions….   —D. M. Hope, “Liturgical Books” in Cheslyn Jones, Geoffrey Wainwright, and Edward Yarnold, ed. The Study of Liturgy (NY: OUP, 1978), 66.

Identity Markers: Why Some Axioms Persist

Peter Berger has been an influential and important sociologist of religion for more than 50 years. He is presently Professor Emeritus of Religion, Sociology and Theology and Director of the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs at Boston University. To review a . . . Continue reading →

An Ogre Minding Long Term Developments

Because of this emphasis on mentalités, Le Goff preferred to speak of birth and genesis rather than origins, decline, or decadence. Hence he wrote The Birth of Purgatory (1981) and The Birth of Europe (2003) (the French title posed a question: L’Europe . . . Continue reading →

Facts: Forgery Killers

Then last week the story began to crumble faster than an ancient papyrus exposed in the windy Sudan. Mr. Askeland found, among the online links that Harvard used as part of its publicity push, images of another fragment, of the Gospel of . . . Continue reading →

Heroes, Villains, And Pretty Packages

The dead, in other words, are people too. Scoring points on their failings does not seem to be particularly charitable or self-interested (since one day we won’t be around to defend ourselves or the limitations of our historical moment). It is not . . . Continue reading →