William Hamblin and Daniel Peterson


Daniel Peterson founded the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative, chairs The Interpreter Foundation and blogs on Patheos. William Hamblin is the author of several books on premodern history. They speak only for themselves.

When Matthias was chosen as an apostle to replace Judas Iscariot, he was selected by the casting of lots. Although this practice seems odd to us and evidently isn’t followed today, it’s not quite as strange as it may initially seem.
The claim that religion is mere wish-fulfillment fantasy, motivated by fear of death, doesn’t apply to many of the world’s great religious traditions
One of life’s great truths is the inevitability of death. How to understand death and treat the dead are among the great questions facing religions.
Size has nothing to do with whether or not a church is a cathedral. The real question is whether it is the home church, the “seat,” of a bishop.
Veneration of the most important ancient Neapolitan Christian after the close of the New Testament continues today in Naples, but also in New York.
Many heroic and inspiring stories emerged from the horrific evils of World War II. This is one of them.
Isolated though it is geographically, Iceland hasn’t escaped the religious changes that have swept Europe over the centuries. But it has preserved their traces unusually well.
The ancient Inca of the Andes venerated a pantheon of deities. Here is a basic guide to some of the principal Inca gods.
The belief that the relics of saints convey divine power has its roots in the Bible.
Tiny, barren, and severely deficient in even basic natural resources, this island nonetheless became one of the most sacred and politically significant places in the ancient world.
With its roots in the Shi‘ite Islam of Iran and its headquarters in modern Israel, the Baha’i Faith bridges the divide between religious rivals in more ways than one.
The Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris is one of the greatest monuments left from medieval Europe’s “Age of Faith” and the great “Renaissance of the 12th Century.”
One of the most famous orders of medieval knighthood arose not in Europe but among monks in Jerusalem.
One of the principal scriptures in the Hindu tradition represents half a millennium of Indian thought and wisdom.
For nearly 2,000 years, Jews prayed and dreamed of returning to their ancient homeland. With the rise of modern Zionism, that dream was fulfilled — but not entirely.
Effectively the founder of modern Zionism, he had little to show for his efforts by the end of his short life.
Hinduism, with its polytheism, image veneration and syncretism, seems at first glance to have little in common with Christian monotheism. Yet the idea that God became incarnate as a human in order to save the world binds Hinduism and Christianity.
Long before current discussions about “social justice,” an unlikely and often controversial Catholic convert was actively pushing for her conception of it.
It’s a very ancient idea. Arguably, though, the last divine monarch in the world ruled in Nepal into the 21st century.
In its various forms, the “lotus” has been of enormous religious and cultural significance across a range of cultures.
Although we usually connect India with Hinduism and Buddhism, Christianity came to the subcontinent very early. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are now contributing to that long history.
Although relatively few modern Indians are Buddhists, Buddhism was born in India, and the subcontinent remains a major focus of Buddhist pilgrimage and devotion.
An illustrious philosopher of science and a leading brain scientist teamed up in 1977 to dispute the notion that the mind is reducible to the physical brain. Their book is still important.
His writing has been admired by such varied figures as Samuel Johnson, Aldous Huxley and Neal A. Maxwell, and it deserves to be more widely known.