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William, Abt. 1964
William Henry Roll about 1964

Jesus the Christ, the Holy One of God, did not intend to begin a religious organization.


From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity

I’m currently taking a refresher course in New Testament history from The Great Courses program titled From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity, given by Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D., M.Div., The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Bart D. Ehrman

From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity

(24 lectures, 30 minutes each)

1 The Birth of Christianity
2 The Religious World of Early Christianity
3 The Historical Jesus
4 Oral and Written Traditions about Jesus
5 The Apostle Paul
6 The Beginning of Jewish-Christian Relations
7 The Anti-Jewish Use of the Old Testament
8 The Rise of Christian Anti-Judaism
9 The Early Christian Mission
10 The Christianization of the Roman Empire
11 The Early Persecutions of the State
12 The Causes of Christian Persecution
13 Christian Reactions to Persecution
14 The Early Christian Apologists
15 The Diversity of Early Christian Communities
16 Christianities of the Second Century
17 The Role of Pseudepigrapha
18 The Victory of the Proto-Orthodox
19 The New Testament Canon
20 The Development of Church Offices
21 The Rise of Christian Liturgy
22 The Beginnings of Normative Theology
23 The Doctrine of the Trinity
24 Christianity and the Conquest of Empire

Before you pay the inflated price of $259.90 to $509.90 at The Great Courses, you may want to get the course instead at Audible for only $24.46, or less than $12 if you buy credits ahead of your purchase.

The Calf-Path


The Calf-Path
by Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)

One day, through the primeval wood,
A calf walked home, as good calves should;

But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail as all calves do.
Since then three hundred years have fled,
And, I infer, the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail,
And thereby hangs my moral tale.
The trail was taken up next day,
By a lone dog that passed that way.
And then a wise bell-wether sheep,
Pursued the trail o’er vale and steep;
And drew the flock behind him too,
As good bell-wethers always do.
And from that day, o’er hill and glade.
Through those old woods a path was made.

And many men wound in and out,
And dodged, and turned, and bent about;
And uttered words of righteous wrath,
Because ’twas such a crooked path.
But still they followed – do not laugh –
The first migrations of that calf.
And through this winding wood-way stalked,
Because he wobbled when he walked.

This forest path became a lane,
that bent, and turned, and turned again.
This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load,
Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half,
They trod the footsteps of that calf.

The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
The road became a village street;
And this, before men were aware,
A city’s crowded thoroughfare;
And soon the central street was this,
Of a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half,
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.

Each day a hundred thousand rout,
Followed the zigzag calf about;
And o’er his crooked journey went,
The traffic of a continent.
A Hundred thousand men were led,
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They followed still his crooked way,
And lost one hundred years a day;
For thus such reverence is lent,
To well established precedent.

A moral lesson this might teach,
Were I ordained and called to preach;
For men are prone to go it blind,
Along the calf-paths of the mind;
And work away from sun to sun,
To do what other men have done.
They follow in the beaten track,
And out and in, and forth and back,
And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.
They keep the path a sacred groove,
Along which all their lives they move.
But how the wise old wood gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf!
Ah! many things this tale might teach –
But I am not ordained to preach.

Photo: Stanley Howe [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0), via Wikimedia Commons