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32

The idea that Jesus died on a Wednesday is a fabrication. It is nothing more than an attempt to force a modernistic interpretation onto Matthew 12:40. In the early church the common understanding of "three days and three nights" did not require "three full days and also three full nights". Fourth century scholar/priest St. Jerome explains in his Commentary ...


25

Nobody in ancient times could have imagined that the earth was billions of years old, so you won't see any explicit attempts to reconcile the Genesis creation stories with an old earth. However, the early Christians did see discrepancies that made them question how literally the creation stories should be understood. Second century Christian apologist ...


24

Word origin As stated in previous answers, the "X" in "Xmas" comes from the Greek word for Christ, Χριστός. However, since precision is important, I want to clarify when the abbreviation was first used in English. The 1511 date comes from the Oxford English Dictionary entry for ''Xmas'', which reads: 1551 in E. Lodge Illustr. Brit. Hist. (1791) I. 145 ...


22

The evidence for Paul being married is fairly scant. He writes in 1 Corinthians 9:5: "Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas?" The implication could be made that Paul was complaining about leaving some wife behind. In Galatians 1:14, Paul says: "I was advancing in ...


22

Wikipedia's article on Christian denominations appears to have what you are looking for. The major branches are listed in one graphic: Branches of Protestantism are best shown separately, for ease of viewing: Note that these are simple representations of complex movements, so lines connecting one tradition with another won't provide the whole picture. ...


21

Probably the oldest text you'll find is the Phos Hilaron, sometimes known as "Hail gladdening light". The earliest music for it was a Byzantine Chant, and it's still largely sung in churches worldwide, though not so much in the West. David Crowder released a version on his album "Church Music". Hail, gladdening Light, of His pure glory poured Phos ...


21

Technically, the first ecclesiastical authority to say that heretics should be persecuted was Pope Gregory IX in 1229. The first Church Father to say that heretics should be compelled to recant would be Augustine around 400 AD. The first heretic actually put to death (385AD) was killed by the Emperor - and the Pope was very annoyed at the development. It ...


21

"See" comes from the Latin word sedes, which means "seat" or "chair". "Holy See" is Sedes Apostolica (lit. "Apostolic Chair") in Latin. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) gives this etymology for see, n.1: Etymology: < Anglo-Norman see, sed, sied, siet, sez, siez, Anglo-Norman and Old French se, sie, Middle French sie, siet dwelling (c 1100), ...


20

The King James (KJV) was translated from a different Greek text than most modern translations. In the early 1500s, Desiderius Erasmus took the best copies of the Greek New Testament available to him, and compared and collated them to create the Textus Receptus (TR), the first Greek New Testament to be printed rather than hand-written. The TR was the Greek ...


20

What does “see” in “The Holy See” mean? Each bishop and archbishop has the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of an episcopal see. The Roman Pontiff (Pope) has complete jurisdiction of the Holy See, also known as Vatican City. An episcopal see is, in the usual meaning of the phrase, the area of a bishop's ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Phrases concerning ...


19

The Nicene Creed is a long-standing tradition in Christianity, and "defines the mainstream definition of Christianity for most Christians". It has been independently accepted by the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran (pdf link), and plenty of Protestant churches. Joshua Christian seems to have presented a fanciful (or at least misleading) view of the ...


19

The 'Christ myth theory' Wikipedia page actually provides quite an in-depth exposition on the development of the concept Jesus wasn't a historical person: The beginnings of the formal denial of the existence of Jesus can be traced to late 18th century France, and the works of Constantin François Chassebœuf de Volney (1757–1820) and Charles-François Dupuis ...


19

Great Britain monks used "X" for "Christ" nearly a thousand years ago. They used "X" for "Christ" while transcribing manuscripts in Old English. They did so because the Greek word for Christ, ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, begins with the letters "chi" (or “X”) and "rho" (or "P"). And the monks used either "X" or "XP" in writing as an abbreviation for "Christ." The first ...


18

The general consensus, following Paul's teaching, seems to be that marriage is good but celibacy is better. Tertullian may have been the first to write about it: In short, there is no place at all where we read that nuptials are prohibited; of course on the ground that they are “a good thing.” What, however, is better than this “good,” we learn from the ...


18

The clear and correct answer is simply: God's will. God ensured that it happened. Now, suppose one rephrased the question as: how could one explain the survival of Christianity in purely athiest terms -- with no mention of God whatsoever -- what is the closest approximation one could do? Measuring love in units of sacrifice. There's something ...


18

Without question, Theophilus of Antioch (d. 183) is your man. He wrote in Greek: [God's creations on the first three days--light, sky, and vegetation--] are types of the Trinity [Τριάδος], of God, and His Word, and His wisdom. And the fourth [day, the creation of the moon and stars,] is the type of man, who needs light, that so there may be God, the Word, ...


17

It was a mispronunciation of a European (i.e. German/Old English) spelling of Jesus. Before the 1600s "Js" were pronounced "Y" - as in the name Jürgen. In fact, the letter "J" is extant in no alphabet until the 14th Century. The Greek Ίησους (Yeh-sus) was written "Jesus", but pronounced the same (that is, with a "Y") until after the 1630s when the letter J ...


17

Technically… no. The Catholic Church has never decanonized a saint in the sense of saying, "This guy used to be a saint, and now he's not." But the reason is actually quite fascinating. Canonization doesn't actually make someone a saint, per se. A Catholic "canonization" is the process by which the Church ultimately recognizes something God has ...


17

Quick answer: Yes, nude baptism was practiced in Ancient times. From A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities p 160 ed W Smith & S Cheetam (1875) A comparison of all the evidence leads to the conclusion that the catechumens entered the font in a state of absolute nakedness. See particularly St Cyril, Hieros. Myst. Catech. ii ad init; St Ambrose, Serm. ...


17

The chair was real, but its actual function is different from what the legend says. And actually, it seems to have been three chairs: one "commode"-type seat, and two porphyry "pierced" chairs. Read on for more. In Misconceptions About the Middle Ages (page 66-7; ed. Harris and Grigsby), a description is given of the chairs' function in papal coronations: ...


17

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word apple has, until recently, always meant simply "fruit" in English. This was certainly the case at the time of the earliest English Bible translations in the 1600s. In Middle English and as late as 17c., it was a generic term for all fruit other than berries but including nuts (e.g. Old English ...


16

Here are some quotes from and references to Catholic and Protestant sources that attest to the changing of the Saturday Sabbath to the Sunday Sabbath (to speak simply). "Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claim to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles... From beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants ...


16

The word tithe itself comes from the Old English teogoþa, meaning "tenth" - so technically, tithing is the giving of a tenth by definition. But of course that's not what you're asking! The idea of giving a tenth comes from the Old Testament: Leviticus 27:30-33 (MSG): "A tenth of the land's produce, whether grain from the ground or fruit from the trees,...


16

On a historical note, as with Pope Joan story, this too never happened. These the two myths became connected in a well circulated rumor which what eye-witnesses to medieval papal coronations believed they were watching. The result was the often repeated report of a public rite always seen by others, never by the narrator. If Pope Joan story is not true, ...


16

Attitudes on birthdays In the early church, birthdays (in general) were not seen as something to celebrate. For example, in Origen's 8th homily on Leviticus he writes: But the saints not only do not celebrate a festival on their birth days, but, filled with the Holy Spirit, they curse that day. According to an article by Andrew McGowan (Bible Review, ...


16

Sub Tuum Praesidium The earliest known, extant petition prayer to Mary the Θεοτόκος (Theotokos), or Dei Genetrix (the Greek and Latin, respectively, for 'God-bearer' or 'Birthgiver-of-God') is found in an Egyptian papyrus from the 3rd century (commonly dated to around A.D. 250-280 but as late as 300—I could not find a dating later than the 4th century) and ...


15

As you note, there are lots of different traditions here. My ancestry is Scottish and some old Scottish churches only celebrate communion once a year. I've looked through the some liturgies for these services that basically run all day, and it's quite an affair. I have even heard it advocated that once in a life-time ought to do the job, sort of like baptism....


15

Overall, general accessibility to books was difficult for two of the reasons you mention: The were extremely expensive to make According to this source, we have the report of a book taking four weeks to copy (by hand, of course, and costing "53 shillings." At that same point in time, a pig was 10 pence, meaning that one book would have been equivalent to ...


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