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Christian History

Today in Christian History

June 1

June 1, 165 (traditional date): Justin, an early Christian apologist, is beheaded with his disciples for their faith. "If we are punished for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, we hope to be saved," he said just before his death. Christians soon named him Justin Martyr (see issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church).

June 1, 1843: Isabella Baumfree, having received a vision of God telling her to "travel up an' down the land showin' the people their sins an' bein' a sign unto them," leaves New York and changes her name to Sojourner Truth. She became one of the most famous abolitionists and women's rights lecturers in American history (see issue 62: Bound for Canaan).

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May 17, 1844: German biblical scholar Julius Wellhausen is born. His controversial theory about the Pentateuch—that it is a compilation of four literary sources (J, Jahwist; E, Elohist; D, Deuteronomist; and P, Priestly Editor), laid the foundation for most subsequent Old Testament criticism.

May 17, 1971: The musical Godspell, based on Matthew's gospel, opens at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York.

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