On Calvin’s Birthday: The Biography Channel Is Wrong (Updated)

Today is John Calvin’s birthday. He was born in 1509, in Noyon. In his honor let us watch a video and discuss it. [Editor’s Note: In 2013 someone posted a video featuring the American church historian Martin Marty discussing John Calvin. That . . . Continue reading →

How Reza Aslan’s Jesus Gives History A Bad Name

Aslan repeatedly calls revolutionary leaders of the first century “claimed messiahs,” when this crucial term hardly ever appears in our sources and certainly not in the contexts he is claiming. Aslan pontificates on questions such as Jesus’s literacy (or illiteracy, in his . . . Continue reading →

Missed It By That Much

That depiction in the new Cosmos matches the standard textbook story of Bruno, but it is misleading and in some ways downright wrong. For starters, Bruno was not the first to link the idea of infinite space with the infinite glory of . . . Continue reading →

Fifteen (Mostly 19th-Century) Myths About The Middle Ages

There are a number of myths about the so-called middle ages: they thought that earth was flat etc. Most of these myths were fabricated in the 19th century. Why? Because that was the apex, in the West, of “Modernity,” the Enlightenment, when . . . Continue reading →

On Memorial Day: All Christians Are Historians

In the United States, Memorial Day is day for remembering those who died in the service of the US military. It began as Decoration Day in 1868, on which day 5,000 people decorated the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington . . . Continue reading →

In Defense Of Labels

Imagine going to a supermarket where none of the groceries was labeled and where none of the aisles was marked. For that matter, imagine trying to figure out which of the buildings in the strip mall is the grocery or telling one . . . Continue reading →

What Tradition Is And Does

(1) Central to the task of transmitting the faith from one generation to the next is the requirement of transmitting it as a whole, without addition or subtraction. In my judgment, the modern project of “mediating theology” often failed precisely in this . . . Continue reading →

Words And Things (Part 3)

When working with foreign words, we should be aware of a very important distinction: the distinction between meaning and gloss. For our purposes, a gloss is an English word substitute for a Greek word. In simple cases, a gloss is perfectly satisfactory . . . Continue reading →

Stop Saying That Amillennialism Is “Pessimistic” But Postmillennialism Is “Optimistic”

This is a classic case of begging the question, i.e., assuming what has to be proved. People regularly say that amillennialism is “pessimistic” but postmillennialism is “optimistic.” Who is pessimistic about what? Define pessimism. Who says? By what standard? I say that amillennialism . . . Continue reading →