A term to describe an organized belief system which revolves around supernatural elements and entities.

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Orphism's alleged influence on Christianity

I've read in Nils Johan Ringdal's delightful but ill-footnoted Love For Sale: A World History of Prostitution that the apostle Paul was influenced by Orphism when he set out to weaken women's roles in ...
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297 views

Which days in the Mayan calendar were most auspicious for performing sacrifices?

In Classic Mayan civilization, human sacrifices were performed. I've read that there were days that were more and less auspicious for sacrifices, but I haven't been able to find out which days those ...
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267 views

Was Ashoka motivated more by economics rather than religion in giving up war?

Is there any evidence to support the idea that Ashoka's aversion to war might have been due to inflationary economics rather than religion or remorse? Such as say the degradation in the value of coins ...
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175 views

When were the first mosques established in Constantinople?

In his book The Man of Numbers about Leonardo Pisano (Fibonacci), Keith Devlin quotes a problem from the Liber Abbaci (Devlin's spelling, I know most others spell it Liber Abici) which is titled "A ...
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403 views

How far into the past was significance ascribed to the Golden Ratio?

I think everyone knows about the golden ratio or the divine proportion (I got to know more about it after reading the wikipedia article on it). It's present everywhere in nature and also in the human ...
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905 views

What happened to the Polish Calvinists?

According to the Wikipedia article on Calvinism: Although much of Calvin's work was in Geneva, his publications spread his ideas of a "correctly" reformed church to many parts of Europe. [...] It ...
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4k views

What is the first known organized religion in the world?

Which were the first religions to be created with well known scriptures, ceremonies and traditions? Was it that of the ancient Egyptians or the old kingdoms of the Middle East? What about Africa or ...
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1k views

Treatment of Jewish WWI Veterans

I was just wondering if during WWII or any time during Hitler's tenure (1933-1945), did the Germans give any special consideration to Jewish veterans of the First World War? By special consideration I ...
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6answers
331 views

Has scholarship shown that persecuted religious minorities have tended to be financially successful?

In this interview with Neal Stephenson, talking about the historical basis for his Baroque Cycle series of novels, he makes the remark that ... persecuted religious minorities, if they’re not ...
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185 views

What is “Mary's Part”?

The poem on this gravestone in RI refers to "Mary's part." What does this phrase mean?
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162 views

Were the Puritans for a State Church?

In a book titled America's Providential History it states on page 84 that The major Puritan weakness was their holding to the idea of a State Church. They saw nothing wrong with a National ...
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2answers
453 views

Why did Christianity disappear in North-Western Africa?

During Roman times North-Western Africa had a thriving Christian community, giving birth to Saint Augustine and a long lasting heresy. This is similar to many Christian communities of the time, from ...
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310 views

What kind of incense was used by the Sumerians?

Today, there are many different kinds of aromatic substances used for incense. What kind of incense was used by the ancient Sumerians?
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945 views

How “religious” was the average person in the Middle Ages?

During Europe in the Middle Ages, how religious was the "average Joe"? Looking at the large scale politics of the time it seems religion was a major part of the elites' lives, with treaties with the ...
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2k views

Where does the tradition of Christmas gifts comes from?

Where does the modern tradition of exchanging gifts from Christmas comes from? I've heard that it's inspired by a similar tradition the Ancient Romans had on one of their festivals, is that true?
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1answer
491 views

When were the heresy laws abolished in England?

We know that during the English Reformation several "heretics" were burnt at the stake. We also know that during the reign of Henry VIII both protestants and catholics were burnt or beheaded while ...
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5answers
898 views

How did ancient mystery religions impact Christianity?

I recently learned about the existence of mystery religions while listening to lectures by Robert Garland about Daily Life in the Ancient World. Wikipedia seems to imply that the mystery religions ...
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3answers
190 views

Who were the Catholic popes before Francis I who used names not of Latin, Greek or Jewish origin?

Who were the Catholic popes before the current Francis I who used names not of Latin, Greek or Jewish origin? Particularly, names of Germanic origin, like Francis.
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384 views

When were the different stories of Hindu gods written?

I'm a Hindu by religion. And I really respect my religion like I respect others. But from my childhood, I'm listening a lot of stories about Hindu Gods and Goddess which are interrelated to each ...
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592 views

Was Buddhism the dominant religion of India for 1 thousand years?

I read in the book 'The Argumentative Indian' by Amartya Sen, that Buddhism was the dominant religion of India for about a 1000 years, and that foreigners referred to India as a Buddhist kingdom. ...
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1k views

What was the ancient Jewish pantheon?

I have read that before the invention of monotheism, the Jews worshipped multiple gods of which traces remain in various texts. So I wonder whether it is possible to reconstruct it and what the gods ...
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281 views

Why, during the Spanish reconquista, did King Ferdinand not take over Portugal?

After unifying Castile, Leon, Navarre, and Aragon through marriage, Ferdinand I proceeded to conquer Grenada, and almost unify the Iberian peninsula, but left Portugal alone. Is there any satisfying ...
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2answers
2k views

Have famous rabbis ever converted to Islam?

By "famous rabbi" I mean someone who was actually known in at least one community as an authority on Jewish law, not just one who successfully completed rabbinical training.
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110 views

Are there any written records of Norse mythology dated prior to Christianization?

As I understand it, most of what we know about Norse mythology is based on texts written in sagas by Christians in the late Middle Ages. Do we have any contemporary accounts of Norse mythology from ...
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378 views

Why were Arians outnumbered on the First Council of Nicaea?

Constantine was baptized by an Arian bishop a few years after the Council of Nicaea. His sons were Arians. At least the leadership of the Visigoths that sacked Rome where Arians. That was in 410, only ...
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1answer
829 views

Does a Baal human sacrifice statue from Carthage exist?

While I was reading a Roman history book, it said that people from Carthage used to sacrifice children by placing them on the arms of Baal's statue and letting them roll to the fire. What would be ...
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1answer
71 views

Diaries or writings of Cathar Perfecti in 12th Century France

The Cathars were a Gnostic sect of southern (Languedoc) France in the 12th Century. "Perfecti" were individuals in the sect who followed the most extremely austere lives, renouncing worldly pleasures ...
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152 views

What is the role of towers in Romanesque architecture?

I'm currently reading some books about romanesque architecture. I would like to know the roles of towers that many religious buildings have. I have some guesses, so I would like you to tell me if ...
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347 views

What is known about early history of Judaism?

What do we know about early history of Judaism? Do we know the timeline when these modern traits of modern Judaism developed: 1 Lifestyle restriction that we now find in Torah, such as the ...
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2k views

Why did Martin Luther hate the Jews?

Some suggested that Martin Luther hated the Jews because the Jews didn't believe him. Yet, some Christians think that Martin Luther is a libertarian and state that he didn't think beliefs should be ...
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3answers
544 views

Was any pope imprisoned during his service to Catholic Church?

On 11 February 2013, the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI would resign on 28 February, due to infirmity from advanced age. Earlier in the history, few popes resigned similar way, probably the ...
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401 views

Monotheism/Atheism in Polytheistic societies

I would like to know if there are any documents telling us how common (or if it even existed) among people in polytheistic societies (like ancient Greece, Rome, etc.) it was to believe that there is ...
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2answers
144 views

After the fall of Constantinople was there a re-evaluation of the basis of Russia's religion?

According to the Primary Chronicle, Vladimir the Great rejected Judaism in 987 with the rationale that they lost Jerusalem. When Constantinople was conquered in 1453 by the Ottomans, was there any ...
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4answers
218 views

Why was the spread of Christianity scattered compared to other major religions?

This video of the spread of world religions makes Christianity look like an anomaly. Every other religion spreads out smoothly from a central point, growing at the edges. Christianity begins as a ...
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171 views

What were Aurangzeb Alamgir's motives for reversing much of the religious tolerance in the Mughal Empire?

Aurangzeb Alamgir's great-grandfather Akbar the Great (1556-1606) was famous for being religious tolerant, for abolishing the jizya tax, and attempting to end the ritual of Sati (where a wife must ...
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119 views

Why did the Dutch West India Company allow Quakers in the New Netherlands?

In 1657 a group of English Quakers arrived in New Amsterdam (the Dutch colonial town that became modern New York City). They were persecuted by the colonial government there for their religion. Then ...
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321 views

Ancient Christianity

Around the 1st century AD, the three biggest religions in the Roman empire were the Roman pantheon, Judaism, and Christianity. Why was Christianity so much more successful in gaining and keeping ...
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334 views

Have atheists ever been persecuted in India?

Have atheists ever been persecuted in India? Wikipedia article on persecution of atheist has nothing about India, and google did not throw up anything useful.
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247 views

Epoch of an item marked with anchor symbol with the letters N and D

I found in an antique shop in France the item seen below and would like to know more about the age and origin and material based on the logo/mark. The seller told me it is from the Napoleon III epoch ...
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1answer
149 views

What was the role of the Russian Orthodox church in Soviet Russia?

Considering that Soviet Union was officially atheistic and Bibles and most "Christian" denominations were banned, it is interesting to me that the government left the Russian Orthodox churches ...
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6answers
1k views

When and why did single deity religions become more popular than multi deity religions? [closed]

In the world at the moment, the most popular religions seem to mostly be religions that worship only one "God", such as Christianity and Islam. However, in the past there were many religions that ...
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486 views

Why was East Asia more religiously tolerant than Europe in medieval time?

In medieval time, different religions coexisted in China, Japan and Korea, but only Christianity was allowed in Europe. What factors made medieval East Asia more religiously tolerant than medieval ...
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1answer
1k views

Does the ancient Egyptian religion still have followers? [closed]

The Ancient Egyptian religion was 3000 years old, and one of the oldest religion in the world. The religion had numerous gods and practices and flourished until the spread of Christianity in 4th ...
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1answer
102 views

When did the Ecclesiastical courts in England lose the authority to mete out punishments such as imprisonment and execution?

In 1401, the ecclesiastical courts in England were given the power to burn heretics. In modern times the ecclesiastical courts have no control over anyone who does not belong to the Church of England, ...
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2answers
110 views

What's the relationship between Solomon's Temple and Christians? [closed]

An Evangelical-Pentecostal church has built a huge replica of Solomon's Temple in Brazil. But why Solomon's Temple? What does it have to do with Jesus Christ and the Christian faith? It's very odd to ...
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3answers
386 views

Did Franco consider Hitler a “son of the Catholic Church” who “died while defending Christianity”?

Did Francisco Franco, who established Catholicism as the State religion of Spain, consider Hitler a "son of the Catholic Church" who "died while defending Christianity"? If so, why? Hitler acted ...
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1answer
78 views

Power over the centuries: spiritual vs. political vs. economic

I recently attended a presentation on the shift in power over the centuries. The speaker argued that ... the power in the middle ages was in the churches, i.e., the priests and, thus, in the ...
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1answer
245 views

Why are some Americans more religious than European counterparts? [closed]

What are some of the historical reasons for why certain Americans are more religious than similar Europeans? For example, there are pronounced differences in Church attendance; Extent of belief in ...
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1answer
244 views

When did ancient religions start to experience dropping numbers of adherents in Europe?

I am talking about ancient Greek, Roman and Norwegian religions. When did ancient religions start to lose ground to modern religions such as Catholicism in Europe?
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241 views

Has any culture primarily worshipped an evil deity? [closed]

I was recently re-watching the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Masks, (because I'm not a nerd even a little bit), and an interesting thought struck me: the culture portrayed in that episode ...