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Christian History

Today in Christian History

May 15

May 15, 1265: Poet and politician Dante Alighieri, author of "The Divine Comedy," is born in Florence, Italy. Dante finished the epic poem just before his death, and it was quickly recognized as brilliant. His epitaph begins: "Dante the theologian, skilled in every branch of knowledge that philosophy may cherish in her illustrious bosom" (see issue 70: Dante's Guide to Heaven and Hell).

May 15, 1525: Radical reformer Thomas Munzer is captured and many of his followers are killed in the disastrous Battle of Frankenhausen. Munzer was executed in Muhlhausen 12 days later after being tortured to force a confession. Though many of his beliefs were rejected by later, nonviolent Anabaptists, his emphasis on suffering discipleship, his rejection of infant baptism, and his call for judgment of the church became key teachings in the movement (see issue 5: The Anabaptists).

May 15, 1886: American poet Emily Dickinson, author of many poems on death, eternity, God, and the afterlife, dies. Only 7 of her 1,775 poems were published at the time.

May 15, 1948: Father Edward Flanagan, founder of the U.S. Home for Homeless Boys (later called Boys Town) in Omaha, Nebraska, dies. "There is no such thing as a bad boy," Flanagan believed.

May 15, 1984: American evangelical Francis A. Schaeffer dies in Rochester, Minnesota. Many of his books, which include The God Who is There (1968) and How Should We Then Live (1976), argue that moral relativity is responsible for social ills.

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May 22, 337: Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Rome, dies. Though known for calling the Council of Nicaea (which condemned the Arian heresy) and for beginning the process of Christianizing the empire, he waited until just before his death before he finally accepted baptism into the church (see issue 57: Converting the Empire).

May 22, 452: Leo, bishop of Rome, sends three angry letters to protest the Council of Chalcedon's recent elevation of Constantinople to the preeminent see in ...

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