Tag Christianity

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

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Rethinking the History of Religious Freedom

Robert Louis Wilken— In the Supreme Court case Minersville School District v. Gobitis, 1940, that upheld compulsory pledging of allegiance to the U.S. flag in schools, Justice Felix Frankfurter, writing for the majority, said: “Centuries of strife over the erection of particular dogmas as exclusive or all-comprehending faiths led to

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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

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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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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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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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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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The Gift Economy of the Earliest Christians

Thomas R. Blanton IV— The apostle Paul, a Jewish preacher of the “good news” of Jesus of Nazareth, promoted a “spiritual economy” within the small groups of the early Christian movement in the middle of the first century CE. Although at first blush the phrase “spiritual economy” might appear to be

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Material Theology and Christian Religion

Terry Eagleton— One of the greatest of all Christian theologians turns out to be in some respects a full-blooded materialist. This is not entirely surprising, since Christianity itself is in some sense a materialist creed. The doctrine of the Incarnation means that God is an animal. He is present in the

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