Martin Luther’s Monsters

Prodigies, or monsters, were opaque and flexible symbols that signaled that God was sending some message.
An abbey cellarer testing his wine. Illumination from a copy of Li livres dou santé by Aldobrandino of Siena, late 13th century

When Monks Went Undercover to Steal Relics

Because relics were understood to be capable of working miracles, any relic that was stolen must have wanted to be.
A personification of Acedia from between 1550 and 1625

Ancient Monks Got That Quarantine Feeling, Too

Listlessness, boredom, torpor, that "noonday demon" that tempts you away from spiritual connections—that's what was called acedia.
"Spirit" photograph, supposedly taken during a seance, actually a double exposure or composite of superimposed cut-outs, showing woman with portraits of men and women around her head

How Spirit Photography Made Heaven Literal

Are the departed watching over us, and if so, what are they wearing? Victorian spiritualists believed that ghosts could be captured on film.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shakyamuni_Buddha_with_Avadana_Legend_Scenes_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

How Comparative Religion Took Root in the 19th Century

Many Americans considered faiths outside Christianity and Judaism to be "pagan." Unitarian minister James Freeman Clarke argued otherwise.
Luther at the Diet of Worms by Anton von Werner

Ok papist

England faced a generational divide almost 500 years ago, as the Protestant Reformation split the nation apart.
Hagar in the Wilderness by Camille Corot, 1835

Following Haajar’s Footsteps to a Feminist Reading of Islam

A personal experience with the Hajj brought to life the iconic figure of Haajar, whose tenacity and stoicism highlight the importance of women in Islam.
The apostles

The Pious Undead of Medieval Europe

Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg's eight-volume history contained stories of the living dead—and, he believed, proof of the Christian resurrection.
The St. Bernard Abbey in Hemiksem by Jan Wildens, 1616

The Complex Economics of Medieval Convents

Medieval convents were better funded than many scholars assume, thanks in part to royal patrons sympathetic to the holy women's mission.
George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Barbara Bush. Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton at at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

Why Did Christianity Thrive in the U.S.?

Between 1870 and 1960, Christianity declined dramatically across much of Europe. Not in America. One historian explains why.