The Changing Nature of Sacred Spaces

The Multi-faith Chapel at Hebrew Senior Life / Newbridge On The Charles, Dedham, Massachusetts. Randall Armor, CC BY-NC-ND By Dr. Wendy Cadge / 04.26.2017 Professor of Sociology and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Brandeis University Congregational membership in the United States is slowly declining. Data from the General Social Survey show that 17 percent of[…]

The History of Art and Architecture in the Islamic World

Great Mosque at Damascus (Photo: G. Lewis) Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 04.12.2017 Brewminate Editor-in-Chief A Beginner’s Guide Introduction to Islam By Dr. Elizabeth Macauley-Lewis Assistant Professor, Graduate Center of Liberal Studies City University of New York Origins and the life of Muhammad the Prophet Islam, Judaism and Christianity are three of the world’s[…]

Pagan Shrines and Temples of Ancient Rome

The Roman temple Maison Carré of Nimes, France, built 19-16 BCE, dedicated to Gaius and Lucius, the grandsons of Augustus / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Rodolfo Lanciani Professor of Roman Topography (1878-1927) Università di Roma Ancient guide-books of Rome, published in the middle of the fourth century,[34] mention four hundred and twenty-four temples, three hundred[…]

Coercing Morality in Puritan Massachusetts

Stocks / Photo by BabelTowers, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Murray Rothbard From Conceived in Liberty (1975) Perhaps the bluntest expression of the Puritan ideal of theocracy was the Rev. Nathaniel Ward’s The Simple Cobbler of Aggawam in America (1647). Returning to England to take part in the Puritan ferment there, this Massachusetts divine was horrified[…]

Pagan to Christian: The Transformation of Rome

The Battle of Milvian Bridge, by Giulio Romano, 1520-1524 / Apostolic Palace, Vatican City, Rome By Dr. Rodolfo Lanciani Professor of Roman Topography (1878-1927) Università di Roma It has been contended, and many still believe, that in ancient Rome the doctrines of Christ found no proselytes, except among the lower and poorer classes of citizens.[…]

An Overview of Classical Eastern Philosophy

Taoist Temple / Photo by dbgg1979 of, Creative Commons By Dr. James Fieser / 02.19.2014 Professor of Philosophy University of Tennessee at Martin Introduction At the time that ancient Greek philosophy was blossoming, on the other side of the world a different set of philosophical traditions emerged within the Eastern Asian regions of India[…]

I Won’t Have Blood! A Battle between Belief and Duty?

Blood bank image / University of Michigan, Creative Commons Lecture by Dr. Martin Elliott at the Museum of London / 03.15.2017 Professor of Physics, Gresham College Professor of Paediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery, University College London Co-Medical Director, The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children Introduction I am going to consider the belief held by some that[…]

Mahayana Buddhism

The Buddha seated in meditation, one hand on his lap, the other pendant in a gesture known as earth-witness, which represents unshakability or steadfastness when being subject to the demons’ temptations. This is a superb example of 12th century Nepalese metalcraft. “Shakyamuni, the Historical Buddha” / Photo by Critstian Violatti, Patan Museum, Nepal By Charley[…]

Prodicus on the Rise of Civilization: Religion, Agriculture, and Culture Heroes

Karthea Temple ruins on the island of Keos (modern Kea) By Dr. Stavros Kouloumentas / 11.01.2016 Postdoctoral Classics Research Fellow University of Humboldt, Berlin CHS Research Bulletin 4:2 (2016) Introduction Three authors who were active in classical Athens seem to have been familiar with Prodicus’ doctrines.[1] Xenophon preserves a speech of Prodicus in which the[…]

Why Native Americans Consider Water Sacred

An activist at a protest rally at the White House against the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines in Washington, D.C. Kevin Lamarque By Dr. Rosalyn LaPier / 03.21.2017 Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Montana Visiting Professor of Women’s Studies, Environmental Studies, and Native American Religion, Harvard Universtiy The Lakota phrase “Mní wičhóni,”[…]

The History of Art in Judaism

Judaism: An Introduction   By Dr. Jessica Hammerman (left) and Dr. Shaina Hammerman (right) / 08.08.2015 Jessica Hammerman: Professor of History, Central Oregon Community College Shaina Hammerman: Professor of Jewish History and Culture, Lehrhaus Judaica Judaism is a monotheistic religion that emerged with the Israelites in the Eastern Mediterranean (Southern Levant) within the context of the[…]

Fragments of the Past: How to Study Old Norse Religion

Ardnamurchan boat site / Photo by Jon Haylett, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Britt-Mari Näsström Professor of Religious History University of Gothenurg, Sweden Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis 17:2 (1999), 177-185 The Source Problem Ansgar made an unsuccessful attempt to Christianize the Vikings as early as in the 830s. / From Hamilton, Hugo. 1830. Teckningar ur Skandinaviens[…]

Making it Vernacular in Agra: The Practice of Translation by Seventeenth-Century Jains

Jain monks in Gujarat, India By Dr. John E. Cort / 10.01.2015 Professor of Asian and Comparative Religions Denison University From Tellings and Texts: Music, Literature, and Performance in North India[1] Language and Translation The 17th century Digambar Jain temple and the 18th century Gauri Shankar Hindu temple in Delhi / In one sense,[…]

Ancient Minoan Religion

The peak sanctuary at Petsofas: reconstruction with a tripartite building and medium horns of consecration. / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Jeremy B. Rutter Professor Emeritus of Classical Studies Sherman Fairchild Professor Emeritus in the Humanities Dartmouth College The Nature of the Evidence This consists of the following four broad classes, the last of which will[…]

Nero in the Vatican: A Brief Biography of Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI

Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia) from the Resurrection fresco, by Pinturicchio (Bernardino di Betto), c.1494 / Vatican Borgia Apartments, Rome By Samantha Morris / 08.11.2012 Archaeologist/Historian Early Church Career Rodrigo Borgia. More commonly known as Pope Alexander VI. Father of at least 8 children and a man who rather enjoyed his mistresses. Like his children,[…]

Tellings and Texts: Dadupanthi Homiletics in North India

Dadupanthi Saints / Photo from University of Oxford By Dr. Monika Horstmann / 10.01.2015 Professor of Linguistics University of Heidelberg “The Example in Dadupanthi Homiletics,”[1], from Tellings and Texts: Music, Literature, and Performance in North India Introduction India is rife with preaching. There is no city, no village where there are not on generous display[…]

Nothing to Lose: Medieval Castration, Clerical Celibacy, and a Strange Story from Peter of Cornwall’s Book of Revelation

By Dr. Karl T. Steel / 02.01.2017 Associate Professor of English Brooklyn College Fragment of a 11th century Liber Judiciorum translation to the old Catalan language. Guarded at Santa Maria of Montserrat Abbey on the Montserrat mountain, Catalonia (Spain). / Wikimedia Commons The seventh-century Visigothic Code called for sodomites to be castrated.[1] Norman nobles were[…]

The Survival of Shamanism in Post-Soviet Siberia

Buryat shaman Tash Ool Buuevich Kunga consecrating an ovoo. / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Olle Sundström / 01.16.2014 Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies and Theology Umeå University, Sweden Abstract In his exhaustive study of ‘shamanism’ among the Altaic peoples in Southern Siberia, the renowned Soviet ethnographer Leonid P. Potapov contends that ‘under the present conditions[…]

Goddesses in Celtic Religion: Water Goddesses

A mountain stream / Photo by Dilshad Roshan, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Noémie Beck / 12.04.2009 Professor of Irish Studies Concordia University Introduction This is devoted to goddesses linked to water, such as rivers, springs, fountains, lakes, etc. Water has always been regarded as a particular sacred element of the landscape, worshipped for its life-giving[…]