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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

6
votes
3answers
5k views

Where did the religious symbol of the 'halo' come from?

I once read somewhere that the 'halo' was inherited by Christianity from ancient worshippers of the Sun.  However, although this seems believable I never bothered to verify its historic credibility - ...
6
votes
4answers
222 views

What is the history of the doctrine of inerrancy?

Is there any reason, biblical or otherwise, not to believe that the doctrine of inerrancy is relatively new (past two hundred years). I found the following statement on Wikipedia. "It has in fact ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

How many kinds of Catholics are there?

Until recently I was under the impression that Catholics are unanimous in their beliefs and don't have the kind of fragmentation that Protestants have. But I’ve learned that there are several small ...
6
votes
3answers
614 views

Persecution of Jewish people by Christians in Middle Ages?

I want to apologize ahead if my questions sound disrespectful to anybody. This isn't my intent. I grew up in East Asia which has very few Christians, but I have been very interested in the history of ...
6
votes
3answers
311 views

What's the deal with oil?

If you look across the Bible, there are many instances where oil is used. The anointing of Saul and David; Jacob pouring oil over the rock where he had his dream of the staircase to heaven(?); Maria ...
6
votes
1answer
233 views

Is the philosophy of René Girard compatible with mainline Christianity?

Rene Girard is a French historian and philosopher. The premise of his works is summarized by Wikipedia: mimetic desire: all of our desires are borrowed from other people; mimetic rivalry: ...
6
votes
4answers
162 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
287 views

What happened to the Sarum rite?

The Sarum rite was the traditional rule of liturgical worship for Catholics in England, and to some extent in the rest of the British Isles, for many years. It is related to the Roman rite, and to ...
6
votes
2answers
201 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
193 views

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". ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

What crime was committed by the “thieves” crucified with Jesus?

During yesterday's sermon, the pastor mentioned the theory that the thieves crucified next to Jesus likely weren't simple thieves to warrant such a sentence, but were probably "thieves with a cause." ...
6
votes
2answers
479 views

Was Billy Sunday the first evangelist to equate the “altar call” with salvation?

According to this article from the The Society for Effective Evangelism: Up until Billy Sunday, altar calls were invitations for seekers to come to an after-meeting or inquiry room where ...
6
votes
1answer
61 views

Were the “prophecies” in Montanism related to the paganistic oracles?

I was reading about Montanism and saw this passage (from Wikipedia): The Montanist prophets did not speak as messengers of God but were described as possessed by God while being unable to resist. ...
6
votes
1answer
328 views

John Wesley's influence by ancient fathers

I have been told that John Wesley read the pre-Schism fathers a lot, and was influenced by them. Is this so, and if so, to what extent and how was his doctrine influenced by them?
6
votes
3answers
196 views

Is 'sola gratia' as a soteriology traceable in the period leading to the Protestant Reformation?

Protestants often consider the Roman Catholic church to have significantly distorted the gospel. Were there Christians prior to the Reformation who had essentially the same understanding of the ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How did Adam and Eve win at Hide and Seek? [closed]

I began reading the KJV a couple months ago, and one question that keeps plaguing my mind is, "How did Adam and Eve successfully hide from God?" Genesis Chapter 3: 8 And they heard the voice of ...
5
votes
4answers
273 views

How literally is Romans 10:14 supposed to be taken?

I recently learned that St. Augustine held an extremely literal view of a particular verse in Romans... Romans 10:14 (NLT)  14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they ...
5
votes
4answers
410 views

Was Christmas a replacement of the feast of Hanukkah or of the 'Invincible Sun'?

Was Christmas a replacement of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah that was celebrated by the early Christians or was it to replace the Pagan festival of the 'Invincible Sun' instituted in 274 CE.
5
votes
3answers
4k views

The “eye of the needle gate” today

There is a great set of answers that covers some of my question regarding the interpretation of this passage over on the Biblical Hermeneutics site, but it didn't answer all of my questions. Today I ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

How did Luther view relics, like the 'preserved head of John the Baptist'?

According to wiki  Roman Catholic tradition holds that the head on display in San Silvestro in Capite in Rome is that of John the Baptist, discovered for the second time, as also maintained by ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

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: John 2:20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? Was the ...
5
votes
2answers
117 views

What is the basis for ascribing any fiscal policy to Jesus?

In the United States, specifically on the Right, many Republican / Tea-Party, Evangelical Christians have very little problem in ascribing a moral motive for a tight fiscal policy which restricts ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Why Lot's daughters seduced their father?

According to the Bible, when Lot escaped out of Zoar, he went up to the mountains and settled in a cave. While in there, he was seduced by his daughters so that they could bear children and save ...
5
votes
1answer
140 views

How did Luther view pilgrimages?

From what I understand there are many people from various denominations who imagine certain places on the earth are 'holier' than other places and that it is good to travel long distances to visit ...
5
votes
2answers
150 views

Did the Emperor Constantine ever present explanations for putting off his baptism?

The Emperor Constantine who favored Christianity as early as 312, and convened the Council of Nicæa in 325, postponed baptism till 337. Did he provide any reasons for doing so?
5
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the relation between the First Baptist Church and the Baptist Church?

In my neighboorhood ther has been a Baptist Church for a while. I´m moderately aware of the history of Baptist Church in general. Very recently a temple of The First Baptist Church has been built. ...
5
votes
2answers
173 views

What is the earliest recorded instance where Mary is called “Blessed Virgin?”

I was recently spending some thought on this topic which came from this question: What are the common Protestant interpretations of Luke 1:48 (KJV)? I answered the question and proposed as an ...
5
votes
1answer
152 views

What was the Christian response to death-loving practices of Ancient Roman society?

In Ancient Rome, gladiators would fight to the death for the amusement of the crowd. What did Christians do to stop this?
5
votes
1answer
575 views

Why and when did allegorical interpretations of Scripture lose their appeal?

Gregory of Nyssa's book The Life of Moses is, if nothing else, a very interesting read. He goes through Moses' account in Exodus and ascribes spiritual meanings to every little detail, although it is ...
5
votes
1answer
897 views

From where did the Pearl of Great Price come and how did it become recognized as Scripture in the LDS church?

The LDS church recognizes, among other writing, a book called The Pearl of Great Price. What is the origins of this work and how did it become accepted as Scripture by the LDS church? Also, do any ...
5
votes
3answers
150 views

Who was “Zacharias son of Barachias” in Matt. 23:35?

In Matt. 23:35, it is written, That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew ...
5
votes
1answer
347 views

Who in the fourth century had milk instead of wine at communion?

While reading up on intinction I found a reference to an early practice of using milk instead of wine at communion. This was condemned in a decree of 340AD by Pope Saint Julius I: For we have ...
5
votes
1answer
236 views

What is the origin of the doctrine of perspecuity?

Fundamentally, Catholics and Protestants read Scripture differently. Catholics believe that any private interpretation of Scripture is subject to the teachings of the church, whereas Protestants, ...
5
votes
1answer
601 views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
151 views

How did early “street evangelization” differ from the modern practice?

Biblical "street preachers" gathered interested and/or interactive crowds, often followed by mass conversions. We could conceivably chalk some of this up to the "signs and wonders" they tended to ...
5
votes
1answer
85 views

Who was the first to describe Methodists as the “People of the Extreme Center”?

I've heard Methodists describe themselves as the "People of the Extreme Center". It gets used to mean that Methodists take the center road on a lot of issues. But I would like to know where the ...
5
votes
1answer
80 views

Status of the New Testament in the Church of the East in the ancient times

Which books from the current New Testament were used in the ancient Church of the East in, say, Mongolia in the days of Genghis Kahn? The books in the New Testament were fixed after the Church of ...
5
votes
1answer
101 views

What biblical and historical support is there for the practice of child communion.

About seven years ago my wife and I (who are childless) left our old church and set out to find the best church we could in the area. We ended up in a church that practices paedo (child) communion. ...
5
votes
1answer
459 views

Why did John Wycliffe oppose papal authority in the 14th century?

He's been called the "Eosphoros of the Reformation", but how did he come to realise that it was the Bible which spoke against papal authority above government authority?
4
votes
5answers
193 views

Title of Christ?

I was at Bible Study the other night where we watched the new Bible Series that was aired on TV. Someone had asked a question (sorry I forget what), and my Pastor responded by saying something along ...
4
votes
1answer
728 views

Did the city of Nazareth exist in the time of Jesus?

The question stems from this video. Additionally, I would like to know any books, articles and other credible sources that deals with this question for further reading*. Thank you for your time. * ...
4
votes
5answers
787 views

What does the Bible have to say about dinosaurs? [duplicate]

Archaeology has found many dinosaur fossils. Does the Bible have anything to say about the existence of dinosaurs?
4
votes
2answers
3k views

For what human reason was Christ crucified?

I know that from God the Father's perspective, Christ had to die for the sins of the elect. However, from a secular perspective, why was Christ crucified? I know that the Jews were unhappy with ...
4
votes
1answer
268 views

How do we know the events described in the bible are true? [closed]

Many Christians will quote passages from the bible as proof or evidence when needed. However, given that it is a story written, translated, interpreted, re-written, re-translated and re-interpreted by ...
4
votes
2answers
551 views

From where did the Book of Abraham come and how did it become part of LDS Scripture?

According to the answers to this question, the Pearl of Great Price contains a work of antiquity called the Book of Abraham. Where exactly did the Book of Abraham come from and how did it become ...
4
votes
2answers
662 views

Does any church follow the Apostolic Tradition of Baptism ‘in the nude’, or was that never the tradition?

The Apostolic Tradition was the work of Hippolytus, written somewhere between 215 and 400 AD. Recent scholars seem to take the later date (source). The whole writing can be found here: Apostolic ...
4
votes
4answers
4k views

Protestant rejection of the Catholic implementation of confession

(Pardon the length - my original post was more concise, but wasn't clearly conveying my question.) Background: I am currently studying the Spiritual Disciplines at a Protestant seminary. For those ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Was Voltaire's house being used by the biblical society?

Is there any valid source for the claim that Voltaire' house has been used by the Bible Society? I heard this many times, but I've never read a valid source for it.
4
votes
1answer
222 views

Did Jesus own a home as an adult or was He a nomad?

Did Jesus own a home as an adult or was He a nomad? If He did own a home, did He live with someone else?