Arts and Entertainment

Towards the end of this illuminating book, Larry Siedentop describes a fourteenth century battle between two Christian monastic orders. The Dominicans and the Franciscans were mendicant orders, begging monks who had abandoned the comforts of the cloisters to preach among the poor.

The 10 Best lecture Series

1. Intelligence Squared

Letters: The history of Secularism

The ancient world of disbelievers

The Whores' Asylum, By Katy Darby

Victorian gothic, without the gymnastics

Leading article: No time for MI5 to stand in the way

Deporting Abu Qatada to Jordan was the easy option. After all, the man said to be Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Britain had already been convicted in Amman, in absentia, for his involvement in a plot to target American and Israeli tourists. With deportation facing legal obstacles in the form of a European Court of Human Rights ruling, the most pertinent questions focus on why a trial cannot go ahead in the UK.

Chris Bryant: The Church of England needs to forget its silliness about homosexuality

Anyone who has ever heard Jeffrey John preach, read his poetry or met him knows that he is a man of immense spirituality who should have been made a bishop years ago.

Simon Kelner: Blaming society’s ills on Godlessness is senseless

I wonder what Christopher Hitchens, who died some 24 hours earlier, would have made of David Cameron’s speech, in which he implored Britain to follow the values espoused in the Bible. In fact, there’s no need to wonder. He’d have employed his most excoriating polemic.

Sinead O'Connor, St John-at-Hackney, London
Skrillex, Academy, Bristol

The often controversial singer packs an emotional punch as she lets her powerful voice rip in an east London church

Last Night's TV: Torchwood: Miracle Day/BBC1<br />The Story of British Path&#233;/BBC4

Trying to catch up with a series like Torchwood: Miracle Day is a bit like trying to get up to speed in Sumerian mythology in just 10 minutes. Actually, it's worse, since the cross-series references that produce a warm bolus of joy inside true devotees mean you don't have only one belief system to disentangle. If Enki, the Sumerian deity of crafts, occasionally popped up on Mount Olympus, in ways that were critical to a full understanding of later Greek theology, then you'd be a bit closer to it. I don't have the time (or the inclination frankly) to engage in such an arduous field of scholarship, so I might as well confess right now that I don't have the faintest idea what Phi-Corp is or what the Trickster's Brigade are up to or how Jack keeps skipping around between different time dimensions. What I can say, on just two minutes' acquaintance with the current series, is that it has a great central idea. Everybody has stopped dying, one of those monkey's paw miracles that looks like a blessing but turns out to be a catastrophe. Jack and his Torchwood cronies are currently trying to find out why it's happened, though the urgency of their quest doesn't appear to prevent Jack spending quite a bit of happy downtime with a fetching young Italian immigrant called Angelo.

Errors &amp; Omissions: Battle of the genders claims another victim

Several readers have written in to raise objection to this headline, which appeared above a comment piece on Monday: "At last – a public figure who refuses to deny their past." The public figure in question is the Tory MP Louise Mensch. Why follow the fashion for using "their" in a singular sense, my correspondents demand. Surely it should be "her past". I am not so sure, much as this column hates to be outdone in pedantry by its own readers.

America's first Mormon president?

The Church of the Latter-day Saints is one of the fastest-growing and wealthiest religions in the world. But can the Mormons convince America to vote one of their number into the White House?

On Evil, By Terry Eagleton

"Those who sentimentally indulge humanity do it no favours," argues Eagleton in this brisk, deep and oddly entertaining book about mankind at its very worst.

Jim White, Jazz Cafe, London

"This is a good-looking shirt," says Jim White modestly. "By the end of the night, one of you will be wearing it. It's for sale."

Canon AM Allchin: Theologian who fostered unity between Christianity&rsquo;s major strands

The Anglican theologian AM Allchin wrote prolifically on Christian spirituality and, in particular, the relationship between Eastern Orthodoxy and the Christianity of the West. During a distinguished life as priest and academic, he strove to foster an awareness of the underlying unity between the major strands of Christianity, throwing new light on our understanding of diverse traditions and belief systems. He travelled widely, making available what he had experienced in places like Mount Athos and Romania in lectures, conferences, pamphlets and a score of books that are among the most readable, and stimulating, studies in their fields.

The Gospels: Authorized King James Version, Edited by WR Owens

Though the King James Bible is customarily read for divine revelations, this 500th anniversary edition from Oxford World's Classics tells us much about the book as literature. In his introduction, Owens notes that we are indebted to the King James Version of the Gospels for such everyday phrases as "the salt of the earth", "made light of it", "signs of the times", "in his right mind" and "a den of thieves".

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