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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Tales From Apocrypha 2: The Acts of Andrew or When Christianity Goes Off the Rails

Some Apocrypha, such as The Acts of Peter, are just plain good stories. Others show a very different form of Early Christianity, what came to be known as heresy. And then there are those which were likely considered Orthodox (or trending toward what would become Orthodox) but while reading it I came across something which made me say, “What the wha-huh?” Or something like that. The Acts of Andrew(AA) is in this last category.

Based on Schneemelcher and Wilson(2003), The AA was likely composed around 150 in the Eastern Empire. It isn’t exactly a heretical text but was used by some groups such as the Manichaeans and Priscillianists due to its extreme asceticism and hints of dualism. Various folks were uneasy about its use including, eventually, the Decretum Gelasianum (ca. 492-96) where it is listed as banned due to its use by heretics. Despite this, it appears to have been popular and survives in several texts and Gregory of Tours included a heavily edited version in his Liber de miraculis (one of his books which I don’t have). Schneemelcher and Wilson(2003) use several texts to complete the story, including Andrew’s Martyrdom from the Passio Andreae. 1

In addition to heretical tendencies (or at least being the sort of book heretics thought they could use) it appears heavily influenced by Classical themes. In particular Andrew’s death resembles that of Socrates as he was visited by various friends and acquaintances and had conversations with them before he was crucified.

Saint_Andreas
Statue of St. Andrew in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The bulk of the AA takes place in Patra, Greece. Through his preaching in the city Andrew has converted Maximilla, the wife of the proconsul Aegeates. And not just converted; Maximilla has vowed to never again have sex which Andrew calls “a polluted and foul way of life.” 2 Unsurprisingly, Aegeates is angered by this and pleads with her to change her mind but Andrew meets with her regularly and urges her to stay strong and pure.

(from this point forward I’m recounting from the Passio Andreae)

So far so good. A married person withdrawing from the marriage bed is pretty far on the ascetic side of Christianity and not something the Church generally approved of but it’s not unheard of. Various passages of scripture such as Matthew 19:6, “Therefore what God has joined let no man separate” and 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 where Paul says, “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.” and, “Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set of time, to devote yourselves to prayer, and then come together again” support the idea that sex is a part of marriage and one in which each person was expected to participate. I believe that Gratian was the first to formally codify this, in the 12th century, but it was in effect long before that. However, though leaving an unwilling husband (or, more rarely, a wife) to pursue an ascetic lifestyle is at the edge of mainstream, it is sometimes found in Medieval literature, including hagiography.

However Aegeates is a powerful man, used to having his way, and isn’t about to give up easily. So Maximilla, helped by generous bribery, talks her maidservant, Eucleia, into sharing her husband’s bed and he (the AA doesn’t explain exactly how but the inference is that this is God’s will acting through Andrew) never realizes that this isn’t his wife. This goes on for eight months until Eucleia gets greedy, starts asking Maximilla for ever-increasing gifts, and brags to her fellow servants about who she’s spending her nights with.

However, “Maximilla, thinking that Eucleia was not gossipy but faithful because of the gifts she had given her …” (faithful seems a strange term to use considering she’s been shacking up with someone else’s husband for the better part of a year) is unaware that her plan is about to fall apart. 3 She returns to her home and is seized by some of the servants who threaten to expose the plot. Maximilla gives a thousand denarii to each slave who promises not to tell her husband about this. Despite this, the slaves tell Aegeates.

As you might expect, he’s not pleased. He tortures Eucleia who tells him everything, “slandering her mistress.” I’m reading this whole thing thinking, she tells him the truth under torture and it’s slander? Well, “As for Eucleia, he cut out her tongue and cut off her hands and feet, ordering that she be cast out and after some days without nourishment she became food for the dogs.” 4 Following this he returns to pleading with Maximilla to return to him. Urged on by Andrew, she refuses and Aegeates has the apostle thrown in prison.

Maximilla continues to visit Andrew every day and he urges her to continue as she has begun, “Let it be yours henceforth to keep yourself chaste, pure, holy, undefiled, sincere, free from adultery, unwilling for intercourse with the alien, unbent, unbroken.” 5 The remainder of the narrative is predictable. Aegeates, not getting his wife back, eventually crucifies Andrew (though Andrew does have an interesting conversation with the cross as if it were a person). Meanwhile Maximilla is called “pure,” “undefiled,” “holy” and “… supplied with the blessed love of Christ.” 6

So I’m reading this narrative thinking to myself, Is this for real? Seriously, even if asceticism is a good thing, how does Maximilla, and by proxy Andrew, come off good in this? Let’s list the transgressions:

1. Breaking the marital bond.
2. Lying and deception, and for eight months.
3. Prostitution (not sure what else to call Maximilla giving buckets of gifts to Eucleia to persuade her have sex with Aegeates)
4. Adultery – and a double whammy here as Maximilla fools her husband into being an unwitting adulterer and pays Eucleia to be an adulteress.
5. Bribery (in order not to get caught in a lie)
6. Responsible for Eucleia’s death – indirectly at least – and not a very pleasant one.

And so, IMO, this is an example where Christianity tried to go “out there”, well beyond what could be justified, even in the pursuit of asceticism. Some of this story strikes me as absurd. In the previous quote Andrew tells her to remain free from adultery but apparently it was OK for her to turn two other people into adulterers. This “pure” individual pays someone to have sex with her husband. With all this, the text continued to be used though there are versions without some of the more explicit details. In any case, I do not see how any group, whatever their belief system or values they tried to promote, could view the actions of Maximilla and Andrew as positive.

1 This is footnoted in Schneelmacher and Wilson (2003) as from, “Ed. Th. Detorakis, Acts of the Second International Congress of Peloponnesian Studies I, Athens 1981/2, 325-52.

2 From the Codex Vaticanus 808 version of The Acts of Andrew 5 in Schneelmacher and Wilson (2003).

3 Schneelmacher and Wilson (2003), from the Detorakis edition of AA, p 140 – this edition isn’t broken into chapters.

4 Schneelmacher and Wilson (2003), from the Detorakis edition of AA, p 141.

5 Schneelmacher and Wilson (2003), from the Detorakis edition of AA, p 145.

6 Schneelmacher and Wilson (2003), from the Detorakis edition of AA, p 151.

Coogan, Michael D., ed., The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Edition With the Apocrypha, Oxford: Oxford University Press (2010). ISBN:9-780-195-28955-8.

Schneemelcher, Wilhelm and Wilson, R. McL., eds., New Testament Apocrypha Volume Two: Writings Related to the Apostles; Apocalypses and Related Subjects, Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press (2003). ISBN:9780664227227.

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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Literature, Religion

 

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Tales From Apocrypha 1: The Acts of Peter

I’m still working through Ancient Christianity and have been, mostly, reading up on the Second Century. I say mostly because what I’ve recently buried myself with have been Apocrypha. I started this off by reading the New Testament a few weeks ago and when I started looking for other source material I immediately went to Apocrypha. Many of these were developed in the Second Century but quite a few were from the Third and some even later. 1

Let me begin by talking about what is meant by Apocrypha – and I’m sure there are definitions and Wikipedia entries out there. Apocrypha are Christian texts which were not included in the New Testament Canon. There are various reasons for this but primarily the Canon includes what I’d call texts which are written by direct witnesses to Christ, or at least what folks in the 3rd and 4th centuries believed were direct witnesses. They were authored by, or at least considered to be reliable testimonies about, those who had direct contact with Christ. In this context, Christ appearing to Paul(Saul of Tarsus) in order to convert him is considered direct contact. The Apocrypha are not necessarily texts considered non-Orthodox. Many of them are what came to be viewed as mainstream (considering anything mainstream doesn’t really work until 325 after the Council of Nicaea). Many of them are not. The sheer number of Apocryphal texts provides very good evidence regarding the variety of beliefs which developed in the early days of Christianity. You have major players such as Gnostics (more of these have survived than others because of the Nag Hammadi texts), Ebionites and Manichaeans and other, less well-represented groups such as Cainites and Elchasaites. And let me be clear, “less well-represented” does not necessarily mean they weren’t as numerous, it just means we have less textual evidence for them. This may be because there were fewer adherents or it may be due to the accident of survival. Texts considered heretical tended not to be preserved.

One other qualifier which I want to note. I’m going to feature texts which are interesting (at least to me), historically important, or which are rather extreme deviations from what became Orthodox. At times I may use disparaging, or at least humorous language to refer to these because, as someone brought up with a Protestant Christian belief system, some of this stuff is “out there” from that perspective. At the same time people have a right to believe what they want to believe (this right was not recognized in the Ancient or Medieval periods). There are groups today who, for example, believe that ensuring the spiritual continuity of relatives is best achieved by ritual cannibalism after their death. This sounds crazy to me but it obviously doesn’t to them. And for some reason, though the actual eating of the dead seems a bit odd, the ritual cannibalism inherent in the Eucharist; some variant of, “Take, eat; This is my body which was shed for you,” seems perfectly normal to me. It’s all what you’re used to. So with all those qualifiers out of the way, I’m going to begin by talking about The Acts of Peter.

The text which came to be known as the Acts of Peter was likely composed in the second half of the second century, possibly in 180-90. It was originally a Greek text and has largely been preserved in a single Latin manuscript, a codex at Vercelli dating from the 6th-7th century, though other fragments have been found. While the Vercelli manuscript is fairly complete some of the opening portions are fragmentary. 2 There are a variety of themes included within it, including an account of Peter’s crucifixion, but I’m going to focus on the contest between Peter and Simon Magus.

Simon Magus was a rather important figure in Early Christianity and stories about him continued to pop up now and then throughout the Medieval period (and possibly later). He first appears in Acts 8:9-24 as a magician in Samaria who had achieved considerable local notoriety. In the New Testament, Simon is not portrayed as evil so much as misguided. He hears Philip preach, converts and is baptized. Later he sees Peter and John laying hands on people to grant them the Holy Spirit and he offers them money so that he might gain this power. Peter scolds him for thinking he can buy this with money and Simon finishes by asking Peter to pray for him on account of his sin. Simon’s sort of a powerful screw-up but in this context he is portrayed in such a way as to serve as an object lesson for the rich and powerful, that wealth cannot purchase God’s favor, and as an example of how the power of God trumps that of earthly magic. Not such a terrible person.

This changes in the Acts of Peter. Here we find Simon coming to Rome, flying in on a cloud of dust (or as a cloud of dust) and proceeding to encourage apostasy in many of the newly converted. While in Jerusalem, Peter receives a vision that Simon, whom he had expelled from Judea (note the change from the account in Acts), is in Rome and acting as an agent of Satan. On reaching Rome, Peter preaches to the people who had been corrupted by Simon. Their faith renewed, they urge Peter to overthrow Simon who is staying with a Roman Senator, Marcellus.

At one time Marcellus had been a generous man, giving to the poor and seeing to the care of the destitute. Now he has been influenced by Simon and regrets all his good works. When Peter reaches Marcellus’ house to challenge Simon, he is refused entrance. Peter then grants a dog Human speech and the dog enters the house and challenges Simon. Simon and the dog argue for a while. In the meantime Marcellus repents and asks Peter to forgive him – there are some seriously fickle people in this story, and we’re just getting started. Finally, after giving Simon a good scolding, the dog returns to Peter, tells him everything that’s happened and lays down and dies.

Since the talking-dog-as-envoy strategy didn’t work Peter decides to perform some miracles. He grabs some smoked fish hanging in a merchant’s window and throws them in a pond where they start swimming around. After all this Marcellus kicks Simon out of his house. Making the best of a bad situation, Simon challenges Peter and says that he’ll show him who has more power.

A couple of days later (Peter performs several miracles in the interim) Simon and Peter have their contest in the Roman Forum. First they engage in a little trash-talking where Peter yells at Simon for wanting to buy God’s favor while Simon tells Peter his God is nothing more than a carpenter, from a family of carpenters, from a nothing place like Judea, and not only that but his God was executed, what kind of God is that? Peter gives a comeback based on scripture and the contest begins.

The Prefect, Agrippa, isn’t screwing around and goes for the big guns right off. He tells Simon to kill a young man and for Peter to restore him. After Simon kills him with a whisper Peter takes his time, earning a bit of abuse from the prefect who liked the young man (what’s he do to people he doesn’t like?) and the dead man’s mother but he restores him. Another woman, whose son has just died, begs Peter to restore him as well. Peter has the body brought to the forum and challenges Simon to revive him. Simon takes this on and tells the people of Rome that if he’s successful they must run him out of town. The Romans say they won’t just kick Peter out but burn him.

Before long the young man’s limbs start to move and (I’ll quote this because it’s too good), “… at once they began to look for wood and kindling, in order to burn Peter.” 3 Peter takes issue with this and says that if the man’s really alive he should get up, ask for his mother, walk around, etc. The prefect makes sure Simon can’t manipulate the body and discovering that the man is dead the crowd decides Simon should be burned instead but Peter restrains them, then restores the man.

Having lost this contest, Simon at least shows that he is persistent as he travels around Rome performing miracles which Peter repeatedly exposes as fraudulent. Finally Simon gives up and tells the people of Rome that they’re fools for believing Peter and he’ll fly away. As Simon starts to fly Peter cries out to Jesus that if Simon flies away all the good he’s been able to do, including people he’s converted, will be undone, but that Jesus shouldn’t kill him, just break his leg. Simon falls, breaks his leg, but later dies while it’s being operated on.

Death_of_simon_magus
Death of Simon Magus from the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Good stuff here. As I was reading it I was thinking that this would make a pretty fair starting point for a modern movie. You have good versus evil, talking dogs, people killed and restored, flying bad guys defeated by the forces of good, a fickle crowd (burn him – no, burn HIM!) what more does Hollywood need? I’ve always thought that people who refuse to read religious works, even if they want to read them as literature, not for religion, are missing a lot. There are plenty of good stories in the Bible and the Apocrypha have a bunch too.

NOTE: The Acts of Peter is in Schneelmacher and Wilson(2003) and Ehrman(2003). Schneelmacher and Wilson offers a more comprehensive analysis and variants found in different manuscripts/fragments.

1 There are 27 Books of the Canonical New Testament. The number of Apocrypha flat out dwarfs this number. I’ve listed the collections of Apocrypha which I have here and will be using whenever I make one of these posts.

2 Based on Schneelmacher and Wilson(2003), p 277 this was likely titled Actus Petri apostoli and is found in cod. Verc. CLVIII.

3 Acts of Peter 28 in Schneelmacher and Wilson(2003).

Coogan, Michael D., ed., The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Edition With the Apocrypha, Oxford: Oxford University Press (2010). ISBN:9-780-195-28955-8.

Ehrman, Bart, Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament, Oxford: Oxford University Press (2003). ISBN:978-0195-14182-5.

Ehrman, Bart and Plese, Zlatko, The Apocryphal Gospels: Texts and Translations, Oxford: Oxford University Press (2011). ISBN:978-0-19-973210-4.

Hennecke, E., Schneemelcher, Wilhelm and Wilson, R. McL., eds., New Testament Apocrypha: Gospels and Related Writings, Volume 1, Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Redwood Press (1973). ISBN:978-0-334-01111-8.

Kasser, Rudolphe, Meyer, Marvin & Wurst, Gregor, The Gospel of Judas, Washington: National Geographic Society (2006). ISBN:978-1-4262-0042-7.

Lipsius, Richard Adelbert and Wright, William, Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles: Edited From Syriac Manuscripts in the British Museum and Other Libraries, London: William and Norgate (1871).

Meyer, Marvin, The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus: The Definitive Collection of Mystical Gospels and Secret Books about Jesus of Nazareth, New York: HarperCollins (2005). ISBN:978-0-06-076208-7.

Pagels, Elaine, Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, New York: Random House (2005). ISBN:978-0-375-50156-2.

Roberts, Alexander and Donaldson, James, eds., Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 8: The Twelve Patriarchs, Excerpts and Epistles, The Clementina, Apocrypha, Decretals, Memoirs of Edessa and Syriac Documents, Remains of the First Age Fourth Printing, Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers (2004). ISBN:1-56563-090-4.

Robinson, James M., ed., The Nag Hammadi Library: The Definitive Translation of the Gnostic Scriptures Complete in One Volume, New York: HarperCollins (1990). ISBN:978-0-06-066934-8.

Schneemelcher, Wilhelm and Wilson, R. McL., eds., New Testament Apocrypha Volume Two: Writings Related to the Apostles; Apocalypses and Related Subjects, Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press (2003). ISBN:9780664227227.

 
 

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A War of Words: Primacy of the Visigothic Bishopric of Toledo

I’ve read a little on the Visigoths. One of the interesting things about a kingdom with a relatively weak central government (at least compared to the Merovingians and Ostrogoths) is all of the conflict. This probably wasn’t a lot of fun for the folks living back then but one of the results is that there are a fair number of sources written for the purpose of advancing the cause of various factions. The Visigothic Church suffered from this same lack of central organization and because of this there are a lot of textual sources. You get all of these regional sources like The Martyrs of Cordoba, Lives of the Visigothic Fathers and Lives of the Fathers of Mérida. This is in addition to the various Saints’ Lives used to promote individual churches.

Jamie Wood wrote an interesting article that appeared in the latest Journal of Early Christian Studies which examines another case of a Church using textual means to advance its interests.

In the late fourth century Jerome wrote De viris illustribus or Lives of Illustrious Men, a biographical list of 135 prominent Christians(mainly). This was supplemented by Gennadius who added an additional 91 names in the late fifth century. In the seventh century Isidore of Seville and Ildefonsus of Toledo followed this tradition by writing additional short biographies of prominent Christian figures. Wood believes that Isidore and Ildefonsus had very specific purposes in mind when they wrote these, which he proceeds to discuss. 1

Between Jerome and Gennadius, just 14 of their 226 figures were from Spain (I’m using Spain to indicate the entire Iberian Peninsula). Wood believes that Isidore recognized this shortcoming and set out to correct it “by deepening and broadening the bio-literary history of the Spanish Church.”(624) Isidore was not terribly selective in who he chose to write about and included, “as many Spaniards as he could find, irrespective of whether they had written anything of note or even if he had managed to read their works.”(624) Isidore engaged in an effort to enhance the status of Spain’s Christian past which was not restricted to his De viris illustribus but included biographical details where the Apostle James wrote to Spain and Paul proclaimed the nature of Christ in Spain. 2

Into this literary setting steps Ildefonsus, Bishop of Toledo from 659-667. Before discussing what he wrote I think it’s important to set the stage a bit. Before the Visigoths decided to make it their capital in the sixth century, Toledo was a nothing town – Wood calls it a backwater.(630) It had no political or ecclesiastical history which would make anyone sit up and take notice. Cartagena, as a Mediterranean port, was historically much more important to the Roman province of Carthaginiensis however it was devastated first by the Byzantine conquest of the 6th century and again when the Visigoths reclaimed it in the early 7th century. Once recovered, Cartagena began to regain its influence. It had lost its status as a metropolitan city however it regained episcopal status under King Wamba around 675. It is logical to believe that the Toledan Church felt threatened by Cartagena’s resurgence.

Visigothic_Kingdom
Map of the Visigothic Kingdom showing Toledo and Cartegena. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Besides Cartagena, Toledo would have lacked the sort of history associated with other Spanish bishoprics such as Tarragona, Braga, Mérida and Seville.(633) Isidore failed to mention a single Toledan in his De viris illustribus. Ildefonsus evidently decided that his city needed something to enhance its status.

Ildefonsus opens his De viris illustribus with a veiled criticism of Isidore, “Finally that wisest of men, Isidore, bishop of the See of Seville, following the same path, added to the list the best men he knew. But he departed this life without having looked into this matter fully.” 3

By necessity, Ildefonsus uses a different method from his predecessors. Jerome, Gennadius and Isidore were largely concerned with religious figures who had written though, as mentioned above, Isidore’s standards for this were a bit lower. Ildefonsus didn’t have that to work with. There were no great authors from Toledo. But there were great and saintly men. His hagiographical content swamps that of the others. His first figure, Asturius, receives a miraculous vision revealing the tombs of martyrs. Asturias’ successor, Helladius, while not an author was a worthy man who “… declined to write as he demonstrated things that ought to be written through the pages of his daily life.” 4

Another method Ildefonsus used was that of succession. Church fathers often wrote that the bishops of the great churches were endowed with their posts through Apostolic appointment and succession. 5 Ildefonsus followed this model by including seven bishops of Toledo among his 13 men and establishing historical continuity by naming the successors to Asturius.

This is fun stuff. Churches used all sorts of strategies to advance their causes. Besides cases which involved actual violence you have forged charters and other writings, the discovery of a prominent saint associated with a church and my personal favorite; the successive rewriting of the vita of the church’s saint where the saint becomes progressively more impressive. Sometimes this even turned into a competition with a nearby church where each church kept providing revised vitae. Sort of a medieval version of “my Saint can beat up your Saint.” Ildefonsus’ effort to advance the Toledan Church by associating important religious figures with it fits in nicely with these promotional efforts.

1 FWIW, I have Ildefonsus in Fear (1997) and Jerome and Gennadius in Schaff (2012) but I do not, as far as I know, have Isidore.

2 In Romans 15:24,28 Paul expresses his intention to travel to Spain. However as Romans is believed to be his last letter and he wrote it while a prisoner prior to his being taken to Rome as described in Acts, I think it unlikely, despite later assertions to the contrary by John Chrysostom and Cyril of Jerusalem, that he ever got there. For reference, Wood believes that Isidore wrote his De viris illustribus between 604 and 608(622).

3 Fear (1997), p 107.

4 For Asturias and Helladius see Fear (1997), pp 109-10 and 114-5, respectively.

5 For one of the earliest examples of this see 1 Clement 44 (written about 95) where he argues against the forcible removal of presbyters of the Church at Corinth. Other writers (I think Irenaeus but I’m not going to look for it) used similar arguments against heretics; that “correct” thinking resided with bishops who possessed the authority of Apostolic succession.

Fear, A. T., ed. & trans., Lives of the Visigothic Fathers, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press (1997). ISBN:978-0-85323-582-8.

Schaff, Philip and Wace, Henry, eds., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series Volume 3: Theodoret, Jerome, Gennadius, Rufinus: Historical Writings, etc. Fifth Edition, Peabody Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers (2012). ISBN(for set):978-1-56563-116-8.

Wood, Jamie, “Playing the Fame Game: Bibliography, Celebrity, and Primacy in Late Antique Spain,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 20 (2012): 613-40.

 

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2013 Kalamazoo Schedule Now Online

For those who want to get an early look, the Schedule for the 2013 International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University is available online.

Unfortunately, chances are very good that I won’t be able to make it this year because of a project I’m working on. Then again, I’ve made it four years running, a personal best since I’ve been attending. And I really do have enough books.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2013 in Conferences

 

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Medieval History Geek: 2012 in Review

This is a bit late but since I posted a year-end summary each of the last two years I thought I should have at it again.

Overall traffic was down a fair amount from last year. This is unsurprising. First, I moved from Blogger to WordPress so at least early on search engines wouldn’t have found this blog and folks who’d bookmarked it or signed up to follow would have had to change their settings. The second reason is I posted much less. I hope to correct this in 2013.

I ended up with 18,862 page views or a touch over 50/day (I am not adding in page views from Blogger even though the site was up into March and even now I get a fair amount of referrals from my single “site has moved” post which remains). My two busiest months were May with 3,093, about 100/day and December with 2,194. Again, this is unsurprising as I made a bunch of Kalamazoo posts and then fell off the map until December when I started regularly posting again. On the year, my busiest day was December 19 (not sure what that was about) with 244 hits. The slowest day I remember was December 26 with 14 though there may have been a slower day back right after I moved the blog. I think the move to WordPress from Blogger has been a positive in almost every way except for statistics as Google Analytics doesn’t work with WP, or if it does, I haven’t figured it out.

I made 38 posts during the year, pretty weak, especially when you consider that I made 14 posts about Kalamazoo. I hope, very much, to do better this year. Thanks everyone for reading and PLEASE comment more!

The most popular posts for the year, based on number of page views, were:

1. Once again, my World Lit Only by Fire review.

2. My post about other blogs which talked about Kalamazoo.

3. My Symmachus post.

4. A follow-up WLOBF post on suggested alternatives to William Manchester for use in high school history.

5. A post I made telling Amateurs not to let the potential for embarrassment keep you from engaging folks smarter than you in discussions.

For the year, my favorite posts were (I was looking to include five here and ended up with seven):

1. Symmachus and whether he could be considered an enemy of Christianity. Nice to see that one of my favorites was among the most popular.

2. How Arianism may very well be a creation of Athanasius. This is almost a two-parter as it followed on the heels of an earlier post which talked about how he exaggerated the heresy.

3. A short post on a Panegyric for Constantine delivered soon after his conversion. I’m not sure the post is all that good but the topic is really cool.

4. Ambrose of Milan.

5. A recent post about the growth of Christian veneration of relics.

6. A post which I think gives a pretty good example of why I think historical models need to be used cautiously.

7. Since I feel I have to have at least one book review, the only one I wrote is of The Historical Jesus in Context.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2013 in Blogology

 

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