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April 15, 2013
The familiar “Protestant-Catholic-Jew” mantra no longer defines American religion. Politicians, bloggers, statisticians, and demographers now conventionally add “Evangelical” to the classifying. When Will Herberg wrote the canonical book Protestant-Catholic-Jew in the mid-fifties, Evangelicals appeared to be marginal at best.
April 11, 2013
According to a lawsuit filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union, the commissioners of North Carolina’s Rowan County have, over the past five years, opened 97 percent of County Board meetings with explicitly Christian prayers.
April 8, 2013
News of theological seminaries does not usually appear in public media unless someone who is part of one of them creates scandal—sexual or financial, since even heresy rarely gets covered in contemporary America—and cannot go unnoticed and not-covered.
April 4, 2013
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.
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.


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