Political Forecasting in Ancient Greece and Modern America
As a student of ancient religions, I see parallels between the ancient Greek desire to know the future and the modern American urge to predict political outcomes. Both attempts at forecasting address the unpleasant situation of uncertainty and aversion to risk. While the underlying assumptions are worlds apart, the reasons for seeking wisdom from a Delphic oracle or a political forecaster are rooted in similar human anxieties.
HBO's The Leftovers probes the religious and nonreligious responses to a worldwide traumatic event—the “Sudden Departure,” a moment in which 2 percent of the world’s population inexplicably disappear. Religious responses include the emergence of new religious movements and new interpretations of older, more established religious traditions. Within these responses are references to scriptures. This article focuses on what the characters do with scripture. People do things with texts, in fictional worlds and the real world.
Dark currents have surfaced in the interpretation of Lazarus’s story, in which the weight is on Lazarus’s silence and death. Two rock songs in the last ten years have developed these currents: Bowie’s “Lazarus” (2016) and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “Dig Lazarus Dig!” (2008). This article examines how both artists contemplate death, choice, and freedom through the figure of Lazarus.
Every December, I host a story advent calendar newsletter. For those who sign up, they receive an email every day during advent (December 1-24) with a link to a short story that is available online. The stories are as new to me as they are to my readers, since I'm going along with them.
2020's theme was "Scary ghost stories like Christmases long, long ago!"
On this week’s episode, Steve Crawford and Mat Hotho sit down with Dr. Jill Marshall to discuss Paul’s letters found in 1-2 Corinthians. Jill has a PhD in New Testament Studies from Emory University and works for the American Academy of Religion. She not only teaches and writes, but also excavates, having participated in archaeological digs in a number of ancient sites. The conversation gives context to the church in Corinth and Paul’s relationship with them. They discuss the nature of Paul’s authority and how the Corinthians would have approached unlawfulness in their church.