The Hearth, the Cloister, and Beyond: Religion and the Nineteenth-Century Woman

In the nineteenth century, domesticity and maternity became the primary cultural expectation for French women. In the nineteenth century, domesticity and maternity became the primary cultural expectation for French women. The new ideals, most of which could trace their roots back to Rousseauian rhetoric, supported the gendering of education and family life and consigned women[…]

The ‘Papal Aggression’ Controversy, 1850-52

An overview of the political, religious, and cultural response to the restoration of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England. By Dr. Miriam Elizabeth BursteinProfessor of EnglishCollege of BrockportState University of New York Abstract This article provides an overview of the political, religious, and cultural response to the restoration of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England.[…]

Classical and Christian Conceptions of Slavery and Gender, and Their Influence on Germanic Gaul

Roman honor and shame became Christian virtue and shame. The Christian reinterpretation of the classical Roman dichotomy of “honor” and “shame” into “virtue” and “shame” in Late Antiquity did not benefit enslaved men and women equally. Enslaved men experienced a moral elevation of their suffering, which allowed them to recast their vulnerability as a strength[…]

Liars, Atheists, and Libertines: The Politics of Dishonor in the Wars of Louis XIV

Calling the French liars, atheists, and libertines, undoubtedly evoked a general sense of immorality and disrepute. In 1684, an anti-French propaganda pamphlet featured a conversation between a German and an Englishman, who were both curious to hear the latest news from a French acquaintance. Their conversation began with a parody of French politeness and refined[…]

The Yazidi: Religion, Culture, and Trauma

The future of Yazidism is unclear, but it will certainly never be the same again. Abstract The Yazidi are Kurdish speakers who have lived for centuries as farmers and cattle breeders, scattered about in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and the former Soviet Union. They shared the same fate as the Kurds when the areas were Islamized[…]

Religion in the Ancient World

There is no culture recorded in human history which has not practiced some form of religion. Introduction Religion (from the Latin Religio, meaning ‘restraint,’ or Relegere, according to Cicero, meaning ‘to repeat, to read again,’ or, most likely, Religionem, ‘to show respect for what is sacred’) is an organized system of beliefs and practices revolving around, or leading to, a[…]

Anti-Semitic Propaganda and the Christian Church in Hitler’s Germany: A Case of Schrödinger’s Cat

The effectiveness of the propaganda machinery altered perception, thus reality. Abstract In his epic Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler made a point of disparaging the intelligentsia. He asserted that propaganda was the most effective tool to use in political campaigns since especially the popular masses generally possessed limited astuteness and were generally devoid of intellect. This[…]

“The Lying Pen of the Scribes”: A Nineteenth-Century Dead Sea Scroll

Historical research is important not simply for its own sake, but for what we can learn from it and apply to the future. The original version of Deuteronomy. That’s how the newly-discovered text was billed in August 1883. Several fragments of a 2,800-year-old scroll had made their way into the hands of Moses Shapira, an[…]

Whose Apocalypse? A New Mercantile Meaning of the “The End” in the New World circa 1600

Some argued that Philip IV was destined to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem at the end of time. [LEFT]: From Diego Valades, Rhetorica Christiana, 1579.[RIGHT]: From Gaspar de Escalona Aguero, Gazophilatium regium Perubicum, 1647. It is hard to imagine two images more different than these. The first appeared in Rhetorica Christiana, a book published in Perugia[…]

Makahiki: The Ancient Hawaiian New Year Festival to Lono

The Makahiki season is the ancient Hawaiian New Year festival, in honor of the god Lono of the indigenous Hawaiian religion. Introduction Makahhiki is a holiday covering four consecutive lunar months, approximately from October or November through February or March. The focus of this season was a time for men, women and chiefs to rest,[…]

Exorcism Has Been Part of Christianity for Centuries

Forty-five years ago, ‘The Exorcist’ terrified viewers with its portrayal of a practice that goes back several centuries and continues today in Christianity. “The Exorcist,” a horror film released 45 years ago, is a terrifying depiction of supernatural evil. The film tells the story of a young American girl who is possessed by a demon and eventually exorcised by a[…]

An Overview of the History of Mythology Involving Virgin Mothers and Miracle Babies

Virgin birth was not a new story in the ancient world. At the centre of the annual Christian festival of Christmas, particularly among those of the Catholic faith, is the sacred narrative of the Virgin Birth. In the New Testament Gospels of Matthew (1:18-25) and Luke (1:26-38), Mary, The Mother of God, is described as[…]

The Holly and the Ivy: Christmas Traditions that Pre-Date the Christian Story

Christmas trees are fairly moden, but parts of the traditional Christmas pre-date Jesus. By Dr. Peter GlavesEnterprise FellowNorthumbria University, Newcastle Every year, almost without thinking about it, we incorporate certain plant species into out Christmas celebrations. The most obvious is the Christmas tree, linked historically in England to Prince Albert – but its use in British homes goes back to at least[…]

The Rise and Expansion of Islam in the Medieval World

The region had been freed from lingering influences of the Byzantine empire and was left to develop on its own. Introduction Although Islam is a sister religion of Christianity and Judaism, Christians are generally ignorant and contemptuous of its origins and beliefs. One might note that Muslims hold education and learning in high esteem. Like[…]

The Origins and Development of Medieval Christian Monasticism

There were two ancient Near-Eastern customs that contributed to the development of Christian monasticism. One must remember that the distinction between the tilled and irrigated fields surrounding the villages of Egypt and Syria was very clear. Beyond the fields was “the desert,” rocky and waterless land, with a sparse vegetation of brambles, nettles, and thornbushes,[…]

The Rise of the Western Church in Early Medieval Europe

During the first half of the sixth century, the Church had to face the difficulty of preserving itself under the rule of Germanic kings. Think about it for a moment. Christianity was not legally recognized and did not begin its real institutional evolution until 313, two years after the death of Diocletian, the emperor who[…]

The Ancient Religion of Zoroastrianism

An overview of Zoroastrianism, a religion that influenced Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. A precursor for Christianity? The Zoroastrian faith is one of the world’s oldest religions, one that could date back as far as 1200 B.C. Zoroaster, a prophet who lived in modern-day Iran, is viewed as the founder of Zoroastrianism. We’re not sure when Zoroaster lived,[…]

The Genesis of Secular Politics in Medieval Philosophy: The King of Averroes and the Emperor of Dante

By Dr. Sabeen AhmedPhD Candidate, Department of PhilosophyVanderbilt University Poi ch’innalzai un poco piu’le ciglia,vidi ‘l maestro di color che sannoseder tra filosofica famigliaEuclide geometrae Tolomeo,Ipocrate, Avicenna e GalienoAverois, che ‘l gran comento feo. Dante Alighieri[1] Abstract In contemporary political discourse, the “clash of civilizations” rhetoric often undergirds philosophical analyses of “democracy” both at home[…]

Convivencia: Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Medieval Spain

Examining the inter-relationship of religion and culture in the time period of medieval Spain known as the convivencia. By Lindsey Marie Vaughan Abstract Few time periods in world history offer as unique a glimpse into cultural cohabitation as the one in medieval Spain following the Arabic invasion and preceding the Christian Reconquest ended in 1492.[…]

William of Norwich and a Jewish Woman’s Appeal of Murder in Medieval England

Periodic outbursts of hostility incited numerous massacres of the Jews in the Middle Ages. Setting the Scene The period leading up to the expulsion of the Jews from England in July of 1290 was a time of mounting uncertainty for the Anglo Jewry. That Saint Augustine’s long-endorsed “toleration theory”[1] was beginning to lose its force is[…]

The Medieval Origins and Growth of Ashkenazi Judaism

The Ashkenazi Jews developed a distinct liturgy and culture. Introduction Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim, are Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities of the Rhineland—”Ashkenaz” being the Medieval Hebrew name for Germany. They are distinguished from Sephardic Jews, the other main group of European Jewry, who arrived earlier in Europe and lived primarily in Spain. Many[…]

What Hanukkah’s Portrayal in Pop Culture Means to American Jews

Hanukkah demands fewer religious rituals than most other Jewish observances. Golden Pixels LLC Despite the primacy of Christmas in American culture, the visibility of Hanukkah in pop culture reminds Jews that they have their own holiday in which they can take pride. By Dr. Ted Merwin / 12.05.2017 Part-Time Associate Professor of Religion Director, The Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life (2001) Dickinson College When I was[…]

How Hannukah Came to America

In the United States, Hanukkah has gained much significance. Tercer Ojo Photography/Shutterstock.com Hanukkah is ranked one of Judaism’s minor festivals. It’s popularity in the U.S. has a lot to do with the country’s history. By Dr. Dianne Ashton / 12.02.2018 Professor of Religion Rowan University Hanukkah may be the best known Jewish holiday in the United States. But despite[…]

Shamanism in Ancient Korea

Cheongung, or the main Shrine Hall of the Three Sages, on the grounds of Samseonggung. Samseonggung Shrine is dedicated to the traditional worship of the three mythical creators of Korea: Whanin, Whanung, and Dangun. Its influence on ancient Korean culture is most tangible in surviving art, architecture, literature, and music. By Mark Cartwright / 11.08.2016 Historian Introduction Bangsadaps,[…]