Religion

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

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American and Israeli Jews Tell Different Truths About the Holocaust

Hannah Pollin-Galay— “The End of the Jewish People is Here.” This is not a headline from the 1940’s but from June 2018. It appeared as one of many articles reporting on a survey conducted by the American Jewish Committee, which polled American and Israeli Jews on a range of contemporary

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Two Rocks in the Holy Land

Gabriel Said Reynolds— A traveler walking along the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem could be forgiven for missing the ruins of the Kathisma Church. The ruins, found just past a gas station and just before the Greek Orthodox monastery of Mar Elias, are overgrown with weeds and strewn with rubble,

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Baptism

Peter Marshall— Imitation of Christ began with becoming a Christian. That was the easy part. It happened within days of being born, when a baby was baptized in the stone font usually found, in symbolic placement, near the entrance of the church. The ceremony involved a ritual cleansing with water,

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Authoritarianism, Dialogue, and the Future of the Catholic Church

Piotr H. Kosicki— The year was 1947. The Cold War was just beginning. Much of Europe still lay in ruins following the devastation of the Second World War, and displaced persons were struggling to find their place in a world riven by the Holocaust, atomic warfare, and collapsing colonial empires.

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Cold War Maps to “Wake Up” Southeast Asian Buddhists

Eugene Ford— It took me a year to sort through volumes of Thai religious journals in the sometimes sweltering halls of Bangkok’s monastic libraries, where the few Western researchers sat elbow-to-elbow with saffron-clad monks. That research laid the groundwork for what I had begun to envision as an international history

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How Do We Know What’s True?

Janna R. White & Wendy Hasenkamp— In May 2016 the Wall Street Journal published an interactive online tool called “Blue Feed, Red Feed” that allowed one to see the dueling social media feeds of liberal and conservative users during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. This side-by-side comparison revealed

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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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