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70 Years From Now

In the year 1853, the Ottoman Empire had been in power for 554 continuous years. Abdülmecid I was Sultan and, shortly into the year, the Albanian-descended Governor of Crete Giritli Mustafa Naili Pasha took the post of Grand Vizier.

Queen Victoria was the Monarch of the British Empire and Lord Aberdeen was her Prime Minister, though the Queen favored one of his rivals, Benjamin Disraeli, as an advisor.

In France, Napoleon III had been elected President of the Republic in 1848, and had dissolved the National Assembly two years previously in 1851. In December of 1852, the Second French Empire was established, with Louis-Napoleon becoming named "Napoléon III, Emperor of the French."

Across the Atlantic, Franklin Pierce was the President of the United States of America and Jefferson Davis was Secretary of War. There were 31 states at that time, and the American Civil War had not yet been fought.

In mid-1853, the Russian Empire started maneuvering troops to key places on the Baltic Sea near Ottoman territories. Hostilities were about to break out into the Crimean War. The primary forces were Ottoman, British, and French fighting the Russians. The war ended with a decisive British/French/Ottoman victory.

What's Left of Jesus When You Say These Things?

On Courtney T Ball

Last week I talked with students at the University of Iowa Wesley Foundation about the Historical Jesus field of study. I presented the series of statements to see what kind of reactions I might get. Then we talked about the question of what we couldpositively assert about Jesus even if one did agree with these negative statements. It was a rich discussion, and I’m curious to see what others’ thoughts are.

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Jesus, or Yeshua, if we use his real name, was probably not born in Bethlehem. There was no immaculate conception. His father was Joseph, and Mary got pregnant in the normal way. There was no star over the manger, probably wasn’t even a manger in the first place. There were no wise men visiting from the east or angels singing to shepherds.

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