Category Archives: Exploring the Past

Call the Royal Baby Mohammed – here is why:

As everybody is still speculating about the names for the royal baby, there are two distinct approaches: one is to find the name that would seem silliest with the royal number I behind it, and the other is to speculate, … Continue reading

Posted in Current events, Exploring the Past, Inventing the Past, Life in the UK, Memory, Remembering the Past | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

London 2012 and the Pastoral Idyll

(Do shepherds dream of idyllic sheep?) Danny Boyle’s set for the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony A few weeks ago, when the design for at least part of the Olympic opening ceremony was revealed, I was nothing short of appalled. … Continue reading

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Greek Treasures: ancient and modern

I just came across this opinion piece in the LA times of 26th February by James Romm, a scholar I admire greatly. But here he offers an example of  highly emotional rhetoric which is historically unjustified. At the same time, his article … Continue reading

Posted in Exploring the Past, History, Inventing the Past, Remembering the Past | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Vaclav Havel – Kim Jong-il – Christopher Hitchens

Sometimes history hands you odd juxtapositions, as has happened just now with the deaths, within a few days, of Christopher Hitchens, Vaclav Havel and Kim Jong-il. Three deaths that make you think about conscience, freedom of speech and the choices … Continue reading

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The Word of Gove – or: a King James Bible for Every School?

On Friday, the Guardian reported that Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has decided to send a King James Bible to every state school in England. This has triggered a strong critical reaction from some quarters, and I find that I disagree with Michael Gove … Continue reading

Posted in Bible as History, Education, Exploring the Past, History, Politics, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Bankers’ Gospel?

This morning at mass I experienced a remarkable example of how a well-known story can change its meaning when its historical context changes. This week’s Gospel was Matthew 25.13-30, the story of the talents. Here it is in full: 13 “Therefore … Continue reading

Posted in Bible as History, Exploring the Past, History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Building the Parthenon

It’s time to talk about the photograph at the top of my blog. It’s part of a picture I took on the Acropolis of Athens in summer 2007: let’s call it The Parthenon Under Construction (Again). Of course, ancient buildings … Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Inventing the Past, Remembering the Past, Restoration | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Working Memories

One of those magnificent German words which can’t quite be translated into English is Erinnerungsarbeit. It describes the effort that goes into remembering, into giving the past its due and making sure that important lessons are not forgotten. As you might … Continue reading

Posted in History, Inventing the Past, Memory, Remembering the Past | Tagged , | 1 Comment