Religion

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Gronking Jesus

Gronking Jesus

THE LOST GOSPEL is not the worst book ever written. I once attended a party where I was subjected to an excerpt of dinosaur erotica. It was a lovely gathering otherwise, but my ears were assaulted by...

Mystical Assassinations

Mystical Assassinations

IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, assassination is a deed first done by Macbeth. The word appears in Shakespeare’s tragedy early in the 17th century, at the same time that related words like “assassin” a...

Holy Terrors

Holy Terrors

TO ANY AUDIENCE reading after September 11, 2001, it is not at all necessary to explain why it is important to parse the relationship between martyrdom and terrorism. If martyrs are always good, terr...

Atheism and Its Discontents

Atheism and Its Discontents

ONE OF THE DEFINING intellectual trends in recent history has been the salvo of anti-religious fervor that first rang out about a decade ago. Spearheaded by Sam Harris’s The End of Faith (2004), Ri...

Of Good Horses and Bad Science

Of Good Horses and Bad Science

STEVE JONES, a former geneticist at the Galton Laboratory (University College London) is one of the foremost popular science writers and presenters in Great Britain. In his new book, The Serpent’s P...

The Discreet Charm of Polytheism

The Discreet Charm of Polytheism

HERE IS THE EVOLUTION of religion, as we understand it: For a while, we believed in magic. Not only did we believe in it, but we believed that it was us who made the sun rise, the crops ripen, and t...

The Beloved

The Beloved

IN HIS ENGAGING new book, David: The Divided Heart, Rabbi David Wolpe states that “David is the first person in history whose tale is complete and vital, laced with passions, savagery, hesitation, b...

Solar Wisdom

Solar Wisdom

IT IS NOT very common that a work of philosophy that deals with beauty is itself beautifully written. David E. Cooper’s Sunlight on the Sea: Reflecting on Reflections is one such work. The author’...

The Beautiful, Awful Game of Football

The Beautiful, Awful Game of Football

AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO completed his Confessions at the close of the fourth century. In this deeply personal account, the first autobiography in the Western tradition, he recounts his love for his friend ...

Varieties of Hatred

Varieties of Hatred

WHY DID THE Nazis kill the Jews? Nearly 70 years since the end of World War II, the causes and meaning of the Holocaust remain as high on historians’ agendas as ever. Over the years, a wide range o...

Bonhoeffer Co-Opted

Bonhoeffer Co-Opted

THE BIOGRAPHY of the German theologian and pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer has been a hot commodity since the publication of Eric Metaxas’s Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy in 2010. Metaxas pre...

The Arts, Paths, and Myths of Yoga

The Arts, Paths, and Myths of Yoga

THE BAD NEWS is that the stunning exhibition, Yoga: The Art of Transformation, the first visual history of yoga that premiered at the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery last October, will end all too soo...

“Pick a side, we’re at war!”

“Pick a side, we’re at war!”

WENDY DONIGER begins The Hindus: An Alternative History with Wittgenstein’s famous image of “the duck who is also a rabbit,” using it as a “metaphor for the double visions of the Hindus that ...

The Resurrection of God in Cinema

The Resurrection of God in Cinema

IN 1898, CAMERAMAN William Dickson trailed Pope Leo XIII around the Vatican grounds, documenting a series of vignettes of his activities. The Roman Catholic leader walked, rode in a carriage, and sat ...