Frequently Asked Questions


A form of execution where the victim is tied or nailed to a post or a crossbeam and left to die. Romans practiced this form of execution and most scholars agree that Jesus was killed in this manner. 

Cult of Emperor

Also known as the Imperial Cult, it is the worship of Emperors and their families as divine began with the death of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE when the Roman state declared him to be “divus” or divine. In some parts of the Empire it was acceptable to worship a living Emperor, but in Rome itself it was not. Cult worship helped to unify the vast empire.


Served as the Patriarch of Alexandra from 412-444 and was well known for his rivalry with Nestorius. Cyril joined in accusations against Nestorius (who asserted that Jesus had two loosely defined natures: human and divine) and defended the orthodox position (that Jesus was fully divine and fully human in one united whole). 

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A theory of biological evolution through natural selection developed by Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and others.

Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen

Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen, adopted August 26, 1789) is an expression of universal human rights—those rights that are true at all times and in all places—that served as one of the foundational documents of the French Revolution. It lists seventeen points including those expressing equality between all men, equality of rights, the relationship of political identity to the state and the source of state power being located in the collective, the preservation of rights such as liberty and property,...

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Destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE

After the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, the Jews of the Kingdom of Judea went into exile. In 538 BCE during the reign of Cyrus the Great, the Jews returned to Jerusalem and were able to build the Second Temple on the site of the original one that had been destroyed. Secular accounts place the completion of the Second Temple in approximately 516 BCE but some Jewish sources date the completion much later in 350 BCE. Herod the Great rebuilt the Temple in 20-18 BCE. The Jews led a revolt and occupied Jerusalem in 66 CE initiating the first Roman-...

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A dhimmi refers to a non-Muslim subject of the Ottoman Empire. Derived from Islamic legal conceptions of membership to society, non-Muslims ‘dhimmis’ were afforded protection by the state and did not serve in the military, in return for specific taxes. The dhimmi status was legally abolished in 1839 with the Hatt-ı Şerif of Gülhane and was formalized with the 1869 Ottoman Law of Nationality as part of wider Tanzimat Reforms. Regardless of these official changes, in...

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A follower of a teacher or a mentor. In Christian writings there are some disciples who are specifically named as close followers of Jesus but the term is more inclusive than those explicit references. For example, scholars of early Christianity believe that a number of women (who are not named) were among the earliest disciples of Jesus. (See especially writings by Elisabeth Schüssler-Fiorenza.)

Druze in Syria

The Druze are an ethnoreligious group concentrated in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel with around one million adherents worldwide. The Druze follow a millenarian offshoot of Isma’ili Shi'ism. Followers emphasize Abrahamic monotheism but consider the religion as separate from Islam.

The Druze are named for Muhammad al-Darazi, an Isma’ili missionary from Persia who lived in Fatimid Cairo, and was propagated by Hamza ibn Ali. The Druze believe in the imamate of al-Hakim ibn Amr Allah (d. 1021), the sixth caliph of Egypt's Isma’ili Fatimid Dynasty. Though the Fatimids (909-1171)...

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Eastern Catholicism in Syria

There are six Christian Eastern Catholic churches in Syria, in order of size: Melkite (Greek Catholic), Armenian, Syrian, Maronite, Latin and Chaldean. The Syrian Uniate and Roman Catholic Churches were favored by the French, themselves Catholic.

Demographically, Syrian Catholics were concentrated in areas where the French were also located, facilitating regular communication between the two...

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