March 31 this year will be both Western Christainity’s Easter Sunday and Judaism’s 6th-7th days of Passover – we might use the confluence of these to high holidays to explore a theological theme which might unite them.There is a strong tradition in Christian theology to describe Sunday as both the first and the eighth day of the week – the first because in Genesis 1 that is the day in which God began creating the heavens and the earth; the eighth because Jesus rose from the dead, according to the gospel of Matthew the women went to anoint Jesus’ corpse “after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week” (Mt 28.1). Because Easter Sunday was both the first day of the week according to the ancient Hebrew calendar and also the day after the Sabbath day, Christian theologies in the patristic era referred to the Lord’s Day as the eighth day of the week. Christian people are those who live perpetually in the resurrection of Jesus. Baptismal fonts, the vessels in which new Christians are initiated into the community, are typically octagonal to symbolize that the baptismal candidate is entering the eternal Sabbath, the endless eighth day of the week. I wonder if Judaism might see deliverance similarly to the way Christianity sees resurrection, and if therefore there might be a sense that in the Jewish life every day is Passover because every day straddles bondage and deliverance.
As we turn the year from Dragon to Snake in the Chinese calendar, it might be a good time to reflect on how we name years. Specifically, Western academic types might want to revisit the practice of using the designators CE (Common Era) and BCE (Before the Common Era). There are other calendars in common [...]
Three observations immediately strike the reader of John Renard’s 2011 Islam and Christianity: Theological Themes in Comparative Perspective. First, the text contains a tremendous wealth of factual content presented in an accessible and enjoyable style. Second, two refrains echo throughout Renard’s side-by-side presentations of Christianity and Islam: “The Christian practice / understanding / history of X [...]
While Islam can certainly be spoken of in the singular, one should always remember its diversity and its myriad of expressions. The lack of awareness in this respect is problematic to the extent that the image spotlighted in the media and public arena loses sight of the simple fact that Islam is not monolithic.
One of the most eschatological and hopeful prophetic oracles in the Hebrew Bible is found in the fourth chapter of Micah. It speaks of the world being transformed into an abode of divine will and justice and of a confluence of nations. One recent meeting point for nations, however, seems to be radically different from [...]
Gary Younge’s recent editorial in The Guardian looks back on collective American attitudes and behaviors since September 11, 2001. Many of the points he makes are strikingly similar to those I made in a sermon on September 11, 2005, despite the fact that six years separate the two commentaries and that his betrays no religious [...]
On February 2, 2011, a National Hockey League game turned ugly. Two professional ice hockey teams, the New York Islanders and the host Pittsburgh Penguins, were nearing the end of a game which the former team was on the verge of winning when tempers began to rise. After a questionable play in which Islanders goalie [...]
I am among the millions of people who claim dual citizenship in the United States and one of the faiths which consider the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament to be sacred writ. With all due respect to Ben Stein, I think that there are compelling reasons for people fitting this description to oppose display of [...]
(read Part I) My previous article raised two objections to the public display of the Ten Commandments in the United States. First, such displays can function as a veneer masking substantial disregard for the religions. Second, the claim that “Judeo-Christian” symbols are appropriate for public display on the grounds that the United States either was [...]
For decades it has been a common sight at sporting events, rallies, concerts – everywhere that television cameras capture public spectators. Somewhere in the crowd someone holds up a large sign bearing a word and two numbers: “John 3:16.” An evangelistic tool, a simplified one-sentence summary of the Gospel, an encapsulation of the heart of [...]
Tasi Perkins is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church and a third-year Ph.D. candidate in Theological and Religious Studies at Georgetown University. He earned a B.S. from Cornell University (Statistics and Biometry) and an M.Div. from Duke Divinity School, and completed a year of Th.D. work at Boston University.