Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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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?

By Abdullahi An-Na‘im 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 […]

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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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Torture: what’s race got to do with it?

By Rebecca Gordon
June is Torture Awareness Month, so this seems like a good time to consider some difficult aspects of torture people in the United States might need to be aware of. Sadly, this country has a long history of involvement with torture, both in its military adventures abroad and within its borders.

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The appeal of primitivism in British Georgia

By Geordan Hammond
The ideal of primitivism was common feature in eighteenth-century British society whether in architecture, art, economics, landscape gardening, literature, music, or religion. Nicholas Hawksmoor’s six London neo-classical churches are one example of the primivitist ideal in architecture and religion.

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The decline of evangelical politics

By Steven P. Miller
Has the evangelical era of American politics run its course? Two terms into the Obama administration, and nearly four decades since George Gallup Jr. declared 1976 the “Year of the Evangelical,” it is tempting to say yes.

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Martyrdom and terrorism: a Q&A

By Dominic Janes and Alex Houen
Martyrdom and terrorism are not new ideas, and in fact have been around for thousands of years, often closely tied to religion. We sat down with Jolyon Mitchell to discuss the topic of martyrdom and how it relates to terrorism in the past and today.

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English convent lives in exile, 1540-1800

By Victoria Van Hyning
In the two and a half centuries following the dissolution of the monasteries in England in the 1530s, women who wanted to become nuns first needed to become exiles. The practice of Catholicism in England was illegal, as was undertaking exile for the sake of religious freedom.

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Derrida on the madness of our time

By Simon Glendinning
In 1994 Jacques Derrida participated in a seminar in Capri under the title “Religion”. Derrida himself thought “religion” might be a good word, perhaps the best word for thinking about our time, our “today”. It belongs, Derrida suggested, to the “absolute anachrony” of our time. Religion? Isn’t it that old thing that we moderns had thought had gone away, the thing that really does not belong in our time? And yet, so it seems, it is still alive and well.

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