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Melua Chilcott Nunc Dimittis

The music and traditions of Candlemas

Many of us argue about whether Twelfth Night is the evening of 5 or 6 January, anxious that it is considered unlucky to leave Christmas decorations hanging after this. In fact, a more ancient feast of the Church counts the forty days after Christmas as the whole season of Christmastide, ending with the celebration of Candlemas.

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Shakespearean tragedy and modern politics

On his recent visit to England Barack Obama chose to tour Shakespeare’s Globe, on Bankside; and in the last days of his Presidency, interviewed about his reading habits, he spoke touchingly and revealingly of his admiration for Shakespeare’s tragedies, and of what they had taught him. ‘I took this wonderful Shakespeare class in college’, he said, ‘where I just started to read the tragedies and dig into them.

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David Lynch’s dream of dark and troubling things

January 20th marks the 71st birthday of American film director David Lynch. At 71 years old, the master of innovative film-making shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. In celebration of his unique and highly influential work in the realm of cinema, this essay takes a look back at some of the director’s best work and discusses what it is that makes his films so memorable and effective.

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Spiritual surgeries: a radical alternative medicine?

Why are so many people in the West, who have access to the best biomedicine, turning to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)? Naturopathy, homeopathy, Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, meditation, reiki, massage, yoga, all have experienced a surge in the twenty-first century.

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Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion

How much do you know about the prophets in the Old Testament?

The ancient prophets were said “to possess an intimate association with God” and spoke on behalf of God as divine messengers. Revealing his divine will as “mouthpieces,” the prophets did not claim to possess special powers in predicting the future, but rather simply relayed a message from the omnipotent, omniscient Being. Test your knowledge to see how much you know about the ancient prophets with this quiz.

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The private life of Robert Burns

It’s almost that time of year again, when families, friends and acquaintances get together to host a Burns supper, and celebrate the life and poetry of Robert Burns. Variously known as Rabbie Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire or the Ploughman Poet, Burns is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and indeed celebrated worldwide.

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Should auld acquaintance be forgot: Robert Burns in quotations

Only a few years after the death of Robert Burns in 1796, local enthusiasts began to hold celebrations on or about his birthday, on 25 January, called Burn’s Night. These have continued ever since, spreading from Scotland across the world. From the earliest occasions, a focal point of the Burns supper was, of course, the haggis.

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Frida Kahlo’s life of chronic pain

Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, is arguably one of the most well-known painters of the 20th century. Her intimate and personal self-portraits are evocative, generating a deep, almost visceral response. Through her paintings, Frida opens a door and invites the viewer to witness something that is both frightening and profound: her lifelong experience with chronic pain.

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The best medical advice from ancient Greece and Rome

As a highly revered and extensively-studied field, medicine today has certainly evolved from its origins in ancient times. However, to fully appreciate how far we’ve come since then, we’ve compiled some of the best medical advice the ancient Greeks and Romans had to offer back in the day. Disclaimer: We at Oxford University Press do not condone or encourage heeding the advice below.

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Cook_Yablo Paradox

Really big numbers

What is the biggest whole number that you can write down or describe uniquely? Well, there isn’t one, if we allow ourselves to idealize a bit. Just write down “1”, then “2”, then… you’ll never find a last one.

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The year Bob Dylan was born again: a timeline

On November 17, 1978, while playing a gig in San Diego, an audience member apparently threw a small silver cross onto the stage, and [Bob] Dylan felt impelled to pick it up and put it into his pocket. The following night, in Tucson, Arizona, he was feeling even worse and reached into his pocket, pulled out the cross, and put it on.

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What kind of cheese are you?

The discovery of cheese predates recorded history. Although the earliest evidence of cheesemaking can be traced back to 5,500 BCE, historians theorize that cheese was originally discovered accidentally: it’s probable that cheesemaking first occurred inside animals organs used for storing milk.

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The centennial of mambo king Pérez Prado

In the late 1940s and early 1950s a new, fast, and instantly appealing music and dance style swept across the globe: the mambo. The man behind the new sensation was the Cuban pianist, composer, bandleader, and showman Dámaso Pérez Prado.

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Collective Emotions

Emotional dynamics of right-wing political populism

Donald Trump’s election to the 45th President of the United States is the biggest victory of contemporary right-wing political populism to date. The Brexit referendum had already shattered Europe and the UK “remain”-voters alike, but Trump’s win is of worldwide significance. The outcomes of both elections took the media, pollsters, and political analysts in the relevant countries and elsewhere by surprise.

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Shakespearean Classics: Titus Andronicus, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and a new papyrus of Sophocles

In Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Titus’s daughter Lavinia is brutally raped by Demetrius and Chiron. They prevent her from denouncing them by cutting out her tongue, and cutting off her hands. But as we see in the passage below, Lavinia nevertheless communicates their crime by pointing to a passage of Ovid’s Metamorphoses describing Tereus’s rape of Philomela.

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