Forgiveness for Sale: Indulgences in the Medieval Church

The selling of indulgences was first practiced in the late thirteenth century and was changed after the Protestant Reformation. Introduction An Indulgence, in Roman Catholic theology, is the full or partial remission of punishment for sins. The indulgence is granted by the Church after the sinner has confessed and received absolution and involves certain actions[…]

A Brief History of Religious Relics and Their Impacts

Attachment to a notable place, person or item has been at the heart of religious and spiritual belief for millennia. In 2006, a tiny brown pebble, equivalent to a raisin, sold at auction for $25,000. This inconsequential artifact was, in fact, William Shatner’s kidney stone. The US actor had persuaded doctors to return the grisly[…]

Ancient Christian Art and Architecture

Early Christianity used the same artistic media as the surrounding Pagan culture. Introduction Early Christian art and architecture or Paleochristian art is the art produced by Christians or under Christian patronage from the earliest period of Christianity to, depending on the definition used, sometime between 260 and 525. In practice, identifiably Christian art only survives[…]

A History of Blaming Games for Moral Decline and Addiction since the Ancient World

Worries about game addiction since ancient times have given way to scientific understanding of the benefits of play, rather than its detriments. Introduction Video games are often blamed for unemployment, violence in society and addiction – including by partisan politicians raising moral concerns. Blaming video games for social or moral decline might feel like something[…]

An Introduction to Paleoclimatology

The reconstruction of ancient climate is important to understand natural variation in climate and the evolution of the current climate. Introduction Paleoclimatology is the study of climates for which systematic measurements were not taken.[1] As instrumental records only span a tiny part of Earth history, the reconstruction of ancient climate is important to understand natural[…]

The Meaning of European Upper Paleolithic Rock Art

It has been suggested that there is a correlation between demographic and social patterns and the flourishing of rock art. Introduction Rock art (also known as parietal art) is an umbrella term which refers to several types of creations including finger markings left on soft surfaces, bas-relief sculptures, engraved figures and symbols, and paintings onto[…]