In this history of popular religion and spirituality, Matthew Hedstrom argues that books and book culture were integral for the rise of liberal religion in the twentieth century. After World War I, a modernizing book business and an emerging religious liberalism expanded the spiritual horizons of many middle-class Americans.
The authorship of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament–known as the Torah or the Pentateuch–has been traditionally attributed to Moses. This raised some questions, however: would the most humble of men really describe himself as such? During the Enlightenment, scholars identified four distinct authors of the Pentatuch, creating the long-standing […]
Political and religious discord, disease, famine, fire, and death afflicted the lives of the English population between 1500 and 1700. While alcohol and tobacco provided an escape, Keith Thomas argues that astrology, magic, and religion offered all levels of society a way to make sense of human misfortune.
Around the first millennium of the Christian era, a small group of Ismaili Shi’i Muslims established a dynasty that rapidly conquered North Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. At the height of their power they conquered Egypt, where they founded the city of Cairo, and their Imam-Caliphs had their names read out […]
European monasteries were segregated by sex — for men or women only — and the inhabitants were expected to be celebate. In South Asia, where many different religious traditions grew up side by side in the same terrain since the earliest times, monasticism neither insisted on absolute celibacy for men, nor did they exclude women. Many monastic men moved from site to site collecting food and exchanging information.
Ever since the beginning of Christianity, the belief has existed that demons can enter the bodies of human beings and take control of their physical movements and mental faculties.
Munich’s central square, Marienplatz, is best known today for its magnificent Rathaus-Glockenspiel that delights tourists and townspeople alike with its melodies. But until the nineteenth century, the square’s main attraction was a golden pillar adorned with the Virgin Mary known as the Mariensäule.
A Google image search for “Our Lady of Guadalupe” returns millions of images. This Catholic icon appears on paintings, coffee mugs, tattoos, and more. Her image is an international symbol for Catholics and non-religious alike.
It is well-known that decades later he made witty statements about God: that He does not play dice; that God is crafty but not malicious. Einstein famously wrote: “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
In the last decade, the history of Muslims in America has come into its own and A History of Islam in America provides one of the most comprehensive and even-handed treatments of the subject. Many previous studies breezily pit “Islam” against the “West.”