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.
June 16, 1846: Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti is named Pope Pius IX. Roman Catholics remember him for his 31-year pontificate—the longest in history—for his declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and for the First Vatican Council's declaration of the infallibility of the pope.
June 16, 1855: William and Catherine Booth, founders of the Salvation Army, marry, having fallen in love the first night they met. William had escorted Catherine home, and she later wrote, "Before ...