By Ignoring Judaism, a New Book Errs in Trying to Explain the Origins of the Modern Idea of Religion

Nov. 14 2019

In Religion as We Know It, Jack Miles, a renowned scholar of comparative religion, notes that modern Western notions of religion, and of the difference between the sacred and secular, have been “profoundly shaped by Christian assumptions.” Miles traces these assumptions specifically to early Christianity’s experience with persecution. But, writes Elaine Pagels in her review, his story of how this conception of religion came into being has a major flaw:

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Read more at New York Times

More about: ancient Judaism, Christianity, Religion

The U.S. Has Managed to Force a Stalemate in the Syrian Civil War, at Least for Now

In a little remarked-upon statement in May, James Jeffrey, the State Department’s envoy for Syria policy, said that his goal was to turn the war-torn country into “a quagmire for the Russians.” By using economic leverage, this policy has achieved modest success, writes Jonathan Spyer:

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Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Bashar al-Assad, Russia, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy