What Happened to the Virgin Mary After Pentecost? (Part 2)

St. Luke Painting the Virgin Mary, 1602, Marten de Vos

In Part One, I retold the major tradition associated with the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This tradition is attributed to various sources depending upon where the writer first encountered it. The most widespread version was that told (twice) by Jacobus de Voragine in the Golden Legend. This lengthy chapter in the Legend shows various signs [Read More...]

What Happened to the Virgin Mary After Pentecost? (Part 1)

Assume, 15th century, Sano di Pietro

What do we really know about the life of Mary beyond what the Bible tells us? Scripture gives us only glimpses of the Blessed Mother before she vanishes from history, only to reappear in the Book of Revelation as the “woman clothed in the sun” (Revelation 12:1-6). We have the last words she speaks, resonating [Read More...]

Medieval Book Shrines

cumdach-of-st-patricks-gospels

Medieval Fragments has a terrific, well-illustrated post on book shrines: shrines designed to look like books. Called a cumdach, the book shrine was a kind of reliquary contains pages from books associated with saints, and occasionally first class relics: Usually quite small, they served as a portable vessel meant for the preservation of a sacred [Read More...]

Ancient Settlement Uncovered in Israel

Aerial shot of the settlement (photo by IAA)

A 2,300 year old village dating to the Seleucid Dynasty (or perhaps earlier) has been uncovered during work on a natural gas pipeline. The settlement reached its peak in the 3rd century BC, and by the time of Herod (1st Century BC) was abandoned. The settlement was found not far from Mitzpe Harel in the [Read More...]

Bombshell Discovery: Million-Year-Old Hominid Footprints in England

© Happisburgh Project

These are the oldest preserved hominid footprints found outside of Africa, and push back the date for a hominid presence in England to almost a million years ago.  I’ll just get out of the way and let the Independent tell you the news: Extraordinary new evidence of Britain’s first human inhabitants has been discovered in [Read More...]

New Theories About a Mysterious Manuscript

voynich

As I wrote here, I believe the Voynich Manuscript is an authentic, encrypted esoteric text. Much of the art–including flora and fauna–is fanciful, but some botanists believe some of the plants may resemble examples of New World vegetation depicted in other old manuscripts. Dr. Arthur Tucker from Delaware University … discovered similarities between specific plants [Read More...]

The Astrolabe [Beautiful Machines]

astrolabe2

When I was asked to come up with a header for this blog, I submitted two ideas to Patheos: a robotic riff on Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, and an image of an astrolabe. Unable to choose between the two, I suggested that the art department just combine them, and the striking image above was born. I first encountered [Read More...]

The Ghost of St. Edmund Kills a King: The 1000th Anniversary!

St. Edmund kills Sweyn Forkbeard

Edmund, King and Saint, was killed in a conflict with the Danes in 869, and afterward his cult grew, perhaps helped along by a legend (or was it!?) found in Archdeacon Hermann’s Miracles of St. Edmund (1096), and repeated and embellished thereafter. After the death of Edmund, the Danes continued to harass England, with Sweyn [Read More...]


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