Request an Exam Copy

Extracurricular Activities 12.6.14 — History & Providence, Early Church Art, and Evangelical Academic Publishing

Categories Extracurricular Activities

Ben Witherington Reflects on Five Factors which Changed Church History

Scholars have often debated why it is that the church of Constantine’s period looks so very different in various respects from the earliest church. What were the factors which led to the change or transformation of the early Christian movement, so that by the time we get to Constantine and thereafter the roles of men and women in the church have changed, and indeed the church becomes much more like an OT institution than one like what we find in the letters in the NT itself? While it would be possible to mention many factors which led to significant changes in the church, it is possible to isolate five major ones.

Justin Taylor Asks, "Should Christian Historians Appeal to Providence in Their Interpretations?"

Although Christian historians may disagree among themselves regarding the precise nature or extent of God’s providence, all affirm its reality and importance as those who trust in the God who has decisively revealed himself through Christ in his authoritative Word and who is at work throughout history.

And yet there is a debate about how providence should be used in the writing of history, especially before the academy.

On the one hand, the area of contention has to do with epistemological confidence: can a historian read providence from events as an interpretive tool of historiography?

It also has to do with contextualization: is a Christian historian writing for a secular audience obligated to convey all that he believes?

If you’re new to this debate, here is a summary of some of the arguments and presuppositions from several Christian historians.

Larry Hurtado and Earliest Depictions of the Crucified Jesus in Art

A recent article helpfully discusses what historians of Christian art recognize as earliest depictions of the crucified Jesus, particularly a few gem-stones, a couple of them dated to the early-mid-4th century, and another that likely pre-dates them: Felicity Harley-McGowan, “The Constanza Carnelian and the Development of Crucifixion Iconography in Late Antiquity,” in Gems of Heaven: Recent Research on Engraved Gemstones in Late Antiquity, edited by Chris Entwhistle and Noël Adams (London: British Museum, 2011), 214-20.

Pete Enns Shares 10 New Testament Passages that Shape How He Thinks About God

1. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his suffering by becoming like him in his death… (Phil 3:10). Both suffering and resurrection—times of great difficulty and times of triumph—are expected and normal parts of the Christian life.

2. …unless you change and become like children… (Matt 18:3). As children trust their parents with no thought of an alternative, Christians are called to trust God—which is both comforting and challenging.

Andrew Naselli  Gives 3 Reflections on Evangelical Academic Publishing

I recently read two books back-to-back that provoked me to think about my philosophy of publishing:

  1. John A. D’Elia. A Place at the Table: George Eldon Ladd and the Rehabilitation of Evangelical Scholarship in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. xxvi + 271 pp.
  2. Stanley E. Porter. Inking the Deal: A Guide for Successful Academic Publishing. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2010. xi + 191 pp.

I recommend both books to fellow evangelical academics but with some caveats. (By “evangelical academics,” I refer to those who are evangelicals in a theological and not merely a sociological sense and who serve in the academic world, especially professors who teach exegesis and theology.) The books precipitated three reflections on evangelical academic publishing.


Extra-Curricular Activities is a weekly roundup of stories on biblical interpretation, theology, and issues where faith and culture meet. We found each story interesting, thought-provoking, challenging, or useful in some way – but we don't necessarily agree with or endorse every point in every story.

If you have any comments on these stories, we welcome you to share them here. We hope you enjoy!

–The Editors of Zondervan Academic Blog

What Are the Common Themes and Issues in the Catholic Epistles? — An Excerpt from "A Theology of James, Peter, and Jude"
What Are the Common Themes and Issues in the Catholic Epistles? — An Excerpt from "A Theology of James, Peter, and Jude" In his new book A Theology of James, Peter, and Jude (Biblical Theology of the New Testament), Peter H. Davids says “Wh...
Your form could not be submitted. Please check errors and resubmit.

Thank you!
Sign up complete.

Subscribe to the Blog Get expert commentary on biblical languages, fresh explorations in theology, hand-picked book excerpts, author videos, and info on limited-time sales.
By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) providing information about products and services of HCCP and its affiliates. You may unsubscribe from these email communications at any time. If you have any questions, please review our Privacy Policy or email us at This form is protected by reCAPTCHA.