Swithun Skull

N.B. This was written on 2 July, the anniversary of St Swithun’s death, but his feast day is 15 July, the date on which his body was re-buried. Images have been streaming in from London today, where friends and others in the thousands have gathered to demonstrate their love for Europe, their solidarity for the […]

abc_rajiv_emailsSM_EasierToAnswer_lf_160608

To a historian who studies slander in the ancient world, the fast-changing landscape of “received opinion” in the progressive and centrist wings of the US Democratic Party over the past few weeks has been un-put-downably addictive – the sharing and spinning, the borrowing and re-cycling all happen so quickly, and so often they leave a brilliantly visible trace. (Obviously we […]

Mabillon_Fotor

Most years in late May, scholars of early Christian studies from across the English-speaking world (and beyond) gather in Chicago to report on the discoveries of the last twelve months. I’ve just returned from this year’s installment, the Annual Meeting of The North American Patristics Society. (The program of the conference can be found here.) This tends to […]

Ring
Finger-ring, inscribed Fidem Constantino
Roman
C.306-337

A curious gold ring in the British Museum bears witness to the cost of loyalty in the Roman Empire. Probably given by Constantine the Great (d. 337) to one of his generals – a reward for exemplary service, perhaps, or a souvenir of a major victory – the ring is engraved, in capital letters, with […]

Hester & Stepahnie_Fotor

On Monday night I had the chance to join the phone bank at Hillary Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters, where the remarkable Stephanie Yoon and a team of intrepid interns are running a non-stop phone party in favour of the US’s most qualified presidential candidate ever. I was part of a multi-generational phalanx organized by my daughter, who is one of […]

riding-coat-wool-c-1810-trouvais_haze

With every new tragedy in Paris my thoughts turn to the people I have known there over the years, with a wish and a prayer for each of them. It is not that my heart does not go out to the victims of other atrocities – the Yazdi women, the schoolgirls of Chibok, the countless […]

wilkinson modesty_Fotor

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. […]

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