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 […]


I had mixed reactions when an article by W. Bradford Wilcox and Robin Fretwell Wilson, ‘One way to  end violence against women? Married dads‘, was circulated using the #yesllwomen hashtag, which has recently been the focus of a powerful discussion about how ‘every-day’ misogyny feeds sexual and domestic violence. Sadly, this particular article’s digital lead-in (the permalink) was […]


Today marks the end of Week Two of my latest self-reinvention scheme. Mostly these schemes tend to fall short of the ideal once they get going; you start with what you imagine will be an off-the-deep-end plunge into bracing waters, but by Day Two you have fallen back into whatever old habit you were trying to escape from. This time […]

London Defixio

As an ancient historian, one aspect of recent debates about gender-based violence that has surprised me more than it should have, and this is the discovery that some men seem not to be aware how disturbing male aggression is to women. (It may well be disturbing to other men, too!) Similarly, it seems that many men aren’t really aware […]


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