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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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The vote for women bishops

By Linda Woodhead
There are two kinds of churches. The ‘church type’, as the great sociologist Ernst Troeltsch called it, has fuzzy boundaries and embraces the whole of society. The ‘sect type’ has hard boundaries and tries to keep its distance. Until recently, the Church of England has been the former – a church ‘by law established’ for the whole nation. Since the 1980s, however, the Church has veered towards sectarianism. It’s within this context that we have to understand the significance of the recent vote for women bishops.

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Polygamous wives who helped settle the west

By Paula Kelly Harline
Happy Pioneer Day! The morning of 24 July in downtown Salt Lake City, thousands of Westerners watch the “Days of ’47” parade celebrating the 1847 arrival of Mormon pioneers; in the afternoon, they attend a rodeo or take picnics to the canyons; at night they launch as many fireworks as they did for Fourth of July.

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The exaltation of Christ

By Christopher Bryan
Every Good Friday the Christian church asks the world to contemplate a Christ so helpless, so in thrall to the powers of this age, that one might easily forget the Christian belief that through it all, God was with him and in him. And therein lies the danger of serious misunderstanding

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Mindful Sex

By Jeff Wilson
Mindfulness seems to be everywhere in North American society today. One of the more interesting developments of this phenomenon is the emergence of mindful sex—the ability to let go of mental strain and intrusive thoughts so once can fully tap into sexual intercourse.

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Radical faith answers radical doubt

By John G. Stackhouse, Jr.
Do Christians need the kind of radical faith that Thomas Reid, in the Scottish Enlightenment, and Alvin Plantinga, in our own time, offer as the best response to the pervasive skepticism of modernity?

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Approaching peak skepticism

By John G. Stackhouse, Jr.
We are near, it seems, “peak skepticism.” We all know that the sweetest character in the movie we’re watching will turn out to be the serial killer. We all know that the stranger in the good suit and the great hair is up to something sinister.

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Certainty and authority

By John G. Stackhouse, Jr.
We might have reason to doubt some or even much of our day-to-day apprehension of things. We’re all in a hurry, all having to learn and discern and decide on the fly. Surely in the realm of medical research, however, the most important research we conduct, expert knowledge is sure and sound?

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The butterfly and the matrix

By John G. Stackhouse, Jr.
Right now I’m bored. And I can’t be wrong about that. I truly am yawningly, dazedly bored. And epistemologists assure me that about my mental states, such as this present one of stupefaction, I can claim certainty.

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Fútbol and faith: the World Cup and Ramadan

By Melanie Trexley

As 16 teams reached the knockout stage of the World Cup, the blasts of canons sounded to signal the beginning of Ramadan, the holy month in the Islamic lunar calendar in which Muslims are to abstain from food, drink, smoking, sex, and gossiping from sunrise to sunset.

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Mormon women “bloggers”: a long tradition

By Paula Kelly Harline
Mormon bloggers have been in the news lately, with two bloggers recently being excommunicated from the church. It was Ordain Women founder Kate Kelly’s call-to-action writings, meant to recruit Mormon women to her cause, that recently led to her excommunication from the Mormon Church.

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John Calvin’s prophetic calling and the memory

By Jon Balserak
What is the self, and how is it formed? In the case of Calvin, we might be given a glimpse at an answer if we consider the context from which he came. Calvin was part of a society that was still profoundly memorial in character; he lived with the vestiges of that medieval culture that’s discussed so brilliantly by Frances Yates and Mary Carruthers — a society which committed classical and Christian corpora to remembrance and whose self-identity was, in a large part, shaped and informed by memory.

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Theodicy in dialogue

By Mark S. M. Scott
Imagine for a moment that through a special act of divine providence God assembled the greatest theologians throughout time to sit around a theological round table to solve the problem of evil. You would have many of the usual suspects: Athanasius, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Karl Barth. You would have the mystics: Gregory of Nyssa, Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Sienna, Teresa of Ávila, and Thomas Merton.

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The Book of Common Prayer Quiz

By Alyssa Bender
We print many different types of bibles here at Oxford University Press, one popular line being our Book of Common Prayer. While this text is used worldwide, you may not know about its interesting history. Take our quiz below to learn more.

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Is there an American culture of Ramadan?

Immigrant Muslims continue to rely on the Ramadan culture of their regional origins (whether African, Middle East, South Asian, etc.). What is the culture of Ramadan for American Muslims? Is that culture already present, or do American Muslims have to invent it? Whether pre-existing or to be invented, where does that culture come from?

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Faith and science in the natural world

By Tom McLeish
There is a pressing need to re-establish a cultural narrative for science. At present we lack a public understanding of the purpose of this deeply human endeavour to understand the natural world. In debate around scientific issues, and even in the education and presentation of science itself, we tend to overemphasise the most recent findings, and project a culture of expertise.

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