Open Bible

The Dream of a Plain Bible

Beginning in the late eighteenth century, many Americans experienced a crisis of religious authority. During this time, the idea of an unambiguous “plain Bible” began to gain traction.
Woman doing yoga on beach

How American Buddhism is Like an Elephant

Researchers see a distinct difference between Buddhist immigrants and Americans of European ancestry who have embraced Buddhism's tenets.
Purim history

The Bacchanalian, Drunken, Role-Switching Carnival of Purim

The day-long Purim festival was transformed into a week-long carnival in the Dutch Caribbean colonies, as a rowdy celebration of inversion celebrated liberations of all kinds.
Pope Sixtus V abortion ban

What a 16th-Century Abortion Ban Revealed

In 1588, Pope Sixtus V issued a papal bull officially classifying abortion, regardless of the stage of fetal development, as homicide.
Shaker tree art

The Shaker Formula for Gender Equality

Shaker communities seem to have appealed to a lot of women because they offered a respite where their work was honored and respected.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

How Anti-Catholicism Created an American Saint

Elizabeth Ann Seton is known today as the first American Roman Catholic saint. her road to canonization was no easy path.
Etta Semple

The Godless Sex Radicals of the Kansas Plains

One of the biggest trends in American religious beliefs today is the rise of the “nones." In the 1880s, they might have called themselves freethinkers.
Chapel

The Uncertain Future of the Religious Left

The aftermath of the 2016 U.S. election has renewed calls for an empowered coalition of religious liberals. Is there a place for the religious left?
AKM Adam

Ask a Professor: A.K.M. Adam and Postmodern Biblical Studies

Welcome to Ask a Professor, our series that offers an insider’s view of life in academia. This month we interviewed A.K.M. Adam.
Martin Luther Cranach portrait

Why Martin Luther’s Body Type Mattered

Five hundred years after posting his ninety-five theses and launching the Reformation, Martin Luther remains a big man of history. Literally.