The epic poem, Shahnameh, a 1010 CE compendium of pre-Islamic national myths and legends, has been the center of attention in Iran—and not merely as the source of the nation’s foundation myths. Successive Iranian kings commissioned new, lavishly illustrated copies (for instance, the sumptuous 16th Century, Shah Tahmasp copy) in the hopes of glorifying their own office.
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April 4, 2013
April 1, 2013
Look up April Fool’s Day or April Fools’ day in Wikipedia, no less! and no fooling! and you will relearn that this unofficial holiday is a time when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other. (It’s also called “All Fools’ Day,” so let me play the role of one of them.) Suppose I’d been unconscious since March 13 and just learned that there’d been a papal election.
March 28, 2013
Across the pages of a fifteenth-century manuscript track the paw prints of a cat who has first stepped into the ink, then sought to plant itself in the middle of its owner's attention. Snapped by the medievalist Emir Filipović, the image went viral, an instantly recognized example of "a long and glorious historical movement" of cats walking across work.
March 21, 2013
This spring marks the centenary of the infamous Paris premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet“The Rite of Spring,” the scene of a music riot that saw young concertgoers primed for modernity coming to blows with booing members of the old guard. Stravinsky long claimed that his score, derived from Russian and Lithuanian folk music, drove the crowd into a frenzy.
March 18, 2013
"It behooves us to keep talking about the papal election for as long as possible. Once it's over, we're back to the federal budget deliberations, and I prefer a story in which nothing gets sequestered but the cardinals." Thus columnist Gail Collins spoke for many of us.
March 14, 2013
That some Israelis might wish to view the State of Israel as congruent with the traditional texts of Judaism is fully understandable. That some might wish to bring Israeli politics more 'in line' with these texts is still comprehensible.
March 11, 2013
"Selma: Sustaining the Momentum" was the title of a Dean Peerman and M.E.M. article in The Christian Centuryforty-eight years to the month after colleague Peerman and I joined several thousand protestors and prayers at the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama.
March 7, 2013
Since the catastrophe of September 11, ordinary Americans have sought reliable and easily accessible information about Islam and Muslims–people who are now their neighbors, co-workers, bosses, and so on. However, an intellectual gap exists between what an American typically sees in the sensationalism of media and where the reality, in all its complexity, lies.
February 28, 2013
"A Man Is Nothing Without His Name": Religious Themes in the Christopher Dorner Manifesto — Spencer Dew
In the wake of former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner's recent crimes, media attention to his manifesto, "Last Resort," has focused on Dorner's description of racism within that police department and on the disturbing madness of his comments.
February 25, 2013
Commenting on "Christian Pop," if one is not at home in it, is precarious and will doubtless reveal how out of it the commentator is. So I wander in with a sense of mission. If "public religion" is the field of our notice, overlooking "trendy hip-hop, dubstep, funk and synch pop beats" would be to miss some very public expressions.