Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Constantine’s Bible

13 May, 2019

Constantine’s Bible: Politics & the Making of the New Testament – David L. Dungan

I enjoyed, and since less Greek grammar and more Byzantine politics, I pro’lly enjoyed more than Junia. LOL.

Lemme sum up… any errors in summing up, are my fault, sorry.

  • Jesus had followers, but since they thought he would return quickly, didn’t really write much down right away.
  • At this time, Greek philosophy demanded accuracy of who wrote what, and was the teacher’s teaching being faithfully taught.
  • There were many Christian scriptures floating around.
  • There was not a list of all of the New Testament books until ~300 years AFTER Jesus.  (I think I heard on a podcast, “The Table of Contents of your Bible, is not scripture.)
  • Eusebius ~325  list the  books that were “acknowledged as genuine by all”,
    • the Four Gospels
    • Acts of the Apostles
    • 13 Epistles of Paul
    • I John
    • I Peter
    • Revelation of John “if properly interpreted”
  • Eusebius lists the following as “disputed – though approved by many”
    • James
    • Jude
    • 2 & 3 John
    • 2 Peter
    • Hebrews
  • Constantine becomes Roman Emperor 312 – with the help of Christian God in a vision… and soon Christianity is the state sponsored religion, and Constantine assembles council to decide what it means to be Christian, and soon after there are less “other” Christian texts.



Junia – the first woman apostle

9 May, 2019

Junia – the first woman apostle, by Eldon Jay Epp.

In Roman’s 16, the Apostle Paul writes regarding Junia. Epp shows, through language study, grammar, other literature of the time that

  • There was a woman, named Junia
  • There is no evidence of Junia being used for a male during that time
  • there is plenty of evidence of Junia being used for female during that time
  • That she was an Apostle, not a term St Paul used lightly
  • She was a prominent Apostle

Never noticed this throw-away verse back when I was a kid, raised in a conservative “women should be silent in church” denomination. And, to be honest, wouldn’t have noticed it had I read the verse a few weeks ago.

Epp also points out that for first centuries of the Church theologians recognized Junia as female. But recently, some have said “Junia can’t be female, because Junia was an Apostle” or have said “Junia was a recognized HELPER of the Apostles”.

What to believe? … well, I don’t read New Testament Greek, so I may have to trust Professor Epp.

Veterans Day – observed

12 November, 2018

today, to observe Veterans Day, I read the childrens the beautifully illustrated

And the Soldiers Sang

by J. Patrick Lewis & Gary Kelley.  Tells a story of the 1914 Christmas Truce along the Western Front. I almost cried when a German showed a picture to the protagonist and said “Meine Tochter”.

We also talked about trench foot, snipers, trenches, poison gas, rats getting fat off corpses and ears.

We also watched a couple of  videos from the Auckland War Memorial Museum.


Boeing – Arcadia Publishing

13 October, 2018

I really like Arcadia Publishing. Short little history books, with lots of pictures, on a small topic.  I just read Boeing (Images of Aviation) by John Fredrickson.

Evidently they currently have  96 books in the “Images of Aviation” series, or if you want to search by state, there are 275 books regarding Washington state.




Lafayette in the Somewhat United States

1 July, 2018

I appreciate Sarah Vowell, who likes “to use whatever’s lying around to paint pictures of the past”.

She tosses in things like “Considering Independence Hall was also where the founders calculated that a slave equals three-fifths of a person…making an adolescent who barely spoke English a major general at the age I got hired to run the cash register…was not the worst decision ever made there.”

“Years before the first shots were fired, women…were quietly sticking it to their colonial overlords with their needles and pins.”  (Describing the American home-spun movement.)

She mentions the American publishers fetish for war history, but she sees American history as a history of argument.

Note to self for further investigation:

  • Christopher Densmore: “The Quaker Origin of the first Women’s Rights Convention”
  • E. Wayne Carp: “To Starve the Army at Pleasure”

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom

2 January, 2018

“By the time I was fifteen years old, I had been in jail nine times.”

That’s a nice opening line for Lynda Blackmon Lowery’s “Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom“.

A quick read, a good read, an important read. The story of a girl on the 1965 Selma Voting Rights march.


Daily Life of the New Americans

10 August, 2016

I may have found a new series of books for my reading pleasure.

“Daily Life Of…” Greenwood Press. Seems to be like the Very Short Introduction series, around 150 pages, geared to a college freshman, well written by an expert.

Just finished Daily Life of the New Americans: Immigration since 1965 written by Christoph Strobel (2010).



Calvin for Armchair Theologians

24 July, 2016

just finished “Calvin for Armchair Theologians”,  (previously I read “Reformation for the Armchair Theologian)…and I want to say I like this series. Much like the Very Short Introduction series, written by experts, for a lay audience. Makes me feel smart ‘n’ stuff.



Very Short Introduction: African American Religion

6 July, 2016

Once again, an well written book in the Very Short Introduction series, Eddie S. Glaude Jr’s “African American Relgion”.

A quick quote, from a Swedish traveler in ~1750, “It is …to be pitied, that the masters of these negroes in most of the English colonies take little care of their spiritual welfare, and let them live in Pagan darkness. There are even some, who would be very ill pleased at, and would by all means hinder their negroes from being instructed in the doctrines of Christianity; to this they are partly led by the conceit of its being shameful, to have a spiritual brother or sister among so despicable a people…”

Or course, it points me to others to read…so, on my ever growing list:

  • Jacquelyn Grant
  • James Cone
  • Delores Williams

The Boys in the Boat

21 May, 2016

The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel Brown, was a pleasure to read. Early Seattle history, exciting sports story – I was still nervous during the final race chapter, even though I knew who won! – and a bit of a shadow story of Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler’s genius filmmaker/propaganda, (which I’m more curious about her, but I don’t really want to study evil.)

Highly recommend.