Ancient History

Political Obligation: An Ancient Illustration

Judith N. Shklar— Obligation may lead to conflict. It implies, on one hand, the duty to obey the law, to keep promises, to follow social rules generally, because society depends upon our doing so and because it is inherently right and the condition of justice. On the other hand, the

Continue reading…

Sparta and Athens: From Peace to War

Paul A. Rahe— In his now neglected masterpiece Marlborough: His Life and Times, Winston Churchill once hazarded the following observation: Battles are the principal milestones in secular history. Modern opinion resents this uninspiring truth, and historians often treat the decisions in the field as incidents in the dramas of politics

Continue reading…

The Gospel of Matthew: Within and Without Judaism

John Kampen— Matthew is usually regarded as the “most Jewish gospel” since it bears evidence of more direct and more informed interaction with texts, concepts, and institutions usually identified with Jewish life at the conclusion of the first century CE. While the noted connections have not always been well-informed by

Continue reading…

Why We Read

Azar Nafisi— Reading is like Alice running after that white rabbit, because she is curious; she wants to know more about a talking rabbit. She is prepared to take the risk and jump down that hole without knowing what she will find at the bottom of the well. This is

Continue reading…

What happened after the Crusades?

Christopher Tyerman— We all know about the Crusades, don’t we? They were wars fought by western European Christians against Muslim control of Jerusalem and the Holy Land of Palestine. They began in 1095, when Pope Urban II summoned the knights of Christendom to undertake a war that would earn its

Continue reading…

On Easter and Resurrection

Candida Moss— At Easter, as almost everyone knows, Christians celebrate and think about the death and resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus is a foundational moment in Christian history that is proclaimed as part of the Creed, but it is also the model for the afterlife expectations of everyone

Continue reading…

How Old is the Hebrew Bible?

Ronald Hendel and Jan Joosten— The age of the Hebrew Bible is a complicated and controversial topic. For traditionalists, the age of a book is the age of its author – Moses for the Pentateuch, David for the Psalms, Solomon for the Song of Songs, and so on. For modern

Continue reading…

The Shadow of the Present

Tony Spawforth— As I write about the remote past, I never feel that history has repeated itself. Even so, there are times when the Greek and Roman worlds seem to offer an eerie prefiguring of the present. Democracy In 415 BC the adult males who made up the politically empowered

Continue reading…

Reconstructing Seapower

Andrew Lambert— In the late 1880s, American strategist and historian Alfred Thayer Mahan coined the term “sea power” by purposefully splitting the word “seapower,” a direct translation of the Greek thalassokratia, to sustain his agenda. The Greek word had been used by Herodotus and Thucydides to describe states which were

Continue reading…

The Many Gods of Ancient Monotheism

Paula Fredriksen— How is the ancient Jew—and, later, the ancient Christian—distinguished from his contemporary neighbor, the pagan? Biblical communities were monotheist, many people will answer; pagan communities were polytheist. For majority culture, many divinities populated the heavens. Biblical religions, more austere, clung to belief in a single god. Belief that

Continue reading…

  • 1 2 6