Neil MacGregor on living with gods


THE modern human is by turns intrigued, bewildered, horrified and enraptured by religion. In a world where many people look to science to decipher the universe, there is something fascinating, and a bit frightening, about spiritual systems and codes which have commanded passionate loyalty among millions of people for millennia, but which are still impenetrable to outsiders.

It follows that any successful effort to explain or even just describe religion in broad strokes may be on to a winning streak. With a landmark exhibition, a BBC radio series and a forthcoming book that will sum up both, the British Museum and its collaborators are rising to that challenge.

It promises to be far more successful than any attempt to address the subject in a single medium could be. The project appeals, as most popular forms of religion do, to the mind, the eye and the ear.

A prime mover in this initiative is Neil MacGregor, the institution’s former director whose didactic skills as a…Continue reading

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