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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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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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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In what order were the books in the New Testament written?

I'm just curious as to the actual timeline and known dates of the New Testament books. I know the version fo the Bible I read had the letters from Paul ordered by their size, and not when they were ...
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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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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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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 ...
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How long has the church been observing Lent?

At what point in church history did the Lenten season become a significant part of the church year? Obviously Easter came first, but I don't see the biblical basis for 40 days of preparation for ...
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At what date in history was the last papal anathema officially applied through the death penalty in a papal court against a heretic or protestant?

I was just wondering when in history the official papal death sentences really ended. I am not interested in any killing that was not officially authorized by a pope (or his authorized ...
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Where can I find sources showing ecclesiastical vestments of the 1200s?

In 1215 at Runneymeade, barons and clerics gathered to get King John to set his seal to the Barons' Charter. According to Roger of Wendover, among them were the pope's representative, Master (bishop) ...
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To what are the scriptures referring when they speak of the books of the “chronicles of the kings”?

In the books of 1 and 2 Kings, there are quite a few places where the author refers to "the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah" or "the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel". ...
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Where did the Young Earth Creationist doctrine originate?

I heard the other day that the literalist interpretation of biblical creation (A literal 7 day creation of the universe) isn't the classical historical interpretation that past Christians held. I was ...
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What is the earliest point in history where the cross icon started showing up on artifacts related to Christianity?

I can’t imagine the cross would have become an art-piece while the Romans were still killing Christians. The cross symbol during the persecutions must have in some way seemed similar to the Nazi ...
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Demon Possession of Jesus' Time - Today's Diagnosable Mental Disorders?

Quite a few of the things Jesus and his disciples had to address they had diagnosed as "demons". Today we call things of similar symptoms "disorders". Epilepsy: Matthew 17:14-16 Multiple Personality ...
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Were any Biblical prophecies understood before they were fulfilled?

In a recent discussion on this site, someone told me that the nature of Biblical Prophecy is such that it cannot be understood prior to its fulfillment; that this is essentially the point of a ...
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Was Jesus a poor man, in economic sense?

I saw a video of Cesar Vidal and he said, that probably, Jesus was a middle-high class in economic sense, during the period of life before public ministry. I need historical references.
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What is the historical reason the King James Version was created?

Many years ago, I heard someone say that the KJV came about because King James I wanted a version of the Bible that supported him getting a divorce. Nowadays, I can't help but wonder how true this is. ...
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Was Peter part of a militant sect?

John 18:10 (NLT)  10 Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. The pastor at a church I used to go to once said1 that Peter was ...
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Why didn't Martin Luther provide for his family to be taken care of after his death?

I recently heard Professor Stephen Nichols of Reformed Theological Seminary state that following Martin Luther's death, his wife, Katie, and his children struggled financially for some time. Did ...
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Where did the dates at the bottom of the pages in the Book of Mormon come from?

From these images of an original copy of the Book of Mormon, it appears that the dates and chapter summaries that appear in modern printings do not appear in the original. When exactly did these ...
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What is the history of silent prayer?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe there is much in the way of Biblical or early-church precedence for praying silently. It seems like prayers were generally spoken aloud. In modern times, ...
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Did medieval European monasticism provide a release from certain societal pressures?

I seem to recall a science fiction/fantasy author (possibly Marion Zimmer Bradley in the context of her Darkover series) stating that monasticism provided a means of relieving social pressures by ...
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Is it known who first associated the Beast of Revelation with the Antichrist, and when?

I am NOT asking the similar question "Why is the second beast of Revelation called the Antichrist?" Rather, my question is specifically, when was the first connection made between the two--equating ...
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Did John Wesley admire and learn from Arminias or did he just have a couple similiar ideas?

I do not know a lot about Wesley, but when I encounter him, I tend to like what he says, even though I am a Calvinist. On the the other hand when I encounter people arguing for Arminian doctrines in ...
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What evidence is there that the Jews thought leprosy was due to sin?

Some Jews seemed to think that lepersy was a punishment for sin, rather than a sin itself. This is most probably going to sound like a stupid question either because there is a specific verse ...
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Has the Church historically considered biblical texts concerning slavery to be transcultural or finite?

How have the Bible's passages concerning slavery been interpreted and applied throughout Christian history, especially passages such as Exodus 21:2-11, Leviticus 25:44-46, and 1 Timothy 6:1-2? Have ...
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What role did the Donation of Constantine have on the development of the doctrine of Papal supremacy?

In the late Middle Ages, two documents arose which, together, are called the The Donation of Constantine. They made a large number of statements which would have had the effect of making the Pope the ...
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Was the temple built in 46 years or was it 46 years old during Jesus' time?

I stumbled on this verse again and would like some clarification: Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? John 2:20 (KJV) ...
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How much time did medieval Christians devote to prayer?

I was critiqued on this answer concerning it taking less time out of the day for someone to be a Muslim than a Christian, and that may be untrue for a majority of Christians today. But how much ...
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How did the Virgin Mary's title “Mirror of Justice”, used in some Catholic prayers, originate?

The Catholic prayer often known as the Litany of Loreto1 contains a number of descriptive titles of Mary, the mother of God—for example, "Mirror of Justice", "Seat of Wisdom", "Star of the Sea". ...
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How many people were killed by the Sanhedrin around the time of Paul?

In the Bible, the Sanhedrin condemned: Jesus James the Just Stephen The death penalty was supposed to be rare, as Mishnah Makkot 1:10 states: A Sanhedrin that puts a man to death once in seven ...
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How much did Paul's travels cost?

The Apostle Paul famously made an extensive series of missionary journeys around the eastern Mediterranean (in various company, and stopping off in some places for months or years, also getting ...
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Was Luke, the author of the Gospel and Acts, a slave?

"It is possible that Paul’s “relative” Lucius is Luke, the author of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. On his second missionary journey, Paul may have gone to Troas (where Luke lived—or ...
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What is God's shape or form?

How do we describe God? Does He have a shape or form? Is He human-like, a light, or something else? Does He have a shape? What does Christianity say about it?
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Why did Protestants abandon Liturgy of the Hours?

In Divine office or Liturgy of the Hours as it is practiced in Catholic Church there's nothing bad for Protestants (or at least nothing of which I know that Protestants consider bad); prayer is good ...
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How should a Christian deal with destructive higher criticism of the Bible? [closed]

In recent times authorship of Biblical books has been called into question by modern scholars. It is believed that Isaiah didn't write Isaiah, John didn't write John, Matthew didn't write Matthew, ...
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Are there any tenets of Gnosticism that are still present in the church today?

Towards the end of the New Testament writing, the heresy of gnosticism was one of the chief "false teachings" against which Paul and the other writers were contesting. Could someone present some of ...
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When did the African-American population become Christian?

As someone who's never been to the USA I might be making a completely wrong assumption, but from all the media, it seems that the majority of the African-American population were traditionally ...
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Was the Apostolic Tradition of rejecting soldiers from the church ‘permanent’, or was this ‘tradition' briefly enforced?

In the Bible Jesus encounters Roman soldiers but does not tell them to 'quit their day job'. Jesus encountered a centurion with 'great faith' as recorded in Matthew 8. Peter as well baptized a ...
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What is the meaning of the question Luther's companions shouted on his deathbed?

In Martin Luther's Biography, In his final hour, Justus Jonas and Michael Coelius who were his companions shouted loudly and asked this question: "Reverend father, are you ready to die trusting ...
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What is the significance of Palm branches?

I've been pondering this question for a while. With Easter right around the corner, I figured this is the perfect time to ask. See these verses: Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, ...
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How was the Old Testament compiled?

While this question is similar to this question, I'm certain the answer will be very different, and far more complex.... How was the Old Testament compiled?
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Who were the “scribes” whom Jesus often disputes against in the canonical gospels?

And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. (Matthew 7:28-29 ESV) There are ...
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What happened to Joseph, Jesus's father?

What happened to Joseph the father of Jesus, because the last time he was mentioned in the story of Jesus was "Jesus's finding in the temple" after that he was never mentioned again until the death of ...
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Where do Catholics believe the historical narrative of the Bible begins?

I heard on the Relevant Radio recently that the Genesis account of the deluge is prehistorical. Meaning, it wasn't really recorded in histories the way other more specific accounts of historical ...
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What was it like in the Temple at the time of Jesus?

In the New Testament, there are many stories of Jesus and the apostles spending time in the Temple teaching and preaching. The apostles also do this after the resurrection. What was the structure of ...
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Did the pope choose sides between the Allies and the Axis in World War 2?

Simple question. I was just wondering how the Catholic church positioned itself politically at the time of world war 2. Did it align with the Allies, Axis, or neither? Did the pope choose sides ...
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When did Christians switch from an ‘immediate baptism’ to ‘after years of instruction and scrutiny’ baptism, such as in the Apostolic Tradition?

According to this article ‘Catechumen’ means one receives instruction from “a catechist in the principles of the Christian religion with a view to baptism”. I understand that some churches have this ...
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Why did the Commonwealth Parliament ban theatre?

I've known for a while that theatre was banned under Cromwell, because the Puritans disapproved of it. What was their objection? Wikipedia adds this information: Pastimes such as the theatre and ...
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What does TS Eliot mean by “old dispensation” in The Journey of the Magi?

In T. S. Eliot's poem The Journey of the Magi he's offering a imaginative view into the interior experience of one of the wise men from the East who came to Jesus's birthplace. The last few lines of ...
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What was Martin Luther King, Jr.'s understanding of salvation?

I've been reading A Testament of Hope which is a compilation of sermons by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. I also know he's a Baptist. (I even got to stand and preach for a minute in his pulpit last ...