The Pope and the Plague

by Frans van Liere. In 1348, a terrible epidemic arrived in Avignon. It had spread from Italy, but its origins were somewhere in Central Asia, on what is now the border between Xinjiang and Kyrgyzstan. For the next seven months, the Black Death ravaged this small city on the Rhone river in southern France, and …

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“Digging In” to a Company’s History

by Bob Schoone-Jongen During the spring of 2017, I received a request to help compile the history of the Braen Stone Company, headquartered in Haledon, New Jersey. The company has been in business since 1904, owned by the same family for five generations. The owners hoped to mark their 115th anniversary with a coffee table …

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Recovering Lost Stories

by Frans van Liere The story of the Four Sons of Haymo was widely popular in the late middle ages and Renaissance, especially in France and in the Low Countries, where I grew up. As a boy in school, I learned a song about the “Vier Heemskinderen” (as it is called in Dutch), and their …

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Northern Ireland’s Fragile Peace

by Kate van Liere This past Easter season witnessed many tragic outbursts of sectarian hatred around the globe, from slaughter of Sri Lankan Christians on Easter Sunday to the Passover shooting at a San Diego synagogue by a Christian white supremacist two days later. In Ireland—where my husband Frans and I spent ten days of …

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The Personal is Historical

by Eric M. Washington Next Monday is Emancipation Day in most of the Caribbean and in some places in the African Diaspora. Slavery ended in the British West Indies in August 1834 (though four years of an “apprenticeship” period stretched “unfree” labor to 1838). I had planned to write about Frederick Douglass’ Emancipation Day speech …

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Christianity and Evangelicalism

by Jim Bratt. As prominent evangelical leaders recently gathered at Wheaton, IL, to discuss how the Trump era “has unleashed [a] ‘grotesque caricature’ of their faith,” historian James Bratt weighs in with some thoughts on Christianity and Evangelicalism, and the death (and resurrection) of a movement. This post originally appeared on The Anxious Bench and is re-published with …

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