Current Research on Pompeii, Part I: Archaeology

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Those of us who love Pompeii will be happy to know that research there continues, which is always good news for a site that is frequently in danger of succumbing to the elements, political exigencies and funding shortages. Scholars in religious studies, classics, archaeology and other fields routinely reveal new evidence from excavations and novel […]

The Legend of Abgar and Jesus, Part II: The Philippian Correspondence

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In Part I, we presented an overview of the legendary correspondence between King Abgar of Edessa and Jesus, noting its popularity and how it was preserved in both literary and archaeological sources. Here we will look specifically at the archaeological sample found at Philippi in northern Greece. As we have noted elsewhere, Philippi is important […]

The Legend of Abgar and Jesus, Part I: Introduction

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Sometime in antiquity, a story developed that King Abgar V of Edessa, a Syrian city located in Mesopotamia, became ill, perhaps with leprosy, and wrote to Jesus of Nazareth to ask for a cure. In the correspondence, Abgar invited Jesus to come to Edessa to escape persecution. Jesus, according to the legend, replied in writing, […]

Exploring the Influence of Salome in Early Christianity

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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 […]

When Early Christians Revered a Female Deity

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Current research reveals that some early Christians revered God in female form. Let’s take a look at the evidence, which starts with an overview of the context out of which Christianity emerged. Christianity emerged in the Graeco-Roman era when people worshipped many gods and goddesses – Zeus, Athena, Dionysos, Apollo, the Great Mother, Sylvanus; this […]