Culture and Review

  • 14 Jun 2012

    Missionaries in Palestine during the period from the First World War until the Israeli declaration of the state and the connected Palestinian Nakba of 1948 were determined, they continually argued, to stay out of the controversy and not take sides, Dr Michael Marten reminds us. But what do concepts of 'neutrality', 'fairness' and 'respect' mean in the midst of conflict, in complex lesions of history and in its writing? Tidiness may be convenient but damaging to both truthfulness and the search for justice.

  • 14 Jun 2012

    Negation has ascended into the imagination of our culture and society not necessarily as something to be scorned or regretted, but as something with which to be, in some cultural, philosophical, or even religious form, reconciled, says Dr Andrew Hass. But before we can understand how this figure might work its way into and through our present world, we need first to ask, whence 'zero'? For its history is by no means one we might expect.

  • 17 May 2012

    The question for us today is how, in the many Os we might draw, and in the many circles we form on a daily basis, we negotiate our way across the empty spaces and the deep chasms they inevitably bring into our view, says Dr Andrew Hass. Yet Giotto’s legacy is not all lost: he at least tells us that something, even if that something is a “nothing”, remains there for our creation.

  • 14 Apr 2012

    As he travels around the world presenting his film 'The Mill and the Cross', Polish director Lech Majewski finds himself discussing its religious themes.

  • 12 Apr 2012

    Today (12 April 2012) marks the second International Day for Street Children. The day is celebrated across the world to give a voice to street children. This year the focus is on ‘challenging perceptions’ to encourage people to think about what they know about street children. Sadly, we know the answer is not enough.

  • 6 Apr 2012

    Religion scholar Professor Naomi Goldenberg, who is visiting Britain in April 2012, here outlines her hypothesis that religions can be productively thought of as 'vestigial states'. She considers this to be one way of de-essentialising, demystifying and deconstructing the category of 'religion'.

  • 3 Apr 2012

    'Hopes for an ‘Ecumenical Spring’' was a Christian Century headline above a report by Adelle M. Banks of the Religion News Service. Her report spelled out why such hopes are wan, if not desperate, says Martin E. Marty.

  • 18 Mar 2012

    Pope Shenouda III, the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt, the single largest church in the Middle East, died on Saturday 17 March 2012 aged 89. Ekklesia associate Michael Marten, from the University of Stirling, locates and evaluates his significance.

  • 14 Feb 2012

    It is not true that 'nothing comes out of nothing', observes Dr Andrew Hass. 'Nothing', we might say, gets bad press, and deservedly. For nothing strips away, tears down, erases. And we want a positive society. Yet there is always a substantive way to render nothing, and make it work for something. We see this even in the claim that “nothing gets bad press”: differently construed, we also know that, in today’s media-saturated world, no matter how negative certain press coverage might be, no publicity is bad publicity.

  • 25 Jan 2012

    Definitions of what it means to be human have been sought out for centuries in many academic disciplines, says Kristel Clayville. Theology and philosophy have been at the forefront of this humanistic inquiry, but since Darwin's writing, biology and psychology have posited their own definitions.

  • 21 Jan 2012

    Traditionally celebrated between 18 and 25 January (in the northern hemisphere) or at Pentecost (in the southern hemisphere), the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity mobilises countless congregations and parishes around the world.

  • 19 Jan 2012

    A photography exhibition at a historic monastery near Nuremburg takes visitors on a journey to the heart of Germany's many faiths.

  • 17 Jan 2012

    US society is rife with "religious exceptions" or exemptions, notably in relation to tax breaks, says Martin E. Marty. Now "ministerial exceptions" can be added to the list. The generally free ride given religious institutions even in a “secular time” should inspire thought: With all its contradictions, the United States remains a generous place in which religions can prosper. They would do well to serve the common good freely and openly.

  • 1 Dec 2011

    A good RE syllabus would allow young people to explore, without either naivety or unwarranted suspicion, how the world might look from different perspectives and to learn to think critically and with minds open to the possibilities as well as to the limitations and dangers of different political and cultural norms, says Alison Jasper. But how far the kind of organisations sponsoring the government's Free Schools is another question, she acknowledges.

  • 9 Nov 2011

    How extraordinary it is that so many interpreters cling to "Abba" as indicating Jesus' unique relationship to God as "Daddy", using mysterious language from which - upon closer examination - the gospel writers seek to escape, says Deirdre Good, dispelling some common biblical misunderstandings.