Killing Reagan’s reputation

Bill O’Reilly is considered a conservative, but he is challenging one of American conservatism’s biggest icons.  In his bestselling book Killing Reagan, O’Reilly maintains that the assassination attempt 69 days into his presidency caused Reagan to be mentally impaired for the rest of his terms in office.  O’Reilly describes the president being in a state of semi-dementia, with only moments of lucidity, to the point that his staff considered invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office on the grounds of being unable to perform the powers and duties of his office.

These charges have provoked an out-and-out shouting feud between O’Reilly and columnist George Will, who attacks O’Reilly’s research, says that the memo he used as evidence has been discredited, and says that actual historians and Reagan intimates (including his wife, a Reagan staffer) never witnessed any kind of impairment in the Great Communicator. [Read more...]

Treasure from the grave of a Greek warrior

Archaeologists have made an astounding discovery:  the tomb of a warrior at Pylos from 1,500 B.C., before the Homeric era, filled with gold, jewels, and priceless artifacts. [Read more...]

What St. Paul (and others) looked like?

A Spanish site linked to my post of long ago on the forensic research that reconstructed what St. Nicholas looked like.  The site includes renditions (unfortunately without links to the original sources) of nine other historical figures who received the same treatment, including Copernicus, Dante, Bach, and Richard III.

Especially striking was the reconstruction of the appearance of King Tutankhaten, the young Pharaoh whose looks reflect the messed-up genetics of sister marriage, as often practiced in the ancient Egyptian royal line, including Tut’s parents.  But there is also a reconstruction of one of his father’s other wives, Queen Nefertiti, who is revealed to have been a stunning beauty.

But the most interesting reconstruction is that of the Apostle Paul, based on bones recovered at a site where he was said to have been buried as tallied with portrayals in early iconography. See St. Paul after the jump. [Read more...]

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!

Today is Columbus Day, remembering how Christopher Columbus landed in the “New World” on October 12, 1492.  This has become controversial.  For the people who were already here–the native Americans whom Columbus named “Indians”–the notion that this European “discovered” America is offensive, especially since Columbus’s landing marked the beginning of European colonization and the decimation of the people who were already here.

So, in a great example of co-opting a holiday for another purpose, some cities and the entire state of South Dakota are celebrating October 12 as Indigenous Peoples Day. [Read more...]

Woman of the Reformation

I came across an interesting post from CPH from last winter about Elisabeth Cruciger, the first female Lutheran hymnwriter, who lived a fascinating life in the early days of the Reformation. [Read more...]

There are still Samaritans

Did you know that there are still Samaritans, that despised off-shoot of Judaism that Jesus reached out to?  There are only around 800 left–they call themselves the world’s smallest religion–and they still have their hopes on Mt. Gerazim.  Details after the jump. [Read more...]