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13 Apr 2022

The Message of Mary of Magdala

People across the Christian West will celebrate Easter this coming Sunday. Which means, per usual, publications are offering their usual spate of think pieces about what really happened nearly thousand years with Jesus of Nazareth in Jerusalem. My favorite (read: most snarkily consumed) of these pieces are those which provide some sort of alternative reading of Mary Magdalene’s role among Jesus’ followers. Whether Mary was an important follower cast aside by the patriarchy or some

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11 Apr 2022

Book Review: “On Gender and the Soul”

If you’re anything like me, when you hear the word “soul,” your mind probably leaps immediately to something resembling the folk conception of a “ghost.” We live in a culture saturated with images of humanlike spirits being swept up to heaven or down to the abyss, from Dante’s luminous Paradiso to the stormy hellscapes of Supernatural and What Dreams May Come. This soul/ghost inside us is imagined as a kind of ethereal doppelganger, capable of

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06 Apr 2022

For the Love of Learning

The task of the Modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts. – C. S. Lewis   Perhaps it is the essence of the (so-called) “learned” to grumble about the (so-called) “learner.” Sometimes, I am sure, the complaints come from a sense of superiority and a place of pride, but I would wager that the majority of the complaints come from good intentions being frustrated. Teachers are, more often than not,

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16 Mar 2022

When Jesus Got Married

I love weddings. The joy. The joining of lives. Bringing together family and friends. The celebration. There’s just something good about weddings. In this article, I want to talk about a historic wedding that is rarely discussed but of tremendous importance. I want to talk about when Jesus got married. Now, before you dismiss me as a poor surrogate for Dan Brown, hear me out. I genuinely think that the text of the canonical New

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09 Mar 2022

Does Existence Exist?

That is not the case when you say “is” alone, for it is by itself “nothing…” – Aristotle (De Interpretatione I, 3) ipsum esse nondum est.[1]– Boethius (De Hebdomadibus, rule II.) In a previous post I explored what I had called “the glimpse of being” to discover that there is a distinction between what something is (essence) and that something is (existence). The study of being—at least as the metaphysician takes it up—is the study

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18 Feb 2022

We’re All Erastians Now

One way to frame post-Reformation church history is by what Robert Rodes (a Notre Dame law professor, not the Confederate) identified as an Erastian-High Church dichotomy or “tension” working itself out across then-already-dwindling Christendom. In a narrow, most historical sense, Erastianism represents the views of the eclectic layman theologian-physician, Thomas Erastus. Presented by the Swiss Calvinist—once a suspected as a Socinian but later exonerated—was a posthumously published proposal in 1589 not all that radical: sacraments,

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16 Feb 2022

The Phoebe Problem

Messages. They’re all around us. In our technology- and logistics-saturated world, we’re constantly overwhelmed with messages. Every day, I get messages via email, text, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and TikTok. Then I go to work, where I field a few phone calls, go get the mail, and open the door for the UPS, FedEx, and Amazon drivers whom we see enough to know by name. And this is our world. We’re constantly receiving messages. In

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11 Feb 2022

Book Review: “Tradition and Apocalypse”

If you’ve poked your head in on the academic discipline of “Religious Studies” within the past few years, you’ve likely noticed a tic that—to nonspecialists—seems rather odd: the frequent references not to “Christianity” as such, but rather to “Christianities.” (The horrifically ugly neologism “a/theologies” tends to show up too.) That pluralization is deliberate, and encodes a specific value judgment: there is no such unified thing as “Christianity” in general, with a coherent and discernible essence,

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