Scholars from Sydney to Cairo converged on Manchester this week-end for heady talk about papyrus fragments. Following on the announcement earlier in the week of the newly discovered ‘last supper amulet‘, the atmosphere of the John Rylands Research Institute’s symposium, From Egypt to Manchester, Unravelling the John Rylands Papyrus Collection, was always going to be exciting. The […]

Brown & Cameron on Scottish Train_Fotor

This spring found me travelling around the country with an extra suitcase devoted to two monumental books by revered senior colleagues, as I struggled to bring to completion the two-year-long process of trying to account for two marvellously different ‘worlds of late antiquity’. I’m delighted to share here a link to the resulting review essay, published this week […]

Roberta on BBC_Fotor

There has been quite a bit of press interest in the new Christian amulet announced by my University of Manchester colleague Roberta Mazza. Congratulations, Roberta!  BBC NEWS: ANCIENT LAST SUPPER CHARM FOUND IN JOHN RYLANDS LIBRARY (along with coverage on Radio 4 and North-West Tonight) THE HUFFINGTON POST: ANCIENT CHRISTIAN CHARM FROM THE 6TH CENTURY DISCOVERED IN […]

Scheffer Augustine & Monnica - from Wikipedia_Fotor

For most of us, late August carries with it a vestigial thought of summer’s end and the beginning of the academic year – all the more so for students and teachers, or parents and children. But for the medieval Chuch, the 27th of August was the day for remembering Saint Monnica (d. 388), whose son Augustine would […]

Paracca_Slaughter_Varallo - Wikimedia_Fotor_Fotor

This has been a desperate week. The ancient Christian community in Mosul (Northern Iraq) has been told to convert to Islam or face execution. Meanwhile the schools, hospitals, beaches, and shelters of Gaza have been battered by heart-breaking attacks. Save the Children characterises the Gaza situation in the following way: ‘Children, rather than combatants, are bearing the […]


In honour of Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day, I offer an extract from Band of Angels about the Gospel of Mary’s indignant account of the apostle Peter’s attack on a disciple named Mary. Those curious to learn how at least two different ‘Mary’s in the New Testament were merged into the medieval saint we know as Mary Magdalene can read […]

Women Bishops Celebration_Fotor

A collective sigh of relief could be hear round the Anglican Communion yesterday evening, as the Church of England’s General Synod reached the two-thirds majority needed to pass its Resolution 503 in support of female bishops. It took the efforts of hundreds of people across nearly two years to inspire a change of heart in […]


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