Religion

Shifting Paradigms in the Study of Christian Origins

Matt Jackson-McCabe— One of the more intriguing questions in the history of religion is how the Jewish apostles of a first-century Jewish messiah came to be considered the authoritative embodiment of values fundamentally other than Jewish. Making sense of Christianity’s relationship to Judaism has been a problem ever since the

Continue reading…

Christian Ecumenism in the Crusades

Steve Tibble— The main Christian groups in the crusader states were the Greek Orthodox, the Syrian Orthodox, the Armenians, the Maronites and, particularly once colonial rural settlement began to gather pace in the second quarter of the twelfth century, the Frankish Catholics. Religious bigotry was far less prevalent than one

Continue reading…

A Black Christian Experience

Willie James Jennings— Mary, my mother, taught me to respect the dirt. Like many black women from the South, she knew the earth like she knew her own soul. I came along late. I was the last of her eleven children, born not of the South but of the North,

Continue reading…

Ten Minute Guided Meditation with Stephen Batchelor

Stephen Batchelor is a teacher and scholar of Buddhism. He is the author of numerous works, including Buddhism without Beliefs, Living with the Devil, Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, Secular Buddhism, and After Buddhism. Read More from Stephen Batchelor The Art of Solitude In a time of social distancing and isolation, a meditation on

Continue reading…

Jewish Life during the Interwar Period

Todd M. Endelman and Zvi Gitelman— The new states that emerged in Europe and the Middle East from the collapsed German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian, and Ottoman empires were insecure, fearing their neighbors and their demands to change the borders created by the treaties ending World War I. They were suspicious of

Continue reading…

The Sacrifice at Calvary

Terry Eagleton— Walter Benjamin’s theory of tragedy in his The Origin of German Tragic Drama has some affinities with the Christian view of Calvary. Tragedy for Benjamin is essentially sacrifice, but of a peculiarly doubled kind: if it propitiates the gods under ancient law, it also inaugurates a revolutionary new

Continue reading…

Social Order in the New World

J. H. Elliott— Family and hierarchy were the twin pillars supporting the social structure of Early Modern Europe. The ordered family, under the control of the head of the household, patterned the state in microcosm, just as the state, under royal government, was a microcosm of the divinely ordered universe

Continue reading…

Revolutionary or Impostor . . . Who Was Ahmed Khan?

Ian Coller— O Lydian lord of many nations, foolish Croesus,Wish not to hear the longed-for voice within your palace,Even your son’s voice: better for you were it otherwise;For his first word will he speak on a day of sorrow.—Herodotus A Lydian prince, born mute, miraculously acquires the power of speech

Continue reading…

Material Culture and the Ethnicity of Non-Jewish Christians

Christopher Stroup— The cities of the Roman Empire were filled with gods and the citizens who honored them with festivals, processions, buildings, and benefactions. The followers of Jesus—later called Christians—lived and moved in these cities, navigating avenues lined with statues honoring various deities, structuring their days and months around the

Continue reading…

Coming to Terms with the Catholic 1950s

Leslie Woodcock Tentler— The streets of my suburban childhood were peopled by two religious tribes—the Catholics, who were in the majority, and the Protestants, a quasi-tribe to which every non-Catholic belonged. (This was back in the 1950s, when suburban Jews generally settled among their own and “nones” were an endangered

Continue reading…