History is crucial for understanding a lot of the Bible, such as the history of Israel, or the Roman Empire. But please use the church-history tag instead for questions about the history of the church since the NT was completed.

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How do the Dead Sea Scrolls impact modern apologetics?

I understand that the 1946 discovery of almost a thousand ancient texts in caves on the West Bank has had a significant impact, I'm just trying to figure out what specific changes the discovery has ...
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3answers
686 views

How did the practice of soliciting the prayers of dead saints originate?

How did the practice of soliciting the prayers of dead saints originate? Did it start based on something in the bible? The apocrypha? A papal decree? On a side note, which groups practice this type ...
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1answer
806 views

Did Martin Luther think John Calvin is a “son of the devil”?

I read from here (a Chinese website) that Martin Luther called John Calvin a son of the Devil. Now I have never seen this quote anywhere. Did Luther say something like this to Calvin? If yes, why?
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3answers
558 views

Are there “rational” criteria for which books appear in the Bible?

When I looked into "canon criticism" or "canonology" a while back, I came across numerous (alleged) criteria for whether a book is/was included in canon, such as "Old Testament books had to be written ...
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2answers
636 views

Did the Church Fathers advocate celibacy?

What were the Church Fathers' views on celibacy? Did they see celibacy as a higher or more spiritual calling than marriage? Did they see marriage as incompatible with a spiritual life? Was there ...
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4k views

What is the Toronto Blessing?

Just over a decade ago there was much hype in the media about the Toronto Blessing, a phenomenon that began at Toronto Airport Church and subsequently spread from there. What is it? Is it still ...
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2answers
658 views

Was the apostle Peter martyred in Rome?

There are some legends that say that Peter traveled to Rome where he was martyred. Is this legend true? Are there any historical accounts that support the legend? Are there any other theories about ...
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4answers
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Why did Christianity survive at all?

I was reading about ... hold on, what was I reading about? Nevermind, I was URL surfing. Jumping around from one link to another I somehow got to this - He [Nero] was known for having captured ...
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297 views

According to reformed theology, why are certain important doctrines not “obvious”? [i.e. why does the Westminister Confession even exist?]

Consider the important doctrines of: divinity of Christ doctrine of Trinity doctrine of predestination Consider in general, that the Westminister Confession is shorter than most books of the ...
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4answers
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Why was the Bible not available to common people in the Medieval period?

The Bible was not available in the hands of common people in Medieval times (5th - 15th century). Which of these possible reasons are plausible? The common people were poor and could not afford to ...
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3answers
1k views

Why are the books of the Protestant Bible in the order that they are in?

I am curious why the books of the Protestant Bible are in the order that they are in? Someone told me they thought the books were in some sort of chronological order - is that true? (I know the ...
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Has Christianity ever come down in opposition of arranged marriages?

Many cultures in many ages have practiced arranged marriages. I understand that in Jewish culture --at about the time of Christ-- arranged marriages were considered a normal way of life. Obviously if ...
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1answer
343 views

When did people start to deny Jesus as a historical person?

Somewhat related to this question: What extrabiblical sources support the existence of Jesus in history? Is there any record of when people started to give the idea that Jesus never existed? Is ...
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3answers
402 views

Biblical Prophecy and Fulfillment

I often hear the argument that the veracity of Christ's claims in the gospels can be considered reliable based upon two things: miracles and fulfilled prophecy. This pre-supposes the validity of the ...
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1answer
666 views

Origin of “The Marks of the True Church”

In Reformed Theology, "the marks of a true church" are often delineated, to the effect of: Church discipline Teaching/preaching Administration of the sacraments (These are the marks often denoted ...
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2answers
1k views

Why didn't Syriac Christianity keep Aramaic as their liturgical language?

Syriac Christianity (as well as with other oriental orthodoxy denominations) today use Arabic as their liturgical language. It is known that they have been using Arabic since the times of Muslim ...
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2answers
445 views

How do Christians reconcile archeology with the Bible in the account of the Battle of Jericho?

Wikipedia explains three archaeological studies of the Jericho site, and concludes that the city was abandoned at the time the supposed Biblical battle took place. How do Christians reconcile the ...
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1answer
223 views

How does the doctrine of the URC differ from its predecessors?

The United Reformed Church is a denomination in Britain that was formed out of a merger of the Congregationalist and Presbyterian denominations in 1972. What doctrinal compromises had to be made for ...
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1answer
251 views

Is there any evidence that Romans viewed Christian teachings on sexual restraint as a liberating influence?

Sarah Ruden (via John Stonestreet) makes an interesting claim about the Roman Empire in the time of Paul: Dreher cites classics scholar Sarah Ruden, whose book “Paul Among the Gentiles” was the ...
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What is the origin of the Good Friday tradition?

As suggested by this question and this answer, it seems possible that Jesus actually died on a Wednesday, not on a Friday. In light of these competing theories, what is the origin of the Good Friday ...
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4answers
227 views

Why did the conclave elect Pope Stephen I, when he died prior to taking office?

According to Wikipedia, Pope Stephen I was elected to the papacy in March of 752 A.D., but died a few days later, prior to being installed. As I understand it, Catholic teaching indicates that God's ...
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5answers
631 views

Does the bible indicate when the Ark of the Covenant officially disappeared?

As the title asks, does the bible indicate where or how the ark of the covenant finally disappeared? If not, do we have any likely clues?
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Apostle John lived in Ephesus - what sources claim that?

Which earliest sources does Christianity posses that claim that apostle John spent the last years of his life in Ephesus?
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How many witnesses are there who physically saw and/or touched the golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was reportedly translated?

I understand the Book of Mormon has a list of witnesses. However, I have heard that these witnesses may not have actually ever seen the gold plates that contained the original manuscripts for the ...
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1answer
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Why has Mary Magdalene been portrayed as a prostitute?

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to watch ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. It wasn't all that great and yes I found it a bit offensive, however it did get me thinking. Why does it seem as if Mary ...
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3answers
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How many New Testament manuscripts do we really have?

How does the Bible size up with other books from the ancient world? Is it really true that the New and Old Testament is the book from the ancient world that has the largest amounmt of extant ...
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1answer
131 views

Who is the author referred to in the Pope's 4 April 2014 homily?

I'll keep my question short. Does anyone know to whom Pope Francis was referring in today's homily, when he discussed an author whose books were initially banned by the Church, but now this person is ...
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1answer
542 views

When did Christmas (the birth of Christ) first begin as a Christian celebration?

I remember hearing something about a true Saint Nicholas who maybe helped poor children or something, but to be honest, I really don't know much about when Christmas began to be celebrated by ...
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2answers
4k views

How did the Crusades impact modern Christianity?

How do the crusades impact modern day Christianity own sense of morality and spirituality? What do these things mean to a person of faith? The Crusades, from Wikipedia The Crusades were a series ...
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2answers
279 views

What were the beliefs, teachings, and practices of the church regarding slavery in the New World?

When the New World was discovered, slavery was virtually unknown in Europe. Soon after the discovery of the New World, European powers began to make slaves there, and to transport slaves from Africa ...
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1answer
4k views

Did Saint Patrick actually explain the Trinity using a shamrock?

The shamrock is a pretty bad analogy for the Trinity. In fact, it's somewhat of a heretical explanation if one puts much emphasis on it. It's partialism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQLfgaUoQCw ...
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1answer
366 views

Was Christ's suffering unusually harsh for the standard of the Roman times?

I can understand the political reasons behind His execution. What I can't really understand is why did the Romans go through such a lengthy and gruesome process. I know crucifixion used to be a ...
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What evidence is there that the Apostle Paul had been a member of the Sanhedrin?

I remember hearing someone make the claim that Paul had been a member of the Sanhedrin prior to his conversion to Christianity. Is there any evidence for this claim? If so, what is it?
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What has the LDS Church (Mormons) historically taught about the Curse of Cain and dark skin?

I have heard that people with black skin had been denied certain things in the Mormon Church until the past 30 years or so and that this has something to do with the Curse of Cain. What has been the ...
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2answers
924 views

When did the split in crufix/empty-cross sybolism occur and why did it happen?

Today, we have Catholic and Orthodox churches (and a few others) using the crucifix, whereas most Protestant denominations use an empty cross in their symbolism. Did this difference in symbolism arise ...
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3answers
477 views

How did the monastic tradition evolve?

In the 4th Century there was a strong monastic tradition, which usually involved living in solitude or small groups in the wilderness. By the 12th Century the monastic life was being lived in large ...
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2answers
628 views

What evidence is there that the Chinese script reflects a knowledge of Genesis 1-11?

It has been asserted that the author of the Chinese alphabet could very well been knowledgeable of the accounts in Genesis 1-11--those that occurred prior to the division of peoples and languages at ...
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1answer
268 views

Where was Jesus' tomb?

We can be pretty sure it isn't in Japan. The two most referenced sites are: The Aedicule of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and The Garden Tomb. However, both stake their claims by virtue of ...
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289 views

Writing / recording capabilities around Jesus's time

I'm wondering if there is any historical information or references that describe the ability to write and record information around the time of Jesus and his disciples. I.e. to what extent were they ...
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6answers
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What is significant about the swaddling clothes with which Jesus was wrapped as a baby?

Luke gives the account of Jesus' birth and mentions that Mary wrapped Him in "swaddling cloths". And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a ...
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Did Paul write other letters that are not in the Bible?

I've heard it said that Paul wrote other letters that didn't make it into the Bible, including at least one more letter to the church at Corinth, and a letter to the church at Laodicea. What is the ...
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4answers
2k views

What exactly was the purpose of the Council of Nicea?

I heard recently in a bible study class on "How we got the Bible", that the Council of Nicea is not actually responsible for the compilation of the complete, canon biblical texts. I had always thought ...
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1answer
889 views

Where are the tombs of Jesus' original 12 disciples?

I would like a list of the twelve disciples, correlated with their most probable burial location. I understand that many reliquaries containing parts of their bodies were distributed throughout ...
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2answers
25k views

What happened to the two trees in the Garden of Eden?

In Genesis 2, we are told that there were two named trees in the Garden of Eden--the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. When Adam and Eve ate fruit from the Tree of the ...
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1answer
508 views

Are there any references to “four canonical Gospels” prior to 100 AD?

According to the "Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung" eleven manuscripts of NT are from within the second century alone, which include: P52 (100-150), P90, 104 (2nd century), P66 (c. AD ...
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2answers
210 views

Is there a unique characteristic for all canonical books?

Is there any one unique characteristic that would be common for all the books of the Bible besides being chosen by the Church to be a part of canon? I am interested here in the main-stream Protestant ...
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2answers
191 views

Which year did Jesus die? What is the most commonly held view

Is there a commonly held year for Jesus' crucifixion? What is the basis? In particular I would like to see biblical-basis. If not which Christian denominations teach a specific year for His ...
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3answers
911 views

Why was Paul allowed to write in jail?

We know that Paul was held under some brutal conditions—his feet in stocks in one case. Yet he was still able to write many letters from prison. Was this during some of his "nicer accommodations", or ...
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260 views

At the greater emergence of democracy in Europe during the 'Enlightenment' did the papacy support democracy?

I was just wondering how did the papacy respond to democracy when it first arose in Europe? On one hand, in a country that was, according to its sovereign, a Catholic country, democracy would be very ...
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1answer
259 views

Reason for drawing water at unusual time

John 4:5-8 New Living Translation (NLT) 5: Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6: Jacob’s well was there; and ...