The Long Resonance of Bronze

Christians once ascribed powerful properties to bells—the power to drive away demons, for example,  and still today some Christians believe they embody the voice of God. Before Christians, the members of ancient civilizations ascribed magico-sacral properties to bells too. Why were bells thought to hold so much sacred power? I never thought about this tooContinue reading “The Long Resonance of Bronze”

Homage to MLK Jr.

The National Civil Rights Museum is calling on churches and institutions in the United States and beyond to ring their bells to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On April 4, 2018, bells will ring to commemorate 50 years after Dr. King’s death and his legacy in the Civil Rights Movement. BellsContinue reading “Homage to MLK Jr.”

Bell Founding of Beit Chabab, Lebanon

This recent find about the last bell founder in Lebanon piqued my interest in bells in the middle east. I was intrigued by the explanation that the casting of big bells didn’t arrive in Lebanon until the Crusaders came through in the twelfth century.* Hadn’t they been making bells already for a long time? Yes,Continue reading “Bell Founding of Beit Chabab, Lebanon”

Buried Alive, with Bells

Happy Halloween! Bells have a sinister side, too, you know. As my colleague Tiffany Ng has argued in her doctoral dissertation, in cultural representations bells have been associated with utopias and dystopias—death, decay, and all the rest of it. And we don’t even have to look at cultural representations—we can just look at the macabreContinue reading “Buried Alive, with Bells”

The Bell of the Great Chicago Fire II

Thanks, B.D., for passing along these dramatic details about the Great Chicago Fire and the courthouse bell! Donald L. Miller, author of City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America, explains the particulars. He does it so well, no need for me to paraphrase. Note the name of the watchman/bellContinue reading “The Bell of the Great Chicago Fire II”