Category Archives: history

Was Jesus real, and who cares?

Apropos of my recent post on the historicity of a Jesus-figure, Reader Pliny the in Between posted this on his/her site Evolving Perspectives. The cartoon’s called “Independent variables”:

Joseph Medicine Crow, 1913-2016

by Greg Mayer This past Sunday, Joseph Medicine Crow, the last war chief of the Crow Nation, died at the age of 102 in Billings, Montana. His passing has been widely noted in the media, and one of the tributes I heard on Monday noted that his life and exploits ‘spanned centuries’. This might seem […]

It’s time to ponder whether a Jesus really existed

I’m always surprised at how much rancor is directed toward “mythicists”—those who deny that there was a real Jesus who, whether or not he was divine, was the nucleus around which Christianity accreted. I’m also surprised at how certain many biblical scholars are that Jesus existed (Bart Ehrman, to give a prominent example). Yet although I am the first to […]

Google Doodle celebrates the Pony Express in the U.S. and, in other places, B. R. Ambedkar

There are two Doodles today, but only one is visible in the U.S.  This is the one celebrating the 155th anniversary of the Pony Express. If you’re not a Yank, you likely haven’t heard of it, but the story of the Express was taught to all schoolkids when I was a youngster.  The Pony Express was […]

Grant, Lee, and Parker

by Greg Mayer Yesterday was the 150th anniversary of the surrender to General Ulysses Grant by General Robert E. Lee of the Army of Northern Virginia. Although some Confederate forces did not surrender for a few more weeks, Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Virginia, effectively ended the American Civil War. There have been various commemorations of […]

“I kissed her, and it tasted like chocolate”

This is just adorable. On my afternoon peregrination around Hyde Park, I came across this new historical marker, which sits in front of the former location of Baskin-Robbins. Although my photo cut it off a bit, you can read what it’s about: This is the kind of historical marker I like. Transcript: “On our first date, […]

Family tries to include cat in 1911 census

Don’t ask me anything about this; it was tw**ted by Dapper Historian  (who noted “An extra family member was added here in 1911 but an angry enumerator has scratched it out & added “this is a cat”!), and sent to me by Matthew Cobb. For reasons lost in the mists of history, some family wanted […]

Remains of Richard III identified: oldest forensic ID yet

You remember these famous words from Shakespeare: Now is the winter of our discontent Made glorious summer by this sun of York; And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house In the deep bosom of the ocean buried. They are of course the opening lines of “Richard III,” and are spoken by the nefarious […]

“Yours in distress”: a letter from Alan Turing

From Letters of Note we get a poignant letter from Alan Turing (1912-1954) written to the mathematician Normal Routledge in 1952, shortly before Turing pleaded guilty to “gross indecency” for having sexual relations with men. (It’s hard to imagine that being a crime, but of course it was the situation for many years in England; it was, in […]

Once again: did Jesus exist?

UPDATE: Several readers have said in the comments that this is a non-issue: why should anyone care whether a historical Jesus existed?  I would have thought the answer was obvious, but I’ll let Sajanas, who has already commented, give it: But so much of Christian philosophy is based around the argument for authority, that Jesus […]

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