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religious history



  • Taylor Swift Takes a Familiar Path to Hell and Back

    by Peter Manseau

    "In its own way, “All Too Well” tells a story not unlike myths of yore. It dabbles not in mythology, per se, but in the so-called “monomyth,” popularized as “The Hero’s Journey” by the folklorist Joseph Campbell almost 75 years ago."



  • Conquering Hell

    by Ed Simon

    "Hell’s tragedy is that those who deserve to go there almost never think that they will, while the pious shame-filled neurotic imagines those flames with scrupulous anxiety" – HNN contributing editor Ed Simon meditates on the American engagement with damnation. 



  • After Paine, Why Did American Secularism Fail?

    by Chris Lehmann

    Historian Leigh Eric Schmidt chronicles the decline of American secularism; the fate of Thomas Paine's looted corpse stands as a tidy metaphor for the mismatch of secular rationality with the desire for communal ritual. 



  • Peering Into Windows and Wombs: Reflections on SB 8

    by Gillian Frank

    "Even as abortion opponents loudly proclaim they are acting by divine mandate, people of faith like Dr. Curtis Boyd remain on the frontlines of this battle for reproductive healthcare."



  • Has BYU Canceled a Leading Historian of Mormonism?

    The Neal A. Maxwell Institute appears to be disavowing its previous connections to historian Benjamin Park. Is it because of his objections to some LDS leaders' positions on LGBTQ issues and masking and vaccination in response to COVID? 


  • Recessional: The WASP and God (excerpt)

    by Michael Knox Beran

    "We  may  enjoy  the  poetry  of  the  fair  sheepfold  without  believing  in  the shepherd himself. But when we come to the achievement of the WASPs, their public service, their standards of conduct, their faith in the possibility of regeneration, we find that it owed a good deal to their conviction that there is a shepherd."



  • Why Is Critical Race Theory Being Banned in Public Schools?

    by Leslie Ribovich and Charles McCrary

    While much of the debate over so-called "critical race theory" in school curricula has revolved around whether the US is a racist society, it also reflects long struggles by Evangelicals to shape school curricula around a set of moral and spiritual values and against secularism.



  • A Scholarly Screw-Up of Biblical Proportions

    by Ariel Sabar

    The author of a book on the high-profile forgery of papyrus fragments indicating Jesus had a wife discusses how an article based on those fraudulent documents passed peer review. 



  • What We Believe About History

    by Kristin Kobes Du Mez

    "Understanding that beliefs have a history does not preclude a commitment to truths outside of history. But it does prompt believers to consider how historical forces and cultural allegiances may have shaped their own deeply held convictions."



  • American Amnesia

    by Jeremy Sabella

    The religious history of America shows a restorationist impulse to seek a return to an idealized past. Without reckoning with the totality of that past, the restorationist project dangerously eliminates accountability.