The SBL and its Annual Meeting: Why They Matter to the General Public

| Past

The Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) is one of the premier professional organizations for scholars and students of religion around the world. While “religion” is often equated in the public’s mind with church-going or participation in other religions such as Judaism and Islam, it is also a discipline bounded by scholarly and ethical standards, evidence, […]

Random Christmas Thoughts

| Future,Past,Present

Three days before Christmas: a good time to share some random thoughts on the reason for the holiday – the man Jesus with the title “Christ.” Jesus the man lived nearly 2,000 years ago as a Jewish subject in the Roman Empire. After he died, his followers kept his memory alive in a myriad of […]

Gospel Manuscripts, Bacteria and Livestock: Science Meets Religion through DNA Technology

| Past

A new process for recovering DNA has led to findings that significantly “marry” two very disparate areas: church history, archaeology and religion with research on livestock in earlier eras. The report by Zach Zorich in Archaeology magazine (November/December 2017 issue) outlines this exciting “marriage.” Parchment – the material from which some ancient illuminated manuscripts were […]

Index to the Second Year

| Future,Past,Present

Thank you as always for checking in with WisdomWordsPPF!  Here is a guide to the past year of blog posts (note that some posts appear in several categories). If you want a guide to the first year (October 2015-October 2016), you can find it here. Posts on Social Justice, Politics and Our Peer Nation The […]

Exploring the Influence of Salome in Early Christianity

| Past

Once in awhile, it’s an interesting exercise to explore the more obscure characters in early Christian literature. For moderns, an obscure character in an ancient religious document might seem far from important; she or he might well be the figment of someone’s imagination and the surrounding story a complete work of meaningless fiction. Here I […]

How Archaeology Can Assist Early Christian Studies and Why it Matters

| Past

In recent years, scholars of the New (Christian) Testament of the Bible – comprised of documents composed between 50 and 150 of the Common Era (CE) – have begun using the tools and interpretations of archaeologists in our quest for the context in which the earliest Christians lived. Since the apostle Paul (a Jew, let […]

Pre-Christian Origins of the Labyrinth

| Past

Labyrinths – intricate structures of interconnecting passages through which it is difficult to find one’s way – have become popular focal points in the spiritual quests of people from many religious and non-religious persuasions. Labyrinths made of hedges outdoors or painted or etched on floors of churches can be found in more than 80 different countries […]

Images of Mary in Christian Apocryphal Art

| Past

In previous posts (Trinities; When Early Christians Revered a Female Deity; Trials and Tribulations of Translating Scripture 2; and The Feminine/Androgynous Jesus), we have dealt to some extent with Mary, the mother of Jesus (also known in Christian tradition as the Virgin Mary or the Mother of God). We have seen that, although there is […]

First Anniversary!

| Future,Past,Present

One year ago, I posted my first blog on WisdomWordsPPF.org! I thought I would provide a review of the topics and topic areas, to give new visitors a feel for what I have been covering and to help sporadic visitors to get caught up. (Note that there are overlaps in the following selections.) Posts on […]

Thecla, Paul and the Prehistoric Goddess

| Past

What do Chicago, Clinton Township, Michigan, and Pembroke, Massachusetts have in common? They are all home to churches named for St. Thecla. Who was Thecla? The story of Thecla is found in the apocryphal book, The Acts of Paul and Thecla, written in the late second century. Church leader Tertullian, writing about 200 in de […]