Using Lord of the Rings to interest students in, um, Confucianism and the “Warring States” period in ancient Chinese history.

Harriet Jacobs
Former slave, abolitionist, and writer Harriet Jacobs (1813-1897) - Wikimedia

• The Israeli antiquities dealer who owns an ossuary supposedly inscribed with the name of Jesus’ brother James was acquitted by a criminal court of forging that still-controversial inscription.

• A review of the newest exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, chronicling the decline of the Byzantine Empire.

• Newly discovered: letters written by King Henry VIII and his third wife, Jane Seymour (mother of Elizabeth I).

• This weekend Wheaton College is hosting The Civil War and Sacred Ground: Moral Reflections on War. For a taste of the themes it covers, check out this interview with featured speaker and former Wheaton history professor Mark Noll (The Civil War as a Theological Crisis).

• The fascinating literary genre of slave narratives: the best-known autobiographies written by former slaves like Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass, but also including some fictionalized accounts penned by white authors (some of whom were trying to support slavery).

• And NPR’s Michel Martin wrapped up Black History Month by asking why we’re so taken with memoirs and biographies. (H/T Randall Stephens)

• The Minnesota Historical Society’s 10,000 Books blog previewed a March 30 discussion at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Minneapolis that will feature Brenda Child and Michael Witgen, authors of two new books on American Indian history.

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