oil painting of Jesus standing at the sea side
Christianity

Apocrypha: The Wisdom of Jesus Christ

July 5, 2017

The New Testament gives us 27 canonical texts—gospels, letters, and more—but these works are only a tiny fraction of the many volumes written about the life of Jesus, his family, and the apostles. This alternative body of literature falls under the category of “apocrypha,” which means “hidden” or “secret,” and it offers fascinating insights into the early Christian world and how different groups understood the teachings of Jesus and the first apostles. […]

Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus in a stained glass portrait
Historical Approaches

What Can The Apocrypha Teach Us About Mary?

June 13, 2017

While Mary is present in the Canonical gospels, its really in the early Christian apocrypha that she becomes the leader among the saints. Explore several key texts to uncover what we know about Jesus’ mother, her relationship with the disciples, and what makes her unique among the New Testament figures. […]

Christianity

The Synoptic Gospels — A Historian’s Perspective

April 20, 2017

The story of Jesus’ life can be found similarly told in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In fact, they are so similar in parts, that many scholars believe that one of these Gospels was used as a source for the other two. […]

St Paul writes his gospels
Christianity

The Historic Importance of Saint Paul

March 16, 2017

Saint Paul’s role in the development and spread of Christianity helped define it as a major world religion, instead of a sect within Judaism. Surprisingly, his writings rarely mention Jesus’ teachings at all… […]

Ancient Buddha statue in the Sukhothai period At Si Satchanalai Historical Park, Sukhothai, Thailand
Historical Approaches

The Origins and Rise of Buddhism

March 10, 2017

Where, and when did Buddhism begin? How did it become so popular, capturing the hearts and minds of millions of faithful followers around the globe? Delve into the life of Siddhartha Gautama and the tenets of his philosophy, including the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-Fold Path to enlightenment. Then find out how these ideas developed and spread world-wide. […]

The Magi Journeying (c. 1890)
Christianity

Who Were the Three Wise Men?

February 22, 2017

‘We Three Kings of Orient Are’ is a popular carol, But we’re not sure that ‘The Three Wise Men were kings, were three, were from the Orient, or were wise. […]

Great Mosque of Mecca
Islam

The Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca

February 11, 2017

By John L. Esposito, Ph.D, Georgetown University The Hajj is one of the five Pillars of Islam and is probably the most well-known among non-Muslims: the pilgrimage to […]

Job and His Friends
Christianity

An Analysis of Biblical Prophets

January 31, 2017

By Professor Charles Kimball, University of Oklahoma Prophets are people who convey God’s words or messages to their communities. Contrary to the popular image that […]

Historical Painting depicting Rumi on horseback surrounded by people
Islam

Rumi: The Poet of Spiritual Love

January 20, 2017

By Luke Timothy Johnson, PhD, Emory University The way of love is emphasized by Jalal ad-Din Rumi, whose dates are 1207–1273. He is called Mawlana, […]

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