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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Images from Philippi

| Past

Philippi in northern Greece is an important city for the history of Christianity and a fascinating archaeological site. Here we will highlight a few features that raise important issues for modern contemplation, since Christianity has had such vast influence on the West. I will illustrate these points using photos of mine taken on site during […]

The Feminine/Androgynous Jesus

| Past

Jesus was a man, right? In the New (Christian) Testament of the Bible he certainly was. However, in the first few centuries of the Common Era (CE), images of Jesus were not limited to male. During this era, a great deal of Christian literature, generally called “apocryphal” or “extra-canonical,” circulated but did not make it […]

The Trials and Tribulations of Translating Scripture 2: Pitfalls and Challenges

| Past,Present

In Trials and Tribulations 1, we presented an overview of the history of the Bible and the various ancient manuscripts that scholars have used over the centuries to translate Biblical texts from the original languages into other languages. We noted that translating from ancient languages and incomplete manuscripts copied centuries later present challenges to translators […]

The Trials and Tribulations of Translating Scripture 1: Introduction

| Past

The Bible: a vitally important text in Western history. Contrary to some popular misperceptions: not one book but many; not written in King James English but in at least three ancient languages; and not originally written but rather passed down orally for generations. It should go without saying, then, that translating a collection of ancient […]