121 episodes

Discussion of religious movements and the theories and individuals behind them.

In Our Time: Religion BBC Radio 4

    • History
    • 4.7 • 29 Ratings

Discussion of religious movements and the theories and individuals behind them.

    Angkor Wat

    Angkor Wat

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the largest and arguably the most astonishing religious structure on Earth, built for Suryavarman II in the 12th Century in modern-day Cambodia. It is said to have more stone in it than the Great Pyramid of Giza, and much of the surface is intricately carved and remarkably well preserved. For the last 900 years Angkor Wat has been a centre of religion, whether Hinduism, Buddhism or Animism or a combination of those, and a source of wonder to Cambodians and visitors from around the world.

    With

    Piphal Heng
    Postdoctoral scholar at the Cotsen Institute and the Programme for Early Modern Southeast Asia at UCLA

    Ashley Thompson
    Hiram W Woodward Chair of Southeast Asian Art at SOAS University of London

    And

    Simon Warrack
    A stone conservator who has worked extensively at Angkor Wat

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 49 min
    Comenius

    Comenius

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Czech educator Jan Amos Komenský (1592-1670) known throughout Europe in his lifetime under the Latin version of his name, Comenius. A Protestant and member of the Unity of Brethren, he lived much of his life in exile, expelled from his homeland under the Catholic Counter-Reformation, and he wanted to address the deep antagonisms underlying the wars that were devastating Europe especially The Thirty Years War (1618-1648). A major part of his plan was Universal Education, in which everyone could learn about everything, and better understand each other and so tolerate their religious differences and live side by side. His ideas were to have a lasting influence on education, even though the peace that followed the Thirty Years War only entrenched the changes in his homeland that made his life there impossible.

    The image above is from a portrait of Comenius by Jürgen Ovens, 1650 - 1670, painted while he was living in Amsterdam and held in the Rikjsmuseum

    With

    Vladimir Urbanek
    Senior Researcher in the Department of Comenius Studies and Early Modern Intellectual History at the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences

    Suzanna Ivanic
    Lecturer in Early Modern European History at the University of Kent

    And

    Howard Hotson
    Professor of Early Modern Intellectual History at the University of Oxford and Fellow of St Anne’s College

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 56 min
    Early Christian Martyrdom

    Early Christian Martyrdom

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the accounts by Eusebius of Caesarea (c260-339 AD) and others of the killings of Christians in the first three centuries after the crucifixion of Jesus. Eusebius was writing in a time of peace, after The Great Persecution that had started with Emperor Diocletian in 303 AD and lasted around eight years. Many died under Diocletian, and their names are not preserved, but those whose deaths are told by Eusebius became especially celebrated and their stories became influential. Through his writings, Eusebius shaped perceptions of what it meant to be a martyr in those years, and what it meant to be a Christian.

    The image above is of The Martyrdom of Saint Blandina (1886) at the Church of Saint-Blandine de Lyon, France

    With:

    Candida Moss
    Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology at the University of Birmingham

    Kate Cooper
    Professor of History at Royal Holloway, University of London

    And

    James Corke-Webster
    Senior Lecturer in Classics, History and Liberal Arts at King’s College London

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 53 min
    The Sistine Chapel

    The Sistine Chapel

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the astonishing work of Michelangelo (1477-1564) in this great chapel in the Vatican, firstly the ceiling with images from Genesis (of which the image above is a detail) and later The Last Judgement on the altar wall. For the Papacy, Michelangelo's achievement was a bold affirmation of the spiritual and political status of the Vatican, of Rome and of the Catholic Church. For the artist himself, already famous as the sculptor of David in Florence, it was a test of his skill and stamina, and of the potential for art to amaze which he realised in his astonishing mastery of the human form.

    With

    Catherine Fletcher
    Professor of History at Manchester Metropolitan University

    Sarah Vowles
    The Smirnov Family Curator of Italian and French Prints and Drawings at the British Museum

    And

    Matthias Wivel
    The Aud Jebsen Curator of Sixteenth-Century Italian Paintings at the National Gallery

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 55 min
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    • 1 min
    Arianism

    Arianism

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the form of Christianity adopted by Ostrogoths in the 4th century AD, which they learned from Roman missionaries and from their own contact with the imperial court at Constantinople. This form spread to the Vandals and the Visigoths, who took it into Roman Spain and North Africa, and the Ostrogoths brought it deeper into Italy after the fall of the western Roman empire. Meanwhile, with the Roman empire in the east now firmly committed to the Nicene Creed not the Arian, the Goths and Vandals faced conflict or conversion, as Arianism moved from an orthodox view to being a heresy that would keep followers from heaven and delay the Second Coming for all.

    The image above is the ceiling mosaic of the Arian Baptistry in Ravenna, commissioned by Theodoric, ruler of the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy, around the end of the 5th century

    With

    Judith Herrin
    Professor of Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, Emeritus, at King's College London

    Robin Whelan
    Lecturer in Mediterranean History at the University of Liverpool

    And

    Martin Palmer
    Visiting Professor in Religion, History and Nature at the University of Winchester

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
29 Ratings

29 Ratings

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