wilkinson modesty

St Thecla’s day seems as good a time as any to mark the arrival of two very different new books that are on my desk at the moment, which both mark the distance scholarship on that most marvellous of early Christian heroines has travelled since Dennis MacDonald published The Legend and the Apostle in 1983. […]

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 21:  Running shoes are placed at a makeshift memorial for victims near the finish line of the Boston Marathon bombings at the intersection of Boylston Street and Berkley Street two days after the second suspect was captured  on April 21, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. A manhunt for Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing ended after he was apprehended on a boat parked on a residential property in Watertown, Massachusetts. His brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, the other suspect, was shot and killed after a car chase and shootout with police. The bombing, on April 15 at the finish line of the marathon, killed three people and wounded at least 170.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Just over two years ago I wrote the following for the Huffington Post, and Sebastian Faulks’s book is still worth reading on the tenth anniversary of the London bombing of 7/7. I’d also suggest that it is more problematic than ever to adopt a dual standard which sees white Christian mass murderers as ‘mentally ill’ and others as ‘terrorists’. As […]

RISD St Andrew

I have had the good fortune to travel back and forth across the American South more than once over the past few months, at a time when painful conversations have been taking place about racism and the legacy of American slavery, from the 50th anniversary of the Selma Marches in March, to  the tragedy at Charleston on […]


Over the past few days I have been making plans with the inspiring Senta German of the Ashmolean Museum for two new Object Handling Sessions in the Museum as part of the Objects of Love series sponsored by TORCH (the Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities), one this week and one in two weeks’ time. The theme […]


According to Agence France-Presse, over 2.5 million people gathered at the Place de la République earlier today for the Marche Républicaine, the largest demonstration in the history of France. The stated aim was to express solidarity and to mourn seventeen victims – fifteen men and two women; Jews, Muslims, Christians and atheists among them – of […]

Jacopo_Pontormo_040 - Visitation - Wikimedia_Fotor

One of the most charming coincidences of religious history involves  the city of Iconium (now Konya in western Turkey). Regular readers of this blog will know that the Anatolian city was the birth-place of the early Christian heroine Thecla of Iconium, but they may not be aware that one of the greatest writers of medieval Islam is buried there. […]

S Barbara - Sistine Madonna detail_Fotor

It is always surprising to discover how the early Christian saints have lived on in the cultures of Europe and the Mediterranean, and Saint Barbara is a perfect example of this. In Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine, she is celebrated on 4 December as the protagonist of Eid-il-Bubara, a Hallowe’en-like festival in which children go […]


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