jump to navigation

Fairy Death Bed Conversion December 15, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Fairy Death Bed Conversion

Beachcombing’s fairy year continues. In his grazing through the accounts of the fairy faith on the western and northern fringe of Europe one of the things that has most fascinated him is the belief of the connection between Catholicism and things fairy. There is a famous early modern comment – irritatingly Beach can’t remember by […]

Christian Cannibalism in the Middle Ages December 14, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Christian Cannibalism in the Middle Ages

Beachcombing sometimes begins his posts with naff excuses about why he can’t write much on this or that occasion, but today the pressure is really on: exams to be marked, the ill to be visited, books to be sent, syllabi to be written, course packs to be checked, the trauma of saying goodbye to much […]

Big Bones in Churches November 19, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Big Bones in Churches

At the end of the nineteenth century the Reverend Wilkins Rees put together a short collection of examples of enormous bones that had found their way into English and Welsh churches. He mentioned five impressive instances, four of which he seems to have seen himself. 1) Foljambe Chapel, Chesterfield Church: ‘This bone, supposed to be […]

Hearts, Genies and Gnosticism at Nag Hammadi October 14, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary
Hearts, Genies and Gnosticism at Nag Hammadi

Howard Carter whispering ‘wonderful things’, Leslie Alcock finding Dark Age timber at Cadbury (‘that was Camelot’), Bedouin shepherds investigating a complex of caves at the Dead Sea… All wonderful, of course. But for Beachcombing none of these quite match the thrill of the discovery at Nag Hammadi in 1945. In that year, possibly in December, […]

An Ecclesiastical Harem from Eighteenth-Century Spain August 21, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
An Ecclesiastical Harem from Eighteenth-Century Spain

The Inquisition  it can’t have been that easy. Mass in the morning, torture in the afternoon and, yet another blasted auto da fe in the evening… Who can blame the good men with the blood red cloth if sometimes they decided to create, let’s call it, ‘recreational space’ for themselves. This extraordinary – and apparently […]

Fidel Castro is a Jesuit Spy! [sic] July 26, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Fidel Castro is a Jesuit Spy! [sic]

Beachcombing often speaks of his rusty filing cabinets in which the treasures of a couple of decades of bizarre research have been placed. However, there are also regrets. Sometimes  Beach realizes that he has missed out on two decades harvesting through lack of foresight. An example of this that causes him particular pain is what […]

Perpetua’s Death Dream July 19, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Perpetua's Death Dream

Beachcombing decided to bring night visions into the day a month ago, opening a new tag on – note the failure to alliterate – Historic Dreams. He offered as a start Lincoln’s prophetic dream of the President’s own death and raised some questions about how prophetic said dream really was. Today, he offers,  instead, a […]

Bringing Back Flogging? July 3, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
Bringing Back Flogging?

Beachcombing thought that he would give a little publicity to a ‘rogue researcher’ today: a tag that refers to those who, with often commendable eccentricity, step outside the bounds laid down by their profession – Beachcombing is always on the look out for these rare souls, drbeachcombing DOT yahoo AT com. The RR in question […]

Bishop Q June 27, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Bishop Q

Today a curious Roman marble inscription from Terni in central Italy – not Rome as often reported – that probably dates from towards the end of the Empire, perhaps from the end of the fourth century (Olybrio = consul?). It is an inscription that is so unexpected that it is difficult to know where to […]

Christian Orgies June 22, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Christian Orgies

On rainy nights, when the children have gone to bed and Beachcombing wants to provoke his ultra Catholic wife, there is little he loves more than to quote from the following early third-century Christian text, where some of the first pagan criticisms against the upstart religion are aired. As well as describing how Christians eat […]

Julian in the Desert May 6, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Julian in the Desert

Beachcombing finished his last exam yesterday and, with the exceptions of the long and frankly tedious work of correction, term is now all but over. Hurrah! Hurrah! By way of celebration Beachcombing thought that he would visit this morning one of his favourite hinge moments. The death of Julian the Apostate and with him the […]

The Ass Who Became a Saint January 13, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Ass Who Became a Saint

Yesterday Beachcombing visited the doghead legend of St Christopher and today, in sympathy for that early canine holyman he thought that he would recount the remarkable canonization of an ass. The version that Beachcoming is about to give appears in a rather obscure but very worthwhile book: The Life and Adventures of Nathaniel Pearce (1831) describing the doings of […]

Antique Christians in Furthest China October 7, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Antique Christians in Furthest China

Beachcombing has often visited in these pages his favourite WIBT (‘wish I’d been there’) moments from history. And today he takes the gentle reader to another this time in China in honour of his mother and step-father who have recently fled the dominions for a holiday in the Far East. It is 1625 and the gutsy Portuguese […]

Curse Thy Neighbour September 9, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Curse Thy Neighbour

Beachcombing was thinking about war today (as you do) and immediately the generations (actually three semesters) fell away and he saw one of his favourite students, a Southern Baptist, giving a passionate and articulate Christian justification for killing: it was a long list that began with Genesis 15 and ended, triumphantly, with Matthew 10, 34 […]

Page 4 of 41234