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Title cover for "The Opening of the Protestant: Mind How Anglo-American Protestants Embraced Religious Liberty" by Mark Valeri, published by Oxford University Press

The contested nature of religious liberty in today’s America

Several decisions recently made by the United States Supreme Court, along with an escalation in Christian Nationalist rhetoric among right-wing American politicians, have brought the issue of religious liberty to the surface in today’s media. Much of the commentary has focused on a paradox: the concept of religious liberty has increasingly been used to suppress […]

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Title cover for "King David, Innocent Blood, and Bloodguilt" by David J. Shepherd published by Oxford University Press

Is all fair in war? Innocent blood, armed conflict, and King David

It is widely agreed that even in war, innocent blood should not be shed. What has not been readily apparent until now is that in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the problem of innocent bloodshed in war was first detected and, indeed, dissected much earlier—in its most ancient text, the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.

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The Buddha: A Storied Life, co-edited by Vanessa R Sasson and Kristin Scheible, published by Oxford University Press

The Buddha’s never-ending story

Vanessa R. Sasson and Kristin Scheible explain how the Buddha’s life story is not an individual narrative, but a cosmic one, brimming with previous and future buddhas.

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Melville's Wisdom: Religion, Skepticism, and Literature in Nineteenth-Century America by Damien B. Schlarb, published by Oxford University Press

Melville’s wisdom: making the past speak to the present

Damien B. Schlarb discusses how “Melville’s wisdom,” the version of moral philosophy Herman Melville crafts in his fiction through his engagement with biblical wisdom literature, may help us confront our own moment of informational inundation and uncertainty.

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The Oxford Comment podcast

Revisiting toxic masculinity and #MeToo [podcast]

On this episode of The Oxford Comment, we explore two recognizable components in contemporary conversations on gender and gendered violence: that of “toxic masculinity” and of the #MeToo movement with scholars Robert Lawson and Iqra Shagufta Cheema.

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Fiddle Time Duets, edited by Kathy Blackwell and David Blackwell, published by Oxford University Press

The joy of playing duets

“There is an irresistible appeal to playing with another musician.” In this blog post, Kathy Blackwell discusses the history of duet playing in classical music, and the benefits it can have for musicians.

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Conquistadors and Aztecs: A History of the Fall of Tenochtitlan by Stefan Rinke, published by Oxford University Press

The heavy burden of the past: the history of the conquest of México and the politics of today

The history of the conquest of Mexico by Spanish conquistadors in the sixteenth century remains a complex topic of discussion. Various interpretations have emerged throughout the years, each offering unique insights into this pivotal moment in Mexican history. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico’s president, has taken up the issue and uses it to promote his populist policy.

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“Lying” in computer-generated texts: hallucinations and omissions

There is huge excitement about ChatGPT and other large generative language models that produce fluent and human-like texts in English and other human languages. But these models have one big drawback, which is that their texts can be factually incorrect (hallucination) and also leave out key information (omission).

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The Oxford Comment podcast

The great gun conundrum [podcast]

In this podcast episode, we discuss the history of the gun debate in the US with Robert J. Spitzer and how a reform of policing can deter gun violence with Philip J. Cook.

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"Language, Science, and Structure: A Journey into the Philosophy of Linguistics" by Ryan M. Nefdt, published by Oxford University Press

Real patterns and the structure of language

There’s been a lot of hype recently about the emergence of technologies like ChatGPT and the effects they will have on science and society. Linguists have been especially curious about what highly successful large language models (LLMs) mean for their business.

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