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24 votes
Accepted

Is Xmas a secular name for Christmas?

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 ...
ThaddeusB's user avatar
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19 votes

Is Xmas a secular name for Christmas?

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,...
The Freemason's user avatar
19 votes
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What is the earliest known instance of a petition directed to Mary?

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 ...
Sola Gratia's user avatar
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17 votes
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What is the earliest historical testimony of the celebration of the nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ?

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 ...
ThaddeusB's user avatar
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16 votes

What is the history behind/Origin of the doxology that often gets added to the end of the Lord's prayer?

I can't find this doxology in the lords prayer as recorded in scripture It is in the King James Version: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, ...
guest37's user avatar
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15 votes
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What is the origin of the Christian tradition of praying before eating?

It appears to be a custom that predates establishment of the Christian religion, but you can find a scriptural example in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25(KJV) That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
14 votes
Accepted

What is the origin of the story that the Apostle John taught only "love one another"?

It's from Jerome's Commentary on Galatians, 6:10: The blessed John the Evangelist lived in Ephesus until extreme old age. His disciples could barely carry him to church and he could not muster the ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

What are the first references to a tradition of fasting before partaking of the Lord's Supper?

This practice is attested as early as the first half of the third century, by Tertullian and particularly Hippolytus. Tertullian addresses the topic tangentially while addressing the dangers of women ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
12 votes

What is the theological background to the belief that taxation is theft?

Foundations: Taxation and private property are in tension The commandment (Exodus 20) "Thou shalt not steal" implies the right to private property, and this is everywhere assumed in ...
davidlol's user avatar
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12 votes
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How did the doctrine of the pope having "supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls" originate?

Paragraph 937 of the Catechism is part of an "In Brief" section that occurs at the end of every topic of the Catechism. The "In Brief" sections are intended to summarize the ...
Matt Gutting's user avatar
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11 votes
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What is the origin of the story that James had knees as hard as a camel's, because of his praying?

The first recorded instance of the tradition comes from Hegesippus, a second century Christian writer. Unfortunately, his works have been lost, except for a small portion of his writings quoted by ...
ThaddeusB's user avatar
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10 votes
Accepted

Where did the formula, "Good works are the fruits of faith," originate?

Clement of Rome, Clement of Alexandria, and Didymus the Blind said things that could be mistaken for the formula, but don't fit all the criteria. The first one to use it unmistakably is Origen, in ...
Mr. Bultitude's user avatar
10 votes

Which church father first taught the perpetual virginity of Mary?

As with many doctrines in the first few hundred years of the church, they tended not to be explicitly defined until heretics arose forcing the church to define doctrine. This is why history is ...
emeth's user avatar
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10 votes
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What is the earliest systematic New Testament commentary?

Origen's commentaries do indeed appear to be the earliest surviving line-by-line, self-contained biblical commentaries. This becomes evident when we examine his closest competitors. We'll look first ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

When were Protestants first called 'Protestants' and what were they, originally, protesting about?

The year was 1529, the event was the Second Diet of Speyer, and the particular matter that brought about labeling of Evangelicals as 'Protestants' was their objecting to undemocratic religious ...
Anne's user avatar
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10 votes

Where did Christian monasteries originate from?

Where Christian monasteries originate from? Christian Monasticism developed out from the eremitical way of life of the Desert Fathers of the second and third centuries. The Desert Fathers, and other ...
Ken Graham's user avatar
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9 votes
Accepted

What is the origin of the belief that Satan tortures the unsaved in Hell?

There is no biblical support for Satan or any of his demons torturing people in Hell. Rather, the adversary, Satan is said to travel around the world (Job 1:7) and even to have access to God's ...
Steve's user avatar
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9 votes

What is the history behind/Origin of the doxology that often gets added to the end of the Lord's prayer?

A Catholic priest, Father William Saunders, answers here: Who Added The Doxology? To summarize: The doxology is very old, going back to the first century. To quote the article: In the early ...
Paul Chernoch's user avatar
9 votes

Who first associated the fourth beast of Daniel 7 with the Roman Empire?

Several commentators before Jerome make this connection. We'll mention three,1 starting with Cyril of Jerusalem (313–386), who indicates that he is not the originator of this interpretation: The ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
8 votes

What is the origin of the moral-civil-ceremonial distinction of the Old Testament law?

Division of the law in the early church The law has been "divided" since the early church, but at first only into two parts. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Augustine, and others described a ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
8 votes

Who was the first to reject the historicity of Adam?

Philo The first-century Jewish theologian Philo may not have been the first Jew to reject the literal historicity of the creation stories, as it is my understanding that educated Alexandrian Jews had ...
Dick Harfield's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Who first said, "We are all born Pelagians?"

Roger Nicole was certainly not the first to say this. The quote can be traced to two 17th-century English authors, Thomas Manton and Nathaniel Culverwell. Culverwell's version of the quote appears ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Where did the idea of the inerrancy of the King James Bible come from?

Today's "King James-only" movement, and its argument that the KJV is itself inspired, does indeed have historical precedence, though it's debatable if the 20th-century movement can claim a ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
8 votes

What is the origin of the Christian tradition of praying before eating?

There are numerous biblical examples of this that serve as a basis for the practice. At the feeding of the 5000: Matthew 14:19 (ESV) Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
7 votes

Where did the idiom "asking Jesus into your heart" come from?

This concept appears in a sermon for children from 1845, by Alexander Fletcher: Oh! my young friends, how happy you shall be, when Christ enters into your heart! I should like every little child ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
7 votes

Where did the "theology" behind the Cherry tree carol come from?

The Cherry Tree Carol is thought to date to the 16th or 17th century. The history of its development is murky, but it may be traced to a 15th century Coventry play1 and beyond that to the Gospel of ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
7 votes

Discrepancy between Yahweh (Christian Bibles) and Eh-yeh (Torah)

Here is a basic answer: In Exodus 3:14, אֶֽהְיֶה (eh-yeh, a form of the Hebrew verb "to be") is used as part of what today would be considered a folk etymology of the most sacred Hebrew name of God, ...
Lee Woofenden's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

When was Sunday first called the Sabbath?

The first writer to clearly make this connection appears to be Petrus Alphonsi in the 12th century. This is argued by 17th century historian Peter Heylyn, who writes: The first who ever used [the ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar

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