The virgin birth at the heart of Christianity has many corresponding versions in other ancient traditions.
Detail from a panel by Conrad von Soest, 1403. Wikimedia Commons
Biblical scholars and theologians have long discussed, debated and disputed the virgin birth of Jesus, with some arguing that there is no imperative to link it to the doctrine of the Incarnation.
Melisandre, a witch inspired by early modern history, burns Mance Rayder in Game of Thrones.
While Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin openly draws on medieval and early modern history in the worlds of his books, his subversive depictions of witchcraft make his female characters both intriguing and powerful.
Evidence to support the idea of a married Jesus is about as minimal as it ever has been.
The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, once thought to be authentic, has been revealed as a fraud. How did critical scholarship uncover the truth, and how can it further biblical studies?
Greek tragedy remains the most modern form of drama, unafraid to question everything we value.
Sarah Walker. Photo: Jane Montgomery Griffiths as The Leader and Aaron Orzech as Haemon.
Regardless of reasoning and the plethora of scholarship that exists, Greek tragedy remains the most modern form of drama. It is unafraid to question everything we value.
The discovery of Kepler-452b raises questions that go to the heart of religion.
NASA/AAP/ Artist's impression of Kepler-452b.
Kepler-452b’s discovery last week has raised the perennial question: are we alone in the universe? While the find’s scientific import is huge, it also poses questions that go to the heart of religion.
We have brutal sexual threats, made anonymously, against those who have “transgressed” a particular boundary. Sound familiar?
Brutal sexual threats against perceived trespassers, made anonymously, with the expectation they will be seen as “humorous”. Sound familiar? Modern-day trolls belong to a long, and troubling, lineage.
The method used, until recently, by a large proportion of scholars of the New Testament and Christian origins, is flawed.
Traditions about Jesus cannot be separated out into the categories of early and late, primary and secondary, authentic or inauthentic, fact and interpretation. One might as well try and unscramble an omelette.
History provides numerous accounts of real witches.
Forget fairy tales. History provides numerous accounts of real witches. These were flesh-and-blood women who seriously practised magic and believed in its efficacy.
Like the myths that confounded the Greeks, the latest twist in Game of Thrones has challenged its audience.
HBO. Game of Thrones airs on Foxtel's showcase channel
In recreating a perennial mythic tale in the latest episode, the creative taskforce behind Game of Thrones has cast us, the audience, as modern ancients. Warning: spoilers!
Moral commands are the commands of a unique, external, eternal agent.
If the commands of reason really do require a god, then that god exists beyond reasonable doubt. Agree? Disagree? Read on …
The earliest sources, including Paul’s letters, show very little interest in the mythological details of heavenly existence.
Wikimedia Commons/ Probably Valentin de Boulogne: Saint Paul Writing His Epistles.
Interpretations of Paul the apostle’s texts provided the basic fund of imagery that continues to inform popular opinion about what Christians mean when they talk about “heaven”, or “hell”.
There is not a female figure on Game of Thrones who does not have a medieval counterpart.
© Home Box Office, Inc.
Game of Thrones never even approaches the slippery and surprising world of gender manipulation and redefinition that existed in medieval spirituality.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the spiritual and political head of IS, is a clever theologian and Qur’anic artisan.
EPA/Islamic State Video
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the spiritual and political head of IS, is a clever theologian and Qur’anic artisan. We would do well to better our own interfaith theological understanding.
A second teaser for The Force Awakens has been released – a gift for the truly devoted.
Star Wars is not a complete picture of human life, but is a way of pointing us to contemplate and live life more authentically.
The main dome of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
Allah, the divinity at the heart of Islam, has 99 names and is often poorly understood outside the faith. Islam recognises no god but Allah, who revealed scriptures to bothJewish and Christian prophets before Mohammed.
The proposition that Easter is a 100% Christian affair is manifestly unsustainable.
The proposition that Easter is a 100% Christian affair is manifestly unsustainable. It shows an ignorance of history. Worse, it shows a failure to understand the way religious traditions work.
Conservative Christians and evangelicals might want to claim freehold over the Bible – but it’s a text for many readers, even atheists.
Why does an atheist literary scholar need to know about the Bible? It’s a text with innumerable interpretative possibilities that allows readers to connect ‘the apparently unconnectable’.
We need to move beyond assumptions that religion is simply about dogmatism.
We need to move beyond assumptions that religion is simply about dogmatism, and should continue teaching religion within a secular educational structure.
A disturbing pattern emerges of women being gorgeous on the outside, and evil on the inside.
What do several early myths have in common? They suggest women must be ruled by men because they are disobedient and curious.
The Muse allows us to avoid one of the great anxieties about the creative process.
Olivia Newton-John has a lot to answer for. Even now, after 35 years has passed, it is hard to forgive her for her role in Xanadu, a film consistently voted as the worst film of 1980. This is quite an…