The Medieval History of Passover: Libel, Conspiracy, and Hope for Freedom

In medieval Europe, Passover was a touchpoint for conspiracy theories, violence, and libel against Jews. Introduction The Seder celebrates the memory of Exodus, when a people bound to labour in Egypt for centuries gained its freedom. So profound was this experience that survivors and future generations were instructed to retell the story annually to their[…]

Viking Prophecy: The Poem Völuspá of the Poetic Edda

Every god has a specific enemy with whom they will do battle and many will be slain, including the chief god Odin. By Irina Manea Introduction The Völuspá (Old Norse: Vǫluspá) is a medieval poem of the Poetic Edda that describes how the world might have come into shape and would end according to Norse[…]

Ancient Rome’s Response to the Spread of Christianity

Examining the growth of the new religion from persecution of early Christians to Constantine’s conversion. Introduction During the 1st century CE, a sect of Jews in Jerusalem claimed that their teacher, Jesus of Nazareth, was the ‘messiah’ of Israel. ‘Messiah’ meant ‘anointed one’, or someone chosen by the God of Israel to lead when God[…]

The Origin of ‘Satan’ in Ancient and Medieval Literature and Theology

The concept of Satan emerged over time and in phases. Introduction Satan, or the Devil, is one of the best-known characters in the Western traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Surprisingly, this entity was a late-comer in the ancient world. Satan, as a totally evil being, is nowhere to be found in the Jewish Bible.[…]