The Pokey Finger of God

meditations on religion and culture

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Entries Tagged as 'history'

Janus in Nicea on Amazon

August 8th, 2011 · Comments Off on Janus in Nicea on Amazon · announcements, christianity, history, Janus in Nicea

Janus in Nicea is now available from Amazon.com. Look for it there. Tell your friends. Be the first on your block to own a copy.

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Personal Spiritual Sovereignty

March 24th, 2011 · Comments Off on Personal Spiritual Sovereignty · christianity, history, Janus in Nicea

Among many other great cultural losses that occurred after Christianity was made the exclusive mode of religious expression allowed in the Empire, was the idea of personal spiritual sovereignty. There was once a great diversity of theology and practice. People were not exclusive to any one church any more than people today are exclusive to […]

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Book: Janus in Nicea

March 21st, 2011 · Comments Off on Book: Janus in Nicea · christianity, history, Janus in Nicea, media

Quite a milestone was reached last week when I published my book, Janus in Nicea.  I had started this blog some years ago when I realized that the state of my study of Early Church history was such that it needed a home away from Live Journal. After continued work in it, I received a […]

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A Critic!

January 26th, 2011 · Comments Off on A Critic! · christianity, history, intentional communities, metaphysics

I recently received a comment to this site that I deleted, due to a fake email address. The comment was to my State Cult Hypothesis post from two years ago. The entire comment read as follows: “This has got to be the dumbest thing I have ever read. I would like to leave a detailed […]

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Nomenclature

August 30th, 2010 · Comments Off on Nomenclature · christianity, culture, history

There has been some discussion of late about President Obama’s claim of being Christian. Besides the ones who obliviously presume that he must be Muslim, or parse out of unrelated texts the notion that a presumed birthright to Islam is obligatory, there are others who question whether his Christianity is ‘real’. However, many problems arise […]

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The Gods of Ancient Rome

August 20th, 2010 · Comments Off on The Gods of Ancient Rome · christianity, culture, history, ritual

Turcan starts by providing an exquisite view of the private religious expressions of the Roman patricians. The gods of the house, the gods of the family, and the patron deities of individuals, all became part of a complex of divinity – a web which each Roman had to carefully traverse daily. Any mistake resulted in obligatory compensation to the gods in order to salvage the future welfare of the house.

The strength of the ancestors was keenly felt by the Ancient Romans. There was not a clear distinction between gods and the honored dead, and both were frequently called upon and celebrated. The spirit of the family, which had kept it continuing as a potent force, was honored as a distinct figure. The spirits of the house were also recognized and respected. In short, everything in every part of the Roman’s life was connected to divinity, and the Romans actively sought out knowledge for how to satisfy every god.

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The State Cult Hypothesis

January 21st, 2009 · Comments Off on The State Cult Hypothesis · christianity, history

The State Cult Hypothesis: “Christianity was primarily the result of a competition between the state cults of Diocletian and Constantine. It was the efforts of Constantine to defeat Diocletian’s Tetrarchy, co-opt the Persian cultural invasion, and subsequently unify the Roman Empire that resulted in the creation of Christianity.” Constantine was a keen student of history, […]

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Fixing a Hole

December 21st, 2008 · Comments Off on Fixing a Hole · christianity, history

In recent months, I have grown exceedingly confident in the theory that Constantine was the originator of Christianity. Not only has it illuminated many elements of Christian history, it explains a lot about our culture. It explains the relatively late perspective of the Church Fathers, and how all of the Imperial political hierarchy became Church […]

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Diocletian and the Roman Recovery

December 11th, 2008 · Comments Off on Diocletian and the Roman Recovery · christianity, history, media

Here’s something I’ve enjoyed greatly this last week: Stephen Williams’ Diocletian and the Roman Recovery. This book from 1985 was apparently one of the first biographies of the man written in English. The genius here is the clear and concise comparison between the Empire under the “Good Emperors” and the Empire under “Crisis”. Williams provides […]

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Assertions

October 11th, 2008 · Comments Off on Assertions · christianity, culture, history

Following are the assertions I currently use regarding the origin of Christianity. These will likely each be expanded upon over time. 1. Evidence: There is no physical evidence for the existence of a single, rapidly developed mystery cult whose theology or structure singularly informed the post 4th-century Christian church. There is no art, architecture, ritual […]

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