God Contracted to a Span: A Wesleyan Advent Hymn

Charles Wesley’s parents had 17 children before he came along. His premature birth was initially considered a still-birth because of his lack of vitality, a lack which continued through weeks of near silence.  There was no real reason for optimism. But, Oh, how he made up for that later in life! He preached twice to…

Compassionate Disfiguration? The Story of 16th C. Executioner Frantz Schmidt.

Frantz Schmidt was, for 45 years, employed by the state to extract confessions and execute criminals–361 of them, to be exact. He tortured, flogged, and disfigured hundreds more, the details of which are chronicled in his private journal with blunt matter-of-fact. Modern published editions of his journal reflect no moral confusion resulting from his numerous…

The English Puritan Thomas Brooks

Yesterday was the 326th anniversary of the death of Thomas Brooks (d. 1680), an non-conformist English clergyman. He preached a series of sermons on Lamentations 3:24 that were eventually compiled and published in 1662 as An Ark for All God’s Noahs in a Gloomy Stormy Day. I discovered this passage while I waited during a…

Good Historians Shoot Raw

So I just realized — the debate in the world of digital photography of raw vs. jpg for file format is the same debate that we have in ecclesiastical history and historical theology. Raw files are not necessarily image files. They are more like data files that contain information not always immediately visible in the…

The Baptist History Rap Redux

Andrew, one of my students in Baptist History and Theology, recorded this take on the Baptist History Rap for extra credit. The original was recorded by Ashley Unzicker who gave permission for me to offer this as extra credit in my classes and now a student has finally taken me up on the offer.

The Reformation and Erasmus’s Greek Testament

I’m not sure how I missed this, but a new exhibit opened at the Dunham Bible Museum at Houston Baptist University back in January, 2016. “Renaissance of the Bible: Erasmus’s Greek text, a foundation for Reformation” commemorates the 500th anniversary of the publication of Erasmus’s Novum Instrumentum, the first publication of the printed Greek New Testament…

UNESCO and Luther’s 95 Theses

Though I am planning a return trip to Wittenberg, Germany, next year to attend and hopefully present a paper at the 2017 Research Consortium of the Refo500 conference on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther and his 95 theses, tomorrow, March 17, would be an historic day to visit as well. 14 early writings of the…

Cotton Mather: The First American Evangelical

The first American evangelical: A short life of Cotton Mather Rick Kennedy; William B. Eerdmans 2015 WorldCat•LibraryThing•Google Books•BookFinder  New to the OBU Library comes this title from Eerdmans on the American Puritan pastor and scholar, Cotton Mather, from the North End of Boston in late 17th Century.  Contents: The last decades of Puritan Boston, 1663-1674…

Now, Where Was I?

A great deal has transpired since this site was last active almost four years ago.  When we last left our heroes (Rocky and Bullwinkle reference, anyone?), I was on the library staff at the James P. Boyce Centennial Library of Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY.  The summer of 2012 brought me to a new chapter…

Books and Reading in the Reformation Period

I am attempting to compile a bibliography of materials on the role of books and reading in the Reformation period. Rather than provide such a cumbersome list here on the blog, I have decided to play with WorldCat’s lists feature because of its simple “Citations” view for easy import into Zotero. Any you with a…

La Réforme, Pierre Viret, and Southern Seminary

For those of you who might be interested, I am speaking at an upcoming mini-conference being held at Southern Seminary, November 2, 2011. I will be speaking on Pierre Viret from a much-expanded form of a paper I delivered at the Refo500 Research Consortium (RefoRC) in Zürich last June, and will be drawing connections between…

Non est mortale quod opto.

Perhaps it’s the historian in me, but I love marginalia — when it is done well, at least.  I recently found this phrase written on the title page of a 1573 English copy of Pierre Viret’s Christian Instruction. As it turns out, “non est mortale quod opto,” which according to my very weak Latin skills…