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.

Letters: Menezes affair

Only Boris emerges with honour from Menezes affair

My Book Of A lifetime: Alone of All Her Sex, By Marina Warner

I was in my gap year when I read Alone of All Her Sex. Until then religion for me had been arguments about whether doctrine or belief were "true", and a sense that humans couldn't help being religious, but were growing out of it.

A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven, By Karl O Knausgaard

This theological fantasy is a heavenly delight

<a href="http://blogs.independent.co.uk/openhouse/2008/10/by-john-rento-7.html">John Rentoul: The Godbotherer vote</a>

Alarming stuff for us heathens in a ComRes opinion poll for Theos, the "public theology think tank". It would seem that 20 per cent of the Great British public would not vote for an atheist as prime minister.

Why There Almost Certainly Is a God, By Keith Ward

There is a running joke in the forums at RichardDawkins.net about "fleas", which is what the site's contributors call the spreading rash of books that have been published in refutation of Dawkins' bestseller The God Delusion. It isn't an officially endorsed term, but was inspired by a comment that Dawkins made about two books with his name in the title by the Oxford theologian Alister McGrath: "It is tempting to quote Yeats ('Was there ever a dog that praised its fleas?') and leave it at that..." While poorly argued and badly written books undeniably number among these "fleas", there are others containing nimble logic and thoughtful prose which even hard-line atheists should still find it rewarding to engage with – if only they would. One such is the latest missive in the Oxford God debate, Why There Almost Certainly Is a God (named, with one small change of wording, after chapter four of The God Delusion), by the university's former Regius Professor of Divinity, Keith Ward.

Last Night's TV: Lost In Austen, ITV1<br />God On Trial, BBC2

Jane's world left me open to persuasion

Muslim panel to advise on rights and wrongs of veil

The wearing of the Islamic veil will be one of the issues examined by a panel of Islamic experts that is being set up by the Government.

Paul Vallely: Why the Pope is not rejoicing at the split

The Pope might be expected, privately, to be rejoicing at the splits in Anglicanism. He might be expected to issue an open invitation for disgruntled Anglicans to join the Church of Rome. Instead, he is trying to bolster the beleaguered Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Rev Professor Christopher Stead: Scholar of patristic thought who was the last Ely Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University

Christopher Stead, former Ely Professor of Divinity, was one of the last living links with Cambridge and Cambridge philosophers of the 1930s. He was born into a family with strong educational and academic connections, his father with Marlborough College, where Christopher was educated, and his mother with Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. From Marlborough, Christopher Stead went to Cambridge as a classical scholar at King's where in his second year (1934) he had the distinction of being made Pitt Scholar. His principal academic interest was in philosophy and so it was a natural move for him to read Part Two of the Moral Sciences Tripos, as the discipline was then known.

The Rev Professor Henry Chadwick: Historian of the early Church who held the Regius Chairs of Divinity at both Oxford and Cambridge

Henry Chadwick was a dazzling star in the academic firmament. His career was shared between Cambridge and Oxford, and he acquired the unusual distinction of holding the Regius Chairs of Divinity at both Cambridge and Oxford, as well as being head of house in both universities (Christ Church and Peterhouse). In the course of his life he was loaded with honours – prizes and honorary doctorates – and became a corresponding member of learned societies in many countries, as well as a Fellow of the British Academy (and one-time Vice-President).

'Lyrical terrorist' wins appeal

The woman who called herself the "lyrical terrorist" won her appeal today against conviction for collecting information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

Planet Narnia, By Michael Ward

Were the seven Narnia Chronicles based on the seven planets of medieval cosmology? It's a fascinating thesis
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