The Weekend Listener #14: End-of-Year Review (2022)

At the very end of 2022, in this post I will present an overview of all the podcasts included in the The Weekend Listener series throughout the past year. In case you’ve missed any of the previous instalments, you’ll find all the listening tips here below, sorted by the following categories:

  • language
  • literature
  • learning English
  • history
  • culture & society
  • religion & spirituality

As an advance notice, as of January 2023, The Weekend Listener will be a monthly feature here on the blog, posted on the last Friday of each month.

Happy listening!


Word of Mouth | Accent Bias

Accent bias is defined as a discriminatory attitude toward speakers who speak with an accent, whether it’s learners trying to speak a foreign language, or native speakers with a pronounced local or regional accent. Word of Mouth host Michael Rosen interviews Prof. Devyani Sharma on the current research into accent bias in the UK. [Duration: 27’13’’]

Talk the Talk | Neanderthals

According to latest research, all non-African individuals are genetically related to Neanderthals, an extinct subspecies of humans. Thanks to the work of archaeologists, it is now known that their culture was far more sophisticated than previously thought. But how much is known about Neanderthal language? Did they have one at all? In this episode of Talk the Talk, linguist Daniel Midgley sums up the current thinking on the subject. [Duration: 13’46’’]

The World in Words | How the Basque language has survived

The Basque language is the single oldest language of Europe, but interestingly, not an Indo-European one. Before the advent of Celtic, Romance and other IE languages, Basque had already been there. Learn about the curious history and features of this language and how it survived in spite of centuries of marginalisation and suppression. [Duration: 34’50’’]

Speaking of Psychology | Why can some people speak dozens of languages?

You’ve all heard of polyglots – people who have the ability to speak several languages. Perhaps you even happen to be one. But how about hyperglots, people who have mastered dozens of languages? In an interview with the MIT professor Evelina Fedorenko, this podcast from the American Psychological Association explains the phenomenon. The webpage contains a full transcript of the conversation. [Duration: 40’06’’]

Word of Mouth | A Murmuration of Starlings

I’ve recently blogged about collective nouns for groups of birds, the sort of terms such as ‘a murder of crows’ or ‘a parliament of owls’. (You can access that post here.) There are many such nouns in the English language, and not just for birds, either. To learn more examples and find out where they originally come from, listen to this interview with Matt Sewell, author of A Charm of Goldfinches. [Duration: 28′]

Lexicon Valley | Why Do Languages Have Gender

In my mother tongue, a chair is a ‘she’, while a table is a ‘he’. Have you ever wondered why some languages have the category of gender in the first place? What purpose does this way of categorising things serve? All Indo-European languages have it, but how and why did English laregly lose it? Find out the answers to these and many other related questions in this episode of the Lexicon Valley podcast. [Duration: 56’]

The Takeaway | What’s Lost When a Language Dies?

Hundreds, if not thousands, of languages are likely to become extinct just over the next couple of decades. Most of them belong to predominantly oral cultures: as a language dies, so does a record of complex beliefs, stories, mythologies and histories. This short podcast episode of The Takeaway is a conversation with Bob Holman and David Grubin, makers of the 2015 PBS documentary Language Matters. [Duration: 9’18’’]

Word of Mouth | Why is English so weird?

English learners often complain about spelling – too many words and letter combinations that don’t seem to make any sense. How did English end up that way? What’s with all the silent letters, and so many words pronounced nothing like the way they are written? Michael Rosen discusses these questions with the linguist Arika Okrent. [Duration: 27’43’’]

The World in Words | If you could talk to the animals

Many animals produce sounds to send different kinds of messages, such as to alert others to danger or point to a source of food. We talk to our pets, and they ‘talk’ back to us – but do those animal utterance constitute language? Three biologists explain the current understanding of animal communication. [Duration: 28’51]

The Allusionist | Toki Pona

Learning a new language is always a challenge. One has to adopt thousands and thousands of new words and learn complex grammar rules about how to combine them into sentences. But what if the language you were trying to learn had a total of about 100 words and the simplest grammar imaginable? Sonja Lang, a Canadian linguist, has created one such language: she named it Toki Pona, ‘good language’. [Duration: 17’37’’]

Stuff You Missed in History Class | L. L. Zamenhof and the Hope of Esperanto

Over the centuries, there have been many attempts at creating a universal, constructed language, but none has been more successful than Esperanto. Still spoken and regularly used by thousands of enthusiasts, Esperanto is not only a language, but also an attempt at creating a better, more tolerant society. With Zamenhof Day coming up on 15th December, learn a bit about this language and the man who brought it to life. [Duration: 44’37’’]

As It Happens | Swearing feels good – it’s also good for you

Where the study of language meets psychology: did you know that swearing can impact our sense of pain, physical and emotional? We’ve probably all known it intuitively all along, but latest studies prove it. People who swear (in moderation) seem to deal more effectively with frustrating and difficult situations. Listen to this extract from the CBC Radio’s As It Happens programme to find out more. [Duration: 6’30’’]

Science Diction | Language Evolves: It’s Literally Fine

Language constantly evolves and perhaps no one has a better grasp of how and why that happens than lexicographers. In this episode of Science Diction, two Merriam-Webster experts discuss changes in the English language, explaining how many common English words have their origin in mistakes and linguistic mishaps. [Duration: 27’05’’]


In Our Time | Antigone

In this BBC Radio 4 programme, veteran broadcaster Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss one of the most enduring and perennially relevant works of classical Greek literature, Sophocles’ Antigone, and the ethical questions it raises. The web page also contains a very useful reading list. [Duration: 54’12’’]

Writers and Company | Hilary Mantel

Literary world has recently been shaken by the sad news of Hilary Mantel’s passing. Mantel was a writer best known for her historical fiction, but she also wrote eloquent opinion pieces and articles on various subjects. The podcast I chose is an interview she gave in 2005 for Writers and Company, a CBC Radio programme, shortly after the publication of Beyond Black – her novel on the subject of psychics, mediumship,  and ghosts that haunt us all. [Duration: 54′]

Literate | The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot

First published in October of 1922, exactly a hundred years ago, T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land is one the most important poems of the 20th century. In it Eliot combined many disparate elements coming from various literary and religious sources, creating a masterpiece of modernist poetry. This episode of the Literate podcast includes an introduction to Eliot and his works, as well as in-depth interviews with literary scholars on the subject of The Waste Land. [Duration: 69’]

In Our Time | Lyrical Ballads

Having posted on the English Romantic poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge recently (see here and here), I felt the need to include a listening tip on them, as well. In this episode of the BBC Radio programme In Our Time, Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Lyrical Ballads, an important collection of poems that marked the beginning of the Romantic era in English literature. [Duration: 42’]

Poetry Off the Shelf | This Poet Never Gets Old

This episode of the Poetry Off the Shelf podcast from the Poetry Foundation brings us an interesting conversation on the famous British poet John Keats, whose birthday is just around the corner, on 31st October. What’s the relevance of this 18th century writer today and what can we learn from his works? The episode includes a discussion on several of his poems, and the full transcript of the programme is available on the webpage. [Duration: 23’07”]

In Our Time | Wilfred Owen

With the Armistice Day approaching, commemorating the end of the First World War, many fine poets of the period come to mind. Wilfred Owen is a personal favourite: killed in battle on 4th November 1918, exactly a week before the armistice was declared, he spoke in his poems of the unbearable horror and futility of war. Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Owen’s life and legacy. [Duration: 45’]

Stuff You Missed in History Class | Bram Stoker

Dracula is probably the world’s most famous literary vampire, the subject of numerous novels, retellings, spin-offs, film and television adaptations… The tale of the mysterious Transylvanian nobleman has captivated audiences ever since Bram Stoker’s original Dracula novel first came out in 1897. On the occasion of Stoker’s birthday (8th November), listen to this podcast to learn more about the celebrated Irish writer. [Duration: 48’34’’]

Bookworm | David Duchovny: “Truly Like Lightning”

When it comes to David Duchovny, most of us immediately think of agent Fox Mulder from the X-Files TV series. But apart from being a TV star and accomplished producer and director, Duchovny also holds an M.A. in English literature and happens to be the author of five novels, one of which is Truly Like Lightning, published in 2021. In this episode of the Bookworm podcast Duchovny talks about the background to this book, which includes his interest in early Mormonism, environmentalism and the American transcendentalists. [Duration: 28’32’’]

The History Chicks | Lucy Maud Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery is one of the best-known Canadian authors. Born on 30 November 1874, she published numerous poems, short stories and a total of twenty novels, among them the globally popular Anne of Green Gables, set in Prince Edward Island. Find out about Montgomery’s life in this episode of The History Chicks podcast. [Duration: 60’54’’]

The Forum | Mark Twain: the ‘Father of American Literature’

Mark Twain is one of those writers who needs no introduction. Born on 30th November 1835, he wrote numerous essays, articles, opinion pieces, short stories and novels. He was truly a man of his time, deeply involved in the social and political life of the 19th century U.S. In this BBC World Service programme, Bridget Kendall discusses Twain’s life and works with several literary scholars. [Duration: 41’]

In Our Time | Christina Rossetti

Born on 5th November 1830, Christina Rossetti was one of the most important and influential of the Victorian poets. A devout Anglican, her life was marked with a deep Christian faith and commitment to charitable work, but also with poor health and depression. She left a remarkable literary legacy that has left a lasting impression on the subsequent generations of writers. In the episode of In Our Time, Melvyn Bragg discusses her life and works with a panel of literary experts. [Duration: 41’52’’]

The Waves | Why Jane Austen still slaps

Born on 16th December 1775, Jane Austen is widely considered one of the best British novelists. New film and TV adaptations of her works continue to be released on a regular basis, bringing those 18th century tales of romance and intrigue to contemporary audiences. What makes them so appealing to this day? The hosts of The Waves podcast discuss Austen’s enduring popularity and a very modern feel to her novels. [Duration: 34’21’’]

Bookclub | Donna Tartt: The Secret History

Published thirty years ago, The Secret History became an instant literary sensation and it has remained one of the most popular novels in the ‘dark academia’ genre. Interviews with its author, Donna Tartt, are pretty rare, and if you’ve enjoyed The Secret History, you will love the conversation she had with a group of readers for the BBC Radio 4 Bookclub programme back in 2014. (If you are not at all familiar with the book, have a look at my review.) [Duration: 29’]


VOA Learning English | Truman Capote, 1924-1984: Created the First Nonfiction Novel With ‘In Cold Blood’

Truman Capote was a celebrated and influential American writer, born in New Orleans on September 30, 1924. In this programme produced by VOA Learning English you can learn about his most important works, including his novel Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The listening and reading material has been designed for intermediate-level students. [Duration: 15’34’’]

The English We Speak | Eat your words

This short episode of The English We Speak radio series will teach you the phrase ‘eat your words’. Listen to the programme to find out what it means and in what kinds of contexts you can use it. You can also download the PDF file of the full transcript. [Duration: 2′]

American Stories | The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

As we’re approaching Halloween, what better time to listen to scary stories? This episode of the American Stories series produced by the VOA is an adaptation of E.A. Poe’s famous story The Tell-Tale Heart, suitable for English learners who are at an intermediate level (or above). On the webpage you’ll find the audio file, full transcript and the accompanying vocabulary notes. [Duration: 12’50’’]

Learning Vocabulary | A Halloween History

This episode of the Learning Vocabulary series produced by the British Council will teach you some key words and phrases connected with Halloween. The webpage contains a full transcript of the audio, vocabulary quizzes, grammar explanations and additional tasks and activities. [Duration: 22’08’’]

Words and Their Stories | Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Designed for learners of American English, this episode of the Words and Their Stories series introduces a number of words and phrases connected with the noun ‘ghost’, not all of them scary, from aghast to ghostwriting. Suitable for intermediate-level students. The webpage contains the full transcript and a glossary. [Duration: 6’26”]

British Council Audio Zone | Learning Languages

This podcast for upper-intermediate (B2) students brings you some simple but effective ideas on how you can improve your language learning practice, regardless of which foreign language you happen to be learning. While the audio itself is quite short, there are additional tasks and activities available on the webpage, as well as the full transcript. [Duration: 3’21’’]

6 Minute English | Are Trees Intelligent?

Did you know that trees live in families and have ways of communicating with each other? Designed for intermediate-level English learners, this BBC Radio podcast is a short discussion on the subject of trees. Practice your listening skills and find out some fascinating facts about trees! The webpage contains a full transcript of the programme, as well as the accompanying vocabulary notes. [Duration: 6’16’’]

Words and their Stories | “Let’s eat!” Thanksgiving dinner idioms

With Thanksgiving Day (the U.S. one) coming up next week, here’s a podcast on food-related expressions such as ‘to butter someone up’ or ‘to talk turkey’. The programme is designed for intermediate-level English learners. The webpage includes a full transcript and vocabulary notes. [Duration: 7’13’’]

Learn English Vocabulary | Describing people – personality

Designed for pre-intermediate (A2) learners, this podcast episode will teach you a range of vocabulary that you can use to describe someone’s personality, from nice to unpleasant and everything in between. Full transcript available on the webpage. [Duration: 7’]

American Stories | ‘Luck’ by Mark Twain

More on the topic of Twain, but specifically designed for English language learners: this programme brings you one of his short stories, ‘Luck’. On the webpage you can find the accompanying transcript, vocabulary notes and a quiz, as well as the links to several more of his stories adapted for language study. [Duration: 13’20’’]

English Club | The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas is an 1832 children’s poem, traditionally read to kids at Christmastime (ideally on Christmas Eve). In this episode of the English Club podcast you can listen to it, and then answer a number of comprehension check questions. Also on the webpage is a list of more complicated words and phrases with the explanations. [Duration: 4’08’’]

Happy English Podcast | Winter Weather Vocabulary

English language learners, now would be the perfect time to learn some winter-related vocabulary. This episode of the Happy English Podcast will teach you how to talk about cold weather, and on the website you can also find example sentences with key words from the programme. [Duration: 6’55’’]

American Stories | ‘The Gift of the Magi’ by O. Henry

O. Henry was a master of storytelling, famous for his plot twists and witty use of language. This radio version of the short story ‘The Gift of the Magi’ has been adapted for English language learners: the website contains a full transcript, as well as a lesson plan, an online quiz and vocabulary notes. More advanced students may also want to compare this adaptation with the original, which you can find here. [Duration: 14’16’’]


The Almanac of Ireland | Of Comets and Kings

The Almanac of Ireland is a series of radio programmes on various aspects of Irish culture. In this fascinating episode you can find out how the study of anomalous climate events and ring patterns on ancient Irish oaks informs the current understanding of the 6th century Christianisation of Ireland. [Duration: 21’34’’]

The Folklore Podcast | Calling the Spirits

Calling the Spirits is a non-fiction book written by Lisa Morton on the history of seances and spiritualism, ancient and modern. I have recently posted my review of this book (a very favourable one), and in this episode of The Folklore Podcast you can listen to an interview with the author with loads of background information on this fascinating topic. Needless to say, it’s just the perfect pre-Halloween listening content. [Duration: 55’24”]

Distillations | Ghost Hunting in the 19th Century

Continuing this month’s exploration of spiritualism, my selection for this week is a podcast from the Science History Institute on the unexpected connections between scientific research and the paranormal. It deals with, among other things, the vigour with which 19th century mediums and spiritualists embraced technological innovation. The webpage includes the full transcript of the programme. [Duration: 39’19’’]

The History of the World in 100 Objects | Early Victorian Tea Set

Starting from a tea set as an object, the programme explains the background to the dramatic rise in the popularity of tea in the Victorian era and how it was linked with mass production, capitalism, British patriotism and the imperial project. Who would have thought there was so much ideology in a cuppa? [Duration: 14’]

Throughline | The Dance of the Dead

Halloween is a fascinating holiday, with a complex history which spans over centuries and a number of different cultures. This episode of the NPR programme Throughline explores different facets of Halloween, walking us through its evolution from the pagan times until today. Full transcript available on the webpage. [Duration: 51′]

RadioWest | The History and Mystery of the Bicycle

Invented in the relatively recent past, the bicycle has quickly become an integral part of our lives. Causing controversy right from the word go, the history of the bicycle reflects the shifts in values, class and ideology. In this RadioWest interview, Doug Fabrizio talks with Jody Rosen, the author of the book Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle. [Duration: 51’30’’]

Ithaca Bound | Ancient Etruscans

Before Roman expansion, the single most developed and sophisticated society on the Apennine peninsula (apart from the Greek colonies) was that of the Etruscans. Where did they come from, and how much is known about their language, religion, and political institutions? This episode of the Ithaca Bound podcast is an interview with Prof. Alexandra Carpino, co-editor of A Companion to the Etruscans. [Duration: 46’06’’]

Food Matters Live | Caffeine Culture: How Coffee Shaped the World

For millions of people around the world, daily life is unimaginable without the obligatory cup of coffee. Or two. The beverage has long become so ubiquitous that we’ve all come to take it for granted. But how much do you know about the history of coffee? Where did it come from? How and why did the custom of drinking coffee spread so fast? Has it always tasted the way we are now accustomed to? Prof. Jonathan Morris, the author of Coffee: A Global History, explains. [Duration: 42’52’’]

The History of English Podcast | The First English Bible

Before there was the ground-breaking Authorised Version translation of the Bible, better known as the King James Version (KJV) of 1611, there had already been several other partial  translations in circulation. Two centuries prior to KJV, an Oxford theologian by the name of John Wycliffe, together with several of his disciples, produced the first popular vernacular translation into Middle English. Learn about the historical background of the Wycliffe Bible, and the lasting influence it had on the English language and literature. Full transcript available on the webpage. [Duration: 60’09’’]

Historic Royal Palaces Podcast | The History of Christmas Traditions

With Christmas fast approaching, it’s fun to look into the origins of Christmas customs and see how this Christian holiday used to be celebrated in the past. In this programme, Dr. Mark Connelly takes us through the history of Christmas traditions, from the Middle Ages up until recent times. [Duration: 46’35’’]

Hark! | Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas is one of the best known Christmas carols, with quite an interesting background. What does Wenceslas, a 10th century Bohemian ruler, have to do with Christmas? And how and when did a 16th century festival tune turn into a jolly carol celebrating kindness and generosity? Learn in this episode of Hark!, a wonderful podcast series exploring the history of Christmas carols. [Duration: 43’09’’]

Christmas Past | Santa Claus: The Life and Legend of Saint Nicholas

Santa Claus is a fascinating character with quite a history. This episode of the Christmas Past podcast is the first in a three-part series exploring the transformation of St Nicholas – a 3rd/4th century AD Christian bishop – into the chubby, bearded grandpa bearing gifts of contemporary imagination. You can find the full transcript of the programme here. [Duration: 12’07’’]

The Folklore Podcast | Yule Be Surprised

Earlier this week, on 21st December, was the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year. Known as Yule across Northern Europe, it has been marked for millennia as one of the most important sacred days, rich in symbolism, traditions and folklore, many of which have survived to this day. This episode of the always fantastic Folklore Podcast series explores the ancient, pre-Christian origins of many common Christmas customs. [Duration: 34’58’’]


The Idea of Home | Return

Part of a series of CBC Radio programmes on the subject of home, this insightful episode of Ideas with Nahlah Ayed explores how the sense of home changes for people who have been forcibly displaced. Is one’s home a place of residence, the place where they were born and raised, or something else? Once forced to leave home, is it possible to go back? [Duration: 53’59’’]

The Art of Manliness | The Stranger in the Woods – The Story of the Last True Hermit

Another interview with a writer, albeit on a very different topic. Michael Finkel is the author of The Stranger in the Woods – The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit, a non-fiction book about a man who spent 27 years living alone, deep in the woods of Maine, with no human contact. Hermits and hermitages have a long history; what drives some people to live like hermits at this day and age? [Duration: 47’06”]

RadioWest | The Joys of Walking

Walking is one of my personal passions, a simple daily practice that has over the years become something of a ritual, an exercise in mindfulness. I’ve immensely enjoyed this episode of KUER’s RadioWest interview with the writer Robert Macfarlane on the joys of walking. If you haven’t given this activity much thought, do listen to what he has to say. It might change your life. [Duration: 49’44’’]

Ideas from the CBC | The Left-Handers

In many cultures being left-handed is considered something bad and sinister to this day. But why exactly is that? What’s the evolutionary perspective on left-handedness? Do left-handed people possess any special talents or abilities? What’s behind the disputed research showing correlation between left-handedness and schizophrenia? There are many questions and even more possible answers regarding this – not uniquely human – trait.

RadioWest | The Creative Genius of Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton was one of the true stars of the silent film era. Inimitable actor and filmmaker who has profoundly influenced the history of cinema, Keaton has loyal fans dedicated to preserving his legacy to this day. This episode of RadioWest is an interview with Dana Stevens, author of Camera Man: Buster Keaton, the Dawn of Cinema, and the Invention of the Twentieth Century. [Duration: 51’33”]

The Art of Manliness | What People Get Wrong About Walden

The writer and transcendentalist philosopher Henry David Thoreau spent over two years living in a small cabin by the Walden Pond in the 1840s. Several years later, he published the book Walden; or, Life in the Woods, detailing his radical experiment in self-reliance and simplicity – a book that has since been a source of inspiration to many. In this episode of The Art of Manliness podcast, Jeffrey S. Cramer provides background to Thoreau and draws attention to some often misunderstood aspects of his life and thought. The webpage contains the full transcript of the programme. [Duration: 53’06’’]

Mindful Things | The Link Between Social Media & Mental Health

For almost two decades now, social media has been playing a big role in our everyday lives. We have come to rely on Facebook, Twitter and other networks to help keep us in touch with friends and family, but also to provide entertainment, news updates and almost everything else imaginable. But what kind of effect have they all had on our mental health? Would we be better off without them? How to stay sane in the current social media environment? Professor Lisa Coyne, PhD, explains. A full transcript is available on the webpage. [Duration: 56’29’’]

On Point | How to slow down and find some meaningful rest

Feeling tired all the time and don’t know how to deal with the fatigue in the workplace? Listen to this interview with Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith, the author of Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity. The webpage includes an online quiz on what kind of rest you need, as well as interview highlights. [Duration: 47’34’’]

The Art of Manliness | The Future is Analog

We may live in the digital age and enjoy many of its conveniences, but at the same time, many of us feel fed up with it. People buy vinyl records again, sales of e-books are down… Are we slowly reverting to the analog? David Sax, the author of The Future is Analog certainly seems to think so. Hear his arguments in favour of ditching the digital. [Duration: 53’47’’]

The Minimalist Vegan | Would You Live in a Tiny House

Tiny homes are a personal obsession of mine, and apparently I’m not alone. More and more people decide to go minimal when it comes to the size of their living space, for a variety of reasons. Tiny homes are incredibly cute, but are they practical? The hosts of The Minimalist Vegan Podcast discuss the pros and cons of moving into a tiny home. [Duration: 54’12’’]

Being Well Podcast | Mindfulness

Many people swear by some of the meditation and concentration practices they have adopted, praising their beneficial effects on their emotional, mental and physical health. A word often used in that context is mindfulness, but what exactly is it, and how can you too become a more mindful person? [Duration: 19’55’’]

Life Matters | ‘Goblin mode’ and how we cope with ‘permacrisis’

Not surprisingly, the ‘words of the year’ selections for 2022 reflect the troubling times we live in, marked by the sense of permanent crisis. Have we learned any lessons since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020? Are we now less or more resilient? If you’re struggling with the steady stream of negative news, listen to this programme for advice on how to cope with collective trauma. [Duration: 21’16’’]

The Essay | Winter Solstice by Hanne Ørstavik

More on the topic of Winter Solstice, this is a wonderful essay by Norwegian novelist Hanne Ørstavik in which she shares her memories of childhood spent in Finnmark – Norway’s northernmost region. She mentions wonderfully rich Sami legends and rituals connected with the Winter Solstice – folklore we can all learn something from. The website contains a full transcript of the essay. [Duration: 13’02’’]


Beyond Belief | Autism and Faith

Ernie Rea, the host of Beyond Belief, talks to academic researchers and people of faith on the subject of autism and religion. Do religious experiences of autistic people differ from others? How can faith-based communities better understand the spiritual needs of autistic people and learn from their insights? [Duration: 28’]

On Being | Jaroslav Pelikan – The Need for Creeds

Jaroslav Pelikan was a professor at Yale and author of many influential books on the history of Christianity and Christian theology. This talk with Krista Tippett, the host of On Being (previously known as Speaking of Faith) is a gentle and touching discussion on the Nicene Creed, that seminal profession of Christian faith, but also on the role of creeds – and faith in general – in the modern world. The webpage contains the full transcript of the programme. [Duration: 51’17”]

The Classical Ideas Podcast | An Introduction to Shinto

Shinto (lit. ‘the way of the gods’) is the native religion of Japan, an ancient and at the same time modern system of complex beliefs and elaborate practices. Eric Lancaster teaches Japanese at the University of Missouri and in this episode of The Classical Ideas he explains the core ideas of this rich and fascinating religion. [Duration: 38’57’’]

The Leonard Lopate Show | Barbara Ehrenreich on Mystical Experiences and the Search for Answers

Barbara Ehrenreich, who died earlier this year, was a prolific author, journalist and activist. Best known for her books and essays critical of capitalism and social inequality, in 2014 she published an autobiographical book titled Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything, a record of her own mystical experiences and how she, as a sworn atheist, came to understand them. If you like the interview, visit the Internet Archive website to borrow the e-version of the book. [Duration: 25’39’’]

Slovakia Today | All Saints’ Day as seen by different religions

All Saints’ Day, marked in many countries on 1st November, is behind us, but the whole month of November is filled with various other commemorations, festivals and remembrance days. This episode of Slovakia Today features representatives of different religions and several Christian denominations explaining how the dead are honoured in their respective traditions. [Duration: 26’56’’]

Secular Buddhism | Buddhism and Christianity

This episode of the Secular Buddhism podcast explores similarities and differences between these two world religions. Are they compatible? Is it possible to be both Buddhist and Christian? What can adherents of Christianity learn from Buddhists and vice versa? The webpage contains a full transcript of the talk. [Duration: 26’11’’]

Nomad Podcast | Philip Carr-Gomm – The Druid Way

Philip Carr-Gomm is a practising Druid and the former Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, one of the leading organisations of contemporary, neo-pagan Celtic religion. In this interview for the Nomad Podcast he talks about a living, nature-based spirituality that transcends labels and conventional denominational and confessional differences. [Duration: 60’40’’]

Renovare | Walking as a Spiritual Practice

Walking can do wonders for your health and fitness, but apparently it can also be good for your soul. In this interview, Mark Buchanan, the author of God Walk: Moving at the Speed of Your Soul, talks about walking as a spiritual practice – an exercise in prayer, mindfulness, and discipleship. [Duration: 30’47’’]

Yale University Press Podcast: A Brief History of the Reformation

Apart from Halloween and John Keats’ birthday, Reformation Day is also on 31st October. It marks the day on which Martin Luther famously nailed his Ninety-five Theses on the door of a Roman Catholic church in Wittemberg. It was one of those history-making moments whose significance cannot be overestimated. This interview with the historian Carlos Eire provides a lot of background information on Luther and the subsequent history of the Reformation. [Duration: 43’18”]

Ideas Podcast: Sonorous Desert

This podcast from the Princeton University Press is an interview with Kim Haines-Eitzen, the author of Sonorous Desert: What Deep Listening Taught Early Christian Monks—and What It Can Teach Us. It’s a fascinating look into the world of the fathers and mothers of Christian monasticism, and how their experience of the desert – not at all as soundless as you might expect – influenced the development of the Christian monastic spirituality. [Duration: 36’05’’]

On Being | How ‘Wintering’ Replenishes

Cold, dark days of winter can be challenging for many, but there’s much to be said in favour of the seasonal withdrawal, resting and replenishing that comes with ‘wintering’. Listen to Krista Tippett, the host of On Being, in conversation with the English writer Katherine May, the author of Wintering: the Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times. The webpage contains the full transcript of the conversation. [Duration: 60’]

The Art of Manliness | Befriending Winter

Continuing with last week’s winter theme in this section, here’s another podcast episode on the wonders of the year’s cold and quiet season. It’s an interview with Micah Mortali, the author of Rewilding: Meditations, Practices, and Skills for Awakening in Nature. It will give you lots of ideas on how you can make the best of this season. [Duration: 45’09’’]

Tapestry | What would the world look like if paganism had defeated Christianity?

This podcast could have easily been included under the Literature or History sections here. The interviewee is the celebrated British writer Julian Barnes who talks about Elizabeth Finch, his latest novel, published earlier this year. More to the point, he discusses questions asked by its heroine: was the 4th century victory of Christianity over paganism a mistake, and would polytheism have contributed to a better, more tolerant world? [Duration: 54’]

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