Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

The contemporary significance of the dead sea scrolls

Many people have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but few know what they are or the significance they have for people today. This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and it gives us an opportunity to ask what are these scrolls and why they should matter to anyone.

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The four college hookup cultures

I attended to different campus cultures and their supporting institutional structures, attempting to understand how their differences might affect hooking up. When I did, I found not “a” hookup culture but four different ones.

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The centenary of The Scofield Reference Bible

In the history of evangelical Protestant thought in America, few publications have been more influential, or more seminal, than The Scofield Reference Bible (first published in 1909, and thoroughly revised by the original author for publication in 1917).

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Reflections on the Teflon king, Charlemagne

Few historical figures have been as universally acclaimed as Charlemagne. Born on 2 April, probably in 748, he became sole king of the Franks in 771 and Emperor in 800. Charlemagne was always very careful to polish his own image. Official writing, like the Royal Frankish Annals, omits or misrepresents delicate events and glosses over military defeats.

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“The Church’s Enemies” – an extract from Luther’s Jews

Set against the backdrop of a Europe in turmoil, Thomas Kaufmann illustrates the vexed and sometimes shocking story of Martin Luther’s increasingly venomous attitudes towards the Jews over the course of his lifetime. The following extract looks at Luther’s early position on the Jews in both his writing and lectures.

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Tropes vs. autism in Religious Studies

“Why are autistic people different in just the way they are?” asks Uta Frith, a pioneer of autism research. “I put the blame on an absent Self.” Indeed, the absent self theory is the prevailing account of autism among developmental psychologists. Because autistic people lack conscious self-awareness, so the theory goes, they can’t organize their experiences into a meaningful story.

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The life of Saint Patrick [part two]

Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century, and continues to be recognized today. It commemorates the death of Saint Patrick, the introduction of Christianity into Irish culture, as well as Irish nationalism. To celebrate, we’ve pulled a two-part excerpt from Celtic Mythology: Tales of Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes in which Philip Freeman tells the story of Saint Patrick.

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The life of Saint Patrick [part one]

Saint Patrick’s Day is a religious festival held on the traditional death date of Saint Patrick. Largely modernized and often viewed as a cultural celebration, Saint Patrick’s Day is recognized in more countries than any other national festival. To celebrate, we’ve pulled a two-part excerpt from Celtic Mythology: Tales of Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes, in which Philip Freeman tells the story of Saint Patrick. It is a tale of courage, survival, and deep faith. Remember to check back on 17 March for the second part of “The Life of Saint Patrick.”

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when art disrupts religion

Can art save us from fundamentalism?

London, rain, and Rothko—each was foreign to the missionary encampment on the Navajo reservation where Jakob grew up, in the 1980s. Back then, he seized every opportunity to share the gospel with his Native American friends, even as they played endless games of cowboys and Indians in the deserts of Arizona:

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Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion

The civil rights movement, religion, and resistance

An excerpt exploring how the Civil Rights Movement might not have been successful without the spiritual empowerment that arose from the culture developed over two centuries of black American Christianity. In other words, religious impulses derived from black religious traditions made the movement move.

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Inequality and new forms of slavery

The issues of social justice, poverty, and all the forms of human trafficking, deployment, and oppression that can be grouped under the umbrella concept of “slavery” are problems that sorely affect the world today and urgently need concrete solutions.

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The problem with “liberalizing” Islam

Since the advent of the War on Terror, and perhaps now more than ever, calls for a liberal Islam and support for moderate Muslims echo loudly from both the left and right. They come from politicians, the public, as well as scholars.

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Iceland’s unruly terrain and hidden inhabitants

When people first learn about my travels to Iceland, the response I most often hear goes something like: “Iceland! That’s on my bucket list.” I understand. It’s hard to resist an arctic wonderland littered with flaming volcanoes and thundering waterfalls, where for months on end the sun barely sets on moss-crazed mountains and whale-infested waters. Maybe you’ve already been there.

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Is God on Facebook? [excerpt]

From the moment Jennifer sits down for our interview, I know I’m in for a treat. She’s a bright, bubbly senior at a conservative, southern, Christian university. A pretty redhead with freckles, she talks enthusiastically about all the things she loves about her studies, her experience at college (she’s made two “lifelong friends,” she immediately tells me), and how, during her four years here, she’s been “pushed in the best of ways.”

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Measuring belief?

Pop quiz: What do standing in a long line outside a temple on New Year’s Eve, kneeling alone in a giant cathedral, and gathering around with 10-15 friends in an apartment room all have in common? It’s kind of an unfair question but the answer is that each of these would qualify equally as a statistical instance of “having prayed” despite the glaringly different social context and relational ramifications of the action itself.

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Agatha Christie at mass

In the wake of the Second Vatican Council, Dame Agatha Christie, the renowned writer of detective fiction, added her name to a protest letter to Pope Paul VI. With over fifty other literary, musical, artistic, and political figures, Christie — who’d recently celebrated her eightieth birthday — expressed alarm at the proposed replacement of the old Mass rite, which used Latin and elaborate ritual, with a new rite in English with simpler ceremonial.

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