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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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links