Religious History

Living in Tough Environments Makes People More Prone to Belief in God

People living in harsh natural environments are more likely to believe in a tough, moralizing god

Participants in costume process with an effigy of Guy Fawkes, to be burned, as they take part in one of a series of processions during Bonfire night celebrations in Lewes, southern England.

Guy Fawkes May Be the Root of the Word “Guys”

The word's meaning has changed a lot throughout the centuries

The installation, "A Room of Her Own: An Altar for My Mother," is on view through January 2015.

An Awe-Inspiring Altar Remembers One Latino Artist's Guiding Spirit

At the American History Museum, an installation reimagines the life story of a Latina artist and writer

The Pope Would Like You to Accept Evolution and the Big Bang

The Roman Catholic Church is pro-evolution and Big Bang, but with a twist

These mana potions won't actually let you cast fireballs.

How Did "Mana," An Austronesian Religious Idea, Become a Gaming Staple?

Anthropologist Alex Golub tracks the path of mana, from ancient Taiwan to fantasy gaming culture

The papyrus is just a few inches wide.

The "Gospel of Jesus' Wife" Is Most Likely Not a Modern Fake

Chemical analyses show the text was written thousands of years ago

The Shroud of Turin's image is more consistent with this idea of crucifixion.

Some Visions of the Crucifixion Aren't T-Shaped

Jesus and others who were crucified didn’t necessarily die with their arms pinned straight out, the way we often imagine them

Carcinogenic material was used as a finish coating in this painting.

Byzantine Monks Built Walls With Asbestos, Too

In millennia past, asbestos has also been used to make stronger pottery and flame-proof napkins

A fragment of the known Dead Sea Scrolls.

Archaeologists Had Forgotten About Nine of the Dead Sea Scrolls

For the past 60 years, these Dead Sea Scrolls had just been sitting around in a storeroom

Bay of Islands, New Zealand Image Credit: wfeiden via Flickr

Archaeologists Uncover New Zealand's Oldest School

Archaeologists discovered the remains of a 200-year-old school in northern New Zealand

Definitely sinning right now.

How Medieval People Decided Whether Sex Was Acceptable or Not

Spoiler alert: your sex is definitely Medievally sinful

No Instagram filter needed.

See the First Photographs Ever Taken of Jerusalem

Since 1844, millions of photographs have probably been taken of Jerusalem. But these blurry snaps are the very first.

Padre Pio (1887-1968), an Italian priest and stigmatic, was elevated to sainthood in 2002 as St. Pio of Pietrelcino. In the 1940s he heard the confession of the future Pope John Paul II and–John Paul recorded–told him he would one day ascend to "the highest post in the Church though further confirmation is needed." The marks of the stigmata can be seen on Pio's hands.

The Mystery of the Five Wounds

The first case of stigmata—the appearance of marks or actual wounds like those Christ received during the Crucifixion—was recorded in 1224

A huddle grows around the high priests, with one young priest bearing an ikon, or holy picture, while others hold ornate gold and silver crosses.

Keepers of the Lost Ark?

Christians in Ethiopia have long claimed to have the ark of the covenant. Our reporter investigated

Vision of St Maria Magdalena di Pazzi from the Museo de Bellas Artes, Granada

Who Was Mary Magdalene?

From the writing of the New Testament to the filming of The Da Vinci Code, her image has been repeatedly conscripted, contorted and contradicted

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Our Man in Karbala

Coming to terms with Shiite beliefs

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