A headstone featuring clasped hands

The Cemetery Symbol of Eternal Love

Why did Victorian-era gravestones include so many images of clasped hands?
A love potion against a colorful background

What’s in a Love Potion?

Besides the infamous Number Nine, that is.
Signing the marriage contract by George Sheridan Knowles, 1905

Why Covenant Marriage Failed to Take Off

Three states have legalized covenant marriage, which makes divorce difficult. Why didn't it stick among communities preoccupied with family values?
Pope Formosus and Stephen VI by Jean Paul Laurens, 1870

The Cadaver Synod: Putting a Dead Pope on Trial

Why did Pope Stephen VI go to such great lengths to destroy an enemy who was already dead?
Xipe Totec Impersonator from AD 600-900

The Festival of the Flayed God

The terrifying and gruesome rituals of the Flayed God had a symbolic subtext that was somewhat gentler than one might imagine.
Billy Sunday

Pop-Culture Preaching in the 1910s

Billy Sunday was a charismatic preacher who brought in thousands to his vaudeville-inspired church services.
Alan Watts

When Buddhism Came to America

Buddhism was embraced by the Beats of 1950s America. But some Buddhists felt these converts were engaging with the practice in a shallow way.
Photo by _HealthyMond . on Unsplash

Austen Fans, Modern Belief, and Environmental Politics

New books and scholarship from Oxford University Press, Princeton University Press, and the University Press of Colorado.
Triumph of St. Benedict

What Monks Can Teach us about Managing our Work Lives

Medieval monks used labor-saving innovations like the mill not to increase productivity, but to free up more time for what they wanted to do.
St Cuthbert Gospel

Why Europe’s Oldest Intact Book Was Found in a Saint’s Coffin

The St. Cuthbert Gospel is the earliest surviving intact European book. Some time around 698, it was slipped into the coffin of a saint.