It has often been on the margins in history, outside established power centers, that fresh social and religious movements have begun. This may be true again today globally as a world stricken by plague faces the shifting winds of sudden change. It was true in the fifth and sixth century onwards, as on the Western… Read More New life on the fringes/margins of Empire
Yes, here I am. At one of the wonders of the world. Not just from late 8th century China, but from any century. Last week I stood again in front of the ‘Nestorian Stele’, an over 10 foot tall monument filled with the history of the Church of the East in China from their arrival… Read More A Wonder of the 8th century World
One of the Seven Wonders of the Christian world is in Xian, China, the starting point and terminus of the original Silk Road. It is the Nestorian Stele, a 10 foot stone tablet carved in 781 A.D. to commemorate the 150 year history up to that point of the work of the Church of the… Read More The Nestorian Stele of 781 A.D. T’ang China: Our Story in Their Story
The news from Northern California in the United States keeps getting worse. As I write this from Switzerland, wildfires that have already devastated areas of cities like Santa Rosa continue to spread. Over 5,000 houses and other structures have been destroyed, over 40 lives lost with many more still missing. The winds have picked up… Read More A Historian is a Missionary to the Past
It must have been a stark and stunning image that September day in 1287: Edward I, the King of England, kneeling to receive communion from Rabban Sauma, an Asian Church of the East leader. Sent from a Mongol ruler named Arghun from the capital near modern day Beijing, (and with overall Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan’s… Read More Power Reversal: A 13th century Asian Christian leader gives Holy Communion to the King of England
Recently I wrote about my trip to the very well-preserved ruins of ancient Nalanda University in the modern Northern Indian state of Bihar. (See post The Thrill of Visiting the Ruins of 7th century University of Nalanda). Nalanda thrived as an international center for education for almost 700 years, with students from over 35 nations. Primarily… Read More Were there Christians in 7th century Nalanda University?
Last night here in Singapore I had the privilege to speak at the graduation of a six-week seminar called School of Transforming Business. Singapore is an epicenter helping fuel the present and future dynamism of Asia’s economies. (See my last post, in part on Singapore Treat the Stranger With Tender, Loving Care-For You Were One… Read More The Bugis and the Sogdians: Two Merchant Peoples in Asia with a Mission
Where did the three ‘Wise Men’ that presented gifts to baby Jesus come from? And after, to where did they return? We can’t of course be sure of an answer, or even of their definite identities. The Biblical account in Matthew 2:1 says that “when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days… Read More Where did the Wise Men come from? And go back to?
What does it mean for Christianity to ‘Triumph’? As seen in the photo, this is the title of one of Rodney Stark’s books, The Triumph of Christianity. Actually I’m not taking aim at this historian or even this book. Rodney Stark has had a distinguished career as a sociologist/historian, the last many years at Baylor University… Read More What Does the ‘Triumph’ of Christianity Really Mean?
It has been often taught that the first Universities were in Europe, and particularly so when it comes to “Christian” ones. But this must be re-evaluated when considering that there were several centers of learning in Asia centuries before Oxford, Bologna, Paris and others existed. In my blog post The First Universities were in Asia, not… Read More Nisibis in the 5th Century: First Christian University in History