Religion

Does the Bible Really Reject Sacrifices?

Göran Eidevall— According to a popular theory, the most prominent representatives of the prophetic movement in ancient Israel and Judah were radically anti-cultic. Many scholars have claimed that the so-called classical prophets—in the first place, Hosea, Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah—denounced animal sacrifice as a primitive ritual, practiced by neighboring peoples.

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The Spirit of the Text

David Bentley Hart— When I came to the task of producing my own translation of the New Testament, I knew that there are certain words and phrases in the text that present special difficulties, and that no solution I chose would please everybody. In some cases, the difficulty lies in

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The future of Islamism

Tarek Osman— Arab Islamism has always tried to design the future in the image of the past. The Islamists have repeatedly tried to impose their own interpretations of certain episodes in Islamic history upon how their societies should live in the present. The approach might have had some merit when

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Memory and Time from Mark to Luke-Acts

Eve-Marie Becker— To remember the past and to reflect about time is considered to be a basic human attitude. Memorizing the past and reflecting about time gives orientation in present life: When we know where we come from, and how present life might be similar or different to how our

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The Monastery and the Microscope

James Doty— Over the past few days, you have heard my colleagues discuss evolution, neuroanatomy, empathy, compassion, affiliative behavior, and the impact of genetics and the environment, as well as the concept of in-group versus out-group. Research is wonderful. It’s a great intellectual exercise. We can learn a great deal

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Who is David?

David Wolpe— We wish our heroes to be attractively flawed: brave but heedless, good but confused, wise yet inexplicably sad. A minor crack in character makes the vessel seem that much more precious. Still, while acknowledging the complexity behind the clarity of Lincoln, or the darkness that lurked beneath Churchill’s

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What is Religion?

Richard Holloway— As with many useful words, symbol comes from Greek. It means to bring together things that had come apart, the way you might glue the bits of a broken plate together. Then a symbol became an object that stood for or represented something else. It still had the idea of

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ISIS, Christianity, and the Pact of Umar

David J. Wasserstein— When ISIS forces took the Iraqi city of Mosul in the summer of 2014, and later on when they took Raqqa in Syria, they did not kill all the Christians. Instead they made them sign on to a curious set of conditions. Christians were allowed to maintain

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Rethinking American Religion in the Age of Trump

Mark Oppenheimer— When I published Knocking on Heaven’s Door: American Religion in the Age of Counterculture, in 2003, the field of the 1960s was still relatively under-studied, the field of American religion in the 1960s in particular. Flying somewhat blind, I made the argument that the revolution in American religion in

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Writing and Self-Hatred

Devorah Baum— In his amazingly pleasurable new book, In Writing, psychoanalyst and writer Adam Phillips describes writing, in his experience, as an “amazing pleasure.” Lucky him. He sits down to write, he says, and the writing just happens—he’s never “trying” to write and meeting some sort of internal resistance or

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