Praying the Psalms: Age-Old Jewish Poetry in a Christian Context

| Past,Present

Most Sundays, and in many contexts around the world on weekdays as well, Christian worshipers read, sing or chant portions of a Psalm, an entire Psalm or even several Psalms during a service. The standard collection of Psalms, the Psalter, found in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) portion of the Bible, is “an anthology of […]

The Apocryphal Origins of the Cherry Tree Carol

| Past

Tis the season when many of us are singing – and/or listening to – Christmas carols. These carols often  reflect the stories of Jesus’ birth as recounted in the New (Christian) Testament Gospels of Matthew and Luke, but many others originate considerably later in the Christian tradition. One of these later tales is the Cherry […]

Index to the Seventh Year

| Future,Past,Present

Thank you for your interest in these blog posts! Here is a listing by topic for posts since October 2021. (Some topics overlap.)   Social and Racial Justice, Diversity Honoring the Wampanoags Today and Moving Toward a More Perfect Union, November 26, 2021 Suggested Readings for Black History Month: The Self-Education of White Americans, February […]

Women Members of the Early Jesus Movement at Philippi

| Past

On several occasions, we have examined aspects of the ancient city of Philippi in northern Greece. We have noted its connection with St. Paul, including archaeological evidence for women’s involvement in pagan cults and Roman religion as the early Jesus movement was growing, and we noted how women may have carved the unique rock reliefs […]

New Research on Mary Called the Magdalene

| Past

As we saw earlier, feminist scholarship has brought to light the leadership role that the woman known as Mary Magdalene from the New (Christian) Testament had in the early days of the Jesus movement. As we noted, she appears numerous times in the Christian Testament and in all four gospels: Matthew 27.55-56, 61; 28.1; Mark […]

Christian Practices and Their Indebtedness to the Goddesses and Gods of Antiquity, Part II: Miscellaneous Liturgies and Practices

| Past

In our previous post, we examined the pagan backgrounds of Christian practices that take place most often in Sunday worship services. Here we will look at special liturgies of the Christian church and miscellaneous Christian practices that have roots in the goddess and god cults of antiquity. Special liturgies Weddings and marriage. According to the […]

Persis: Another Female Colleague of St. Paul’s

| Past

Previously we have examined the women around St. Paul, noting that, contrary to comments about women incorrectly attributed to him that have been used to oppress women in both church and society, Paul actually worked closely with many women in leadership positions and had great respect for them. Most of the women in these positions […]

In Solidarity with Ukraine

| Past,Present

The thoughts and prayers of Americans and citizens around the world are with the Ukrainian people in their time of crisis. With the news changing almost hourly, we cannot begin to chart in this space what is happening on the ground. Instead, we will here try to offer some perspective on their very ancient and […]