How To Read Churches


Denis McNamara’s How To Read Churches is an extraordinary book. Subtitled “a crash course in ecclesiastical architecture,” it covers building types, floor plans, sections of churches (nave, […]

CHR Comment: A brief review of a 2011 publication.

Source: How To Read Churches

Would-be Dutch PM: Islam threatens our way of life


In interview, front-runner Geert Wilders says anti-immigrant fervor is sweeping Europe.

CHR Comment: Wilders sees Christian and Jewish values as foundational to Dutch society. An example of European politics looking to religion for direction.

Source: Would-be Dutch PM: Islam threatens our way of life

Discovering the Mammoth

Book Review Comments

John J. McKay’s Discovering the Mammoth: A Tale of Giants, Unicorns, Ivory, and the Birth of a New Science (New York: Pegasus Books Ltd., 2017) describes the history of paleontology by tracing the history of the discovery of mammoth bones. The first part of the book provides some references to ancient and medieval Christian views and many connections to early modern, Christian views of giants, unicorns, and the biblical flood as people discovered the bones of large animals and tried to make sense of them. Mammoth bones were often associated with giants (cf. Genesis 6) and unicorns (as per the King James Bible translation and other resources). German scientists were especially involved in the modern period as they had greater access to Russia and Siberia.

The book is fun to read. However, the text has so many typos, one wonders what editorial process was used. Many of these typos should have been noticed by an alert reader. Perhaps the editors used some software based process that sped up work but in the end did not achieve the best results.

Catching Up on Church History

ee-teachingGreetings in Christ. I’m grateful to the many visitors on my site. This month I am catching up on news since I recently served as a guest lecturer in South Africa and I am beginning new service at a parish in Ohio. Please continue to share your thoughts and use the resources compiled here. Great to know that others share my interest in emerging church history and new discoveries about the past. I’m looking forward to writing a summary of church history from 2016.

Site Administrator Rev. Edward A. Engelbrecht, STM

Solomonic Palace at Gezer?

Solid evidence has once again been unearthed proving that passages from the Bible were based on actual historical events.

CHR Comment: Steve Ortiz, from the Tandy Museum of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary of Fort Worth, Texas is director of the excavation. The interpretation provided in the article will likely be disputed by other archaeologists.

Source: ‘Solomon’s Palace’ discovered in Israel, showing another proof that Bible passages were based on actual historical events | Christian News on Christian Today

The Olympics and the Cross


Our family is watching the Olympics and noticing how often athletes display the cross, either on a necklace or by making the sign of the cross as a gesture of prayer. For example, a Brazilian gymnast just finished his routine and then crossed himself in prayer. As you enjoy the Olympic competition, look for examples of the cross, which unites God’s people across the nations.


2015 Archaeology and Research on Christianity

2_460973824cappadocia_adapt_1190_1Cappadocian Underground City from the article by Jennifer Pinkowski, National Geographic, March 26, 2015

I’ve added this summary to the main menu on the site so that it is readily available for those doing research. (See top of page.)

Acra Discovered in Jerusalem

Antiochus IV Epiphanes built the Acra citadel during the time between the testaments (Acra is a Greek term meaning “highest point.”) The Romans likely buried the remains of the citadel when they destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70. The Israel Antiquities Authorities announced the rediscovery of the citadel under a Jerusalem parking lot (MSN, November 3, 2015).

Ancient Greek Shipwrecks

Marine archaeologists discovered twenty-two shipwrecks in a seventeen square mile area around the Fourni Archipelago, which is in the eastern Aegean Sea (Nick Romeo, National Geographic, November 3, 2015). Twelve of the twenty-two wrecks date from the late Roman period (300–600 AD) when Christianity was ascendant or dominant in the Roman Empire. Excavations should yield new information about life in those times and perhaps also matters of faith.

Cappadocian Underground City

Nevehir University geophysicists surveyed the caverns of an underground city in Cappadocia, Turkey. Workmen discovered entrances to the city in 2013 but archaeologists continue to work their way into the depths of the tunnel network, which may go down more than 370 feet into the earth. The recently discovered city may even be larger than the famous Derinkuyu city in the same region, which could house 20,000 people (Jennifer Pinkowski, National Geographic, March 26, 2015). Byzantine Christians created the city for protection against Muslim invaders who reached the region in the late eighth century.

Holigost Ship of Henry V

Historian Ian Friel discovered the wreck of a ship while studying an aerial photograph of the Hampshire River in England (BBC, October 12, 2015). He identifies the wreck as the Holigost, one of four war ships commissioned by Henry V (1387–1422). By naming the ship after the third person of the Holy Trinity, the medieval Englishmen illustrated how fully the Christian faith was integrated into medieval life and their understanding of war.

Jamestown Church Reconstruction

The remains of four Jamestown men were discovered in 2010 buried beneath the chancel of the oldest discovered church in a North American English colony. Records indicate the church was built in 1608. Analysis has now identified the remains of Rev. Robert Hunt, the first chaplain of the Jamestown colony (Kristin Romey, National Geographic, December 28, 2015). Archaeologists are currently rebuilding the historic structure (Newser, April 29, 2015).

King James Book Draft Discovered

In fall of 2014, Jeffrey Alan Miller of Montclair State University was searching the archives at Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge, England, when he found a notebook labelled as a biblical commentary (Beatrice Gitau, Christian Science Monitor, October 15, 2015). After considerable study, Miller has concluded that the notebook is actually the earliest known draft of the King James Bible first published in 1611. The notebook shows how contributors worked on the famous and most influential English translation of the Bible.

London Cemetery

In order to make way for a rail line, archaeologists in London began excavating the Bedlam cemetery in London, which holds some 3,000 burials (Suzanne Plunkett, Reuters, March 10, 2015). Among those buried are persons who died from plague during the Reformation Era and Levellers from the English Civil War, who urged religious toleration. Archaeologists will study their remains.

Remains of Miguel de Cervantes

The famous author of Don Quixote was buried in the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians in Madrid according to Fernando de Prado and Francisco Etexberria (Rowena Lindsay, Christian Science Monitor, March 17, 2015). Cervantes sought burial in the monastery since the Barefoot Trinitarians helped free his from pirates in 1575.

Vatican Archives Releases Historic Documents

Just before the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the Vatican library released documents from its archive of the Congregation of the Eastern Churches, which includes correspondence from Vatican officials and Eastern Christian officials that describe the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks (Andrea Gagliarducci, Catholic News Agency, March 20, 2015). Vatican correspondence regarding the sinking of Lusitania (1915) was also released (Andrea Gagliarducci, Catholic News Agency, March 10, 2015). Additionally, the Vatican received a ransom demand for two documents by Michelangelo that were stolen in 1997 (Guardian, March 8, 2015). One of the documents was a letter signed by the Renaissance genius. Other details about the documents were not released.


2015 also yielded some important discoveries in biblical archaeology. The following link will take you to the Christianity Today summary.



Noah and the Origin of Wine Making

Science and sipping: learning firsthand about qvevri, a millennia-old style of making wine in the Republic of Georgia.

CHR Comment: The article describes research into the long history of wine making, tracing practices to the region of Georgia in western Asia. This caught my attention due to the earliest biblical account of wine making (Genesis 9), which appears to be associated with the same region. The last geographic region associated with Noah is the “mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4), after which Noah is described as cultivating grapes, making wine, and getting drunk. The mountains of Ararat are just south of the Republic of Georgia and central to the evidence about earliest wine making. Fascinating that the biblical testimony and the archaeological evidence suggest such closely related origins for viticulture.

Source: Was Georgia the Cradle of Wine? Who Cares, Let’s Drink! – Dead Things : Dead Things