The Conversion of Augustine

Augustine, one of the most prolific and the most famous of the church fathers, was born to a Christian mother (Monica) and pagan father (Patricias) in the small town of Tagaste (Souk Arras in modern Algeria) in 354. His devout mother provided a home where he was nurtured in the Lord, and Augustine had marked… Read More The Conversion of Augustine

Fathers of the Church – Leaders in Early Post-Apostolic Christianity

I was cleaning out some boxes in the basement when I happened upon several books my grandmother had owned. They were dirty, with bindings breaking down and covers coming off. The pages had yellowed and become wrinkled and stiff with time and atmospheric moisture. Some of the texts were covered by a thin layer dust.… Read More Fathers of the Church – Leaders in Early Post-Apostolic Christianity

Restoring Apostate Christians during the Roman Persecutions

Christians had been persecuted in the Roman Empire since the Apostles, but the persecution under Emperors Decius and Valerian was more widespread and severe than before. Simply for bearing the name of Jesus, Christians faced loss of position, confiscation of property, rejection by pagan family members, and even death. Many Christians stood strong in the… Read More Restoring Apostate Christians during the Roman Persecutions

Christian Apology in the Second Century

Contrary to the modern Western usage of the word, apology as first defined by Webster is “a formal spoken or written defense of some idea, religion, philosophy, etc.” By end of the second century AD, Christianity had grown dramatically in the Roman Empire and was clearly differentiated from Judaism, which had lost its place in… Read More Christian Apology in the Second Century

Israel at the Time of Hosea

The Kingdom of Aram (modern Syria) had long been a major military threat to Israel, and Israel had been forced to devote many resources to defense against its northeastern neighbor.  During the days of Jehoahaz (816-800 BC), crushing defeats at the hands of the Arameans had reduced Israel’s army to “not more than 50 horsemen,… Read More Israel at the Time of Hosea

Acts as Theological History

Modern historiography, almost regardless of the topic, has a standard framework.  Whether describing a person’s life or describing an event or series of events, the modern historian will write chronologically; things that happened earlier in time will occur earlier in the article or book. Certain elements are also usually present.  A biography, for example, will… Read More Acts as Theological History

Hellenization After Alexander – What was it, and Why Did it Matter?

When conquerors want to subdue a foe, they crush their armies. If they want to rule a conquered land, however, they must displace the culture of that land. Alexander the Great knew this, and as he wanted an empire that would outlive him, he needed to displace conquered cultures with his own. This was especially… Read More Hellenization After Alexander – What was it, and Why Did it Matter?

The Intertestamental Period – Where Do We Get Our Knowledge?

Knowledge is very important in all fields, but derives from different sources. One can know science by observation and experimentation since physical phenomena are perceivable by the senses and repeatable. Historical events, however, are not repeatable and so persons of later eras must rely on written records and on artifacts from earlier eras if they… Read More The Intertestamental Period – Where Do We Get Our Knowledge?

Some Differences in Life between the Ancient and Modern Worlds

Those who study antiquity would do well to consider life in earlier times compared to life in the West in the 21st century. The technological differences are staggering but other differences, including population and world view, are equally daunting. In a time without cell phones, computers, telephones, automobiles, refrigerators, and all of the beeps, buzzes… Read More Some Differences in Life between the Ancient and Modern Worlds

Tensions Between Rome and the Jews During the Early 1st Century AD

One of the recurring themes of the Roman Empire in the first century AD is the friction between the Jewish people and the Romans.  Much of stemmed from the dramatic cultural difference between the Romans who adopted Greek culture and the Jews, some of whom adopted Greek culture but most of whom held tightly to… Read More Tensions Between Rome and the Jews During the Early 1st Century AD