Christianity and History: An Easter Reflection by Chad Lower

The following is a reflection on the work of the Christian historian during this special season.

Written by Chad Lower, PhD candidate, Kent State University

Christianity is a historical religion.  As Ben Witherington has stated, “The Christian faith is not mere faith in faith – ours or someone else’s – but rather a belief about the significance of certain historical events.”  Therefore, Easter is the most important day in the church calendar, but also one of a special meaning to Christian historians.  Christmas is an important holiday on the Christian calendar, but it is not a historical holiday in that we cannot deduce with any certainty exactly when Jesus was born.  Easter, by contrast, is always tied to Passover.  It is grounded upon historical events.  Jesus was a good teacher, but his teachings are not the source of the Christian faith.  The physical death and bodily resurrection of Jesus is the sun upon which the rest of the faith orbits.  Consequently, the history surrounding these events is tremendously important.  Historians and archeologists continue to shed new light on the social, political, and physical landscape ofJerusalemduring the time of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.  Easter gives the Christian historian the opportunity to relate his or her discipline to the central tenet of the faith in a unique way.

The Bible is history.  It is the history of God’s relationship with humanity.  If we ever doubt our profession, or question whether or not history matters, let us remember that our very faith is history.  Easter is the most shining example of the significance of history.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Calling, CFH, Reflecting on Faith

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