Wood Magic

I have been posting about pagan survivals into Christian times, not in terms of actual continuities so much as modern romantic reconstructions of those matters. As I noted, scholars like Margaret Murray used such a vision as the basis for a whole recreation of a supposed ancient paganism surviving in modern times in the form [Read More…]

The Crisis of Corporate Evangelicalism (Part 3 – where did it come from?)

[You can also read previous posts in the series] Imagine a world where families operate like corporations. Parents are management, but efficiency and profitably determine all aspects of family life. Children are both assets and employees; resources are allocated according to potential. And if things don’t work out with a troublesome teen or toddler? Well, you can [Read More…]

Etiquette for Graduate Students

Next week I will meet with our new Baylor History graduate students for orientation. I am pretty certain that no one will be late. I am also pretty certain that no one will fall asleep. This will be one of their first official graduate meetings, afterall, and they will want to make a good impression. [Read More…]

St. Ephrem, the Syrian Refugee: A Church Father on War and Lament

One of the greatest writers of the Early Church, Ephrem the Syrian was a refugee whose laments offer a helpful model to this day [Read more…]

Witches in the Village

In 1945, English villager Charles Walton was gruesomely murdered in what sensationalist media decided was a sinister “witch murder,” even a human sacrifice, in the community of Lower Quinton. That story, as described by detective Robert Fabian, became the foundation of a whole genre of fantastic fiction, Folk Horror, and this spilled over into the [Read More…]

My Trump Syllabus

I recently found myself on the fringes of an academic controversy. The Chronicle of Higher Education approached me to suggest books for a hypothetical “Trump Syllabus” that they were preparing, Trump 101. Together with many other academics, I duly contributed. The Syllabus itself was, though, bitterly criticized by some for its neglect of major aspects [Read More…]

The Black Dog and the Wicker Man

Last time I described how rogue academics produced a mythology of continuing paganism and human sacrifice in supposedly Christian England, right up to modern times. The main rogue in question was an Egyptologist gone bad by the name of Margaret Murray. Supposedly, there was a continuing tradition of secret underground paganism linked to ancient cults [Read More…]

Pelican of Mercy

Whenever I’m in Salt Lake City, I like to stop at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. While at the cathedral last week, I noticed something that will no doubt be common knowledge to students of medieval Christianity but was new to me. In two paintings — on the central mural behind the altar and in [Read More…]

How Activists Claimed Primary Season (for awhile)

During the Democratic National Convention, supporters of Bernie Sanders denounced the superdelegate system as rigged. For their part, some Republican Party elites sought to derail Donald Trump’s nomination by changing convention rules to release already-pledged superdelegates to vote against Trump. In the face of seemingly universal denunciations of the superdelegate system, it’s worth considering its [Read More…]

Religion in The Olympics… and The Olympics as Religion

Surveying the complicated history of Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the modern Olympics, whose founder meant them to represent “humanity’s superior religion.” [Read more…]